For the last few years, one of my absolute favourite TV shows has been the Robert Rodriguez creation, From Dusk Till Dawn.
There are at least two reasons for this.
First, it’s an absolutely awesome show in its own right.
Second, it so wonderfully resells the story that lies at the heart of one of the best films ever made.
Everybody Be Cool…You, Be Cool
Much as with my Stanley Kubrick fandom, my fascination with From Dusk ‘Till Dawn began in my A-Level media studies class back in the year 2000, when our lecturers had us watch it as a perfect example of a film which switches genres part way through.
Back then, it was the second half of the film, or rather, the imagery it contained, that appealed to me most.
There was something about the dark and terrible horror of the vampires, contrasted with the rock ‘n’ roll debauchery of the Titty Twister, the general bad ass vibes given off by its patrons, and -yes- the unbridled sex appeal of Salma Hayek that spoke volumes to a lustful 17 year-old with a fondness for chaos and all things dark and debauched.
Truth be told, over a decade later, that whole sexy rock ‘n’ roll horror thing remains one of the things I love the most about this movie.
It’s magnificently macabre and delightfully evil, yet at the same time infused with a subtle and suitably twisted humour that elevates it beyond being just another vampire slasher flick.
However, the more times I watch it, the more I find to appreciate about From Dusk Til Dawn.
In particular, I find that the first half of the film, though not as immediately striking as the second, still offers plenty to get excited about.
The inner-turmoil of Harvey Keitel’s former preacher as he struggles to show compassion for his captures in the face of a strained relationship is actually more compelling and multi-layered than first appears, whilst the relationship between George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino’s Seth and Richie -with the former shouldering some burden of responsibility for his clearly mentally disturbed brother- makes them much more than your average bank-robbers-on-the-run.
If there’s one thing that stops me from ranking this one higher on my 12 favourite films of all time, it’s that Juliet Lewis’ Kate and Ernest Liu’s Scott display a worrying lack of emotion upon realising their father is about to turn into a vamp and die.
That small quibble aside, From Dusk Till Dawn is a truly fantastic film and one that spawned its own truly fantastic TV series.
From Dusk Till Dawn is film number 4 on my list of the Top 12 Greatest Films of All Time. Other entries in this list include: