Eros and Near Dark

The only Vampire-Western mash-up that I’m aware of, Near Dark, might also be the most humanistic entry in the vampire genre. Director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt LockerPoint Break) combines the romantically erotic with the more fundamentally human need for connection. Sex and the social bonds between humans aren’t one and the same, but they both reflect the “creative impulse.” It’s in this sense that Near Dark is erotic cinema.

In the Greco-Roman tradition, eros meant something more than pertaining to sexuality. A modern dictionary preserves this meaning:  “the sum of life-preserving instincts that are manifested as impulses to gratify basic needs, as sublimated impulses, and as impulses to protect and preserve the body and mind.” For the newly turned vampire Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar), this life-preserving and creative impulse comes in the refusal to participate in the final vampiric initiation: the murdering of a human to drink their blood. 

Caleb’s not completely opposed to blood-drinking—he will drink from the consenting Mae’s (Jenny Wright) arms, who turned him after a flirtatious sexual encounter. His refusal to kill, and his preference for Mae’s blood, are at the humanistic core of Bigelow’s second feature. 

Continue reading at The Boston Hassle.

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