Thursday, April 7, 2016

Let’s Get Rambling With the Snake Cult Cowboy Vampires, or Thoughts on From Dusk Till Dawn

George Clooney didn’t need a career reboot like Travolta in Pulp Fiction (1994), but he wasn’t the powerhouse he is now.  He was still starring in ER at the time of production of From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), and this was his first feature film.  Clooney plays Seth Gecko, one half of the outlaw Gecko Brothers, and sports an arm tattoo similar to one his future costar Brad Pitt would have in the 2001 Ocean’s 11 remake.
From Dusk Till Dawn was directed by Robert Rodriguez, but is essentially a Quentin Tarantino picture in which he wrote the screenplay, starred and co-directed. Quentin stars as trigger-happy Seth Gecko, the crazy brother to Clooney’s cool one, and he plays his character like a 90’s Norman Bates with a foot fetish.
The movie begins out with a shootout in Benny’s World of Liquor, as the two desperados make the classic Butch and Sundance run to Mexico, but once they cross the border it turns into a horror movie.  It switches from gun violence to supernatural vampire violence; heads roll and blood splatters at the Titty Twister, the infamous pyrotechnic biker bar “Open From Dusk Till Dawn” with a secret in the back.  And if you’re not offended by the name of the bar wait until you hear Cheech Marin’s spiel in the front; all I need to tell you is he’s billed in the credits as “Chet Pussy”.
The vampires in From Dusk Till Dawn are part of an ancient Aztec snake-worshiping blood cult, and more like werewolf snakes or were-snakes, if you will.  They are fearsome but relatively easy to kill with a pool cue to the heart or a quick decapitation, and they conveniently burst into flames.
The Titty Twister (boy do I love writing that) is a completely unique Robert Rodriguez creation, but make no mistake, we are in the Tarantino universe.  Along with Texas Ranger Earl McGraw and Big Kahuna Burgers we are also treated to the requisite foot worship scene with Santanico Pademonium, as played by the impossibly attractive Salma Hayek in one of her earliest roles.  The movie inspired two sequels and a TV series, which focused more on her character and the were-snake vampires.

There are also cameos Rodriguez regular by Danny Trejo or El Tortuga from Breaking Bad, John Saxon from Enter the Dragon (1973) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Tom Savini as Sex Machine and Cheech Marin playing three separate roles.  From Dusk Till Dawn would spawn 2 sequels and a TV show, but not before it kickstarted George Clooney’s movie career and essentially reinvented him into a full-on old-Hollywood movie star and the closest thing we have to a Clark Gable or Cary Grant.


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.