Gang, in this day and age of movies that come from comic books, one of my favorite fits this genre, and I think it gets lost in the shuffle, because, to be honest, originally I had no clue it came from a comic book, and it is a good horror movie, so I didn’t really care.
30 Days of Night was created by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, and published by IDW Publishing. The comic started as a 3 part book, and when it became popular, more stories came fourth.
I actually got a very sweet Hardback edition from a comic shop that is now closed (sigh), for a very good price. I very carefully read it, and really enjoyed the story. The vampires aren’t entirely like the classics. Granted, sunlight turns them to ash, and if you behead them, they will die, but everything else pretty much just makes them have to recuperate.
Set in Barrow, Alaska, it is noted that the cold temps dull their senses. They have enhances senses with sight, hearing, and smell, and some actually can teleport, have telepathy, and even shapeshift somewhat. Since they are in Barrow, it makes you feel that the humans actually have a chance, because they aren’t at their heightened senses.
Why Barrow, because they have a stretch of 30 Days where it is night 24/7. If memory serves, in the comics, they know they are out there. So the town buttons up and hides for the 30 days.
But the movie doesn’t know they are there.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic image of a vampire. Bela Lugosi will always be what I think of when I think of a bloodsucker. But in the movies, the vampires in this movie are probably my favorite image.
By design, they are all tall and slim, very angular, and dressed mostly in black, with just a bit of white. They’re teeth are something out of a nightmare, or perhaps a Tim Burton movie. Instead of the classic long incisors, they are small and sharp, they look like they are designed to tear into prey, so they can gorge on blood. Luckily for them, that is what they do.
Poor Ol’ Josh Hartnett has women problems to start out the movie. His estranged wife is rushing to get out of Dodge, but is forced into a ditch, and misses her plane, so she’s stranded there for 30 days. The town literally shuts down these days, because the weather is bad, visibility is nil, and its always dark.
Hartnett is the sheriff, so when strange things start to happen, he’s the man to investigate. Dogs are slain, and a mysterious stranger shows up, played by Ben Foster. He’s at the diner wanting some raw meat, and for some reason, they find this odd, and refuse to serve him. Apparently they have a strict
“No Booze, No Raw Meat” policy for these 30 days.
So he gets thrown in jail, and in his creepy Ben Foster way, he warns them that “they” are coming for him to turn him, and for them because they are food.
Then the battle starts, and people hide, and people die, and have to figure out how to kill them, while hiding out and being quiet in stores and houses.
I saw the movie first, so when I finally read the comic books, I was quite happy with how they really caught the feel of the book. The angularity really worked well with how the book was drawn, which made me very happy. The Vampires had their own language, which I also enjoyed. It has always made sense to me that eventually they would develop their own language, because they outlive humans, and if they were to meet, they could discuss things in a tongue that humans wouldn’t understand.
I also liked the fact that it being set in a pretty remote place, so if something did happen to humans, it’s not discovered until much later. It would also explain why there is no internet, cell phone reception, and no phones if the lines were cut…which they were. And with the weather, the short wave radio was not working. In a sense, the town became a character unto itself, complicating things for the humans left.
Fun fact, I was made familiar years ago about Barrow Alaska by a radio DJ by the name of Kevin Matthews. At one point it was called the coldest spot in the US, so he’d call a lady from up there, and she’d talk weather with him every few months. A little part of me always wondered if she survived the onslaught of vampires, but that is just how my head works.
I’m not going to give away the story, but if you enjoy stories that aren’t drawn like classic comics from Marvel or DC, and are a re-imagination of an age old character, these books are for you.
If you like movies that are well paced, well acted, with some great character actors and Josh Hartnett, well written, with great special effects, then definitely give this movie a watch.
I really felt the movie caught the feel of the book. Of course, the comic came out of the ashes of a movie work up that failed, so maybe that’s why they melded so well. To be honest, I don’t really give a shit, because I enjoyed both equally, and will probably have to go home and watch the movie this week, since my boss won’t put a Blue Ray player in the office.
Thaaaaaats right, make fun of the old guy who still watches movies on DVD’s and Blue Rays. Let me tell you young whippersnappers a thing or two though…when the apocalypse hits, and you’re all stuck searching through rubble for books and comics, I’m going to be charging Crown Royal and weed to watch Clerks with me! And maybe food too!
Listen to John & Kenric talk to Ben Templesmith!