Twilight: The Art of making vampires lame

Twilight posterSo, Twilight came out on DVD this past Saturday.  I’ve had people ask me to read the book or see the movie because they want to know what I think.  I’m told I would love the books and/or movie because I love fantasy/sci-fi books.  Well, as a litmus test, I decided to watch Twilight the movie to decide whether I will continue on with reading the books (I got the first book for Xmas).  I admit, I do love vampires (they are, appropriately, AWESOME) and I do enjoy teen fiction, so this should be a good fit.

So I be-bopped on over to Blockbuster on Saturday afternoon and was able to pick up a copy (one of many left on the shelf) of Twilight on Blu-Ray.  Interesting, because I would think that more copies would be gone from the shelves based on the popularity of this movie.  Conversely, the movies Role Models and Sex Drive were gone completely from the Blu-Ray stacks.  I had to pick up these last two in Standard Def (disappointment already).  Anyway, the wife and I ordered pizza and popped Twilight into the DVD player.

Here’s what I thought: Awful.  Terrible.  Horrible.  I realize I’m about to piss off the collective throngs of Team Edward, but it’s got to be said.  This movie is terrible.

Even my wife didn’t enjoy it.  She didn’t hate it like I did, but she said she preferred the movie Watchmen to Twilight, and to me, that speaks VOLUMES about the enjoyment level of this movie.  Acting, script, the portrayal of the vampires in general.  Just plain God-awful.  Stephanie Meyer takes what’s awesome about vampires, rolls it up into a tiny ball and wipes her ass with it.  Then she sets it on fire and pisses all over the ashes.  Everything I love about vampires is stripped away and made into the Harlequin Romance version of vampires.  And Edward Cullen, is the Fabio of this fable.  They may as well have cast Fabio as Edward.

harlequin twilight

That probably would’ve been more interesting…but the writing was bad enough that maybe it wasn’t Robert Pattinson’s fault Edward was so dull, lifeless and a bit of a douche.  Vampires are bad ass killers.  They are not a bunch of pale, EMO kids who sparkle in the sun as if they have diamonds in their skin.  That makes no sense.  Why do they do that?  And there is not one fang in the entire movie.  Not one.  You barely get glimpses of some vampire killing, but it’s all done in shadow.  And that’s all done by the “evil” vampires you meet later.  The Cullen vampires?  They call themselves “vegetarians” because they don’t drink human blood.  “Vegetarian” vampires? Seriously? I mean, SERIOUSLY?

Nonsense.  Just like the relationship between Edward and Bella.  For the first half of the movie Edward acts like a douchebag, and Bella still winds up sloppy in love with him.  Never mind the fact that Edward is a 90 year old man and Bella is 17.  That’s just weird.  He even starts breaking into her room and watching her sleep.  WTF, stalk much?  I mentioned to a Twilight fan about Edward being 90 years old and Bella 17, and they said that it doesn’t matter, it’s romantic.  That’s what this story is teaching girls.  It doesn’t matter how a boy treats you or what his age is, or if he breaks into your room at night like a f’n psycho, as long as he’s ridiculously handsome, then everything is okay.  Also, forget all your friends and your parents and your life before you met you new ridiculously handsome beau, all that matters is being with him.  Nice.

Those are just a few qualms I have with this movie.  But, I can’t lay the blame entirely on Stephanie Meyer.  This de-fanging of vampires happened way back in 1991 with the publication of Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire.  Anne Rice didn’t eliminate the violence or danger of a vampire, she just turned them all into Eurotrash Liberaces.  They all have long Fabio-like hair, wear Victorian style clothing with ruffles and speak very eloquently.  Things have somewhat deteriorated from there.  I read the first Rice Vampire book and about half the second one.  Rice is a great writer (unlike Twilight’s Meyer) but she is overly descriptive.  Rice would take 5 pages to describe every person in a conversation with a detailed breakdown of how they arrived there.  It’s exhausting reading so much detail.  Rice’s Vampire Chronicles are just ground zero for the new goth/romance books where vampires start becoming a tad lame, with slight subtle hints of gay-ness.

