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A trilogy of films, started in 1996. The first film in the series was directed by Robert Rodriguez, written by Quentin Tarantino and starring George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, and Juliette Lewis.

The plot centers around the Gecko brothers, two dyed-in-the-wool criminals on the run from the police after a prison break. Causing death and destruction wherever they go, they eventually manage to sneak past the Mexican border by taking a father and his two kids hostage. They go to a trucker bar, the Titty Twister, to spend the night as they wait for their rendezvous. What happens at this point is that what should be a very sudden and unexpected Genre Shift occurs when it turns out that the bar is a front for a clan of vampires and they have to fight for their survival through the night (hence the title). Of course, this has become widely spoiled and as such, loses most of its effect (in fact, many a person probably rented the film and wondered where the hell the vampires were for the first half).

The film, while fun, didn't make that great of an impact and is now mostly watched by Quentin Tarantino fans. Much of the criticism against the film is that regardless whether or not the second half is viewed as passable, most people will admit that it was a definite drop-off in quality compared to the first half.

The series got two Direct to Video sequels, though sharing none of the creative cast and not following any of the characters introduced in the first film with the only connecting thread being the vampire bar/lair, The Titty Twister. They're usually considered In Name Only by some fans.

  • From Dusk till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999): Deals with a group of robbers planning a heist. One of them stumbles across the Titty Twister from the first film (it's implied this movie takes place sometime before the first) and ends up getting bitten spreading the vampirism to most of his fellow robbers, save for one who's forced to team up with the local sheriff to take them down.
  • From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (2000): A Prequel set way in the past in the wild west. A bandit makes off with the titular character and flees into the Mexican desert where they come across the Titty Twister (a pueblo in this version), with the girl's father not far behind. This movie shows us how Satanico from the first film came to be and many fans admit it's a much better sequel than Blood Money was.

There's also the documentary Full Tilt Boogie which details the making of the first movie in addition to showing the cast and crew just messing around.

There was also a PC videogame that next to nobody remembers. This is probably for the better...


The 1996 film provides examples of:

  • Acting for Three - Cheech Marin plays three distinctly different characters; the border cop, the announcer at the bar, and the Mexican mafia dude who shows up at the end.
  • All Asians Are Alike: Seth is dumbfounded to learn that Scott is Jacob Fuller's son, pointing out that Jacob doesn't look Japanese. Jacob retorts that Scott doesn't either, because he's Chinese. Seth "apologizes" for this mistake with "Well, excuse me all to hell."
  • Asshole Victim: Richie
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Whereas vampires in many other movies are often played up as the twisted, tormented former humans they actually are, here the bloodsuckers are depicted as either this trope or mindless animals who roar and snarl. (Satanico is the only one of these creatures who retains more than a modicum of her humanity, and then only in the intellectual sense - and certainly not in the moral sense.)
  • Anyone Can Die - And boy howdy do they by the 2nd half of the flick.
  • Author Appeal - Quentin Tarantino's famous foot fetish reaches new heights.
  • Ax Crazy - Richard Gecko, a bloodthirsty psychopath and rapist.
  • Badass Preacher - Jacob Fuller becomes one of these.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy - Ambrose Bierce appears in the third film, which missed its opportunity for a Genius Bonus by not explaining the author's Real Life disappearance this way.
  • Big Bad - Strange, semi-subverted example. Satanico clearly seems to be the leader of the vampires but she bites it half way through and the situation becomes one more similar to a zombie movie (only with vampires) with the vampires as a mob of faceless undead monsters.
  • Black and Grey Morality - The Gecko brothers are a bunch of scoundrels worthy of being hanged, drawn, and quartered, but, when compared to diabolical bloodsucking monsters, they are the guys you want to root for.
  • Badass Bystander: Frost and Sex Machine seem like throwaway extras, but then proceed to kill multiple vampires.
  • Badass Biker:
    • Frost is a Vietnam war veteran who killed an entire squad of Viet Cong, and kills all the vampires whole close to him.
    • Sex Machine, who has a gun hidden in his codpiece and puts it to good use against the vampires, and even winds up killing Razor Charlie.
  • Body Horror: Some of the victims once they turn. Most notable Sex Machine after he gets his head pulled off. This doesn't kill him rather it activates a whole new mutation in what can be described as a skinless oversized rat.
  • Bond One-Liner - When he's about to be turned into a vampire (almost), and being told, "Welcome to slavery!" Seth remarks, "No thanks; I already have a wife."
  • Book Ends - The song "Dark Night" plays as the main characters drive away from a thoroughly destroyed building.
    • The same Aztec-style pyramid, partially embedded in a cliff, is revealed in the last shot of both the first and the third film.
  • Butt Monkey: Chet Pussy, the announcer at the Titty Twister, who is beaten up by the Geckos, shot multiple times, and finally killed when he touches Kate’s cross necklace.
  • Camp - The flick thoroughly revels in its cheesiness.
  • Captain Obvious - This exchange between Kate and Richie:

