Near Dark


1h 35m 1987
Near Dark

Brief Synopsis

A young man reluctantly joins a travelling family of evil vampires, when the girl he'd tried to seduce is part of that group.

Film Details

Also Known As
Aux frontières de l'aube
MPAA Rating
Genre
Horror
Thriller
Release Date
1987
Production Company
Ford Motor Company; Hollywood Rental Company Inc; Otto Nemenz International, Inc.; Pacific Title & Art Studio; Ryder Sound Services Inc; Technicolor
Distribution Company
DE LAURENTIIS COMPANY; De Laurentiis Company; Entertainment Film Distributors, Ltd.; HBO Home Video
Location
Oklahoma, USA; Coolidge, California, USA; Casa Grande, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m

Synopsis

A young man reluctantly joins a travelling "family" of evil vampires because the girl he had tried to seduce is part of that group.

Crew

Mark Allan

Associate Producer

Mark Allan

Production Manager

Stephen Altman

Production Designer

Mickey Alzola

Stunts

Raymond Beetz

Special Effects Assistant

Bob Behr

Adr Editor

Bob Behr

Dialogue Editor Apprentice

Patrick Bietz

Adr Editor

Patrick Bietz

Dialogue Editor Assistant

Kathryn Bigelow

Screenwriter

Al Broussard

Special Effects Assistant

John Bucklin

Set Dresser

Findlay Bunting

Set Dresser

Jay Burkhart

Scenic Artist

Leo Chaloukian

Sound Rerecording Mixer

Mary Nell Clark

Assistance (Oklahoma Film Commission)

Chuck Colwell

Camera Operator 2nd Unit (2nd Unit)

Chuck Colwell

Director Of Photography 2nd Unit (2nd Unit)

Eddie Cooley

Song ("Fever")

Alicia Craft

2nd Assistant Camera

Everett Creach

Stunt Coordinator

Everett Creach

Stunts

Richard Crompton

Grip

John Davenport

Song ("Fever")

Holly Davis

Foley

Holly Davis

Sound Effects

Kimberly Deen

Auditor

Joe Dishner

Unit Manager (Arizona)

Sally Dodge

Negative Cutter

Steve Doolittle

Construction

Tangerine Dream

Music

Andrew Dunham

Grip (Arizona)

Lisa Etherington

Auditor Assistant

Jonathan D Evans

Sound Engineer

Gary Farr

Stills

Ben Feldhouse

Electrician

Edward Feldman

Executive Producer

Tom Fields

Construction

Steve Galich

Special Effects Coordinator

Ted Goodspeed

Sound Effects

Ted Goodspeed

Foley

Bob Gray

Key Grip

Adam Greenberg

Director Of Photography

Khan Griffith

Grip

Glenn G Haines

Casting Associate

Grover Helsley

Sound Rerecording Mixer

Vivian Hengsteler

Negative Cutter

George Herthel

Location Manager

Blake Hocevar

Location Assistant (Arizona)

Jools Holland

Song Performer ("Morse Code")

Derek Howard

Special Effects Makeup Assistant

Scott A Howell

Bestboy Grip

Constance Hoy

Continuity (Arizona)

Henry Humphreys

Other

Sarah Irving

Other

Bob Ivy

Stunts

Steven Charles Jaffe

Producer

Carol Janson

Publicist

Gar Jero

Animal Wrangler (Dogs)

Mike Johnson

Stunts

Jeri Kelley

Transportation Captain

Casey Kelly

Song ("The Cowboy Rides Away")

Bill Kirkpatrick

Assistance (Arizona Film Commission)

Karla Knorr

Dialogue Editor Assistant

Karla Knorr

Adr Editor

Jono Kouzouyan

Lighting Gaffer

Steven Leeds

Stunts

Guy J Louthan

1st Assistant Director

Daniel Marc

Hairstyles

Dale Martin

Special Effects Coordinator

David S Mayne

Electrician/Grip (Arizona)

Hugh Mccallum

Grip

Michael H Mcgaughy

Stunts

Laura Mcgillicuddy

Other

Ian Mcvey

Assistant (To Producer)

