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From Dusk Till Dawn
cast: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, and Cheech Marin

director: Robert Rodriguez

103 minutes (18) 1996 widescreen 16:9
Buena Vista DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Jeff Young
What you get here is the very best ass kicking, shotgun toting, gloriously slimy, outrageously funny, vampire-slaying-bank-robbers-on-the-run road movie ever made. The Gecko brothers (George Clooney, and Quentin Tarantino - who also wrote the genre-switching screenplay), have killed a lot of people in Texas and so they're forced to head for Mexico. On the way, they hijack a family motor home, taking ex-minister Jacob (Harvey Keitel) and his daughter Kate (Juliette Lewis) as hostages, to help them sneak out of the USA.
   South of the border, they plan to meet up with a crook named Carlos (Cheech Marin, who also plays two other roles) at a sleazy truckers' bar called the Titty-Twister. In this crimson decorated dive, one of the sexy dancers (Salma Hayek, no less!) suddenly turns into the queen of vampires, and the inevitable bar fight that ensues becomes an overzealous blood 'n' guts massacre as hordes of hideous soft-bodied monsters are stabbed, slashed, shredded, shot in the head, or blown to smithereens. For scenes combining senseless horror and macho action this is almost unsurpassed.
   Like Natural Born Killers meets Near Dark, From Dusk Till Dawn benefits greatly from the keen sense of humour that springs from the fusion of Tarantino's sharply expressed characterisations, and director Rodriguez urgently appealing and impressive ability to orchestrate crowd pleasing mayhem. Although some may criticise this for being like two entirely separate film scripts thrown together, as if Tarantino and his collaborators couldn't figure out how to end one or start the other, it's the dual genre narrative that makes this such a cult-worthy movie.
   Watch for John Saxon as a weary FBI agent, and Kelly Preston as a glamorous TV news reporter, but most notable among the supporting cast is Tom Savini, as a desperado biker named 'Sex Machine' - rather proud of his pop-out crotch gun. This last element is very much in keeping with the film's comicbook sensibility. In one delirious sequence, Lewis' heroine wields a pump-action crossbow; while Clooney inserts a wooden stake into the business end of a pneumatic drill to help his besieged companions destroy a crowd of vampires with mechanically assisted speed. Long before the end of this entertaining but graphic comedy horror, you may well be asking - as I was - Buffy who?
   The collectors' edition of this DVD release is a two-disc package. The main film is supplemented by documentary short Hollywood Goes To Hell, a blooper reel of outtakes, two music videos, slideshow gallery of photos, English subtitles, trailer, animated menus, and an audio commentary track with the director (Rodriguez), and writer (Tarantino, at his most excitable). A second disc has the truly excellent feature length (90 minutes) making-of documentary Full Tilt Boogie, directed by Sarah Kelly, which is previously unreleased in the UK.

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