Santanico Pandemonium

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Santanico Pandemonium/Esmeralda/Kisa
From Dusk Till Dawn character
From Dusk Till Dawn soundtrack.jpg
Santanico Pandemonium, portrayed by Salma Hayek, as featured on the cover of the soundtrack for the original film.
First appearance From Dusk till Dawn (1996)
Created by Quentin Tarantino
Robert Kurtzman
Robert Rodriguez
Alvaro Rodriguez
Portrayed by Salma Hayek
Ara Celi
Eiza Gonzalez
Aliases Esmeralda, Kisa
Species Dhampir
Gender Female
Occupation Erotic dancer
Title Queen Vampire of the Titty Twister
Family "Hangman" (father) and the High Priestess Vampire, Quixla (mother).
Significant other(s) Johnny Madrid, Richie Gecko
Nationality Mexican

Santanico Pandemonium, formerly Esmeralda or Kisa, is a fictional character from the From Dusk till Dawn film series. She is the primary Queen Vampire of the "Titty Twister", a strip club in the middle of a desolate part of Mexico. In the film series, she is portrayed by Salma Hayek and Ara Celi. She is played by Eiza González in From Dusk till Dawn: The Series.[1][2][3] The name of Santanico is based on the Mexican Nunsploitation film Satánico pandemonium.[4] Although the original film was not very successful at the box office, the film has achieved a cult status because Hayek's role as Santanico was generally well received by viewers.[5]


Santanico Pandemonium is most often seen in her human form, which resembles a beautiful Mexican erotic dancer. She has the ability to transform from human to vampire and vice versa. While in vampire form, her face transforms to have reptilian-like features and sharp teeth. She often uses her human form to seduce her victims before biting them. She is a barefooter and is most often seen wearing a red/black bra and underwear combo, occasionally also wearing a crown and a cape with a snake around her neck. She is vulnerable to sunlight.

From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter[edit]

Born a Dhampir named Esmeralda in Mexico in 1894, she was the daughter of the Hangman and the High Priestess Vampire, Quixla. Esmeralda knew nothing about her mother or what had happened to her. Instead, she was raised by her father, the local Hangman with an eerie past. During her childhood the Hangman attempted to kill Esmeralda on several occasions, but she kept coming back.

In 1913, when Esmeralda is nineteen years old, she is kidnapped by Johnny Madrid (a local outlaw), after a daring gallows escape with the help of Reece, an American outlaw. With the hangman, who fears the worst for his daughter, and a local posse on their trail, Madrid meets with his gang. Together, they rob a stagecoach containing American author Ambrose Bierce and newly-wed couple John and Mary Newlie. As night falls they go to a whorehouse that would later become the Titty Twister in From Dusk till Dawn. Esmeralda soon discovers the truth of her heritage after being turned by her mother Quixla and grandmother, an ancient vampire. She later hypnotizes her father, kisses him, then quickly feeds on his neck, turning him. She begs Madrid to stay, but Quixla lunges at Madrid and Bierce as they tried to escape. Seeing this, the Hangman, who is now a vampire, opens the locked door, which kills Quixla in the sunlight. Madrid and Bierce flee, ignoring Esmeralda's pleas.

From Dusk Till Dawn[edit]

Esmeralda — now known as Santanico Pandemonium, vampire heiress — takes her place as vampire queen and the main attraction at the Titty Twister. Throughout the century she puts on big shows at the bar, as seen when the Geckos arrived to await the arrival of their contact in 1996. After her show is over, Chet the bouncer, having recovered from his beating, enters the bar with a group of people looking to fight the Geckos. This leads to a fight; Richie is stabbed in the hand by Razor Charlie, and Seth takes out his gun and starts shooting people.

But as their backs are turned, Santanico morphs into a horrible creature, jumps on Richie's back and sinks her fangs into his neck, killing him. This spur-of-the-moment surge of bloodlust, triggered by his bleeding hand, sparks the other vampires’ feeding frenzy. She is killed in the original film when she is impaled by a chandelier shot down by Seth — after threatening to turn him into her vampire slave.

Santanico kills two characters in the original movie — most notably Richard Gecko. The other is featured in the deleted scenes section of the laserdisc and DVD of From Dusk till Dawn where Santanico (in her human form) sits on the lap of a dazed and wounded biker (played by Greg Nicotero of KNB Effects). As she is holding his gaze for a moment, a second mouth — resembling a monstrous snake — erupts out of her mouth and bites his head off.

Music video[edit]

She's Just Killing Me, a song by rock band ZZ Top and their first single released from their 1996 album, Rhythmeen. The song is featured in the film From Dusk till Dawn and on the soundtrack which also includes Mexican Blackbird by ZZ Top. The music video shows ZZ Top playing in a bar then cuts to video clips from the film From Dusk till Dawn featuring George Clooney and Salma Hayek as Seth Gecko and Santanico Pandemonium, respectively.


In the parallel universe 2014 TV series From Dusk till Dawn: The Series, Santanico Pandemonium was born 500 years prior to the first season. She was kept by her tribe to use for blood offerings to their gods. When she tried to run away (feeling guilty from the sacrifices made in her name) she was chased and forced to become a vampire. She was imprisoned in a temple and became the leader of the vampire blood cult — eventually becoming the "queen vampire" at the Titty Twister bar that was built onto the temple in modern times to lure in travelers. Throughout the final episodes of season one, Santanico lures Seth and Richard Gecko into the 'Titty Twister', then officially converts Richard Gecko into a vampire when suffering loss of blood. She then persuades Gecko to help her escape the Titty Twister when she forces Richard and his brother Seth to complete a test through an ancient labyrinth under the Twister in hope of being freed. The Geckos survive their test, as Richard swallows the serpent containing her blood, making him her prince. Carlos Madrigal betrays Santanico by siding with Narciso, a messenger of the vampire blood cult and the nine lords of the vampire blood cult. He kidnaps Richard, wanting Seth to bring him the $30 million in oil bonds. A final battle ensues, before the sun rises to cleanse the bar/temple of its cult. Santanico is freed from the Twister and escapes with Richard Gecko to the United States.

In season two, more of Santanico’s past is revealed when Lord Amancio Malvado, the head of the nine lords of the vampire blood cult is shown at the Twister Saloon (before fully established as the ‘Titty Twister’) informs Santanico that her real name is actually Kisa. He also attempts to get Santanico to forget about her human past life (before she was known as ‘Santanico Pandemonium’). Santanico is implied to be sexually abused by Malvado, as well as Carlos Madrigal, who has a romantic fixation with her. Also in season two, Santanico is viewed by other vampires as a form of a goddess. Towards the end of season two, Santanico officially finds Amancio Malvado at his new hideout, a bar named ‘Jacknife Jed’s’; however, she is poisoned by Malvado and falls into an unconscious state; Mavaldo attempts to leave with her for 'El Rey', before she eventually regains her consciousness. She eventually kills Malvado, then ends her association with the Geckos and departing into a seemingly new life.

In season three, it is revealed by Seth and Richard Gecko that Santanico is now living in Piedras Negras, who ran an underground fight ring. She was implied to be in a relationship with a human, a woman named Manola. The Geckos attempt to persuade Santanico to join them to help them fight various demons who have escaped from the ancient labyrinth of the Titty Twister and to persuade remaining vampires to join them also.


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