Thirty Days Of Night

From I was a child stories about vampires have fascinated me. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was probably the first novel in the genre that I read. If I was in my teens it was just about. There have been many adaptations of the original story but none to equal it. Some of the 70s stuff simply didn’t cut it. Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise added new blood, or drained it so to speak, in the 1994 Interview With A Vampire. John Carpenter's 1998 Vampires or the 1996 From Dusk to Dawn combined modern day mega-violence with fangs. Good television but more adrenaline inducing action adventure than blood chilling horror.

Now there are fresh attempts to put something different into the vampire world rather than allow it to become anaemic. The strangest of ironies it would surely be if anaemia was to appear on the death certificate that heralded the end of the nocturnal world of the vampire. True Blood which we watched the first series of – the second seemed to go flat very quick – attempted to modernise the whole concept of vampirism and created vampire communities living cheek by jowl with human society. Humans could even date and fall in love with the vampire; romantic rather than dangerous liaisons. The community of the undead going about their daily lives rather than the solitary figure preying at night flagged up the issue of discrimination – ‘Fangs Not Wanted’. Run them out of town. Sure, why not? Elsewhere it is Catholics being run out. It is something we understand. No suspension of disbelief required. All part of the modern world.

Thirty Days of Night brought back the chill effect from not so modern times. Find a town where the sun does not rise for a full month and it’s an open invitation to some white faced old friends to call in for a bite.

In the darkness of Barrow, an Alaska town, the uninvited guests make themselves at home. And they are a frightening lot. Danny Hutson is brilliant as Marlowe, the head honcho of the blood sucking things of the night. He even speaks vampire language in guttural tones that send a cold shudder through the body. Believer or not, ‘God? There is no god’, is the last thing you would want to hear, more because of the malevolence conveyed than the accuracy or otherwise of the comment. His accomplices are grossly ugly, not merely unpleasant to look at but horribly scary.

This lot of undead are a closed society. They enjoy their exclusivity. They are not into the business of recruiting. Thus, they decapitate their victims to prevent any cross over. So, this film does not seek to play down the gore factor and leave it to the imagination. Yet blood is not the key selling point, suspense is. It is the Stalingrad of vampire battles. The invading army attacks and the siege begins. Garlic, forget about it. Vicious it very much is. Josh Hartnett, as the sheriff leads the resistance but the posse doesn’t always seem to be up to the task. As often happens the bad guy gets the girls. Hutson steals the show but he is welcome to his girl. Better to waken up beside Iris Robinson than that.

Thirty Days of Night … or fright, vampires are thankfully undergoing a renaissance rather than the feared enlightenment which would lead us to discard our superstitions. Lovers of the genre have something to celebrate. They haven’t gone away you know.


  1. Mackers, watched this film about six months ago. Thought it was really good, even though I am sort of gutless when it comes to horror.
    I thought Christopher Lee the best Dracula ever. When I think of Dracula I always think of him. However, as modern films go "Thirty Days of Night" is well worth the view.

    Speaking of blood suckers, a Sinn Fein delegation apparently went to visit the protesting prisoners during the week.
    At the risk of sounding cynical, I doubt if the driving force behind the visit was either empathy or concern.

    Would have been eerie though considering Paul Maskey and John O Dowd were amongst the delegation.
    Fear factor aside, I think I would prefer to take my chances with the vampires.

  2. Nuala,

    I am amazed that anybody reads this stuff never mind bothering to comment!! It is just me throwing a few minutes into something different. Takes no effort. Still, it is appreciated that others read it.

    Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are synonymous with the vampire. I think in the end they became too easiy typecast and Cushing began to look less serious in the role. The horror had gone out of it.

    But there was a great 1920s film called Nosferatu - silent movie. Saw it in jail.

    What the jail visit will bring shall be determined by the political needs of SF not the rights of prisoners. I have no doubt that Raymond will not like the idea of prisoners being beaten and he will instinctively believe the prisoners but what will he be able to do? The party doesn't care.

  3. Mackers, I like to hear what people have to say about films just as I like hearing what people have to say about books.

    Always find it interesting why a person likes a certain film or a certain book.

    I think the reason they went into the prison, was because they were under increasing presure to do so.
    Really don't believe they will do anything different than what other British ministers have done in the prisons. They might sound off a bit but other than that nothing.

