Autodidact: self-taught


Vampires in the Cold

by V. L. Craven

Vampire films, as a genre, don’t particularly hold my interest. Immortality seems boring–humans would whine about the same problems every century–and having sex with a room-temperature body (vampires are corpses) is stomach-churning, so their sex appeal is similarly lost on me. I’m not against watching a film about vampires, but there has to be some other draw.

In this case, it’s cold climates–the beauty of a frozen landscape will get me to watch a lot of things. So this week’s film review is a comparison of two films about vampires in cold climates: Let the Right One In and 30 Days of Night.

Let the Right One In

Let the Right One in is based on the Swedish novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist and is about a boy who befriends his unusual new neighbour–a girl of twelve. The girl advises him to fight back against his bullies and even offers to help. Much of the story is about the budding friendship between the two young people and the boy learning to stand up for himself.

The backdrop to all of this are the horrific killings that have been happening–one man was found upside down, drained of blood; and another was attacked and murdered in front of a witness, who swore it looked like the attacker was a child.

This film is much more atmospheric and subdued than most vampire films, which was refreshing. There was also very little blood and onscreen violence, considering the trend of horror films in general. Several tropes common to vampires were handled cleverly–trusting the intelligence of the audience rather than relying on special effects. I would recommend this to fans of vamp flicks who were looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, as well as to people who simply liked a good story. I’ll definitely watch it again.

30 Days of Night Film poster

The premise is that the town farthest north in the U.S. experiences thirty days of darkness once a year and someone (or something) has cut them off from civilisation even further by stealing and destroying all the mobiles amongst other things. Once no one can get in or out or can contact the outside world, things start picking off the humans. Yummy, yummy humans. 

I’m going to admit that I wasn’t expecting much from this one. It looked like pretty standard fare so I just came for the pretty scenery. However, some genius in casting had Danny Huston as the lead vampire. And he had a sidekick who rather looked like Marilyn Manson, which amused me greatly.

30 Days Huston and the Goth

‘Why do people keep asking me to sing Beautiful People?’

This one was better than I was expecting, but I’d only recommend it to people who like vampire films. It had plenty of blood and action and one very cool shot of the town that (along with Huston) made it worth the watch.

One Response to “Vampires in the Cold”

  1. Scarydad Says:

    When I was in high school I read the Vampire Chronicles and subsequent vampire-loving phase. However, I was more interested in real vampire lore and how the myths and legends found their way into pop culture.

    As I studied vampires, I found that the meta-human, romantic vampire was just that- a pop-culture invention. Even Stoker’s Count Dracula was ugly, repulsive, and utterly horrifying to humans who encountered him.

    Vampires of lore can be more closely described as modern zombies are depicted- dead things, cursed, and driven by malevolent need to spread the disease.

    Knowing this, I sort of stopped liking the vampire genre. Unless, of course, the vampires were straight up evil.

    Unfortunately, pop culture trends continue to often them and turn them into weepy little emo kids for whom redemption can be found in a hug and cuddle from a pretty girl. That’s crap.

    I really enjoyed 30 Days of Night (originally a graphic novel, by the way) because the vampires were so ruthless and bestial. The humans there were food, nothing more, nothing less. This is how they’re supposed to be, so it made for a nice romp.

    I has haunted by Let the Right One In for a while after I saw it. It was so well done and it’s greatest strength was its subtlety. Unfortunately you realize that the “help” the vampire girl is giving this young boy is not friendly as much as it is she needs a new slave and she’s grooming him for the part. No silver linings…

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