I Survived Twilight

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Twilight: Breaking Dawn (The Ones That Sparkle)

My favorite creatures in the supernatural realm are vampires. It’s not a new thing, but an old thing that started way back when Interview with a Vampire hit theaters in 1994. I don’t know why that movie got my attention because, until that moment, I hated all manner of spooky creatures and things that go bump in the night. It all stemmed from watching the remake of The Thing on HBO when I was a kid and was supposed to be asleep. When that one guy’s head fell off and sprouted legs like a spider? Done. No spooky for me, but something in this movie changed my mind.

I watched it, and the next day I went out and bought a copy of the book and read through all of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles in a matter of weeks. I stayed up too late and was bleary-eyed at work but I had to know what happened to these creatures. They weren’t just blood sucking evil-doers ripping people to shreds. Okay, they did that…but there was a lot more to the story than blood and gore, and the more was what I loved.

Since then, I’ve read more supernaturally-themed books than I can count. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, it’s a very long list. I read none of them for the gore. In fact, I’d shy away from a book that was just a slasher movie on paper because it’s the internal struggles these characters face that are the lure. They are innately evil (or are they?) and they want to be good and decent (sometimes) but they’re not really human, so is it even possible?

Interview with the Vampire (The Ones That Burst Into Flame)

This is what made Buffy the Vampire Slayer so darned good. In the very best episodes, you practically forgot that they were about supernatural creatures because the stories touched on very human struggles to do the right thing, to sacrifice for the greater good, and to not be drawn in by our baser instincts.

And then…then came Twilight.

Before the Twi-hards send glitter bombs to my home, let me say that although I am not a fan, I don’t hate those who are fans. Everyone has their “thing,” be it Trekkies or Browncoats or whatever. We all take joy from what calls to us, but Twilight, for me, is the antithesis of what makes vampires interesting. They’ve been devolved into a bunch of hipsters with good hair, fast cars, and lots of money.  And: the ‘sparkle in the sun’ thing absolutely kills me. I can’t help it, they should burst into flame and turn to ash, dang it!

I did read the books because I figured I really couldn’t judge them without reading them all. I was told by everyone that I had to read the whole saga right through to the end in order to appreciate the wonder of it all. I was doubtful, but I persevered, and having done that, no, I don’t appreciate the wonder of it all. When the movies came out, I firmly stated that there was no way, no way on earth, that I was going to see them. Nope. Short of my childrens’ lives depending on it I was not going to see sparkle-vamps on the big screen.

I managed to stick by that vow until a week ago. A friend of mine mentioned the movie and made it something of a challenge, and, being a twelve-year-old at heart, I could not just walk away. Instead, I paid $8 to see sparkle-vamps blown up to the size of my house. And you know what, I didn’t die.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The One With Angel)

I yawned a lot, and I laughed a lot and I maybe gagged at that whole cheesy wedding scene. I most certainly wanted to kill Bella and her whiny, shaky, someone-help-me self, but I contained myself. Even when they had that whole moonlight moment in the ocean (egads) I rolled my eyes but no one saw so it was all good. Well, no, it wasn’t, it was one of the cheesiest movies I’ve ever seen and I survived it only because I MST3K’d the whole thing in my head, but I did survive.

Much like the books, I don’t get the attraction of the mopey emo vampire clan. Or the mopey emo wanna-be vampire girl. Or the mopey emo love-sick werewolf. Or the mopey emo confused Dad. There’s so much mopey emo in this movie, it makes the average funeral look peppy. It is an experience I do not care to repeat. Ever. Just thinking of seeing more sparkle-vamps makes me, well, kinda mopey. I barely made it through the black eyeliner/messy hair/hoodie/slouched shoulders phase of my teen years and have no desire to repeat them on the big screen.

I saw Twilight and I survived. Barely.

