31 for 31: '30 Days of Night'

For the whole month of October, our own Kevin Stairiker will be watching a horror movie a day and cataloging his findings in a new feature called “31 for 31.”

Is there any way to make vampires scary again? The “Twilight” book series didn’t end up as the be all, end all annihilation of vampires as modern horror icons, but it came very close. “30 Days of Night” came out a whole year before the first “Twilight” film, but it’s almost as if the seeds were being sown already.

In 2007, when “30 Days” first came out, I avoided it mostly because A. I wasn’t technically old enough to see it in theaters yet and B. Josh Hartnett. This is no fault of resident #dreamboat Josh Hartnett, but with turns in movies like “40 Days and 40 Nights” and “Wicker Park,” I wasn’t holding my breath. Imagine my surprise when the man really delivered in “30 Days of Night.”

The film’s concept is simple, but allows for lots of interesting things to happen: the desolate town of Barrow, Alaska, is faced with an impending 30 days of darkness due to polar winter. Some vampires then decide that, hey, that town might be a pretty cool place to dine on some human flesh.

From there, things happen how you think they might. Namely, with massive amounts of death. I’ll reveal the exact number below, but thus far, this has been the movie with the biggest body count by far. It makes sense, though, when you consider just how unprepared these townfolk were for a vampire hoard. You’ve got be ready for that, always!

The vampires that inhabit the town truly would not have been out of place in the “Twilight” series. They glow with paleness and are reserved in a way that film vampires of yore just didn’t. They’re disappointing as villains because they don’t seem to know what they want to be. Instead of spending the entire movie biting and breaking necks, too much time is spent having the vampires talk…and talk…and talk.

There’s enough here to satiate horror fans and elevate the film past “4 p.m. rerun on MTV” status, but you can almost see throughout the film certain areas where there might have been some studio meddling, especially in regards to certain romantic moments. Stick with “Nosferatu.”

By the numbers:

Total deaths: 39
White actors playing characters initially written as Inuit: At least 5
Townspeople killed instead of turned into vampires: 7
Vampires that die purely for the sake of true love: Ugh, 1
Weeks it took Josh Hartnett to grow that facial hair: 4, presumably
Total MTV Teen Choice Awards garnered by this film: 1


Total movie death count: 120
Watched via: Lancaster Library DVD
Worth the watch? Sure
Arbitrary rating: 2.5/5 Josh Hartnett chin hairs

31 for 31 viewing list

  1. Jeepers Creepers (2001)
  2. Cube (1997)
  3. White Zombie (1932)
  4. Demons (Dèmoni) (1985)
  5. Phantasm II (1988)
  6. Kuroneko (1968)
  7. Creepshow (1982) / Creepshow 2 (1987)
  8. 30 Days of Night (2007)
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Posted in Articles, Lancaster, Movies

Kevin Stairiker is a features writer for Fly. He is a graduate of Temple University and enjoys writing in third person. When he isn't writing, he's probably playing guitar for a litany of bands, reading comics or providing well-needed muscle at The Double Deuce.

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