Horror movies are the only ones that almost have to pretend to be a different genre for the first act, before the horror sets in. Many slashers start out as teen comedies, then the killing begins. Perhaps no movie has pulled this switch off better than 1996’s From Dusk Till Dawn.
It spends roughly half the runtime as a tense crime thriller, and then we the audience are caught just as off guard as the characters when it becomes a vampire horror film. So, in honor of its 25th anniversary, we thought it would be fitting to look at 25 fun facts about From Dusk Till Dawn!
1 .‘The original idea for the movie came from makeup legend Robert Kurtzman, who hired Quentin Tarantino to write the script.
2. Initially, it was meant to be a feature length Tales from the Crypt story, as a follow up to Demon Knight.
3. Tarantino considered directing the film himself. However he wanted to focus more on playing the role of Richie. He then offered to Robert Kurtzman, but he couldn’t commit. So ultimately, Tarantino’s friend and collaborator Robert Rodriguez took the job.
4. Salma Hayek was absolutely terrified of snakes, and didn’t want to do the scene. Rodriguez threatened to hire Madonna to replace her, so she eventually agreed to do the scene, albeit with the help of counseling.
5. The decision to use a non-union crew was very controversial, due to the larger budget of the project. It even nearly resulted in a strike.
6. Her character’s name Satanico Pandemonium came from a 1975 Mexican horror film of the same name. Its plot deals with a nun having visions and sexual fantasies about Satan.
7. When Satanico Pandemonium says “Welcome to slavery” to Seth, George Clooney’s famous, “No thanks, I already had a wife” was ad-libbed and never intended to be in the final movie. However, the studio put it in the trailer, so Robert Rodriguez felt like he had to included it.
8. In order to avoid an NC-17 rating, dark green blood was used for vampires, so there was no limit on how much the movie could show.
9. The newscaster was played by Kelly Preston (the late wife of John Travolta). Tarantino cast her after meeting her through working with Travolta on Pulp Fiction.
10. Tom Savini did all the stunts with the whip himself, as he’s proficient at it in real life.
11. Cheech Marin plays a total of three roles in the movie: the border agent, the barker outside the Titty Twister, and Carlos, who shows up at the end.
12. In an unusual musical choice, the same song (“Dark Night” by The Blasters) plays during both the opening and closing credits.
13. When discussing which weapons will be effective against the vampires, Sex Machine (Tom Savini) remarks that he saw Peter Cushing putting two sticks together to make a cross. This is a reference to the fact that Cushing played Van Helsing opposite Christopher Lee’s Dracula in several Hammer horror films.
14. Despite the character dying in the opening scene, Earl McGraw appears again in Kill Bill Vol. 1, Death Proof, and Planet Terror. Which means either those are separate universes, or From Dusk Till Dawn takes place after that.
15. There’s an entire feature length documentary on the making of From Dusk Till Dawn, titled Full Tilt Boogie.
16. In the movie’s marketing, Harvey Keitel got top billing over George Clooney, which definitely wouldn’t have happened just a few years later as Clooney’s career took off.
17. Taraninto had previously worked with Clooney while directing an episode of ER in 1995. He thought it would be fun to have George Clooney go from being an ER doctor to someone who puts people in the ER.
18. Elizabeth Avellan (Robert Rodriguez’s wife at the time) joked that putting Tarantino and Rodriguez together was dangerous.
19. Upon release, the movie was banned in Ireland due to its “irresponsible and totally gratuitous violence”. The decision was partly motivated by two mass shootings that had occurred at the time.
20. From Dusk Till Dawn went on to win Best Horror Film and Best Actor (George Clooney) at the Saturn Awards.
21. Quentin Tarantino himself was nominated for both Best Supporting Actor (Saturn Awards) and Worst Supporting Actor (Razzie Awards).
22. It was considered a box office success, grossing $59.3 million on a $19 million budget.
23. The success spawned a sequel and a prequel, neither of which were very well received.
24. The movie was rebooted as a TV series in 2014, created by Robert Rodriguez. He also directed nearly half the episodes himself.
25. Remains the only horror film that Quentin Tarantino has ever written. Though there has been some buzz that he should do another (more on that here).
Which of these did you already know? Which ones surprised you? What’s your favorite Saw movie? Let us know in the comments!
From Dusk Till Dawn is currently streaming on CBS All Access