Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Point of Vampires, and Why Twilight Fails

Vampires appear to be one of the favoritest, sexiest, and most mimicked monsters to haunt modern culture. We can buy books by any nineteen billion authors at the local bookstore, all with their own variations and spins on the vampire myth. We can watch TV shows, usually showing some vampire we can get really empathetic with. We can watch shiny, big-budget movies in the theaters with really spectacular special effects. We can dress like them. We can get together with other people and pretend to be vampires in roleplaying sessions. We have this fascination and desire, on some level, to be like these nonhuman, monster-souled, undead creatures that like to nom humans, usually in grisly and spectacular fashion.

And then there's Twilight.

When Twilight first infiltrated mainstream teenage female culture under the guise of sex for little girls a romance novel, most people, myself included, completely failed to notice it. Other people did, however, and after the first movie came out I went with some friends to the dollar theater to see what the fuss was about.

I really wish I hadn’t.

I could rant at length about the absurdness of immortals who would willingly keep going to high school, or Edward’s stupid “you can’t love me because I’m awesome” speech, or the fact that the villains are so much cooler than the good guys, or the fact that Bella is a complete frigging idiot who shouldn’t be trusted to write the alphabet in correct order. But it really comes down to this: Real vampires don’t sparkle.

I could (possibly) get past the sparkly skin if it wasn’t for the fact that the author of Twilight seemed to rather miss the whole point of vampires.

Or points, rather.

Vampires have evolved through a series of roles over time as humanity has been able to approach and find new ways to deal with the inner monster. In the beginning, i.e. Dracula, the monster is something that exists outside of us and seeks to corrupt the weak without needing permission to do so. Over time though, more and more protagonists have been turned into vampires, and we are allowed to acknowledge the price of success (immortality, super strength, etc) at the cost of our humanity and our ability to walk in the light of day.

There can be good vampires. If you’re going to be a good vampire, though, it’s going to be hard. You’re still going to want to nom humans, and, depending on who is writing, animal blood may not be sufficient. Even if it is, it isn’t enough. Hunger is the main driving force in a vampire’s existence, and to have the self-control to say no to that hunger is a major element of a good vampire’s existence. Plus, the older the vampire becomes, the more likely it will be harder for said vampire to connect to their past existence, and then to humanity, making it easier to get all egotistical and superiority-complexed when it comes to humans. It seems as though many good vampires romanticize being human, forgetting that humans can be complete bastards all on their own without supernatural assistance, just like those of us who don't consider ourselves normal envy those who are until we realize they're completely boring.

I suspect vampires are easy to emphasize with because most of us are able to acknowledge the inner monster that lurks inside of each of us. We’ve been rejected through no fault of our own or unable to associate with normal humans. There are thoughts that slither through the dark corners and alleyways of our minds that evaporate in the sunlight.

Twilight’s vampires are monsters who are unable to acknowledge that they are monsters. Just like some people are unable to see the monster lurking inside of them. The whole series is a fantasy of becoming the monster—without realizing it is a monster they seek to become.

Or, as has been said...

P.S. Apparently, Mozilla Firefox won't let me make posts anymore, but Internet Explorer will. It's a shame, because I like Firefox. *Sigh* Hi, Internet Explorer, longtimenosee. I have a favor to ask...


  1. My Chrome browser is logged into my school email account, and I was using two different browsers so I wouldn't have to log out to log into another account. =/