Wednesday, April 13, 2005

From Dusk Till Dawn (Robert Rodriguez)

This was my second viewing of the Rodriguez-directed/Tarantino-scripted crime/action/vampire movie (I saw it for the first time my freshman year of college), and there were a lot of things I still liked and a lot of other things that didn't wear as well nine years later. Rodriguez and Tarantino seem made for each other, though Rodriguez strikes me as strictly a style-over-substance kind of guy (though I am excited to see "Sin City"), while Tarantino has so much style he doesn't need substance, creating his own little world out of the best pieces of every B movie, martial arts epic, and Hollywood classic ever made. The script for this film is an early effort from Tarantino, pre-dating even "Reservoir Dogs," and is pretty creaky in places. Harvey Keitel's character's "man of God losing his faith" storyline is pretty generic and under-developed and Tarantino's and George Clooney's family relationship and character traits aren't explored in the detail the little hints we're given promise to deliver. None of the film's many death scenes have any dramatic weight, and we never really care about any of these characters very much. Still, the actors all do a fine job, and the supporting cast includes a who's who of B-movie vets, including John Saxon and Fred "Black Caesar" Williamson. The vampires are pretty exciting, too, though they have more in common with the staples of the zombie film (mass army of shuffling, anonymous killing machines) rather than the usual vampire mythos (lone, attractive creature of the night using sex appeal to get his bloody kicks). This is fitting, in a way, because Tom Savini, special effects guru for both "Dawn" and "Day of the Dead," plays a biker. Yes, I know the names of special effects technicians. I loved horror movies so much as a kid. I read Fangoria and knew the names of all the special effects guys. No, I never played Dungeons and Dragons. Screw you for asking.


kristykay said...

I love vampire movies. A lot. And I liked this movie, but not because of the vampires. Because, as Mr. Krauter has noted, the vampires were really like zombies that happened to suck blood instead of eat brains. And I like zombies, but I don't love them as much as vampires.

Krouchdog said...

What about the werewolf? Don't forget the werewolf. Although, I don't know how many really good werewolf movies there are. "American Werewolf in London" and the original "Wolfman" are the only two that I can think of. Oh yeah, I forgot about "The Howling", but I've actually never seen it. I think John Sayles wrote the screenplay though. Maybe you should do a best movies of each monster list.

Mr. Krauter said...

"The Howling" is awesome. Joe Dante directed it. Neil Jordan, the guy who made "The Crying Game" and "Mona Lisa," made this really whacked-out werewolf movie called "The Company of Wolves." I watched it in high school with my friends, and we didn't know what to make of it at all. I should see that one again.

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