From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999)
By: Julian on February 14, 2011  | 
Roadshow | Region 4, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 84 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Scott Spiegel
Starring: Robert Patrick, Bo Hopkins, Duane Whitaker, Raymond Cruz, Brett Harrelson
Screenplay: Scott Spiegel, Duane Whitaker
Country: USA
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From Dusk Till Dawn is one of my favourite films of the nineties. With it, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino proved their immense compatibility as a filmmaking team (their collaboration a decade later with Grindhouse was inevitable after this sort of quality work), and the movie was one of the most compelling riffs on the vampire tale that has been recently filmed. Two straight-to-video sequels followed, Texas Blood Money and The Hangman's Daughter, both of which have only very recently been released on DVD in Australia.

Texas Blood Money is typical of straight-to-video sequel fare: it's a low-budget effort that goes out of its way to blueprint the original, to hilariously exaggerated effect (cinematographer Philip Lee's emulation of POV shots – including POV of a pedestal fan and a pipe used to impale a vampire – are hysterical). Even so, Texas Blood Money is a lot of fun; a spirited, violent mess.

Luther Hecks (Duane Whitaker, who co-wrote the film with director Scott Spiegel) is a prison escapee whose sights are set on a high-stakes heist. Luther gets in touch with Buck (Robert Patrick), and he asks Buck to gather together the rest of the crew that they once ran with – CW (Muse Watson), 'roided-up Jesus (Raymond Cruz) and Ray Bob (Brett Harrelson). With the gang assembled, Buck and the trio head to the rendezvous, a dank room at the sleazy El Coyote hotel, where they watch porn movies to pass the time waiting for Luther.

Luther, however, encounters a spot of trouble when he pays a visit to the Titty Twister and its long-toothed bartender (Danny Trejo, resurrecting his character). Adding to Luther's difficulties is Texas Ranger Otis Lawson (Bo Hopkins), who is pursuing Luther and the gang fervently.

With Lawrence Bender, Tarantino and Rodriguez on executive producer duties and B-grade horror filmmaker Spiegel in the director's chair, Texas Blood Money certainly doesn't stray far from the source material. It reprises the whole 'crims on the run, stalked by vampires' premise, but the Titty Twister is not the main location – instead it is the bank-cum-fortress that the gang are looting, where the vampire threat explodes from within. Also like the original, Texas Blood Money's first act is focussed on the criminal enterprise, not the vampires: with the exception of an opening sequence in an elevator (where we see a bat POV shot), this film, like its predecessor, has very little horror in it at all.

The special effects are adequate, although some dodgy bits are evidence of Texas Blood Money's low budget. The legendary trio of Kurtzman, Nicotero and Berger continue their work in the series here, replicating some of the original's gimmicks and creating some new ones. I've already spoken about Philip Lee's work as Director of Photography, but it merits another mention: the cinematography in Texas Blood Money should be a thing of legend, with the absolutely gratuitous POV shots of absolutely everything adding a (presumably unintentional) element of humour. The performances are all pretty hammy, but Danny Trejo is the film's greatest asset; Trejo is an underrated action hero whose stocks should rightly explode following last year's Machete (albeit after a decade and a half of very cool roles, including this one).

Texas Blood Money is undoubtedly an inept film if held against an objective standard, but Spiegel has been behind a couple of decent B-grade horror movies, and he does a similarly adequate job here. All in all though, the whole thing is just great fun – derivative and gimmicky, sure, but a brilliantly mindless way to pass 80 minutes.
The picture is presented in 1.78:1, with 16:9 enhancement. The picture is quite average, but not too far below what one would expect from a decade-old DTV movie.
One English track, presented in Dolby 2.0. It's decent, but dialogue is occasionally muffled in background noise. English subtitles are optional.
Extra Features
The Verdict
Texas Blood Money is not a patch on the genius original, but it certainly retains the spirit of the 1996 film: an engaging, entertaining, B-grade horror romp.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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