From Dusk Till Dawn Season 1 Review “Pandemonium”

From Dusk Till Dawn

On the latest episode of “From Dusk Till Dawn,” we finally got what we came for, on pretty much every level. From Santanico’s “Pandemonium” and her sexy dancing and general bad-assery, to the full-on gore-a-palooza that followed, this was all win, all the time. Sure, there were peaks and valleys, but you need those to truly appreciate everything else, and even those scenes were reasonably engaging.

For one, we finally got more of the show’s mythos laid out for us, and it wasn’t too needlessly elaborate when all was said and done. Basically, everyone worships a snake goddess and can turn into snake/human-hybrids. They feed on humans, with an emphasis on collecting their blood, which the bar conveniently serves as a sort of pipeline to drain everyone’s victims down to a central location, with a people grinder helping things along their way when mere gravity doesn’t do the trick. There’s also nine counselors, each of whom represent the “Lords of the Night.” That’s about it, really.

So, they’re less vampires than a combination of that and a snake and a human, which may help to explain why Carlos can walk around in the daylight, but if that holds true for all of the beasties, then the ending of the film as we know it won’t be used here. Not that I imagine they were going to wrap things up completely like the movie did, or we wouldn’t have a show anymore, and I assume they want to keep going for at least another season, if not more, so the real test will be how they set up the next season, and what direction they head with the premise.

As it stands, this was the money shot, with tons of great gore gags from the special effects crew that were worth the price of admission alone. My favorites included: the stomach slash and arm rip in the first attack, along with the throat bite that caused blood to hit the camera head-on, literally and figuratively; when the vampsnake (or snakepire, if you prefer) pulled the guys’ heads back and opened them up like Pez dispensers; the jaw rip-off; Scott’s mad pole skills (not to be confused with the vampstrippers’ also-impressive pole skills); the eye stake after Richie’s bomb went off; the vampsnake with the long tongue that snatched things; and, of course, Katie’s chainsaw attack/Ash moment. All awesome and eminently rewindable, which I did repeatedly.

I’m with the criticism that was up in arms about Jake Busey actually being not only an “Indiana Jones”-type, but “Sex Machine” to boot. The former is fine, but Busey is no Tom Savini, as if anyone else could be. It would have been cool if it’d been, say, Greg Nicotero, or another name FX guy, keeping the whole FX-guy-gone-actor thing going, but I don’t know that it completely ruined the episode for me. The crotch gun-cam was amusing, as was the bit where the frog-tongued snakepire snatched said gun, and I laughed when Seth termed the nutty professor “Indy-with-a-cock-gun.” Tanner was more exposition guy than bad-ass, but what are you gonna do? “I shot my load,” indeed.

That was about it, really, save the expected pop culture references, which here included “The Cisco Kid,” “Scooby-Doo,” “The Godfather,” “West Side Story,” “The Warriors,” and, of course, “Indiana Jones.” The jokes were a bit too easy this time around, with lots of the expected one-liners as all hell broke loose, but it is what it is. Who cares, as long as Robert Rodriguez, who directed once again, piled on the gore gags, am I right? And he did, big time.

The real question, of course, is where we head from here. Sure, we’ve got the expected showdown between the Geckos and Carlos and Santanico, but what else can we expect? Where will the show go in its second season, which has already been green-lighted? A lot will depend on how it ends, and what the set-up is, so hopefully RR and Co. have a solid one in store for us.

What did you think of “From Dusk Till Dawn”? Was it everything you hoped it would be, in terms of this episode in particular? Were you disappointed by Busey as “Sex Machine”? Who would you have liked to see in the role instead, if so? What direction do you hope things go in, in the end? Sound off below, and watch out for those snakepire/vampsnakes!