The Bad Movie Report

Oh, look. It's my second review.

Be nice.

From Dusk Till Dawn

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Don't even bother to bring up what I said on the Philosophy page. I don't want to hear it. I, for one, require From Dusk Till Dawn to wash the taste of Bordello of Blood out of my mouth.

There are, as we know, bad movies. There are terrible bad movies. There are good bad movies. And there are TERRIFIC bad movies. FDTD is the rarest of the rare, a bad movie done well.

Briefly: Seth and Richie Gecko (George Clooney and screenwriter Quentin Tarentino), a pair of on-the-lam bank robbers, take a bereaved minister (Harvey Keitel!) and his two children (Ernest Liu and the ubiquitous Juliette Lewis) hostage and force them to smuggle the two criminals into Mexico. Once there, everybody waits at a randomly chosen seedy bar, the "Titty Twister", for the Gecko's Mexican contact. Trouble is, the Titty Twister is a booby trap in more ways than one, a roach motel full of vampires waiting for truckers, bikers and the like to provide a tasty sanguinary snack.

Juliette Lewis & FriendTo go any further would be to spoil a lot of fun for the Bad Movie Fan. Seeing this in a theater must have been a trip, since the first half of the film is firmly in Pulp Fiction territory, and the second half veers madly into Night of the Living Dead land. I haven't seen such a radical change in a film's plot & general tenor since Flight of the Navigator. Or maybe Rat Phink a Boo Boo. Director Robert Rodriguez looks like he's having a lot of fun and stages everything to perfection.

Clooney does a good against-type turn as a thief with a rough code of honor. Tarantino's Richie is one of the better screen psychotics (I just wish I could shake the feeling that Tarantino is only playing an amplified version of himself). Keitel's portrayal of a Baptist minister who has lost his faith and must reclaim it in the face of total evil is quite a revelation; the Wolf only creeps out a couple of times. Juliette Lewis is... Juliette Lewis. Cheech Marin does an odd Peter Sellers turn as three different characters, the best of which is the Hawker for the Titty Twister, a fellow named Chet Pussy. With good reason.

Also worthy of note: Tom Savini as a mean-ass biker with the uncommon name Sex Machine (you'll see why) and Fred Williamson (Huzzah!) as the even badder Frost.

Oh My Sweet Lord.SI saved the best for last. The Queen Vamp (and there must always be one), Santanico Pandemonium, is played by the simply incredible Salma Hayek, who is just one of the familiar faces that cropped up from Rodriguez' earlier (and recommended) Desperado. Hayek does a dance to Tito & Tarantula's "After Dark" which leaves the entire room slack-jawed, both in the film and in your living room. Folks, it's a table dance done right in front of Tarantino, which only furthers my belief that the bastard wrote this role for himself. I'd hate him if I didn't like his work so much. Oh, and Salma? If you're reading this: I want to be your dog.

This is a very loud, profane, violent movie: it is the very antithesis of a date movie. The Texas blues soundtrack kicks butt, the direction crackles and leaps for your throat just as much as the writing, you have no assurance that anyone will survive the last battle, and the final payoff is all you could ask for from a bad movie: a unique new and satisfying way to kill vampires. And George Clooney has the best "I don't believe in vampires" speech ever uttered.

And oh, yes, there's Salma. Woof woof! Arooooooo!




This movie alone makes up for a ton of crappy po-mo vampire flicks

- October 19, 1997