Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Twilight - Change You Can't Sink Your Teeth In


"You don't want to see me in the sunlight... I'm a monster," says vampire Edward Cullen, as a looming dynasty of blood sucking archfiends prepares to rear it's "ugly" head. Visual kei face framed by runway hair, ethereally airbrushed to allow just the faintest hints of shadow necessary to convey the narrow spectrum of 'eternal angst' to 'irrevocably smitten', darkens on cue. From Bram Stoker’s horror classic Dracula in 1897, to Anne Rice’s goth-housewife romances of Louis and Lestat, through John Carpenter's grindhouse feeding frenzies, to Kate Beckinsale's fanged Trinity, the preternatural legacy is handed on now to Robert Pattinson in Twilight. Here and now he must bite deeply into the virgin jugular of the Net-Gen teens as they giggle-text in the theatre, must make this generation of consumers forever slaves of their own Twilight heart-throb thirst, such that their dollars might continue to be sucked from their pockets for many sequels to come. He must become for them, as Isabella (Kristen Stewart), his equally angst-ridden, swooning teen co-star notes, "Exactly your brand of heroin."

Twilight, a teen love story between a vampire boy and a human girl dealing with his immense urge to eat her, has succeeded, it seems, with a 70 million dollar opening weekend. My own 14 year-old sister, having seen the film this Friday, begged and tantrummed my parents to shell out another eight bucks this Sunday for a second hit of Twilight. It's reached near-Harry Potter level of phenomenon: showing up on front pages and covers, legions of teenagers storming Hot Topic, a South Park parody, it seems everyone under 30 is turning pale. The world is a vampire, and we're rats in cages.

But as Edward at last enters the sunlight, and we expect the true horrifying, demonic, hideous face of the monster to emerge, girlfriends preparing to clutch boyfriends, Edward's face begins to sparkle like Urban Decay glitter. Boris Karloff and Klaus Kinski turn in their coffins as traditional 5-children household "vampire families" play baseball and cook Italian food together. Anne Rice rolls her eyes preternaturally as tall-pale-and-handsome is (literally) repulsed by sex as if castrated and practices abstinence till marriage. Dracula and Nosferatu let out infernal screams, drowning in holy water as they watch their Transylvanian empire crumbling into Disney drama written by a Mormon woman.

It may be for the Twilight fangirls, but for many, that's change you can't sink your teeth in.


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