The Best Vampire Movie Never Says The Word ‘Vampire’, Stream This Dark R-Rated Horror Hidden Gem

By Matthew Flynn | Published

near dark

Near Dark, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, is a unique blend of neo-Western and horror genres. The plot traces the life of Caleb Colton, a small-town young man, who gets entwined with a family of nomadic American vampires. The film stars Adrian Pasdar as the protagonist Caleb, with Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstein in the supporting roles.

From Western To Vampire

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Originally, Kathryn Bigelow had intended to make a pure Western movie with Near Dark. However, she found garnering financial backing too challenging.

Unfazed, she decided to embed the elements of the popular vampire genre into the Western setting.

This ambitious undertaking of blending the genres led to a revisionist interpretation and brought about the resurgence of American vampire films in the 1980s.

Innovative Take

Near Dark first graced the silver screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 1987 before being officially released on October 2, 1987, across 262 theaters.

Despite its innovative take on the vampire genre, the movie failed to make a significant impact at the box office initially. Nevertheless, it won the favor of critics and eventually cultivated a dedicated cult following over the years.

The Vampire Story

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The narrative of Near Dark is centered around Caleb, who encounters Mae, an enigmatic drifter.

After she bites him on the neck, he finds himself turning into a vampire and is subsequently taken into the fold of her roving vampire crew.

Caleb grapples with his new form, particularly his aversion to kill for sustenance, which estranges him from his new family.

Kathryn Bigelow’s Style

Renowned for her unique storytelling style and visual flair, Kathryn Bigelow made her directorial debut with Near Dark.

After the success of Near Dark, Bigelow continued to create groundbreaking films, across a broad spectrum of genres, from war drama The Hurt Locker, which saw her become the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director, to the thrilling action in Point Break and the gripping drama of Zero Dark Thirty.

Bigelow was married to director James Cameron from 1989 to 1991 and knew him prior to her work on Near Dark. Their connection could explain the carryover from Cameron’s Aliens to Near Dark. Three actors from Cameron’s film, Paxton, Goldstein and Henriksen, also appear in Near Dark.

Positive Near Dark Reviews

The film received a generally positive response from critics, who appreciated the amalgamation of the Western, biker, and vampire movie elements in Near Dark.

Its proximal release to The Lost Boys and its independent film status were identified as potential reasons for its initial lukewarm reception at the box office. Yet, its status as a cult classic grew over time.

Stream Near Dark

near dark

In 2006, plans for a remake of Near Dark made headlines but were later abandoned due to its conceptual resemblance to another vampire movie, Twilight. The shelved project was to be a collaboration between Rogue Pictures and Platinum Dunes, with Samuel Bayer slated as the director.

Near Dark stands as a testament to the compelling blend of Western and vampire genres. Despite its initial box office performance, the film continues to captivate audiences and critics alike with its unique charm.

Near Dark is now streaming on the Criterion Channel.