Vampires do it From Dusk Till Dawn

In the run up to Christmas, we thought we'd present you with a triple bill of movies that start as standard crime thrillers, but suddenly have supernatural weirdness gatecrash into the plot.

First up... well... we like nothing better on this blog than a Quentin Tarantino script directed by Robert Rodriguez and the bonus weirdness just adds to the fun. Hit the jump for some Satanico Pandemonium:

Yaargh! Here be spoilers!

From Dusk Till Dawn opens with Quentin Tarantino's violent, man-child rapist breaking his bank-robber-with-a-heart-of-gold brother George Clooney out of jail. Tarantino always excels at the weird creep routine, while Clooney is as you've never seen him before: tattooed, dark and violent, and he does it with aplomb. The brothers have a close, but conflicted relationship and you find yourself rooting for them despite the nasty stuff they do.

Then we have Harvey Keitel as a preacher who lost his faith when his wife died and is now dragging his teenage daughter, Juliette Lewis, and adopted son around the states in a motorhome. Our villainous brothers break into the family's hotel room and force them at gunpoint to smuggle them across the border to Mexico and freedom.

Once there, they roll up to a bizarre, gothic "titty bar" (that apparent American institution) in the middle of nowhere. A scantily-clad Salma Hayek appears - dripping the sex appeal she lost when she inevitably gave in to Hollywood pressure and starved away her curves - performing a seductive dance number with various topless 'vampish' strippers, to the approval of Clooney and Tarantino.

Then, suddenly, VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE!!! The bar staff reveal themselves to be vampires and seal the doors, leaving our *cough* heroes and the bikers and truckers in the bar to defend themselves from the blood-craving hordes. In the words of Admiral Ackbar: "It's a trap!"

This whole sequence is a joy. The characters are joined by Fred Williamson's gentle-giant Vietnam vet and a biker version of James Bond, played by FX-god Tom Savini himself, while Cheech Marin and Danny Treo also make an appearance. The group devise some wonderful, makeshift anti-vampire weapons from items found around the bar, a Supersoaker with contents blessed into holy water by Keitel, for example. In a ridiculously-short period of time, the vampires are given a mythology and methodology that, whilst not revolutionary, is all their own and tackles the age-old question of how exactly a person is supposed to ram a wooden stake through someone's heart by hand. Eventually, it all builds to a bitter-sweet conclusion and a wicked parting shot.

The outcome of the battle and the fates of the characters gain weight by a slow build up that gives the viewer chance to get to know and care about them long before the first sign of a vampire, which is well past the halfway point. The rest is pretty standard fair, but done by professionals to a standard rarely seen in this sort of exploitation. A classic.

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