"Near Dark" and "High Tension" were screened back to back a couple nights ago for the simple fact that I remembered loving both films except for one plot device I just couldn't forgive. After revisiting the movies I found them to be much more enjoyable, as before I had problems with both of the movies endings. So really I thought I was showing two films that shared nothing more than lame endings but in fact both movies share a much more interesting theme, love.
The Twilight series has long been hated by all sorts of people, ranging from people at San Diego Comic Con who complained they took a majority of tickets for a lame panel, to Ann Rice fans who despised the new novels that depicted a very PG version of their favorite night deities. But the group that I constantly hear from are the many horror fans who love "Near Dark". "Near Dark" is a previous generations "Twilight" (no offense)but when you boil it down the only real difference is the movies target audience and I can't tell you enough how insulting it can feel when people take a movie like "Prom Night" and turn it into a PG movie. The vampires of "Near Dark" are not "vegetarian" in fact they aren't even nice and they sure as hell don't play "Thunderball".
An awesome marketing idea by Lions Gate.
So how does "High Tension" relate to an angsty vampire romance? Well "High Tension" is also centered on a relationship that is a bit unconventional. Now our heroine Marie (Cecile De France) may not be a vampire but shes got DID (dissociative identity disorder) also commonly known as split personalities (If you have gotten this far you are not worried about spoilers so don't cry). Marie's personalities play a big role as one is a charming survival girl type character and the other is a dirty old man slasher type character. The two are unaware of each other and as if that wasn't interesting enough the love interest is her girlfriend (platonic) Alexia (Maiwenn) who has no idea about Marie's DID or crush.
Now that both films are set up a bit ill jump into my "Some Quick Thoughts" part and get this wrapped up. The great thing about showing these films together was the theme of "Love" really drove these two very different stories and still managed to be true horror films. Our vampire love in "Near Dark" took the approach most vampire love stories take, which is to follow an attractive and youthful character as they stumble into the romantically seedy underworld of vampires. To be fair "Near Dark" does a good job of making the underworld not so attractive which shows the lengths Caleb Colton (Adrin Pasdar) would go for Mae (Jenny Wright). "High Tension" on the other hand shows Marie trying to save Alexia from a killer who is in fact Marie. That alone is fun to think about since this could be happening for any number of interesting reasons, like she obviously is split (pun intended) about being a lesbian and her masculine half embodies everything she hates about men in a super testosterone driven version of herself... Okay getting back to the love theme, these films don't just center on characters in love they also pose questions about how far people will go for love.
This post has gotten a bit lengthier than I had intended, so instead of writing my views on what these films did with the theme of love I'm going to list a few ideas to think about what to look for while watching these two films. So at this point if you have not seen these films but read this far, I would be really interested in hearing what you thought after viewing them together ("Near Dark" first).
Think about these ideas as you view both films:
*Do the characters change moral beliefs for love?
*What does family acceptance mean to the characters?
*What does the sun represent in each film?
*Why are both monsters triggered by sexuality?
*Where do the characters finally draw the line? or do they?
This post has been a draft for a few days now and I'm sure my focus has jumped around through out, just try to bare with me though. If you actually take the time to do this please share your experience with me, I'd love to hear about it. Also this is a good exercise in film theory and getting used to having an active focus while watching films!