Monday, April 21, 2008

FGFC: That's the guy from Heroes

There used to be some confusion between Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton among my friends and I. They're kind of interchangeable. This led to a bit of a game between us, basically you would try to name 5 movies starring one without naming a movie starring the other. Pullman or Paxton. It was a fun game. Unfortunately, it's replay value was limited, so it spawned a new game. Name 5. Same general concept, you would try to name five movies starring a given actor or actress. It's harder than it sounds. It's a pretty good party game though. It's especially fun amongst drunken movie fans. It's sort of become our version of 7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

It's not, however, what we were playing the other night. Though, I kind of wish we had been because it would mean that we didn't go out to that particular bar, and it would mean we wouldn't have been *ahem* politely asked to leave... And, most likely, I wouldn't have spent all day feeling like hell. And there's no one to blame but me, since I helped put the excursion together.

And so it was that I ended up on my couch, trying to keep my lunch down, and remembering that it was time for this month's Final Girl Film Club movie. This month's selection was Near Dark, a vampire movie. A vampire movie with a lot of least that's what the internet keeps telling me.

It all starts when Nathan Petrelli, I mean Caleb, meets a girl with an ice cream cone. It's sort of all down hill from there. See, she's a nice enough girl but she's a vampire. And she turns him into one. Well, this isn't exactly good news to her 'family'. See, she travels around the west with the cast of Aliens (minus Sigourney Weaver and Paul Reiser), drinking blood and setting shit on fire, though she seems to find less joy in it than the others. They decide to take Caleb with them to see if he can can survive as one of them.

Well, he can't. Not really. He seems okay with the drinking blood part of being a vampire, but he's opposed to killing. Instead, Mae does the killing and then lets him feed off of her. I'm not sure why this is a morally superior alternative, but it seems to work for Caleb. The family doesn't really like it though. Not surprising, if they were people they'd be absolutely awful. As vampires, their monstrous actions seem...if not fitting, then at least in character. I guess you half expect monsters to act like monsters.

They start to take a liking to Caleb after he saves them from a police shootout (a direct result of his reluctance to kill someone) by running out to the van in the daylight. The DEADLY daylight! It's after this escape that they run into Caleb's father and sister at a motel. Caleb escapes with his family, and after a quick blood transfusion out in the barn, he's back to being human. Hooray!

That's not the end though. Oh no. See, the family isn't too happy about the three of them getting away and knowing about them (not that anyone would really believe them). Not to mention that Homer, the youngest of the vampires, wants Caleb's sister as a companion. So, they go back and kidnap her. Caleb gives chase and...ok, here's where I spoil a 20+ year old movie...kills poor Severen by blowing up a semi truck. And then manages to save his sister with the help of Mae. He then gives Mae a blood transfusion as well so that she is human again and they can live happily ever after as mortals with sun tans.

Actually, I have no idea WHY he changed her back. I don't recall him asking her if that was what she wanted or not. Perhaps it was revenge for turning him into a vampire without telling him. Maybe he just assumed that she wanted to be human again. Regardless, she didn't seem too thrilled about the whole thing. In fact, she seemed kind of sad about it. It makes me wonder why Caleb was so sure that what was best for him was what was best for everyone else. It reminds me of people claiming that they can 'cure' the gays.

Look, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge fan of vampire movies. They all feel the same to me, even when it's something different. It just always feels like we're covering the same ground. And what's worse is that I helped to write a vampire movie (that last I heard had decided to...rework...most of what I'd written. Oh well). How many different ways can you tell a story? Vampire as protagonist or vampire as antagonist, it doesn't matter. There have just been so many vampire movies that the rules are too clearly defined and too difficult to break away from. They stay away from crosses and garlic here, and use daylight as the primary vampire killer. Which allows for a neat scene during the shootout where the bullets open up holes in the building, letting the sunlight in.

Overall, I can understand why people like this movie. The characters are...unique. Bill Paxton approaches the character of Severen with a real maniacal glee. You can feel his love for the brutality and chaos that comes of his actions. Lance Henriksen, too, takes what could have been a very goofy and over the top character and grounds Jesse Hooker into this world. Jesse is a very different kind of character than Severen, but he's just as cruel. So, lets add all of this up and see what we gets...ok, let's go with 7 RVs on fire on the side of the road out of 10.


Unknown said...

i actually think I've seen this one. The plot seems... its the blood transfusion thing.. familiar?