Film: From Dusk Till Dawn
Kate: "Are you okay?"
Seth: "Peachy, Kate. The world's my oyster, except for the fact that I just rammed a wooden stake in my brother's heart because he turned into a vampire, even though I don't believe in vampires. Aside from that unfortunate business, everything's hunky-dory."From Dusk Till Dawn
is a trilogy of films, started in 1996. The first film in the series was directed by Robert Rodriguez
, written by Quentin Tarantino
and starring George Clooney
, Quentin Tarantino
, Harvey Keitel
, and Juliette Lewis
The plot centers around the Gecko brothers, two dyed-in-the-wool criminals on the run from the police after a prison break. Causing death and destruction wherever they go, they eventually manage to sneak past the Mexican border by taking a father and his two kids hostage. They go to a trucker bar, the Titty Twister, to spend the night as they wait for their rendezvous. What happens at this point is that what should be a very sudden and unexpected Genre Shift
occurs when it turns out that the bar is a front for a clan of vampires and they have to fight for their survival through the night (hence the title). Of course, this has become widely spoiled
and as such, loses most of its effect (in fact, many a person probably rented the film and wondered where the hell the vampires were for the first half).
The film, while fun, didn't make that great of an impact and is now mostly watched by Quentin Tarantino
fans. Much of the criticism against the film is that regardless whether or not the second half is viewed as passable, most people will admit that it was a definite drop-off in quality compared to the first half.
The series got two Direct-to-Video
sequels, though sharing none of the creative cast and not following any of the characters introduced in the first film with the only connecting thread being the vampire bar/lair, The Titty Twister. They're usually considered In Name Only
by some fans.
- From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999): Deals with a group of robbers planning a heist. One of them stumbles across the Titty Twister from the first film (it's implied this movie takes place sometime before the first) and ends up getting bitten, spreading the vampirism to most of his fellow robbers, save for one who's forced to team up with the local sheriff to take them down.
- From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (2000): A Prequel set way in the past in the wild west. A bandit makes off with the titular character and flees into the Mexican desert where they come across the Titty Twister (a pueblo in this era), with the girl's father not far behind. This movie shows us how Satanico from the first film came to be and many fans admit it's a much better sequel than Blood Money was.
There's also the documentary Full Tilt Boogie
which details the making of the first movie in addition to showing the cast and crew just messing around.
There was also a PC videogame that next to nobody remembers. This is probably for the better...
In 2014, a TV series
was made as one of the headliners of Robert Rodriguez's new network, El Rey
These films provide examples of:
- Affably Evil: Seth is a total bastard and an amoral thief but he doesn't kill people he doesn't have to, can usually be counted on to keep his word and tries to avoid innocents being harmed.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: The Gecko brothers are a bunch of scoundrels worthy of being hanged, drawn, and quartered, but, when compared to diabolical bloodsucking monsters, they are the guys you want to root for.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Whereas vampires in many other movies are often played up as the twisted, tormented former humans they actually are, here the bloodsuckers are depicted as either this trope or mindless animals who roar and snarl. (Satanico is the only one of these creatures who retains more than a modicum of her humanity, and then only in the intellectual sense - and certainly not in the moral sense.)
- Anyone Can Die: And boy howdy do they by the second half of the flick. Even the villains are not immune to this - Satanico dies very quickly, much to her own astonishment..
- Asshole Victim: Ritchie after being bitten by Santanico.
- Author Appeal: Quentin Tarantino's famous foot fetish reaches new heights.
- Ax-Crazy: Richard Gecko, a bloodthirsty psychopath and rapist.
- Bad Ass: Seth and Sex Machine. Also Frost.
- Badass Preacher: Jacob Fuller becomes one of these.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Ambrose Bierce appears in the third film, which missed its opportunity for a Genius Bonus by not explaining the author's real life disappearance this way. Though The Stinger shows he's alive in the present day and is now a vampire, so it at least tries.
- Big Bad: Strange, semi-subverted example. Satanico clearly seems to be the leader of the vampires but she bites it half way through and the situation becomes one more similar to a zombie movie (only with vampires) with the vampires as a mob of faceless undead monsters.
- Black Comedy: It's a Tarantino movie. Pretty much part and parcel with his style.
- Of particular note is the opening scene - they set the liquor-store clerk on fire, he dives out from behind the counter shooting at them... only to collapse in a popcorn display, his flaming corpse setting the kernels popping.
- Body Horror: Some of the victims once they turn. Most notable Sex Machine after he gets his head pulled off. This doesn't kill him, rather it activates a whole new mutation in what can be described as a skinless oversized rat.
