13 Halloween movies for people who don’t like horror

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Adrian Pasdar in Near Dark (1987), screenshot courtesy of DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group

10. Near Dark (1987)

Before she reaped critical adoration and awards attention with The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow thrived on pulpy genre fare, dabbling in everything from erotic thriller (Blue Steel) to dystopian noir (Strange Days). Near Dark synthesizes horror and Western styles to tell the story of Caleb, a young Oklahoman rancher who gets seduced and turned by a vampire named Mae and attempts to assimilate into her clan. Most of the usual vampire tropes are here, from the fear of sunlight to the undercurrent of sexual tension, but this time the bloodsuckers are a dysfunctional family road-tripping across the American southwest in an RV.

It’s a hoot, full of the madcap energy often missing from today’s glossy blockbusters. Fresh off Aliens (which, by the way, pops up in a blink-and-you-miss-it Easter egg), Bill Paxton and Lance Henrikson steal the show from leads Adrian Pasdar and Jenny Wright, sinking their teeth into the scenery with the relish of vampires eating flesh. Thanks to them and the ultra-cool soundtrack supplied by Tangerine Dream, which mixes otherworldly synths with dance-ready rock tunes, the bar scene alone makes Near Dark indelible. But, as with her other early work, Bigelow lends real artistry to the escapism, lingering lovingly on moonlit silhouettes and derelict parking lots. She brings night to life.

Similar movies: Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)