From the earliest days of cinema two of the most popular film genres have been Gothic Horror movies and the Western, both have been defined by a distinctive character and both of them received an enormous stylistic shot in the visual arm in the 1950s and 60s with the emergence of Hammer Horror in the UK and the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone and his imitators in Italy and Spain. Leone’s Spaghettis even incorporated a nice fat dose of Catholic Gothic into the Western with their emphasis on cemeteries, mission churches and coffin makers.
What has puzzled me over the years is that these two genres have very rarely crossed paths, which really isn’t so strange an idea given that in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula one of the Count’s opponents is Quincy Morris, a Texan who’s a bit tasty with a Bowie Knife and a gun, but he has rarely made it into any of the films (Cuppola’s Bram stoker’s Dracula where he was played by Billy Campbell being a notable exception) .
So as part of my research I decided to take another look at the third installment of Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk till Dawn trilogy, From Dusk till Dawn 3 the Hangman’s Daughter which as luck would have it can be yours for as little a 1 UK penny (plus p & p) from Amazon.
Basically what you get is a retread of the first film only set in the revolutionary Mexico if 1914. American supernatural writer Ambrose Bierce is on his way to join forces with Pancho Villa as he passes through a town where a hanging is taking place. Bandit Johnny Madrid (Marco Leonardi) is on the gallows and is saved when cross dressing outlaw Reece (Jordana Spiro) shoots through the hangman’s rope. Stopping only to kidnap the hangman’s daughter Esmeralda Johnny makes his escape.
Cutting to the chase Johnny, Esmeralda and his gang, Bierce, the hangman and his posse and Reece all converge at the From Dusk till Dawn vampire bar hosted by dear old Danny Trejo and just as in the first film the characters have to put their differences aside to survive the night, which of course not all of them will.
Yes its all a bit predictable, but what I enjoyed were the Sergio Leone touches from little things like the close-ups that focus on facial tics or spurs clanking with exaggerated sound effects as people walk and the Morricone flourishes to the score, to the massive big steals like cutting the hangman’s rope with a gunshot as Clint Eastwood’s character Blondie does with Tuco (Eli Wallach) in Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and the scene where Johnny has Reece strung up in the cemetery with her feet balances precariously on a tombstone echoing Tuco in the final scene of the same movie as he waits for Blondie’s life saving shot, only for Reece it never comes.
Essentially it’s a comic book rehash of the first film, but with some nice little nuggets for the Spaghetti Western movie fan to look out for so From Dusk Till Dawn 3 the Hangman’s Daughter gets a 555/666 from me