The first time I saw this flick was in the theater back in 1987. It was probably a date night, but that was a long time ago, so I'm not so sure... At any rate the beginning of this movie is definitely date-night friendly. The good news is it starts out quickly, the bad news is that is resembles Footloose a little too much! But it's not a total loss, as we will see.
Near Dark is a movie from 1987, a few months after The Lost Boys. Of course it was tough for this little independent to compete in theaters against a film released by Warner Brothers, but as far as content, I prefer Near Dark. It is the story of Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) who falls for a beautiful, young-looking female vampire, named Mae (played by Jenny Wright). As their enchanted evening comes to a close, Caleb is bitten (but not bled out) by Mae. She disappears into the night, and as the sun rises, Caleb discovers, he can't handle the sunlight. In fact he begins to smolder! As he struggles across his family farm, an RV races across the farmland and someone swoops him up into the rig. As it happens, his father sees this and thinks he's been kidnapped. Turns out Caleb has been "rescued" by a band of vampires that Mae belongs too. Mae is glad he's there, but the rest of them aren't nearly as thrilled.
That is the basic plot of the movie. We follow the story as Mae tries to get Caleb used to his vampire lifestyle, and to earn his way into the little clan, which consists of Jesse Hooker (Lance Henriksen ), Severen (Bill Paxton), Diamondback (Janette Goldstein) and Homer, a child vampire played by Joshua Miller. The main dilemma for Caleb is: he has a big problem killing someone in order to live. So, poor Caleb is stuck having to feed from Mae's wrists in order to survive. This doesn't sit well with the other vamps, especially Hooker and Severen.
This movie definitely has that whole lighthearted take on the Vampire story for the most part, but it does give us some originality. It was one of the first vampire movies to examine the vampire that happens to become transformed as a child, the struggles of a new vampire, and it involves one scene in the middle of the film, that makes this one worth watching. The scene involves the group of vampires locking the door behind them as they enter a bar, and follows them as they taunt, torture and kill nearly every patron to fulfill their bloodlust. This is where Henriksen and Paxton really take over the movie, and this scene stuck with me for 25 years! I honestly didn't remember anything else about this movie until I watched it again.
I won't give away the rest of the story, in case you watch it, but will say, it holds your interest, and the performances of Henriksen, Paxton, and Goldstein (fresh off the filming of Aliens) make this show worth the watch! Not a perfect horror film by any stretch, but the middle scene is a must see! The Blu Ray has a nice featurette with Henriksen and Paxton, as well as first time director Kathryn Bigelow.
Rating: 7 out of 10