Okay, I know I go off every time they release another of those crappy teen vampire movie Twilight pieces of crap. But for some reason -- and I say this as somebody who not only does not defer to anyone in my admiration for the thespic skills of the genuinly great teen actress Kristen Stewart but who also actually has a very disturbing and inappropriate thing for her -- the whole idea of an abstinence-only vampire flick just sort of sticks in my craw.
Seriously, I didn't mind the first Twilight's utter lack of atmosphere, poetry, body odor or anything like that; on that score, it was no worse than the comparably popular The Lost Boys back in the Reagan years. But I'm sorry -- a vampire movie without sex is just, well, wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.
In any case, it must be said -- regardless of how many gazillions the most recent installment raked in over the weekend -- that The Twilight Saga: New Moon in fact sucks. Both by definition AND in comparison to the two great and definitive reivisionist vampire movies that have already been made and which deserve to be seen by nearly everyone in our noble Republic.
Exhibit A, in that regard: Katharine Bigelow's 1987 masterpiece Near Dark, which as I remarked last year is as rich and strange as these things get or are likely to get.
If you haven't seen it, it's about a bunch of mysterious drifters (in the Western movie sense) who are actually 200 year old immortal (if somewhat scruffy) vampires. They drive around the malls and blue collar towns of the mid-West in a broken down panel truck, from time to time stopping only to feast on the patrons of some Patrick Swayze-ish roadhouse before heading on to the next town in a neverending quest for the reddest of necks. It's all wonderfully dark and stylish and (for my money) a metaphor of sorts for the bleak lunar landscape of America during the 80s crack epidemic. I's also got some now familiar faces in its cast -- Adrian Pasdar (currently doing time on Heroes), the wonderful Bill Paxton, and of course the preternaturally sepulchural Lance Henriksen as the vampire clan patriarch. Here's the trailer, for a taste of the deliciously subversive feel the amazing Bigelow brings to the story.
That said, and as good as Near Dark is, for my money if you're going to do a movie about vampires among us, you'll probably never do better than Bad Lieutenant auteur Abel Ferrara's 1995 The Addiction, starring Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken, the pre-Sopranos Annabella Sciorra, Edie Falco and Michael Imperioli and some of the creepiest black-and-white cinematography in years. The premise: Everybody in the anthropology department at New York University is secretly one of the Undead.
Actually, now that I think of it, that's probably true.
In any case, the film's most disturbing scene -- a faculty party where the vampires dine on their innocent academic guests in astoundingly gruesome and horrific detail -- seems to have vanished from YouTube since the last tine I wrote about the film, but in the meantime, here's a clip that at least gives you an idea of the piece's overall mood.
Fortunately, there's a gorgeously transferred DVD of Near Dark currently in print; you can -- and most assuredly should -- order it here. The Addiction, alas, seems to be out of print at the moment, but if you've got a little extra coin to spend, you can get a used copy here. It's definitely worth it, by the way.
Meanwhile, have I mentioned that The Twilight Saga: New Moon sucks?