Vampires were once ominous and scary creatures of the night. In the silent classic Nosferatu (1922) and the seminal Universal Pictures film Dracula (1932), vampires presented a dark, supernatural menace. The vampires of From Dusk Till Dawn certainly were menacing. They definitely embodied the supernatural. The creatures, however, seemed to relish in the hyper-action somewhat similar to what is found in the Evil Dead sequels. Director Richard Rodriguez, writer Quentin Tarantino, and producer Lawrence Bender apparently wanted to go in a more action-packed direction with this film.
From Dusk Till Dawn seemed to deliver on what horror fans wanted: a good time at the movies. The title of the film not only refers to when vampires emerge from their coffins, it pays homage to the old drive-in era of years past. “From dusk till dawn” meant the drive-in would start showing movies the minute the sun went down and would stop once the sun rose. A drive-in could run five different movies throughout the night during a dusk till dawn marathon.
The cinematic From Dusk Till Dawn tried to capture the old magic of the old drive-in movies. Producer Lawrence Bender isn’t as known as a drive-in movie fan, but Rodriguez and Tarantino are. Lawrence Bender was able to help craft a movie that truly looks like an old B-movie film from the glory days of drive-in cinema. Perhaps Lawrence Bender put his civil engineering degree in a roundabout way by carefully overseeing the art direction and production management of this unique film.
The Texas setting at the beginning of the film further establishes the drive-in connection. At one time, the highways in Texas were known for a burgeoning drive-in movie industry. Sadly, those days are long gone and nearly forgotten. The entertainment industry has moved on from the days of the drive-in theater.
While not typical of most vampire films, the film did hit a mark with horror fans looking for something a bit different. From Dusk Till Dawn does maintain a decent enough fan following to support several sequels. Clearly, the name of the film on follow-up features means something to those who enjoyed the first film.