Thursday, September 8, 2011

Near Dark

Well here we are back on the vampire film bandwagon because as I stated in my first blog...I love vampire movies. I think I like vampire films because it is interesting to see how different people use the legends and mythos surrounding these marvelous creatures and reinvent them constantly. If I told you that one of my favorite movies was a vampire Western/urban horror flick...would you look at me like I was crazy? Well maybe I am crazy...absolutely crazy about this movie: Near Dark.

Film Plot: Caleb Colton, handsome young urban cowboy meets attractive young female drifter Mae and the two of them have a whirlwind night of each others company that culminates in a kiss before sunrise with Mae fleeing and Caleb wandering home, now sick and weak against the sun that is now beginning to burn his skin. Helplessly, Caleb's father Loy and his little sister Sarah watch as he is abducted by Mae and and the group of drifters she has been traveling with and flee in their RV across the Oklahoma farmland.

In one hot hungry kiss, he gave her everlasting love. She gave him everlasting life.
                                                                                              ~ Tagline for Near Dark, 1987

This is a strange group lead by the charismatic Jesse Hooker, his companion Diamondback, who is almost a surrogate mother to the child-like but by no means innocent Homer and rounded out by the psychotic and chaotic Severen. Not pleased with Mae's turning Caleb they decide to give the young man a chance to prove himself as a hunter and killer to fit into their "family". Caleb is tested to try and fit in but his confusion as to what he is and the disgust of what he might become make it hard for him to run away as he is still deeply attracted to Mae and she lets him know that she will care for him but she is unsure of how long her "family" will accept Caleb.

                                                     The night has its price.
                                                                                             ~ Mae

Things come to a head when Loy Colton finally finds his son and is ready to take Caleb home and figure out how to  save Caleb by ridding him of the inhuman hunger for blood. It's not the only worry for the Colton family when Homer sets his sights on making little Sarah is own companion and Severen is ready for revenge on Caleb for his betrayal as Mae is torn between the two things she loves: eternal life and her eternal love for Caleb.

This film is gory and gorgeous, entertaining and engaging, sick and seductive, gritty and slick. In the 80s vampire movies were on the rise and Near Dark did not do as well as rival flicks such as The Lost Boys and Fright Night but it has its own charm that can be appreciated by a very wide audience of vampire, horror, Western and action movie fans alike. Another thing that makes the film so mesmerizing is the soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, who with their Germanic electronic keyboard/synthesizer magic, make an atmosphere of otherworldly suspense and hypnotic drama. If there had to be a star to point out in this film it would be Bill Paxton as the callously sexy yet sociopathic  Severen as it appears that Bill Paxton is having way too much fun getting grimy and bloody and delivering the best lines in the whole movie.

Howdy. I'm gonna separate your head from your shoulders. Hope you don't mind none
                                                                            ~ Just one of Severen's great lines

Last words: Near Dark is a very good vampire film and lately it is getting lumped together with the biggest vampire movie in history: Twilight. Recent DVD releases of Near Dark have the cover trying to lure in Twihearts by having Caleb play Edward and having Mae seem just a little more human than she really is. Also, a remake of Near Dark was put off because Twilight was released around the same time and another round of dueling vampire flicks was a little close for comfort. Now, being a Twilight fan and a big fan of Near Dark let it be known that: TWILIGHT IS NOTHING LIKE NEAR DARK!!

DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THAT DVD COVER...if you sit down to watch Near Dark and expect it to be anything like Twilight you will either be disappointed or surprisingly delighted by the results. I am sorry if I shouted at you but not everyone has my eclectic taste in films and I would not want you to waste your money or time on something that may not deliver the results you desire...but I am always ready to convert you just as willingly as any vampire into liking the films that give me such joy.

                                                            Pray For Daylight
                                                                                         ~ Tagline for Near Dark, 1987

Next blog: Repo: The Genetic Opera

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