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24 thoughts on “I Survived Twilight

  1. As a new mom, I worry about my daughter reading books like the Twilight series. I tried to read the first book, but was so disgusted with Bella and the terrible writing, I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I just don’t understand the appeal of the books. The writing is awful, and the main character, Bella, is a terrible role model on how a relationship should work. What really disturbs me is how many grown women (20s, 30s, 40s, etc.) are fans of the books and genuinely find the romantic aspect in the relationships. What is happening to women? Indulging in some light, trashy reading is one thing, but obsessing on how romantic the relationships are in these books is more than a little disturbing. Like I said, I could not even finish the first book, but I’ve read the synopsis for each book, thinking I might be missing something and, I’m sorry, even an unbiased synopsis hinted at relationships bordering domestic violence. I worry enough already that women are being portrayed in many cleaning commercials as young, perky housewives who get a thrill from cleaning their bathrooms. The thought that now women are encouraging their daughters to read books about a girl in an abusive relationship, as well as being fans themselves, really makes me wonder.

    1. I read them all through, and was disgusted by the portrayal of their relationship. I know there’s sexual tension in High School, but this was dripping in it. The scent, the inability to control yourself, the lust. It was insane. She’s so whiny when they are separated for a few months, it’s a horribly destructive relationship that I’d hate to see anyone involved in.

        1. I also read 2001: A Space Odyssey and didn’t much care for that but for different reasons. I don’t like to comment on things I haven’t read so I will read things I don’t enjoy occasionally. Opinions have very little weight when there’s no first hand knowledge behind them.

    2. Definitely, they portray Bella as completely weak and under Edward’s spell. I get that girls have crushes, but she is overboard about her crush in a way that would have most parents in a panic!

  2. I think the best description of the Twilight Saga I’ve seen is ‘A young girl’s journey as she chooses between necrophilia and bestiality”

  3. The books are much better than the movies, as usual. The books actually give you enough information to like the vampires, feel for the girl, and get into the story. Yes there are issues with the vampire lore, but it really just romanticizes them for the intended audience of teen girls.

    The movies are really bad. Edward (Robert Pattinson) looks like he is constipated all the time. No emotions, very stiff, makes you want to ignore the vampires. Bella (Kristen Stewart) is not as good looking as the books imply, is poorly acted, and uninteresting. Now the werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) is well acted and makes the movie viewers wonder why Bella bothers with Edward when Jacob is there.

    We saw the first one in the theater, the second on DVD, the third we haven’t seen yet and may not bother.

    Give me Anne Rice vampires any day!

    1. I agree, Jacob was portrayed as so far superior to Edward in the movies that there was no competition. At least in the books it’s more even handed.

    2. The books definitely did a better job of portraying Bella as not quite so weak, but I still think didn’t like them much more than the movies. It was all so contrived, ugh, and the angst was just way over the top.

  4. Vampires don’t sparkle in the sun, but they don’t die either. In fact, a large part of “Dracula” takes place in daytime. Vampires simply lose their powers and as such are vulnerable in the sun.

    That said, Twilight has destroyed everything that is amazing about vampire stories. Vampires are creatures that should perfectly walk the line between humanity and bloodlust.

  5. This post is a total win from start to finish. Bonus points for the MST3K reference.

    I read the books. I think they peaked at the first one. The remaining 3 were a descent into teen-angsty uncomfortableness. I would have loved them as a teenager. Fortunately I’m not a teenager anymore.

    I actually found the movies more tolerable than the books because I got to bypass most of Bella’s inner dialogue.

    Of the three main characters, Edward was the most mature IF I thought of him as a teenager. Once I factor in his 100+ years of existence I expect more. Much more.

  6. No, Pieter is absolutely right: neither folklore vampires nor fictional vampires before 1922 were harmed in the slightest by sunlight. It was FW Murnau who invented the whole idea for his silent film NOSFERATU (some say it was all his cameraman’s fault). Personally, I think the “incendiary sunlight” cliche is the stupidest and most inane cliche in vampire fiction and it can’t die fast enough for me! I’m overjoyed that many writers and some filmmakers/television producers are abandoning it.

    The whole sparkling thing, though–I see what Meyer was *trying* to do, I think it was definitely a major misfire. Trouble is, it’s a mistake that’s been amplified to the zillionth degree by the series’ phenomenal success. But Meyer created a number of other contrivances for her fictional universe that I think boxed her in terribly, and which I don’t like at all. Her vision of vampires is very unappealing to me.

