When you hear the names Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are attached to a movie, there are certain expectations that arise. You go into that movie expecting to see a lot of guns and violence and maybe a little bit of nudity. Before 1996, one thing you never expected from a Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez movie was vampires.
But vampires is exactly what you get in tonight’s movie, From Dusk Till Dawn.
Year Released: 1996
Written By: Quentin Tarantino
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis
Seth and Richie Gecko are wanted bank robbers on a crime spree that will take them all the way to the Mexican border. Once they pass into Mexico, it’s a fresh start for the Gecko brothers, all they have to do is survive the trip. Good thing they have a hostage, a teller from the most recent back they robbed, as collateral. After all, no one wants to see the lady hurt.
The only problem is that Richie has a thing for hurting women and before too long, the brothers are without their hostage. Seth takes matters into his own hands and decides the best available option is to kidnap a new hostage. Well, the Geckos are in luck, as they stumble across a broken family traveling across country in their RV. Not only do they get the hostages they need, but they get the added convenience of being able to change their vehicle to one the feds would never suspect.
And so the former pastor and his two teenage offspring are taken for the ride of their lives, as the Gecko brothers hijack their RV and plot a course for the Mexican border. They arrive at a dive biker bar in the middle of the desert named the Titty Twister just after sunset and it’s here they intend to wait until morning.
The doors are locked, the band starts to play, and the strippers announce that dinner is served. What the Gecko brothers and their hostages don’t realize is…
They’re the dinner.
To say that From Dusk Till Dawn is a vampire movie isn’t really a spoiler, but if you’ve seen the movie, it sort of feels like one. If you’ve seen the trailer, they don’t ever mention the vampires in it and only show you brief shots of the monsters themselves in the last third of the trailer. This is very much like the movie, which starts out feeling very much like a Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez guns-and-blood-and-boobs fest, but it’s not until roughly halfway through the film (maybe even longer) that you learn that it’s actually a full on vampire flick set in a strip bar in the middle of the Mexican desert. If you never knew this was a vampire movie and I just spoiled that for you, I’m very sorry, because I’ve been there. But then again, the movie is sixteen years old.
The creature design goes from standard vampire fare (cool colored eyes, fangs) to very creepy (elongated limbs, distorted faces), and I love the different look each vampire has.
The acting is simply fantastic in some places and lacks a bit in others, but all of the main players in the story (George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Quentin Tarantino) deliver great performances and even the not-so-stellar performances are forgiven, since they’re given by some high calibur b-level genre actors (Fred Williamson, Tom Savini, Cheech Marin).
The writing and direction are every thing you would expect from Tarantino and Rodriguez and I hope these two work on something again soon.
Should You See It: