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Film / From Dusk Till Dawn

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"Why, out of all the God-forsaken shitholes in Mexico, do we have to meet here?"

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 1996 action horror film written by Quentin Tarantino, directed by Robert Rodriguez, and starring Tarantino, George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, and Juliette Lewis.

The plot centers around the Gecko brothers, Seth (Clooney) and Richie (Tarantino), two dyed-in-the-wool criminals on the run from the police after a prison break in Texas. Causing death and destruction wherever they go, they eventually manage to sneak past the border with Mexico by taking a pastor and his two teenage children hostage in their RV. 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 a very sudden and unexpected Genre Shift when it turns out that the bar is a front for a clan of vampires, and the brothers have to fight for their survival through the night (hence the title). Of course, this has become widely spoiled and, as such, can lose most of its effect (in fact, many people probably rented the film and wondered where the hell the vampires were for the first half).

The movie got two Direct to Video sequels, though they share none of the creative cast and don't follow any of the characters introduced in the first film (except in the second sequel, which is about the origins of the vampire Santanico Pandemonium), with the only connecting thread being the vampire bar/lair, The Titty Twister:

A documentary titled Full Tilt Boogie was also released in 1997, detailing the making of the first movie in addition to showing the cast and crew just messing around. There was also a From Dusk Till Dawn video game released in 2001 for PCs, taking place directly after the end of the first movie.

In 2014, a TV series inspired by the films was made as one of the headliners of Robert Rodriguez's new network, El Rey.

From Dusk Till Dawn provides examples of:

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  • Actor Allusion:
  • 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 prevent innocents from getting harmed.
  • Almighty Janitor: Pete Bottoms the store clerk puts up a better fight than many of the vampires.
  • 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. The ones who aren't are still pure evil.
  • And Show It to You: Played with when a vampire's heart gets ripped out but it keeps on coming, until its disembodied heart is impaled with a cocktail stick.
  • Anyone Can Die: And boy howdy do they by the second half of the flick. Even the villains are not immune to this — Santanico dies very quickly, much to her own astonishment.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    Jacob: "Are you such a loser you can't tell when you've won?"
  • Asshole Victim: Richie after getting bitten by Santanico.
  • Author Appeal: Quentin Tarantino's famous foot fetish reaches new heights in this film, as his own character gets to suck booze from Hayek's bare foot (It Makes Sense in Context... a sort of).
  • Ax-Crazy: Richie Gecko, a bloodthirsty psychopath and rapist.
  • Badass Biker: Sex Machine, who packs a gun hidden inside his codpiece, a whip, and finds killing vampires as easy as breathing.
  • Badass Preacher: Jacob Fuller becomes one of these.
  • Bathos: Richie hallucinates Kate asking to "eat my pussy", which serves to amp up the tension of whether or not he will rape her. He asks Kate if she meant what she said earlier, to which Kate naturally doesn't know what he means. He says they'll talk later and Juliette Lewis gives a comical little nod — playing the scene for some Black Comedy.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Eddie assuring customers "We even got horse pussy, dog pussy, chicken pussy...".
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Seth and Richie Gecko, a duo of Villain Protagonist criminals on the run from the law, run into a vampiric strip club run by Santanico Pandemonium. Fireworks ensue.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The day is saved, or at least blasted into the vampires' faces, by Seth's criminal associate Carlos.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Though the Titty Twister is destroyed and all the vampires have been wiped out, 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. It's implied Seth's going to get what he wanted — retire in peace to Mexico — and Kate's free from her family drama.
  • Black Comedy: The film features and is written by Tarantino. This is pretty much part and parcel with his style. Of particular note is the opening scene — Seth and Richie set the liquor-store clerk Pete Bottoms on fire, who 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 notably Sex Machine after he gets his head pulled off. This doesn't kill him, rather it activates a whole new mutation into what can be described as a skinless oversized rat.
  • Book Ends: The song "Dark Night" plays as the main characters drive away from a thoroughly destroyed building.
  • The Cameo:
    • John Saxon as a cop interviewed on a TV.
    • Special effects artist Greg Nicotero appears as a patron getting his beer stolen by Sex Machine.
  • Camp: The flick thoroughly revels in its cheesiness.
  • Captain Obvious: This exchange between Kate and Richie:
    Kate: Excuse me. Excuse me.
    Richie: What?
    Kate: Where are you taking us?
    Richie: Mexico.
    Kate: What's in Mexico?
    Richie: Mexicans.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: The opening scene, Seth berating Richie about the events that happen while the gas station explodes behind them. The opening line said it all.
    Seth Gecko: What did I tell you? What did I say to you? I said, "Buy the road maps and leave!"
  • 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: Bank robbers on the run come across a brothel that's a front for vampire activities.
  • 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.
    • "OK ramblers, let's get ramblin'."
    • Michael Park+s appears in the beginning as Texas Ranger Earl McGraw, a recurring character of Rodriguez 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.
  • Covers Always Lie: The 2011 Echo Bridge release of the film on Blu-ray mistakenly included a picture of Rebecca Gayheart on the back cover even though she doesn't actually appear in the film. The picture was taken from the prequel Hangman's Daughter.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Makeup supervisor Howard Berger appears as the vampire who turns Sex Machine.
    • Executive producer Lawrence Bender is seen sitting in a dining booth.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Being a criminal in a movie written by Quentin Tarantino makes Seth a natural.
  • Death by Cameo: John Hawkes as a store clerk who dies in a shootout with the Gecko Brothers.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Averted. Several female vampires are present, but Kate doesn't kill any of them, only visibly killing males. Santanico is also killed by Seth.
  • Devil, but No God: Discussed but ultimately averted. Seth restores Jacob's faith by telling him that, if the vampires are the spawn of Satan, then that must mean there's a Hell — which means there must also be a Heaven.
  • 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.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: At first, it seems like the Gecko Brothers only gotta deal with the Texas police as they Run for the Border, being Villain Protagonists who themselves drive the conflict. Then they escape the US halfway through the film and the vampires led by Santanico Pandemonium take over the conflict. Even then, Santanico is killed early in the fight and the leaderless horde end up being the collective True Final Boss.
  • Disguised Horror Story: The film's famous Halfway Plot Switch turns it from a gritty New Old West crime thriller to a violent vampire horror movie, with no indication that it's coming until it happens.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The host outside the Titty Twister was obnoxious, but certainly didn't invite the beating he got from the brothers. This quite literally comes back to bite them later, when a vampire massacre becomes personal.
  • Dirty Coward: The only explanation for why Sex Machine hides his vampire bite.
  • 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.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: When the vampiric band realizes our heroes are coming for them next, the singer just flips them off goodbye and the three of them blow up together.
    Fuck you, everybody! Good night! KABOOM!!
  • 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. Aside from showing Seth's blind love for his brother, it demonstrates that Affably Evil he may be, Seth is an unrepentant killer who is unperturbed by the deaths of innocents.
  • 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 Richie for raping everything in sight and using wanton violence to resolve problems. He also adamantly refuses to let Kate accompany him further into Mexico with his criminal companions, as he has no intention of bringing her into the type of life he lives.
    Seth: I may be a bastard, but I'm not a fuckin' bastard.
  • Event Title: From Dusk Till Dawn.
  • Evil Versus Evil: A duo of robbers and murderers, versus bloodsucking undead.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Once Santanico Pandemonium and the other female exotic dancers turn vampire and start devouring people, it isn't a pretty sight.
    • Richie drinking alcohol from Santanico Pandemonium's bare foot.
  • Fanservice:
    • The topless staff of the Titty Twister, especially Salma Hayek, a 27-year-old (at the time) and at her attractive peak. Rapidly changes to Fan Disservice when they turn into a bunch of monsters and start eating everyone.
    • Also, a 34-year-old (at the time) George Clooney, before he became a Silver Fox.
    • Kate's "apple pie sensuality", as the script puts it.
  • Feather Boa Constrictor: Ladies and gentlemen, behold the world's luckiest snake.
  • Fetishes Are Weird: The Serial Killer and rapist Richie has a foot fetish, and it's exploited for all its creepiness. Interestingly, since Richie is played by Quentin Tarantino (who is famous for his foot fetish, and also co-wrote this film), this is a rare example of this trope being written and portrayed by a creator who actually has the fetish.
  • Final Girl: Kate is one of the few moral characters in the film and ends up one of the two survivors. Her father and brother were scripted to survive too, but get killed in the final film.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Chet Pussy seems to have recovered from his beatdown remarkably quickly.
  • Foreshadowing: Sex Machine speculates about vampires' having such soft flesh that it'd be possible to rip the head right off of one, and Frost tells a lengthy half-heard story about having killed an entire Viet Cong patrol with his bayonet and getting his rifle covered in blood and flesh halfway up the barrel. Guess what happens to them each, respectively, once they become vampires?
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Richie (until his glasses are broken by an angry punch from Seth).
  • Game Face: Sported by vampires when they reveal themselves as bloodsucking fiends — ranging from reptile-things, Buffy-style smashed-up ones, all the way to strange wolf-like muzzles. When the younger Gecko is turned, he gets two.
  • 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. She's unimpressed, indicating a case of Immune to Bullets. Then he fires his gun, hitting a lamp so it falls down to impale her.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: One of the premier examples of this trope, though it was sadly spoiled thoroughly. In fact, the original name of the trope was just the name of this movie. There were actually cinema-goers who said, out loud, at the point of the switch, "Wait, what the hell kind of movie is this?!"note 
  • Head-Turning Beauty: The universal male reaction to both the innocent-looking Kate ("Apple pie pussy!") and the sensual Santanico.
  • Hive Mind: Judging from what Sex Machine hears, it seems the vampires operate under one of these for the most part, it may go to explain why (in the movie at least), regardless of how friendly and nice they were before, once turned, vampires jump gleefully into the Always Chaotic Evil mindset.
  • Holy Burns Evil: As Kate uses to her advantage when she forced her crucifix necklace into the mouth of the bouncer vampire.
  • Hot as Hell: Not Satan herself, but Santanico Pandemonium fits to a T.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • "I didn't say 'Do what I do.' I said 'Do what I say.'"
    • At the very beginning of the film, Earl McGraw tells the liquor store clerk that microwavable food will kill him faster than a bullet, seconds before buying some hard liquor and proclaiming that he's gonna get "tanked" tonight.
    • Seth calling the motel proprietor a "mean, old bastard" in a very condescending tone.

  • Imagine Spot: "Richie, will you do me a favor and eat my pussy for me? Pleeease?"
  • I'm Melting!: Vampire bodies dissolve into a sickly green goo shortly after death.
  • Impaled Palm: Richie gets a bullet through his palm by Pete Bottoms. In one scene, he looks through it at his brother, and the injury remains a Running Gag until his death, culminating when Santanico bites him on it.
  • Improvised Cross: Jacob fights vampires with a pump-action shotgun that he cocks with a baseball bat on its loop-grip, forming a cross.
  • Improvised Weapon: Quite literally by the truckload.
  • Infernal Retaliation: Pete Bottoms, the clerk at the beginning. It's quite awesome.
  • Inn of No Return: The Titty Twister is a den of hungry vampires that eat alive all their patrons every night — and since said patrons are all truckers and similar, it's near impossible to pin-point their exact moment or place of disappearance.
  • Innocent Bystander: The bank teller that the Geckos held hostage.
  • 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."
  • Jerkass: Both the Geckos, though Seth has a few redeeming qualities.
  • Karma Houdini: For Seth, who survives in the end, so his crimes remain unpunished. Still a Pyrrhic Victory, though, considering he lost his brother.
  • Lampshade Hanging/Made of Plasticine: Vampires have super-strength, but take hits like monsters made of Play-Doh, as noted by the cast.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Advertising promoted the movie as one of the vampire hunting genre, though the movie itself doesn't let the audience know this until the third act.
  • 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're definitely the guys you'll want to root for.
  • Looks Like Orlok: When Santanico Pandemonium fully transitions into her vampire form, she basically looks like a reptilian version of Orlok: bald, pointy ears, fangs, and scales.
  • 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.
    • A straighter example comes during Santanico's sexy dance, where one shot of her cleavage is framed as if it's from Richie's POV.
  • Man Hug: Seth Gecko gives his brother, Richie, 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?
    Richie: Mexico.
    Kate: What's in Mexico?
    Richie: Mexicans.
  • Mayincatec: The ending reveals that the Titty Twister is located above a long-buried Aztec temple, presumably a sacrificial pyramid. Its inhabitants merged with the Bat, ruler of the underworld and darkness in Mayan culture.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • After Richie turns into a vampire, Seth asks the other survivors to restrain him as he drives the stake through Richie's heart.
    Seth: I'm gonna give you the peace in death I couldn't give you in life, Richie.
    • 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 wearing a bikini and dancing along with 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 Santanico 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!: Happens to Jacob and Sex Machine. Though it takes two shots 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.
    • Seth gives one after Frost tosses Sex Machine through the window, letting in the bats who had been circling outside.
  • One-Winged Angel: Ugh. Let's just say you'll need some economy-size Brain Bleach after seeing Santanico's true form.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Averted; all the duct tape does for Richie 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.
  • 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...
    • At the end, Kate, having lost her family, asks Seth if she can go with him. Seth, however, refuses to drag a young girl into his lifestyle. He pulls a large bundle of cash from the loot he and his brother had stolen, hands it to her, and tells her to go home.
      Seth: I may be a bastard, but I'm not a fuckin' bastard.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The source of Seth's grievance with Richie; he objects to Richie's murderous and occasionally carnal rampages not on any moral ground, but because Seth prides himself on being a professional thief, and raping and murdering your only hostage means that now, not only do you not have a hostage, but racking up bodies draws attention and leaves a trail that can be followed.
  • Pre-Mortem 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 had a wife." He then shoots the chandelier above Santanico Pandemonium, making it drop down on her and crush her.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: In the first half of the bar scene, Jacob wins a semantics argument that allows the group to stay in the bar. Come the second half… well, vampires eating everyone.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Being an insane serial rapist is what makes Richie Gecko irredeemable in the audience's eyes, unlike his Noble Demon brother who is above that.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The vampires' blood is green in order to avoid it being censored.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jacob gives Seth an earful for continuing to act like a smug prick after crossing the border.
    Jacob: Are you so much a fucking loser, you can't tell when you've won?
    Seth: What did you call me?
    Jacob: Nothing. I didn't make a statement. I asked a question. Would you like me to ask it again?
    Seth: Umm-hmm.
    Jacob: Are you such a loser you can't tell when you've won? The entire state of Texas, along with the FBI, is looking for you. Did they find you? No. They couldn't. You've won, Seth, enjoy it.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: The satanic musician vampires in the bar, with instruments made of living flesh.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: After getting his head ripped off, Sex Machine turns into a horrible wererat.
