Comfortable and Furious

Near Dark (1987)

Now I’m not a huge fan of vampire or zombie movies. I can’t think of any, other than Nosferatu, that I can even remember watching with any particular joy. Luckily, however, after watching and reviewing Dark Angel, another movie rolled onto my screen from Freevee. It was Near Dark, a vampire movie.  I decided to give it a watch, and boy am I glad I did. 

I became almost giddy when I realized that this movie contained THREE members of the Aliens movie crew! There was Lance Henrikson (Bishop), Jenette Goldstein (Pvt. Vasquez), and the legendary Bill Paxton (Pvt. Hudson)…as vampires! Also, how about Tim Tomerson from Dollman as well? Hell, Yes!

Near Dark is not your typical wooden stake in the heart, garlic and crucifix vampire movie. With one exception, this vampire tribe is more like a gaggle of hooligans, with Severen (Bill Paxton) leading the way with an over-the-top performance that made Pvt. Hudson look like an introvert. More about this later. 

The movie starts as cowboy/lover-boy Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) puts the move on Mae (Jenny Wright), giving her a lift home from the convenience store. He was hoping to steal a kiss in the night. Well, he got a lot more than he bargained for as Mae turns out to be a vampire, who gives him a special hickey on his neck. 

The movie now kicks into high gear as the bitten Caleb is now deathly ill and stumbling through a pasture, trying to get home. He almost makes it, but instead is swooped up into a ragged Winnebago that contains the other members of Mae’s unsavory clan.

Now it begins. They are not thrilled that Mae has brought this outsider into their lot, bitten or not. Most strangers are just sucked dry and left dead in the dust. However, Mae is smitten with Caleb and convinces the others to give Caleb a chance to “become one of us”. This is the very essence of the “love story” in this movie, and in spite of Mae’s encouragement, Caleb resists “making his bones”, and killing to survive. 

The Bar Scene

Remember the awesome bar scene in Terminator 2? Well, the bar scene in Near Dark makes that one look like a kid’s party at Chuck-E-Cheese. Bill Paxton as Severen goes absolutely feral and postal as the vampire crew totally wrecked the joint.

Bill Paxton’s whirlwind envelopment of the bar was nothing short of a tour de force. There were almost more snarks, cliches and one-liners than there was blood, as the invulnerable Severen devastates the place.

I can’t say enough about the Aliens crew, especially Jesse and Diamondback, the leaders of the clan. Bishop and Vasquez, as rampaging vampires that literally burned the bar to the ground after joining the fray. You just have to see this scene to believe it.

Like I mentioned initially, this is not your typical vampire movie. The only Kryptonite that consistently affected this blood-sucking crew was sunlight, and the avoidance of this instantly immolating force was second only to their quest to kill for fresh blood. Kathryn Bigelow did an outstanding job with this film and the soundtrack was top notch. Near Dark can be seen on Freevee and Tubi with ads, and this fun film is certainly worth it.

8.5/10.0 With the Goatesians Rating of a must watch vampire film.

Memorable Quotes and One-Liners:

  • “You spilled my drink!” -Bar patron
  • “Well, why don’t you lick it off the bar, meatball.” -Severen
  • “I taught Severen everything he knew, but not everything I know. -Jesse
  • “First, you’re gonna give me back my spur. Then I’m gonna knock your tonsils out your asshole. What do you think of them apples, huh? -Severen [to Caleb]
  • “Well, I’ll be goddamned. Shit-kicker heaven.” -Severen [entering dive bar]
  • “I ain’t a person no more. I don’t know what I am…I’m sick -Caleb



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