“From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” probably had some fans of the movie scratching their heads when it was first announced. Since the big draw of the movie is its huge twist ending, it seems unnecessary to revisit the story. However, the TV series manages to make you curious about what’s going to happen next even though you already know what’s going to go down when the Gecko brothers saunter into that strip club in the middle of nowhere.
In case you’re still not sold on Robert Rodriguez’s new series on the El Rey network, here are five reasons why you need to give it a chance
1. Robert Rodriguez rightfully prefers it to the original.
Quentin Tarantino fans might find this claim blasphemous, but the TV series really is superior to the film. Rodriguez even told Screenrant “It’s really powerful and I really like this version more than the film.”
The TV series does an excellent job of piquing your interest by teasing an origin story for those vicious vampires, and they have a different mythology than Dracula’s brethren. In a fun twist, the bloodthirsty beings are more like snakes than bats, and they seem to have an agenda beyond luring travelers to their strip club to feast on.
It’s also great to get know the main characters a little better. Zane Holtz’s take on Richie Gecko is definitely an improvement on Tarantino’s version of the character. This Richie is just as psychotic, but the bizarre visions that influence his erratic behavior might be more than the hallucinations of a mad man. You’ll also find yourself looking forward to finding out just what he was up to while he was holed up in the woods before busting his brother out of jail. D.J. Cotrona had big shoes to fill when he signed on to play Richie’s brother Seth, but so far he’s doing an excellent job channeling George Clooney’s charm while portraying a killer.
There’s also a mystery surrounding why Jacob Fuller (Robert Patrick) suddenly decided to hop in an RV and flee to Mexico with his kids (Madison Davenport and Brandon Soo Hoo), and there’s even a teenage romance in this vampire TV series. However, I don’t think fans of “Twilight” and “The Vampire Diaries” will enjoy it very much.
2. Santanico Pandemonium plays a larger part in the TV series.
Salma Hayek’s snake-charming stripper had one of the most memorable scenes in the “From Dusk Till Dawn” movie, so it’s not surprising that Robert Rodriguez is featuring more of Santanico (Eiza González) in the series. In the pilot, we learn why she’s not afraid of her slithering dance partner when she’s faced to confront her fear of snakes in the most terrifying way imaginable. In case you’re wondering, Robert Rodriguez has already hinted that Eiza will be replicating Salma’s famous dance scene, and he’s also said that Santanico might not be the villainous vixen that she first appears to be.
3. It’s a dark comedy that pays homage to many cult movies and TV series while staying fresh and modern.
“From Dusk Till Dawn” features small visual references to beloved movies like “Terminator 2,” “The Shining,” and even “The Matrix.” It’s fun to watch for these little shout-outs. The Gecko brothers’ wardrobe was obviously influenced by “Pulp Fiction,” and “American Horror Story: Asylum” fans will be surprised at how much Richie resembles sadistic serial killer Dr. Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto) with his retro horn-rimmed glasses and slicked-back hair. There’s also a creepy scene at the beginning involving a snake that might remind you of a certain “American Horror Story: Coven” promo.
While this western/crime/horror series tips its cowboy hat to other shows and movies, it’s not unoriginal and predictable – in addition to the intriguing new spin on vampires, you’ll get to see more than a few scenes that might surprise you and leave you guessing.
Richie and Wilmer Valderrama’s drug lord character, Carlos, make great occasional dark comic relief, and they’re two of the most quotable characters on the show. You’ve got to love Richie using a bullet hole in his hand for laughs after delightfully describing an explosion as “bananas flambe,” and you’ll definitely want to see more of Carlos after hearing his speech on how souls are like popsicles (Buzzfeed should create a “Which popsicle flavor is your soul?” quiz).
4. Greg Nicotero of “The Walking Dead” is doing the vampire makeup and special effects.
If you’re worried about the way the vampires look, you can rest easy knowing that their appearance is in the very capable hands of Greg Nicotero, the man responsible for bringing the undead to life in “The Walking Dead.” What I’ve seen so far is promising, so I’m looking forward to the big strip club smackdown. Nicotero is also directing a few episodes of the show.
5. Viewers will get to see the mythical town of El Rey
Fans of the movie will be glad to know that they’ll finally get to see that safehouse in the fictional Mexican city of El Rey, a magical place where the Gecko brothers hope to die “rich and fat in the arms of a beautiful woman.” For the “From Dusk Till Dawn” movie, Tarantino borrowed the hideout’s name from Jim Thompson’s novel “The Getaway.” Rodriguez has already said that the TV series is planning to visit the city that shares his network’s name. “El Rey” means “The King,” but I’m not so sure that the Gecko brothers will end up living like kings if they make it there.
Photo: Pinguino K
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