So for a little bit I’ve been posting movies I consider “required viewing” on my Tumblr. I started just reposting gifs or images that appealed to me and tagging them “required viewing” when it was from a movie I felt was relevant. Recently I’ve started posting my own entries. I thought the ones I’ve done so far here:

Jacob’s Ladder

It’s the reason why everything that was scary in the Silent Hill games was scary. Directed by Adrian Lyne, it defined me as a teenager and showed me that the best horror grabs ahold of your core fears (in this case, death, losing a child, being rejected by those you love) and squeezes until you can’t breath and blood comes out of your eyes. Gore and splatter is fun, but Tim Robbins walking past a homeless man sleeping on a train and seeing out of the corner of his eye that he has a long, curled, fleshy tail fucked me up for months. 

American Mary

Surreal and funny and disgusting and awesome. Kind of like David Lynch and David Cronenberg and John Waters had a threeway and somehow one of them got pregnant with twin girls and those twins grew up and made this movie.

Near Dark

When I set out to write my vampire screenplay (way back in the late 1990s) I had a few goals. One of those was to flip the script on the traditional vampire dynamic of the beautiful woman being stalked by the ominous but sexually charismatic vampire. I wanted female vampires, written as fully realized characters with histories, goals, fears and unique worldviews. I wanted little to no romance and I wanted the story to be from the perspective of the vampire characters.

When I was writing it, pop culture was in the midst of the last big wave of vampire popularity. Interview With the Vampire was huge and the White Wolf RPG Vampire games were quite popular. Lost Boys squished vampires through this John Hughes/Chris Columbus style ’80s filter that made them funny, accessible and easily digestible. It also made them something that I didn’t particularly care about. Vampires were in. BUT, really, only one vampire movie ever came close to what I was trying to do with my script. That was Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark. It’s not a perfect movie, but it is the closest I ever saw to what I want to see in a vampire movie. 

The vampires in Near Dark aren’t faceless monsters or walking metaphors. They’re fully realized characters who have accepted what they are and what they have to do to survive, and they’ve learned how to deal with it. Not just with the killing and the limitations of their particular biological affliction, but with the fact that they’re immortal. 

Those are the qualities I bought to the vampires in my story, and that’s what I’m trying to bring to my books as I write them now. I came up with my premise and characters in the midst of a huge surge in vampire popularity, and I’m writing these books in another wave of vampires in pop culture. For a lot of the same reasons. I still haven’t found much in the ocean of vampire stories and movies out there that really gives me what I want from my vampires. True Blood had its moments, but they were fleeting. 

But yeah, Near Dark nails it for me. Interesting characters, graphic violence and centuries of history just walking around inside these half crazed nomadic immortal serial killers. Groovy.