Friday, March 12, 2010

Vampires Do NOT Sparkle! or: Why I Hate Stephanie Meyer

The English word "Vampire" was first recorded in 1734 (look it up), though it's Eastern European variations probably appear much earlier than that. The first true vampire novel, The Vampyre, was written by John Polidori during the same sex and drug infused summer of 1819 in which Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. The Vampyre would later inspire Scottish playwright and novelist Bram Stoker to write the quintessential Gothic Horror novel, Dracula: as well as hundreds of other authors and screenwriters who came after him.

Traditionally, a vampire is an evil, undead creature that sustains its existence through the drinking of human blood. Creatures of the night, vampires (or beings like them) seem to exist in most cultures' folklore. Indeed, alternate versions of the Old Testament include the story of Lilith (or Lakme; Lamia or any variation thereof) who was the real first woman; made of Earth, as was Adam. Spurned by Adam, Lilith turned to "The Dark Side" and she and her children stalked the children of Adam and Eve in their quest for blood and eternal life.

Throughout historic folklore and most 20th Century literature and films, the vampire was a monster to be feared and reviled. And while the actions of a vampire were, if not overtly then certainly subconsciously (especially during the Victorian era, in which Dracula was written), sexual in nature -- penetration of the flesh; exchange of bodily fluids -- they were still considered horrific, if not downright evil.

Then the free-wheeling 70's came along and in 1973, author Anne Rice created Lestat de Lioncourt; a depressed vampire and Louis de Pointe du Lac; a vampire with a conscience. Lestat is the anti-hero of Rice's Vampire Chronicles, a series of novels which details her version of the history of vampires, dating back to ancient Egypt when Akasha (Rice's Queen of the Vampires) creates the race of omnisexual blood suckers. And thus was born the Romantic Vampire genre.

While Rice's over-blown (and overly verbose) novels turned the subconsciously sexual vampire into the overtly sexual vampire, it would be another 30 years before Mormon author Stephanie Meyer would ruin the genre forever. Twisting the genre into a Mormon parable about sexual abstinence, Meyer's books (and the subsequent films) in the Twilight series turned vampires into fey creatures who feed off the blood of animals so as not to kill humans, while falling in love with hopelessly romantic teenagers who find the prospect of of superhuman powers and eternal life to be the most romantic thing, ever. And while traditional vampires cannot stand the light of the Sun, often decaying rapidly or even bursting into flame when exposed, Meyer's vampires merely "sparkle." Please.

While I have never read the Twilight novels, nor seen the movies on which they are based, I tried reading Ms. Meyer's first "adult" novel, The Host. And while I found the concept intriguing (an alien invasion story told from the point of view of an alien inhabiting the body of a human woman who fights back), Meyer's writing is... How can I put this delicately? I can't. Her writing stinks. Trite, ineffective and downright boring, The Host is probably one of the worst novels I've ever tried to read. I got through the first three chapters before putting it away out of both both boredom and disgust. Someone really thought this woman's work was worth publishing? And no one realized that the whole Twilight series was actually a Mormon diatribe on abstinence? Honestly? I've read 15th Century pamphlets on biology that make more sense.

So, you may well be asking yourself what prompted this post, in first place. And even if you aren't, I'm going to tell you. It was the YouTube video below (via) that made me wish Stephanie Meyer had never been born. Behold British video blogger Nutty Madam's response to the latest Twilight movie trailer:

IMHO, "Nutty Madam" is need of some serious psychological help. Honestly, if you get this worked up about a movie trailer (or even an entire movie), you need to get a life. Yes, I get excited about movies and movie trailers. Yes, I love a good movie, no mater what its genre. But if I ever get this worked up about about any movie (good, bad or mediocre), please shoot me. I'll even leave a note explaining why you shouldn't be prosecuted.

Thankfully, films like 30 Days of Night and Let the Right One In, continue the tradition of the vampire as monster. I, for one, would hate to see these Creatures of the Night denigrated to creepy, flat-faced, hairless twinks who simply 'sparkle' when exposed to sunlight. Honestly, how gay is that?

More, anon.


Jono said...

"Creepy, flat-faced, hairless twinks?" Isn't that the entire cast of...well, every show on the CW?

Also, the captcha word verification below this comment is "padbutt." I had it read it out loud to me twice. "padbutt." I feel like that may be the male, West Hollywood version of "Precious."

Prospero said...

Isn't "Padbutt" Natalie Portman's character in the bad Star Wars movies?

Stephen said...

I appreciate that you always hold back your true feelings.
I never hope to encounter a Twilight book or movie...