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A pulpy crime drama/vampire film hybrid, From Dusk Till Dawn is an uneven but often deliriously enjoyable B-movie.
All Critics (48)
| Top Critics (12)
| Fresh (30)
| Rotten (18)
| DVD (7)
"From Dusk Till Dawn" answers the question about George Clooney, but raises a couple about Quentin Tarantino.
[Robert] Rodriguez pushes the envelope but fails to make any lasting impression except revulsion at the spectacle of acclaimed independent filmmakers wasting their talents on such trash.
Imagine two movies plucked from opposite sides of the video store.
A deliriously trashy, exuberantly vulgar, lavishly appointed exploitation picture, this weird combo of road-kill movie and martial-arts vampire gorefest is made to order for the stimulation of teenage boys.
On a mindless exploitation level this is pretty good, but on other levels it seems to make promises that it fails to deliver on.
A tired, humorless pastiche of various exploitation genres that is not the least bit imaginative in its campy deconstruction of conventions.
Still sizzles like a capsaicin-spiked grindhouse meatloaf baked and served just under the wire of its sell-by date.
This is the "Reservoir Dogs" with a twist of "Near Dark" set to the tune of "Assault on Precinct 13."
Based on an early Tarantino script, Rodriguez' movie is an incoherent B-pic, in which the sensibilities of the two filmmakers clash.
It is a shame to see so much good talent giving such low-yield results.
Energetic low-budget vampire nonsense from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino.
If you're going to like it, you already know it.
Back in 1986 there was a small low budget horror movie called 'Vamp' starring Grace Jones as a supreme vampiress Goddess and owner of a seedy strip joint full of seedy hooker-esque strippers...it was spanklicious! Then along came Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez and they basically completely ripped off the entire idea, thus we have this heavily Mexican influenced horror splatter fest.
I saw this film on release in the cinema back in the day and I thoroughly enjoyed it, this hasn't changed. I think the fun fact with this film is that it works on two levels, as we all know the film is basically one story that U-turns into another, but both work really well. The first half of the film which focuses on the 'Gecko Brothers' is a violent unapologetic crime spree road trip following the duo on the lamb. Its a strange combination of ice cool badassery and actual nastiness leaving you unsure whether you should be rooting for these two guys.
Lets face it, Clooney is the slightly charming good looking cool headed leader of the pair sporting a horribly dated tribal tattoo. This guy makes you think its fun and sexy to be a criminal on the run from the law...in a cool car to boot. Then you have Tarantino who is a scrawny whiny bespectacled creep who lies and kills people for no reason, he also appears to be a sexual predator and kills (possibly raping) women. Now together this pair do make a fun fast talking duo of deperados admittedly, their bickering is amusing and well performed, visually they look quite unique in their appearance and attire and they are badass motherf*ckers. The thing is they do commit some really quite nasty crimes along the way which is played for dark laughs but it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. You can't help but feel they get what they deserve in the end and I personally find it hard to feel any emotion or sympathy for either character. Its like...oh yeah its sad for 'Seth' when 'Richie' gets killed...but wait, didn't he kill an innocent female by putting a pillow over her head and shooting her in the face?! Oh and didn't Seth burn that innocent (and cooperative) liquor store worker to death??!!
The main crux of this film is of course the second part of the story when the duo reach the 'Titty Twister' in the middle of nowhere, Mexico. From a dark graphic novel style violent crime thriller to an over the top, balls to the wall, in your face soft porn vampire slaughter. What I like about this section of the film is the fact they use hands-on effects, the whole gamut of traditional methods from models and puppets to bucket loads of goo and gore. I think there is a small amount of CGI for the bats and face morphing but mostly all the death and destruction is utilising classic live action gore effects and some lovely makeup work that I'm sure Savini had a hand in. Even though the Titty Twister is an obvious set it still looks the business both inside and out with clever use of props and camera angles. You know there aren't that many vampires, you know the bar set isn't that big, you know the outside is restricted for space etc...but with the odd lorry parked in the right position, good editing, some clever tricks and even an old fashioned matte painting Rodriguez is able to present a much bigger universe on a tight budget.
I think this part of the film has its ups and downs honestly. Its definitely a rip roaring brutal cadaver fest which is great fun but as the film progresses towards the finale it does become so over the top with the gore and action it loses its grip and edge. The effects seem to get a little weaker towards the end as though they were running out of cash and time. The makeup is still great but some of the creatures looked pretty ropy truth be told, what was that huge rat monster Clooney fights?! kudos for trying but the rod puppet animation used for that thing was hokey looking. I also always wondered why Hayek's character seems to turn into a humanoid reptile, that's what it looked like didn't it? not very vampire-like. The various exploding melting head close ups rock but most of the body suits and large vampire bats look very rubbery and fake right at the end.
There is no doubt this is another great example of Rodriguez's visual style and somewhat over self-indulgent obsession with the Mexican theme. The added bonus of a solid cast of Tarantino regulars and aging cult stars really gives the adventure a shot in the arm too, had this been cast with any standard Hollywood stars it may not have been as appealing. I mean lets face it, this film introduced us to Hayek, Trejo and to a degree Marin for some folk...loved how he plays multiple characters and pulls it off!
A true popcorn flick harking back to the good old days of 80's splatter comedy horror. What's more it makes you wanna see more of the Gecko Brothers with a prequel and easily a sequel following Seth. I won't deny the first half of the film felt vicious and a tad unpleasant, could almost say a fail for what they were clearly going for, but what horror/action fan can say they didn't get a solid kick out of the biker mayhem that followed. Easily my fave film involving and starring Tarantino, I just loved how they did his vampire makeup too, did you notice how his skull had a massive chin?
When Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino team up to make a campy B-horror movie, the result is true greatness as witnessed by From Dusk till Dawn. Chronicling the Gecko brothers on their escape into Mexico and culminating in a strip bar that is also a vampire haven, this film is the definition of cult classic, populated with memorable characters.
A pair of ruthless bank robbers on the run to Mexico hijack an ex pastor and his children, only to be trapped in a strip joint full of vampires. The first collaboration between Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, From Dusk Til Dawn is half twisted road movie, half schlock horror with a wide streak of humour; Grindhouse beta in other words. It's also the film that made the male population finally understand what the ladies were on about when we collectively developed a huge man crush on Clooney whose fantastic performance as Seth Gecko turned him from soap star into Mr. Coolest Of The Cool. He's ably supported by Quentin as his psychotic and delusional baby brother and Harvey Keitel as the hard-assed preacher, as well as some cameos from Sex Machine from Dawn Of The Dead and Shaft himself. There's plenty of Tarantino's amusing hard-boiled dialogue and the action scenes are splatter at it's most frantic and funny. It may feel a little scizophrenic as it's essentially two stories stitched together, but both work brilliantly and it's a riot from beginning to end. It suffers slightly for a dated score and the climax is slightly weak, but it's still one of my favourite vampire films and worth the admission price for Salma Hayek's jaw dropping burlesque turn alone. Ay carumba.
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