 So, what's in Mexico?

Mexicans.

  • Chainsaw Good - A version of this with the pneumatic stake.
  • Cluster F-Bomb - Most notably Chet Pussy's sales pitch, but nearly all of the characters swear profusely on at least one occasion.
  • Colliding Criminal Conspiracies: A pair of robbers trying to get South of the Border come across a strip club vampires use to lure in victims
  • Continuity Nod - Sex Machine's crotch gun can be seen in another Rodriguez flick - Desperado. Carolina pulls it out of El Mariachi's guitar case o' weapons, and El awkwardly replies that it's saved his life on a number of occasions.
    • If you get a good look at the burger bags Seth brings back to the motel room, the restaurant logo says they came from Big Kahuna Burger.
    • Michael Parks appears in the beginning as Texas Ranger Earl Mcgraw, a recurring character of Rodriguez's and Tarantino's who also shows up in Kill Bill and both films in Grindhouse. He dies here, but it's anyone's guess whether this indicates From Dusk Till Dawn takes place after the other films.
  • Cool Old Guy - Harvey Keitel as Jacob Fuller.
  • Dead Star Walking: Danny Trejo.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Earl McGraw seems to be set up as the Cowboy Cop who brings the Gecko brothers in, but is shot in the back of the head by Richie before the opening credits. Notably, despite being declared dead, he returns alive in Kill Bill and both segments of Grindhouse.
  • Determinator - Seth absolutely refuses to give up hope, even when it looks like he and Kate are about to be vampirized for sure. Fortunately, they're saved by the film's Big Damn Heroes.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Averted. Several female vampires and Kate doesn't kill any of them, only visibly killing males.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Richie shoots Earl because he though Pete mouthed “help me” (he didn’t) and rapes and kills Gloria for trying to run (which she blatantly did not).
  • Downer Ending - Seth and Kate are the only survivors by the end of the ordeal. Kate offers to go with him but Seth declines admitting he is not evil enough to pull her into his lifestyle and they part ways. Kate by herself in her now dead family's RV.
  • Duct Tape for Everything - Healing a huge bullet hole doesn't call for gauze : duct tape does the trick.
  • Equal Opportunity Evil: The proprietors of the Titty Twister have "hired" (i.e turned if they weren't already monsters to begin with) quite a few strippers and other employees who are visibly not Hispanic/mestizo. (And, of course, once they're all revealed to be vampires, they continue to act unbiased by eating humans of all different races!)
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Seth Gecko, who doesn't have any compunctions against killing hostages, chastises his Ax Crazy brother Richard for raping everything in sight and using wanton violence to resolve problems.

 I may be a bastard, but I'm not a fuckin' bastard

 Seth: So what are you, Jacob? A faithless preacher? Or a mean motherfuckin' servant of God?

Jacob: [puts on glasses] I'm a mean... mhm mhm servant of God.

 Kate: Where are we going?

Richie: Mexico.

Kate: What's in Mexico?

Richie: Mexicans.

