on July 7, 2004
"Near Dark" is one of those obscure cult movies that was overshadowed by a bigger budget, better looking cast, & special effects - the likes of the blockbuster film "Lost Boys".
However, this is one of the few vampire movies, save for Romero's "Martin" not to use the word "vampire" nor have any fangs, mirrors, crosses, garlic and the ordinary lot.
Young Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) meets Mae ( a young, Jenny Wright from "St. Elmos Fire" and "Garp"). Passion ensues and Mae "nips" Caleb.
Uh oh! As Caleb starts to "turn" in the sunlight of early morning, he is hijacked in a rickety Winnebago by vamp family, Mae, Jesse (Lance Henriksen), Jesse's woman for eternity, Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein), their little pseudo-son, Homer & savage & sadistic vampire, Severen, played perfectly and to the hilt, by Bill Paxton.
Caleb tries to fit in but just can't seem to get the "killin' part down".
His father, Loy (Tim Thomerson) and little sister, Sarah (Marcie Leeds from "Beaches") are searching for Caleb. Will they find him in time? Watch for yourself and find out!
Another cool thing that I noticed is when Caleb staggers through town, before he goes to the bus stop to try and get home, the cinema behind him is showing "Aliens" which also featured Paxton, Henriksen and Goldstein.
If you like vampire movies like Lost Boys or Bill Paxton, this is highly recommended!
Happy Watching and Unpleasant Dreams!
on January 21, 2004
Let's get one thing straight, Near Dark is a vampire movie. With that being said, it breaks almost all the rules when it comes to vampire movies.... There is almost no mention of religon (Except a hotel name and a hanging crucifix, both of which have to be pointed out in the extensive booklet that comes with this DVD to even be noticed), the vamps don't sleep in coffins or by hanging upside down, nobody tries to drive a stake through anybody's heart, and you can forget about garlic. Basically the only way to kill these vamps is by sunlight. Oh and boy does sunlight mess them up, unlike other vampire movies just seconds in the light horribly burns these vamps and then they catch fire and quickly explode... no drawn-out deaths as seen in other movies.
The story of the movie is as follows, Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) is a southwesterner who hits-on and convinces to take a ride with him, the beautiful Mae (Jenny Wright). Mae you can tell is kinda different, although you get a real vibe that she is lonely (KEY to the story). After attempting to kiss Mae, Mae insists Caleb take her home (To her RV camped out in a local trailer park). Caleb manages to convince her otherwise and things get romantic, in the heat of the moment Mae bites Caleb and then disgusted by herself runs off into the night leaving Calen wondering what's going on... Caleb's truck breaks down forcing him to walk home, yet he begins to feel ill and then gets caught in the sun and his skin starts to burn. Just as Caleb is in sight of his house and his little sister/father (Now staggering/crawling his way home), an RV pulls up and someone pulls him in. The RV drives off leaving Caleb's family wondering what just happened.
In the RV you meet the family of vamps... Jesse (Lance Henriksen of later Alien Fame and the father figure), Severen (Bill Paxton, the wild-child of the group, and easily the most entertaining character in the movie), Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein, the mother figure), Homer (Joshua Miller, plays the child role), and of course Mae. What follows is Caleb trying to cope with his new life, the vamps assimilating (Sometimes against their own wishes) Caleb into the clan, Mae caring for/falling in love with Caleb, and Caleb's real family desperatly searching for him.
The action is intense, especially the Roadhouse Slaughterhouse... which will give you gore-hounds your fill. Although the word "Vampire" is never mentioned and this movie hardly follows any of the vampire stereotypes it stands as one of the best vampire movies ever made. A fan of vampire movies at all? If so, BUY THIS MOVIE.
