From Dusk till Dawn

From Dusk till Dawn
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Produced by Gianni Nunnari
Meir Teper
Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino
Story by Robert Kurtzman
Starring Harvey Keitel
George Clooney
Quentin Tarantino
Juliette Lewis
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography Guillermo Navarro
Editing by Robert Rodriguez
Studio A Band Apart
Los Hooligans
Distributed by Dimension Films
Release date(s) January 19, 1996 (1996-01-19)
Running time 108 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $19 million[1]
Box office $25,836,616[1]

From Dusk till Dawn is a 1996 horror film directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino. The movie stars Harvey Keitel, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino and Juliette Lewis.



Two brothers Seth (George Clooney) and Richie Gecko (Quentin Tarantino) are wanted by the FBI and Texas police for a bank robbery that has left several people dead. They stop at a liquor store with the intent of just picking up a state map, but Richie's psychotic behavior results in Ranger Earl McGraw (Michael Parks) and the cashier (John Hawkes) being shot dead while the store burns down. During the gunfight, Richie is shot in his left hand.

The Geckos are heading towards Mexico, where a contact has arranged a safehouse for them. Along the way they stop at a motel and it is revealed that they had been keeping a bank teller (Brenda Hillhouse) in their car trunk as hostage. While Seth goes out to buy some food, Richie rapes and murders the teller, which infuriates Seth when he returns.

Meanwhile, Jacob (Harvey Keitel), a pastor who is experiencing a crisis of faith, arrives at the same motel with his daughter Kate (Juliette Lewis) and his adopted son Scott (Ernest Liu). Realizing that the family's RV can be used to get them across the border, the brothers kidnap the family, making a truce that if they can make it past the border, Jacob and his family will not be harmed. After successfully reaching Mexico, they arrive at the "Titty Twister", a strip club in the middle of a desolate part of Mexico, to meet their contact Carlos (Cheech Marin) at dawn.

Before entering, Seth and Richie get into a fight with the doorman Chet Pussy (also played by Cheech Marin), after the latter makes a lewd comment towards Kate. Inside, they are initially ordered to leave by the bartender Razor Charlie (Danny Trejo), as only bikers and truckers are allowed, but Jacob defuses the situation by showing him his driver's license which has a trucker rating. Seth and Richie drink heavily, encouraging the entire group to do the same. Richie takes special notice of the club's star performer, Satánico Pandemónium (Salma Hayek) during an extended solo performance, after which Chet Pussy and some others approach the group, looking to settle the score with the Geckos. In a short confrontation, Richie is stabbed in his already wounded hand, and seeing his blood, Santánico attacks him, undergoing a transformation into a horrific vampire.

Chaos ensues as the employees, the strippers and the band (Tito & Tarantula) are all revealed to be vampires. Most of the patrons are quickly killed, with the toughest of them fighting for their lives. Richie is bitten by Satánico and bleeds to death. Only Seth, Jacob, Kate, Scott, a biker named Sex Machine (Tom Savini) and a Vietnam veteran trucker named Frost (Fred Williamson) survive the attack. They quickly establish an alliance in order to survive through the night. Seth convinces the group that Jacob is their best weapon, but only if he rediscovers his faith, and they also figure out how forming a cross with two objects helps fend off the vampires.

The slain patrons, including Richie, suddenly reawaken as vampires, forcing the group to kill them all. During this second struggle, one of the vampires bites Sex Machine's arm. While the group is listening to Frost recount an event from his days in Vietnam, Sex Machine transforms into a vampire and bites both Frost and Jacob before being tossed through a boarded up window, which allows many other vampires, in the form of bats, to enter. Seth and the Fullers retreat to a storeroom and improvise anti-vampire weapons from supplies left by prior victims of the bar. The four stage their final assault on the vampires, their weapons proving effective in destroying many of the creatures. During the battle, Sex Machine is killed by Kate and Jacob slays the vampiric Frost. Jacob transforms, but Scott is hesitant to kill him and gets bitten. He manages to dispatch his father and is dragged down by other vampires. Kate follows the wishes of her brother and kills him, also destroying his attackers.

As the sun rises, only Seth and Kate remain alive, surrounded and low on ammunition. Just then, sunlight breaks through the bullet-holes in the bar walls and burns the vampires. Seth and Kate shoot out more holes, which allows them to survive until Carlos and his guards show up. They open the doors, and the sunlight reflects on the bar's mirror ball, killing the rest of the creatures while Seth and Kate flee outdoors. Safely outside, Carlos asks Seth if the creatures were psychopaths, to which Seth sarcastically replies that psychopaths don't burn when sunlight touches them, regardless of the extent of their insanity. Angry over the deaths of Richie, Jacob and Scott, Seth demands that Carlos lower his 30% take for his stay in El Rey and telling them to wait in the bar, to which Carlos reluctantly agrees. Kate offers to accompany Seth, but fearing for her safety, he declines and gives her some cash. After Kate drives the RV away, the camera pans back to reveal that the "Titty Twister" bar is the top of an Aztec temple partially sunk into a valley wall, with many abandoned motorbikes and trucks seen around it.



References to other titles

Earl McGraw is a recurring character in Rodriguez and Tarantino's works, having appeared in Kill Bill, Planet Terror and Death Proof. Jango Beer and Sex Machine's codpiece gun are references to Rodriguez's 1995 film Desperado. Seth also returns to the hotel with Big Kahuna Burgers which were used in "Pulp Fiction". This is the second Rodriguez film to star both Cheech Marin and Danny Trejo, who has appeared in many other works by Rodriguez.

