This Halloween, we’re doing a special double feature of Cinemavino. Those two episodes will cover two very different movies, and you can find a capsule review of both in this space.
From Dusk till Dawn (1996)
Hybrid horror from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, where two very different halves add up to a very strange whole. During the first act, Tarantino builds a grisly, harrowing kidnapping tale, with fast-burning intensity. Sadistic, bank-robbing brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) take a family hostage to secure safe passage into Mexico. The hostages include fallen-pastor patriarch Harvey Keitel and his naive daughter (Juliette Lewis).
This storyline seems destined for a lean and mean conclusion, when Tarantino chucks a hangin’ curveball: Midway through his ballad of Clyde and Clyde, Dawn transforms into an over-the-top horror epic. The kidnappers and hostages end up at the Titty Twister, a sweaty biker bar that seems like a good place to get pink-eye. Much to their shock, the brothers discover that this dive is actually a nest of thirsty vampires, and now the crew has to fight through waves of undead.
Nothing about any of this should work, but it does. The opening of the film is a bit heavy, but when that fever breaks, man does it ever. Rodriguez rides the story right off the tracks, laughing maniacally all the way. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself chuckling at the sheer goofiness of the Dawn‘s conclusion. If you’re looking for gory, cartoonish fun for Halloween, this is just the bag of junk you need.
108 min. R.
Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
The filmmakers warned us by including Stupid in the title, but even they might be underselling. This Ernest is violent, billowing stupidity in full eruption.
In this installment, American’s favorite denim-clad moron (Jim Varney) bumbles into the curse of an ancient troll. Basically, the children of a small town will petrified in the name of the troll’s evil plans, unless Ernest can save the day. Or something like that.
I won’t sugarcoat it: This film is bad. The jokes don’t land. Four movies in, Ernest’s schtick is getting tired. The trolls are too scary for kids, and the story is too idiotic for their parents. If there’s a reason to go down this hee-haw road, it’s for childhood nostalgia. Even that wears out pretty fast.
91 min. PG.