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dusk till dawn

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996-R)

Fugitive brother-band Seth and Richard Gecko escape to Mexico with the Fuller Family as their hostages after a bank robbery turned bloody in Texas. Once they clean their debts with a kingpin they rendezvous at a local bar where the crooks turn out to be vampires. Together, the Fullers and Geckos have to survive "from dusk till dawn" in order for the vampires to let them go.

The cast includes: George Clooney, Quentin Tarentino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Cheech Marin, Tom Savini, Salma Hayek, Fred Williamson, John Saxon, Kelly Preston, Michael Parks, Ernest Lui, Danny Trejo, and Marc Lawrence.

Director Robert Rodriquez's "From Dusk Till Dawn" is a wild, imaginative horror gore fest.

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The basic story has two criminals kidnapping a family and taking them south of the border. A trip to a sleazy Mexican club puts them in the company of vampires.

The film has some good dialogue. At one point a character asks, "Has anyone here read a real book?" A biker replies, "You mean like a Time-Life book?"

George Clooney, in a change of pace from his "ER" good guy doctor role, is riveting, and convincing, as a take charge bad guy. Based on the evidence here, Clooney should make a solid Batman. We'll see.

Quentin Tarentino plays one of the criminals. He also co-wrote the screenplay, with director Rodriguez. While he looks the part of a hair-trigger psycho, his character ultimately wear out his welcome.

Director Robert Rodriguez first came to fame with "El Mariachi" (1992), a debut feature he made for $7,000. It was later picked up by a major studio and given a big theatrical push.

My favorite scene involves a key showdown between our four heroes and an army of "Nosferatu" type vampire. The scene is wild, imaginative, bloody, and intense.

The vampire makeup, and morphing FX are quite good. A scene where a beautiful, buxom table dancer transforms into a hideous vampire is particularly well handled.

If you liked FROM DUSK TILL DAWN you may enjoy EL MARIACHI, ARMY OF DARKNESS, and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.