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June 13, 2011

Movie Review: From Dusk Till Dawn / From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1996/1999, Blu-ray)

Quentin Tarantino's love for genre is pretty obvious in his screenplay for Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn. It seemed like a perfect match, teaming up with - at the time - upcoming filmmaker, Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Planet Terror, El Mariachi). Together they got to create their homage to George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. This time around with vampires. Echo Bridge has just recently released the first two films in the From Dusk Till Dawn Series, From Dusk Till Dawn (of course) and From Dusk Till Dawn II: Texas Blood Money on to Blu-ray.

Buy From Dusk till Dawn / From Dusk till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (Miramax Double Feature) [Blu-ray]

From Dusk Till Dawn wasn't exactly a high priority to get made when Tarantino was pushing Resevoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. It actually collected dust in his desk drawer for years. By the time From Dusk Till Dawn went into production Tarantino had carved his niche.

Richard and Seth Gecko (Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney) are on an unprecedented crime-spree robbing and killing from city to city. The law is getting closer to catching them mainly because of Richard's psychotic tendencies. Soon after kidnapping a family the boys make a quick stop at "The Titty Twister"."The Titty Twister" is a stipclub/bar that caters to clientele that prefer their cocktails crimson in color. Yes, they're vampires.

The FX from make-up wizards KNB Studios really help with the frantic action and vampire kills. One of the big drawbacks though is the awful acting by Tarantino, who's way over-the-top and more laughable than menacing. As a longtime genre fan, the cameos are really quite cool to see. Look for John Saxon, Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, Cheech Marin (in three roles) and splatter wizard, Tom Savini(who actually out acts Tarantino).

Intruder director Scott Spiegel takes the helm for the painfully dull sequel, From Dusk Till Dawn: Texas Blood Money. From Dusk Till Dawn may have been fairly unoriginal but it was rarely boring. Robert Patrick plays Buck, a bank robber looking to get a crew together so him and his partner, Luther (Duane Whitaker, Eddie Presley, Pulp Fiction) can pull off a lucrative heist. Oceans Eleven this ain't! Patrick may have made the perfect cyborg in T2, but give him lines and he delivers them with the ferocity of a tree sloth. I did enjoy some of Spiegel's choices in camera shots. One was the point-of-view of a fan, which amazingly, was the best actor in the film.

Unlike previous From Dusk Till Dawn releases on DVD this Blu-ray has zero extras. The documentary Full-Tilt Boogie is included on Echo Bridge's DVD release but unfortunately not here. The quality of the transfer is ok on From Dusk Till Dawn. Colors look fine, cropping though is evident. From Dusk Till Dawn II fairs a little on the soft side, with the image being pretty dark in many scenes. It doesn't appear to have been improved for this release.

At essentially eight bucks per movie the price is fine for this particular release. I do hope that From Dusk Till Dawn is revisited with more attention to the restoration and extra features in the future. From Dusk Till Dawn is certainly deserving of that.

1 comment:

  1. This is a love it or hate it kind of film. If you love great dramatic acting and over the top horror satire, then this is the perfect film. If you only like one or the other, this movie is going to be so so at best. I really liked this movie, especially as a Tarantino fan, and I think it's one of Clooney's best performances ever.
    I also got the chance to review this flick on my new blog. I would love to get some feedback from another critic. Check it out if you can.