Monday, February 3, 2014

IN MY SKIN (2002)


  Most great horror films play with existential and deeply intrinsic suppositions on mordant topics such as madness, death, loss, and isolation.  Many bad horror films also make such attempts only to end up cheapening the result, the process, and genre alike.  Then every once in a while a film forces it's way into the public peripheral unannounced and unceremoniously wraps itself around your brain like a flaming car wreck around a telephone pole.  In My Skin is a rare prime example of true horror, the kind that's eerily down-to-earth, possibly semi-autobiographical, the kind you wish you never saw but can't seem to take your eyes off of all the same. 

  The plot concerns a young French office worker named Esther who lives a very ordinary quiet life.  One night on her way to a social gathering, she accidentally walks by a construction site in the dark and cuts her leg deeply on a piece of scrap metal.  She barely notices it and goes to the party dripping a trail of blood behind her.  When she finally goes to the bathroom to acknowledge her laceration she discovers that feels no pain and finds out that she even feels slightly relieved and a little more than obsessed with her newly acquired flesh wound.  Her boyfriend finds her new obsession to be very off-putting and feels Esther gradually pulling away in their relationship becoming ever distant and cold with each passing day.  Esther spends her days at work and at home probing, reopening, and ultimately exacerbating her scabs and cuts, keeping pieces of herself as macabre mementos.  Her old injuries are not enough to satiate her and she begins making new ones in any way that she can including staging an auto accident to use as an alibi for her newly self-inflicted wounds.  Esther mentally and physically unravels further and further into a downward spiral and yet seems to be on the threshold of nirvana as she self-mutilates as her boyfriend and co-workers try in vain to reach her. 

  In My Skin fully encapsulates the mood and visceral essence of body horror films without any romance or comedy relief much like the early works of David Cronenberg.  Everything in this film is played 100% serious with zero tolerance for the squeamish so it may not be everyone's cup of tea.  But if you like your juice with pulp, your coffee black and your horror strong In My Skin will most definitely leave a nasty mark. 


There is nothing fun about IN MY SKIN


Thursday, September 5, 2013


Act 3, Scene 1, line 273 of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:

Marcus Antonius:
And Caesar's spirit, raging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

  Didn't think you'd ever read a Shakespearean quotation in a KVLT VISIONS movie review did you?  Well it actually applies to the film under scrutiny at present, except for in this case the "dogs of war" are the rotting corpses of fallen soldiers sewn together, armed with disturbing brutal flesh-rending weaponry, and reanimated to kill for the Third Reich, and Caesar would be replaced by Dr. Victor Frankenstein, but you get the point. 

  World War 2 is coming to a head and a Russian squadron is sent on a reconnaissance mission in war-torn Eastern Germany in search of comrades trapped behind enemy lines.  The group discover a recently shelled churchyard and cathedral where they discover corpses strewn about and desecrated graves all around.  They take refuge in the cathedral and start a generator only to give power to what appears to be a large factory setup within the dessicated church.  The group then notice a corpse unlike any of the ones they've previously encountered that seems to be a patchwork of rotted flesh crudely stitched together whose head is plated in steel and arm seems to have been amputated and replaced with a giant drill.  Once the power seems to have relayed throughout the entire church, the corpse suddenly reanimates and quickly attacks the soldiers, disemboweling the captain of the squad.  Suddenly more cadaverous automatons fitted with various combinations of steel armor and sadistic weaponry descend upon the soldiers forcing them to go deeper and deeper into the labyrinthine recesses of the church.  There seems to be no end to the twisting turning tunnels until the remaining members of the squadron enter a massive blood soaked abattoir-turned-laboratory ran by none other than a descendant of the fabled Dr. Victor Frankenstein.   As it turns out, he has been very invested in furthering and perfecting his scientific work, which is harvesting and resurrecting the dead to fill in the ranks of his ghoulish army of undead soldiers to fight for the Third Reich.  

It is possible that original tickle monster was created by a descendant of Dr. Victor Frankenstein?