Ian Mcvey

Assistant 2nd Unit Director (2nd Unit)

Jenny Mead

Researcher

Charles R Meeker

Executive Producer

F Hudson Miller

Sound Effects

F Hudson Miller

Foley

Darrell Mirkin

Production Assistant

James Monroe

Set Dresser

Karen Altman Morgenstern

Production Coordinator

Alan Munro

Storyboard Artist

Stevie Myers

Animal Wrangler (Horses)

Stevie Myers

Stunts

Diane Nabatoff

Associate Producer

Linda Nottestad

Hairdresser

Julie Overskei

Craft Service

Brett Palmer

Set Dresser

George Palmer

Electrician

R J Palmer

Sound Editor Supervisor

Connie Papineau

Script Supervisor

John Parr

Song Performer ("Naughty, Naughty")

John Parr

Song

Dian Perryman

Art Direction

Ron Phillips

Stills

John Pierce

Electrician

Vance Piper

1st Assistant Camera

Lee Poppie

Stunts

Joseph Porro

Costume Designer

Jennifer L Pray

Set Dresser

Mike Raden

Stunts

Karen Rae

Casting

Eric Red

Screenwriter

Eric Red

Co-Producer

Steve Rice

Dialogue Editor

Steve Rice

Adr Editor

Fred Robbins

Transportation Coordinator

Richard D Rogers

Sound Rerecording Mixer

Joan Rowe

Foley Artist

Joseph Sasgen

Special Effects Assistant

Thomas Schellenberg

Production Assistant

John Scherer

2nd Assistant Director

Derek Scott

1st Assistant Camera 2nd Unit (2nd Unit)

Brent Sellstrom

Post-Production Supervisor (Arizona)

P Simmons

Song ("Morse Code")

Davida W Simon

Makeup

May Ann Skweres

2nd Assistant Editor (Arizona)

Gordon Smith

Special Effects Makeup

Howard E. Smith

Editor

Steve Sollars

Boom Operator

George Strait

Song Performer ("The Cowboy Rides Away")

Donald Summer

Sound Mixer

Kristen Suzanne

Stunts

Kelly Tartan

Foley

Kelly Tartan

Sound Effects

Michael Tereschuk

Wardrobe Assistant

Sonny Throckmorten

Song ("The Cowboy Rides Away")

Art Tostado

Color Timer

Jerry Trent

Foley Artist

Wallace Uchida

Location Manager

Grace Valenti

1st Assistant Editor (Arizona)

Jim Weidman

Music Editor (Arizona)

Leslie Weir

Wardrobe Supervisor

Jim Wilkey

Stunts

Thomas P. Wilkins

Scenic Artist

Chuck Williams

3rd Assistant Director

Scott Williams

Production Assistant

Jerry Wills

Stunts

Eileen Winterkorn

Scenic Artist

Gregory Wolf

Property Master

D Woody

Song ("Morse Code")

Jack Yanekian

Bestboy Electrician

William L Yarbrough

Stunts

David Lewis Yewdall

Sound Designer

Jeffrey M Zeitlin

Props Assistant

Film Details

Also Known As
Aux frontières de l'aube
MPAA Rating
Genre
Horror
Thriller
Release Date
1987
Production Company
Ford Motor Company; Hollywood Rental Company Inc; Otto Nemenz International, Inc.; Pacific Title & Art Studio; Ryder Sound Services Inc; Technicolor
Distribution Company
DE LAURENTIIS COMPANY; De Laurentiis Company; Entertainment Film Distributors, Ltd.; HBO Home Video
Location
Oklahoma, USA; Coolidge, California, USA; Casa Grande, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m

