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 widelyspoiled 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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.