100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Six - "30 Days of Night!"


Ghoulish Greetings, scabknees and crabtrees!

I am actually shocked that I haven't given up on this thing so far! Seriously I am astounded at myself. I can't usually commit to something longer than five minutes, let alone 100 days. That must be why all my diets and relationships fail. Hm. Best not dwell on it.

Anyhoo, here we are - Day Six and once again, I am excited about today's selection, "30 Days of Night!" This is a vampire movie, but it ain't your granny's vampire movie. These ain't no Edward Cullens nor Draculas - they're vicious to the point of being animals and savage in their violence. This movie is bleak and can leave you feeling a little hollow inside if you're looking for a pat, dry ending where everything is resolved. Not this bastard, however - this sucker is bleak.

I hope you're all suitably entertained and I thank you all again for reading!

30 Days of Night (2007): Directed by David Slade. Starring Melissa George, Josh Hartnett and Danny Huston.

The Skinny: This graphic vampire film is actually an adaptation of a successful comic book of the same title written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Ben Templesmith. It is the story of the true-to-life town of Barrow, Alaska as it enters an extended dark period (the titular 30 days). As a month of darkness falls on the tiny community, a pack of savage vampires emerge from the blizzard to feed unmolested by sunlight.

What’s Good: This is what I am talking about. This movie scared me in as much as the savagery of the violence disturbed me to the point that I thought I might never watch it again. But British director Danny Slade (who most recently helmed the latest film in the “Twilight” saga, 2010’s “Eclipse”) knows that the violence is only shocking when it’s A) realistic and B) when it’s necessary and not just violence for the sake of it. Blood splashes on snow as throats are ripped open, a man is tossed into a garbage shredder and a main character graphically hacks off his friend’s head with shocking realism. But never is it glorified or stylized; rather, it moves organically with the story while causing you to squirm in your seat.

What’s Bad: It is oh-so-violent, and while not packed wall to wall with blood and gore, when it happens, it happens hardcore. Also, this is not for the youngins. These ain’t no glittery, sexy, lovable Edward Cullen-esque vamps – they’re disfigured and savage, with vicious claws and jagged fangs (and, I might add, a successful translation of Templesmith’s provocative art to the silver screen). Other than that, there isn’t much else to dislike – the characters are real and believable and easy to sympathize with as their lives are destroyed by something they can barely wrap their working-class heads around. And I won’t fool you – don’t look for a happy ending here.

Why We Like It: Again, I love this movie. Hartnett and George have great chemistry as an estranged married couple pulled together again by the vamp attack, and the sacrifices they both make to save their lives will bring you to tears. And kudos to Danny Huston, as the leader of the disfigured vamps: he pours malice into his every motion and glance. When a victim begs for mercy, and Huston looks skyward for Divine Intervention before ripping thei r throat out (“God? No God.”), it chills to the bone. And the vamps themselves are so foreign – they look like literal monsters and speak a gutteral, vaguely Russian language – that from the moment you see them you know there’s not going to be an elegant dinner with a cordial count. They are here to feed, and we are the main course. And when they’re done, they’ll disappear back into the wilderness without a trace.

Memorable Stuff: There are a few lines that are gripping in context but nothing you’ll be dragging out to impress your buddies. The heart and soul of the film lie in Hartnett’s attempts to keep his family safe and as a result of his actions the ending is sad and bitter and as downbeat as a film could possibly get. It is disturbing, it is graphic and it is a brilliant addition to the world of comic book adaptations.