From Scary to Sparkly: How Twilight Forever Ruined Vampires
Near Dark, Salem’s Lot, The Hunger, The Lost Boys, Interview With a Vampire, and Thirst. There are vampire movies that redefine the idea of vampires, without ruining the idea of them, too. There is a darkness and attraction to the concept of the vampire, and since Nosferatu and Dracula, there always has been. The constant thought that, at any moment, this thing could want to screw you OR kill you, that is one of the elements that kept many coming back to the vampire mythos over the years. That uncertainty. Would they kill me or embrace me? But then Twilight stepped into the picture half a decade ago, and the very ideal of the vampire, and everything that made the concept cool and alluring, all but vanished in a cloud of sparkly, glitter-filled mist. But I say it’s time we reject this new image of the Vampire all together. I say we all admit it is NOT ok what they did to our modern idea of a vampire. I say it’s time we grab Twilight by its perfect locks of hair and drag it out into the sunlight. I say we kick it in the face until it looks like a pile of raw hamburger. I say with stake that fucker in the heart and collectively demand pop culture bring back the vampires that scared us. The vampires that we found unsettling. You know, VAMPIRES?
For anyone who feels compelled to read the title of this article and immediately take to the comments to tell me how vampires are supposed to seductive and charming and exquisite, even based on the descriptions of Dracula in the early book, please allow me to show you what they meant by “allure and fear.” This is Nosferatu, from 1922. The first visual telling of the Dracula tale. As a matter of fact, because it is in the public domain, I will just give you the whole free online movie Nosferatu.
Note how he is drawn to woman in the film, yet he is SCARY AS FUCK?
It is like Stephanie Meyer looked into the vampire mythos, found anything remotely scary and primal about them, and removed it. But if she just removed it, it might be OK. No, she needed to really defile it, so she switched up the tropes. Can you even grasp how unbelievably stupid that idea of a sparkling vampire is? Even as a writer (and I use that term loosely) I would NEVER be able to write out a scene like this and not laugh at myself. Seriously, watch this. How is this not hilarious in every way?
Her ran her up a f*cking tree, then revealed that the sun makes him sparkle. Anchorman wasn’t even this funny.
There is only ONE THING that makes that tree scene OK, and it is when it is set to this soundtrack right here:
The Benny Hill theme set to anything pretty much never fails to make me laugh my ass off.
Just that whole scene, that whole tree running, sparkle-reveal scene, shows everything that is wrong with this series. First of all, running up trees. Wait, what? Why? How? But really, why?? Squirrel vampires just seem stupid to me. Also, gravity works differently when you are a sparkly-metro-pire? I mean, I know vamps can “fly” for the most part, but running UP A TREE is not flying, and the physics of it would be very different. So could he run up walls, too? Like straight up them? Spiderman-pires suck, too.
Ah, truer words were never memed. Poor, sad cougars.
Now understand, if this was just a book that did well and a film that did OK, I could let this go. But that is not the case. Somehow, somewhere along the line, this became a cultural phenomenon. Now, to cover all bases, let me tell you the Twilight story, in a paragraph, and simplified in easy-to-swallow form.
Bella is an incredibly awkward girl who moves to a new school. She shows no personality, and is meek and seems broke. Edward is some 100-something year old guy, who has chosen, for some sick fucking reason, to stay in high school, sulking around and acting all brooding. He meets Bella. Tells her he wanted to kill her from the first time he saw her. And she becomes obsessed with him. No joke. That ACTUALLY happens. He does some weird stalky shit, like watching her sleep, and then some weak romance and awkward glances are exchanged. Then he convinces her to abandon her home and her Dad to be with him (because that’s not a creepy and strange request from a new boyfriend at all). Then he abandons her in the woods. Then some weird Native American kid who doesn’t believe in shirts and is also a wolf tries to do her and falls for her (even though she has all the depth and grace of a five-year old in a coma) and then the vamp gets all insecure and comes back around. Blah blah blah, he knocks her up (and f*cks her so hard he breaks all her bones or some shit) and then he has to turn her into a vampire to save her, because the super baby is eating her from the inside. So he gives her a C-section with his teeth. Yeah, that really happens, too. Then, after he bangs her, she becomes pretty and awesome and the fairest in all the land, and the wolf boy falls in love with her newborn baby and HOLY SHIT, I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS POPULAR.
Nothing says “family of pedophiles” quite like CHOOSING to stay in high school for a century.
Oh, and I left out one thing. Yeah, this happened.
I really thought this scene was a Funny Or Die skit when I first saw it, no joke.
Ah, good old Vampire softball. With F*CKING UNIFORMS. I am sometimes convinced that someone slapped their balls off a keyboard for a couple of days and Twilight was written. And did you guys REALLY read that summary? Here, focal points.
