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"Spoiler Alert! (It's About Vampires)"

Written by Steven Walker

When this first came out, a big part of its appeal was the potential of hot new director Robert Rodriguez.  Now it's 14 years later and it turns out this is one of his best movies, no doubt due in part to Quentin Tarantino's script. In fact, I've encountered many under-educated film lovers who often mistake this for a Tarantino movie.

Turns out Rodriguez is a better producer than director. His two most popular movies are Desperado and Sin City, both of which I enjoy but have serious issues with. Desperado is great for the first half, then loses its mind half way through and denies the audience a proper climax. Sin City is way too disjointed and detached for its own good and the three stories do not overlap or connect in interesting ways.

The biggest complaint I have heard against From Dusk Till Dawn is that it is two movies in one. A crime movie for the first half, which everyone agrees is awesome, and a vampire movie in the second half, which seems to totally divide audiences. I went in knowing it was a vampire movie so I was waiting for the carnage to ensue. Apparently some people did not know this and were really put off when the creatures appear. I love the moment when the movie switches over. The initial carnage in the strip club when everything goes batshit crazy is very satisfying to me as a horror fan.

Yet what really makes the film work for me is the character arc of Harvey Keitel's preacher. I am a sucker for stories about holy men questioning their faith.  The vampires are not part of the story for cheap shock value, they exist to make the preacher question why God would allow this in the world. The fact that his moral dilemma plays out in action movie vernacular is kind of awesome. And then he dies, which I find strangely satisfying.

Plus you have Danny Trejo and horror makeup legend Tom Savini as wicked crazy vampires who die delightfully gory deaths. As a horror fan, what's not to love?

Finally, any movie that ends with a reveal of a ziggurat is awesome by default.

 

 

 

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