31 Nights of Horror - Night Fourteen: Near Dark (1987)

Near Dark from 1987 is a near perfect film about a family of nomadic "vampires" set against a western backdrop. The film blends the romantic story with an atmospherically moody environment that feels so true despite it's dark fairytale-like nature.

The cast is impeccable. Take half the cast of Aliens...a classic Lance Henriksen, a loony Bill Paxton and a seductive Jenette Goldstein...and sprinkle in a few underrated performances by Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright and Joshua Miller. You got yourself a timeless classic that weaves the romantic lore of vampirism and enduring sentiment of family into a seamless experience.

Katherine Bigelow does a brilliant job directing this film. I gotta say...after watching The Hurt Locker, for which she won several Oscars for, I'd love to see her do another film in the horror genre. She's got such a fine grasp on filming tension and urgency with a human frailty in such a profoundly simplistic manner, it would be interesting to combine her honed talents with something supernatural and horrific. Perhaps Near Dark 2: Breaking Dawn in 3D?

Getting back to the characters...Adrian Pasdar does a great job as the young cowboy named Caleb who falls for Mae, the young girl who happens to be a creature of the night, played by the lovely Jenny Wright (who incidentally has not done another film as great as Near Dark unless you happen to be a big fan of The Lawnmower Man). Lance Henriksen is fuckin' awesome in his role as Jesse the daddy vampire. But, then again, he's pretty much fuckin' awesome in anything he's in. The absolute stand out performance belongs to Mr. Bill Paxton channeling his inner blood-lusting psychopath for the role of Severen, one of the most memorable vampire characters in cinematic history.

Near Dark is so good it makes other lesser "vampire" films look like stupid and unnecessary wastes of time...most notably the Twilight films. I'd love to see Severen walk onto a scene with Edward Cullen and feed him his spur. This film is the real deal.

It's funny...Lost Boys came out in the same year as this film...like a couple weeks apart...and has some of the same plot elements as Near Dark. Like the young guy falling for a young vampire girl and becoming a vampire himself while running with the crazy vampire gang and then ultimately finding a way to change back to his human form. I wonder if it was on purpose or not. Either way...Near Dark is the better film, in my opinion. Lost Boys is kinda like the glam-metal version of the same story.

Definitely a must-see this Halloween season.

4.5 out of 5

Thanks for reading,