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DVD Film Review: Near Dark (1987) Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Near Dark (1987)
Near Dark (1987)
F/M Production Company

Oh God, (pun intended) please not another vampire movie or television series, no mas. The concept has been watered down to that of a glass of iced tea left sitting in the blazing sun all day. Somehow, over time, the aura of the blood thirsty creature has  been neutered and morphed into a sensitive, misread dead guy with pointy teeth who falls in love and refuses to bite anyone (only when defending the films' protagonist, of coarse).The intention of this review is to bring you back in time to when  vampires made us fear the dark, made us fear the things that go bump in the night.

Near Dark takes place in the modern west and focuses around a young cowboy named Caleb Colton (Adrian Padsar) who, one night, is seduced by a beautiful girl named Mae (Jenny Wright). We soon discover the young horny teen is a vampire and elects to make her attractive male counterpart a life partner by sinking her teeth into his neck.  Happy with her new catch, Mae introduces Colton to her family: a band of ruthless vampires led by the elders, Jessie Hooker (Lance Henriksen) and Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein). To round out the undead wrecking crew,  Bill Paxton portrays an ultra aggressive, alpha-vamp named Severen and Joshua John Miller plays a creepy, pint-sized blood sucker named Homer. Together, the five travel the back roads of the South by night with one intention: to feed.

More than 20 years before director/writer Kathryn Bigelow made a splash with The Hurt Locker, she made a small ripple with an underrated cult film, Near Dark. The script scores big points for originality-- it bucks the trend by never mentioning the word 'vampire' ,by never showing a set of fangs.  The cast do justice to the screenplay by creating a unsettling velvet mood and delivering a well measured dose of blood shed, violence and humor. The acting is stellar, and we can thank James Cameron for this. He was married to Bigelow at the time and three of the cast members (Paxton, Henriksen and Goldstein) from his acclaimed sequel, Aliens, ended up headlining this Indy film. It's not too hard to connect the dots.

You get a true feel for the characters in the film and will remember standout performances by Paxton, Henriksen and Miller. The night scenes are crisp and razor sharp, almost as edgy as  the clan's need to feed (remember the bar scene). In one of the best horror films of the 80's, Bigelow pulls off what most vamp flicks will never: a modern love story infused one helluva gruesome film. The people who unleashed the awful Twilight Saga should stop what they are doing,rent this immediately and copy it... before releasing their third flop.

This is "The Lost Boys" meets "Natural Born Killers".  Nuf' said.

 Rating: 9 out of 10 Ghouls


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