Near Dark (1987) Aliens Crew Go Bloodsucking Berserk At The OK Corral

Near Dark (1987) dvd cover poster bill paxton burning mashed up

Ok ok okay! Hold the press. New headline! It’s a shocker. Sit down, please. You’ll never believe it. I don’t believe it. Not sure how it happened. I place the pointy hat of cult shame upon my head and walk out the door to ponder on life. This here Wolfman had never seen Near Dark before! I had always thought I had… I blooming hadn’t! Surely? If anyone asked I’d reply I had. There I was sat happily “rewatching” this cult classic when it dawns on me that “hang on a minute I don’t recall any of this!“. Looking for the positives. How amazing that I got to sit and watch this for the time. My shame turned to joy and the smile returned to my face.

Near Dark (1987) Adrian Pasdar Caleb Mae Jenny Wright love story

It was the moment I realised I was looking at a young Nathan Petrelli from Heroes in a cowboy hat that I knew I hadn’t seen it before. Or maybe you know him as Glenn Talbot from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Yes it was him. Adrian Pasdar plays Caleb Colton a young buck, a rancher living with his little sister Sarah (Marcie Leeds) and their veterinarian Dad, Loy (Tim Thomerson). Caleb is a player. He knows all the girls. Until he’s confronted and transfixed with the blond stranger in town.  Mae (Jenny Wright) is different. An captivating drifter oozing mystery and sex appeal. Caleb wants to tap dat ass. He’s totally unaware that she’s wants to do the same. Well, tap that jugular. You see Mae is part of a demonic RV wagon of traveling trailer park psychotic deranged vampires.

Near Dark (1987) Lance Henriksen Jenette Goldstein Bill Paxton

I’d knew Bill Paxton was running riot in Near Dark as he’s on the cover all burnt up and crazy. Bill plays Severen. Actually in a more mega douchebag mode than Chet from Weird Science! Certainly more unhinged and demented. Well the whole bunch are murderous bloodsucking nomads. Lead by the charismatic elder Jesse Hooker (Lance Henriksen) and loved and followed by his beautiful, busty girlfriend Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein). ….. HEY hang on a minute! That’s three Aliens cast members together. Private Hudson How do I get out of this chickenshit outfit?“, android Bishop I may be synthetic, but I’m not stupid” and the big gun toting latina with the muscles “Anytime, anywhere, man!Private Vasquez.

Tagline – Blood is our life, Darkness, our feeding ground and sunlight, our eternal damnation.

Near Dark was made by the wonderful director Kathryn Bigelow. Known for The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty and my favourite of hers, the sci-fi thriller 1995s Strange Days. You see she was dating Aliens director James Cameron at the time (soon to marry). So I believe he recommended this trusted trio. I read that Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn) “I say we take off, nuke the site from orbit.” was offered the part of Jesse Hooker but declined, opening the part for Lance.

Near Dark (1987) western cowboy vampire landscapes scenes

What we get to see within Near Dark is a hybrid of sorts. It’s a horror movie of vampires stuck in a western.  Kathryn Bigelow’s camera angles and shots of the landscape scenery are beautifully captured. Though we rarely see the Arizona desert filming landscape in the light. Haa living up to its name, it’s Near Dark at all times. Apart from the group desperately escaping the rising sun so not to burst into an inferno of flames and the need, thirst, for blood, the word vampire is never used.

Near Dark (1987) crazy bill paxton shotgun blood sunglasses bar

As a genre mixing story of midwest cowboys vs vampires it works surprisingly well. You get a Mad Max meets The Lost Boys with added True Grit. Stetsons, spurs and all. The midway saloon fight is a one sided massacre of horrific proportions. It insanely violent. Extremely graphic and very hard to watch. It just goes to show how deranged this group will go to feed. No one is safe. It’s all an initiation for poor Caleb as he’s still coming to terms after being turned. Still the human spirit and love for Mae and his family is just hanging on by a thread.