- Bond One-Liner: When he's about to be turned into a vampire (almost), and being told, "Welcome to slavery!" Seth remarks, "No thanks; I already have a wife."
- Book Ends: The song "Dark Night" plays as the main characters drive away from a thoroughly destroyed building.
- The same Aztec-style pyramid, partially embedded in a cliff, is revealed in the last shot of both the first and the third film.
- Camp: The flick thoroughly revels in its cheesiness.
- Captain Obvious: This exchange between Kate and Richie:
- Chainsaw Good: A version of this with the pneumatic stake.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Most notably Chet Pussy's sales pitch, but nearly all of the characters swear profusely on at least one occasion.
- Colliding Criminal Conspiracies
- Continuity Nod: Sex Machine's crotch gun can be seen in another Rodriguez flick - Desperado. Carolina pulls it out of El Mariachi's guitar case o' weapons, and El awkwardly replies that it's saved his life on a number of occasions.
- If you get a good look at the burger bags Seth brings back to the motel room, the restaurant logo says they came from Big Kahuna Burger.
- Michael Parks appears in the beginning as Texas Ranger Earl Mcgraw, a recurring character of Rodriguez's and Tarantino's who also shows up in Kill Bill and both films in Grindhouse. He dies here, but it's anyone's guess whether this indicates From Dusk Till Dawn takes place after the other films.
- Cool Old Guy: Harvey Keitel as Jacob Fuller.
- Determinator: Seth absolutely refuses to give up hope, even when it looks like he and Kate are about to be vampirized for sure. Fortunately, they're saved by the film's Big Damn Heroes.
- Deadpan Snarker: Seth.
- Designated Girl Fight: Averted. Several female vampires and Kate doesn't kill any of them, only visibly killing males.
- Downer Ending: Seth and Kate are the only survivors by the end of the ordeal. Kate offers to go with him but Seth declines admitting he is not evil enough to pull her into his lifestyle and they part ways. Kate is left by herself in her now dead family's RV.
- Duct Tape for Everything: Healing a huge bullet hole doesn't call for gauze, duct tape does the trick.
- Dwindling Party: They lose Richie to the vampires before even fully knowing what's going on. Then Sex Machine is bitten and turns a few minutes later, proceeding to bite Frost, and in the ensuing chaos, Jacob is bitten as well. Jacob accepts that he's going to turn and fights to the end, getting shot by Scott, although the latter is bitten just after, torn apart by the vampires, and ultimately killed by his sister Kate who, along with Seth survives the night.
- Easily Forgiven: Seth Gecko's reaction to his brother having raped and murdered their hostage while he was gone quickly fades from disgusted to 'don't do that again' and then hugs him and forgives him... sort of justified because we're apparently supposed to be shocked at the mildness of his reaction. It is also used to show Seth's blind love for his brother, as well as the fact that Seth is likewise a psychopath, if not a rapist.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: The proprietors of the Titty Twister have "hired" (i.e turned if they weren't already monsters to begin with) quite a few strippers and other employees who are visibly not Hispanic/mestizo. (And, of course, once they're all revealed to be vampires, they continue to act unbiased by eating humans of all different races!)
- Even Evil Has Standards: Seth Gecko, who doesn't have any compunctions against killing hostages, chastises his Ax-Crazy brother Richard for raping everything in sight and using wanton violence to resolve problems.
I may be a bastard, but I'm not a fuckin' bastard
- Evil Versus Evil: A duo of robbers and murderers versus bloodsucking undead.
- Fanservice: The staff of the Titty Twister, especially Salma Hayek. Rapidly changes to Fan Disservice when they turn into a bunch of monsters and start eating everyone.
- Also, a 37 years old George Clooney in his most attractive form.
- Feather Boa Constrictor: Ladies and gentlemen, behold the world's luckiest snake.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Richard (until his glasses are broken by an angry punch from Seth).
- Game Face
- Genre Savvy: Seth Gecko despite seeing vampires for five seconds believes it instantly and calls out anyone that doesn't before they even think it. Simply because he would have disbelieved it in the same situation.
Seth: Now I don't wanna hear "I don't believe in vampires". Because I don't fucking believe in Vampires, but I believe in my own two eyes, and what I saw was fucking vampires.
- Glasses Pull: Inverted, when Jacob turns from protective father to ass-kicking padre.
Seth: So what are you, Jacob? A faithless preacher? Or a mean motherfuckin' servant of God?
Jacob: [puts on glasses] I'm a mean... mhm mhm servant of God.
- Guns Are Worthless: Subverted. Seth aims a gun at a vampire. Shes unimpressed, indicating an Immunity To Bullets. Then he fires his gun, hitting a lamp so it falls down to impale her.