As for the DVD, it is a Special Edition Anchor Bay... need I say more? Well, I will. It comes 2-Disc with an awesome case and informative booklet. Picture and sound are top notch, and features a "Making of" Documentary, commentary, and the usual added features (Trailers, etc.) Great Flick, Great DVD.
on December 8, 2003
I do believe what helped me appreciate this film was that I saw it a second time--on DVD. The re-released special edition, no less. And I could clearly see the beautiful and amazing photography that was displayed as a unique picture in every scene; almost as if each shot deserved a picture frame hanging around it. The film is shot in what seems the middle of nowhere; and those types of pictures are always attractive. The acting is quite subtle (except from Bill Paxton, but he had just got done doing ALIENS, what do you expect?). But this almost silent acting brings a new level to the idea behind vampires. The Undead, as it were, are characters we enjoy watching and actually root for; despite us knowing too well how the film will inevitably end. Jenny Wright sets the mood for this film right off the bat. As innocent and sensual as blond-haired women go--you can't help but want to be bitten by this temptress. She gives the film a feeling of an unsatisfied hunger and a lonely sadness, which will never be fulfilled. She has no enjoyment feasting on pathetic would-be victims, which are mostly "hicks" that audience members would enjoy seeing torn apart. The film focuses on human qualities, romance, humor and tragedy. With Tangerine Dream's music pulsating behind each movement and each glance of someone's eyes as they look up at the stars...human or non-human, every character and every lost "vampire" is full of an amusing look on the importance of human life, with an innocent reality that all of us can relate with.
on October 2, 2003
This is a satisfying, well-made film, if perhaps not quite the "classic" so many casually refer to here. There's an excellent vision at play here...Bigelow manages to make the life style displayed almost plausible, certainly more than most vampire sagas we've seen. In fact, without the "V" word ever being spoken, it's almost possible to imagine these people as more conventional outlaws...the supernatural aspect is downplayed for the most part in favor of an emphasis on their simple bad attitudes. If vampires did exist, you could see them acting a whole lot like this.
Why not 5 stars? Well, I would have enjoyed being scared a little more. That's not entirely fair, because I think Bigelow made the movie she wanted to make, and "terrifying" probably wasn't near the top of her list. More troublesome are a few things that undermined that air of plausibility. Like -- do they EVER remember to find shelter before daylight? After all these years? Even that could be bought, if we equate vampirism with extreme substance abuse -- i.e., these people have some problems thinking straight. What can't be bought is the idea that everyone in the region doesn't know all about these guys, and live in constant fear of them. I mean, they commit heinous acts every night...subtle, they ain't. And yet apparently they remain beneath the radar of authorities and public alike.
And that ending. Come on. We all know exactly how this film should have ended, and it shouldn't have been upbeat. The "classic" everyone is talking about here would not have entertained this resolution.
Still...outstanding vision, excellent execution. If you're a fan of the genre, you owe it to yourself to see it. Just don't expect to be terribly frightened.
on March 10, 2003
I had heard alot about "Near Dark" for quite sometime, but yet I couldn't find the VHS copy in town anywhere for rent. Then the DVD releases in late 2002, and I took a chance by buying it from Future Shop.
For the movie, it deserves 4 & 1/2 stars, in my opinion!
And as for the DVD, the extras are very pleasing.
But supossedly the movie is not presented in it's full uncut version, and it might be a matted/fake widescreen transfer.
I'm very interested to know wheather or not these rumors are true, because basically, I'm stuck with this version ONLY. So, as there is no way in heck to find an old VHS copy to make comparison, could someone help me out by confirming these rumors?
Please click "Yes" or "No" so as that I might one day be able to find out the truth. I'm only interested because I know that Anchor Bay has released some faulty DVDs in the past with either matted/fake widescreen ("The Evil Dead: Book Of The Dead", for instance), or cut versions (such as, "Manhunter").
on October 20, 2002
When an young country southwest man by the name of Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar) falls in love at first sight with an beautiful mysterious woman by the name of Mae (Jenny Wright), who accidentally bites him on the neck and becomes rapidly as a Vampire. When the woman, he's in love with, is a member of a band of outlaws (Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein & Joshua Miller), who takes care of eachother for Survival. Since Celeb is innocent, he's trapped in a soulless evil between them, trying to avoid thier lifestyle but Mae tires to teach him, the way of survival and the hunger of it.
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Blue Steel, Strange Days, K-19:The Widowmaker) is an unusual modern take on Vampires, which is surprisingly clever, smart, dark with an sharp sense of humor.
