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From Dusk Till Dawn

A 1996 action-horror-comedy film directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Kurtzman.

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VAMPIRE "GrindHouse" Horror Flick At Its Best!

  • Apr 7, 2010

I love vampire films. Just show me a film with a vampire premise on it and chances are is that I will at least rent the darned thing. Well, after I saw the horrid, embarrassingly “over-hyped” juvenile romance fantasy “Twilight Saga: New Moon” I decided to pick another vampire movie from my existing collection to get a real ‘fix’ on vampirism. Well, my friend @Count_Orlok_22 suggested I review “FROM DUSK TILL DAWN” for his vampire historians community so here I am.
“From Dusk Till Dawn” is a vampire film that blends wild action, bloody violence, black humor, sexy vampire strippers and grind house sensibilities to make one very fun and gory vampire film. The film was directed by Robert Rodriguez with screenplay by Quentin Tarantino. The film has a very simple formula that works; put a group of people in an enclosed space and have them fight for their lives. What makes the movie really work is its cast of very interesting characters and a lot of violence. Oh, did I mention Salma Hayek plays a vampire stripper here?
Seth and Richie Gecko (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) are two outlaw brothers who are on a murderous crime spree. The two are wanted by the law in the States and so they decide to flee to Mexico. To get there, they kidnap an ex-preacher named Jacob (Harvey Keitel) and his family (including Juliette Lewis) to help them in their escape. The Geckos are supposed to meet their contact in a bar down South that is open from dusk till dawn to hide out until morning. But what they find is something truly unbelievable as the bar’s workers are vampires! Seth and Richie must join forces with their hostages to stay alive…

           George Clooney & Quentin Tarantino in From Dusk Til Dawn

            Danny looking great
This vampire movie is a bloody good time. “From Dusk Till Dawn” is a raw, energetic, methodical, grind house vampire action film that comes very close to exploitation. Some critics say that it has mindless nihilism, but it is what makes it hip, fun and highly entertaining. Rodriguez and Tarantino do make for a great combination, the film looks very hip, doesn’t take itself too seriously, knows its target audience and it has achieved a ‘cult status’ among its fans.
I guess the meat and potatoes of the film would have to be the fights with the vampires and they are well-staged. Ok, honestly, they aren’t the most inventive ways to kill a vampire but I do have to say that Clooney, Keitel, Fred Williamson and Tom Savini do make them appear real hip, nasty and cool. The vampires in the film appear more like shape-shifting ghouls and seem to have an establish ‘power level’ seeing as how some vamps are harder to kill (can regenerate) while some are all mushy and easier to pound to leftovers. I liked the way tap water was transformed to Holy water by the preacher and the way that crosses were etched onto the bullets. I think those things have actually inspired several ideas that made it through to other vampire films. Also, aside from the vampire fights, I guess it is a dream come true for some male vampire fans to see vampire strippers and with Salma Hayek as “Santanico Pandemonium”, that scene is forever etched in my brain as one of the most alluring dances ever filmed. Yes, the movie has an abundance of nudity and even a scene of a strong violence against women. 

          From Dusk Till Dawn

              From Dusk Till Dawn
The characters in the film are also part of the film’s success. With Clooney and Tarantino himself playing two of its key characters, the screenplay just gives two very unlikable leads some charm. Tarantino (who wrote the screenplay) has a knack for making the most evil, despicable character wholly engaging because of his skills in dialogue. Richie Gecko is a rapist and Seth Gecko is a murderer and a thief; yet the script successfully makes them great anti-heroes. I suppose it is a way to express the idea that there are worst things than human criminals. Harvey Keitel is one great actor to pull off his unsettled and confused ‘hip factor’ as he says “I am a mean mother****ing servant of God.” (or something like that). Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu play Jacob’s kids which will remain a mystery as to how and why they look so different. Now let’s not forget the very cool set of supporting characters like heart-tearing Frost (Fred Williamson), the whip-clicking Sex Machine (Tom Savini) and Cheech Marin who plays triple roles. 

         From Dusk Till Dawn
The fact that the film is way over-the-top may prove to be its biggest strength as is its weakness as it is obviously not a movie for everyone. Rodriguez’s tone and mood keeps the film honest and sincere as to what the film is really about. I do think that the film loses some of its momentum near the climax as the scenes with the vampires become a little redundant. I guess the movie was just so much more fun with Sex Machine and Frost around. The zany touches of black humor they promoted was just what the film needed.
So, is “From Dusk Till Dawn” one of the greatest vampire movies ever made? Well, it all depends on how you look at the genre. The film has ambition and uses a backdrop that is just so different from what we are used to when it came to vampire movies. It is a great fun gory horror-black comedy that just delivers the goods. Rodriguez’s creation is for fans of Splatter-fests, action and zany black humor; this is “grindhouse” vampirism the way it should be done.
Highly Recommended! [4+ Stars]
This Review is Exclusive for the Vampire Historians

Dance number by Salma Hayek

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April 15, 2010
Dude one of my favorite films of all time, I love OT and RR man in any and everything they do. Man I thought Clooney and QT make the perfect crime team. QT was devilishly excellent in this film. EXCELLENT review.
April 07, 2010
It's kind of weird, but the first time I saw this film I hated it. Over the years, I've grown to count it as one of the funniest and most gruesome mainstream vamp films I've seen. Harvey Keitel and George Clooney were really great in it, since they both kind of play things straight like they don't fully realize what a weird fucking situation they're in. Too bad they had to kill off Salma... the sexiest vampire ever!
April 10, 2010
April 10, 2010
Just what I was about to say. But he's recovered nicely, when it comes down to it. I do wish he'd branch out a bit more, since he mainly does political dramas and silly comedies, although this isn't really either.
April 07, 2010
Dude I could not have wrote it better myself, Tarantino is excellent in his role and did a great job with the script. One of my favorite films of all time.
More From Dusk Till Dawn reviews
review by . February 22, 2010
The Vampire genre gets an overhaul...
Since Dracula first graced the silver screen  with his presence in  1931 vampires have become the  number #1  horror  icon  of all time   and a major staple of almost every creature feature from then on; from  1931 to 1992  Dracula reigned supreme over the  screens as the most terrifying creature ever invented. With his departure after Francis Ford Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula" the vampire genre seemed all but dead(no pun intended.) …
review by . June 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
If you are into completely gratuitous non-stop violence, then this movie is certainly for your. If you deplore graphic murder, mayhem, blood, gore and more of the same...over and over and over again, then you probably won't like the film very much. But wait! Let me finish...    As long as you realize and accept the fact that, as another reviewer has so well stated in his review, that this is purely an exploitation movie, and if you watch it purely for the fun of seeing vampires …
review by . April 08, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
From Dusk to Dawn is a really fun movie. At first it starts out as one of those types of movies that barely holds my interest- George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino are bank robbers on the run with a hostage. They shoot an Abilene Texas Ranger and a convenience store operator and end up at a sleazy hotel with their hostage where they run into Harvey Keitel, a preacher who has lost his faith upon the death of his wife and is taking his kids to a new life in their motor home.    At …
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About this movie



Director: Robert Rodriguez
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Thriller
Release Date: January 19, 1996
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Quentin Tarantino
DVD Release Date: June 17, 1998
Runtime: 10b minutes
Studio: Dimension Films
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