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If you are an acclaimed writer or director, the worst thing you can ever do for your career is to get yourself involved with a horror movie. That is, unless you want to take a lambasting from film critics. Far too many film critics are elitists who look down upon the horror genre as if it were beneath contempt. Director John Carpenter gets no respect from critics and if it were not for SCREAM, the critics would still be spitting on Wes Craven. That is why making a mindless horror film was a risky proposition for filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. FROM DUSK TILL DAWN was shredded by the critics because these two "serious" filmmakers dared to sully their hands with a horror flick. I personally love the horror genre and hate the way it gets trashed by critics. That is why I am willing to stand up and say I enjoyed FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. FROM DUSK TILL DAWN has no allusions of being great cinema, it is what it is- an energetic horror movie. The film’s most significant contribution to cinema is to give the horror genre credibility. The fact that two "serious" filmmakers stood up and said they loved horror movies enough to make this film proves that horror is a worthwhile genre.

Quentin Tarantino’s screenplay for FROM DUSK TILL DAWN starts off with a PULP FICTION edginess. It tells the tale of two desperate fugitives making a run for Mexico after a bloody bank robbery. Then, at the last moment, Tarantino pulls that infamous PSYCHO switch, turning FROM DUSK TILL DAWN into an out and out horror movie. FROM DUSK TILL DAWN stars George Clooney as Seth Gecko, the bank robber not above killing anyone who gets in his way. Quentin Tarantino is Richard Gecko, Seth’s paranoid, psycho brother who goes out of his way to kill anyone and everyone. Harvey Keitel is Jacob Fuller, a Preacher who has lost his faith after the death of his wife. Jacob, along with his daughter Kate (Juliette Lewis) and son Scott (Ernest Liu) are on their way to Mexico when they encounter Seth and Richard. Since hostages are required, and the family’s RV seems like their best shot of getting into Mexico, the Fullers become the unwilling traveling companions of Seth and Richard.

Once inside Mexico, the group make their way to a seedy adult bar where alcohol turns out not to be the beverage of choice with the regulars. It is at this point, that FROM DUSK TILL DAWN turns into a non-stop assault, with the vampires attempting to drain every living person in the bar. Director Robert Rodriguez stages the onslaught with gust; pyrotechnics and gallons of stage blood explode all over the screen as the living battle the vampire hoards to stay alive. The cast of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN also features the ever entertaining Cheech Marin in a quartet of supporting performances and the ever delectable Salma Hayek as exotic dancer Satanico Pandemonium.

Dimension Home Video offers FROM DUSK TILL DAWN on DVD in a very good-looking Letterboxed transfer that does not contain the anamorphic enhancement. FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is presented at approximately 1.85:1 and appears properly balanced without the extreme edges of the frame being compromised. The image is clean and very detailed. Color reproduction on the DVD is excellent with the warm, highly saturated hues lacking any sort of distortion. Digital compression artifacts were never overt on this DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has an effective mix that uses the discrete channels to whirl around the sound effects during the film’s climactic sequences. Bass reproduction was also good. Other Soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround compatible track. Spanish subtitles and English captioning are available on the DVD.

The interactive menu offers access to a theatrical trailer, a theatrical teaser and the usual scene and language selection features.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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