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Near Dark
Buy the DVD  Barnes &
Length:1h 34mins
Cast:Kathryn Bigelow, Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen

Katherine Bigelow's mesmerizing Near Dark is a lyrical, gorgeously crafted vampire western that has acquired a cult following since its release in 1987. The undead in Bigelow's film are a tightly knit, leather-clad gang of hell-raisin' rednecks who prowl the Southwest in a motor home looking for fresh prey. When one of them, an ethereal beauty named Mae (Jenny Wright), attracts the romantic attentions of farm boy Caleb (Adrian Pasdar), she spares his life, turning him into a vampire and inducting him into the clan. Bigelow, a former painter, clearly revels in the visual and poetic possibilities of both western and vampire myths, presenting a hero who is caught, literally and figuratively, between the forces of light and dark. Both deadly and alluring, the vampire gang functions as a sort of perverted familial unit. Each member is sharply drawn, with standout performances by Wright, by Lance Henriksen as the leader of the pack, and by Jenette Goldstein as his moll. The shimmering nightscapes and images of the vampires racing across flat plains in an attempt to escape the rising sun are unforgettable. And the scene in which Caleb, unable to kill his own prey, hungrily sucks blood from Mae's wrists, is breathtakingly erotic. With references ranging deftly from classic westerns to '60s biker movies, Near Dark is a near-perfect genre hybrid that stands among the best modern vampire movies. Kryssa Schemmerling

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