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The unjust condemnation of a raucous genre-bending horror misses the point completely

Slandering a cult classic is never a wise move.

from dusk till dawn
via Miramax

Close friends Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino may have hit it off by having a lot in common, but their filmmaking sensibilities existed at opposite ends of the spectrum.

The former was a lover of heightened genre cinema as evidenced through El Mariachi and Desperado, while the latter preferred to upend formula and subvert expectations via Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Put them together, and it’s no surprise that From Dusk till Dawn thrived on delivering the unexpected.

Looking back, the genre-bending hybrid of crime caper and vampiric horror is a perfect blend of its two key creators. The first half is all Tarantino, with the Gecko brothers spouting rat-a-tat dialogue ripe with pop culture references as they head off on the lam to seek refuge across the border. The second finds Rodriguez in his element, with the Titty Twister serving as the backdrop for a gratuitously violent and spectacularly over-the-top orgy of violence, gore, good, and practical effects.

From Dusk Till Dawn

However, one intrepid Redditor has made the bold claim that turning the entire operation on its head at the midway point to dive headfirst into unhinged territory ruined the entirety of From Dusk till Dawn on their first viewing, and it didn’t take long for the various commenters to point out that was supposed to be the entire point of the film.

Barely a soul agrees with the sentiment that the tonal shift is “really awkward and poorly executed”, with the ode to exploitation and grindhouse cinema instead thriving by taking you on one journey, only to throw you into the midst of something completely different halfway through. Without it, From Dusk till Dawn simply doesn’t exist.

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Scott Campbell

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