Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Television Review: From Dusk Till Dawn Season One

So last time I mostly talked about From Dusk Till Dawn's place in the cultural landscape. Why this little film from 20 years ago is worth watching and talking about. To talk about the show I'm going to have to get a lot more into plot. How the show is different from the movie and whether or not those differences make the show worth watching.

The answer is yes.

The movie was little more than an affectionate recreation of the types of movies Rodrigez and Tarentino liked in thier youth the show uses the plot of the movie as the outline of a much dramatic story.

I have mixed feelings about that. If you're watching the show for the same reason you watch the movie it might disappoint as it takes itself more seriously at least narratively. The movie was much more willing to to just say. "Shhhhh just go with it."

But the show is much more interested in its narrative rather than just stringing together a lot of cool fun moments. That's not bad, But if your're going in to see how many times Cheech Marin can say the word pussy on screen and keep a straight face,  or Sex Machine as a giant rat you might be disappointed.

So the question is the story worth it. Which brings up the elephant in the room.

What makes the original story so impressive is how long it goes before it switches gears and tells you what it's about. Namely that you're watching a Raimi/Romero inspired vampire spookhouse flick. The entire movie is structured around the plot switch as it goes from a crooks on the run movie to Evil Dead, to Dawn of the Dead.

It's been 20 years and the fact that everybody gets eaten has been thoroughly spoiled by this point and that dampens some of the initial impact of that switch.

My point is the first several episodes basically retell the plot of the first half of the movie and talking about thier plot, the thing that makes the show worth is going to spoil the movie.

Two bank robbing brothers hijack a mobile home to cross the Mexican border where they plan to meet a contact for some sort of nefarious deal. What makes the first half of the show is that it goes into detail often expanding on many of the fan theories of the last 20 years and using them to up the drama and pathos of what before was an excuse plot to get vampire strippers and cool transformation and gore effects on camera.

The most of the additions are just taking some of the acting choices of the original and extrapolating backstory from them but there are two big plot detours.

The first is that Carlos a pretty bit character in the movie orchestrated the meeting at the vampire bar.

A huge part of why I kept watching was figuring out what his deal was, and figuring out how they actually managed to make Fez menacing.

Sorry Wilmer Valderrama, you're never going to live that down.

The second is that the show introduces a Texas Ranger as a new character. And he's pretty interesting a decent guy who sees darkness in the Gecko Brothers who are at the same time both worse (we see what Richie did to that hostage) and more sympathetic than in the movie since Richie in particular is being egged on by the boogie this go round.

Beyond plot one of the most interesting things has to do with "author appeal" Rodriguez has never been shy about putting Latino actors and iconography into his work.  But this time the story goes whole hog working the bar and it's setting into Mesoamerican myth name checking The Popol Vul, the hero twins, and the lords of night to make these vampires its own.

And that's where the second half comes in. The second half of the movie was mostly an excuse to have a bunch of cool cheese and surreal visuals. But the show is actually concerned with plot namely why it was important to the vampires, Carlos and Satanico Pandemonium the Gecko Brothers were in that bar.

While it's interesting the show sets up a much more interesting season 2 now that it doesn't have to replay the movie without all the fun bits. Though the snake dance was okay.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Facebook Comments

Note: These Comments are from all across this blog.