    1. Oh, you misunderstand, I wasn’t disagreeing with him! I know they don’t die in the sun in Dracula, but as you gave the date of 1922 that’s nearly a hundred years of vampires dying in the sun. I think if you ask most people (Twilight thing aside) they’ll think of vampires dying in the sun. Not saying they all do or always have, but most lore has the sun killing most of them.

  7. I saw the funniest thing today . . . A grown woman getting into a car with “ECULLEN” as the license plate and a ” support vampires” car magnet.
    I like you don’t care for the Twilight craze. Vampires don’t sparkle and werewolves can’t change on demand and they DO fear the full moon. She has changes how people will see vampires. I saw a webcomic that really said it all. Something like They don’t turn into bats, they don’t fear sunlight, the only thing the DO , do that is like vampires is they suck blood, but so do leeches , so they are at best Leech-men.

  8. Hmmmm OK I’m ducking for flames here, but I enjoyed the series and let me tell you why (aren’t you glad you asked?)

    #1 Edmund was the PERFECT boyfriend in that he wanted to love and protect Bella but asked for nothing in return – how many of you had a boyfriend when you were 17 that did NOT ask for sex? Seriously, this is a great example of love as opposed to lust; I’ll take care of you no matter the cost to me.

    #2 Bella went from a shell shocked creature (cross country move in high school: from BIG City to small town), dealing with her parents issues and generally trying to find out who she is; to a totally strong and independent woman. She risks everything to protect her family. She manages to make peace between two cultures that have been at war with each other for ages (the shapeshifting werewolves and vampires), she is instrumental in overthrowing the current vampire political system by introducing a brand new “political party” to other vampires (the concept of surviving on animal blood exclusively).

    #3 She did NOT give herself up for a boy; she had the boy, she wanted more – the culture that he was already involved in. She instinctively knew that she was meant for something other than being human, and realized that being a vampire was her calling. She grew into a better “person” because of her relationship with him – isn’t that what relationships are about?

    OK continue with your gagging; sorry to interrupt (-;

    1. And all of that could have been written without the bastardization of vampires and werewolves.

  9. I actually enjoyed the books quite a bit. For me, it was a quick easy read while I was on a 2 week military training trip to Florida. I read all 4 of the books in those two weeks.

    I read the Vampire Diaries years ago and found those books more involved than Twilight. But I still had fun reading Twilight.

    The first movie came out while I was on said trip. I went to see it with a friend and was rather disgusted at how DIFFERENT the movie was compared to the book. I think Robert Pattinson is handsome, as well as Taylor Lautner (although to me he’s still always going to be Shark Boy first!) But the overacting all around was pretty gross.

    I saw the 2nd one, and survived. I haven’t seen any more of the movies after that. Although Eclipse has been appearing constantly on one of my cable movie channels….

    Dakota Fanning as Jane? Didn’t work for me.

    Great post Nicole!

  10. I attempted the series and read the first book. Thought it was a lame series so I moved on. Sadly my mom and sisters are obsessed. I’m trying to steer them more to Harry Potter and Doctor Who. Anyways, my cousin took me to the first movie and I found the cars more entertaining than the actors. But then we found out about Rifftrax (the guys from MST3K doing modern movies). And it has been one of the greatest gifts the web has ever given me. My husband and I love to watch it! Some humor is a little bit more adult than I’d like. But I highly recommend it for a great laugh!

  11. The only way to enjoy these movies is to MST3K them or discover RiffTrax and listen as they MST3Kd for you….

    I haven’t laughed so much in ages during Twilight and I keep meaning to buy the others they have.

  12. Twilight, I think, is another romance formula in a VERY unlikely place. I think that’s what the draw primarily is: I think even the apologetics by Rachel (as written above) is more a defense for its basis in romance, not horror. (The Pride & Prejudice & Zombies rewrite is another matter.)

    I know romance novels have dipped into supernatural themes– I just don’t think it’s ever been so extensive that many audiences miss the point that the story IS of that genre.

    My wife liked Halle Berry’s Catwoman movie. I slowly realized after several of her viewings that the script was based in the romance genre, and that threw many moviegoers for a loop. But all the typical plot elements, I found, were indeed there.

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