30 Days of Night
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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for 30 Days of Night can be found here.

When the northern Alaska town of Barrow is plunged into darkness for 30 days in the middle of winter, all but 152 stalwart inhabitants, like Sheriff Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett), his younger brother Jake (Mark Rendall), and their grandmother Helen (Elizabeth McRae), head south for the duration unless they're trapped in Barrow like Eben's estranged wife Stella (Melissa George) who missed the last plane out. As Eben and Deputy Billy Kitka (Manu Bennett) close up the town on the last day of sun, a stranger (Ben Foster) comes to town, and Eben begins to find evidence of vandalism: burnt cellphones, slaughtered sled dogs, and damage to the town's only helicopter. However, this is nothing compared to the carnage that is to follow when Barrow is overrun by bloodthirsty vampires, attracted by the prolonged night and the promise of 30 days and nights of feasting.

30 Days of Night is based on a three-issue graphic novel of the same name, written by American comic book writer Steve Niles and illustrated by Australian comic book artist Ben Templesmith. A sequel to the movie, 30 Days of Night: Dark Days, was released in 2010. The screenplay was written by Steve Niles and screenwriters Stuart Beattie and Brian Nelson.

Yes. Barrow is located in the North Slope Borough of Alaska at 71.30N (latitude) and 156.78W (longitude). As such, it is 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Find a map of Alaska and look along the northern coastline. Barrow sits on a peninsula that juts into the Arctic Ocean. Nearby Point Barrow is the northernmost point in the United States, and the town of Barrow is the northernmost settlement on the whole North American mainland. A variety of photos turn up in the results of search engines supplied the query "Barrow, Alaska".

No. It was filmed in New Zealand.

Technically, there is a 67-day period during the winter where the sun never quite makes it over the horizon and an 85-day period in the summer where the sun never quite sets. However, it is nothing like what was shown in the movie. In the movie, the entire sun was shown above the horizon; then it set one day and light wasn't seen again for 30 days. What actually happens is that, because of the earth's tilt, the Arctic sun circles close to the horizon rather than traveling overhead from east to west as it does in temperate and equatorial zones. In the Arctic winter, the sun continues to circle the horizon but, over a period of weeks, more and more of it dips below the horizon. On the last day before the two months of night, the sun just barely peeks over the horizon for a few minutes before it disappears. However, this does not mean that the sky is totally dark. The first several nights of no sunlight would have peripheral light around noon, as the sun almost made it to the horizon, but not quite. It would be like the period just before and just after sunset, when the sky is light despite the sun not being quite up yet or just after it went down. Conversely, on the first day of sunlight at the end of the long night, the very tip of the sun pops over the horizon again and, several minutes later, it disappears. Gradually, the time above the horizon increases until the full sun can again be seen.

Actually, that's how houses are built in Barrow. Click here to see an actual photo of the houses in Barrow, Alaska. Notice that all of them are sitting on raised platforms. This is because of the permafrost. Building on permafrost is difficult because the heat of the building can melt the permafrost and send the house sinking into the ground. Consequently, houses in Barrow are built on stilts to keep the ground cool underneath them.

The vampires in this movie and the graphic novel are very animalistic in nature; they have very pale skin, black eyes, and rows of sharp teeth rather then fangs. They do not speak any English, but a strange guttural language which is unfamiliar to modern human ears. Like other vampires in other genres, they have superhuman strength, speed, and abilities. They can only be killed by fire, decapitation, or sunlight (including ultraviolet light which can severely burn them). Shooting them with guns or arrows will not kill them unless they are shot in the head, which makes them seem to go down permanently (in the same matter of which flesh-eating zombies are killed). However, other rules such being repelled by crosses, holy water, or garlic does not seem to apply here, nor does the rule of vampires not entering a person's home without an invitation as they are seen to break into peoples houses to kill them at whim. The vampires appear to pack or herd in the way wild animals do (wolves, lions, tigers, etc.) and are led by a leader who commands them and whose orders they follow without question.

