Set in the old west, post-Civil War, this third installment in the From Dusk Till Dawn series shows us that run-ins between Americans and the Mexican vampires have been going on for some time; as has Danny Trejo’s employment as a bartender.
After the odd detour that was ‘Texas Blood Money,’ ‘The Hangman’s Daughter’ goes back to the roots of what made the first one great; though it doesn’t quite achieve that greatness itself.
Once again, we have some outlaws, your typical Mexican banditos hiding out in the desert; as well a priest and his wife. New to the formula are an American writer (a fictionalized version of Ambrose Bierce), and a young wannabe outlaw who has come to Mexico hoping to apprentice under the leader of the banditos, Johnny Madrid.
I’m not sure what the writer was going for with Madrid. After saving the titular hangman’s daughter, in an apparent act of selfless empathy (even though he wouldn’t admit it) you think that he’s being set up as a roguish anti-hero, much like George Clooney’s character in the first one. But then there’s a scene about a third of the way through the movie where he pointlessly murders someone. It’s hard to redeem oneself after something like that, so his character development hits a bottleneck at that point.
Like the original, the bulk of the film is set in the Titty Twister, which at the time was called The Devil’s Nipple. It lacks the garish decoration, and looks instead like the ruined temple that it is. I like it more than the TT; as it has a Gothic and somewhat ‘alien’ feel that makes it inherently more imposing and threatening than a biker bar (of course, the biker bar facade allowed for the great reveal at the end of the first movie; so it had its merits, too).
The fighting is intense and bloody, though the giant cast (bandits, hangman’s posse, and various tag-alongs) makes it hard for anyone to stand out and have their ‘moment,’ which is important if the audience is to care when they eventually die.
The awkward bat puppets of the second film have been retired, and we have a return to the man-bat costumes of old. The make-up work doesn’t seem to be as detailed as that in the original, but since the vampires are constantly moving, the flaws are mostly hidden.
From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter lacks that extra little spark that Quintin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez brought to the original. But taken on its own, it’s fun little horror movie with enough blood, sex, and originality to make it worth seeing.
The Blu Ray, from Echo Bridge is cheap, so don’t expect much. Apparently, the aspect ratio was slightly trimmed, but the transfer is fairly good, especially considering the fact that there are four movies on one disc. There are no extras