Labor issues

From Dusk till Dawn employed a non-union production crew, which is unusual for a production with a budget above $15 million. Rodriguez, Tarantino and producer Lawrence Bender defended this choice because it made for a more team-like atmosphere on the set instead of people having to stick to their certified jobs. Yet the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts targeted the production for strike action seeking to shut down filming, feeling that the film was a large enough production to warrant a unionized crew. This issue is covered in the making-of documentary Full Tilt Boogie featured on the film's DVD.


Critical reception for From Dusk Till Dawn was mixed. Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars and described it as "a skillful meat-and-potatoes action extravaganza with some added neat touches".[2] In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "The latter part of From Dusk Till Dawn is so relentless that it's as if a spigot has been turned on and then broken. Though some of the tricks are entertainingly staged, the film loses its clever edge when its action heats up so gruesomely and exploitatively that there's no time for talk".[3] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Rodriguez and Tarantino have taken the let-'em-eat-trash cynicism of modern corporate moviemaking and repackaged it as junk-conscious 'attitude.' In From Dusk Till Dawn, they put on such a show of cooking up popcorn that they make pandering to the audience seem hip".[4] However, in his review for the Washington Post, Desson Howe wrote, "The movie, which treats you with contempt for even watching it, is a monument to its own lack of imagination. It's a triumph of vile over content; mindless nihilism posing as hipness".[5] Cinefantastique magazine's Steve Biodrowski wrote, "Whereas one might reasonably have expected that the combo of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez would yield a critical mass of nuclear proportions, instead of an atomic fireball's worth of entertainment, we get a long fuse, quite a bit of fizzle, and a rather minor blast".[6] In his review for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle called the film, "an ugly, unpleasant criminals-on-the-lam film that midway turns into a boring and completely repellent vampire 'comedy.' If it's not one of the worst films of 1996 it will have been one miserable year".[7] In Marc Savlov's review for the Austin Chronicle, he wrote, "Fans of Merchant-Ivory will do well to steer clear of Rodriguez's newest opus, but both action and horror film fans have cause for celebration after what seems like a particularly long splatter-drought. This is horror with a wink and a nod to drive-in theatres and sweaty back seats. This is how it's done".[8]

Awards and nominations

Award Category Subject Result
MTV Movie Award Best Breakthrough Performance George Clooney Won
Saturn Award Best Actor
Best Horror Film
Best Supporting Actor Harvey Keitel Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Juliette Lewis
Razzie Award Worst Supporting Actor[9] Quentin Tarantino


The soundtrack features mainly Texas blues by such artists as ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Vaughan. The Chicano rock band Tito & Tarantula, who portrayed the band in the Titty Twister, appears on the soundtrack as well. The film's score is by Graeme Revell. "Dark Night" by The Blasters plays over the film's opening credits.

Sequel and prequel

The film was followed by two direct-to-video follow-ups, a sequel, From Dusk till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money and a prequel, From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter. Danny Trejo is the only actor to appear in all three, although Michael Parks appears in both From Dusk till Dawn and The Hangman's Daughter. Rodriguez, Tarantino and Bender served as producers on all three movies. Both sequel and prequel were received poorly by critics.[10]


  1. ^ a b "From Dusk till Dawn (1996) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 19, 1996). "From Dusk Till Dawn". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (January 19, 1996). "Enough Blood to Feed The Thirstiest Vampires". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  4. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (February 2, 1996). "Monster Mishmash". Entertainment Weekly.,,291175,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  5. ^ Howe, Desson (January 19, 1996). "Quentin's Dusk: Hurry Up Dawn". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  6. ^ Biodrowski, Steve (June 1996). "From Dusk Till Dawn". Cinefantastique. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  7. ^ LaSalle, Mick (January 19, 1996). "Tarantino Continues to Stumble in 'Dusk'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  8. ^ Savlov, Marc (January 19, 1996). "From Dusk Till Dawn". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes - Texas Blood Money". 2008-10-21. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 

External links

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  • From Dusk Till Dawn — es una película de 1996, del género acción, dirigida por Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez y Quentin Tarantino escribieron el guión. George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, y Juliette Lewis la protagonizan. Cheech Marin, Salma Hayek, Danny… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • From Dusk Till Dawn 3 — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel From Dusk Till Dawn 3 – The Hangman’s Daughter Originaltitel From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • From Dusk Till Dawn — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel From Dusk Till Dawn Produktionsland USA …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • From Dusk Till Dawn 2 — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel From Dusk Till Dawn 2 – Texas Blood Money Originaltitel From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • From Dusk Till Dawn — Une nuit en enfer Une nuit en enfer Titre original From Dusk till Dawn Réalisation Robert Rodriguez Acteurs principaux Harvey Keitel George Clooney Quentin Tarantino Juliette Lewis Ernest Liu Fred Williamson Tom Savini Cheech Marin Salma Hayek …   Wikipédia en Français

  • from dusk till dawn — all day long, throughout the day, from sunrise to sunset …   English contemporary dictionary

  • From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter — Título Abierto hasta el amanecer 3 (España) Del crepúsculo al amanecer 3 (Latinoamérica) Ficha técnica Dirección P.J. Pesce Producción …   Wikipedia Español

  • From Dusk till Dawn (disambiguation) — From Dusk till Dawn may refer to: * From Dusk till Dawn , a 1996 film, directed by Robert Rodriguez ** , a 1999 direct to video sequel ** , a 2000 direct to video prequel ** From Dusk till Dawn (soundtrack), the soundtrack album to the 1996 film… …   Wikipedia

  • From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money — Título Abierto hasta el amanecer 2 (España) Del crepúsculo al amanecer 2 (Latinoamérica) Ficha técnica Dirección Scott Spiegel Producción …   Wikipedia Español

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