There has been much discussion about possible languages on which the vampires' language may have been based. Because of what some describe as a "guttural" aspect to the vampires' speech, various languages in the Slavic, Germanic, Hungarian, and Scandinavian tongues have been suggested. Others have noticed clicks in the speech and have suggested Native American, African tribal, or Australian aboriginal languages. Because the vampires' language in the comic series was described as an "ancient unknown" language, some have suggested ancient Egyptian, Celtic, or Mayan. Even fictional languages such as Klingon, Wookie, or the raptors in Jurassic Park have been offered as possibilities. However, in a first screening Q&A interview, director David Slade admits that it is a purely fictional language designed by himself, Danny Huston (who plays Marlow, the lead vampire), and a New Zealand linguist. They did not base it on human speech at all but meant for it to be animalistic in nature, based on sounds made by animals while feeding, eating, and expressing hatred. Here is little dictionary of the vampire language subtitled as heard in the movie: Ga = God, Ip = they/them, Aht = believe, and Shakara = destroy.

The Stranger has a Cajun accent that is specific to certain parts of New Orleans in Louisiana. Per director David Slade, Ben Foster, who plays The Stranger, spent his own money to consult a dialect coach and learn to imitate a Cajun accent. Slade believed that, due to the film's extreme northern setting, someone with a southern accent would seem especially alien. Slade and Foster talk about the Stranger's role, including his accent, in an interview (its transcript here).

The origin of the vampires is never explained in the movie. However, it might be assumed from the opening scenes that they arrived in the ominous-looking grey ship floating in the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean just off the coast near Barrow. The stranger gazes at the ship for a short while before beginning his trek into the town. As to where the vampires got the ship and where they came from before they chose to dine in Barrow, it is unknown. There are two possible clues. One is when Marlow wonders why they never before thought to come to the Arctic Circle where there is no sunlight for weeks at a time during the winter. This suggests that they came from someplace further south. A second clue is the Cajun accent of the stranger. Cajun is spoken in Louisiana, so the vampires may have picked him up previously while dining there.

Actually, it's the other way around. Vampires used to be creepy, foul, evil creatures from the grave who took the blood from the living, eventually causing them to fall ill and die, losing their immortal souls in the process. Dracula, as he was created by Bram Stoker, had hairy palms and a rancid breath that caused shudders when a person got near him. He brought home infants for his vampiresses to feed on. Bela Lugosi, tall, dark-haired, elegantly-caped, and aristocratically-accented, softened that image somewhat in the 1930s when he starred as Dracula on the stage and in the movie. It was in the 1970s, however, that everything really changed. Several Dracula movies came out in which the actors, such as Louis Jourdan and Frank Langella, portrayed the character as the total hunk, romantic, debonair, seductive. At the same time, Anne Rice's characters, e.g., Lestat de Lioncourt, Louis de Pointe du Lac, and Armand, also appeared and helped to change the vampire from creepy to cultured, from foul to fancy, from evil to elegant, from the grave to the goth. Instead of hunting the night for the hapless meal, vampires now took jobs as actors, detectives, and business moguls. Instead of dark castles, they lived in penthouses. Instead of feasting on human babies, they now got their blood from abattoirs (slaughterhouses), morgues, and willing donors. This vision of the vampire is the one that has predominated in the movies for the past 30 years. With 30 Days of Night, we've seen a return to the pre-Ricean vampire, the creepy, evil killer that you don't want to meet on a cold, snowy night in Barrow, Alaska, as opposed to the suave, rich prettyboy languishing on the French Riviera in his Ray-Bans and 1,500-SPF suntan lotion.

In the commentary for the film, it is mentioned that they cut a scene showing Gail and her family getting found and killed by the vampires. Gail managed to escape, which explains why she's covered in blood. The makers decided it was creepier if she just appeared from nowhere.

