Hey, remember that time when vampires would kill people and drink their blood? If you’re under twenty, then there’s a chance that you may think that all vampires do is mope and play baseball with their family. Well, you’re WRONG. Also, I’m sorry, the public education system did you a disservice. If you’re a fan of vampire movies, then you know that the 1980′s and 1990′s were some of the best times to be alive if you liked vampires. Near Dark wasn’t very popular in 1987, when it came out, but it’s become a cult classic and is definitely worth watching.
Adrian Pasdar stars as Caleb, a young man in a small midwestern town.
He runs into a young drifter named Mae (Jenny Wright) one night who bites him, after he gets a bit rapey. Seriously, guys, don’t be like Caleb.
Caleb gets home so late that the sun is coming up. You notice he’s starting to smoke until the dirtiest, grossest looking Winnebago ever pulls up in front of him and kidnaps Caleb. It turns out that Mae’s a vampire and her vampire family is half the cast of Aliens. Bill Paxton, aKa Hudson, plays Severin, the cool sociopath.
Lance Henriksen and Jenette Goldstein (aKa Bishop the android and Vasquez) play the couple Jesse and Diamondback.
Joshua John Miller rounds out the cast as Homer, the child vampire. You may remember him as Louise’s little brother in the cult classic Teen Witch. This vampire family basically makes up for how milquetoast Caleb and Mae are.
They kidnap Caleb to see if he can be a part of their family. They basically roam throughout the country, stealing cars and shooting up bars. I like this unique take on the vampire mythos, where they’re basically dirty drifters living like addicts. That being said, I think that the addiction metaphor was a little too heavy-handed. Also, the movie has some serious pacing issues. The first forty-five minutes are almost infuriating although the last forty-five minutes rock. The movie is actually directed by Katheryn Bigelow, you may recognize her as the woman winning all the awards for The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. It’s one of her first movies, which I guess explains the pacing issues. Plus, she was friends with James Cameron then, before she married him, and he recommended the ensemble of Henriksen, Goldstein, and Paxton. So there’s that, thanks James Cameron. Seriously, because they do an awesome job playing the grossest vampires you’ve ever seen. I’ll admit, I loved seeing non-aristocratic vampires. I love Anne Rice, but it’s like all her vampires are rich by default. I just feel bad that I can’t introduce Homer to Claudia.
Even though this movie is 26-years-old it still feels refreshing. Probably because most vampire movies today seem to be aimed at teens and are pretty neutered. These vampires are brutal. I wasn’t kidding when I said they basically slaughter an entire bar. My favorite scene is when Jesse gets shot and he spits up the bullets and hands them back to the person who shot him.
Plus, Lance Henriksen makes this face.
He also has a magnificent rat-rail. Why isn’t Lance Henriksen in every movie, dammit?
So, watch this movie if you want a different take on the vampire story. I was mostly neutral to it when I first saw it but it’s actually grown on me. I really like it now.
- Scarina was born in 1823 in the Hudson River Valley. She likes these magic-lantern shows you call "movies" very much. As weird as some of these movies are, she still thinks history can be much more strange--try looking up the Calico Indians, a history of feral children, or the Hartford circus fire of 1944. Some of her non-horror related favorite things include; scratching kitties on their chins, the Civil War, actually make that war history in general, especially World War Two and Vietnam eras, burlesque shows, Guinness beer, and funny cartoons like Archer.
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