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From Dusk Till Dawn 3 (April 11/01)

After watching the stunningly awful sequel to From Dusk Till Dawn, I understandably held off on watching this one for a while. But word started to spread that this installment wasn't as bad as its predecessor, and was - in fact - almost as good as the original. That's not exactly so, but there's no denying that this is a huge improvement over part two.

The Hangman's Daughter, as it's called, follows a young man who escapes the hangman's noose after a mysterious stranger shoots the rope just as he's being hanged (though this is becoming a tired cliche, one can't help but enjoy the fact that said stranger shoots an innocent bystander who just happened to be hanging around directly behind the noose) and heads off with the hangman's daughter. The action quickly shifts to a familiar establishment called the Titty Twister, where - of course - Danny Trejo is working behind the bar. And worse yet, vampires are once again posing as beautiful prostitutes (even Santanico Pandemonium is here, but unfortunately Salma Hayek isn't playing the part).

This is a prequel to the first movie only in the sense that it occurs 100 years before the events of that movie. But there is no explanation of how that brothel came to be a vampire hangout; in fact, the movie ends exactly the same way as From Dusk Till Dawn did (it's practically the exact same shot). But the film is still pretty entertaining, with some great gore scenes.

The acting is about what you would expect out of a straight-to-video flick, with no one in the cast a particular standout. But Michael Parks, as real-life writer Ambrose Bierce, looks like he's having a great time in probably the most substantial role he's played in over a decade (anyone remember his turn as a cheesy villain in Death Wish V?) And Orlando Jones is here, too, as a hapless traveling salesman that's quickly bitten and transformed into a vampire.

So what's the point of watching this when you could watch the far superior first one? There isn't, really, unless you've seen the first one too many times to count and want something slightly similar.

out of

© David Nusair