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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.