- Halfway Plot Switch: One of the premier ones, sadly spoiled thoroughly. In fact, the original name of the trope was just the name of this movie. There were actually theatre-goers who said, out loud, at the point of the switch, "Wait, what the hell kind of movie is this?!"
- Heroic Sacrifice: Satanico's father in the third movie. Despite being bitten and instantly turned by Satanico. He doesn't succumb to being evil (not at the moment anyway) and opens the gate out of the pueblo allowing Johnny and Ambrose to escape. He even gets his revenge on his ex-wife by impaling her with the gate trap and letting the sun finish the job.
- Hot as Hell: Not Satan herself but Satanico Pandemonium fits to a T.
- Hypocritical Humor: "I didn't say 'Do what I do.' I said 'Do what I say.' "
- I'm Melting: Vampire bodies dissolve into a sickly green goo shortly after death.
- Imagine Spot: "Richie, will you do me a favor and eat my pussy for me? Pleeease?"
- Impaled Palm: Richard Gekko gets a bullet through his palm. In one scene, he looks through it at his brother.
- Improvised Weapon: Quite literally by the truckload.
- Infernal Retaliation: The clerk at the beginning. It's quite awesome.
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Seth is dumbfounded to learn that Scott is Jacob Fuller's son, pointing out that Jacob doesn't look Japanese. Jacob retorts that Scott doesn't either, because he's Chinese. Seth "apologizes" for this mistake with "Well, excuse me all to hell."
- Large Ham: Pretty much everybody gets to ham it up in this.
- Lampshade Hanging and Made of Plasticine: Vampires have super-strength, but take hits like monsters made of Play-Doh, as noted by the cast.
- Loophole Abuse: Upon being told that the Titty Twister is only open to truckers and bikers, Jacob notes that, technically, he is a truck driver, as his RV requires a truck license to legally operate. The guys questioning him can't prove him wrong, so they let him and the rest of the gang stay in the bar.
- Ludicrous Gibs: basically the entire second half of the movie, with vampires exploding left and right and body parts and gore flying everywhere.
- Male Gaze: Used to rare, non-titillating effect to show how Richie Gecko looks at Kate Fuller. It tries to put the audience into Richie's headspace... which is not a pleasant place to be.
- Man Hug: Seth Gecko gives his brother Richard one of these after reading him the riot act for raping and killing their hostage, but while assuring him that everything will be fine once they get to Mexico.
- Man on Fire: The clerk at Benny's World of Liquor earns some cool points by continuing to fire on the Geckos after being lit aflame.
- Mathematician's Answer -
Kate: Where are we going?
Kate: What's in Mexico?
- Mayincatec: The Titty Twister is located on top of a long buried, thousand years old sacrificial pyramid. Doesn't really explain how its inhabitants became vampires though.
- They merged with the Bat, ruler of the underworld and darkness in Mayan culture.
- Mercy Kill: After Jacob gets bitten, he has Scott and Kate promise to kill him once he turns. During the final battle, it does happen and Scott is forced to do the deed. Though not before getting bitten himself after a moment of hesitation. Kate then has to kill him as he's being devoured by vampires.
- Ms. Fanservice: Salma Hayek and other strippers. At first.
- New Old West: It's basically another "fight-in-a-saloon" movie, but with Mexicans. And vampires.
- Night of the Living Mooks: A rather weird example in that the vampires begin with a clear leader in Satanico and are clearly individuals with personality themselves, but once they are killed the subsequent vampires are interchangeable faceless undead monsters. Curiously though some of the vampires can shift into different forms.
- Noble Demon: Seth Gecko. He even declines taking Kate with him in the end feeling a tad guilty for being the reason her family is dead.
- Not Using the Z Word: Averted. After the first big battle with the vampires and subsequent clean-up, Seth confirms with everyone that it was vampires they all just fought.
Seth:Now I don't wanna hear anything about "I don't believe in vampires", because I don't fucking believe in vampires, but I believe in my own two eyes, and what I saw is fucking vampires. Now do we all agree that what we are dealing with is vampires?
- Off with His Head!: Jacob and Sex Machine in the first movie. Though it takes two shot to bring down the former (as Scott only blew off half his face the first shot) and it doesn't kill the latter (See Body Horror). The third movie has an undead mook who has this happen but he just replaces the head with a cobra before that ends up getting shot off.
- Oh, Crap: Sex Machine, after realizing that he's been turned into a vampire - and that his former friends will kill him as soon as they find out.
