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Near Dark (1987)

Cult Movies movie directed by Kathryn Bigelow

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Let's put it this way: I fought for the South. We lost.

  • Sep 26, 2010

The mid 90's were kind of a weird time for me.  I was still sort of obsessing over vampires (after getting into the Vampire: The Masquerade role playing game, reading Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite for the first time, and getting into flicks like Blade and Dracula), I was just graduating high school, and I found myself with a job and actual cash to spend on stuff like comics and videos.  I had just stared putting together my first movie collection when I began to realize that a lot of the flicks that I loved growing up were out of print or on the verge of becoming that way.

One of these flicks was a little known gem of a film (at least in my circle of friends) Near Dark.  I had seen it on HBO about a million times in the late 80's and it was by far my favorite vampire story with realistic blood suckers in a realistic environment.  I was getting pretty sick of the lacy, frock wearing vampires in period pieces, or the goth obsessed depressing whiners that I kept seeing in films.  Jesse, Severen, Mae, Homer, and Diamondback were exactly what I thought of when I was thinking vampires, no huge fangs, bat-shit crazy from being alive too long, drifters, and pretty much punks.  You don't even hear the word vampire uttered in the flick, it's just understood, which is awesome.  I also love that the cast is almost entirely stolen from the cast of Aliens because Kathryn Bigelow was with James Cameron at the time and loved the work they were doing in that flick.  It helped a lot I think because they already had a rapport going off of that flick and thus they could just jump right into these new parts.

I bought my first copy of this flick in 1996 or so, ordered it special from a Media Play in my home town.  I was told that I got the last copy in their warehouse which was pretty cool as I soon found out that it was out of print.  Later when I switched over to DVD I was pretty bummed to find that it wasn't being released.  It was one of those flicks (like the Monster Squad) that I was considering buying on bootleg because I just didn't think it was near popular enough to garner a release, but I was surprised in 2002 by a 2 disc special edition in a nice slipcase and everything.  My friend Daniel at work bought me a copy for Christmas that year.

To this day I still think this is the closest thing to the perfect vampire film, if nothing else one that a lot of other filmmakers could stand to learn from.  Lance Henriksen in particular is pretty darn intense in this flick.  According to the extras on the DVD, Henriksen had these gnarly thick fake nails glued to his fingers which he tore up and cut at weird angles and stuff.  He then got into character and pretty much stayed in it until the end of filming, going so far as to drive out into the desert in his off time and fuck with cops as if he was the character he was Jesse.  It's also some of Bill Paxton's more lively work which is really fun.

The only thing I don't really care for is the weird blood transfusion stuff at the end.  It's just a little too much of a storybook ending. Part of the attraction of vampires for me is that it's permanent.  You're either a vampire or you die.  But that's just me.


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More Near Dark (1987) reviews
review by . October 22, 2009
   Released in 1987 with a dismal performance in the box-office after the release of “The Lost Boys”, Kathryn Bigelow’s “Near Dark” made its reputation through word of mouth and its release in HBO. The film had gained a cult following because of the way it re-invents the vampire genre and offers something fresh for horror fans. It found an ever-growing “cult” of fans that has swelled through the past few years. “Near Dark” is a simple …
review by . November 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
      NEAR DARK      Do you remember when this classic was in theaters when it first came out, I bet most of you really do not. If you do remember you are one of the very few who do because this was in theaters around the same time as the mega popular "The Lost Boys". This like that film is all about a young man who is brought into something he didn't really want, and like that film has to protect his family from the family of vampires that are …
Quick Tip by . November 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The cast is really well put together and they work together marvelously, take the bar scene for instance. This scene in particular is one of the most fascinating scenes I have ever witnessed, me and my brother watched this again the other night and once again we were hooked. I think any body that has the chance should see this movie, especially if you have never seen it before. This set in particular is amazing as it comes with a great booklet, a wonderful audio commentary and a jam packed second …
Quick Tip by . March 24, 2010
Forget Anne Rice! THIS movie shows what modern day vampires would REALLY be like! Henriksen & Paxton are terrific!
Quick Tip by . February 03, 2010
An interesting take on the vampire genre about a group of nomadic vampires in the southwest. Sadly it loses momentum about 1/2 way through.
review by . December 30, 2004
In 1987, two vampire movies were released. The teen audience went to see "The Lost Boys"; the older audience went to see "Near Dark". Perhaps unfortunately, more people went to see "Lost Boys" than "Near Dark", forcing the latter to drop off the face of the earth for years. Until 2002, actually. DVD wonder company Anchor Bay released a 2-disc special edition of the film, prompting a new generation of horror fans to investigate the film. One of them was me.    The biggest problem …
review by . July 07, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
"Near Dark" is one of those obscure cult movies that was overshadowed by a bigger budget, better looking cast, & special effects - the likes of the blockbuster film "Lost Boys". However, this is one of the few vampire movies, save for Romero's "Martin" not to use the word "vampire" nor have any fangs, mirrors, crosses, garlic and the ordinary lot.Young Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) meets Mae ( a young, Jenny Wright from "St. Elmos Fire" and "Garp"). Passion ensues and Mae "nips" Caleb. Uh oh! As Caleb starts …
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Shawn Robare ()
Ranked #76
   I watch a lot of movies, read a lot of books, and buy a lot of useless nostalgia crap. I run, am a co-organizer of the Up! Fair (, and am one of the co-hosts … more
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The word "vampire" is never mentioned inNear Dark, but that doesn't stop this 1987 cult favorite from being one of the best modern-era vampire films. It put then-unknown director Kathryn Bigelow on Hollywood's radar and gave choice roles toAlienscostars favored by Bigelow's ex-husband James Cameron: Lance Henriksen is the leader of a makeshift family of renegade bloodsuckers, nocturnally seeking victims in rural Oklahoma; his immortal gal pal isAliensandTerminator 2alumnus Jenette Goldstein; and Bill Paxton is the group's deadliest leather-clad ass kicker. Fellow traveler Jenny Wright lures Okie farm boy Adrian Pasdar into the group with a love bite, and he's soon turning toward vampirism with a combination of frightened revulsion and relentless desire. With Joshua Miller (River's Edge) as the youngest vampire,Near Darkis Bigelow's masterpiece of low-budget ingenuity--a truck-stop thriller that begins well, gets better and better (aided by a fine Tangerine Dream score), and goes out in a blaze of glory.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Genre: Horror
Screen Writer: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red
DVD Release Date: September 10, 2002
Runtime: 94 minutes
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
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