Monday, October 30, 2006

"A Mean -- -- Servant of God"


So I wanted to post something for Nathaniel's Vampire Blog-A-Thon, even though coming up with posts of my own accord has been rough going as of late. But I didn't know what to write about. I enjoy a good scary movie, but I'm by no means a connoisseur of vampire flicks. And I had a feeling the position of "My favorite episode of Buffy" had already been filled.

Then I came across an ad for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse, and it popped into my head: an earlier collaboration by the exploitation auteurs. One of my very favorite good bad movies, 1996's From Dusk Till Dawn. Much as I love a good movie, there are days where nothing can hit the spot quite like a Good Bad Movie. The best thing about a Good Bad Movie is that it's almost always on TV somewhere. Much like another Good Bad Movie from '96, The Long Kiss Goodnight, From Dusk Till Dawn WILL be on cable. At any time. But it's usually when you're just about ready to turn in for bed, and you're flipping past the Superstation or one of the HBOs and there it is. And it's only at the point where George Clooney and Tarantino have busted in on Harvey Keitel and his kids in their hotel room, so you know you've got the whole movie ahead of you. And you immediately start planning on making your morning coffee a double, because you are not getting to sleep until that aerial pan back reveals the brothel to be a an unholy temple and this movie is over.

Make no mistake, From Dusk Till Dawn is one holy mess of a movie. But it's everything it wants to be, as far as I'm concerned. Yes, Quentin is overacting like crazy. Yes, Salma Hayek's entire presence onscreen is gratuitous. Yes, it's trying really hard to earn its B-movie cred. But where else are you going to see blaxploitation hero Fred Williamson take to an army of vampires with a wooden stake mounted on a jackhammer? Or FX legend Tom Savini as a biker named "Sex Machine" with a gun mounted on his codpiece? Why even have a Robert Rodriguez in the world if he can't show us these things and more? As an added bonus, it's easily the least typically-Clooney performance in the man's career, and even for fans of his that's a good thing.

Calling it a "vampire movie" is probably stretching it a bit. We don't learn much about the bloodsuckers themselves aside from an apparent weakness to inflated condoms filled with holy water (mother of Christ, I had almost forgotten that part). From Dusk Till Dawn is all about how many different and cool ways you can find to kill a vampire. And no matter how much you'd like to slink off into a permanent midnight with Lestat, there is a part of you that can't wait to see if Harvey Keitel can make some hay with that baseball bat and shotgun in the shape of a cross.

You know what...you guys enjoy your blog-a-thon, I'm off to find this one on cable.

5 comments:

Noel Vera said...

Haw. Tell you what, I honestly think this is the best thing either filmmaker has ever done. Really. And a terrific trashy vampire flick.

Kamikaze Camel said...

This is really is my favourite vampire movie! Shameful, I know. But, it turns out, I've seen barely any vampire movies. But, still, this movie was a riot!

NATHANIEL R said...

really Noel? yikes. I definitely think it's the best Rodriguez has done. but that's not a brave statement.

tarantino on the other hand...

on an entirely different note. I love the documentary of the making of this movie 'full tilt boogie' or something like that. Great fun. Juliette Lewis is a continual source of amazement to me.

Noel Vera said...

Really. Not a big fan of Tarantino, I think he's more a writer than a director, and this is about as visual as Tarantino gets. They should work together more often.

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