Written by the Director:Bigelow and Eric Red (The Hitcher, Body Parts, Bad Moon) is a first-rate intelligent scripted movie, which is unexpectedly touching and sad in places. Believable Performances with Character Developments, makes this a Cult Classic seems to be better and better, everytime, you seen it. The film does slow down a bit at times but it's worth seeing. DVD's has an good anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer and an excellent Digitally Remastered Soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (also in DTS and Dolby Surround) from the Original Ultra Stereo Sound. DVD's has great extras, including:An commentary track from the Director, 47 min Documentary of the Remembering-how was like making the film with the filmmakers and actors of the movie, traliers, storyboards, collector's booklet and more. Do not miss this rearly seen movie. This an excellent cinematography by Adam Greenberg (The Terminator Trilogy) and an fine music score by Tangerine Dream (Risky Business, Legend-U.S. Verison, Three O'Clock High). Grade:A-.
on September 28, 2002
NEAR DARK had a lot going against it, when it was released in theaters, during the fall of 1987. It came out at the same time as another vampire themed movie, known as THE LOST BOYS, which had a major studio backing it, that used more money to promote it. Another problem was the fact that, there was an untried director, calling the shots, and an unknown male and female star as leads in the film... Yet, despite all of that, somehow this movie managed to find a small (but growing) audience. The film centers on what happens when country boy, Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar) is lured by the lovely Mae, (Jenny Wright) into joining a pack of bloodthirsty vampires. All of this, as his family, tries to rescue him from a nightmare that wont end. The similarities to "Boys" are there, to be sure, but thanks to great casting and a solid script, with a few twists on vamp mythology, the movie is still better than most people think. Another plus for the film is that 3 actors from the ALIENS cast are reunited, (Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstien) this time playing the bad guys, who make Caleb's life a living hell
Anchor Bay Entertaiment has put together a nice 2 disc DVD set. Finally giving the film its due. Disc 1 has a good commentary track by director Katheryn Bigelow, a new DTS sound mix, and a THX mix as well. Disc 2's best extra is the 47 minute retrospective documentary, featuring cast and crew recollections about the film. There's also one deleted scene, theatrical trailers, storyboards, 2 still galleries, talent bios, and DVD-ROM content.
For a movie that nobody originally saw. NEAR DARK can finally be enjoyed by fans and newcomers alike The 2 DVD set is recommended with a **** star rating
on September 23, 2002
Sometimes, there is a movie that just comes out at the wrong place, or the wrong time, or in the wrong setting. It is often a very good movie, and, some-times, has an incredible cast. However, due to something about the release, the movie is not re-ceived very well at all. This was the case for the movie Near Dark. Much to the loss of anyone who has never seen it.
The year is 1987. On Halloween night, two competing vampire movies are released. The first, an independent film about nomadic vampires, with minimal advertisement and only a simple poster, showing a young man named Billy Paxton on it with his head split open, the movie name, and the motto "Pray For Daylight." The other, a Warner Bros. film about nomadic vampires, which was advertised to Hell and back, and starred Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland. The first was Near Dark, and the second... a little flick called The Lost Boys. Simply due to the fact that most people I know have never even heard of the former, while the latter is practically a household name, it is pretty easy to figure out what happened. Near Dark was completely shadowed by the Warner Bros. film, and hardly even got a second look.
Well, here is that second look.
The setting is the small-town Midwest... Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, something along those lines. One Saturday night, a young man by the name of Caleb spies himself the prettiest young woman he's seen in a long time, and makes the attempt for her. The young woman, a young girl by the name of Mae, is willing to play along, and even accepts a ride home from this cowboy stranger. She's not exactly accommodating, and the little bite she leaves on his neck before running off... an attempt to get home before the sun rises, and her "family" gets upset... leaves Caleb with more than just a bruised ego.
With his truck broken down, he has to make his way across a few miles of open country, and when the sun starts making his skin smoke, it's not hard to see where things are going to go for our young hero. And when the Winnebago pulls up to pull Caleb out of danger, and reveals Mae's "family" was actually a nomadic group of vampires, the plot really begins to take some amazing twists and turns.
To tell much more would be giving it all away, and, believe me, seeing the movie is more than worth it. But the least I can do is give you a quick introduction to the players of this macabre little play.
The first, of course, is Caleb Colton (played by Adrian Pasdar), a young man with a loving father and doting, if not a little temperamental, little sister. He's your boy next door... at least until a bloody little hickey shows him the dark side of the world.
