Two decades before True Blood, and well before the publication of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels that begat the HBO series, director Kathryn Bigelow introduced audiences to the down-home variety of vampires in 1987’s Near Dark. To this day, the underrated film remains one of the scarier and more poetic vampire flicks. Its most humane character is actually Mae (Jenny Wright), a gal who turns suitor Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) into a vampire but then, out of remorse, fights to protect him and his family from her clan of redneck neckbiters.
In a movie that cleverly mixes horror with Western and biker movie tropes, Mae is essentially an outlaw who defects to the side of the homesteaders against her fellow desperadoes. She also offers the suggestion, rare in a vampire movie, that love might be stronger than blood.