Shit-kicker Heaven: Celebrating Kathryn Bigelow’s dark, twisted vampire western
Jesse Wente on Near Dark, "the greatest modern vampire movie"
A mix of star-crossed romance, sun-scorched scenery, and brutal vampire violence, Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark — which kicked off TIFF Cinematheque's Bigelow retrospective that continues through August 15 — has an aesthetic all its own. A grimy, wickedly stylish tale of a pack of immortal bloodsuckers — played by a talented ensemble cast that includes Jenny Wright, Adrian Pasdar, and the Aliens trio of Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein and the late, great Bill Paxton — traversing the American Southwest in a blacked-out van and slaking their thirst on unwary cowpokes, Bigelow's breakthrough movie is arguably a classic western at its core.
In the video below, TIFF Cinematheque's Jesse Wente — who contends that Near Dark is "the best modern vampire movie I have ever seen" — walks us through a terrifyingly slow-paced scene in which the vamps turn a roadside bar into a slaughterhouse, and points out the numerous western elements and iconography that Bigelow incorporates into the sequence.
This summer, we present our first full retrospective devoted to the beyond-badass director of Point Break, Blue Steel, and many more. Catch them all in Kathryn Bigelow: On The Edge at TIFF Bell Lightbox from July 21 to August 15.