Thursday, April 30, 2009

Announcing the Hulu Award for "Best Short Format Series (non-comedy)"

And the Hulie goes to...

"30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust"

For the uninitiated, "Dust to Dust" is a six part horror series posted on Hulu by FEARnet. It serves as a sequel to the Josh Hartnett movie "30 Days of Night," which is itself based on a series of comic books. The central premise is that vampirism can be spread like a virus, with a single scratch or bite being the start of a precipitous descent into the ranks of the undead.

In just 35 total minutes, the six installments establish a cast of sympathetic characters who must wrestle with the moral questions that come up when a loved one becomes, irrevocably, a killer. The quick-cuts, expansive buckets of gore, and panicky characters define the show as something that has the power to touch us on a visceral level.

Is it weird to present these animalistic vampires, who seem so out of control, and who transmit their condition with little more than a touch? If you look at other examples of vampires in modern media, you might think that it is. After all, the most anyone has done to stretch the stereotype in the last twenty years is Twilight, which took the (brave?) position that vampires avoid the sunlight because it makes them sparkle.

But if you look at the history of the vampire myth, you'll find that there's way more leeway than you may have otherwise believed. As per Wikipedia:

It is difficult to make a single, definitive description of the folkloric vampire, though there are several elements common to many European legends. Vampires were usually reported as bloated in appearance, and ruddy, purplish, or dark in colour; these characteristics were often attributed to the recent drinking of blood. Indeed, blood was often seen seeping from the mouth and nose when one was seen in its shroud or coffin and its left eye was often open.[21] It would be clad in the linen shroud it was buried in, and its teeth, hair, and nails may have grown somewhat, though in general fangs were not a feature.[22]

Other attributes varied greatly from culture to culture; some vampires, such as those found in Transylvanian tales, were gaunt, pale, and had long fingernails, while those from Bulgaria only had one nostril,[23] and Bavarian vampires slept with thumbs crossed and one eye open.[24] Moravian vampires only attacked while naked, and those of Albanian folklore wore high-heeled shoes.[24] As stories of vampires spread throughout the globe to the Americas and elsewhere, so did the varied and sometimes bizarre descriptions of them: Mexican vampires had a bare skull instead of a head,[24] Brazilian vampires had furry feet and vampires from the Rocky Mountains only sucked blood with their noses and from the victim's ears.[24] Common attributes were sometimes described, such as red hair.[24] Some were reported to be able to transform into bats, rats, dogs, wolves, spiders and even moths.[25] From these various legends, works of literature such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, and the influences of historical bloodthirsty figures such as Gilles de Rais, Elizabeth Báthory, and Vlad Ţepeş, the vampire developed into the modern stereotype.[20][24]

After 20,000 audience votes, the audience favorite was "Gemini Division," which stars Rosario Dawson.

The third and final nominee was "Pink: The Series."

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