Rodriguez and Tarantino met in 1992 at the Toronto Film Festival.
was promoting EL MARIACHI and Tarantino was promoting RESERVOIR DOGS.
Avellen, Rodriguez's wife comments that, "it was like watching two guys
who had, like, known each other since kindergarden. They like the same
kind of movies."
During the time when Tarantino was writing PULP FICTION and
writing DESPERADO, the two of them were talking and Rodriguez was
about DESPERADO. Tarantino mentioned the script he had written for KNB
and that it was set in Mexico. Rodriguez asked if he could read it and
the next day came to Tarantino very excited about directing it.
asked Rodriguez if he would indeed direct it if Tarantino rewrote it
Rodriguez said that if Tarantino rewrote it he would direct it.
The screenplay for From Dusk Till Dawn was writen by Tarantino
story by Robert Kurtzman) in 1990. The idea was to produce a script
would showcase the talents of Kurtzman's make-up and effects company
NICOTERO & BERGER EFX GROUP, INC. KNB paid Tarantino only fifteen
dollars for the job, his first paid writing gig, which was just enough
so that he would be able to quit his video store job and write the
full time. As part of the deal, KNB also agreed to provide the make-up
effects for Tarantino's directorial debut - RESERVOIR DOGS. In addition
to being responsible for the infamous "ear scene" in that film, they
produced the make-up effects for Tarantino's second film, PULP FICTION.
Seth Gecko's fire tattoo that George Clooney sports in the film
be removed with gasoline and a blow dryer at the end of each day.
The Gecko Brothers' destination, El Ray, has a history in movies.
also a mythical location in Jim Thompson's book THE GETAWAY, which has
been twice adapted as a feature film. In that story there are two
who are also fleeing capture, and their destination is El Ray. As
puts it, "When there's nowhere else to go, you go to El Ray."
From Dusk Till Dawn features two actors already familure with
sensibilities. Tom Savini (Sex Machine) is an special effects maestro
the director of the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake and Fred Williamson
(Frost) is a former football player and hero of numerous blaxploitation
Tarantino planted references to some of his other films in From
Dawn . Among them; When Seth returns to the hotel with hamburgers and
the hamburgers are from Big Kahuna Burger, the Hawaiian fast food joint
that is the topic of some discussion in PULP FICTION. Also, on the dash
board of the Gecko Brothers' car is a pack of Red Apple cigarettes, a
to both TRUE ROMANCE and PULP FICTION.
For From Dusk Till Dawn, KNB reused some of the effects they had
previous films, including body parts from DR. GIGGLES and well as
head from PULP FICTION, which rests on the bar in the Titty Twister.
Executive Producer Lawrence Bender as well as Robert Kurtzman,
and Howard Berger of KNB all appear in the film as patrons of the Titty
Before working together on From Dusk Till Dawn, George Clooney
Tarantino had already established a working relationship when Tarantino
directed the second year season finale of ER, the top rated television
series that Clooney was co-starring in at the time. The episode was
It was From Dusk Till Dawn that got George Clooney the job as
BATMAN AND ROBIN, the fourth installment of the mega-popular Batman
As BATMAN AND ROBIN director Joel Schumacher puts it, "I was totally
of George and never watched too much TV, so I didn't know about ER.
when the ads for From Dusk Till Dawn started coming out, I started
at his face. I sat there and saw something compelling about that
and began drawing the Batman cowl on him." It seems that Robert
has achieved one of the goals that he set while filming From Dusk Till
Dawn; that of making George Clooney a movie star.
In order to create a brotherly rapport between them, Quentin
asked George Clooney to hang out with him over the summer before From
Till Dawn was shot. They spent their time barhoping, talking shop at
house, and they even attended the MTV Movie Awards together.
George Clooney was not Tarantino's original choice for the role
Gecko. He was considering Robert Blake (LOST HIGHWAY), but Rodriguez
him otherwise after he became fascinated by Clooney's brooding persona
on the late-night disscussion group POLITICALLY INCORRECT.
The idea of the Titty Twister being a converted Azteck temple
Robert Rodriguez's Mexican heritage. "There were actual vampire goddess
statues and things during the Aztec times," Rodriguez explains. "What
particular cluture did was they would sacrifice to keep the sun alive
honor the vampire goddess. In pictures of statues of her, she has the
of 13 men around her neck and she has a skull head. They would seduce
with snakes and then tear them apart and get the blood because the
kept the sun alive. So the idea is that this den of vampires in an old
Aztec temple has, over the years, been turned into a sleazy bar in
to continue to attract victims. All of the dancing girls are actually
a ritual dance before they go and kill everybody."
During a low point in Clooney's carrer, Tarantino contacted him
for a part in RESERVOIR DOGS, but Clooney's heart just wasn't in it.
really blew that one," he was later told by Tarantino.
