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From Dusk Till Dawn

USA 1996
produced by
Gianni Nunnari, Meir Teper, Robert Rodriguez (executive), Quentin Tarantino (executive), Lawrence Bender (executive), Elizabeth Avellan (co), John Esposito (co), Paul Hellerman (co), Robert Kurtzman (co) for A Band Apart, Hooligan Productions, Dimension Films, Miramax
directed by Robert Rodriguez
starring George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Quentin Tarantino, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Tom Savini, Fred Williamson, Michael Parks, Brenda Hillhouse, John Saxon, Marc Lawrence, Kelly Preston, John Hawkes, Tito Larriva, Peter Atanasoff, Johnny 'Vatos' Hernandez, Aimee Graham, Heidi McNeal, Ernest M. Garcia, Gregory Nicotero, Cristos, Mike Moroff, Michelle Berube, Neena Bidasha, Veena Bidasha, Ungela Brockman, Madison Clark, María Díaz, Rosalia Hayakawa, Janine Jordae, Jacque Lawson, Houston Leigh, Janie Liszeewski, Tia Texada, Jon Fidele, Michael McKay, Jake McKinnon, Josh Patton, Walter Phelan, Wayne Toth, Henrik von Ryzin
story by Robert Kurtzman, screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, music by Graeme Revell, editor: Robert Rodriguez, special makeup effects by K.N.B.EFX Group, visual effects by VIFX

From Dusk Till Dawn

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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On the run from the police and on the road to Mexico, brothers Seth (George Clooney) and psychopathic Richard (Quentin Tarantino) take Jacob (Harvey Keitel), a priest who has lost his faith, his daughter Kate (Juliette Lewis) and his son Scott (Ernest Liu) hostage - and after they have made it over the border, Seth and Richard are really prepared to let their hostages go ... after some partying at the Titty Twister, a cheap and sleazy trucker and biker club where they are supposed to meet their contact Carlos (Cheech Marin).

Thing is, the Titty Twister is run by vampires, who primarily use it to lure their favourite food to them, and soon, the vampires start an all-out attack, which pretty much instantly costs Richard his life.

Before long, only a few actual humans in the bar have survived and secured it against a bat attack, among them Seth, his hostages, a biker called Sex Machine (Tom Savini) and Vietnam veteran Frost (Fred Williamson). Then though, Sex Machine turns into a vampire as well, and when fighting him off, a barricaded window is shot open ... and only Seth and his hostages make it to a relatively safe back room, where they arm themselves against the next vamprie attack - whith things like a super soaker and condoms filled with holy water, bullets with crosses carved into them, and a crossbow armed with wooden stakes. Problem is, priest Jacob has already been bitten by a vampire and is slowly turning into one himself ...

The showdown costs Jacob and Scott's life, before the vampires are destroyed by sunlight coming through the windows and Seth and Kate are saved.

In the final shot, the camera pans back from the Titty Twister to reveal its backside to be an Aztec pyramide, surrounded by motorbike and truck wrecks.

Salma Hayek plays an exotic dancer in a very sensuous sequence - that seems to be a bit of a hommage to Jess Franco.

 


One has to admit, From Dusk Till Dawn is nowhere near as inventive and exciting as Robert Rodriguez first two Mariachi-films, and it probably had very little impact on vampire cinema history ... that said though, taking by its own terms, From Dusk Till Dawn is still gret fun to watch, a loving if pointless hommage to/spoof of the vampire genre featuring a fun supporting cast (first and foremost Tom Savini, Fred Williamson, Cheech Marin), some hilarious twists on genre mainstays and a storyline that's very dynamic and well-paced. The only weak point of the film is actually Quentin Tarantino, not Tarantino the writer though - he does fine - but Tarantino the actor. I mean let's face it, Tarantino can't act, and he totally fails to bring his character to life - but back in the mid-1990's, he was obviously hailed as the king of cool to such an extent that his deficiencies just didn't matter.

Still, the film is great entertainment, mindless perhaps, but enjoyable nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD