There are few things in the world which can be considered truly depressing and a bad movie is certainly one of those things. However there are only a few movies that cause me to wonder how much of the material of my seat I would need to fashion a noose with which to hang myself. Sometimes a bad movie is just bad enough to be enjoyable and then there are the movies that there is just no saving them. Like the Titanic they are just doomed to sink into the murky abyss.

I am a bit of an indifferent reader of comics, however occasionally I find myself in a comic book store perusing the stacks for that one diamond among the rough. On one of those rare occasions I found a title called 30 Days of Night which turned out to be a comic about a small town at the top of the world which has the unfortunate distinction of becoming an all-you-can-eat-buffet for vampires.  The artwork was brutal in its minimalism and the lettering was severe in the extreme (if somewhat hard to read). Needless to say I really did enjoy it quite a bit so I was pretty excited to see it turned into a movie.

Now there is a tradition of turning comics into movies.  There have been a few notable successes: Spider Man & Spider Man 2, Superman 1 through 3  and a few others.  However most of the time something gets lost in translation and a good read becomes a lousy movie.

Our story is about a small town in Alaska named Barrow which has the dubious honor of being located at the top of the world and is known for having extended periods of night.  30 days of Night to be precise.  This is of course advantageous if you happen to be a creature of the night with time on your hands. The story revolves around an idea that a younger vampire has about having a good time hunting people without having to worry about the world finding out that vampires actually exist. In the comic there is a small group of people who do in fact know that vampires are real and they learn of the plan to gang rape the town of Barrow and they dispatch one of their own to get video proof of the attack. This is an important fact to remember for later.

Now a good orgy takes preparation and so our intrepid party goers want to keep interruptions to a minimum so they send in a minion to prepare the way.  The minion, who has been promised immortality goes into town and manages to steal all of the cell and satellite phones from the town and burns them.  He also kills all the dogs in town as well.  Why the dogs I hear you ask?  Sled dogs baby, sled dogs.  It may be 800 miles to the nearest town but we don’t want anyone leaving the party early.  Never mind that the minion does nothing about the snow mobiles or other forms of transportation (in the movie at least).  Eventually the long night starts to settle in and the minion of course gets in trouble at the last-minute,  gets arrested by our hero Sheriff Eben and spends the remainder of his short time on Earth stuck in a jail cell.  Sadly he does not get his promised immortality guess you just can’t trust a vampire.  Who knew?

In the comic Eden and Stella are still married and are Sheriff and Deputy respectively.  In the movie they are divorced and now Stella is a Fire Marshall who is in town to certify fire safety equipment and since she does not want to stay in Barrow for the long night she is trying to make sure she catches the last flight out-of-town.  As these things go she of course has a traffic accident, misses the plane and is now stuck in town for the next 30 days.  Then again we wouldn’t have a movie without this little plot twist now would we?

Any-stuck-in-the-fucking-frozen-wasteland-that-is-the-arctic the town starts to discover all sorts of strange events as night has settled in and the vampires are starting to play.  The local telecom office gets destroyed, the power station goes up in smoke and people on the edge of town start disappearing right in front of other people.  Ok, let me propose a scenario for you.  You find yourself leaving work at the pipeline with Two of your coworkers for a drunken night of debauchery (hey it is a long cold night) and as you stumble along talking about all of the naughty things you intend to do to your companions you suddenly hear a noise!  Gasp!  As you discuss whether or not you should investigate the sound (hint you shouldn’t) one of you suddenly disappears in front of your very eyes.

Poof, gone.  What would you do?

Would you do nothing?

Would you stand around like a moron wondering “Hey where did Bob go?”

Would you still investigate the sound anyway?

Would you run like hell?

Would you knowing that the town was about to be devastated by a vampire attack pour gasoline on yourself and go out in a blaze of glory roman candle style?

If you seriously considered the first Three options you would not survive a vampire attack and would probably be the First to die.  For those of you who chose the Fourth option I applaud your survival instincts but you are as good as dead anyway. Those who chose the Fifth option you should be applauded for your foresight in knowing that should your town be attacked by vampires you are basically fucked and might as well make as dramatic an exit as possible.

So, the vampires are gang raping the town and a handful of survivors find themselves hiding in an attic of a house that has been closed up for the winter. Here we have the first place that made me scratch my head in wonder.  The owner went South for the winter.  What are they going to do for food? I mean if I was leaving town for a season I wouldn’t leave the freezer stocked with food (not that the town has any power to begin with).  Also, what are they going to do if they need to use a toilet?  Ten people stuck in an attic trying to avoid vampires that are going house to house aren’t exactly going to go downstairs every time they need to take a shit.  Not to mention the fact that the entire house doesn’t have any heat.  Come to think of it, water is going to be an issue as well since it is fucking Alaska in the middle of winter and they are Three miles from the MOTHERFUCKING ARCTIC CIRCLE… but I digress.

Eventually the survivors decide they need to leave their hidey hole and wait for a whiteout to make their way to the general store to score some food and supplies.  They also decide to that they need to make their way to the only building that has power located on the edge of town.  A somewhat fortress like building called the Utiladoor.  This is yet another place where the movie and the comic diverge.  Right around the time the survivors are considering their options in the comic a helicopter flies to the town and records the vampire attack from the air (this does not happen in the movie).  By this time the older vampires have made their way to Barrow to clean up the mess and to also teach an important lesson to the younger vampires.  Which is that you have to follow the rules.  The vampire leader rips the younger vampire a new one (literally) and decides that the town needs to be destroyed to cover up the evidence before the sun was due to make another appearance.  After teaching the lesson and because vampires are total badasses they manage to damage the chopper and cause it to crash.

Now you might be wondering as to why I am mentioning some of the key differences between the movie and the comic.  Well, I feel the need to do so because in the comic these little differences make the story interesting and give it a sense of continuity.  In the movie you never really understand the motivation of the vampires to even go to Barrow, seriously it is never really explained why they were even there.

In the movie the vampires eventually get bored and decide to break into the pipe line and let the town fill with crude oil to cover up the massacre.  This isn’t a terrible idea however I do need to point out that crude oil will not catch fire by lighting a match and tossing it.  It actually takes quite a bit of work to get crude oil to burn.  Now I hear you cry “But what about oil rig fires huh?  Those fuckers go up in flames at the drop of a hat”.  Well I do need to point out that in almost all of those cases the rig exploded because of uncontrolled natural gas being exposed to an ignition source.  Once the crude reaches the critical temperature do to the heat and flames it will start burning and once it starts it is very hard to put out.

Well hollywood being hollywood the vampire lights a match and tosses it in and the oil of course catches fire and the town starts to burn.  The Sheriff gets an idea and decides to infect himself with the blood of a vampire he had recently decapitated. His plan is to go and challenge the leader of the vampires to a fight so that the others can get out-of-town safely and wait for the sun to reappear.  Eben eventually manages to defeat the leader and the other vampires scatter into the snowy wastes. After a heartwarming reunion with Stella they both go and decide to watch the sunrise one last time (literally for Eben).

And the credits roll…

This movie manages to take an interesting story about survival and sucks all the life out of it (hah a vampire joke get it?) and turns a good story into a rather boring facsimile of itself.  Now for todays lesson:  When faced with an onslaught of your town during the long Night by rampaging vampires you should suit up suicide bomber style and take a few of the motherfuckers with you.