Next, we have Mae (played by Jenny Wright). Beautiful young woman with a passion for life... or is it what's inside the living? A vampire of only four years, she doesn't seem so bad, and still seems to enjoy kissing as much as any living woman, at least, with the right guy. But above all, she is loyal to her pack.
Mae, however, is only but one member of this nomadic vampire pack. The leader is an older man known by the name Jesse (played by Lance Hendrikson). He's been around quite a long time, probably more than anyone else in the group. "Let's just put it this way: I fought for the South. - We lost." He's kind when he has to be, hard the rest of the time, and is the "leader" of the group.
Severen (played by Bill Paxton) is the next of our motley crew. A gunfighter of the "Old West," he was made by Jesse, and is easily the brute force of the group. He's rough, violent, but can play the Don Juan when he has to. Oh, and he "hates them when they're not shaved."
Another of Jesse's "children" is Diamondback (played by Jenette Goldstein), an out-of-luck Antebellum Southern Belle, with bleach-blonde hair and a spirit that outshines even her dark, vicious nature. She could easily be called the mother of the group, though she doesn't coddle anyone, by any means.
Finally, we have Homer (played by Joshua John Miller). He's a child of the 50's, and is still, for all physical purposes, a child of around 13 years old, at best. Though most of the time he has a very mature outlook on life, there are still times when he slips into his child-like nature. And don't mispronounce his name... it might be bad to upset someone with the spite of a child and the power of a vampire.
Whether traveling in semi-trucks, modified hearses, or even a van that looks like something out of "The A-Team," this group manages to find trouble at every turn... all of it by their own making. After all, when you drink the blood of other human beings, and live virtually forever, what is life but one big party? About the only thing I didn't like about the movie was the ending; it was contrite, fluffy, and left the audience wanting something more as the credits rolled on. But if you can handle a few little problems, I'd highly recommend getting this movie. It's worth the rental fee, at least, and the DVD has some special features that make buying it very worth while.
on September 16, 2002
Near Dark is one of those great movies that it seems no one has seen. I hope this deluxe DVD will change that.
Near Dark suffered in it's initial theatrical release due to it's resemblance to The Lost Boys. They share a storyline (Hapless young man falls for a girl who turns him into a Vampire, and he's forced to deal with her crazy running buddies.), and even a release date; Lost Boys blew Near Dark right out of theaters, but Near Dark found an appreciative audience on video, and deservedly so. The cast is uniformly great, especially Lance Henrikson and Bill Paxton as the lead Vamps. The script, by Director Kathryn and Eric Red, is perfect- we learn little tidbits about the history of the Vampires, but we're always kept at arms length from them. We see them as alien and threatening, and they see us a food. Bigelow does a great job, especially considering it was her solo directorial debut. The only gripe I had is the Vampirism "Cure" which seems like a Deus Ex Machina, but that's a small quibble. The Tangerine Dream score also made some scenes seem really cheesy...FAR from their best work. I think an orchestral score would have been much better, but budget constraints....
The 2-DVD set is beautifully packaged, with a die-cut inner package inside the box, and a great looking (and informative!) booklet. The film looks great; As usual, Anchor Bay does great work on their DVD transfers. It also has a commentary track from Director Bigelow, which is kinda dry and technical. Disc 2 has tons of storyboards, a weak deleted scene, a new 47-minute documentary, cast & crew bios (Very extensive!), still & ad galleries, and tons more.
Near Dark is one of those films that has flown under the radar for FAR too long, and I can't recommend it highly enough!
on July 29, 2003
I thought I'd seen all I needed to see of vampire films but Bigelow's "Near Dark" surprised me. She set it in the American Southwest, among cowboys, ranchers and vagabonds. She also came up with some of most visually stunning images of vampires ever put on film, especially of them catching on fire. Amazingly, she even comes up with a way to redeem the protagonist in the film who was unwillingly made into a vampire. Writer-director Kathryn Bigelow was a very talented painter before she went to film school to become a movie director. It shows in her work which is very artistic for someone primarily known to the action-adventure genre of filmmaking. She is a breath of fresh air in this genre, investing it with literate scripts and haunting imagery. Her most frequent producer is James Cameron (the action wonder king, "Titanic," "Terminator"), who is also her ex-husband. You can see his influence on her work as well.