Articles

Near Dark


Synopsis: Handsome young Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) works as a hand on the ranch owned by his father. One night he is in town for a drink when he flirts with beautiful Mae (Jenny Wright), who stands alone on a sidewalk, seductively licking an ice cream cone. Falling for her, Caleb says, "Sure haven't met any girls like you." Mae answers, "No, you sure haven't." Driving Mae home (she insists she has to be back before sunrise), Caleb pulls over and demands a kiss. He gets one, along with a vein-piercing bite on the neck. Although the word "vampire" is never heard in the film, Mae is one of the undead and has now turned Caleb into one as well. Having run away from Mae, Caleb tries to cross the fields toward his ranch on foot, but the emerging sunlight burns his flesh. A van with blacked-out windows speeds across the field and Caleb is abducted. He has involuntarily joined up with a band of grungy outlaw vampires consisting of Mae; an older couple, the grizzled Jessie Hooker (Lance Henriksen) and the perpetually-angry peroxide blonde "Diamondback" (Jenette Goldstein); Severen (Bill Paxton), a younger man with a crazed temper; and Homer (Joshua Miller), who appears to be a 12-year-old but is actually over 100 years old. The roving bloodsuckers are a twisted family unit who brutally kill to survive; they give Caleb a week to adjust to their lifestyle and learn to kill and drink blood. Meanwhile, Caleb's father follows a bloody trail to find and reclaim his son.

Near Dark (1987) remains one of the most highly-regarded horror films of the 1980s and even though it has been followed in recent years by such popular books, films and TV episodes as the Twilight and True Blood series, it also remains one of the most convincing and brutal modern takes on vampire lore. The script was co-written by 35-year-old Kathryn Bigelow with Eric Red, who had penned the grim cult thriller The Hitcher (1986) the year before. Near Dark was independently produced on a lean $6 million budget with Bigelow, a former painter and a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate Film School, attached to direct her first solo feature. When casting the film, Bigelow's friend James Cameron (they were later married from 1989 to 1991) suggested she use the ensemble of actors he had assembled for his recently completed science fiction/action sequel Aliens (1986); actors Henriksen, Paxton and Goldstein had all appeared in the film.

In an article appearing in the March 1988 issue of the genre magazine Cinemafantastique, Dann Gire quotes Bigelow, who unambiguously calls the film a "vampire-western." She elaborated, "In an effort to sort of modernize the material, to update it and make it contemporary, we got rid of all the gothic aspects of the vampire mythology - the teeth, the bats, holy water, crosses, mirrors, all of that. We just kept the most salient aspects - they burn up in sunshine, they must drink blood to live, they live forever, bullets don't hurt them, and they're very strong. Then we set them in the mid-west and used aspects of a western - shootouts, showdowns at high noon, only in this case it's high midnight." Director of photography Adam Greenberg created deep, velvety blacks for the night scenes and dangerously lit, hazy vistas for scenes set at sunrise. Greenberg was another Cameron alumnus, having shot that director's breakout film The Terminator (1984).

Of the black humor in Near Dark, Bigelow said, "Humor is very important when you're dealing with violence. I like the sense of watching something horrific and having fun with it and not quite understanding why you're having fun with it. I think that's interesting." Bigelow also felt that the humor was a key to audience identification with the characters: "...I wanted this group to be likeable, even though what they do to sustain themselves is horrific. I wanted them to be presented as romantic figures, quite seductive." The film ran into trouble with the MPAA ratings board, who initially wanted to slap Near Dark with an X-rating for violence. Bigelow made a few small cuts, in particular to a lengthy, notoriously tense scene in which the clan methodically wipes out every human in a biker bar.

Part of the film's story hinges on a plot device that was difficult for many longtime horror aficionados to swallow: The concept that a vampire can be saved if given a blood transfusion from a mortal donor. Bigelow addressed this controversy by pointing out that the premise came from no less an authority than Bram Stoker. "It was called 'bloodletting' in Stoker's Dracula," she said. "The whole notion of being able to reclaim a victim that way interested me."

Near Dark was given only a spotty release and almost zero publicity upon its release in October, 1987. The distributing studio, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG), was going through a bankruptcy process and this was their final release. In addition, the glossy and more mainstream-friendly take on modern vampirism, Joel Schumacher's The Lost Boys (1987), had been released in July to big box-office; consequently the much darker Bigelow take on the subject quickly sank without a trace.

Critical reaction to Near Dark at the time of release was mixed. In the Washington Post, Hal Hinson offered high praise, writing that the film "...is pop allusive in the same way that George Miller's Mad Max movies are, and it has the same postmodern knowingness about genre conventions that the Coen brothers displayed in Blood Simple [1984] and Raising Arizona [1987]. Here Bigelow has cross-bred vampire legends, westerns and biker movies to arrive at a combination that's both outrageous and poetic; it has extravagant, bloody thrills plus something else - something that comes close to genuine emotion." Meanwhile, Caryn James of the New York Times accused Bigelow of using "too-studied compositions" and employing "the scattershot school of film making" because she "...searches desperately for a style, and tosses into the pot touches of film-noir lust, some cornpone family sentiment, blue-colored nights, overexposed days, orange suns that race across the screen, and enough blood and violence so Near Dark can be sold as a horror film but not enough to risk its R rating."

Following Near Dark, director Bigelow helmed a number of thrillers (Blue Steel [1989], Point Break [1991], Strange Days [1995], K-19: The Widowmaker [2002]) and along with the enormous acclaim for her work on The Hurt Locker (2008), she became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director.

Producer: Steven-Charles Jaffe
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Screenplay: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red
Cinematography: Adam Greenberg
Art Direction: Dian Perryman
Music: Tangerine Dream
Film Editing: Howard E. Smith
Cast: Adrian Pasdar (Caleb Colton), Jenny Wright (Mae), Lance Henriksen (Jesse Hooker), Bill Paxton (Severen), Jenette Goldstein (Diamondback), Tim Thomerson (Loy Colton), Joshua Miller (Homer), Marcie Leeds (Sarah Colton), Kenny Call (Deputy Sheriff), Ed Corbett (Ticket Seller)
C-94m. Letterboxed.

