Wednesday, October 14, 2015

80's Fun: Near Dark

Near, far, wherever you are.  Okay, enough of that.  Today's Film is Near Dark, a 1987 Horror Film that I somehow never covered.  Before you rage against me, I've seen it.  Like many other Films, I just somehow never ended up Reviewing it.  Let's make up for lost time.  If you don't know, the Film tells the tale of a young man- Adrian Pasdar- who gets drawn into a dark world.  It is basically The Lost Boys, only in Texas.  Good company, right?  This is one of the early Films by famed Director Kathryn Bigelow, who is now more famous for Films like The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty.  Who needs real Horror when you have Vampires?  This one is all sorts of awesome, but let's go over it more in-depth for all you neophytes...
A nice young Cowboy meets a pretty lady who acts a bit mysterious as the Sunrise approaches.
His body starts to react badly to the Sun as well and he's understandably confused.  He is taken from his home and meets a group of strangers that are with the woman he met.
It turns out that they are Vampires and now he is one too!  It seems that the lady bit him while kissing him that night.

While he's dragged along for the ride, his Dad- Tim Thomerson!- and Sister are looking for him.
After a dramatic Scene in a Bar (see an upcoming Poor Bastards of Cinema for more detail), the gang is saved during a daylight escape by our hero.  

He's not a full-Vampire yet (as he has to draw blood himself), but they respect him.
Things take a dramatic turn as one of the Vampires- who is stuck in a child's body due to the age he was turned at- takes a liking to our hero's Sister.  Awkward.
After a tough escape, our hero gets the idea to have a blood transfusion to save himself.

To be fair, none of the religious aspects like Crosses or Mirrors come up here, so this is purely-scientific.
Unfortunately, a deadly gang of Vampire still want him dead, so it probably would have been helpful to still be a Vampire...
All of this leads to a climactic Action Scene in early-Morning.  Lots of smoke and fire!
Our hero manages to save the day and turn his lady friend back human.  I still have several questions....but I can let it slide.  The End.
Damn good stuff.  The Film works well for several reasons.  First off, the Characters are all very relatable.  When good things or bad things happen, you feel invested.  Second, the Atmosphere is great.  The Film has a dark, rambling feel to it which really embraces the Texas location.  Never mind the irony of setting a Vampire Film in a State known for its heat and harsh Sun.  Another thing that the Film does well is creating a sense of dread.  These Vampires will f#%k you up real bad!  You feel for this guy suddenly thrust into this dangerous sub-culture and just trying to survive.  It is also worth noting that most of the Effects are still quite amazing to see, even nearly 30 years later.  Most of what you see is Practical- I know, I know- and looks great.  The Effects used to add fire in Post-Production still look pretty good, so kudos.  For the strictest of Vampire Film Purists, this one does things pretty differently.  Regardless, it is a great Film that definitely deserves to appreciated as something of a modern Classic.  If you need help dating it, here is the moment where you learn that TV just stops running at about 3am and shows you a shot of the Capital Building...
Next up, my old 'friends' The Asylum handle a classic Monster.  Will their Monster be better that 3-D shit from the Underworld folks?  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I love Near Dark to pieces but the ending has always annoyed me as too quick and easy... like those tacked on endings Hollywood would force on directors because the bad guys aren't allowed to get away.
    I'd much rather have something darker or at least shades of gray.