The famous line, "No thanks, I've already had a wife", was improvised by George Clooney. Director Robert Rodriguez never intended it to be in the final cut, but after the studio included the line in a trailer, he felt obliged to include it in the film.
Salma Hayek has a real fear of snakes and had always refused to be near them. Naturally when she read the script, she knew her phobia would prevent her from taking the part. Robert Rodriguez conned her into thinking that Madonna was ready to nab the part instead so Hayek spent two months with therapists to overcome her fear.
The first script that Quentin Tarantino was paid to write, for the mere sum of fifteen hundred dollars. Special Effects Technician Robert Kurtzman asked him to write a screenplay based on his story in return for providing the ear-slicing scene in Reservoir Dogs (1992).
Originally, "Satanico Pandemonium" was called "Blonde Death". Quentin Tarantino decided to go for a Latino/Mexican star, so he used Salma Hayek after seeing her in Desperado (1995). The name "Satanico Pandemonium" came from the title of a gory Mexican horror movie (Satanico Pandemonium: La Sexorcista (1975)) that Tarantino had seen on the shelves of the video store, in which he worked.
WRITER TRADEMARK (Quentin Tarantino): (trunk shot): When the opening credits finish, and the Geckos retrieve their hostage, we look from the woman's point of view from inside the trunk of the car up at the Geckos. This is, of course, the familiar type of angle Tarantino puts in all of his films.
The name of the movie is taken from the signs found on drive-ins. These signs indicate the length of the shows, which ran "from dusk till dawn". The movie is full of references to midnight movies and films which were often intended for teenagers to watch late at night from their cars.
George Clooney was picked partly because of his work on ER (1994). Quentin Tarantino liked the irony that Clooney had gone from saving people at the E.R. to playing a character who sends people to the E.R.
Originally, the Titty Twister massacre and fight scenes were longer and lot gorier, with more deaths of vampires and humans before they were cut for rating and pacing. Some workprint footage shows all of the uncut scenes.
Originally, Quentin Tarantino pitched this to John Travolta the same time as he was preparing to film Pulp Fiction (1994). Travolta was not interested in working on a vampire movie, and wanted to work on Pulp Fiction (1994) instead.
The exterior set for the Titty Twister burned down at one point. This caused great delays in filming. Other delays were caused by dust storms and the threat of union action because of shooting with a non-union crew.
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Robert Rodriguez): [Trejo]: Tattooed tough guy Danny Trejo also appears in Rodriguez's Desperado (1995), Spy Kids (2001), Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002), Spy Kids 3: Game Over (2003), Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), Planet Terror (2007), Grindhouse (2007), Machete (2010), Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), and Machete Kills (2013). In all these movies except for Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) (where he played "Cucuy"), his character had a "knife" name: Navajas in Desperado (1995) (navajas is Spanish for "folding knives", which his character used as throwing weapons), Razor Charlie, Isador "Machete" Cortez in the Spy Kids film franchise, and another Machete in the connected films Planet Terror (2007), Grindhouse (2007), Machete (2010), and Machete Kills (2013).
WRITER TRADEMARK (Quentin Tarantino): (bare foot fetish): Richard (Quentin Tarantino) often finds himself involved with womens' feet. Richard is seen obsessing over Kate's feet when he holds her at gunpoint in the RV, He drinks the alcohol spilling from Satanico Pandemonium's foot, and even tells the hostage to take off her shoes before she gets into the bed with him, even though he is still wearing his.
The characters of Sex Machine and Frost were originally written the other way around: Sex Machine was to be the muscular, scarred, leather-wearing biker, while Frost was to be a more slender (yet deadly) individual.
In the Titty Twister bar near the beginning, and near the end of the film when Seth Gecko (George Clooney) meets with Carlos the gangster (Richard Anthony "Cheech" Marin), he is offered a beer. He's told by the vampire bartender and Carlos that he or they have Mexican and domestic. Since they're in Mexico, that means all they have is Mexican beer.
In 2001, prolific French video game developer Cryo (also known as Cryo Interactive Entertainment) released on PC From Dusk Till Dawn (2001), their action/horror third person shooter tie-in video game that was very loosely based on this movie. The game immediately fell into obscurity. The plot was set after the events on the movie, and followed Seth Gecko, who's arrested and sent to a tanker-turned-high-security-prison that's anchored near the coast. When vampires and their familiar leader attack the prison, Seth gets a chance to try to escape, but also be a hero and save several survivors, he runs into and solve a puzzle or two, all while gunning down bloodsuckers on his way to freedom.
This marks the first time in a film scripted by Quentin Tarantino and that Harvey Keitel co-stars with him, that they're on opposite sides of the law. In Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994) they were both criminals. In this film, Tarantino is a criminal, and Keitel is a former preacher, although he still wears the clothes and a hat. Incidentally, they both wear glasses in this film.
Juliette Lewis was cast because of her friendship with Quentin Tarantino. She previously appeared in Natural Born Killers (1994), whose original screenplay was written by Tarantino (his draft would eventually be heavily revised and he ultimately received a "Story By" credit), and Tarantino liked her so much, that he suggested she play Kate.
When the Geckos and Fullers are drinking at the Titty Twister, you can see a neon Chango beer sign behind Seth. Chango was the beer served at the Mexican dive bar in Desperado (1995), directed by Robert Rodriguez. Quentin Tarantino also had a small role in that film, and his character was served the same beer. Furthermore, the bartender that served Tarantino's character Chango beer, was played by Richard Anthony "Cheech" Marin.
Jacob (Harvey Keitel) and Richie (Quentin Tarantino) talk to each other once in the whole movie, when Richie asked Jacob, "if he can borrow his ice bucket". Throughout the rest of the movie, he only talks to Seth.
At the beginning of the film, Pete Bottoms (John Hawkes) of Benny's World of Liquor mentioned to Seth Gecko (George Clooney) that he should "get a fucking Academy Award" for acting natural. Fifteen years later, Hawkes was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in Winter's Bone (2010).
Fred Williamson plays a character who mentions he was in the Vietnam War in 1972. This is ironic, considering that Fred's first film appearance was in MASH (1970). While that film was set during the Korean War, it's said it was written for those with loved ones, and for those serving in Vietnam as a form of comedic relief.
In the screenplay, Frost (Fred Williamson) was supposed to face off Razor Charlie (Danny Trejo) with the pool cue, and Sex Machine (Tom Savini) was supposed to hurl vampires onto the legs of a table to kill them. In the finished film, their actions are reversed.
Quentin Tarantino wrote the script as a way to showcase the talents of a special effects company called KNB. In return, KNB agreed to provide the special effects for the "ear scene" in Reservoir Dogs (1992) free of charge.
Greg Nicotero: The long haired biker, from whom Sex Machine (Tom Savini) steals the beer, is the Make-up Effects Supervisor. His character makes a further appearance in a deleted scene where in he is brutally murdered by Santanico Pandemonium when she sits on his lap (in human form) and seduces him into a false sense of security. Then a second vampiric snake-like mouth erupts from her own and bites his head off in an explicit fashion.
There was a special make-up effect, in which one of the stripper-vampires has her stomach open into a large mouth. She shoves a bar attendant's head into the large mouth, and bites it off. The effect was so graphic, that Quentin Tarantino didn't even want to see it. The scene can be accessed in the deleted scenes section on the Special Edition DVD.
In the original script, Quentin Tarantino had all of the Fullers and both Geckos survive the ordeal, but changed it to only one of each group surviving, because he felt it'd be more exciting with victims.