  • Mayincatec - The Titty Twister is located on top of a long buried, thousand years old sacrificial pyramid. Doesn't really explain how its inhabitants became vampires though.
    • They merged with the Bat, ruler of underworld and darkness in Mayan culture.
  • Mercy Kill: After Jacob gets bitten, he has Scott and Kate promise to kill him once he turns. During the final battle, it does happen and Scott is forced to do the deed. Though not before getting bitten himself after a moment of hesitation. Kate then has to kill him as hes being devoured by vampires.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Salma Hayek and other strippers.
  • New Old West - It's basically another "fight-in-a-saloon" movie, but with Mexicans. And vampires.
  • Nice Guy: Frost is helpful to the group and even gives a Rousing Speech at one point to inspire confidence.
  • Night of the Living Mooks - A rather weird example in that the vampires begin with a clear leader in Satanico and are clearly individuals with personality themselves, but once they are killed the subsequent vampires are interchangeable faceless undead monsters. Curiously though some of the vampires can shift into different forms.
  • Noble Demon - Seth Gecko. He even declines taking Kate with him in the end feeling a tad guilty for being the reason her family is dead.
  • Off with His Head: Jacob and Sex Machine in the first movie. Though it takes two shot to bring down the former (as Scott only blew off half his face the first shot) and it doesn't kill the latter (See Body Horror). The third movie has an undead mook who has this happen but he just replaces the head with a cobra before that ends up getting shot off.
  • Oh Crap - Sex Machine, after realizing that he's been turned into a vampire - and that his former friends will kill him as soon as they find out.
  • One-Scene Wonder
    • Cheech Marin in all three of his roles.
    • Salma Hayek has all of ten minutes screentime half way through the movie and is one of the most memorable things in it.
  • One-Winged Angel - Ugh. Let's just say you'll need some economy-size Brain Bleach after seeing Satanico's true form.
  • Only a Flesh Wound - Averted; all the duct tape does for Richard is keep his hand from bleeding after it gets a hole shot through it. He never uses it afterwards (and at one point yells and drops a set of keys when they hit it).
  • Our Vampires Are Different - While they have all of the standard weaknesses, they were designed to appear more as just pure monsters than merely humans with fangs. It also subverts No Ontological Inertia as killing a vampire that bites you doesn't stop you from turning into one.
  • Panty Shot: An "around-her-ankles" example rather than the standard upskirt peek, but the border patrol guy still gets an eyeful when he spies Kate sitting on the toilet (pretending to defecate so that the agent will leave and not notice the Gecko brothers hiding behind the shower curtain).
  • Playing Against Type
    • George Clooney was famous for playing a doctor in ER before being cast in this role.
    • Tough Brooklyn-born Jew Keitel is a soft-spoken Southern preacher... and a vampire.
  • Prequel: The third movie.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil - Being an insane serial rapist is what makes Richard Gecko irredeemable in the audience's eyes, unlike his Noble Demon brother who is above that.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus - The satanic musicians in the bar, with guitars made of living flesh.
  • The Savage South: Because the Mexican border really is full of banditos and vampires.
  • The Stoic: Razor Charlie.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran - Frost, a Knife Nut 'Nam vet.
  • Shout-Out - When asked whether an improvised cross made from table legs or something would work, Tom Savini's character replies "Peter Cushing does it all the time."
  • Slasher Smile - Frost has an enormous one after he's turned into a vampire by Sex Machine.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror
  • South of the Border - Mexico, the land of gangsters, strippers, and vampires.
  • Spicy Latina - A whole stripper bar of them! With Salma Hayek as their queen-goddess.
  • Spiritual Prequel - Arguably to Grindhouse.
  • Staking the Loved One: "Richie, here is the peace in death that I could not give you in life."
  • Stealth Parody - Of both horror and heist films.
  • Tattooed Crook - Seth.
  • Took a Level In Badass - Kate can barely even choke down a shot of whiskey when she first arrives at the Titty Twister, but has become a viciously clever vampire-killer by the movie's end.
  • The Virus - How vampirism is treated with a hint of Hive Mind.
  • Trunk Shot - The script was written by Quentin Tarantino, so it's a given that one of these was included in the movie.
  • Virus Victim Symptoms - Played for laughs with Sex Machine slowly transforming and halfheartedely attempting to hide it, which no one notices.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Salma Hayek is a real-life ophidiophobe, such that she almost didn't take the part of Satanico Pandemonium because of it. Robert Rodriguez conned her into thinking that Madonna was ready to take the part instead, so she spent two months with therapists in order to overcome her fear of snakes.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy - The hostages, particularly Scott Fuller, have all the Genre Savvy needed to survive in a heist film or hostage taking film. Scott even lampshades this by telling his father "I've seen this on TV Dad!" Pity for them the bar the Gecko Brothers choose to stop is full of Fricking Vampire Strippers!
  • Your Vampires Suck - All you need to do to keep these vampires at bay are two sticks put together to make a cross. Or ANYTHING resembling one. Hell, even the Red Cross of Ambulances does the trick.
    • Course numbers are another thing entirely.
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