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Keyboard Cuts: Twilight Coming, Me Want To Go Home

Will Twilight neuter the Vampire genre?

Keyboard Cuts: Twilight Coming, Me Want To Go Home




By Felix Vasquez Jr.
I hate Anne Rice.

Let me just say that as a hardcore horror geek. After watching the likes of beady eyed vampires turning an entire town in to fanged specters while they slept in “Salem’s Lot” and then to watch Christopher Lee turn his victims in to vampires who were more about being vicious animals than falling in love (with Hammer’s take on Dracula), after Anne Rice began releasing her novels the vampire sub-genre was thoroughly pissed on by everyone seeking to emulate the author.

Every comic book I read from Morbius to Blade went from vampires seeking survival to self-reflective diatribes about life, their past romances, and poetry. Morbius became a whiny metrosexual and the vampire sub-genre suffered a massive self-destruction that relied on turning its demons of the night in to frilly, aristocratic artists with a nasty habit for falling in love. Hell even “Buffy” copped from Rice bringing to the forefront characters like Angel and Spike who were all overly emotional basket cases forever ruled by the strong female presence.
Many say that the sub-genre’s been doused with that cheesy romance theme since the original “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” novel that’s been described as being a heavily soapy vampire romance, but none of it really managed to drain in to the pop culture until Anne Rice mucked it up with her endlessly self-aware storytelling. Her success managed to turn psychotic vampire tales in to heavy handed looks at immortality, and my, what suffering we’ve endured.
Rare vampire tales like “Near Dark” were generally drawn in to obscurity or the underground while sanitized versions of the bloodsuckers were all but extinguished in the haze of “Buffy” geeks and Anne Rice wannabes. From junk like “Dracula 2000” to confounding derivative dreck like “Moonlight,” the vampire sub-genre was reduced to clichés and rehashed stories without ever covering new ground. Vampires have always been that allegory of the human condition that seeks immortality without boundaries of sexuality or basic human law, while also serving as a horrific lapdog of Satan.
And suddenly, there was a bit of a call for change. While David Slade’s vampire horror film “30 Days of Night” wasn’t a masterpiece by any definition of the word, Slade tried to bring us the vision of the vampire from folklore, the hungry, ravaging monster with long nails, very little remorse for humanity, and jagged fangs. Slade’s film could have been and should have been the start of a brand new re-awakening for the vampire sub-genre. These demons of the night were horrifying. They were smart, fast, quick witted, traveled in packs, and were never afraid to mutilate children and animals.
Now the upcoming “Twilight” promises to neuter the genre bringing it back to the same state Ms. Rice dropped it in so many years ago. While it can be blamed on the adaptation craze that studios have marked as their source for blockbusters, Stephenie Meyer’s story of vampires in love with humans in love with vampires is hitting theaters with a painfully silly marketing campaign reliant on cheesy romance novel posters, and fan girls who are pulling subtext out of simple promotional images leaving almost every other horror geek scratching their heads and wondering when we can see a real vampire movie.
What’s worse? “Twilight” is a PG-13 vampire romance that knows its audience well and just may be a big hit at the box office. This is what I soon realized after reading “Entertainment Weekly” to see the huge crowds of Goth fan girls at a mall for a book signing of Meyer’s novels. I saw this picture and felt my chest sink, for I knew these emo women would surely fuel “Twilight” as a money maker, and like “Sex and the City” them there IMDBer’s would definitely be there opening day proving to Hollywood that blood and gore are simply passé.
And everything that David Slade and Robert Rodriguez with his chaotic “From Dusk Til Dawn” tried to push will be destroyed in a hail of Hot Topic leather pants, and heavy black eye liner. I don’t particularly lament the coming of the potentially successful PG-13 franchise starting at “Twilight” because its appeal is only to women, don’t get me wrong. I’ve yet to read the books. It’s just that the soapy often dull stills resembling “Dark Shadows” sans the dread that have surfaced matched with the massive coverage has signaled that the vampire sub-genre is doomed to even more MTV pop culture neutering with everything great about the vampire concept being drawn in to the background yet again.
We’ve already seen the werewolf concept dragged in to the ground with “Blood & Chocolate” which was also essentially a movie based on a teen novel, as well as the slasher flick with the success of “Scream,” but after reading the play by play per novel descriptions over at Entertainment Weekly, I can only say that if you’re a horror fan, odds are you will not enjoy this.
Where are the blood drenched monsters I once knew from “Vampirella”? Where are the vicious demons intent on ravaging the human body like “From Dusk Til Dawn”? Where are the Christopher Lee’s and Count Yorgas of my generation? Why aren’t more films like “30 Days of Night” being released? They’re gone, nothing but wishful thinking, and “Twilight” is the sign of things to come.
And I mourn the loss of the potential for this wonderful sub-genre.