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Vampires: Nothing like the Sun

Last night, thanks to an egames expo promotional event, I was able to get some tickets to a preview screening of 30 Days of Night, an adaptation of the Steve Niles graphic novel series of the same name.

Barrow is a small, secluded Alaskan town which, as a result of its location, is the perfect holiday destination for anyone wanting to avoid working on their tan: 30 Days of Night tells the story of the people of this town during the time of year when the sun sets and doesn’t rise again for a period of… you guessed it… 30 Days!

Having only the briefest of familiarity with the original, printed version, of the story I can’t really comment on the movie’s faithfulness to it’s source, but then, I’m guessing that there will be a large portion of the people who see this film who will be completely unaware of its origins. In fact, I’d go as far to say that I believe that there are a lot of people out there who are completely unaware that graphic novels like this even exist.

Although not having read it, I was in the company of a couple of nerds last night who had, and was pleased to hear that David Slade, the film’s director, had remained fairly close to the novel’s story; to the point that several scenes in the movie appeared to have replicated panels from the pages of the comic.

I may as well simply come out and say it: For mine, 30 Days of Night is probably the best vampire movie I’ve seen in quite some time. Sure it’s not overly traditional, but then according to the traditions and myths that the vampire emerged from in the first place, none of the vampire movies we’ve seen are. Most people associate the vampire legends with the stories of Vlad the impaler and the whole whacky Transilvanian count, Bela Lugosi take on things.

The vampires in 30 Days of Night are closer to the reanimated corpse origins of 18th century European legends than they are to the modern rock-star vampires which evolved from the works of John Polidori and Bram Stoker. Of course they exhibit some of the inescapable traits of modern horror monsters, like the inexplicable need to screech and pull supposedly scary faces. However, those factors aside, these are probably the creepiest vampires that I can recall on screen for a while, bringing back memories of the skin crawling episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, titled HUSH.

Some will no doubt find 30 Days (the movie, not the passage of time) a little slow, personally I liked the pace of the movie: I love the extended periods that were simply about survival and how the pressure of that effected people in different ways… leading some to do completely unthinkable things.

Despite the graphic and violent nature of this movie I think the most disturbing thing I saw last night was a single nerd devour the largest tub of popcorn available… all on his own. Monsters do exist people! I’ve seen them.

PS: For anyone interested. the eGames & Entertainment Expo is on again next week (from the 16th to the 18th of November 07).

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1 Comment

    I must admit, I haven’t really had a vampire flick raise the hair on the back of my neck since I first saw Salem’s lot.

    The images of over-extended fingers to claws heralded back to the classic b&w Nosferatu and literally had me on the edge of my seat during the movie and checking the locks on my windows for nearly a full year afterwards.

    I am looking forward to seeing 30 days, especially now that I have it on good authority that the movie plays pretty close to the (very) graphic novel.

    Unfortunately I think I will be seeing this one on my own, as my wife doesn’t seem to share the same fascination with vampires, short of buffy.