From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – Robert Rodriguez

The solid team of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino paired up for the first time with From Dusk Til Dawn the next stop in the vampire section of Monsters in the Movies, the wonderful coffee table tome from DK Canada.

Featuring an all star cast, as well as being stacked with cult favorites, the film follows a pair of criminals, the Gecko Brothers, Seth (George Clooney) and Richie (Tarantino) who are on the run after a flurry of heists, and a cop-killing.

Looking to jump across the border to Mexico, the pair seize a family, the Fullers, as hostages. There’s Jacob (Harvey Keitel), Kate (Juliette Lewis) and Scott (Ernest Liu). They’ll be fine if they can pass the night at a strange truck stop… that just happens to be hosted by, and serve as the feeding ground for vampires.

Rodriguez punchy style matches nicely with the equally punchy writing style that propelled Tarantino to stardom.

The supporting cast includes Salma Hayek, legendary makeup artist Tom Savini, cult faves Fred Williamson, Micheal Parks, and Danny Trejo, Kelly Preston and Cheech Marin also make an appearance, and when things go sideways in this film, things get bloody, there are fangs everywhere, and the body count will climb through the night until it’s hard to tell who will survive.

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Hayek is nothing short of exotically enticing as Santanico Pandemonium the lead dancer at the truck stop and the visual effects for the vampires are pretty fun and give them a unique spin as the two film buffs, Rodriguez and Tarantino bring their own take on vampires.

Clooney brings his natural cool to the film and the entire film makes for a fun watch.

I remember when this one first came out, me and a couple of friends saw it in the theater, and it seemed that despite the trailers, we were the only ones in the theater who knew that the film was going to take a left turn into fang town. There were a lot of unhappy people in the audience because they apparently are used to mixing their genres. Me and mine thought it was great.

This was fun, bloody, rude, brutal and a heck of a ride. There’s not a lot of consistency to what the vampires look like through the course of the film, they all seem to have different influences and designs… most of them go out the same way though. Which is to say, violently.

It’s a fun ride, though Tarantino’s writing style is not for everyone. The film pays homage to both classic and not so classic vampire films, Hammer Films most of all, and I love the way it plays out.

Find this one, and oh so many others in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies.

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