  Frankenstein's Army has come a long way.  What started out as an ambitious film project in 2004 from an unknown director named Richard Raaphorst called, Worst Case Scenario, that boasted Brian Yuzna of Re-animator fame as a producer, became one of the most widely hyped horror trailers in the last decade.  The project unfortunately couldn't get off the ground due to financial troubles and many a KVLTIST saw the flames of what could have been the most ingenious reworking of the nazi zombie sub genre flicker then get smothered out.   A few years pass, then out of nowhere promotional ads and screenshots surface for a new project from Raaphorst called Army Of Frankenstein and are quickly bandied around horror movie message boards and KVLT movie sites. that feature armies of undead creatures that look curiously similar to those briefly shown in the Worst Case Scenario trailers.   Fast forward nearly a decade later and lo and behold Frankenstein's Army is finally unleashed upon the world.  Shot entirely POV as a found footage film from the early 1940's, Frankenstein's Army works quite well telling the it's ghoulishly depraved story within the confines of it's purposefully limited cinematographic perspective.   Since most of the main attractions in the film are the impressive practical special effects and full body creature suits of the robotic regime of rotting reanimated tissue, the shaky cam, natural lighting, and dilapidated state of film made to resemble film stock from the early 40's are not always period accurate, but are very effective at showcasing the effects team's talent and enhancing the overall tone of frenzy, claustrophobia, and inescapable terror. 

One particular soldier in Frankenstein's Army has a rather disarming disposition as this Russian soldier has discovered the hard way. 

  It's a rare occurrence that a genre film delivers above and beyond what the ads and trailers promise in this day and age.  Frankenstein's Army does so with gloriously gory B-movie guts and gusto and stands as an amazingly auspicious debut for first time director Richard Raaphorst.   Frankenstein's Army has been mobilized and it's time for all able-bodied KVLTISTS to enlist!


Director Richard Raaphorst worked as a storyboard artist on Who Am I starring Jackie Chan, as well as Dagon, and Beyond Re-Animator.

Not entirely zombie, nor 100% robot, the term coined to properly categorize those among the undead ranks of Frankenstein's Army is "zombot."


Monday, August 12, 2013


  It's time to break out that badass Japanese rising sun bandanna and those sweet aviator sunglasses that you've been holding on to since middle school, tear the sleeves off our shirts, oil up the nunchucks, dust off the secret shuriken collection, push the furniture back against the walls and turn the living room into a deadly dojo where we can practice our best martial arts forms in front of a full sized mirror and/or camera while the 80's inspirational montage rock cues up!  Yell it loud and proud from your guts!  Let your chi hammers break the chains that tether us to our normal everyday lives my fellow KVLTISTS, "NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER!"

  Question:  If some bad karate guys tried to buy out your dad's dojo in Los Angeles and then kicked his ass in front of you and the entire martial arts class for not selling what would you do?  Please take your time, think it through, and choose the best possible answer...

  Okay times up.  If your answer was to move to Seattle, join a new karate school, get your ass embarrassingly kicked in front of everyone on the first day then immediately run away with your tail tucked between your legs, get your ass re-kicked in front your girlfriend at her birthday party, then break into an abandoned house to set up a mock dojo of your own to train with Bruce Lee's ghost, then use the newly honed karate skills that you've acquired from said undead Jeet Kune Do master to save the asses of the guys who run the dojo that you were publicly shamed in during a martial arts tournament that you were only attending as a spectator, you'd be absolutely correct and you'd already know the plot of No Retreat, No Surrender!

Jean Claude Van Damme, "the muscles from Brussels" who taunts opponents by doing the splits during tussles.  

  The No Retreat, No Surrender itinerary of kickassery; awesomely bad 80's fashion, ridiculously overdone cable-drawn stunts during impromptu karate battles, like father like son public humiliation, multiple training montages (including a very homoerotic exercise involving a friend and ice cream), awesome power rock montage anthems with guitar work by none other than a then unknown Joe Satriani, a first-date in Seattle montage, Michael Jackson impersonators, a food fight, breakdancing, Bruce Lee's actual grave, Bruce Lee's (not actual) ghost played by Lee's actual stunt double Tai Chung Kim, Coca Cola's best product placement ever, Jean Claude Van Damme injuring multiple stunt men and actors over and over again, and the titular line dropped no less than 3 times throughout the film.  *Sung in a super serious montage rock voice*  Search deep within yourself, light the fire in your karate heart.  Become the lightning before the thunder, soar with the burning wings of your mindeagle, high above the karate'd corpses of the competition, and always remember there's No Retreat, No Surrender!  

