The Horror Honeys: He Gave Her Everlasting Love. She Gave Him Everlasting Life...

He Gave Her Everlasting Love. She Gave Him Everlasting Life...

A Revenge Honey "Vampire Month" Review by Linnie

Near Dark (1987)

Bartender: What you people want?

Jesse: Just a couple more minutes of your time, about the same duration as the rest of your life.

As a child coming of age during the 90s, I never really had the luxury of finding vampire movies (made during my horror awakening) scary. Interview with the Vampire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bordello of Blood, Vampire in Brooklyn... These movies weren't bad, but they sure as hell weren't scary. So imagine my utter glee when, at the age of twelve, I rented Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark at my local video store... and it scared the ever-loving shit out of me.

Join me for one of the most dark and visceral "vampire" films ever created: Near Dark!

The Story: Honest-to-gods cowboy Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) falls head-over-heels in love with the sweet but strange Mae (Jenny Wright). But when Mae gives Caleb more than a love bite on the neck, Caleb is forced to join her and her band of night dwelling blood-suckers, including the eternally in love Jesse (Lance Henriksen) and Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein), vicious Severin (Bill Paxton), and perpetually child-like Homer (Joshua John Miller). But is Caleb's love for Mae greater than that of his father and sister? And can he ever really fit in with his new blood-thirsty family?

Near Dark was Kathryn Bigelow's first solo directorial effort and it's where we first get a look at what would become her signature style. Bigelow has never cared about making her movies look pretty or glossy; a Kathryn Bigelow film is memorable because it shows the world as it often is... dirty and violent and dark. You will never hear the characters in Near Dark referred to as "vampires," because while they share many of the same traits, their violence is universal. They are a family born and bred of blood lust, and vampire or not, they could just as easily exist in a world absent celluloid.

True love means never pointing out that half your partner's face is missing.
Another element that makes Near Dark the unforgettable addition to the horror canon that it is are the performances. As an audience, we are grounded to reality by the sweet relationship between Caleb and Mae, which is vital because of the terrifying level of brutality expressed by the rest of the characters. The massacre in the bar has become one of the most classic scenes in horror history for a reason; Severin, Homer, Jesse, and Diamondback are predators without pity, and the blood shed would send even Count Dracula running for the safety of his castle.

Homer: Making every other scary kid in history look like a chump.
Near Dark isn't an Anne Rice adaptation and it's not steeped in romance like Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's brutal and filthy and possibly the best vampire western ever made that doesn't actively admit to being either a vampire film or a western. It's because of this that Kathryn Bigelow's first movie is so utterly ageless... Just like its main characters.

Fun Horror Fact: Joshua John Miller, who played Homer, is half-brother to Jason Patric (The Lost Boys) and son of Jason Miller, best known by horror fans as Father Karras in The Exorcist!

Revenge Honey Rating: 4 1/2 bloody bar brawls out of 5

Near Dark is available via Vudu & blu-ray/DVD

Are you in love with Kathryn Bigelow's bloodsuckers?
Let's swoon via Twitter: @linnieloowho