Tagline – At dawn they hide. At dark they wake. At night they search for blood…pray for daylight.

Can Caleb find his way back to his dad and sister? Can he keep them safe? Can they help him? Will he be able to escape the bloodsucking urge? Can he and Mae become more than murdering plasma guzzlers? Well you all knew many years ago but maybe there’s a few out there in the light of day that need to come into the Near Dark to watch it. Let me know your thoughts on this one if you wish.

A Few Things I learnt And A Few Things I knew

  • Writed by Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Red. Near Dark would be Kathryn’s first solo directing movie.
  • Co-writer Eric Red would also work on Bigalow’s action film with Jamie Lee Curtis called Blue Steel. He also wrote the story for the Rutger Hauer’s thriller The Hitcher.

Near Dark (1987) Jenette Goldstein busty diamondback sexy clevage

  • Private Vasquez I mean, Jenette Goldstein owns a bra company for the more buxom lady, Janette Bras.  Yep of course I had to go and have a look. The slogan – The Alphabet Starts at ‘D’. Darn it! I’m slowly getting to a C cup. One day I might be able to shop there!
  • Oh one more member of the crazy gang is the sweet innocent young Homer (Joshua John Miller)!! What am I saying he’s just as psychotic as the rest of the lunatics. Smoking like a trooper with an evil glint in his eye.
  • Tim Thomerson is a bit of a legend on the cult film screens. Check out Trancers (1984)
  • The brilliant electronic soundtrack is by those film score machines Tangerine Dream.
Near Dark (1987) amazing artwork poster
Incredible artwork

All in all I really enjoyed it. Especially spotting the Aliens crew. Though I did know Paxton and Henriksen were in it, I didn’t have a clue about Jenette, so that was a nice surprise. It’s fawled at times and the pacing is slow, especially at the beginning. But what a treat to see this cult classic for the first time and to be able add it to my blog.

Private Hudson –That’s it, man. Game over, man. Game over!

I’ll leave you with Diamondback Jenette Goldstein’s entertaining set stories.

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The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Smashes In Violent Film Noir

The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Brian Donlevy Veronica Lake movie poster film noir

Sometimes you watch so many films that you forget some of the plot lines. Like was there actually a Glass Key in the story? I really can’t recall if there was? Kind of one of the reasons I do these posts. To cement in that old cranium what went down.

The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Brian Donlevy

Haha what I do remember were these little people stomping around at a peculiar great speed. Alan Ladd looked speeded up and funny in his oversized jacket. His walk made me laugh. I know he would clock me right on the jaw if he was here right now but look next time you sit and watch it. His movements are funny. Then there’s Brian Donlevy who I once said looks like he’s lost from the silent era with his facial expressions. (Hangmen Also Die!). He’s also made me giggle as he quick steps around ready to sock a bunch of fives into some geezers chops. Where Alan’s suits are over size, Brian’s are bursting at the seams with his stocky frame. There’s even the impish floozy Veronica Lake with bones you could pick your teeth with. A wonderful wraith like beauty with flowing peek-a-boo hair. It wouldn’t be long before the smiles are wiped from my face!

Paul Madvig – “I just met the swellest dame… She smacked me in the kisser.

The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Brian Donlevy film noir drama

Of course I being facetious. Alan Ladd is so awesome and I love watching his films. He might be of small stature but this dude is tough as nails. Whether he’s the tough hit man, Raven, in This Gun For Hire or the weary gunfighter, Shane. There’s also one of my favorites where he plays an ex-bomber pilot veteran accused of murder in the brilliant The Blue Dahlia. He dishes out a few well placed trips and jabs. He so cool. There’s still so many Alan Ladd films for me to see. Feel free to recommend, fire away, please.

The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Brian Donlevy film noir drama mirror

Now the thing I was not expecting from The Glass Key was the monster beating he was gonna get. I’m gonna spoil this shocking and brutal scene for you in a moment if you haven’t seen it. So stop reading if don’t want to know. But hey it’s a 76 year old film now! Here’s a short description of what’s going on in the story to get you kinda caught up with that crazy scene!