Edward and Dracula

The last few years have seen the growing popularity of horror genre offshoots called Goth romance, or horror-romance.  I myself got pulled into the Hollows series by Kim Harrison.  But there are an ass-ton of these series out there; Anita Blake, Southern Vampire, Kitty the werewolf, Dresden files, etc.  And they all romanticize the vampire into a handsome, Eurotrash Adonis that women swoon over.  I’m still reading the Hollows series because I’m invested, but I’ve stopped reading all of the other books because they are all starting to sound the same.  All have a strong female lead (unlike Twilight) that is either a vampire herself or falls in love with a vampire, or has dealings with vampires.  And all of the troubles that happen because of this.  I’m tired of the weak, handsome vampire that are becoming all too prevalent.  It seems like the slow, steady march to the death of the awesome, bad ass vampire has become inevitable.  I for one, hope to arrest this decline.

Hollows 6Anita Blake 1

If Bram Stoker could look at what’s been done to the monster he made popular, he’d roll over violently and start vomiting in his grave.   In order to let Bram rest in piece, let’s all review what makes a good, nay, AWESOME, vampire.

Vampires are bad ass killers.  Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel or any of the Blade movies.  You get lots of killing and lots of blood.  Vampires enjoy killing, it’s what they are supposed to do because they are possessed by an evil demon.  You know this because their eyes are colored yellow or red (it’s one of the signs of demon possession, you know).  In order to facilitate their blood lust and killing, vampires have long ass killer fangs and super strength/speed to help them hunt.  These tools are used by the vampire with great joy and aplomb when dismembering victims.  If your vampire prefers to not drink human blood and he has not been cursed by a witch or gypsies (because curses are bad ass), then your vampire is LAME.  Twilight falls into this trap by eschewing the entire “violent, demon possessed, killing machine” aspect of vampires and makes their vamps choose to be “vegetarian”.  Meyer might as well have her vampires wearing Birkenstocks, a baja pullover and playing hackey-sack on the college quad. LAME-a-dame-a-ding-dong. LAME.

Blade TrinityFrom Dusk till Dawn

Another cool aspect of awesome vampires is that they have bad ass background music.  Many times, when vampires are killing, or just walking down the street, you’ll hear hard rock or heavy metal tunes playing in the background.  This is how you know the vampire is a bad ass; shredding rock guitar riffs.  If your vampire looks like he’d be more comfortable with The Cure or REM playing in the background (ie Edward Cullen), something has gone horribly wrong and you need to fix it.  Immediately go out and rent From Dusk till Dawn with George Clooney.  It will set you back on the correct path towards mind-blowingly awesome vampires.  And vampires are seriously allergic to sunlight.  It’s one of the three ways to kill them; stake in heart, sunlight and cut off head.  Vampires don’t, as I said before, “sparkle in the sunlight as if they had diamonds in their skin”.  That’s just lame, gay, stupid and weird. They should be headlining a Vegas act at the Bellagio, not passing themselves off as vampires.

The look of your vampire is important, too.  Your vampire should look like a castoff of some bad ass hard rock band. Like at any point, the vampire could come across a Fender Stratocaster, pick it up and start wailing on it like Randy Rhodes or Eddie Van Halen.  If, instead, your vampire looks more comfortable strumming an acoustic guitar and singing Jack Johnson or Jason Mraz like that douche who lived on your hall freshman year in college, then you have a serious vampire image problem.  FIX.  IT (see renting From Dusk till Dawn above).  Also, vampires should have a general knowledge of the martial arts, even if there would be no reason for them to have learned it in the first place.  Vampires are kick-ass, so they need to be able to KICK ASS, if you see what I’m saying.  Random knowledge of the martial arts helps portray this bad-assitude.  Especially if they can bust it out in a fight from out of nowhere.

