From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
By: Andrew Gillies on May 30, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Buena Vista (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. English (FHI) Subtitles. 103 minutes
The Movie
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Cheech Marin, Tom Savini, Ernest Liu, Fred Williamson and Salma Hayek
Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino
Country: USA
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are established and remarkable filmmakers, having made some of the most memorable movies in the last ten years. Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs along with Rodriguez's Desperado and the Spy Kids flicks (hey, I liked them!) have achieved success that many movies could only dream of. So when the two joined forces in 1995 to make an action themed horror movie the fans were sure to be pleased. And they were. From Dusk Till Dawn, almost a decade after its initial release is highly regarded as one of the better and more entertaining vampire flicks around.

From Dusk Till Dawn begins with two escaped criminals on their way to Mexico, brothers Seth (George Clooney) and Richie (Quentin Tarantino) Gecko. After an explosive beginning, the brothers kidnap Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) and his two kids Kate and Scott (Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu), and make their way to The Titty Twister, a secluded biker bar in Mexico. However, things aren't as they seem in the Titty Twister, as the Gecko brothers must team up with their hostages in order to battle a hoard of hungry vampires.

This is one awesome action packed horror movie! Combining Quentin Tarantino's dialogue heavy script (based on Robert Kurtzman's story) and Robert Rodriguez's in your face directing style, From Dusk Till Dawn is an excellent blend of two genres creating one of the better vampire movies seen to date. Both filmmakers are visceral storytellers, and having them work together only combines their talents and crafts a truly entertaining classic. Tarantino's fast paced and witty script engages the audience, from the first half and more action-oriented part of the film, to the creepy and more horror related second half. Although not typically a horror writer, Tarantino surely knows how to work a crowd, and can deliver the goods that horror fans need. Rodriguez too directs with a fast-pace-edge-of-your-seat style, with barely a moment of the film being boring. The blend of horror and action works well, and Rodriguez manages to pull it off without over compensating.

As many in the horror community know, KNB EFX are one of the best make-up effects groups in the business and have helped to create some of the most impressive splatter effects seen in horror movies since the 80s. Including cameo appearances, the gang manage to create an effects heavy gore movie and they pull it off strikingly well. The blood and effects are deliciously delightful for any gore hound, and are only complimented by the film's violent nature.

The movie really has it all, a great story, stylistic directing, good acting, tits and gore. The fun packed thrill ride is always entertaining with great re-watchability value. As a vampire film, it is original and boasts some great effects and freaky vampires. Sure, it's not the conventional vampire movie, but it stays true to previous films and doesn't ruin the story by changing what the traditional vampire is. The mixture of action and horror only compliment the excellence that is From Dusk Till Dawn.
Buena Vista's release of From Dusk Till Dawn is quite fantastic, however loses some cool points with the film transfer. The movie looks good, don't get me wrong. It has that great film texture feel to it, that many movies from the 90s have, and I do love that look. Besides boasting some rich clean colours and some crisp images, the print suffers from blemishes and artefact damage, along with film grain. It's not an overly brilliant transfer, but considering it was made ten years ago, it captures that feel, and honestly, doesn't take any enjoyment from the movie. From Dusk Till Dawn doesn't need a new digital flawless transfer, and what we've got looks great. In some ways the less then perfect print helps to compliment the style of the film. However, just note that the print isn't perfect, but definitely isn't one to write an angry letter about.
From Dusk Till Dawn is accompanied by a stunning Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Dialogue is consistent and is never drowned out, and the score is dispersed evenly over the speakers. The best sound comes later on in the film, when the group reach the Titty Twister. Attention to detail is amazing! If you turn down all but your rear speakers, you can actually hear bikers having conversations, often very funny. The sound of bats flutters around you. The movie is supported by this great sound mix, and only adds to the enjoyment of the film.
Extra Features
A commentary track with Director Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino begin this feature packed DVD. An entertaining and informative commentary, the two play off each other well and are just as enjoyable to listen to as the movie itself. Although it is quite obvious this is an old track, recorded for the original laserdisc release.

A collection of deleted scenes and deleted gore follows, and is a nice look at what was cut out, including some added gore, which would be good if re-instated back into the film. However an non-removable commentary track drowns out all scene dialogue, and therefore makes this something for the eyes only.

The disc also holds some outtakes, which can be rather amusing. My favourite would be the wince inducing moment where George Clooney drops a chair on Quentin Tarantino's unsuspecting face.

Featurettes detailing the making of key scenes, 'The Opening,' 'The Hostage,' 'The Titty Twister,' 'Rat Man and Battle 3,' and an 'On The Set' show some great behind the scenes footage and information on how they did what they did

Another featurette, 'Hollywood Goes to Hell,' contains interviews with cast and crew. Two music videos, ZZ Top's "She's Just Killing Me" and Tito and Tarantino's "After Dark" are also found on the disc.

Ending the special features is a theatrical trailer along with basic cast and crew bios.
The Verdict
From Dusk Till Dawn is a must see for any Tarantino, Rodriguez, vampire or horror fan. Heck, watch the movie if you don't like any of them, because chances are, you'll like this one! An entertaining story, crafted and delivered well, the movie manages to keep the audience entertained and splashes buckets of blood and squeezes in some much needed nudity in-between. A damn good vampire movie, and a great movie to be added into the cult horror favourites. With the good video and audio aspects, and excellent features including the very fun commentary track and the informative and entertaining 'making of' featurettes, this DVD is a must have for all From Dusk Till Dawn fans.
Movie Score
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