CULT FILM FAVES: From Dusk Till Dawn

Some things a man doesn’t forget.

Like a young Salma Hayek channeling her inner vamp in a killer dance routine that is singed on my brain. (This is shortly after Senorita Hayek co-starred in Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado and before she became the Oscar-nominated  actress/Emmy Award- winning producer we have come to, ahem, know and respect today.)

Salma Hayek in From Dusk to Dawn - Muy Caliente
Salma Hayek in From Dusk to Dawn – Muy Caliente

Nice to see Seventies blaxploitation stud Fred Williamson get a kick at the can. Both Rodriguez (who directs From Dusk ) and Quentin Tarentino (who wrote the script and co-stars, with George Clooney) , are fans of so-called “grindhouse” cinema so I gotta figure casting the star of  Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem was a mutual decision.

Fred Williamson In His 1970s Prime
Fred Williamson In His 1970s Prime

There are also personal faves like Brenda Hillhouse, Tarentino’s  former acting teacher (yeah, we can see how well that turned out), future Machete star Danny Trejo (let’s face it, what horror movie casting director could resist this battered mug) and legendary “splatter movie” make-up artist Tom Savini (as a character called “Sex Machine”.)

Juliette Lewis and Harvey Keitel in From Dusk to Dawn
Juliette Lewis and Harvey Keitel in From Dusk to Dawn

Not to mention the original Bad Lieutenant, Harvey Keitel, cast as a preacher and former Hollywood wild child Juliette Lewis as his  daughter.

George Clooney (with a bad haircut) and Quentin Tarentino (with glasses) as the bank robbin' Gecko Bros.
George Clooney is the one with the bad haircut. Quentin Tarentino is wearing glasses (as if you didn’t know)

I could write the plot on the back of a popcorn bag: George and Q play bankrobbin’ brothers who kidnap the Rev and his daughter and wind up in a bar in the Mexican desert populated by cops, bikers and vampires … lots of vampires! (This ain’t the cuddly Twilight types , more like the cold. remorseless kind in 30 Days of Nights.)

What starts out as a nervy action thriller gradually turns into a wildly over the top horror movie which seems more  concerned with creating  gross-out special effects than telling a good story.

If At First You Succeed ....
If At First You Succeed ….

Nevertheless, the movie must have earned a modest profit because it spawned a direct-to-video sequel (From Dusk to Dawn: Texas Blood Money) and prequel (From Dusk to Dawn: The Hangman’s Daughter). Rodriguez and Tarentino were listed as “executive producers” (whatever that means) of both releases.  

Not to mention a feature length documentary Full Tilt Boogie  which gives an intimate glimpse into the shooting of the pic and its stars (more about that in my next post.)

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