The word "vampire" is never mentioned in Near Dark, but that doesn't stop this 1987 cult favourite 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 favoured 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 T2 alumnus Jenette Goldstein; and Bill Paxton is the group's deadliest leather-clad ass kicker. Fellow traveller 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 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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