Knowing that they must move again before they are discovered by the vampires, the survivors head for the Utilidor. Along the way, Stella notices young Gail Robbins (Rachel Maitland-Smith) wandering down the street in shock. Stella rushes out to grab her and becomes separated from Eben and Billy (Manu Bennett) so she takes refuge under a truck. Eben, Billy, and the others make it to the Utilidor, but Billy is attacked by a vampire. Eben manages to get the vampire off Billy and push him into the shredder (aka the muffin monster), but Billy's arm is torn off in the process. As Billy's cries turn into vampire shrieks, Eben realizes that he is turning into a vampire and beheads him. With dawn approaching, the vampires begin to set the town on fire in order to cover up their presence. Realizing that Stella will be killed by the vampires if she runs or burned to death if she stays hidden, Eben injects himself with some of Billy's blood in order to turn himself into a vampire, his only chance of defeating them. Eben goes outside into the gathering crowd of vampires and, while he distracts them by fighting with Marlow, Stella runs for cover. Marlow, being older and stronger, gets the best of Eben until Marlow makes a lunge for Eben, and Eben rams his fist through Marlow's mouth and out the back of his head. With their leader destroyed, the remaining vampires scatter. In the final scene, Stella and Eben watch the sunrise, holding each other and sharing a last kiss. As the sun rises higher, Eben's skin begins to burn. Stella continues to hold him until he is turned to ash.

"Apocalypse Please (Instrumental Version)" by Muse.

Critical response has been mixed. Some critics praised the film for its visceral and bloody style that went against the recent PG-13 horror trend in favor of a hard R. Danny Huston has received generally good reviews for his performance as the vampiric villain Marlow. On the other hand, some felt the film had two weak leads in Melissa George (Stella Oleson) and Josh Hartnett (Sheriff Eben Oleson) and that it was light on substance, depending totally on its arterial sprays and glossy style. The film received 53/100 on Metacritic, indicating mixed or average reviews.

Critics quotes:

"30 Days of Night works on its own terms, which is more than can be said of most horror films these days" –James Berardinelli, 2007

"a truly stunning ending that's well worth the wait." –BBCi film, 2007

"typically boneheaded siege drama" –Peter Sobczynski, 2007

"a ridiculously wicked premise lost on a filmmaker who doesnt have the vision, patience, or slightest thread of talent to breathe life into it." –Efilm critic, 2007

"30 Days of Night" is the rare horror film that actually lives up to its potential." –Eric. D. Snider, 2007

"Its not a classic, but its good blood-spattered fun." –Rob Gonsalves, 2007

"Thankfully Not A Shyamalan Marathon, But Still Disappointing" –Erik Childress, 2007

Several people have noted that 30 Days of Night reminds them of John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) in which an alien that absorbs and mimics human bodies terrorizes a group of scientists in the frozen Antarctic. The creature even shrieks like the vampires in 30 Days of Night. The Thing was itself a remake of the 1951 movie, The Thing from Another World, in which an alien that needs human blood terrorizes a group of Air Force officials and scientists in the frozen Arctic. Another movie said to be somewhat like 30 Days of Night is Stephen King's Storm of the Century (1999), in which a stranger terrorizes residents of Little Tall Island, Maine during a freak snow storm. Also, there is Smilla's Sense of Snow, in which the investigation of the death of a young Inuit boy leads to an asteroid that has awakened something deadly in an iceberg along the Arctic coast of Greenland. The 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead is also reminiscent of this movie, particularly the similarities in which the vampires and zombies move and kill and the fate of of one of the main characters. Similar to 30 Days of Night, an old nazi professor in Frostbiten (2006) has brought a vampire to a Swedish town above the Arctic Circle in search of a cure for vampirism, but the cure is mistaken for a drug and stolen, causing the people taking the unfinished cure to become vampires and terrorize northern Sweden over the next 30 days of darkness. AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) and The Grey (2011), bearing (like The Thing movies) the theme of humans stranded in a snowy environment with non-human adversaries, may be of interest.


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