These are just some of the traits of awesomely bad ass vampires.  Many of these things have seriously become forgotten in the wake of these new romance/goth/horror novels that have become all the rage.  I, for one, lament the long lost bad ass vampire and I am boycotting these romanc-y, lovey Eurotrash Liberace vampires for the time being.  Give me blood, guts, asses and limbs when you are dealing with vampires, not ascots and afternoon tea.

Vampire Baseball

Now, after over 1000 words about how much I hate this movie, I will say one positive thing to try to be fair.  I really enjoyed the vampire baseball scene.  That was clever.  I really liked the idea of vampires playing baseball using their super strength and speed.  I all of a sudden became riveted to the movie, only to lose it as soon as the scene ended (which was like 5 minutes).  However, I hear that scene is much longer and more involved in the book, but again, I don’t think I could read the whole book just for that. It’s not much, but you take it where you can get it.

Now, for all the Twilight-ites that love the book/movie.  I’m sorry, but I just needed to get that off my chest.  I know you like the book/movie and you have every right to.  I don’t begrudge you your love of this book.  I wish I could love it too, but I can’t, because I’m awesome, and Twilight…not so much.  Twilight and it’s vampires are like my Kryptonite.  I die inside when they are near me.  I must stay away from them.

Call me a hater, or whatever.  But sorry, I really did want to like it.

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20 Responses to “Twilight: The Art of making vampires lame”

  1. Aw 😦 Yeah there were a couple of bad parts but I really liked the adaptation. The first two books are really great even if I do agree with quite a few things you talk about. These definitely aren’t True Blood vamps but I still like them. I like killer vampires like Spike or Eric Northman but they have to have a sweet side too.

  2. Your former freakin' neighbor Says:

    A few comments:

    As a person who read the first 4 or 5 Rice books, “subtle hints of gayness” ??!?! About as subtle as a kick in the balls. The first book was terrible, strip away the HUGE amount of longing and man-love, and floppy clothing, and the next few books are pretty good. The remaining 12 or 20 (from what I have heard) blew donkey nuts. Then she got religion.

    Aside from the “not drinking blood” part, the Blade trilogy is simply full of ass-kick-ery. Samurai swords, martial arts and high-powered machine guns….AND VAMPIRES! And talk about awesome fight scene music. Plus Ryan Reynolds playing Ryan Reynolds.

    The Underworld movies: All the fey Gothy Vampires are the bad guys and die in awesome ways. Plus Kate Beckinsale/Rhona Mitra, swords, guns, werewolves….AND VAMPIRES. Plus, Bill Nighy is awesome in everything.

    I totally agree with the FIRST Dusk til Dawn movie for many reasons, two of which involve Salma Hayek and a snake. Just a bizarre, hyper-violent and awesome. With, of course, Cheech and a crotch machine gun.

    But, one of the very best vampire movies of the last decade or so was John Carpenter’s Vampires. Whether it is James Woods as a church appointed vampire hunter (his best role IMHO, chewing scenery as if it were made of Tahitian-vanilla-bean ice cream in a pool of cognac, drizzled in the world’s most expensive chocolate – Amadei Bociliana – covered with shaved white, black, and clear truffles, and topped with edible 25-carat gold leaf), the chubby drug-addled Baldwin brother as one of his men, Maximillian Schell as a corrupt Cardinal or the simple pleasure of Karate Kid III’s own Thomas Ian Griffith as the head vampire, it has everything you want.

    I think I may be alone in this, but I also enjoyed “Van Helsing” but more for it’s campy, saturday afternoon matinee monster flick overtones, Kate Beckinsale again and Van Helsing’s rapid fire crossbow.

  3. Mike: Like I said, I wasn’t a fan of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Too wordy, but it did include awesome, awesome vampire killing.

    The first Dusk till Dawn rocked, the second two were sequels in name only. Not only were they terrible, but the best parts of the first one were gone; Clooney, Savini and Keitel.

    I was underwhelmed by Underworld. Both of them. They looked good, but the story was…meh.

