Long before Kathryn Bigelow won her Academy Award for directing the heck out of Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker, she was hatching a grisly tale out in the Oklahoma farmlands. Near Dark is a pupu platter of vampire legends, cowboy westerns, and biker movies, a combo in unskilled hands could be queasy-making, but under Bigelow’s charge it is a deliciously darkly erotic horror fest.
Adrian Pasdar, who you might recognize from his recent stint on Heroes, stars as Caleb, the hapless farm fellow who falls for the beautiful blonde Mae (Jenny Wright). Mae happens to be a vampire, but they don’t let this fact stand in the way of their love. I mean, if those crazy Twilight kids can make it work, why can’t every vampire human couple? Well one problem is that Mae’s crew of vagabond vamps are definitely not on the Cullens’ “vegetarian” diet. The head of the vamp family is Lance Henriksen, who is creepy as ever as the ancient leader. (I mean, there is no way that Lance is ever getting the lead in a rom-com, right?) Bill Paxton is in the mix, too (no co-wives, though).
This film marked Kathryn Bigelow’s first solo directorial effort and it is a striking one. According to IMDB, the film’s producer, Edward S. Feldman told her that if she couldn’t handle it after five days, she would be replaced. She handled it with panache and created a film so hard edged and violent that it would put most men to shame. When watching Near Dark it is easy to see the seeds of Bigelow’s Oscar-winning turn in the director’s chair. Clearly a woman who has no qualms about chucking a bunch of violent vamps in a Winnebago will have no issues blowing up a leading heartthrob in the first ten minutes of her film.
Watch the trailer for Near Dark and then tune in tonight at midnight:
Near Dark airs at midnight E.T., as part of Indie Screams