After a violent bank heist the criminal brothers Seth and Richard Gecko allude the authorities by making their way south to the Mexican border. They kidnap a preacher and his two kids, and use their rv to cross the border. The group make a stop at a secluded topless bar unknowing it is run by a violent gang of vampires.
From Dusk Till Dawn is a vampire film directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino. It stars George Clooney, Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and Juliette Lewis. It also has appearances of the great Tom Savini, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin (as three characters) and Danny Trejo. From Dusk Till Dawn is reminiscent of classic 70’s exploitation films. Which makes sense because both Rodriguez and Tarantino are obsessed with that style.
I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t a very big fan of this film when I was younger. I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t all too familiar with the “grindhouse” style or not. I know I hated George Clooneys character. Mainly because I cant stand Clooney in general. Him and his stupid arm tattoo bugged the crap out of me. No way did real bad guys act that way. Or do they?
Now I kind of appreciate the film and accept it for its exaggerated violence and tone. I get the Tarantino style and wit and appreciate the eccentric/odd dialogue. His characters are meant to be “over the top” and the entire film is set outside of reality. But hey, it’s a vampire film set in a Mexican titty bar named “Titty Twister.” I think asking for a sense of reality is kind of impossible. So yea, you have to come into the film with a certain sense of “let it roll.”
I love the pacing of the film, there isn’t a boring moment. We go from intense gun fighting to entertaining burlesque scenes and then crazy vampire blood and guts pandemonium. The movie is a car that’s accelerator is pushed all the way down and we can’t do anything but enjoy the chaos that ensues. The slow down moment in the film is a infamous dance scene by Salma Hayek, which serves as any 90s kid’s favorite hottie. But also a great bridge between the criminal element of the movie to the all-around climactic horror element. This movie is the literal example of a movie roller coaster.
When the movie finally turns into an actual vampire film is when the movie (for me) gets great. It’s just one blood soaked death after another. There is a good mix of great makeup and prosthetic effects, and some transitional effects done with CGI. The CG is a little odd to see by today’s standards but it’s not a movie killer. The vampires look pretty good. They’re not models or glittering in the sun. For the most part they look like humanoid bats and have no real human qualities. The kind of look I like in vampire films.
Even though the movie is a spectacular violent romp, I do enjoy the story of ex-pastor Jacob. I find it to be a truly (or only) sentimental part of the film and brings us a connection to a man I think we can identify with. Jacob is a recent widower and has denounced his faith (although still a believer) and leaves his position as pastor. His children don’t understand and looked at him as only a pastor and can’t see it any other way. I think this is a great theme in the film because where Jacob ultimately regains his faith, it’s by the means of a terrible person like Seth to encourage him. He doesn’t find his way back through God through a sermon or a message, but by the presence of evil. Now this may sound deep for an non-deep film but eh, it works for me.
Another great scene is the “montage” scene that shows our last set of survivors: Seth, Jacob, Kate and Scott making weapons to battle the vampire horde. It’s an interesting and creative spectacle of weaponry. From what I can tell these kinds of weapons have never been used before in a film, at least a makeshift jackhammer with a wooden stake protruding at the end of it. I do know The Lost Boys did use water guns filled with garlic water. They finally come out with their weapons and it’s literally an insane kill fest.
So watch From Dusk Till Dawn and enjoy the bloodbath! It’s not a movie that requires a great deal of questions or understanding. Just watch it for what it is and enjoy the absurdity of it. Love the gore and laugh at Tom Savini and his crotch rifle.