Saturday, February 2, 2013

from Dusk till Dawn - Mexican Vampire Strippers?

I doesn’t matter what you are expecting when you pick up this flick, it isn’t going to match up with the the smorgasbord of awesomeness that this movie lays out for you. This film isn’t one for the kiddies, but if you’re looking at horror movie reviews for your children, then what’s wrong with you? Get them something with ponies. Cuz this movie hit’s the Rated-R peddle hard, racing down south for Mexican Vampires.

Skip to the end for a SPOILER FREE REVIEW

The movie opens in the typical, nonchalant Tarantino fashion. A cop at a gas station, having a normal conversation with the clerk. But things quickly escalate when brothers/bank robbers/fugitives shoot up and then burn down the place. Seth Gecko (Clooney) and his creepy brother Richard (Tarantino) are headed to Mexico after robbing a bank and taking a hostage. After Richard rapes and kill the said hostage, it becomes apparent that the brothers differ in views of criminal professionalism, Seth being the professional and Richard being the psycho. The two end up hijacking an RV belonging to an ex-pastor, Jacob, and his two children, Kate, and Scott. After getting across the border they drive to the desert cantina, the Titty Twister. The seedy trucker/biker stop is where the brothers need to wait for a criminal contact. So the Gecko’s and the RV family grab a table among the thugs and strippers to enjoy the show. All at once, strippers and bartenders transform into demonic, hellish, vampires and start chowing down on all the patrons. The only ones left standing are Seth, the happy family, and two more vampire fodder. Richard thankfully gets what’s coming to him, death. Seth and and the Family fashion some DIY vampire killing toys and face off against the vampire horde. As always daylight comes in the nick of time, but only Seth and the daughter Kati walk out alive. A couple thousand dollars are passed around and everyone drives off into the horizon.  

Here’s what was good
The Casting
No review can be made about from Dusk till Dawn without mentioning George Clooney. The part was originally written for John Travolta, but we all lucked out because Clooney was exactly what was needed. He was the epitome of badd-ass. 50% of his screen time has to be him staring down people over his gun sights. The character is pretty one dimensional to begin with, but Clooney adds depths and believability.

I don’t know if Tarantino wrote a part that he could act, or is simply just a great actor, but either way he was awesome. He was able to pull off creepy, neurotic, and sadistic in a way that should put him on a list of potential mass murderers.

I swear that there must be some universal contract out there that guarantees Danny Trejo a role in any Mexican movie.I liked that they threw a role to Cheech Marin and Salma Hayek, the vampire queen, is hot. Nuff said.

But at the same time there is some terrible choices on the part of the Fuller family. Harvey Keitel is acceptable, but not memorable as the ex-pastor Father. But he was a heck of alot better than his kids played by Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu. Maybe it’s just because they are next to such great actors and if only No they are just terrible.

Here’s why I liked it.
The Directing/Writing
This movie was written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez. Tarantino could have directed it but he wanted to focus instead on writing and acting. So he gave the job to an up-and-coming horror director (and the friendship formed would one day give us Planet Terror) The first half of the movie is written so well, like all of Tarantino's movies. The conversation feels real and natural while still creating memorable, witty lines. For a movie that is clearly meant to be over the top, it never comes across as cheesy or too comedic.

From the Horses Mouth

The Action/Gore
When I watched this the first time I was starting to get annoyed. I was halfway through the movie and hadn’t seen a single vampire. But the action and carnage of the second half more than covers the dramatic first half. Once things start, they do not slowdown for the rest of the movie. The action is clearly meant to be over the top and the guts and gore border on the absurd level. That level of ridiculous gore actually makes it less graphic to me for some reason. Maybe just because it removes it farther from reality. But this show has great costumes, makeup, models and exploding body parts. Anyway you could imagine to kill a vampire is in here, plus a couple new ways you never dreamt up.

I loved the vampires in this one. I get tired of the Nosferatu or Underworld vampires. They are so fancy, drinking blood out of martini glasses. from Dawn till Dusk has some nasty, demonic, spawn of Satan kinda vampires. They are creepy, disturbing, and all around interesting to look at.

from Dusk till Dawn is not your typical fairy tale vampire movie. An excellent example of Tarantino cinema, it follows bank robbing brothers as they make to Mexico looking for safety but find just the opposite. If you are a drama lover, you'll love the writing and acting. If you are horror lover, you'll love the Evil Dead style gore-dom. And if you are movie lover then you can't skip this one. It's so hard to find good writing, plot, acting, or action in horror these days, but this movie somehow managed to wrap all those up in a nice little package.

Final Grade: B+




  1. Hey, saw your link you posted on the review of this on my blog. Good blog you've got over here, I'll be sure to stop by again in the future.

  2. Thanks for the post on my blog. If you're interested, I'll give you a screener DVD for my film when it comes out in March for you to review? Let me know. Peace.

    -Orlando Eastwood

  3. Thanks for the comment on my blog.

    Good review, covers just about everything. I like the structure and pacing of your review, how you have it split up into sections and then a spoiler-free summary at the end.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to come on over and poke at my website. Figured I would return the favor. The flow you have going on here is nice, though this isn't one of my favorite films int he catagory of vampires (So far thats still interview) but its great when you need to be all campy and have some boobs.

    As a Vampire and Zombie movie review site, I tend to love it when I have other critics poke around. Keep up the good work man. Your fighting the good fight. :)

  5. Love your review of this film and I like your approach, as you said, with fresh eyes! Sorry to hear about your depression, but you picked a great outlet through horror movies, and I hope you continue to feel better. It will be interesting to see the direction your future reviews go in. I'm a big horror fan myself so if you want ideas be sure to check back on my blog from time to time for ideas. I try not to steer anyone wrong! Keep up the great reviews and you will feel great in no time! :)

    1. Thank you good sir. You are a scholar and a gentleman.