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30 Days of Night
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Review by T. A. Wardrope

"Hollywood" Henry, here. I'll forgive you if you don't know me by name; it's been well over fifty years since anyone has heard it spoken by a living tongue. So many people have been sticking their heads in my door lately, I figured it was about time I stuck my own head out to have a look-see. I didn't care too much for what I saw, but I did get a brainstorm of a scheme for a way to pass the dusty hours here in the theater. I hope you understand that I've got a certain bias, and a special perspective on matters of life and what comes after. Let's just say I am dead set on giving you the real lowdown.

I haven't ever actually met a vampire. I can tell you this, nothing I've known of the walking undead has ever lead me to think that blood-sucking dead people would be anymore charming or special that your average concession stand slob. That's what's got me all worked up about this "30 Days of Night" movie of which I got a 35mm print. Here we got some ugly-ass Dracula wannabes that don't know how to keep their chins clean or wear a napkin when wolfing down a solid feast of the special red sauce. These are some sloppy eaters - they left half their meals to spill out on the snow of the Alaskan town of Barrow. Territorial too, they cut off the heads of the newly dead to keep their own numbers down. Damn smart, if you ask me. Their "leader" was real annoying though, but at least it didn't pounce around with an electric gee-tar and a book of poems like some other ones I've seen on the screen. Why they dressed up the girlie vamps in combat boots is beyond me. Seems a shame to waste a great pair of legs on something like that. Horrors.

I can't say I'm jumping up and down over the whole ordeal. While this picture puts a less moldy face on your standard "living folks trapped by the dead folks' situation, it still feels like other flicks I've watched over the years. "The Thing," made by that Johnny Carpenter fellow, is the first memory to skitch across my ectoplastic synapses. That one's got snow and dead dogs too. Now, that Sheriff Eben is right in line with all the classic monster fighting' fools from times past. He's got some really dumb dialogue (maybe there isn't much to talk about up there in Barrow) but don't quite cut it as the type of man on which I would've staked my own life. Well, anyway, he's got some stuff in his shorts after all and makes a surprising choice for a man with both feet planted on the topside of a grave. Maybe he got some motivation from the scary performance given by his estranged wife, "Stella". Someone should tell that California girl that snow don't make you stupid, just cold. If you're alive anyway. I guess the part where she got turned into a zombie was left out of this edit.

I also have to give a hand to the people behind the camera on this one. They've got all these computers making scads of fancy effects all over the place, and this group of jokers has the gumption to use MODELS for some of their effects. I kept hoping for a giant lizard to come stomping through the miniature snow buried sets, but no such luck. It could happen in the sequel.

All right, they're down there rattling the metal doors again. Probably some more artsy fartsy folks who want to turn this place into a fruity experimental space (will they never learn -- let the dead stay DEAD!) or the dunderheads that only want to show "classic movies" on my beloved, pretty projector. I'd like to see 'em try. I'll have 'em crying for Scooby-Do before they finish counting the chairs in the theater. Anyway, I'll be back soon; I got a stack of these Digital Video Discs to slide into my player. (These must be real short movies - they're thinner than a quarter dollar and not much bigger than a five-minute reel.) Oh, and you've got a selection for something you'd like to here my opinion on, just slide it under the front door of the theater. I check there on my rounds, so I'll give it a look and see if it's worth my time. You don't need to sign it in blood or anything, either; I can read regular old ink just fine.

- "Hollywood" Henry