Befitting his film royalty background (his granddad’s Walter, his dad’s John, his half-siblings are Anjelica and Tony), actor and sometime director Danny Huston is very good at playing the blueblood type who’s starting to rot inside. (See: Birth and The Constant Gardener.) He was also damn good in The Proposition.
But nothing prepared me for his dignified, proud and completely frightening turn as the head vampire in 30 Days Of Night. It wasn’t just the special contact lenses that blocked out the whites of his eyes, or the gaping mouth and tilt of his large head, which seemed like a subtle homage to Max Schreck’s bloodsucker in Nosferatu.
It’s Huston’s complete concentration in the role that makes him so scary. It’s tough being a horror movie baddie. Mug too much for the camera and you’ll become camp. Underplaying things is a safe route to go, but that works only if you have good dialogue like Hannibal Lecter’s or the Jigsaw Killer’s. Huston’s lines are all in some mysterious, arcane language that’s translated for us yet feels completely authentic.
It’s hard to keep a sense of mystery while flashing your fangs, hissing like a big cat and talking in some made-up argot. But somehow Huston taps into the right vein.
See NOW’s review of 30 Days Of Night here: