Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Out of the three FROM DUSK TILL DAWN films HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER is my least favorite.  That should come as some surprise to those who know me because I love the concept of a vampire western and part 3 takes that concept literally.  HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER is a prequel to the first film with the setting in the late 1800's or early 1900's when real westerns take place.  I have two big issues with part 3.  The first is that the story is more of a repeat of the first film with it starting out like a real western and ending as a horror movie.  Say what you will about TEXAS BLOOD MONEY at least it was an original story.  How many movies are out there about vampires robbing a bank?  None as far as I know.  My second problem is with how weird and uncomfortable the film gets when the vampire carnage begins.  This movie gets weird, folks and I mean not in a good way.

Ambrose Bierce is a writer and former solider looking for Pancho Villa  to help with the Mexican Revolution.  Johnny Madrid is an outlaw who has just escaped the Hangman and has taken his daughter, Esmeralda as a willing hostage.  After Johnny and his gang rob Ambrose's stage coach and leave him out in the middle of nowhere with two missionaries he finds a bar and brothel out in the middle of the desert.  Johnny and his bandits also find the bar along with the Hangman and his posse looking for him and his daughter, Esmeralda.  Esmeralda discovers that she has a strange connection to the bar.  Of course we all know the bar is run by vampires.  As the vampires attack, the survivors escape by wandering aimlessly in the back tunnels of the bar until they magically end up where they first started so the movie can be over soon.  Yeah, you can kind of tell they didn't know exactly how to bring the characters back full circle to reach the climax of the movie.

There is a lot to like in HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER.  The cast is strong with Michael Parks as the often drunk Ambrose Bierce and Marco Leonardi as the cutthroat with a sense of skewed morals Johnny Madrid.  These two are the film's foundation.  There are some great moments too that you wouldn't find in any other movie.  For instance the stage coach robbery scene is a standout simply because the coach's drivers are a mute and a blind man.  The two work together as one to fight off with desperadoes the best they can with the mute driving and the blind man using his sense of hearing to shoot.  I also like the idea of Ambrose being haunted by his future death.  The movie starts off with a dream sequence showing Bierce getting shot from a firing squad.  Throughout the film he is haunted by strange visions of that moment.  At least I think his future death is being foretold.  What the heck do I know.

With all the great moments, bats on strings fun and red and green goo thrown about the movie still somehow manages to screw things up with the vampires.  In particular the head mistress of the bar/brothel.  The camera lingers way too long on her as if we are suppose to find her extremely seductive and sexual.  I hate to say it.  She isn't.  There is nothing worse than a movie trying to pass someone off as "hot" when they clearly are not.  Anyone see CLERKS 2?  She has this tendency to lick blood from time to time and at one point regurgitates blood so another vampire can taste it.  It makes for some uncomfortable watching.  Too much tongue action.  The first thing the head mistress does when she meets Esmeralda is lick the wounds on her back.  Really?  How is that for a 'Hello'?  She really doesn't pose much of a threat.  She just looms about making everything weird for everyone.  The head mistress turns Esmeralda into Santanico Pandemonium with some bizarre ritual at the end of the movie that involves a naked vampire grandma.  We get to see grandma's "down there parts" if you know what I mean.  Another thing to mention is how do vampires age?  I thought it was implied that vampires never age since Danny Trejo is back playing the same character he played in the first FROM DUSK TILL DAWN.  Maybe she was a grandma when she turned but I doubt it.  Oh, well.  Who cares?

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 3: HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER has many things that work in it's favor.  It is a somewhat creative film with some strong characters and violence.  There is enough here to entertain.  The problem is that the few problems the movie does have hurts the overall feel of the movie.  In the end we really didn't need to see the story of how Santanico Pandemonium came to be head B-Word of the Titty Twister.  Still like part 2, HANGMAN"S DAUGHTER is a mostly enjoyable monster movie even if it is not nearly as good as the first one.


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