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Film: Near Dark

"I ain't a person anymore. I don't know what I am."

Near Dark is a 1987 horror movie, directed by Kathryn Bigelow (best known for Point Break The Hurt Locker), and written by Bigelow and Eric Red. It stars Adrian Pasdar, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein and Jenny Wright. Along with The Lost Boys, it is credited for pretty much reinventing the vampire genre.

Bigelow had originally been intent on a Western, but realized that the interest in the Western genre at the time was almost non-existent. When then-future-husband James Cameron suggested that she "mix it up with something else", she decided to make a Horror Western.

It tells the story of Caleb Colton, a young Oklahoman, who joins and is subsequently rescued from a family of vampires. It mixes both a certain amount of gory action - Kathryn Bigelow doesn't do slow paced - with a character study of Caleb becoming a vampire and the choices he is required to make. These are not nice vampires as found in Twilight, nor the demons of Buffy, but each is distinctive. Severen is truly scary, Homer is unhappy, while Mae beautifully describes the attraction of living forever. Should be required viewing for anyone playing Vampire: The Masquerade.


This movie contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: Their second "garage".
  • Bad Samaritan: The way they hunt is no picnic, and seems to work mostly on this and Farmer And The Viper.
    • Jesse and Diamondback pick up hitchhikers to eat. It turns into Bullying a Dragon when they turn out to be carjackers.
    • Severen gets picked up by a pair of women and invites them "out for a drink."
    • Homer pretends to be a kid on a bike whose been run over by the side of the rode, only to attack anyone who helps him.
    • Mae and Caleb hitch a ride with a trucker. After Caleb fails to attack him, Mae hits him from behind.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The Vampire Gang.
    Severen: Hey, Jesse, remember that fire we started in Chicago?
    (later)
    Jesse: I fought for the South... We lost.
  • Can't Grow Up: Homer.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The trucker explaining to Caleb how to brake a truck in such a way that it will jack knife.
  • Covers Always Lie: Behold the new Blu-Ray covers, meant to lure in Twilight fans.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Caleb's horse does not react well to vampires.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When the last two vampires are about to die, they smile at each other, and one says "Good times."
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Historical Rap Sheet: Jesse and Severen once reminisce how they started the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
  • Kill It with Fire: It takes a lot of fire (a whole tanker full), but this is how Severen dies.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: When the vampire gang kill everyone in a small bar, Jesse orders Caleb to kill the lone kid who managed to escape out a window. When he lets the kid go? Yeah, the masquerade comes close to crashing down, and he nearly gets killed over it.
  • Knife Nut: Diamondback is quite the knife-thrower.
  • Made of Explodium: Vampires react very energetically to sunlight, just not with positive results for the vampires.
  • Mugging the Monster: Do not try to carjack vampires, they respond quite well.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Severen, Bill Paxton's fight-happy psycho-vampire.
  • New Old West: The film is set in the back roads of Oklahoma.
  • Not Using The V Word: No one says the word "Vampire" and Caleb is even a bit confused as to what he is.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They're grimey, not very pale, unhappy but not mopey, and can be cured.
  • Power at a Price: It is not explicitly discussed, but this definitely applies.
    • The Power: vampires have a very long life, super strength, and a massive Healing Factor.
    • The Price: They have to kill people every night to feed. They seem to have no moral problems with this, but they're always on the run for murder, and will die in daylight. The gang change vehicles three times during the film, and seem to own nothing beyond the clothes on their backs, some weapons, and a roll of tin foil for blacking out windows.
  • Puppy Love: Homer is tired of being the only (apparent) kid in the group and is - in his own monstrous way - sweet on Caleb's sister Sarah. Bunch of reasons why it ain't happening.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Homer, who looks ten but is over 50, and none too happy about his physical state.
    • Judging from his offhand comment alluding to the Great Chicago Fire, Severen has been alive since at least 1871.
    • Jesse is mentioned as having fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.
  • Screaming Warrior: Jesse, who fought for the Confederacy, lets out rebel yells while firing at the cops.
  • Shout-Out: In an early scene, a movie theatre in the background is showing Aliens, which starred some of the vampire gang.
  • Sunlight Hallway: In effect, the gang's shootout with police turns their bungalow into a Laser Hallway variant, by blowing holes in the walls that let vampire-searing beams of daylight into the room.
  • Undead Child: Homer again.
  • Undeath Always Ends: At the end all of the vampires are dead, except the main character and his love interest, who have been cured of vampirism through a complete blood replacement.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Less bites, more just ripping your throat out.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The brooding Homer falls in love with Caleb's little sister, and goes ballistic when she's taken away from him, chasing her into the sunlight and dying as a result.

Marathon Man 100 Scariest Movie MomentsDeliverance
My Best Friend is a VampireVampire FictionThe Night Flier
MoonstruckFilms of the 1980sNekromantik
The Nail Gun MassacreHorror FilmsNekromantik

alternative title(s): Near Dark
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