    John Carpenter’s Vampires was really good. I love Woods and that is definitely one of his best (alongside The Specialist, Killer: A Journal of Murder, Disney’s Herclules and the TV show Shark).

    You are not alone, Van Helsing is a fun, if flawed, picture. The sum is definitely more than the parts. I love watching it, DESPITE the fact that the guy who played Dracula was the worst vampire in history.

  4. Tink: Yeah, it seems I went into Twilight with the wrong expectations. That kinda killed it for me. We’ll see if I get the urge to ever pick up the books, but it may be a while. A LONG WHILE.

  5. I havent seen the Twilight movie yet, but I figured the acting was going to be kinda lame….i’ll still be seeing it soon anyway 🙂
    I loved the first Twilight book. I dislike Bella, but am a sucker for that 90 year old vampire.
    I liked Anne Rices ‘Interview’ very much too.
    And I do agree, awesome vampires have bad ass background music.

  6. Yeah, I was a little harsh in this review. My initial expectations were so off the mark I actually became pissed at the movie. I’ve mellowed to it a little bit in the last week or so. I still believe in my AWESOME vampires speech, but I no longer actively, aggressively HATE the Twilight movie.

    I just dislike it. A lot. 🙂

  7. Sharrukin Says:

    I agree with everything you said regarding the books. I think even the Buffy series went too far into that good vampire nonsense. I have never understood why the lead character (always female) has to have a romance with a stone cold killer. Take away the stone cold killer part and you remove everything about the vampire that makes them interesting. John Carpenter’s Vampires was one of the better recent movies I have seen.

    The Dresden files don’t have a female lead BTW, and the vampires are in general evil (there’s one exception). Does anyone know of a vampire series these days that isn’t a romance novel in disguise?

    • I just picked up Already Dead by Charlie Huston. This book’s vampires are more a version of a virus that mimics being a vampire. But the similarities are there. And it’s more of a Noir-type vampire story.

      Most everything else is romance themed.

  8. You mention that vampires are demon possessed, but I always got the feeling from the blade movies that it’s genetic… Anyways, it’s odd to stumble on this because when Twilight first hit the shelves, I (extremely mistakenly) thought it was a badass action filled Sci-fi film, and after watching 30 minutes of it I was terribly confused, thinking, this must be a low light version of “Grease”, or perhaps a “West Side Story,” with vampires rendition, and then it hit me, throngs of teenagers LOVE this film, that’d be terribly unusual for teenagers to melt over a film that is a serious member of the dying genre of “sci-fi”, and I concluded that I had to be braindead not to realize the type of movie I was getting into… Anyways, well written commentary, I’ve bookmarked your site and will visit often!

    • LOL! Poly, as far as the Blade movies, I do agree that they were more genetic in nature, as opposed to the traditional “demon possession”, it’s just another variation on a theme. I guess I made a broad generalization about vampires. Good catch.

      Glad you enjoyed the article. Welcome to the fold! Feel free to ask me anything or comment whenever you feel appropriate. This blog is wide open.

  9. […] Okay, so I sat down this weekend to watch the second Twilight movie, New Moon.  For regular readers, if you recall, I watched the first Twilight movie last March and was not a fan. […]