  • Running Gag: Seth's catchphrase he uses before going into action follows a particular formula of "Ok, Xrs let's get Xing!". E.g. "Ok, ramblers, let's get rambling!", "Ok, hard drinkers, let's drink hard!" and "Ok, vampire killers, let's kill vampires!"
  • The Savage South: Because the Mexican border really is full of banditos and vampires.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Frost, a Knife Nut 'Nam vet.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Discussed. Sex Machine says that silver can be used to kill vampires, only for Scott to counter that's werewolves; and then Sex Machine counters right back that silver bullets are used on werewolves, but silver in general supposedly can work on vampires. Kate settles it by asking if anyone even has any silver. No? "Then who cares?"
  • Sinister Southwest: Two murderous bank robbers on the lam in the Texas badlands take a family hostage while making a run for the Mexican border. They succeed in crossing and make a clean getaway... only to end up in a strip club full of Aztec vampires.
  • Skewed Priorities: The survivors start arguing about whether silver works on vampires or not. Kate shuts the argument up by asking if any of them actually have anything silver — which they don't.
  • Skeptic No Longer: This film provides the current page quote for the trope.
    Seth (as he's reloading his gun in the aftermath of the first attack and everybody's discussing how to fight the vampires off): ...and I don't want to hear "I don't believe in vampires", because I don't believe in vampires, but I believe my eyes, and what I saw is fucking vampires!
  • Slasher Smile: Frost has an enormous one after he's turned into a vampire by Sex Machine.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Lots of horror on the middle and last act, and even then there's a lot of over-the-top deaths.
  • 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.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: An unusual inverted example. When the vampires reveal their true nature, the named ones with actual character and personality are all killed before the climax, including Santanico Pandemonium, who was seemingly being set up as the leader of the vampires and the Big Bad. The climax ends up involving several waves of no-name Mook vampires, alongside three converted allies.
  • 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 Sequel: Rodriguez and Tarantino would pay homage to exploitation/horror films again when each directed half of Grindhouse.
  • Staking the Loved One: "Richie, here is the peace in death that I could not give you in life."
  • 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.
  • This Is a Drill: A version of this with the pneumatic stake.
  • 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 "eat my pussy." 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.
  • 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.
  • The Vamp: Santanico Pandemonium, quite literally — being the main attraction to the club to lure anyone thirsty enough to their deaths.
  • Vampires Own Night Clubs: In a twist (hur hur hur) on the trope, the vampires in this story have a bordertown bar/whorehouse.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Exploited Trope. Santanico Pandemonium and the rest of the female vampires pose as strippers at the Titty Twister Bar to lure in victims. When they drop the act and adopt their Game Face, they're not so appealing anymore...
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: The vampire band simply flip the bird and run away when the boys prepare to deal with them.
  • Villain Protagonist: Seth and Richie Gecko, a duo of ruthless criminals on the run. Seth ends up being the sole protagonist after Richie is killed by the vampires.
  • Villainous Rescue: Attempted. Right before vampires turn and go hog wild the bouncer and bar security attempts one last time to get their uninvited guests to leave, presumably with their lives, but no avail
  • The Virus: How vampirism is treated with a hint of Hive Mind.
  • Virus-Victim Symptoms: Played for laughs with Sex Machine's reactions to his sudden vampirism.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Vampires are repelled by crosses. Placing any two long straight objects together at a close-enough-to-ninety degree angle has the desired effect.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Salma Hayek is a real-life ophidiophobe, such that she almost didn't take the part of Santanico 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.
  • Wham Line: When the Fuller family are taken hostage by the Gecko brothers, Richie imagines Kate saying this to him, showing just how truly mentally ill he is.
    Kate Fuller: (from Richie's first person view, all tinted in a fuchsia hue) Richie, could you eat my pussy for me, please?
  • Wham Shot:
    • The shot of the green blood on the knife after Richie stabs Razor Charlie.
    • Santanico Pandemonium and the other exotic dancers turning into hungry vampires once they catch sight of Richie's hand bleeding.
  • World of Ham: Pretty much everybody gets to ham it up in this movie.
  • Worst Aid: After the shootout at the gas station, Richie patches up the huge hole in his hand with duct tape. Justified in that the Geckos are wanted fugitives, so going to a hospital isn't really an option, neither of them is a medic, and besides, they've got an appointment to keep in Mexico.
  • 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!
  • You Dirty Rat!: Sex Machine transforms into a giant, skinless rat after getting his head ripped off.
  • Zombie Infectee: Sex Machine hides his condition long enough to turn and attack the survivors.


Video Example(s):


What sharp teeth I have!

Sex Machine is horrified to discover he is turning into a vampire

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / VirusVictimSymptoms

Media sources: