Too Near Twilight
A New DVD Release of Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark Tries to Cash in on Twilight Frenzy
Friday, July 10, 2009
Okay. I understand that studios and distribution companies are motivated by the need to turn a profit, and that often prompts them to try and cash in on trends. But the new DVD re-release of Kathryn Bigelow's 1987 vampire tale "Near Dark" goes too far. In an attempt to capitalize on the frenzy stirred by the "Twilight" books and movies, Lionsgate has given the box art for "Near Dark" a pasty makeover so that Adrian Passer's reluctant bloodsucker looks like the pale shimmering Edward of "Twilight." Give me a break! Bigelow's "Near Dark" is the polar opposite to "Twilight." Her film has grit, blood, and edgy humor. Plus, while "Twilight" completely rewrites vampire lore and still has the fangs to call itself a vampire story, "Near Dark" keeps close to vampire mythology but avoids ever calling its creatures vampires. The film announced Bigelow as a talent to watch and she fulfills that promise now with the release of "The Hurt Locker" today.
"Near Dark" is a great genre film but it still hasn't found the audience it deserves. When it opened in 1987 it was overshadowed by the fun but much sillier "The Lost Boys." Now it's being recast in "Twilight's" shadow. This film deserves to stand on its own. Yet I suppose I should cut Lionsgate some slack if a "Twilight" re-vamping of the box art means more people will pick up this cult classic. But the type of people who would pick it up this new DVD-- teenage girls and "Twilight" moms -- might not be the kind of audience that would fall for the bloodsuckers played by Lance Henrickson and Bill Paxton. For my part, I'm glad I have my Anchor Bay two-disc DVD with its 47-minute documentary, "Living in Darkness."
Thanks to one of my FaceBook pals for pointing out this outrage to me. And finally, for anyone not familiar with "Near Dark," check out this trailer to see how different it is from "Twilight." With Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" in theaters now, do yourself a favor and follow up a screening of that with a rental of "Near Dark." Ir's finger-lickin' good!