Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Horror Movies That Don't Suck: Near Dark

After an annoying bout with insomnia last night I came across Harry Knowles weekly DVD Picks and Peeks article. Among the selections this week is a new edition of Kathryn Bigelow's 1987 vampire classic, Near Dark, which has some very... um... special box art.

Like Harry, I find this rather hilarious, but I also find it a tad annoying. Near Dark is not Twilight, and while I'm with him on enjoying the prospect of a bunch of cushy Twilighters stumbling across this movie and getting a taste of what a vampire action romance can really be (that is, good), I can't stand how cheapening this box art is, and how discouraging it is to anyone who hates Twilight. This movie is the anti-Twilight. From a glance though, I actually thought it was a straight-to-video remake.

Near Dark is the other 80s vampire movie. People will often cite The Lost Boys as the best vampire movie of the 80s. The Lost Boys of course being the story of a single mom and her kids who move in to their uncle's house (ignoring potential Toys in the Attic joke), the oldest falls for a girl who is caught up in a biker gang who turn out to be vampires, becomes a vampire, doesn't want to kill people, and then has a crazy showdown at the end. Near Dark is about a rancher boy who falls for a girl who is caught up in a biker gang of vampires, becomes a vampire himself, REALLY doesn't want to kill people, and has a big showdown at the end. It is, the other vampire movie of the 80s. (If you haven't gathered by now, I'm not a fan of The Hunger.) However, where The Lost Boys is rather campy, Near Dark is a hard R, seriously badass film with a quarter of the cast of Aliens (Lance Henricksen, Bill Paxton and Jenette Goldstein) making up the vampire gang. It's an outlaw film, with an epic shoot out and one of the most violent bar-fights in film history. Its a hybrid of action and horror that puts the Underworld and Blade films to shame, with the closest film I can think of to compare it to being the original The Hitcher (which I plan to write about more in the future). But to sum it up, it's a Kathryn (Blue Steel, Point Break, Strange Days and recently The Hurt Locker) Bigelow film. What more really needs to be said?

This movie isn't about glistening skin as the golden-eyed hunk (...of hairspray) gazes at the virginal young teen girl, its about a woman letting a guy feed off her blood so he'll survive because, unlike her, he lacks the killer instinct. That's basically the romance here. They do not exactly sparkle when the sun comes up. Oh, and the golden eyes and white skin on that cover... total BS. Not in the movie. It's that blatant an attempt to make this look like Twilight, and frankly, I don't think Twilight has a scene where someone's throat gets ripped open by way of Bill Paxton's boot spurs. Gore isn't everything, and far from all Near Dark has to offer; it's one of if not the best vampire movie of the 80s. The cover art designer(s) should show a little more respect. Sheesh.


Blogger Edward Azad said...

Blame the 2009 vampire trend. First pirates, now vampires.

If you can find a dvd of the 1980 horror film He Knows You're Alone, guess who's on the cover? Tom Hanks, who plays a character so insignificant he doesn't even warrant the dignity of an on-screen death.

I agree, however, that it may be counter-intuitive to include a cliff-jawed vampire and his swooning playmate on the cover since it immediately puts across the notion that Near Dark *is* a direct-to-dvd "Twilight" knockoff. But these sorts of pitfalls never deter marketing departments.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Edward Azad said...

Hey look! Someone else had the same observation about the box art.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Cory Capron said...


Well, I'm not surprised.

10:39 PM  

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