Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ten Statements About....FROM DUSK 'TIL DAWN (1995)

Do you know how much willpower it takes to look away
from Aztec Bikini Salma Hayek?
"I'm peachy, Kate. The world is my oyster. Except for the fact that I just...I just rammed a wooden stake into my brother's chest because he turned into a vampire, even though I don't believein vampires. Aside from that unfortunate business, everything is hunky dory."

1) You know, this may be the greatest Tarantino performance ever. Save for one speech at the beginning, he doesn't speak much, he gets frequently knocked around and coldcocked, and is killed halfway through.

Yep. Greatest performance ever.

2) How perverse is it that Texas Ranger Earl McGraw's first appearance results in his demise?

3) I love how Rodriguez and Tarantino cast some of characters against type--thus, George Clooney is a Parker-esque bad-ass, and Harvey Keitel is a disillusioned minister--and we're not even touching upon how two of the three Cheech Marin parts are waaaay against type.

4) Man, when Salma Hayek does her Aztec Bikini dance, its like the entire film just holds its breath. And that's how it should be.

Because plain ol' Danny Trejo wasn't scary enough...
5) Give it to Robert Rodriguez for finding a way to make Danny Trejo scarier--because what's scarier than Danny Trejo looking to fuck you up than a vampire Danny Trejo looking to fuck you up.

6) Speaking of Clooney's Seth and Keitel's Jacob--I really like how their relationship develops. Over the course of this film, these two men develop a respect for each other, and through this respect become transformed--Jacob by reconnecting with his faith, and Seth by slowly leaving his rage behind and becoming a somewhat better man...a better man that knows damn well not to drag Julliette Lewis' Kate down the pre-destined road he's on.

7) A lot has been written about how this film takes a sudden u-turn into horror territory after Salma's Aztec Bikini Dance. The reason I think that sudden switch is so effective is because Rodriguez and Tarantino keep both genres in their respective sections of the film...thus, the film starts finding its black sense of humor only after the change-up happens. Up until that point, it's a very tense little crime thriller with echoes of Of Mice And Men.

8) You know, I would love to know what a world would be like where Tom Savini never went into make-up and became a full-time I've mentioned when talking about Knightriders, he's genuinely good and in this film manages to sell some of the broader laugh lines. Plus, in this film, he manages to prevent us from laughing at loud over the fact he's named Sex Machine. That's gotta count for something.

Is it just me, or is some variation of this shot in every film
Tarantino has been involved with?
9) Man, once we reach the hour mark this film just gets super-gooey to the point of parody. And the funny thing is that, with all the gore when the cast is trapped in the Titty Twister, the most disturbing moment happens in a motel room where Seth discovers what his brother did to their hostage. Rodriguez just lets the scene play out, giving us little, quick-to-the-point-of-subliminal shots of what the room the Geckos are looking at looks like...

10) Give it to Tarantino to actually dispute his movie influences in this one--to the point where certain plot elements are taken from the literary sources. The whole 'El Rey' angle is something lifted whole from the much superior, but arguably unfilmable end of the Jim Thompson novel that inspired Peckinpah's The Getaway.

Overall...the kind of genre bending film I absolutely adore, a controlled scream of rage and panic that manages to keep things moving for its entire running time. Plus, you get to see George Clooney acting as a total bad-ass with tribal tattoos...and he knocks Tarantino out cold....

Hey, enjoy The Aztec Vampire Bikini Dance!

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