Near Dark (1987)
Article 5944 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Featuring Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen
What it is: Vampire variant
A young man picks up a girl who turns out to be a vampire. After being bitten by her, he is kidnapped by a gang of vampires who are traveling around the country on a murder spree. If the new member wants to survive in their midst, he must learn to kill…
Here’s an interesting variant on the vampire theme. Outside of being killed by the rays of the sun, traditional vampire mythology is set aside, and the movie plays more like a moody rural action thriller than a horror film. There’s an interesting assortment of characters among the gang, with Bill Paxton memorable as the craziest and most violent of the vampires. Still, taken as a whole, the movie doesn’t quite work for me; certain plot elements seem a bit too convenient, and there’s something about the ways the characters interact that feels a little unconvincing. Nevertheless, it has some truly memorable images, my favorite being that of the hero’s smoky body stumbling through a field.