Retro watch–El Rey teams Rodriguez with Carpenter, Del Toro, and Tarantino

El Rey network logo

If you haven’t yet caught sight of the El Rey network on your cable line-up, make sure you stop and check it out.  From the mind of pulp film director Robert Rodriguez, known best for his Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Spy Kids, the Sin City movies, Grindhouse’s Planet Terror, and Machete, the El Rey network is a recently developed partnership between Rodriguez and Univision being picked up across the U.S. by Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and DirecTV, certain to have something entertaining for any fan of all-things-retro.  It’s tagline provides the short version of what you’ll find:  Where fans, aficionados and rebels come for their fix of bullets, blood and curated classics.  Its target is English-speaking Latino audiences, but it has a much broader appeal.

El Rey is the newest home for grindhouse movies, kung fu and other tough guy flicks, cult horror, and retro/classics.  Shows include tailored commercials and intentionally worn and grainy “bumpers” to give a dated feel, with familiar-sounding voiceover actors that highlight the series’ gritty and retro themes.  You’ll find classic series like The X-Files, Miami Vice, and Starsky and Hutch, and movies like John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, Steven Spielberg’s Duel, and kung-fu features like The Kid With the Golden Arm.

Rodriquez and Carpenter

The best from the network so far is original programming like The Director’s Chair, where director Robert Rodriguez interviews some of our favorite genre moviemakers.  The first guest in the series was John Carpenter, one of′s all-time favorite directors, known best for Halloween, but also for Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Fog, The Thing, Prince of Darkness, and They Live.   Rodriguez’s interview is a treat for Carpenter fans, providing insight and anecdotes from Carpenter chatting about his films.  And Rodriguez, who seems a young director at 46, goes all fanboy throughout his interview, which you rarely see in shows like this.  It works here, because if you’re watching this type of show you’re likely a fanboy or fangirl, too.

This month you’ll find the second episode of The Director’s Chair, featuring Guillermo del Toro, director of the Hellboy movies, Pan’s Labyrinth, Mimic, and Pacific Rim. 

El Rey movie poster

Following the del Toro episode will be a two-part interview with Rodriguez’s long-time friend and collaborator Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained).  According to the network, we can look forward to “Tarantino’s film career through the lens of their 20-year friendship, using never-before-seen personal footage to discuss topics from screenwriting and camera placement to Spaghetti Westerns and Kung Fu.”  The Director’s Chair with Quentin Tarantino part 1 premieres Wednesday, August 13, 8 p.m. Central and part 2 on Wednesday, August 27, at 8 p.m. Central.

El Rey also features original TV series, including the From Dusk Till Dawn, based on the vampire movie, and Matador, a crime drama.

Check out these previews for The Director’s Chair featuring John Carpenter:

and The Director’s Chair featuring Guillermo del Toro:

And here is a fun ad for the network:

Check the El Rey website here for TV and movie schedules.

C.J. Bunce

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