From Dusk Till Dawn, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter, and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series are all currently available on instant Netflix
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (2014) – Rated TV-14
“Bank-robbing brothers encounter vengeful lawmen and demons south of the border in this original series based on Robert Rodriguez’ cult horror film.”
I am not sure how I feel about From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series. Robert Rodriguez has taken the 1996 movie he made from Quentin Tarantino’s screenplay and adapted it into a television series. There are certainly some differences but he has taken a 108 minute film and turned it into a 450 minute television season.
While the movie is quite a hoot, the vampire action doesn’t actually come around until the third act. Rodriguez certainly attracts a good cast. George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, and Salma Hayek do the heavy lifting. Quentin Tarantino, Cheech Marin (playing three roles), Danny Trejo, Tom Savini, Michael Parks, John Saxon (blink and you’ll miss him), and Fred Williamson also appear.
From Dusk Till Dawn’s success was followed up by a quick direct-to-DVD sequel (Texas Blood Money) and prequel (The Hangman’s Daughter). These did not have Rodriguez’ wonderful touch with action made on the cheap and did not have Tarantino’s quirky dialogue but were serviceable enough.
Texas Blood Money starred Robert Patrick and Bo Hopkins. Danny Trejo and Bruce Campbell put in appearances as well. The Hangman’s Daughter features Michael Parks, Temuera Morrison, and Rebecca Gayheart as well as another appearance by Danny Trejo.
Now, almost two decades after the first film, Rodriguez has made a series out of his cult classic. He has packed it with hispanic and non-hispanic actors and premiered it on the new El Rey Network. It is mostly in English with some Spanish bits here and there.
His timing is quite good as not only are hispanic shows in short supply but horror is very hot on television right now with The Walking Dead having been joined by The Strain, American Horror Story, Sleepy Hollow, The Vampire Diaries, and Penny Dreadful. True Blood just ended a seven year run. Constantine premieres in about a week.
Being a fan of the original movie, the television series does drag a bit as we do not have the big bar scene until episode 8. Rodriguez keeps the pace moving fairly well, although everyone seems to have a ton of backstory.
D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz star as Seth and Richie Gecko. I liked the change to their dynamic. The TV Seth thinks he is the movie Seth but is nowhere near as in charge as he was in the movie. The character of Richie is considerably fleshed out and is no longer just the amusing hallucinating sociopath played by Tarantino in the movie.
Eiza Gonzalez is no Salma Hayek but her character is also quite a bit different. Jesse Garcia plays Texas Ranger Freddie Gonzalez, a character who is far more important than his equivalent character in the movie.
Don Johnson plays Earl McGraw, taking over from Michael Parks. Fun fact: The character of Earl McGraw first appears in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Despite his unfortunate fate in the opening minutes of that movie, he appears in Kill Bill as the lawman who discovers Kiddo’s body after the Wedding Chapel Massacre and is in both halves of Grindhouse (Planet Terror and Death Proof).
Robert Patrick returns from Texas Blood Money, this time taking over the role of Jacob Fuller from Harvey Keitel. Wilmer Valderrama is almost unrecognizable as Carlos. Jake Busey, Adrianne Palicki, William Sadler, and James Remar all put in welcome guest appearances. I guess Rodriguez is saving Danny Trejo for the second season.
I have to assume that violence is limited by the television rating/network but, while it isn’t the complete bloodbath that the movie was, it still impresses in the gore category. There is less nudity and the language is definitely toned down.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series takes awhile to get going and may be a bit of a slog if you remember the movie but there are quite a few (welcome) creative differences and by the end, it is definitely its own show. I liked it, albeit with reservations, and look forward to what they do in season two.