A small-town farmer's son reluctantly joins a traveling group of vampires after he is bitten by a beautiful drifter.

Director:

Kathryn Bigelow
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Popularity
1,842 ( 1,045)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Adrian Pasdar ... Caleb Colton
Jenny Wright ... Mae
Lance Henriksen ... Jesse Hooker
Bill Paxton ... Severen
Jenette Goldstein ... Diamondback
Tim Thomerson ... Loy Colton
Joshua John Miller ... Homer (as Joshua Miller)
Marcie Leeds Marcie Leeds ... Sarah Colton
Kenny Call Kenny Call ... Deputy Sheriff
Ed Corbett Ed Corbett ... Ticket Seller
Troy Evans ... Plainclothes Officer
Bill Cross Bill Cross ... Sheriff Eakers
Roger Aaron Brown ... Cajun Truck Driver
Thomas Wagner ... Bartender
Robert Winley ... Patron in Bar
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Storyline

A mid-western farm boy reluctantly becomes a member of the undead when a girl he meets turns out to be part of a band of southern vampires who roam the highways in stolen cars. Part of his initiation includes a bloody assault on a hick bar. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Pray for daylight. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Near Dark got a K18 rating in 1988 by the Finnish Board of Film Classification. That meant, in those days, 'for theatrical release only'. However, some film critics received VHS copies (most probably from Transworld Video) with Finnish subtitles ca. 1990. There were also reports that videos were accidentally available a few days to the general public before they were drawn back from video stores. See more »

Goofs

When Mae first meets Caleb she points out a star and observes that the light from it "might have been traveling for a billion years." No star visible to the naked eye is a billion light years away. In fact our entire galaxy is just 100,000 light years across, the stars actually visible in the sky only a tiny fraction of that. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Caleb Colton: [crushing a mosquito] Dumb suck.
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Alternate Versions

The UK version released on video in 1988 was missing 14 secs of BBFC cuts:
  • Diamondback opening and closing a butterfly knife repeatedly before slitting the barmaid's throat
  • Jesse and Severen putting the barman's body on the bar and smashing bottles of spirits over and around him to fuel the fire while Severen quips "Hey, bartender salad".
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Connections

Referenced in Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

MORSE CODE
Performed by Jools Holland
Written by D. Woody and P. Simmons
Courtesy of I.R.S. Records
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User Reviews

 
Howdy. I'm gonna separate your head from your shoulders. Hope you don't mind none.
9 August 2010 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Near Dark is directed and written by Kathryn Bigelow with Eric Red also credited for the screenplay. It stars Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein & Bill Paxton. The score is provided by Tangerine Dream and Adam Greenberg is the cinematographer.

A small Oklahoma town and Caleb Colton (Pasdar) meets Mae (Jenny Wright), an attractive young drifter. They chat, they flirt and just before sunrise she bites him on the neck before running away. Welcome to your new vampire family Caleb……

It's now written in scripture that Bigelow's Vampire Western failed miserably at the box office and quickly vanished into the shadow of Joel Schumacher's popular Vampo piece, The Lost Boys. However, thanks to VHS interest, the film refused to shrivel up and blow away when the sun came up. Over the years the film has garnered a cult fan base and been reappraised by many of the front line critics to great reviews. So much so that now it's considered something of an enigmatic & poetic classic that's directed by a hugely talented female director.

With its core story the film offers nothing new to the vampire sub-genre. The blood as a drug/thirst motif was long ago penned by one Bram Stoker. But Near Dark is not interested in traditional vampire mythology, this is a modern spin where garlic, bats, crosses and stakes are neither needed or thought about. In fact the word vampire is never mentioned in the film. This is, all told, a film about the human side of the night dwellers, we hop inside their blacked out bus and hit the road; along with the confused and conflicted Caleb. What follows is touches of savagery and touches of ethereal beauty-beauty that comes not from Gothic touches, but from dusky Western surrounds. Photographer Greenberg blending oater stylings with moody horror atmospherics, his light work carrying a sexy sheen that dovetails smartly with the "family" and their life when the sun has gone from the sky. It's seductive, it's what Bigelow wanted and got, the mood created helps us to understand how easy it was for Caleb to be drawn to Mae in the first place.

That Bigelow chose to hire Greenberg {and to utilise him to the max} obviously aids the film no end. That she surrounded herself with quality character actors was something of a master stroke. This allowed her to focus on the tone and flow of the piece, safe in the knowledge that Messrs Henriksen (great character depth), Paxton (a bundle of film stealing energy) and Goldstein (savvy) were carrying the film safely to its Western style finale. Lest we forget the efforts of then unknowns Pasdar & Wright, both pretty and perky, for they too instill their characters with a warmth and tenderness that belies the blood shedding that surrounds their coupling. It's also noteworthy that we are not being asked to sympathise with the addiction plight of the "family," understand? Yes, but never sympathise. Even if the poetic noirish beauty of it all can lure you nervously into its seductive arms and make you feel at odds with your feelings.

Not many knew it at the time, but this was to be a hugely influential film. One that now still shows aspiring newcomers to the sub-genre how it should be done. 8/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1988 (Peru) See more »

Also Known As:

Near Dark See more »

Filming Locations:

Eloy, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$635,789, 4 October 1987

Gross USA:

$3,369,307

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,369,307
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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