This gory prequel captures the wild, anything-can-happen spirit of the original FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, even reproducing the first film's memorable closing shot. It avoids feeling like a mere rerun, however, by cleverly taking place nearly 100 years ago, around the turn of the century on the Texas-Mexico border. There a legendary outlaw gang, husband-and-wife evangelists, a village executioner's runaway daughter and real-life macabre author Ambrose Bierce (Parks), their assorted posses and pursuers wind up at the raucous, timeless, vampire-run saloon that ties these flicks together. Midway through, the motley characters must forget their quarrels and fight ferociously for their lives after the hideous bloodsuckers drop their disguises and begin to feast. The origin of one of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN's most memorable characters is revealed--even though actress Salma Hayek is replaced by unknown lookalike Celi--and fans of this series will drink it up, as well other undead westerns like SUNDOWN: THE VAMPIRE IN RETREAT.
This prequel takes us to Mexico in the 1870s, explaining the origin of Santanico Pandemonium, the character portrayed by Salma Hayek in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. Esmerelda (Celi) is the daughter of the local hangman (Morrison, ONCE WERE WARRIORS). She has come to watch her father execute Johnny Madrid (Leonardi), an outlaw whom she loves. A stray bullet frees Madrid from the noose, and soon enough the couple are on the run, hitching a stagecoach ride with a pair of missionaries (Gayheart and Lofton). Author and war veteran Ambrose Bierce (Parks) is unwittingly involved in the runaway couple's plan when they decide to rob his stagecoach. When they all converge on La Tetilla del Diablo, the site of the ribaldly named bar in the first film, the blood begins to flow and the tale comes full circle.