Near Dark

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The cult vampire film Near Dark (1987) was Kathryn Bigelow’s solo directing debut, marking the beginning of an illustrious career as one of the leading female directors working in Hollywood. Remaining her only foray into horror, the film brings together the conventions of the vampire film and the western to offer a distinct vision that is simultaneously sensuous and brutal; a haunting romance and a visceral horror film woven together through an expressionist visual design, a Gothic soundtrack, and Bigelow’s nuanced understanding of genre hybridity.

Revisiting the film’s production and reception history, Stacey Abbott traces Near Dark’s journey from a failed theatrical release to celebrated cult classic, showcasing the aesthetic and thematic qualities that have become hallmarks of Bigelow’s career. Reflecting on the film’s place within a legacy of vampire cinema, Abbott shows how it embodies the Americanization of the genre and offers a fresh conception of the female vampire, subtly challenging conventional representations of the predatory female. By examining the film’s rich chiaroscuro, Abbott further demonstrates how this collision between light and shadow not only underpins the films’ visual design but evokes its moral complexities, channels its reimagining of the vampire, and entices the audience into the sumptuous twilight landscape of the undead.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages112
ISBN (Electronic)9781911239291, 9781911239284
ISBN (Print)9781911239277
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameBFI Classics

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