31 Days of Horror Movies: Near Dark - Mania.com

Mania's 31 Days of Horror Movies

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  • Rated: R
  • Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton
  • Written By: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red
  • Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow
  • Genre: Vampire
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Series:

31 Days of Horror Movies: Near Dark

Day 3

By Robert T. Trate     October 03, 2013
Source: Mania.com

Near Dark (1987)
© Near Dark Joint Venture
Halloween is a special time. It is the one time of year when everyone gives of themselves. What they give can be anything from candy to a scare. We thought this October, we here at Mania would give you 31 Horror Films for the 31 days of October. Now, many of you will know these films. Some of you, may not. Get ready for 31 days of Horror Films that will run gauntlet from scary to campy, from horrific to down right ridiculous. Happy Halloween from Mania!
Caleb, Adrian Pasdar (Heroes), picks up a mysterious girl, Jenny Wright, one night and she gets him involved with her family, a band thieves that just happens to be Vampires.

Near Dark (1987) is a more realistic and darker portrayal of the modern day Vampire.  Surprisingly enough, the word “Vampire” is never spoken or implied in the film and we never see one set of fangs. There is biting, however, and the drinking of blood is clearly seen as their method of survival.  Near Dark isn’t as whimsical or grandiose as the The Lost Boys (1987).  It is, at its heart, a story about a twisted family and their run from the law.  They just happen to be Vampires, too.   

Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) was a woman directing a brutal film at a time when you didn’t see many woman directors, let alone see one direct a film about Vampires.   Her camera work and style stand the test of time and she delivers a film that is still haunting and thought provoking.  How long could you do that night after night?  How would you survive in an ever evolving world?  Would love still matter and at what cost do you leave your family behind for another?

The story does have its flaws.  Adrian Pasdar’s Caleb, and his costar Jenny Wright, Mae, do not develop enough before they go on the run with her Vampire family.  They’re personal moments later in the film seem out of place and forced.   The Vampire gang offers a distraction with its characters and you quickly loose interest in Caleb and Mae.  Jesse, Lance Henriksen (Pumpkinhead), as the scared old battle axe Vampire, is superb in his minimal approach to the character.  He offers so much with a look and a quick line that he brings a great depth to everything he does.  Henriksen has to play Jesse this way because Bill Paxton’s character, Severen, is so perfectly over the top that there has to be a balance on screen or we would grow bored with the characters.  It is interesting to look at another film from this time, Aliens (1986), where both Henriksen and Paxton played very similar characters, though one was an unfeeling robot and the other was a scared Marine. Perfect casting choices for both of these films or perhaps it was a place where these actors were with their styles?  You decide.

Near Dark isn’t a perfect film.  It is a great mixture of Horror, a western, and a twisted story about the wrong people finding the fountain of eternal youth.  It is a great realistic portrayal of modern Vampires. The Vampires in Near Dark are gritty, dirty, and speak with a southern twang. They also live out of the back of whatever car they steal and whatever flop house they can find.  So that isn’t very sexy, but it is incredibly real and defiantly scary.

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SmokingFrog77 10/3/2013 2:56:28 AM

Fucking LOVE this movie!  My all-time favourite vampire movie, as none of the others ever really capture the excitement and forbidden mystery of "the night". I think the chemistry between Caleb and Mae is actually done very beautifully, it is very quick but then so is the love of a child for the puppy that follows it home - and that's what their relationship is most akin to.

As a side note, the Aliens reunion doesn't just stop at Paxton and Henrikson - Jenette "Vasquez" Goldstein also stars as Diamondback - the "mama" vampire of the group!


doublec 10/3/2013 3:40:36 AM

Quite simply the best vampire movie ever made. Nothing else comes close.

DarthBob 10/3/2013 4:49:53 AM

Near Dark is still a better love story than Twilight.

RobertTrate 10/3/2013 6:15:49 AM

 Good eye Smoking Frogg77!

blankczech 10/3/2013 10:32:12 AM

 I also love this movie.  I don't know if it's the best vampire movie of all time, but it's damned entertaining.

I prefer little gritty, flawed films like this that take chances, have an original twist or two, and aren't consumed with trying to please everyone (and not turn off or offend anyone) over those big sterile, predictable, politically correct, pointless blockbusters (all style and no substance), that Hollywood cranks out for mass consumption (and crossover mega buck marketing ploys like toys and video games).

Kaziklu 10/6/2013 5:37:50 PM

 still one of my favourites. 

Those people back there ain't normal, normal people don't spit out the bullets after you shoot 'em. 



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