Hey all you Titty Twister vampire lovin Maniacs Happys got another one of my all-time favs for you tonight!!!!!!!!!! As most psychotronic-film fans already seem to know, Robert Rodriguez's "From Dusk Till Dawn" is a picture that cleaves fairly evenly into two discrete sections. In the first, homicidal bank robber/kidnappers Seth and Richie Gecko (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino), while on the run in Texas, abduct a lapsed minister (Harvey Keitel) and his two kids (Juliette Lewis and, in his film debut, Ernest Liu) and force the family to smuggle them into Mexico in a gas-guzzling RV. This is a hard-boiled, suspenseful, oftentimes amusing segment, which abruptly shifts gears as the quintet fetches up at a biker bar in the Mexican wilderness, only to find that the club's habitues are nothing less than bloodsucking, zombielike vampires! And then the fun really begins!
Oh, how I love this movie; let me count some of the ways. (1) George Clooney, easily stealing the show here with what is practically an Oscar-worthy performance, as Seth; a relatively sane (when compared to his psycho sex maniac brother, at least!), totally unflappable, wisecracking, tough-as-nails, oddly likable wildman. (2) A crackling, imaginative script by Tarantino, clearly on a roll here after the success of "Pulp Fiction," that is loaded with big laffs, pays homage to both classic hostage dramas AND grisly horror flix, and is liberally sprinkled with "F bombs". (3) Some energetic direction from Mr. Rodriguez, whose love for genre filmmaking is evident in every scene in the film. (4) The aforementioned humor, which leavens the drama, the gore and the grue; for example, try not to laff when Seth calls the Juliette Lewis character "Gidget"! (5) A rocking soundtrack, comprised, appropriately enough, of such staggering Texas-based artists as Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan and ZZ Top.
(6) Cheech Marin's spiel in front of the biker bar; truly, a classic, hawking come-on for the ages. And honestly, how cool is it that Cheech plays three separate roles in this film, a la Peter Sellers and Alec Guinness? (7) Salma Hayek as Santanico (NOT Satanico, as widely written) Pandemonium, whose snake dance, with the sounds of Tito and Tarantula performing "After Dark" in support, may well be the most awesome scene in motion picture history. Well that might be a tad much, but as you all know your Old Pal Happy does have a fondness for the ladies!!!!!!
(8) The sight of Clooney, Keitel, FX legend Tom Savini, and blaxploitation hero Fred Williamson battling four vampire chicks...action heaven!
(9) The coolest crucifix ever shown in a vampire movie; the one Harvey improvises from a baseball bat and a pump-action shotgun! (10) Some extraordinarily clever violence and carnage, as the hundreds of massed, repugnant-looking vampires are wiped out in dozens of clever ways. I could go on and on, but you get the idea: This movie really is Awsome from start to finish. Thinking back on this film afterward, I could only echo Seth Gecko's words, regarding Santanico's performance: "That's what I call a Fucking show!"