Near Dark (1987 D: Kathryn Bigelow, W: Eric Red, Kathryn Bigelow)
This is a film that reminds me of someone — my wife, specifically — more because we saw it on our first date some 23 years ago, than because of any thematic connection (unless Rosemary Pepper is secretly a 100 year old travelling vampire hobo). Near Dark was Kathryn Bigelow’s first real showcase for her talents as a director, and it’s a beautifully stylized treat. Mixing the western with vampire and biker movies, with a wicked sense of humor and pure aesthetic (the night shots are bathed in blue light, with that archetypal ’80s Tangerine Dream score), it finds its own originality out of style, blended genre pics and some fun acting. Lance Henriksen is every inch the grizzled Civil War-vet vampire, Jenny Wright the gentle succubus, and Bill Paxton as a terrifyingly slobbish vampire dickhead. Joshua John Miller, the prescient child actor from River’s Edge, makes a perfect pre-adolescent vampire, stuck forever just before puberty. Some neat pyrotechnics take the whole thing over the edge. Apparently it’s a pretty good date movie, too.