It's finger licking gooood!
It's finger licking gooood!
Damn. Haven't had a vampire movie kick my ass like this in a *long* time. Laundry list!:
-Dear Stephenie Meyer: THIS is how you do vampire romance. You acknowledge the fucking sadness of it. Mae feels awful about turning Caleb, and the life is shown to not be an easy one. But we still buy into the romance because the acting by Adrian Pasdar (a long way from Heroes) and Jenny Wright (what the hell happened to her?) is so good, and the screenplay knows how essentially fucked up this relationship is.
-Lance Henriksen is the goddamn MAN in this movie. He always is, sure, but he really gets to (ahem) sink his teeth into the role. Bill Paxton and Josh Miller similarly steal their scenes as Severen and Homer, Paxton in particular getting some of the best lines. Jenette Goldstein rounds out the group by being the right mix of sexy, trashy and creepy.
-Avoiding the word "vampire" doesn't feel as awkward as it could have been. I was also surprised we never saw fangs, especially since there are a couple neckbites. Instead, guns, knives and glass are used to draw blood instead. It's much nastier and dirtier, which fits the 80s Western feel. Sunlight as the main weapon against the gang was also an effective measure; bringing in crosses, stakes, holy water, garlic, etc. would've just muddied the waters. OK, Severen gets blown the fuck up, but I think that would put just about anything down.
-You would never know this was Kathryn Bigelow's directorial debut. She directs with an astonishingly assured hand, crafting classic sequences like the redneck bar or the hotel shootout through sheer atmosphere and tension. My favorite single shot in the movie has to be our "heroes" silhouetted against the car lights, surrounded by fog, preparing to chow down. Such a great image. I even found the Tangerine Dream score effective.
-Yeah, that ending is perhaps a little too convenient. I'm OK with the idea of treating vampirism as a blood virus, and it does show that Caleb's transfusion takes a while. But having Mae get one too seems almost cheap, especially with how complicated things were before this. It doesn't ruin the film, no, but it's definitely the weakest part. It helps that the final showdowns are great. I even felt a little bad for the deaths of Homer, Jesse and Diamondback. Severen was a total asshole, so I'm not sad about him. But Homer looks and sounds so pathetic crying after Sarah, while Jesse and Diamondback seem determined to go out with some measure of dignity before they blow up.
-I like the little humanizing moments like the card game, or Jesse and Diamondback reminiscing about when they met. Sure, they're shown to basically enjoy their feeding, but hey, you might as well try to make the best of things when you're stuck with a crap situation.
Next up on my Bigelow watchlist (I've only seen The Hurt Locker [fucking fantastic] and this): Point Break! *fires gun in the air while yelling with deep anguish*
Rough western vampires have become a lot more common place these days than they were when I saw Near dark as a lad, and back then it always struck me you could change them from vampires to werewolves and the story and aesthetic would seem more apt.
Nowadays, post stuff like Preacher and American Vampire, it seems more of a fit, but Near Dark was a real shift in tone for vampires in pop culture at the time.
I was working on an aussie one a million years ago, but no I don't think so, not in movies. Comics yes, movies I honestly can't think of any.
Seems like a crushingly obvious genre mashup to me personally.
I heard it called a poor mans Near Dark a few times ironically.
I watched K-19:The Widowmaker and it failed to live down to its rep as "worst movie evvvuuurrr"; Ford's phoned-in work with a shaky Russian accent aside, I thought it was OK.
I wish Kathryn Bigelow would revisit Near Dark. Everyone would still be perfect in it. I love that movie.