Recognize this famous gif?  It's a deleted scene from the American release of No Retreat, No Surrender.  Bruce Lee's ghost sure has some interesting training techniques.  Somebody call Chris Hanson pronto! 


Jean Claude Van Damme's first credited role was in No Retreat, No Surrender as the film's main villain, Ivan "The Russian."

During production, Van Damme was reported to have injured stunt men and actors during multiple fight sequences that resulted in busted lips, bloody noses, bruises, and one actor being knocked unconscious from a poorly placed and timed roundhouse kick. 

At the time of it's release No Retreat, No Surrender was panned by critics claiming that it was a pastiche of ideas ripped off from other successful martial arts and action films of the day like The Karate Kid, The Last Dragon, and even Rocky IV. 

Never surrender

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

V/H/S + V/H/S 2

  The anthology film has been a staple of horror cinema that dates back as far as the 1940's with a slightly earlier and eerier kind of British invasion that came in the form of a little chiller titled The Dead Of Night (1945).  More horror anthology pictures have crept into the public peripheral throughout the years with notable classics such as Mario Bava's Black Sabbath (1963), Trilogy Of Terror, Creepshow, Tales From The Crypt: The Movie, Tales From The Darkside: The Movie, Tales From The Hood, Twilight Zone: The Movie et cetera.  In 2007 a soon-to-be horror anthology sleeper hit, Trick 'R' Treat was born then immediately shelved by distributors due to lack of interest.  In 2009 Trick 'R' Treat was rightfully disinterred and once again re-animated the horror anthology film for younger audiences and elder KVLTIST'S alike.  Fast forward to 2012 and we have V/H/S, in our midst.  It's a retro take on that old horror anthology chestnut and was unleashed upon the world with much internet hype and endless miles of ad campaigns in all of our KVLT-approved horror magazines that promised an experience of genuine terror... and it actually delivered.

  V/H/S blends the recent wave of found footage films with the classic horror anthology seamlessly, creating something that feels new while towing the line of the retro vhs aesthetic into the digital age.  Younger audiences may find this hard to look at, but much like the graininess of horror classics like Night Of The Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the fuzzy, washed-out-vhs-look only adds another layer of depraved ambiance to the scenes of terror on-screen.  Much like the horror anthology flicks of yesteryear, V/H/S offers a series of seemingly unrelated stories with a wraparound segment to tie it all together.  The KVLT would love to blab about its favorite parts of each individual segment, but half of the fun of V/H/S is in not knowing what's going to happen next and especially its shock and twist endings.  All the KVLT can reveal about V/H/S is that it was made by young and up-and-coming directors of indie horror hits like The Signal, I Sell The Dead, and House Of The Devil and it's one mean-sprited little anthology flick that is guaranteed to leave a slimy coating of real horror residue on the viewers brain that lasts days, even weeks after seeing it.

This will be the last time he ever meets someone who posts in the craiglist personals section. 

  V/H/S 2 once again features the found footage format happened upon by two private investigators who are tracking down a student who has recently gone missing.  Trying to trace the whereabouts of the student through clues left on a laptop and curiously marked vhs tapes the detectives unwittingly unleash a veritable Pandora's Box of malevolent spirits, zombies, bodily mutilation, a suicide KVLT, alien abduction, and a wraparound shock ending that left a grin of satisfaction on this KVLT leaders face as the credits rolled. 

They practice hard year in and year out but just can't seem to get the Olympic Summer Games to approve Russian Roulette as a team event. 

  So dust off what some consider to be a dead format and check out V/H/S and V/H/S 2.  The KVLT's seal of approval comes wholeblackheartedly with both V/H/S installments and do heed the warning of "be kind rewind" or else you just may end up as the victim in/of a segment in V/HS 3.


V/H/S has already been spoofed in a 2013 short called Laserdisk.

Be Kind Rewind Or Die!

Be Kind Rewind Or Die Twice!

Monday, July 15, 2013

MANIAC {2012)

In 1980 William Lustig's American slashterpiece Maniac "warned you not to go out tonight." 
  In 2012...
the warning stills stands.

