Finger-lickin’ Good.

One of my fellow writers just put up his list of the best vampire movies of all time. While I agree with most of the picks he put on that list and even some of the twists he threw in there – there is one vital vampire movie missing from the list. I’m talking about Near Dark. Way back before Kathryn Bigelow was making Oscar nominated films about war, terrorists, and all that fancy patriotic stuff – she made this little horror/western gem that brings a gritty badass-dom to the vampire genre that is rarely seen.

There’s no bats, vampire fangs, or caps. Instead it’s like a modern gritty western (think a B-movie version of Unforgiven) mixed with the undead violence of vampires. It’s also held up by a pretty fantastic cast – mostly borrowed from James Cameron’s Aliens. But I want to talk about a specific actor specifically – one who, in my opinion, is what really elevates this film into the upper tier of fantastic vampire movies. I’m talking about the one and only Bill Paxton.

Look, I’m a little biased because I love Bill Paxton in everything he does. I even loved him in that cheesy mountain climbing movie Vertical Limit. He’s just one of those actors that I will watch at the drop of a hat. No questions asked. No matter what kind of movie. But even putting that aside – his performance as Severen in Near Dark might just be one of his best to date. It’s a perfect mixture of his bravado/overacting and slick coolness. He gets so into the role and has so much fun with it. He basks in all of the fake blood and has a grin as wide as the truth. He makes you really believe that it can be cool to be a vampire – which is even harder to believe these days with all of the Twilights and Underworlds that have been swirling around since the 2000’s began.

If you want one shining example of this awesomeness, look no further than the famous bar scene that sits right in the middle of the movie. Paxton steals the show with his loud cocky laugh, care free swinging body language, and a whole bunch of cool-as-a-cucumber blood sucking. Check out this small taste in this clip:

Everything about this is perfect. Of course, a lot of the credit goes to the incredible directing talent of Bigelow but there’s no way anyone else could have pulled this scene off the way Paxton does. It’s all in the small things – the gutteral burp as he dribbles out blood from his feeding; the pure joy and ecstasy as he licks his fingers, swings his arms around, shakes his head with abandon and delivers that line: “Finger lickin’ good.” I’m obsessed. Obsessed in the same way teens look up to “the cool kid” in school. He is the cool kid in school. In this imaginary vampire school I just created in my head where I compare all the different movie vampires that ever existed – Bill Paxton would be the guy who gets head from all the hot girls in the bathroom. The guy who like to raw dog it, get a girl pregnant, and then bail. And I mean that in the vampire cool way – not in the real world “you’re a terrible person” way. I think you get the idea. Well, at least I hope you do.

So if you haven’t seen Near Dark, definitely check it out. Not only will you see an often not talked about vampire flick but you’ll see one of the coolest vampires ever put to celluloid. While you’re at it you can also pop in Aliens. No, it doesn’t have vampires but it does have Bill Paxton’s second greatest line: “Game over man! Game over!”

Game over indeed. I’m out. If you want to keep the Bill Paxton love going – feel free to leave some comments below!

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About The Author

Derek normally needs to talk to himself in order to sort out his life. So naturally he likes to write online. He also loves all things horror... but is squeemish around blood in real life. You can also watch him fail at twitter at @doofguy15.