Near Dark [1987]

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Stars: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 94 minutes

The word "vampire" is never mentioned in Near Dark, but that doesn't stop this 1987 cult favorite from being one of the best modern-era vampire films. It put then-unknown director Kathryn Bigelow on Hollywood's radar and gave choice roles to Aliens costars favored by Bigelow's ex-husband James Cameron: Lance Henriksen is the leader of a makeshift family of renegade bloodsuckers, nocturnally seeking victims in rural Oklahoma; his immortal gal pal is Aliens and Terminator 2 alumnus Jenette Goldstein; and Bill Paxton is the group's deadliest leather-clad ass kicker. Fellow traveler Jenny Wright lures Okie farm boy Adrian Pasdar into the group with a love bite, and he's soon turning toward vampirism with a combination of frightened revulsion and relentless desire. With Joshua Miller (River's Edge) as the youngest vampire, Near Dark is Bigelow's masterpiece of low-budget ingenuity--a truck-stop thriller that begins well, gets better and better (aided by a fine Tangerine Dream score), and goes out in a blaze of glory. --Jeff Shannon

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