100 year old mans CHOOSES to stay in high school. Finds a weak, lonely girl. Separates her from her family. Abandons her. Reasserts bond. Conditions her. She becomes less ugly and awkward the minute he beds her. He impregnates her, which gives her a reason to exist. Former beau falls in love with their baby. The end.
107 years old, and THIS is what redefines love for you? Nah, she redefines “perfect victim”, actually.
Just so you all know, how Edward courts Bella is exactly how a rapist finds a victim. I am not just saying that for shock effect, I counseled rape survivors for five years. They look for the weak and easily broken, they then “groom” and condition them. The Twilight Series is like an 1000 page rape-fantasy. And don’t EVEN get me started on Fifty Shades. I already made my peace about that and you can read it right here.
All the psychological stuff aside, though, this stuff just sucks, poor pun intended.If you think about it, Let The Right One In (or the Let Me In remake) has an even creepier subtext (that vampire is just as old, and it focuses it’s love on a twelve-year-old boy) BUT, Let The Right One In was brilliant, and moving, and tragic. So I could accept the weird subtext there, because it was all told in so divine a fashion. But Twilight. Well, Twilight has exchanges like this:
By the end of this video, I am wishing he would tear her throat out like an angry hound.
So tell me, outside of the classic bad-boy fantasy (which doesn’t really apply, because the vampires look and act like absolute pussies in this film) what is the allure of this?
How did pop culture allow this:
The Lost Boys was so badass, I still want to be one of them, twenty years later.
Ben Templesmith’s vampire design for 30 Days of Night was utterly chilling.
To become this:
” Careful, or I will “brood” you to death.”
And don’t even get me started on Twilight’s sick, pedophilia-designed werewolves. Half naked boys who turn into huge wolves. Like seriously, what the fuck? Stephanie Meyers didn’t have time to write in jive-talking zombies or robots with erections, either? What a shame she couldn’t ruin EVERY monster I ever thought was cool. I also found it funny that changing from human to giant wolf seemed about as casual as painless as sneezing. Yeah, well thought out.
Much like the running theme of the rest of the film, there is a weird rape subtext to them surrounding her while shirtless.
I know themes of rape and female victimization have been prevalent in the vampire legend since its inception, but we can work with it when it feels palpably fearful. As it should, it is a distressing thought to most rational, normal people. But here, that fear is gone, and replaced with a “victimize me” feel to our heroine, which just ruins the whole film, and some of the myth itself.
That is my whole point. The allure AND fear of sex and death. Fright Night was a perfect example of that. Creepy,sexy neighbor guy might be a vampire, and your Mom and your girlfriend want to bang him. I see how that is messed up, but do you wanna see why that is OK? Because it worked.
I have to say, I was shocked how good Colin Farrell was in the remake of Fright Night. Note: Scary and sexy done perfectly.
Now we have shows like The Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf that are emulating the worlds created in the Twilight franchise, and you know what? That is just not OK. Not because of the rape subtext. Not because of the huge demographic it’s reaching. No, this is not okay because it is just terrible. It is bad and poorly written, and somehow, in the process, no one is noticing and trying to stop these new tropes from becoming the norm.
I am even down with the extremes some people take the vampire genre. I sometimes like my vampires feral and scary as fuck. Like in From Dusk to Dawn or Stakeland.
Stakeland was an infinitely badass vampire movie, and more people need to see it.
It should also be said that one thing young people seemed to latch onto about the Twilight series was how the two stars, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, had developed a relationship in real life s a result of the film. But the fine print now is, Stewart cheated on “the perfect guy” (pukes) with the director of Snow White and the Huntsman, who is married with children (to a stunning woman, no less), showing that this whole word they built really is a cheesy-ass myth that even its stars don’t believe in.
No, just kidding. That only reveals Kristen Stewart to be even more of an insecure freak than she is portrayed in the film, which is staggering to even try to grasp.
To my discredit, though, I did love her as Joan Jett in The Runaways.
And I cannot help but feel like the worst thing in all this is that we let is happen. We all sat idly by, laughing at how bad it all was, and making fun of it, but no one stamped their feet and said “we won’t let you do this to vampires!” And the end result is a that there is some weird, metrosexual looking guy scraping on my window right now (and I live on the second floor), but modern vampire films have led me to believe that he is probably just going to ask me to borrow some chapstick, or sparkle furiously at me, and in that, all the fear of death is gone.
Thanks, Stephanie Meyer, for literally sucking all the blood and joy out of one of the greatest monster myths we have in pop culture. “You Are Legend”, in the sense that you are Hitler to vampires.
You attempted to kill them off.
And the weirdest, sickest part? She said the whole Twilight story came to her in a dream about her daughter. So she dreams about her daughter being f*cked by creepy, 100-year-old men. Yeah. that’s healthy.