Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

From Dusk ‘Til Dawn


Notes: 108 minutes.
Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis, Harvey Keitel, Fred Willliamson, Salma Hayek, Tom Savini, and Cheech Marin.

Summary: While on their way to a rendezvous at the Titty-Twisterbar just south of the border, the merciless bank-robbing Geckobrothers take a vacationing family hostage. They find out thatthe Titty-Twister is run by a brood of bloodsucking demons. Willthey last from dusk ’til dawn?

Dialogue: Unrealistically vulgar and offensive languagesteals the show . . . or at least, is distracting and ridiculous.
Vampires: Traditional or Not? These things were SCARY!!! Beautiful topless fleshpots mutate into alien-like demon bloodsuckers! Dismemberment of victims is a higher priority than drinking blood.
Vampires: Physical Appeal? Bikini-clad Santanico Pandemonium(Salma Hayek) gives new meaning to the art of snake-charming. Some lonely guys will enjoy the gratuitous frontal nudity, butthe rest of the movie will make them think twice about payingfor a lapdance. (Note to women: all the male vampires in thisflick are hideous, even as humans.)
Gore Factor: This movie reinvents the meaning of gore. You’ll see dismemberment, explosions, decapitations, impalement,meltings, and shootings galore. Green slime, black slime, redslime, and yellow slime saturates the bar and everyone in it. Oh, and there’s a lot of blood too.
Scariness/Suspense: The anticipation of seeing new andsadistic ways to die keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. The mystery behind Seth Gecko’s transforming tattoo providesadditional suspense.
Target Audience: Quentin Tarantino fans, Deja Vu regulars,and death-obsessed FREAKS will get a thrill out of this one.

Further Commentary:
Seth and Richard Gecko are two bank-robbing brothers who are evading authorities after committing violent crimes.That’s all you need to know about them.

Unfortunately director Robert Rodriguez didn’t see it that way. He decided to devote half the movie to developing these shallow characters whose only concerns are making out with their money and using the f-word in every other sentence. The audience is exposed to an unnecessary amount of sexual and flashy violence, such as a convenience store clerk who is burned alive and a mother of four whom is raped and shot in a hotel room.

The Gecko brothers kidnap a father and his two children to use as leverage as they cross the Mexican border. The development of these characters is twice as good as the two leading males, and only took a third of the time. Jacob, the father, is a bitter minister who turns his back on the church after losing his wife. His children are Kate, a teenager with a country accent who loves her daddy, and Scott, his adopted Chinese son who likes to play guitar.

See, now was that so hard?

If an audience member were to walk out half way through the movie, he would have no idea that it even involved vampires due to the time wasted on Seth and Richard.

Once it gets to the vampires, it’s mostly topless girls dancing around and guys throwing punches. The group ends up at a biker bar whose employees are all vampires. Upon learning this, a fight ensues and the group is able to fend them off and gain two comrades. One is Sex Machine, a Mexican man decked out in leather and a tall unnamed black man who served in ‘Nam. The initial impression this gives is that these two new characters will join the group and form a strong alliance to fight the vampires. Instead, they are killed five minutes after they are introduced, leaving the audience to wonder why they even came on.

After 45 minutes of senseless violence, everyone is dead except Seth and Kate. Neither one of these two is the strongest of the characters, despite the implication that Seth is the hero because he bosses everyone around. It’s hard to cheer for a guy who assaults teenage girls and makes a junior high kid drink whiskey with him.

Cheech Marin has three roles and he’s good in all of them. First an inspection officer, second a vampire, and third a crooked dealer. The movie receives one star for Cheech!

–Marianne Refuerzo

Vampire Films