  Even for the most astute KVLT VISONARY'S life is full of a preponderance of enlightening as well as soul-shattering questions.  Why are we here?  Does true love, good and evil, actually exist?   Will we ever live to see the fabled Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash movie?  What's life like after the Shire?  What would it be like to see a film where Elijah Wood goes on a killing spree and talks to mannequins? Why have French directors been making the best horror films over the last decade? These questions and more will be answered in this article.

  Meet Frank zito, a deranged young mannequin restorer who is prowling internet dating sites and the city streets in search of the perfect woman.  Or rather pieces of the perfect woman to add to his collection.  The trophied items in this macabre menagerie also happen to be the scalps and hair of young women that he murders night after night.  He then brings the scalps home to lovingly adorn the mannequins that inhabit his home and business.  Meanwhile, a beautiful young female photographer named Anna, who is unaware of Frank's ghoulish night-time activities, notices his restoration shop and wants to use some of his mannequins in an upcoming photo shoot.  Frank obliges and immediately becomes obsessed with Anna, stalking her and murdering anyone who gets in his way in hopes of adding her to his grisly gallery. 

 Go get your haircut at the local cosmetology school, they said.  It's free and you're helping college kids gain experience and earn grades, they said. 

  So you're saying to yourself, "sounds like every slasher movie ever."  That's partly because this is a remake of the infamous 1980 video nasty original, but with an incredibly interesting casting choice of none other than Elijah Wood to play the mentally disturbed character, Frank Zito.  Then, instead of making a shot-for-shot remake, the ghastly story is told entirely through painstakingly accurate first-person POV cinematography that puts you directly in Zito's bloodstained shoes!  That's right KVLTISTS, you get to see each horrific murder in graphic detail through the killer's unflinching perspective all the way to the end of the film!  And being that this is a remake of a horror film that is over three decades old, you get a more updated modern city backdrop and hip characters to relate to just before they are slashed into bits and scalped right before your very eyes to the sleazy, pulsing, and amazingly apt, lo-fi electronic score by a surnameless French composer who goes only by Rob, that harkens back to the glory days of John Carpenter and Goblin.

Looks like Frank Zito and his lovely new date will be staying in for a romantic double feature of Mannequin and Mannequin 2: On The Move, like they do every night.  

  You may also be asking yourself, "Who are the red-handed culprits behind what sounds like a true tour-de-force of modern terror and a real contender for the best wide release horror film of 2013?"  Well, they are none other than the French film-making team behind the much-heralded modern horror classics like High Tension (2003) and The Hills Have Eyes (2006), with blessings and a producers credit from the director of the original Maniac, Willaim Lustig.  Also to be noted is that this movie actually caused test audience members in Los Angeles to faint, become nauseous, and in one case vomit.  The director took this as a compliment.  If you do decide to venture out into the world to catch a screening of Maniac in it's limited run, don't go alone, maybe consider wearing a helmet or other forms of protective headgear, afterall "He warned you not to go out tonight."


Silence Of The Lambs fans will notice that Buffalo Bill's favorite song, "Goodbye Horses" by Q Lazzarus is played during one of the first murder sequences in Maniac. 

Fans of the original Maniac will notice a quick reference to the original and very controversial movie poster art in Frank's reflection in a parking lot. 

Mannequin 3: On The Prowl For Scalps

Thursday, December 27, 2012



  It's not everyday that a bona fide KVLT member gets the opportunity plunk down their hard-earned or not-so-hard-earned loot at the box office in exchange for a chance to see a real red-blooded gritty western on the silver screen.  Sure there have been a few notable westerns that have played theaters in the last decade with enough critical fanfare to garner public interest like The Proposition, The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Appaloosa, Lawless, and the True Grit remake, all great westerns in their own respects, but none of them are as KVLT worthy as Django Unchained.  After seeing the red-band trailer sometime during the summer of 2011 for Quentin Tarantino's homage to spaghetti westerns, The KVLT has been, frothing at the mouth, reeling in anticipation, and counting down the days until it's Christmas premièreSo saddle up KVLT compadres and lets blaze that dusty trail with Django Unchained.

