When fans bang on about Point Break, I say its good but not her best……..when fans bang on about last years smash hit The Hurt Locker, I say its good, but not her best!
This remark is usually followed by a look of “what do you know?”, so while I admit I don’t know a lot, I do know that Kathryn Bigelow’s best film is not bank robbing surfers or a soldier who just loves to disarm bombs, its in fact her forgotten masterpiece, the 80’s horror western that became the decades best Vampire horror, a movie that still feels fresh to this very day!
In an age where we see Zombies not really zombies, just a bunch of Crazies or disease affected humans who can run and run for 28 days, Bigelow had the same idea. These are Vampries but they not, this is a western without the Clint and in a 10 year perod where blood sucking fiends were the fashion, this stood proud from among the pack!
Basically this is what Twilight is not, a love story with a massive bite, and one that will life long in the memory. While the only thing sucking from that stunning (for all the wrong reasons) new franchise blockbuster will do is the life out of you for watching. Near Dark sucks you in to a world that is totally unique, a horror movie with a pumping heart. Not bad for all creatures that are supposed to be dead.
This is a love story, but please do not groan. It’s not like that at all. Yes, boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl bites boy and then does the honourable thing and take said boy to meet her “family!”. Now anyone expecting the family to welcome him in with open arms are totally watching a wrong love story, these are vicious little bastards, cold blooded killers, Vampires with no morals, just a thrist for blood and an instinct to survive. Any comparisons to Twilight ends now. The film moves up a stretch with a script that sizzles from Eric Red, who also gave us the quite splendid The Hitcher.
The story is virtually based on family ties. The strong undercurrent of values plays throughout the story with the bitten boy Caleb (Adrian Pashdar) torn between the loyalty of his new father head Jesse played quite wonderfully by Lance Henriksen and his natural father Loy (Tim Thomerson) who is out searching for his now missing son.
You can not help but fall in love with the beautiful imagery on show at times, Bigelow filling the landscape with a sense of fear and dread, but with a sort of loving touch that has to be seen to be believed. It’s Bill Paxton though who totally steals the show as Vamp Severen, a ruthless killer who brings not only terror but a sex appeal which should have been his signature role.
The fact it didn’t is simply because Near Dark flopped on release. The 80’s was already stuffed with the genre with Fright Night, and The Lost Boys becoming such cult classics, that little unknowns like Vamp just came and went, and Near Dark just became lost in the mix. Which is a rotten shame, has it was the best Vamprie movie of the decade, Bigelow twisting the lore into something else and making it fashionable, it was a bold attempt that stood out, with a cast totally enjoying what they thought was an amazing film.
True story, Lance and Bill had a few hours to spare and decided to go for a ride in a car, taking in the sights. Only an hour in, they were quickly pulled over by a patrol car who when walking up to the car had a shock of his life and quickly…..well run……as the two actors were fully dressed in their Vamp roles……Lance himself has never forgotten that moment.
If there was one negative, it’s the end, that had a revelation that well nearly spoils everything before it, but lucky for Near Dark, what went on before was so strong, that despite an annoyance, you quickly ignore it!