  4. Nuala,

    pretty much my own view. I used to go to meetings or social events and ask people what they were currently reading. Love those profile pieces where they ask the person being profiled their favourite book or film or music.

    I remember Don Concannnon going into Bobby Sands near the end of his life. Changed nothing

  5. Mackers Albert here,I agree with you Bram Stoker's Dracula was one of the best books I read.
    Remember going to watch it in the Windsor picture house and had to run before they played God Save the Queen. Me, Seamy Kelly, Curley Cush etc, what a motley crew.
    Christopher Lee was by far the best Dracula ever.
    In the very best of Dracula list can I include "Love at First Bite?"
    See ya mate!

  6. Albert, good to hear from you and see you venturing into the crazy world of the blogoids.
    Stoker's is a classic. I very much liked Salem's Lot by Stephen King. A more modern version of the tale and the film was good also. A great one which I watched last week was Let The Right One In. A fantastic film; a mixture of romance and horror. Love at First Bite - nah! Try Fright Night

    Curly Cush and Seamy Kelly - they would get you killed in the Windsor and that was even before 1969!! Used to love the Windsor - saw my favourite Western of all time there - Shane.

  7. Mackers, mate being packed off to bed here, cos I've had a few beers.
    Thought Salem's Lot was a classic, was that the one that starred David Soul?
    Nuala had a big smile on her face when I told her about Shane, it was also her da's favourite Western of all time.
    Not really a blogoid just really enjoyed your post about Bram Stokers Dracula, brought back some good memories.
    Cheers Mate.

  8. Albert, lucky you. haven't even got a whiff of one today. Might take a whiskey before going to bed. Never crossed my mind until you raised it!

    Salem's Lot - yes, Soul acted in it.

    Shane - so glad Nuala has a reason for identifying with it. My ma took me to see it when I was very young. It is also one of my favourite books.

    Haven't read a Western since 1982 when I went through one or two as a challenge in the blocks. Big Livvy told me to read JT Edson who was a postman from Essex or soemwhere and who had never set foot in America. So he told me!! Liv was a great reader.

  9. Mackers. Is that your nickname? Love it. In the army me da got Mick and his best mate got Jock, yep Irish and Scottish. It was meant to be a insult but they both went with it.Jock was killed, but Mick has followed me DA. And his name is Thomas..... Funny?
    I am too much of a scaredy cat to watch vampire films.
    Can I draw on your experience in jail. I am writing to a prisoner in Port Laoise, and I'm not sure what I can or can't write. Also do you know what I can or can't send in care packages? I live in Aus so food would be out I guess. What about tooth paste writing pads and the like.
    I was going to send news paper articles mainly on sport.They would be allowed pens surely? Am I able to tell him that I am behind him, and his mates or will the screws keep the letter if I do? Once I get used to what I can and can't say or send I can enjoy it a lot more. I thought self addressed envelopes would be a good idea then they don't have to worry about postage.
    Bless our boys every one of them.

  10. For margaret: there are POW action groups that can advise you.Google em up. Rule of thumb never write anything to up the ante because the prisoner/s will get kicked in the guts for it (literally)Just write neutral. Enuf said. Half the time they never get what u send. Know the drill - its a brit system just like in Aus. Indigenous prisoners still die/get bashed up (numerous have been to death in Aus) & no cop/screw has ever done time for it.
    The parallels are there since colonization. neo colonizer world we live in. Because you are in Aus you could make some posters and do a protest in the city. Just stand there with handout leaflets and tell people what is going on. Even from a distance every voice counts. And do some writing on your blog. O and the screws always monitor/file the return addresses on envos :-)Tis but a small world. It is gonna take more than Gods blessings It is gonna take action and voices demanding cessation of the brutality. Every voice counts wherever they are.

    *Vampire films are BLOODY awful ahaha

  11. Saint?MaryHedgehog

    what did vampires ever do to you to deserve that?

  12. "Let the Right One In" I recommend. Not my usual genre, but very Scandinavian, very atmospheric. The dubbed vs. subtitled versions apparently differ somewhat.

  13. Fionnchú, Let The Right One in is a brilliant movie. Thoroughly enjoyed it. The acting was superb and the chemistry between the two outstanding. Slow moving but compulsive viewing

  14. Margaret,

    Yes it is Mackers. From childhood

    The regimes differs from jail to jail so I would need to find out just what is allowed. I think in Portlaoise they already have the things you suggested sending