  Django, (Jamie Foxx) a former slave whose freedom is purchased on the road by a glib-tongued German Dentist named Dr. King Schultz (Christopher Waltz) who also happens to be a bounty hunter.  Dr. Schultz quickly learns of Django's skill with a firearm as well as his thirst for revenge against his former slave owners and their employees.  Django and Schultz join forces gunning down fugitives, collecting bounties, and making their way through Texas and eventually to Mississippi to one of the most infamous plantations in the Antebellum South called Candyland.  Dr. Schultz and Django arrive at Candyland playing the roles of two slave traders in order to find and rescue Django's estranged wife Broomhilda, a German speaking slave who had been all but lost in the slave trade until now.  Candyland's sole proprietor Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a brutal sadist who specializes in buying, selling, and pitting his Mandingo fighters, (the human equivalent to dogfighting or cock-fighting) against one another for money.   At Calvin Candie's side is his ever loyal head servant and hype-man Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) who senses that Django and Dr. Schultz' plans may not be what they appear and quickly informs Candie of his suspicions.  Tensions mount and the silver-tongued Schultz tries to smooth over the rough details of his a false business proposition while Django has his hand on his sidearm ready to shoot his way out of Candyland and save Broomhilda at any cost if the deal sours. 

Here's a bit of business advice from The KVLT, Lesson 1:  Never trust a man who brings a human skull to the board meeting.

  While Django Unchained has little or nothing to do with the original Django films at all other than it's titular character and a cameo by the original Django, Franco Nero, it still packs a solid punch packed full of wild and woolly comic book styled western action and is a vast improvement on his last two films. (Inglorious Bastards and Death Proof) Like all Tarantino films to date, it's a pastiche of other cult films that he loves, in this case, spaghetti westerns like Cutthroats 9, Keoma, and the Django series and blaxploitation westerns like Boss, Joshua, Take A Hard Ride and even Hollywood's critically panned exploitation trash epic Mandingo. The acting is definitely on par with the usual trappings of the spaghetti western and Tarantino films with a few stand out performances by Christopher Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson, but otherwise if you expected anything more than two-fisted comic book dialogue and one-liners, you may have missed the point entirely. Oh and did I mention the soundtrack? Would you believe Ennio Morricone, Jim Croce, James Brown, and Rick Ross all on the same soundtrack? It's all true and it works really well. 

  Of course with any Tarantino project there is going to be buzz, rumors, hype, and outrage and Django Unchained is no exception.  Outside of the usual complaints about glamorizing violence, explicit language, and bad taste, Spike Lee has said that he will not go to see Django Unchained because  of Tarantino's depiction of African American slavery.  Lee also had qualms about the incessant use of racial slurs in Tarantino's Jackie Brown in the late 90's.   Here are some of the comments that Lee made about Django Unchained in a in a recent VIBE Magazine interview

Dr. Schultz (Christopher Waltz) looks like he is pondering the  comments made by Spike Lee about Django Unchained. 

  So far the critics have been more favorable than Lee's take on Django Unchained.  The KVLT was a little suprised to see that it has already earned itself a rating of 8.8 on  Maybe Django Unchained will be the western that will dig it's spurs into the sides of the moviegoing public for a much longer ride than some of the more recent westerns that have popped in and out of the spotlight?  But even if Tarantino's love letter to the spaghetti western is not enough to drum up a full-on revival of the western film, Django Unchained is a welcomed shotgun blast from the past with enough modern flare to dazzle new audiences who may or may not be privy to the exploitation side of the spaghetti western! In other words, don't miss it!  

Fun Facts about Django Unchained:  

During filming on location in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Tarentino rented out a local movie theater to show samurai and western movies from his private collection.

While hosting SNL, Jamie Foxx, talked about Django Unchained and said that he was, "excited to kill all the white people in the movie."

In reaction to the SNL skit, Jeff Kuhner wrote for The Washington Times: "Anti-white bigotry has become embedded in our postmodern culture. Take “Django Unchained.” The movie boils down to one central theme: the white man as devil — a moral scourge who must be eradicated like a lethal virus."

Jamie Foxx rode his own horse named Cheetah in Django Unchained

Originally, Quentin Tarentino had Will Smith in mind to play Django.  Smith declined the offer and Jamie Foxx got the part.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


  In 1987 Joel Schumacher's seminal teenage vampire classic grew fangs and wings,"said hello to the night" landing at major box office success proving that the public "still believed" in vampires.  That same year Katheryn Bigelow (Point Break, Hurt Locker) had unleashed a similar gang of rebel vamps onto the silver screen in Near Dark.  Where The Lost Boys use flashy Hollywood cinematography and teenage sex appeal to tell the tale of the American nuclear family who also happen to be bloodsuckers from beyond the grave, Near Dark spins a similar yarn but with a gritty, raw, western flare, pitch black humor, and devil-may-care attitude that set it leagues apart from the usual fangfare. 

  Meet Caleb, a farmhand from Oklahoma who by day helps with the family farm.  By night, he's like any other young red-blooded American male, just out lookin' for a good time.  Along comes Mae, a mysterious and attractive young lady who has just caught the eye of young Caleb.  After a flirty introduction, they decide to go for a ride in Caleb's farm truck.  The couple lose track of time and Caleb mentions that it's almost dawn.  She panics and pleads with Caleb to take her home before the sun rises.  In a last ditch effort to finally steal a kiss from Mae, Caleb leans forward and gets more than he bargained for when Mae sinks her teeth into his neck and disappears.  The next day Caleb wakes up to find a strong aversion to sunlight, so strong in fact, that it causes his skin to blister and burst into flames.  He drives himself back to the family farm and just before he reaches his destination, he is abducted by a speeding RV full of hell-bent outlaws with Mae among their ranks who all have a similar disposition that requires them to keep out of direct sunlight and drink human blood to survive.  The gang then explain that he has been turned and like them, in order to stay alive, he must now rove the countryside at night in search of victims whose blood he needs to sustain his own life.  Caleb's reluctance to kill and his relationship with Mae cause rifts and tension within the gang, meanwhile, Caleb's father and little sister are hot on their trail in hopes of saving him.  Will Caleb become one of the bloodthirsty marauders or will his father make it in time before Caleb pays the ultimate price of living fast, like a predator in the night?

The KVLT can't imagine anyone who wouldn't want to party with Bill Paxton's character Severen in Near Dark.  ...The man has a way

  Although Near Dark wasn't given the proper promotion and wide theatrical release that it deserved, it fast became a KVLT hit thanks to home video and frequent appearances on cable throughout the late 80's and early 90's. The film breathes an air of dead seriousness that most horror films of the late 80's and even today can't hold a candle to.  To further illustrate this, Caleb, Mae, and the gang of outlaws  are technically vampires, they drink blood, ignite in sunlight, and have superhuman strength, but, the use of long sharp fangs, and the word vampire are never used in the film.  The soundtrack by Tangerine Dream and various artists, wholly embraces the isolation and of the Midwest with ironic shit-kicker blues and pop rock songs, ingeniously juxtaposed with Tangerine Dream's pulsing synth-driven dirges that help define the Faustian price of killing to live in a nocturnal world without end.  The casting for Near Dark couldn't have been any better, with newcomers like Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, and Joshua John Miller matching the level of gravitas that genre vets like Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Bill Paxton, and Tim Thomerson are well known for.

Nice try, Lionsgate. The KVLT knows too well what vapid and sparkly set of the vampire demographic you were marketing this re-release to. 

  In the realm of vamp flicks, Near Dark is a true diamond in the rough.  Outshined by the glitz and glamour of The Lost Boys in it's initial theatrical release, Near Dark has clawed it's way through the grave dirt of the cinematic cemetery and resurrected itself as a true KVLT force for those who haven't already offered their free arteries to the Twilight set.  Near Dark is in fact the real deal.  It's dark, horrific, hypnotic, two-fisted, ugly, irreverent, comes with strong dose of gallows humor, and best of all it makes no excuses.  All killer, no filler and definitely no sparkles. 

Fun Facts About Near Dark:

The Cramps cover of, "Fever", can be heard when the gang enters the roadhouse near the middle of the film.  

Lance Henriksen actually designed his own costume for the character of Jesse Hooker. 

For the role of Caleb, Johnny Depp, and D.W. Sweeney auditioned but Adrian Pasdar got the role. 

Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstein, had just finished shooting Aliens with James Cameron who at the time, was dating Near Dark Director Katheryn Bigelow.  Near Dark, being a lower to mid level budget studio picture, the pay margin was substantially lower than it was on Aliens, but Henriksen, Paxton, and Goldstein agreed to do the film because they loved the script and characters so much.

 On a theater marquee in the background, James Cameron's sci-fi action hit, Aliens, can be seen.