A poster of the television series,

From Dusk till Dawn, Fun but Messy

From Exploitation Flick to Transendent TV

Even the name of this ‘90’s iconic, supernatural crime drama leaves me intrigued and thirsty for more.  Whether it’s beer, blood, or whiskey, fans can find something to their liking in this Netflix original, produced by creator, Robert Rodriguez’ El Rey Network.

Messy Mayan Mythology

The series takes the audience farther into the world of La Culebra (the snake/vampire creatures of Mayan lore) than the film could. It leads us through an underground maze built under a biker bar on the US/Mexican border, to a crime syndicate run by Culebra Lords, and finally to a realm of demons “Hell bent” on ruling the earth.  And that’s just in the first three seasons.  The story has grown from the original B movie inspired film, to encompass a rich variety of characters and backstories, and a fascinating interpretation of Mayan Mythology.  Like any vice:  liquor, cards, women (or men), the series seduces its audience with dark, velvety badness.  And everybody wants to be bad sometimes.

 

The Gecko Brothers are Back!

I was new to this series and to the original film, but I found myself quickly drawn into this world of dysfunction and destruction.  The infamous Gecko brothers return to a life of crime.  Richie and Seth (played by Zane Holtz and DJ Cortana), together again, on the run to Mexico with a suitcase of bearer bonds, and a trail of bodies in the rear view.  A sexy car, implacable suits and great hair:  They can’t go wrong, until they do.

Richie and Seth quickly veer off the road as their plans unravel.  Something is wrong with Richie, and Seth doesn’t know how to fix it.  We peek inside Richie’s visions of a beautiful dark haired woman calling out to him to set her free.  We wander the path as he seeks his own destination, something different from his brother’s.  And therein lies the conflict.

 

And They’re Bringing Guests!

Throughout the series’ three seasons, the writers brilliantly thread the theme of family loyalty, the bond of blood, and the ties that for better or worse, bind us together.  This theme not only runs through Seth and Richie’s stories, but through the Fuller family’s.  Seth and Richie kidnap them, and take to Mexico in a desperate, improvisational move.  In the process they test the bonds of family while revealing, and sometimes healing the pain and heartbreak that lies within.  Viewers delve deep into this relatable story, and that is what keeps the overall story grounded in the midst of Culebras and demons.

Everybody Wants Something

Expertly acted, brilliantly written, the story takes the audience places we’ve never even dreamed of, blurring the lines of right and wrong, and taking full advantage of the conflicts in human nature.  Our anti-heroes, Seth and Richie, long for freedom while being chased by the police.  They crave the acceptance and understanding of true love, but they shun anyone who comes close.

In the first season, Richie is lured to the biker bar by Santanico Pandemonium (a Culebra goddess imprisoned in the bar), but is drawn to Kate Fuller as he searches for answers to what his visions mean.  Kate’s ambivalent feelings take her from victim to active participant when she kisses Richie at the bar.  Seth is desperate to make the deal, but he can’t tear himself away from protecting Kate, and snarling at Richie for his obvious interest in her.  The takeaway?  Human beings are complicated.  Life is messy, especially when you’re fighting off snake vampires and drunk bikers.

Season one ends with two of our characters making it out of the maze beneath the bar, but that doesn’t mean the others are done for.  Everyone, it seems, has their own demons to face one way or another.  And the ones with fangs are just the beginning.

Watch all three seasons of “From Dusk till Dawn” on Netflix.

 

 

Melody Stewart

Melody Stewart is the founder of act.land and President of iactingstudioskc.com. She is a filmmaker in Kansas City.

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