  10. Horrifique Says:

    I read your article and just had to comment. I only had time to glance over the replies so forgive if any of this has already been said. Alright, so, Twilight. Don’t even get me started on the movies. My abhorrence of Kristen Stewart and her acting knows no bounds. It was painful. I however, have read all the books. I love vampire novels and everyone was talking about them so I thought I’d give them a shot and stuck through till the end….I’m not sure why, but I did. It’s not just that Stephanie Meyers portrayal of vampires is lacking, or even that this whole 14 year old romantic vampire phenomenon has degraded the whole integrity of the occult and that these youngsters getting involved in the “culture” have really no idea what it’s even about, it’s simply that the writing was TERRIBLE. Yes, for me at the end of the series that is what it comes down to. It’s like some 13 year old wrote this book in their english class. It was English 101, there is no personality to her writing. I hate it.
    As for your comments about Anne Rice, well they hurt my heart. Perhaps it’s because though I always loved vampires I started reading vampire novels with her when I was a youngster. Perhaps Anne Rice did start everyone down the road to romanticizing their vampires, but I would not for an instant put her in the same category as those coming out today. Anne was the first to portray vampires in a more regal way. They aren’t “gay” because they aren’t senseless killers, Anne just gave her vampires an invasive sense of their mortals pasts which was difficult to get over. I agree that her writing can become tiresome in its descriptions but if you read the rest of them her version of vampirism has a lot of depth and dynamic, in all her details she does a very good job of explaining WHY her vampires are the way they are (and YES they do enjoy killing as much as the next vampire but her portrayal puts them in the real world, not a fantasy world where you can kill indescriminately and just GET AWAY WITH IT?) Perhaps that’s why I like her and others don’t, she does take some of the fantasy out of it by reasoning A LOT in her books. But on the other hand it’s good because you know…her vampires don’t just sparkle in the sun because “it looks pretty”. As for all vampires having red or yellow eyes because they are “possesed”, this works for a lot of vampire novels, not Anne Rice’s because that’s not how she portrays her vampires. I like her because she struck out on her own and created a vampire radically different, but still adhered to the important rules, ie. SUNLIGHT KILLLLLLLSSSSSSS! I love the classic vampire also. Except, I’m sorry, Dusk Till Dawn. I can’t tell you why I hated it so much. I love Tarantino with a passion. I love Rodriguez. Selma Hayek = sexxxxxxxy. I just didn’t like that movie. These are just my opinions, and I just had to express them with people who are educated of the “vampire culture” and not Twilight freaks. I feel a MILLION times better, don’t you all?

    • Horrifique – Yeah, I read Interview with the Vampire around the time the movie came out and I just wasn’t enthralled. It was good but not great. I then tried to start Vampire Lestat and was bored out of my skull. Just too much exposition. The first 50 pages describe New Orleans during the time of the book.

      You disagree with me on Rice, I disagree with you on Dusk till Dawn. One of my favorites. Mainly for George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino’s characters. The movie didn’t have the best depiction of vampires. They seemed to get defeated a little too easily. There were like 100 of them in that bar and the group took out all of them while only losing three. Still, great action movie.

  11. […] Twilight Eclipse (get it?).  I’ve spoken about Twilight several times on this blog, see my review of the first movie here.  I review New Moon here and I watch Eclipse […]

  12. […] I first tried to stop the EMO-ification of badass vampires in the first Twilight movie here. […]

  13. ingilizce dersler…

    […]Twilight: The Art of making vampires lame « Cavalcade of Awesome[…]…

  14. […] of this franchise on my blog so you don’t actually have to watch them.  See my reviews of Part I, Part II (New Moon) and Part III (Eclipse).  I’ve held off watching Breaking Dawn until I […]

  15. […] the squared circle in anticipation of this little dance that we’ve done three different times already.  You show up all sparkly and melodramatic and I punch holes into your face until […]

  16. dude Dresden files? the vampires in there are nothing like the rest of the series you mention, they kill-rape and have slaves children they can drink off, controlling third world country’s to make their debauchery, there is only one vampire that fits today lame ass vampires off being a goody good, and that is because it feeds of sexual pleasure not blood, and he still does a lot of awful things like take the free will of women to get them into bed(pretty much like using ruffies or some other rape drug), the rest of them are characters without morals that would rather kill a teenage girl than take them to the prom.

    Besides they don’t even appear as often, i could tell you probably didn’t read the books because vampires though the main antagonist in a couple of books make no appearance in most of them.

    Tough i agree, vampires now a day are lame.

    • You’re absolutely right for calling me out on that. I mentioned Dresden, but I only read the first book. It may not really fit into the category I shoe horned it in, but that was the impression I got from just the first book.

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