- One-Winged Angel: Ugh. Let's just say you'll need some economy-size Brain Bleach after seeing Satanico's true form.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Averted; all the duct tape does for Richard is keep his hand from bleeding after it gets a hole shot through it. He never uses it afterwards (and at one point yells and drops a set of keys when they hit it).
- Our Vampires Are Different: While they have all of the standard weaknesses, they were designed to appear more as just pure monsters than merely humans with fangs. It also subverts No Ontological Inertia as killing a vampire that bites you doesn't stop you from turning into one.
- Panty Shot: An "around-her-ankles" example rather than the standard upskirt peek, but the border patrol guy still gets an eyeful when he spies Kate sitting on the toilet (pretending to defecate so that the agent will leave and not notice the Gecko brothers hiding behind the shower curtain).
- Pet the Dog: Richie of all people (sort of) gets one. When Scott and he are watching the strippers, Richie tells him that, if he wants a lap dance, to 'just let him know.' Twisted, but still...
- Prequel: The third movie.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Being an insane serial rapist is what makes Richard Gecko irredeemable in the audience's eyes, unlike his Noble Demon brother who is above that.
- Rock Me, Asmodeus!: The satanic musicians in the bar, with guitars made of living flesh.
- The Savage South: Because the Mexican border really is full of banditos and vampires.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Frost, a Knife Nut 'Nam vet.
- Skeptic No Longer: This film provides the page quote for the trope.
- Slasher Smile: Frost has an enormous one after he's turned into a vampire by Sex Machine.
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror
- Sociopathic Hero: The Gecko Brothers, who are just about devoid of heroic characteristics but still fight the spawn of hell when forced into it. Or at least Seth does; Rich doesn't really survive long enough to do anything.
- South of the Border: Mexico, the land of gangsters, strippers, and vampires.
- Spicy Latina: A whole stripper bar of them! With Salma Hayek as their queen-goddess.
- Spiritual Prequel : Arguably to Grindhouse.
- Staking the Loved One: "Richie, here is the peace in death that I could not give you in life."
- The Stinger: Happens in the end of The Hangman's Daughter where Ambrose in the modern day finishing telling another guy the events of the movie, the latter expressing disbelief at "Mexican hooker vampires". So Ambrose shows him proof-by promptly ripping out the man's heart. The final shot shows Ambrose's eyes turning golden, fangs in his mouth and him emitting a low growl before eating the heart.
- Course, this was foreshadowed during one of Ambrose's visions earlier in the film briefly. Though, it wasn't shown when he was bitten due to the rest of the original ending where the stinger came from being replaced with the ending it got.
- Stealth Parody: Of both horror and heist films.
- Tap on the Head: Seth knocks out Richie at the border.
- Tattooed Crook: Seth.
- Thicker Than Water: Seth Gecko, a ruthless criminal himself, is quite aware that his brother Richie is a psychotic rapist and serial killer. When Seth discovers Richie's latest crime of killing their only hostage he's incredibly disturbed but forgives him nevertheless, promising that they'll have a better life together in Mexico.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: Very briefly when the Fullers are taken hostage we see Kate from Richie's perspective, who uncharacteristically starts begging Richie to "fuck her hard." Just to drive the point home, the angle is intentionally shot distorted. If there were any doubts about how messed up in the head Richie is, this pretty much clinches it.
- Took a Level in Badass: Kate can barely even choke down a shot of whiskey when she first arrives at the Titty Twister, but has become a viciously clever vampire-killer by the movie's end.
- The Vamp: Santanico Pandemonium.
- The Virus: How vampirism is treated with a hint of Hive Mind.
- Trunk Shot: The script was written by Quentin Tarantino, so it's a given that one of these was included in the movie.
- Unflinching Walk: A variation, with Seth and Richie bickering as the store blows up unnoticed behind them.
- Vampires Own Night Clubs: In a twist (hur hur hur) on the trope, the vampires in this story have a bordertown bar/whorehouse.
- Virus Victim Symptoms: Played for laughs.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Salma Hayek is a real-life ophidiophobe, such that she almost didn't take the part of Satanico Pandemonium because of it. Robert Rodriguez conned her into thinking that Madonna was ready to take the part instead, so she spent two months with therapists in order to overcome her fear of snakes.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: The hostages, particularly Scott Fuller, have all the Genre Savvy needed to survive in a heist film or hostage taking film. Scott even lampshades this by telling his father "I've seen this on TV Dad!" Pity for them the bar the Gecko Brothers choose to stop is full of Fricking Vampire Strippers!
- Your Vampires Suck: All you need to do to keep these vampires at bay are two sticks put together to make a cross. Or ANYTHING resembling one. Hell, even the Red Cross of Ambulances does the trick.