Franchise Weekend – From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay) Robert Kurtzman (Story)

Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo

 

Plot: Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in a truck stop populated by vampires, with chaotic results.


Tagline – How far can Too Far go?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blood Splattered Blast

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn starts after Seth Gecko (Clooney) is broken out of prison by his brother Richard (Tarantino) before they commit a daring daylight robbery as they race towards the Mexican border. They have a hostage which Richard soon kills, meaning they must find another one. The brothers pick a family the Fuller family, whose loss of faith priest father Jacob (Keitel) and his children Kate (Lewis) and Scott (Liu) are just travelling.

Once across the border the five head to a bar known as the Titty Twister for bikers and truckers alike, but soon they must put their differences aside when it turns out to be a vampire hideout, where they must fight to daylight.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn

 

Characters – Seth Gecko has just been sprung from prison by his brother, he wants to get across the border to complete a deal which would see them both have freedom, he is the one that remains in control wanting to keep everything calm, which would mean not leaving a pile of bodies behind them. He does deliver the threats which would see them as a danger, though he does just want things to be simple. Richard or Ritchie is must more of a loose cannon, he is paranoid and this makes him more dangerous, as he will kill people putting their safety at risk. He is protected by his brother, as he doesn’t seem like he is capable of putting a plan together himself. Jacob was a priest that has lost his faith after his wife’s death, he I taking his family on a vacation and gets forced into helping the brothers, he wants to keep them safe, willing to risk his own life to make this happen. Kate and Scott are his children, they are dealing with their own loss the best way they know how to and being supportive to their father. Santanico is the beautiful dancer that will stop a bar with her dance, she is one of the leaders of the vampires who has been waiting for the food in human form.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is great to see in this role, after this we only usually see him in smooth talking roles, rather than a rough criminal, showing he could become any role offered to him. Tarantino in this film is creepy and putting himself in the supporting role does hide any restrictions he might have as an actor. Harvey Keitel is great showing a character that is meant to be hating his life choice, but remaining strong for his children. Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu are both solid enough in the supporting roles without getting too much more to work with, while Salma Hayek turns heads with her performance.

StoryThe story here follows two criminals trying to get to Mexico, the family they force to help them across the border and the bar they find, filled with vampires that they must fight to survive the night. Where this story stands up on its own, is by making it a criminal tory to start with, having no hints of horror or vampires involved, as we just watch the two loose cannons trying to get to safety, by pulling the rug out from under us to thrown us into the horror idea is genius switch of pace for the story. we do have themes going on especially with the Jacob character needing to find his lost faith which finding it will become the big part in fight the vampires. The story also exists in a world where vampire stories do exist, which gives them ideas on how to fight back, which was the main attraction to the 90’s horror stories.

Action/HorrorThe action in the film involves the fighting with the vampires, we get to take everything to a new level for this side of the genre, with the blood splatter in the action, which the horror gives us because we vampires which are a staple of horror, but we do focus on the action over the scares.

SettingsThe film uses the getting to the location setting of the camper van which does show us the road trip feel to the film, but it is the bar that will be one that is always going to be hard to forget, being a run down biker and trucker bar.

Special EffectsThe special effects are some of the best you will see in the vampire genre, it shows that you can get plenty done with practical effects, with the only weakness come from the human to vampire transformations, which look CGI and have dated.


Scene of the Movie –
The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The transformations have dated badly.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun vampire movies you will ever see, it has plenty of blood flying around the screen and will keep you entertained from start to finish.

 

Overall: Purely entertaining vampire movie.

Rating

 

 

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Director: Andre Ovredal

Writer: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Guillermo del Toro (Screenplay) Alvin Schwartz, Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton (Novel/Story)

Starring: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, Lorrain Toussaint, Austin Zajur

Plot: A group of teens face their fears in order to save their lives.


Tagline – Based on the iconic book series.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Goosebumps With Pure Horror

Story: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark starts with the backdrop of the Richard Nixon election, where high school students Stella (Colletti), Auggie (Rush) and Chuck (Zajur) look to get revenge on the school bully, which sees them stumble into stranger’s Ramon (Garza) car on Halloween which sees them head to a haunted house that has the story about the daughter of the family Sarah Bellows, writing scary stories for the local kids that soon went missing.

When Stella finds the story book she starts to investigate the stories, only to see the stories writing themselves with the locals starting to go missing, including her friends, Stella must investigate the myth about Sarah to stop the people she loves going missing.

Thoughts on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Characters – Stella is an outsider at her school, she has always struggled with the people talking about her mother that disappeared, she is known for writing stories and enjoys a horror film, she wants to investigate the haunted house and is fascinated by what she finds, even though she must do anything to protect her friends once she learns the evil involved. Most of this film Stella feels like a young Velma from Scooby Doo too, which can be hard to shake without realizing. Ramon Morales is a stranger in town, the police don’t take to him too kindly, but Stella sees him as a nice guy, it is slightly confusing trying to figure out how old he is and why he is hanging out with the high schoolers, but he does have a reason to be on the run. Auggie and Chuck are the two banter filled friends of Stella that do make the smart decisions when it comes to dealing with horror moments. Roy Nicholls is the father of Stella that has been struggling with his wife’s disappearance, which has seen him become distant from Stella too.

PerformancesZoe Margaret Colletti is great in the leading role, we see her give us a vulnerable, but strong character that needs to break out of her shell. Michael Garza is strong through the film, playing the mysterious stranger, needing to keep a lot of his secrets close to his chest. Gabriel Rush and Austin Zajur have great chemistry and the friends, while Dean Norris doesn’t do anything wrong, but does feel wasted at times.

StoryThe story here follows a group of teenagers that find a book that tells scary stories that come true with horrifying outcomes and they must figure out how to break the curse placed upon them. This does feel like a much darker version of a Goosebumps set of stories, with each horror figure being terrifying in their own right, which will lead to an event that you don’t see coming. We do have the investigation side of the film which does answer the questions about what is going on and why, which as always is entertaining to watch in a horror and with everything adding up nicely we will be left with a story that flows smoothly throughout.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from the different creations of horror, for the most part the trailer does show us each of the creations involved in the film, the mystery plays into why the horror events are happening and just what Sarah is making this happen.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town, where everybody knows everyone, which does play into the idea that the stories around the town can destroy reputations and feelings.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used to make the horror creatures seem more terrifying where they look like practical effects too, which is a delight to see.


Scene of the Movie – Chuck’s visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The trailer gives away all of the horror figures.

Final Thoughts This is a fun horror film that is filled with scary figures that will fill you with dread as they are original creations and will surprise with what happens to the characters.

Overall: Fun Dark Horror.