Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Jenny Wright, Adrian Pasdar, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Tim Thomerson
Written by: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 94
Date: 09/12/1987
IMDB

Near Dark (1987)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Bar None

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This vampire film with Western overtones is one of the great movies of all time. Period.

Small town cowboy Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) meets the beautiful, lithe, blonde Mae (Jenny Wright) and takes her out driving. When he accidentally keeps her out past dawn, she bites him and turns him into a vampire -- though I should make it clear that the movie never mentions the word "vampire," nor does it rely on symbols such as crosses or holy water.

Caleb winds up reluctantly joining Mae's "family," consisting of a ragtag band of outlaws who drive around in a modified RV. (Strangely, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen and Jenette Goldstein had all appeared together in the previous year's hit Aliens.) Tim Thomerson rounds out the cast as Caleb's human dad who refuses to give up the search for his son.

With Near Dark, the great Kathryn Bigelow (K-19: The Widowmaker) made her solo directorial debut, and managed to emphasize the relationships between the characters while using the gory showstoppers as support (it's violence simultaneously at its most beautiful and horrific). She draped the film in neon colors, dusty plains, dirty cars and grungy bars -- places where sunlight hurts the eyes.

Anchor Bay's two-disc DVD set, released in 2002, contains a full-length commentary track by Bigelow, a making-of documentary, one outtake, storyboard, and trailers. The DVD-Rom extras include the full screenplay and screen savers.

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