Near Dark

Showtime offered a free preview a couple of weeks ago, and while running through their lineup of late night offerings, I came across this:

Synopsis:

The lure of romance and adventure leads a bored Oklahoma farmhand into the clutches of a group of modern-day vampires.

Starring:

Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli in Heroes), Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, and Bill Paxton (Bill Henriksen in Big Love)

There are few hard and fast rules on TheLostOgle.com, but one of them is that if one of our bloggers comes across a twenty-year old B-Movie written by James Cameron (of Aquaman fame) with a current television star in the lead that is about vampires in Oklahoma, we have to recap the movie. I thought Patrick was crazy when he put that in our original bylaws, but now, not-so-much.

Opening shot: Nathan Petrelli slaps a mosquito on his arm.

First words:

Nathan: (getting out of his truck after his buddy jumped on the fender) Get off my truck, SON!

Moronic Buddy: Sorry, I put a dent in it there. Right by the light there. Come on there tough guy. (Flips Nathan’s hat off)

Nathan: You son of a bitch!

Moronic Buddy: (flips trucker hat backwards so that he looks like Billy Martin arguing with an umpire) Come on!

Nathan: Give it your best shot, go ahead!

Moronic Buddy: Come on! (pause) What’s eating you?

Nathan: Your mama.

Moronic Buddy: You wish.

Nathan: Wish I may. Wish I might.

Despite all of this, I continue to watch as my service to you, TheLostOgle.com reader.

Nathan immediately finds a girl who he gives a ride back to the farm, the whole time asking about her relationship status. She makes him get out on the side of the road where she waxes philosophically about how the light from the stars takes billions of years before it reaches Earth and how she’ll still be here. Nathan’s expression is all, “Whoa! Isn’t it the guy who’s supposed to spout cheesy lines at the girl?”

They get back in the car and get to the farm where they kill time playing with his horse (not a euphemism). The horse does not like her. After playing tug of war, he remarks how strong she is, and then she demands he take her home.

By this time, it is almost daybreak. He stops the truck again, and she freaks out. He says he’ll explain things to her daddy. She demands he get going. He pulls the old, stick your keys down your pants trick and tells her he’s not going anywhere until he gets a kiss. She relents and they make out. She kisses on his neck and he’s into it until she bites him. At this point, she runs off. The truck won’t start.

He begins walking toward home, but as the sun comes up, he starts feeling sick. So, he starts running. (That’s how I battle the stomach flu.) Just as he gets back to the farm, the farmer and his daughter see him and notice he doesn’t look well. As they go to greet him, Nathan is abducted by a Winnebago. Inside the Winnebago is the girl he hung out with the night before with a bunch of hoodlums. One of the hoodlums puts a gun to his head until the girl explains that “he’s been bit, but he ain’t been bled.” Further elaborating, “he’s turned by now.” Said hoodlum is all: “Shit, he’s been turned.” Nathan and the chick make out.

Meanwhile, the farmer reports the abduction.

Back to the Winnebago, Nathan is roughed up a little. He is introduced to one of the, if you haven’t figured it out yet, vampires. His name is Jesse Lee Hooker. Jesse then drops the name of Nathan’s friend who is “Maddie”.

Suddenly, it is night and the vampires torch the Winnebago and shoot guns. It is, after all, set in Oklahoma.

Later that night, Nathan explains to Maddie that he likes her, but he has to go. He walks off along the train tracks. He gets back into town, and just so you know he’s converting into a vampire, he holds his stomach. Apparently, shifting from human to immortal blood sucker comes with the same symptoms as diarrhea. Nathan gets to the bus station and tries to buy a ticket to Spinks, Oklahoma. The ticket giver doesn’t know where that is, and it doesn’t matter because Nathan is $3 short for a ticket.

Dejected, he buys a candy bar from the vending machine, but it makes him sick. A man comes over to see what’s wrong. Nathan explains he needs $3 (I would think it’s now $3.50). The man pulls out his wallet and produces a badge instead. As required by all movie depictions of police officers, the man roughs Nathan up a little by throwing him against a wall and says, “you don’t look so good. What are you on?”

Nathan says nothing, then is forced to explain the blood on his shirt. The officer relents and gives him $3, telling him to “get home”. When he gets off the bus, Maddie is waiting for him. He immediately runs to her and gives her a hug while on his knees. Despite his face being against her crotch, this does not become a Cinemax movie. Instead of a softcore porn scene, she just offers him her wrist. (I get it: this is vampire porn.) He bites it and eats the yummy blood for, I swear, several minutes of film time. He looks happy when he finally comes up for air.

After a quick cut to the farm Nathan worked at the day before during daytime, the movie goes back to Nathan in a payphone booth (the kind that only exists in movies) at nighttime. He tells the operator he wants to make a long distance call to Oklahoma from (Nathan). No one answers and he gets out of the booth where Maddie runs up behind him. Apparently, the euphoria from the previous scene is over, because Nathan is pissed. “What do we do now?” he finally asks her after spewing some profanity. “Whatever we want. But you have to learn how to kill,” she informs him.

“I don’t want to kill,” Nathan says.

Maddie explains in voiceover how Nathan needs to shift his moral structure while the movie shows a man getting out of a car after hitting a child on a bike with his car. While said gentleman goes to check the kids pulse, the kid grabs the man by the head and tears open his throat.

Maddie and Nathan hitch a ride on a semi. While the truck driver explains how to drive a big rig, Nathan leans over to kill him and chickens out. They pull over so he can throw up on the side of the road. The driver comes out to tease him about being unable to “drink and drive” and Maddie does the dirty work.

Nathan is still too big of a pansy and still has to eat from Maddie’s wrist”¦despite Mr. Truck Driver being dead already. She pushes him away after a while and Nathan lays on the ground very satisfied with himself. Maddie cries, “I could die if you eat too much.” Nathan just smiles.

Cut to the other vampires beating up on Nathan. They are upset about the chickening out thing. The kid from the bike scene wants to kill him right there, because Nathan is “so damn ugly it makes (his) gums ache.” It’s ironic because the kid isn’t exactly a model. “He kills tonight,” Jesse decides.

Into a bar. Nathan heads to the bar with a vampire played by Bill Paxton. After Bill steals a man’s liquor, he uses Nathan as a shield for the man’s punch. Bill tells the guy to hit Nathan a couple more times. Said drunk obliges. Nathan punches back and sends the man flying across the room. He is pleased with his new vampire strength.

The vampires begin killing the bar patrons. The bartender is not happy with this. He starts loading his rifle. Bill plays mind games with what appears to be the only living patron remaining, talking about his mama. Adding injury to insult, he kills the man and complains about the dude’s hairy neck. Seeing as how the bartender is all that’s left Nathan gets up from the bar and takes a shot to the belly. Bill tells Nathan not to worry about and slits the guys throat with the toe of his boot.

Oh wait, there’s one guy left. The dude Nathan punched out wakes up on the pool table. The ugly kid shoots him with a handgun. Seriously, WTF?

And another guy comes out of the woodwork. He kind of looks like a poor man’s Brad Pitt and he’s apparently just standing around watching all of this happen. Maddie walks over and dances with him.  PMBP, oblivious to the fact that everyone else who has encountered these people has died, just takes pleasure that she picked him to dance with.  She stops dancing, and turns her head yelling, “This one’s for you (Nathan).” The kid finally gets some stones and jumps through a plate glass window. Nathan runs after him while Jesse torches the bar.

Nathan tracks him down, but still can’t seal the deal. Jesse pulls up in the van they are now driving and tells Nathan he has “F**ked up for the last time.” Jess makes a good point when he reminds Nathan that the kid he let go is going to run straight to the police and blow their cover. Now I understand why they are so pyromaniacal, they have to cover up the evidence of vampires being in the area. The sun is coming up, so retribution is reserved for later.

Jesse checks them into a motel. The proprietor recognizes him as having stayed there before. I would hope this is important later.

Cut to vampires sleeping. Ugly kid sleeps in the tub. There is a knock on the door. It’s the police demanding they come out. Bill looks out the window and has half his face burned. “Daylight,” he screams in manner similar to the Kobra Kai dude who yelled, “Put him in a body bag.” The vampires strap up and prepare to go Branch Davidian on their ass.

As the police shoot into the room, holes are opened allowing rays of light. Nathan makes a break for it by putting a bedspread over his head and jumping out of the window. The police turn his leg into Swiss cheese. At one point, he falls, and the cover slips away. Flames engulf him. He keeps going, though, until he gets to the van which he drives into the motel room for the others to get in. They make their escape. Nathan is a hero.

Now at night, the bloodsuckers regroup. Jesse tells Nathan he “bought some more time”, and the ugly kid even shakes his hand after doing that cool elementary school trick where he pulls his hand back to smooth his hair. Maddie and Nathan go off on their own to hang out outside while the rest of them play poker.

The ugly kid folds his hand and goes outside for a smoke (seriously, he’s like twelve). He hears money dropped into a vending machine and sees a girl his age getting a Coke Classic. (Ah, the eighties.) She gives ugly kid some lip. Ugly kid is in love with the rebel. Somehow he convinces her to come watch some TV back at his room. (If this part turns into Cinemax, I might have some explaining to do to the authorities.)

Uh oh, now we have a problem. When Nathan gets back to the room, the girl knows him. IT’S. HIS. SISTER. The reunion turns ugly. Nathan’s dad shows up to see what his baby girl is doing in a room of strangers at 5 A.M. Nathan tries to negotiate the release of them both. Ugly kid wants her for his vampire bride. Pops gets pissed and shoots Jesse square in the chest. Jesse laughs, coughs a couple of times, and spits the bullet out into his hand. He then deposits the spent ammo in Pops’ pocket. Pandemonium ensues.

Somehow, Nathan, Pops, and Little Sis get to the door. Day has broken, so the clan of vampires retreats back into the room. Pops obviouses when the family is driving off in the van, “normal people don’t spit out bullets, Nathan.” He wants to take Nathan to the hospital. Nathan thinks this is a bad idea, and because he’s from Oklahoma, he informs Pops, “I ain’t goin’ to no g””damn hospital. You wanna kill me?” Now might be the time to note that despite Adrian Pasdar being an awful actor, his Oklahoma accent isn’t atrocious. Anyway, back to the plot, Nathan proves the hospital is a bad idea by sticking his hand out the window so his dad can see it burst into flames. I used to try a similar tack when trying to get my dad to do a bathroom stop on our family vacations.

Pops relents and takes the family home. Once home, Pops has an impressive intravenous drug set. He uses it to give Nathan a transfusion of his own blood. Being that my knowledge of vampire mythology comes from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, I’m going to pass on commenting about what this is supposed to accomplish.

After sunset, little sis opens the barn door, apparently Pops keeps his heroine in the barn, because that’s where she finds them inside. Oh wait, that was sun up because Nathan is surprised to see that the sun is not burning him.

Cut to Nathan playing with little sis out in the field in broad daylight. If only I’d known it was so easy to convert people back from being an immortal bloodsucker. My fraternity could have avoided all those hazing allegations. Long story.

Cut to dinnertime. Nothing interesting happens.

Cut to Nathan hanging out on the porch at night. Maddie shows up. They embrace. They make out. She figures out Nathan isn’t a vampire anymore. She runs off.

You know what I’d do if my family had just encountered vampires. I’d sleep with every window in the house open at night. Surprisingly, his sister is abducted.

We’re hitting Saving Grace territory now. Shunning Pops’ van, Nathan saddles up to ride his horse into town. Making the decision even smarter is that lightning is in the distance.

Once into town, Nathan falls off the horse when Bill spooks the mare. He probably should have known that was going to happen considering how the horse responded earlier to Maddie. Nathan stops a truck driver. Mr. Truck Driver is a jerk. He give Nathan to the count of five to get off his truck. At four, Bill shoots the guy through the forehead. That was kind of him. Nathan hops in the driver’s seat and floors it. The truck is a tanker”¦that will be important. He runs over Bill yelping, “Yee haw!” as he does. Obviously, Bill isn’t dead. Any Buffy fan could have told him that.

On to plan B. Nathan hops out of the cab of the tanker and it crashes, creating a huge fireball. Okay, fire does work.

Jesse and Maddie stare down Nathan as he stands up. “This ain’t got nothin’ to do with mah sister,” Nathan yells. Okay, that compliment I gave him earlier, I’m thinking of rescinding it. Maddie pleads with Jesse to let Nathan back in. Little sis and ugly kid are in the car behind Jesse/Maddie. She bursts out, just as a lady vampire tosses a knife at Nathan.

“Look out (Nathan)!” little sis says just in time for her brother to duck. The knife hits Jesse in the mouth. Lady vamp tells Nathan to run, but then smiles. I don’t think she’s on his side. Jesse spits the knife out and yanks out his pistol. He lines a shot up at either Nathan or his sister. I’m not sure because we never learn the target since Maddie hits his arm as he fires.

The vampires jump in the car. Maddie hesitates to join them.

Nathan runs on foot, you know, seeing as how he chose not to take a vehicle, while carrying little sis. He takes a bad step, falls. “Run, Sarah!” he says while holding his knee. (So she does have a name.) Sarah is scooped up pretty quickly by the vampires in their station wagon.

Sun is rising and the vampires attempts to black out the windows are thwarted when they run out of spray paint. With them all being scalded in different degrees, Maddie comes to the rescue by grabbing Sarah and jumping out of the back window. While I’m fairly certain that glass making technology has improved in the past twenty years, I seriously doubt that one could easily jump through a windshield even in 1987.

Nathan’s knee has healed and he runs to join them, tossing something over Maddie’s head to protect her from the sun. Ugly kid wants Sarah, so he jumps out of the wagon, but before he reaches them, he explodes into a ball of fire. Jesse and Lady Vamp are all that remain. Jesse floors the wagon, hoping to run over Nathan, Maddie, and Sarah as his last act, but the sun claims him as a victim. The wagon runs off the road.

As we conclude, Maddie is laying in Pops’ drug barn. Nathan opens the barn door, letting sunlight flood the room. She’s fine, and Nathan has a bandage around his elbow. He must have some good platelets because the Oklahoma Blood Institute suggests you wait sixty days between giving blood, and that is without considering how recently you were a creature of the night. A smile of someone who’s true love is no longer a bloodsucking immortal crosses Nathan’s lips. They embrace.

And, seeing as how this is an eighties movie, the final shot is a freeze frame on them hugging. There is zooming on the freeze frame, and, finally, credits.

Why are they remaking this?