Ed Beaumont (Alan Ladd) is good friends with politician Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy). He’s a bodyguard of sorts for Paul, his right hand man. Paul is a crooked politician, has a raging temper on him and wants Janet Henry (Veronica Lake) on his arm. Shady deals and shadowy gangsters sniff around. Paul commits a murder? Ed investigates. Poking his nose into his friends affairs is gonna get him trouble.

Tagline – The Tougher They Are – The Harder They Fall

The Glass Key (1942) Crazy face Jeff William Bendix punching Alan Ladd publicity photo

Enter the scene I hinted at above. Ready? It’s incredibly brutal. A vicious fight. Well a one sided beating from a smiling human brickwall as it unleashes sucker punches and devastating body blows. Jeff (William Bendix) confidently laughs and informs what’s happening to his victim Ed as he reigns down power slugs of clubbed fist and brawn. “Look, sweetie pie, you ought to lie down. You don’t feel so good” BAM! Ed’s tough, he takes it. Gives some back. Then the lights go out. Like a rag doll he’s dumped on a bed. Jeff is sad. His fun is over. Then he remembers the steak in the fridge. He’d earned it and when the little fella wakes up he can smash him some more. Jeff smiles. Food time.

The Glass Key (1942) Crazy face Jeff William Bendix smashed beaten up Alan Ladd

It’s a tough scene and extremely violent for 1942. I read that William did in fact clock Alan for real, right on the kisser, rendering him unconscious. But it doesn’t end there! There’s a whole sequence to the extremes Ed has to go through to escape his predicament. With a happy family just about to tuck into their spaghetti, they were not expecting another guest. One cut, bruised and smashed, like mashed potato! Flying through the air! It’s a frantic and first-rate series of scenes.

The Glass Key (1942) Crazy face Jeff William Bendix wild eyed and crazy hair

A few things I’ve learnt.

  • Directed by Stuart Heisler who made the recently watched by me, Rogers, Reagan, Day and that klan movie, Storm Warning.
  • Based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett who had wrote the two classic thrillers The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man.
  • The trio of William Bendix, Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake would go on to star in many films together.
  • The Glass Key is in fact a remake of a 1935 version starring George Raft and Edward Arnold as Ed and Paul.
  • Top quality write up by wordsmith Gary over at Cracked Rear Viewer

The Glass Key (1942) Alan Ladd Brian Donlevy Veronica Lake publicity photo

The Glass Key is definitely worth tracking down if you haven’t seen it. It’s got a short punchy runtime, it’s exciting,  features some dodgy looking gangsters and there’s even some room left for a few laughs. And you know what, that firecracker scene is something to truly behold.

Not been able to post at all recently which is a shame as I love it. Each film that excites I instantly know I wanna do a post. To share what I’ve seen, to hear what others thought. To discover more, to find new films. To keep learning and enjoying…… All the best, Mikey

PS. Darn it, I’m still not sure if there was a glass key*?

*A glass key symbolizes an act or experience which cannot be reversed or forgotten. It is a key made of glass which allows one entry to a room or a building but which shatters after one use!

Warning Sign (1985) A Predecessor To Resident Evil Or 28 Days Later? Rage Virus

Warning Sign (1985) poster virus mutant zombie infected rage horror film

By the end of his horrific day, County Sheriff Cal Morse (Sam Waterston) sat thinking to himself, maybe, just maybe, he’d rather be back in the murder and mayhem of The Killing Fields of Cambodia! Wiping sweat and blood from his brow he sank back into his chair. One thing for sure, he’d definitely prefer to be sat in his squad car eating Popeyes chicken.

