Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Near Dark (1987)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Near Dark (1987)

In Kathryn Bigelow's directorial debut, low-budget vampire-western horror film (one of the best US vampire-horror films of all-time) - the story of a nomadic, tightly-knit band of vampires in the American Southwest, with the tagline: Blood is Our Life. Darkness, Our Feeding Ground. And Sunlight, Our Eternal Damnation:

  • the opening scene of small-town Oklahoma farm boy Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar) meeting the alluring yet mysterious young blonde drifter Mae (Jenny Wright) at an ice cream parlor; their first conversation was very telling: (Caleb: "Have a bite?" Mae: "Bite?" Caleb: "I’m just dyin' for a cone" Mae: "Dyin'?"); soon after romance developed, she bit him in the neck just before dawn as they kissed goodbye in his pickup truck, and he remarked to himself: "Sure was some kiss"; he soon found himself weakened, and as he staggered home, he was kidnapped by Mae's makeshift vampire family, and was slowly transforming into a vampire; he was reluctant to be persuaded to kill, so Mae would feed him her blood from her wrist to keep him alive
Caleb with Mae:
"Just dyin' for a cone"
Romance Before Her Bite
  • the characters of wise-cracking, swaggering, vicious desperado-like, cowboy-outlaw 'rebel' vampire Severen (Bill Paxton) (dressed like rock singer Jim Morrison) - a sociopathic, undead vampire, who was part of a vampire family led by menacing Southern, Civil War veteran and patriarch Jesse Hooker (Lance Henriksen); also, Jesse's girlfriend Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein) and their teenaged "son" Homer (Joshua John Miller) who felt inadequate: ("Do you have any idea what it's like to be a big man on the inside and have a small body on the outside?"); the family traveled the countryside in a blacked-out Winnebago van and conducted raids on motorbikes
Severen's Instigation of a Blood-Lusting, Drawn-Out
Roadhouse Bar-Diner Fight with Hicks
Severen (Bill Paxton)
Jesse Terrorizing Bar Waitress
Long-Haired Patron's Neck Broken
"Finger-Lickin' Good!"
Taunting Bar Tender
Bar-Tender Struggling to Load Shotgun Before Being Killed
  • in the memorable roadhouse bar, a violent massacre sequence and a famous set-piece, the clan entered a redneck bar late one night, where Severen called out: "Well, I'll be god-damned. S--t-kicker heaven!"; he sat down at the bar, and taunted both a customer (Robert Winley) and the bartender (Thomas Wagner), and as a bar waitress (Jan King) served drinks to the family, she was terrorized by Jesse, and then her throat was promptly slit by Diamondback; this was followed by the horror of Jesse using the blood to fill a beer mug
  • further, Severen insulted one of the long-haired hillbilly patrons and then broke the neck of a long-haired hillbilly bar patron after biting into the man's hairy neck ("I hate 'em when they ain't been shaved"); he hissed: "It's finger-lickin' good"; Severen threatened the bartender who was struggling to reload his shotgun: "Are you havin' a little trouble with your hog-leg there?"; after striding down the length of the bar and crushing beverage glasses, he slit the bartender's throat with two swings of his boot's spurs
  • the spectacular, choreographed daytime shoot-out scene at a cheap bungalow-motel in which dreaded shafts of light caused by bullets exposed the vampires to deadly rays of sunlight, but the clan was rescued by Caleb (although shot by local Kansas State deputies and on fire from the rays of the sun, he shielded himself with a blanket as he raced toward a black Ford panel van, plowed into the motel, and picked up the other vampires)
  • the death challenge (a metaphoric "western shootout") between now-cured Caleb (steering and commandeering a massive tractor-trailer after Severen shot the driver and exclaimed: "Bullseye!") and Severen (standing in the middle of the road); Severen was run over, but bloodily survived, crawled up onto the hood ("Fasten your f--kin' seat belt!) and proceeded to rip out the engine's wiring; Caleb jumped out just before he deliberately jack-knifed the truck, causing an explosion that killed Severen
  • the concluding (as the sun came up) sequence when both Mae and Homer broke through the back window of the vampires' station-wagon, during a pursuit of Caleb's sister Sarah (Marcie Leeds) (she was running toward the rescuing arms of her brother Caleb); Homer's skin began to burn when exposed to the sun, and he blew up; also, the vampires' station-wagon exploded after Caleb exclaimed: "Roast"
Sarah Running to Escape
Homer's Lethal Pursuit of Sarah in Sunlight Before Exploding
Sarah Saved in Caleb's Arms
Vampires' Vehicle Blowing Up: (Caleb: "Roast!")
Ending: Caleb Assuring Now-Human, Transfused Mae: "It's just the sun"
  • in the brief 'happy ending' scene, Caleb had just tranfused Mae back to human at his family's farm - she asked: "Caleb, what's happening?...I'm afraid"; he hugged and assured her: "Don't be, it's just the sun"

Mae's Bloody Goodbye Kiss on Caleb's Neck in Pickup Truck

Caleb Infected and Kidnapped by Mae's Vampire Family

The Daylight Police Raid at a Motel

Blanket-Covered Caleb's Escape to Van to Rescue Everyone From Motel

"Western Shootout" -- Severen vs. Caleb (Driving Tractor-Trailer)


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