When the Titty Twister's bartender, Razor Charlie (Danny Trejo)
on one of the pool tables, his eye balls roll into two of the corner
as he burns up. The sound designers used a pool ball sound effect to
During the filming of From Dusk Till Dawn, Clooney's schedual was
crunched, he spent most of the week shooting Dusk and was only
for one day a week on the set of ER. During that time he didn't even
the opportunity to change out of costume for an appearance on THE
SHOW. He attended in Seth Gecko's black suit and boots, complete with
He was told by the host, Jay Leno, that he looked very "cool" and "hip."
Two references occur to one of Tarantino's favorite films,
13. The first is the T-shirt that Ernest Liu (Scott Fuller) wears
out the film, and the second is Seth's line to Kate at the end of the
"use 'em on the next f*ck that trys to bite you," which is almost word
for word from ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13.
The pelvis gun that Sex Machine sports in the film is a prop from
previous film, DESPERADO.
Chongo Beer, which is also from DESPERADO, is one of the beers
at the Titty Twister.
The crew of From Dusk Till Dawn had to add weekends into the
because George Clooney had to be back on the set of his television
ER, at least one day a week to begin filming the season's new episodes.
It was a confusing time for Clooney; "I'd want to give a kid a lollipop
and say, 'Put this in your mouth, you little f*ck,'" he says. "And then
on the movie set, I'd shoot people and want to fix'em."
For the designs of the various vampire prosthetics, KNB used
own cartoon sketches. Rodriguez was responsible for the vampire with
mouth in her stomach, which they dubbed "the stomach mouth vamp-bitch,"
and also for the vampire version of Quentin Tarantino's character,
which he calls "the Mr. Hyde version of Quentin." Sometimes, however,
designs proved to be too gruesome for even him once KNB brought them to
life. As Greg Nicotero of KNB puts it, "Robert walked on the set and
"Oh, it's horrible, it's disgusting" and we said "Oh, it's the one you
designed' and he's like 'Oh, you gues are way sicker than me."
George Clooney once shared a romantic attachment with actress
(now the wife of John Travolta), who played newscaster Kelly Houge in
Dusk Till Dawn. On their first date in the mid-'80's they made an
decision to move in together. Clooney commnets: "I'm much more cautious
that I ever was before. (Back then) I was always Mr. Full-On
I was like, 'Let's go! Whatever you want, let's do it.' Then, as you
older, you start to go, 'You know what? Maybe we should go out a little
A unique part of From Dusk Till Dawn's marketing campaign were
of soda created by a soda company called The Skeleteens. The drink was
bottled and designed to reflect the feel of the film and so it came in
two versions; Red, to represent human blood, and Green, to represent
vampire's blood. Unfortunately the soda is no longer in production.
In order to avoid possible censor problems, Tarantino decided to
vampire's blood green instead of red. "I wanted the vampires to be able
to bleed freely and flow through rivers of blood," he said. "I made
blood green so there's no mistake who's getting killed here. You can
as many vampires as you want. They don't exist!"
In CURDLED, the black comedy/thriller which is executive produced
Tarantino and distributed by his Rolling Thunder distribution company,
Kelly Preston appears as her character Kelly Houge from From Dusk Till
Dawn. She continues to report on sensational killers and criminals on
television program "Miami D.O.A." and as she introduces her report on
killer from the film, she recounts several of the more popular stories
from the show's past, including a report on the Gecko brothers. The
shows George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino in their character's mug
with a map of Texas in the back ground that traces their route. Kelly
voice over is heard as the map vanishes in the background: "We went to
Texas to bring you the up to the minute story of Seth and Richard
the bank robbing brothers who killed, kidnapped and raped their way
Missouri and Texas only to vanish seemingly into thin air."
During the scene in which Frost is telling his Vietnam story, Sex
goes to the other side of the bar and stands by the pool table. He
changing into a vampire and Scott Fuller notices him. To underscore the
situation Rodriguez had Tom Savini hold his breath during each take to
make it look like Sex Machine was really trying to bottle up his secret.
In the original version of the script Ritchie was not a sex
added that later when he agreed to rewrite the film for Rodriguez.
When Santanico Pandemonium has Seth under her heel and is about
him, Seth loads his gun while she says, "Welcome to slavery." Seth
his .44 shut, points it, says the line, "No thanks, I already had a
and then kills her. The line about Seth's wife is something that
added himself. Tarantino wasn't %100 happy with it but it was too late
to take it out of the scene since it had already appeared in the early
trailers for the film.
George Clooney also plays a bank robber in the film OUT OF SIGHT,
his character is much less violent than Seth Gecko. The filmmakers,
paid tribute to From Dusk Till Dawn when a picture of Clooney's
Jack Foley, who has escaped from prison, is published in the newspaper.
The picture of Clooney that is used is from From Dusk Till Dawn. It is
not the same mug shot that is shown in Kelly Houge's news cast, but it
is obviously from the same photo session that was conducted for From
Before John Hawkes was cast as Pete Bottoms, Tim Roth and Steve
were both considered for the role, but were busy with other projects.