by John M. Miller
Near Dark

Near Dark

Synopsis: Handsome young Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) works as a hand on the ranch owned by his father. One night he is in town for a drink when he flirts with beautiful Mae (Jenny Wright), who stands alone on a sidewalk, seductively licking an ice cream cone. Falling for her, Caleb says, "Sure haven't met any girls like you." Mae answers, "No, you sure haven't." Driving Mae home (she insists she has to be back before sunrise), Caleb pulls over and demands a kiss. He gets one, along with a vein-piercing bite on the neck. Although the word "vampire" is never heard in the film, Mae is one of the undead and has now turned Caleb into one as well. Having run away from Mae, Caleb tries to cross the fields toward his ranch on foot, but the emerging sunlight burns his flesh. A van with blacked-out windows speeds across the field and Caleb is abducted. He has involuntarily joined up with a band of grungy outlaw vampires consisting of Mae; an older couple, the grizzled Jessie Hooker (Lance Henriksen) and the perpetually-angry peroxide blonde "Diamondback" (Jenette Goldstein); Severen (Bill Paxton), a younger man with a crazed temper; and Homer (Joshua Miller), who appears to be a 12-year-old but is actually over 100 years old. The roving bloodsuckers are a twisted family unit who brutally kill to survive; they give Caleb a week to adjust to their lifestyle and learn to kill and drink blood. Meanwhile, Caleb's father follows a bloody trail to find and reclaim his son. Near Dark (1987) remains one of the most highly-regarded horror films of the 1980s and even though it has been followed in recent years by such popular books, films and TV episodes as the Twilight and True Blood series, it also remains one of the most convincing and brutal modern takes on vampire lore. The script was co-written by 35-year-old Kathryn Bigelow with Eric Red, who had penned the grim cult thriller The Hitcher (1986) the year before. Near Dark was independently produced on a lean $6 million budget with Bigelow, a former painter and a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate Film School, attached to direct her first solo feature. When casting the film, Bigelow's friend James Cameron (they were later married from 1989 to 1991) suggested she use the ensemble of actors he had assembled for his recently completed science fiction/action sequel Aliens (1986); actors Henriksen, Paxton and Goldstein had all appeared in the film. In an article appearing in the March 1988 issue of the genre magazine Cinemafantastique, Dann Gire quotes Bigelow, who unambiguously calls the film a "vampire-western." She elaborated, "In an effort to sort of modernize the material, to update it and make it contemporary, we got rid of all the gothic aspects of the vampire mythology - the teeth, the bats, holy water, crosses, mirrors, all of that. We just kept the most salient aspects - they burn up in sunshine, they must drink blood to live, they live forever, bullets don't hurt them, and they're very strong. Then we set them in the mid-west and used aspects of a western - shootouts, showdowns at high noon, only in this case it's high midnight." Director of photography Adam Greenberg created deep, velvety blacks for the night scenes and dangerously lit, hazy vistas for scenes set at sunrise. Greenberg was another Cameron alumnus, having shot that director's breakout film The Terminator (1984). Of the black humor in Near Dark, Bigelow said, "Humor is very important when you're dealing with violence. I like the sense of watching something horrific and having fun with it and not quite understanding why you're having fun with it. I think that's interesting." Bigelow also felt that the humor was a key to audience identification with the characters: "...I wanted this group to be likeable, even though what they do to sustain themselves is horrific. I wanted them to be presented as romantic figures, quite seductive." The film ran into trouble with the MPAA ratings board, who initially wanted to slap Near Dark with an X-rating for violence. Bigelow made a few small cuts, in particular to a lengthy, notoriously tense scene in which the clan methodically wipes out every human in a biker bar. Part of the film's story hinges on a plot device that was difficult for many longtime horror aficionados to swallow: The concept that a vampire can be saved if given a blood transfusion from a mortal donor. Bigelow addressed this controversy by pointing out that the premise came from no less an authority than Bram Stoker. "It was called 'bloodletting' in Stoker's Dracula," she said. "The whole notion of being able to reclaim a victim that way interested me." Near Dark was given only a spotty release and almost zero publicity upon its release in October, 1987. The distributing studio, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG), was going through a bankruptcy process and this was their final release. In addition, the glossy and more mainstream-friendly take on modern vampirism, Joel Schumacher's The Lost Boys (1987), had been released in July to big box-office; consequently the much darker Bigelow take on the subject quickly sank without a trace. Critical reaction to Near Dark at the time of release was mixed. In the Washington Post, Hal Hinson offered high praise, writing that the film "...is pop allusive in the same way that George Miller's Mad Max movies are, and it has the same postmodern knowingness about genre conventions that the Coen brothers displayed in Blood Simple [1984] and Raising Arizona [1987]. Here Bigelow has cross-bred vampire legends, westerns and biker movies to arrive at a combination that's both outrageous and poetic; it has extravagant, bloody thrills plus something else - something that comes close to genuine emotion." Meanwhile, Caryn James of the New York Times accused Bigelow of using "too-studied compositions" and employing "the scattershot school of film making" because she "...searches desperately for a style, and tosses into the pot touches of film-noir lust, some cornpone family sentiment, blue-colored nights, overexposed days, orange suns that race across the screen, and enough blood and violence so Near Dark can be sold as a horror film but not enough to risk its R rating." Following Near Dark, director Bigelow helmed a number of thrillers (Blue Steel [1989], Point Break [1991], Strange Days [1995], K-19: The Widowmaker [2002]) and along with the enormous acclaim for her work on The Hurt Locker (2008), she became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director. Producer: Steven-Charles Jaffe Director: Kathryn Bigelow Screenplay: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red Cinematography: Adam Greenberg Art Direction: Dian Perryman Music: Tangerine Dream Film Editing: Howard E. Smith Cast: Adrian Pasdar (Caleb Colton), Jenny Wright (Mae), Lance Henriksen (Jesse Hooker), Bill Paxton (Severen), Jenette Goldstein (Diamondback), Tim Thomerson (Loy Colton), Joshua Miller (Homer), Marcie Leeds (Sarah Colton), Kenny Call (Deputy Sheriff), Ed Corbett (Ticket Seller) C-94m. Letterboxed. by John M. Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 2, 1987

Released in United States February 2010

Released in United States October 9, 1987

Released in United States on Video March 1988

Released in United States September 1987

Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival (Special Presentation) February 4-14, 2010.

Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 1987.

Began shooting November 17, 1986.

Ultra-Stereo

Released in United States February 2010 (Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival (Special Presentation) February 4-14, 2010.)

Released in United States on Video March 1988

Released in United States September 1987 (Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 1987.)

Released in United States Fall October 2, 1987

Released in United States October 9, 1987 (Los Angeles)