Warning Sign (1985) Sheriff Cal Morse (Sam Waterston) popeyes famous chicken cop car jeep Continue reading “Warning Sign (1985) A Predecessor To Resident Evil Or 28 Days Later? Rage Virus”

Which Way Is Up? (1977) How Do Three Richard Pryor’s Fit In With Today’s Changing Climate

Which Way Is Up (1977) Richard Pryor poster three pryor's for the price of one

There’s not many Richard Pryor films I hadn’t rented on VHS or managed to record from a TV broadcast. Such a brilliant comic and mighty fine actor. My whole pre-teens to my twenties the double act of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder never left my screens. I can drop into Stir Crazy at anytime and still be in fits of laughter. I’d even seen all the others like Brewster’s Millions with John Candy and that bizarre one called The Toy! There was great fun to be had with Critical Condition and Moving plus he could also turn in a superb dramatic performance alongside the best of them like with Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto in Blue Collar. One that had gone right under my radar was Which Way Is Up? Reading that he plays three different characters I just couldn’t wait to watch it. Continue reading “Which Way Is Up? (1977) How Do Three Richard Pryor’s Fit In With Today’s Changing Climate”

Dark Angel (1990) Dolph Lundgren & Death By Compact Disc

Dark Angel (1990) Dolph Lundgren sci-fi action movie poster aliens cop

Dark Angel stars the most American looking I think I’ve ever seen Dolph Lundgren?  (Well Canadian I should add). With his perfectly coiffed dyed dark brown hair he somewhat, to me, looked like Nathan Fillion from Firefly. He wore a similar brown jacket too. Dolph didn’t seem to have much of his Swedish or, in the case of his famous Drago, a Russian accent either.

Dark Angel (1990) Dolph Lundgren looking like Nathan Fillion Continue reading “Dark Angel (1990) Dolph Lundgren & Death By Compact Disc”

A Matter of Life and Death (1946) Well I Thought It Was But It Wasn’t Really

A Matter of Life and Death (1946) The Criterion Collection Blu-ray artwork DVD

There I was in my teenage years lying on the back room sofa all alone drifting in and out of consciousness. Not only had I caught glandular fever but the doctor, in his wisdom, had prescripted the wrong antibiotics. The mix up had caused my whole body to breakout in a rash. It looked like scarlet fever and I was beside myself! In between the crazy itching and bouts of fever sweats I’d become drowsy from all the medication.  I was hallucinating. There I was making my way up the Stairway to Heaven! Continue reading “A Matter of Life and Death (1946) Well I Thought It Was But It Wasn’t Really”

Harry and Tonto (1974) New York Old Man And His Cat Go On A Road Trip

Harry and Tonto (1974) poster record cover Bill Conti vinyl soundtrack art carney

Coming of age films are usually for that life transition of teenager becomes a young adult or those pre-teens losing their innocence and growing through puberty hell. Usually they are of a feel good nature that can be looked back with either fond memories or terrifying angst! Films like The Breakfast Club (1985) Stand By Me (1986) The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) are a few in this genre. Continue reading “Harry and Tonto (1974) New York Old Man And His Cat Go On A Road Trip”

The Entertainer (1960) That Saucy Seaside Comic Sir Laurence Olivier

The Entertainer (1960) Archie Rice (Laurence Olivier)tony richardson movie poster

Come along and sing-along with me. Here we go. “Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside. Oh, I do like to be beside the sea. Oh, I do like to stroll along the prom, prom, prom where the brass bands play tiddley-om-pom-pom.

The old British seaside holiday traditions. Bucket and spades, chips in cones, fairground rides, annoying seagulls and Punch and Judy puppet shows. Beauty competitions, cheeky postcards, sticks of bright coloured rock and of course a saucy joke telling comic. Meet Archie Rice (Laurence Olivier) our music-hall stage performer. The gap toothed smiling painted face man with a whole arsenal of well seasoned innuendos ready to fire off from his repertoire. Continue reading “The Entertainer (1960) That Saucy Seaside Comic Sir Laurence Olivier”