Michael Parks, who plays Earl McGraw, is one of Quentin
actors and was actually the second person cast in From Dusk Till Dawn.
Tarantino himself was the first person.
Brenda Hillhouse, who plays the Gecko Brother's hostage Gloria
Quentin Tarantino's acting coach. She has also had roles in PULP
FICTION and in the episode of ER that Tarantino directed.
Seth Gecko's fire tattoo makes a cameo in another Robert
THE FACULTY. In a scene towards the begining of the film, Rodriguez'
appears as a high school student and she has a portion of the tattoo
on her neck.
Danny Trejo and Tito Larriva appear together as denizens of
bar in the film THE TROJAN WAR. They intimidate a young boy who comes
to use the phone, making themselves not to dissimilar to their From
Till Dawn characters.
In the scene where Seth and an unconscious Ritchie hide in the
the Fuller's camper, the crew had to cut out a section of the wall so
they could both fit in the shower and still appear to hide behind the
curtin where the border patrol could not see them.
Lilian Ginet, one of our readers from
us this description of a From Dusk Till Dawn type commercial that is
overseas: " Every sunday, there is a TV show on French television about
commercials. It was there that I saw one based on From Dusk Till Dawn:
A man is driving in desert in a "Citroen Saxo" (not sure), (typical
Dusk Till Dawn landscapes). And this man (not dressed like the Gecko
parks his car in front of a bar (like the Titty Twister). He enters,
sits down at a table. At that time, a woman (not as beautifull as Salma
Hayek, in my opinion, but great too) starts a dance with a snake on
shoulders. During her show, her mouth gets near the man's neck and she
changes into a Vampire!! And just when she is going to bite the man,
car, parked in front of the bar, knocks down a wall of this kind-of
Twister, and rescues the man by crushing some vampires!!! Then, the man
leaves the bar, and the Citroen logo appears . . . but the logo has
vampire teeth, and it transforms into the original logo. The special
are extraordinarily good for a TV commercial, the morphings of the
are nearly as good as those in FDTD. Unfortunately, I couldn't hear who
has directed the commercial"
Juliette Lewis was interested in working
and when she got a look at his From Dusk Till Dawn script she called
up and asked if he would be interested in her playing the part of Kate.
Once they came to an agreement, Tarantino rewrote and expanded the part
of Kate, feeling that he should not waste such a talented actress on
a small part.
When Seth is pinned to the ground under Santanico
Pandemonium and the vampire queen reverts to her
true form, fangs and all, it is not actually Salma Hayek under all that
makeup anymore, but rather her stand-in.
The gun Seth uses in the film is a snub-nosed Bulldog .44 Magnum,
which is basically the same
that Clint Eastwood uses in the Dirty Harry movies except that Clint's
has a long-barrel.
The Gecko brother's car is a '67 Mercury Cougar with automatic
grill inset headlights.
you may know, Robert Rodriguez is pals with the infamous Harry Knowles
of Ain't It Cool News fame (click
here to go to his site). Knowles even played the film teacher in
THE FACULTY. Now Knowles is a big fan of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN and a big
fan of George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD trilogy of which our
Tom Savini played an important role both in front of and behind the
So when somebody asked Savini about the possibility of Sex Machine
to the silver screen, he had an interesting thing to say about it. Here
it is in Knowles own words: "Savini was asked at this convention
about the possibility of Sex
Machine appearing in film again. He responded with my name and that I
written a SEX MACHINE screenplay or treatment. This is true. Robert
and I were talking one night before either of the Direct To Video FROM
DUSK TIL DAWN films were made, but the subjects were chosen... and I
to Robert that I felt they were going with the wrong characters, if I
doing it, I wouldn't focus on the vampires, I'd focus on either Fred
character or SEX MACHINE (aka Tom Savini) Robert then said, "Write it
and if the two DUSKS videos sell, we'll need something to shoot next!"
I wrote the script, got it back to Robert... had some notes for the
draft, but quite honestly the site really started taking off and
I've been busy doing this day in and day out and not finishing the 2nd
Draft... and I've always stated that I'd love to make a film some
about 8 years from now... The site is always my first priority though.
Details... It takes place before the first film, and tells us why Sex
is in the Titty Twister drinking away. Think of it as a WILD BUNCH for
Bikers in a Universe where really messed up things happen. BUT...
would classify this project as dead in the meanwhile, till I get back
it... and even then, there's no telling if it would ever be made. After
all, I'm just an internet punk kid... right?"
Danny Trejo is on the only actor to appear in all three From Dusk
Till Dawn films.
Michael Parks also plays the role of Texas
Ranger Earl McGraw in another Tarantino film: KILL BILL vol. 1. His son
James returns to his role of McGraw's son from TEXAS BLOOD MONEY
in the film as well. Parks and his son also return to the roles in
Tarantino and Rodriguez' GRINDHOUSE double feature.