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From Dusk Till Dawn 2 - Texas Blood Money [VHS]
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B-movie mavens turned A-list genre fiends Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino teamed up in 1996 to take vampire gothic south of the border into spaghetti Western territory for the gory cult film From Dusk Till Dawn. The high-concept mix of southwestern criminals versus supernatural nasties proved too irresistible for either of the video-hound creators to allow it to remain dead (or undead, as the case may be), so they plotted and produced a pair of direct-to-video sequels. Tarantino takes a story credit on the first, a heist film coscripted and directed by Scott Speigel. A Mexican bank robbery helmed by drawling criminal Robert Patrick (Terminator 2) turns into a literal bloodbath when his crew are turned into hungry bloodsuckers. Speigel, a buddy of Sam Raimi, tops both Tarantino and Rodriguez for sheer cinematic acrobatics, putting his camera in the most absurd places (even from inside the mouth of a vampire chomping down on a victim) and driving the film with adrenaline-charged overkill, but despite some clever scenes and a hilarious Psycho spoof, it turns into another aggressively trashy latex-mask and rubber-bat gorefest as cops and robbers team up against the fanged gang. Bo Hopkins costars as the police detective dogging Patrick's trail. Bruce Campbell and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen make cameos in the jokey opening sequence and Speigel and fellow director Kevin Smith briefly appear as vampire bait. Bartender Danny Trejo is the only returning cast member. --Sean Axmaker
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