I love sequels. The slime-o-rama of The Fly II. Talk show madness in Psycho IV: The Beginning. Rubber doll nookie in Bride of Chucky (aka. Child's Play 4). The dude from "Fantasy Island" wearing a phony He-Man chest in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Hell, slap a number on it ... I'LL WATCH IT. Alas, not all sequels are created equal. The ridiculous flying fish of Piranha II: The Spawning. The line-dancing yokels of Howling 7: New Moon Rising. But such is not the case for From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (2000, 94 minutes). This time around, Robert Rodriguez had his cousin Alvaro write the script and let P.J. Pesce ape his gun'n'gore style. The result is a smart sequel that delivers mucho bang for the peso.
The movie: Like the original, this is a two-headed beast, only about 100 years before. The first half is a rough and tumble Old West ride, the second is when the Mexican hooker vampires start gnawing on jugulars. Johnny Madrid (Marco Leonardi) is an outlaw who's about to face the good Lord thanks to the skills of The Hangman (Temuera Morrison). Only Johnny escapes his noose with the hangman's daughter Esmeralda (Ara Celi) in tow as insurance. You've also got Kentucky honey Rebecca Gayheart as the pious Mary Newlie. She and her weenie hubbie John (Lennie Loftin) are on a mission to distribute Bibles to heathens, and they happen to share a stagecoach with the great Michael Parks. As the writer- adventurer- drunkard Ambrose Bierce he's the best thing in the flick and absolutely steals every scene he's in. CineSchlockers will remember Mr. Parks' work with Charlie Bronson in Death Wish 5: The Face of Death and the two enormous talents of Julie Strain in Sorceress. A mental patient could tell you where the movie is headed, but it's how it gets there that's interesting. It's a tough-as-nails Western that also manages to be funny, but not jokey. The vampire melee at La Tetilla del Diablo (The Titty of the Devil, aka. The Titty Twister) doesn't quite equal the original -- but still manages to be memorable. Plus, we learn the origin of the luscious Salma Hayek's character, Satanico Pandemonium.
Notables: 20 breasts. 30 corpses. Cat O'Nine Tails fu. Iguana roasting. Exploding head. Boot knife attack. Two-fisted gun shooting. Fire breathing. One snake. Bowie knife through cranium. Multiple gun battles. Testicles tumble. Floppy rubber bat. Multiple diddling. Head tumbles. Blood slurping. Arms roll. Legs tumble. Lesbian tongue rasslin. Puking. Wiggling maggots. Multiple disembowelments. Vampire Pop Tarts.
Quotables: The Hangman makes small talk with Johnny, "Look at the eyes that will watch you swing from that rope. My ears will hear the crack of your neck breaking. My nose will smell the s@%#! in your pants. And my mouth will laugh as you die!" Ambrose talks religion with missionaries, "My singular critique of the Good Book is that its covers are too far apart." And last, but not least, the grinning vamp, Quixtla (Sonia Braga), who says, "We eat late around here."
Time codes: "Hey, no kicking! I mean it!" (10:59). An ode to Taxi Driver (20:20). Was that just Laura Ingalls as the Wedding Dress Whore? (56:45). A serious two-man bar fight (58:25). The big vampire chow-down sequence (1:02:25). Extremely horrifying dance number (1:06:20). Vampire loses the family jewels (1:23:40).
Audio/Video: A deep, rumbling Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The gunplay is especially good. The video is sharp and presented in its original widescreen (1.85:1) format.
Extras: A mildly amusing deleted scene involving Michael Parks' character telling his story to a guy (director P.J. Pesce) at a present-day bar. But that's all. No trailer.
Final thought: Overpriced, but a helluva flick thanks to an outstanding cast. The greatest bloodsucking-harlots Western ever shot in South Africa. Highly Recommended.
G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.