Near Dark

Near Dark


Directed by Kathryn Bigelow,

Production Budget:

5’000’000

Total Lifetime Grosses

Domestic:  3,369,307

Release Date:

October 2, 1987

Since about the mid eighty’s I’ve noticed an up surge and vampire movies. From Fright Night to The Lost Boys and the latter is very similar to this movie with one important exception. Unlike it’s predecessors, this movie seems to take it subject matter very seriously.

Without the usual camp or over-the-top story-lines. Anne Rice’s interview with a vampire trilogy has a similar feel and this movie could fit comfortably within her chronicles. The story is seen through the eyes of a good old, red blooded, all american boy. Complete with cowboy hat and boots.

The Vampires vulnerability is emphasized in the movie. Sunlight and fire are death to the immortals and there is a great fear for these elements. This is really only suggested by certain scenes, such as the recently turned main character smoking in the dawns light, as he stumbles home through the fields.

These illusions of smoldering or burning, plays an important part in the story. With all the vampires in the story being destroyed by fire or the sun. No blood splattering stakes through the hearts for these stylish anti-heroes. As Neil Young once said, “…it’s better to burn out than to fade away”.

This effect is achieved in three main ways.

  1. Smoke, suggesting imminent combustion, combined with black scorch marks.
  2. Stunt men, smeared with combustible materials, standing in for the less disposable actors.
  3. Superimposition, courtesy of Fantasy II. Combined with the body smoking, courtesy of Image Engineering.

This, combined with some strong performances and a good solid script, with extensive characterization, create an excellently crafted film. Without too many of the commercialized trappings of most modern contemporary vampire films.

Most notable is the bar scene, where patrons are slaughtered one by one, to The Cramps crooning  “Fever” with its line “Oh, but what a lovely way to burn”.

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