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From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series by Carl Thiel (Review)

posted May 5, 2015, 12:57 PM by Kaya Savas

Robert Rodriguez blew up in popularity after the debut of his Mexican western, Desperado. The sequel and pseudo remake of his low budget El Mariachi immediately cemented his style and voice as a filmmaker in a time where studios allowed auteurs to flourish. His next feature would be a horror western genre mashup that would go on to be a cult hit, and spawn several sequels. From Dusk Till Dawn featured a sharp screenplay from Rodriguez’s good friend Quentin Tarantino, and was a balls to the wall fun time. Now fast forward 18 years later. The studios have risen again and most auteur filmmakers have been forced out of filmmaking in favor for studio franchise tentpoles. Instead, auteur filmmakers have found a great home in TV which can be argued to be in some sort of New Wave movement. From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series is a direct adaptation of Rodriguez’s original film. It also features the bold stylings of composer Carl Thiel, who is Rodriguez’s go-to collaborator.

Since Rodriguez is an all in one filmmaker (writer/director/producer/composer/editor/cinematographer), it’s usually expected that he’s involved in all creative roles of his projects. Carl has co-composed some amazing scores with Robert. But here Carl is the sole voice of the series, and this has allowed him to create a really focused soundscape for the show. You’ll notice some of the usual hits from Robert Rodriguez’s band Chingon, but the body of the score from Thiel does an awesome job of crafting a more atmospheric and textural backdrop to the show. This isn’t the normal grindhouse rocking score we heard in stuff like Machete or Planet Terror from Carl (although it carries some elements of it), but it’s definitely more low key. Thiel does some great builds with rhythms and brings in melodic textures that weave around them. There is definitely a little old school John Carpenter style feel to it at times, which is a great play on the genre. The score’s structure definitely allows itself to mold better to the season-long story, and for a TV series the music participates a lot. There are definitely some character nuances that go beyond the stylistic voice of the music. While the lack of bold themes to anchor it down may prove a little disconnecting at first, you will find the score is doing much more under the surface rather than riding on top of it.

From Dusk Till Dawn sees Carl Thiel exploring a more rhythmic and subtle melodic approach that creates the sonic world of season 1’s narrative to exist in. The lack of strong thematic material makes it harder to grasp at first, but once things get going you’ll find the score is doing some awesome things that are meant to spread across all 10 episodes of season 1. Thiel’s bold stylistic voice as a composer gives the show’s music an identity, and really pulls you into Rodriguez’s gritty Tex-Mex flavored vampire world. The score and the show takes itself a little more seriously than the film it’s based off of, but there’s still plenty of fun to have here.