I’ve just finished reading Twilight and its sequels New Moon and Eclipse. For the first time. If you haven’t heard of Twilight, you’re probably that person who got left behind on Mars when the tour bus left.
You’d have to have been on another planet to miss the uprising of the vampires in fiction, television, film and just about every other media outlet. Vampires aren’t new – Bram Stoker created Dracula (it’s free on kindle) and even then it’s alleged that his vampire was based on Eastern European mythology – don’t shoot me: I’ve done no research for this blog post. But Dracula was dark, the spin-off films were dark (think all the old Christopher Lee films and the more modern Van Helsing) and this breed of vampire is a dangerous beast. Then came Stephen King with Salems Lot (James Mason has the sexiest voice in the film version), Anne Rice and her Interview With The Vampire (the film version lost credibility for me - Tom Cruise? Really?) and the occasional other vampire film or novel, but nothing to really consider give up the vegetables for.
Along comes Stephenie Meyer and suddenly vampires are pink and fluffy. They sparkle in sunlight (bit of a giveaway, that – evolution has not been kind, has it?), they are drop-dead gorgeous and they no longer need to feed on humans. I have to admit I don’t get Edward Cullen. I mean he’s cold to the touch, doesn’t sleep and he’s dead, for heaven’s sake (or is heaven not appropriate here?). He may be every girl’s dream date, but would you really want to spend the rest of your life with a cold dead body? I guess I’m probably at least 30 years too old for the market at which this is aimed. But poor old Bella – she doesn’t have many options, does she? Cold dead vampire, hot smelly werewolf or the ultra-boring Mike-who-works-in-the-store. Is this not encouraging teenagers to go for the bad boy over the safe option? The modern equivalent of going out with the biker? Parents of teenagers – do you know who your daughter is dating tonight?
Personally, I’d go for the werewolf. Jacob sounds much sexier to me and you’d never need a hot-water bottle at night. And it’s a bit less of a commitment too – Bella has to become a vampire herself to spend eternity with Edward, so there’s no changing her mind later when she fancies a good curry instead of wild-animal blood. Whereas with Jake, she could share a rabbit or two, save on the fuel bills and then change her mind a few years later and go have babies with Mike-who-works-at-the-store.
At the younger end of the scale, there’s Young Dracula, and younger still is the cartoon Mona the Vampire, both depicting vampires as funny, cute and not at all dangerous. The main character in Young Dracula is not remotely interested in being vampiric, while his best (human) friend is desperate to be a part of it all. And the delightful Mona uses her talents to help other people – a vampire for Brownies.
The adult equivalent of Twilight must be Being Human. Vampires and werewolves living together, with a ghost thrown in for good measure. Vampire Mitchell is utterly gorgeous and even werewolf George is cute in his own way. But the flipside is while they are all striving to “be human” to the outside world, they can’t deny their true natures – this really is the struggle between good and evil played out against a 21st century background. Powerful stuff.
Long live the vampire doesn’t sound right really. Especially since the zombies are coming anyway.