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And Then Twilight Went And Ruined Everything

June 14, 2012

When I was a child I had one very palpable fear.  Any guesses what that might be?  What’s that?  The dark?  Nope.  I LOVED the dark.  In fact my brother had a strong enough fear of the dark that whenever he was pissing me off any time after sundown, I would leave the house and walk into the dark woods behind our home, where he was sure not to follow me.  I shed my nightlight years before he did, and he’s two years older than me (actually right now I’m hoping to hell he’s reading this).  Any other guesses?  Monsters under the bed?  Wrong again.  I actually loved hiding under the bed.  Also, I didn’t believe in ghosts, leaned toward the E.T. and Close Encounters versions of aliens rather than the Alien version, and handled spiders and snakes fearlessly (and foolishly, to be quite honest), so you can cross those common childhood fears off the list.

My one childhood fear: cannibalism.  Somehow I developed a very warped mental image of cannibals as people who, rather than eating the flesh of their fallen friends and family in a postmortem homage to their lost loved one, actually ran around the jungles of South America actively hunting human victims to eat.  In my mind, they had developed a taste for herb encrusted person, much in the way I loved pizza, and they scoured the countryside in search of prey to take down with blow guns, butcher, and slow roast to bar-be-cue human perfection.  What I’m saying here is when these guys talked about how to best serve humanity, they were giving cooking tips, not life lessons.

That pervasive fear was a fairly innocuous one. After all, I lived a safe distance from the Amazon basin.  But it definitely was a strong enough phobia to color my impressions of two creatures of pop culture horror mythology: zombies and vampires.

Zombies Were Disappointing, at First…

My initial impression of zombies were that they were, frankly, sad.  And a little boring, really.  They were the dead who rose rotting from their graves.  I mean, at first when grandma comes out of the ground, some part of you would be all, “Aww.  Gam Gams.  I missed you!”  And then they would begin hobbling after you with rotten muscles to eat your brains and you’d be all, “Oh… well, I guess I better run away.  Slowly.  I suppose.”

The fear factor of zombies came from the idea of the horde.  That they were coming at you from EVERYWHERE.  But let’s face facts:  First of all, the number of dead with enough musculature to stand and move about wouldn’t really constitute an army.  Secondly, from every movie I saw in childhood, they just sort of shuffle along, like old people at the mall, making them easy to escape, and easy pickings for a shotgun.  Finally, the only thing that kept zombies alive, apparently, was their brains… and they hunger for brains from the living.  So, you’re saying the mindless horde would at no point turn on one another and say, “hey, you’ve got tasty enough brains, I’ll bet!”  Well, you know, in a zombie moan or whatever.

Just takin’ zombie dad out for his walkies

 As a child, then, zombies as a representation of cannibalism wasn’t as much scary as funny.  Over time, though, zombies have gotten an overhaul of utter AWESOMENESS.  Somewhere the idea of the zombie virus – the BITE that turned a normal person into a zombie – became more and more pervasive.  This was a nice touch, as all of a sudden they weren’t the reanimated dead lumbering in search of brains, but hosts to a horrible virus bent on spreading itself worldwide.  And that allowed for zombies with ALL working muscles to exist.  That made zombies a bit scarier.  Then came rage zombies, running at a sprint, spreading the virus by a number of means (including projectile vomiting FUCKING BLOOD)… okay that’s cool as hell.

This is why when somebody tripping balls on bath salts goes all nom nom nom on some guy’s face, everyone freaks out and declares the zombie apocalypse is upon us.  Because this version of zombies is both awesome AND scary.  If I was a child today, with the same fear of cannibalism, I’d probably be more freaked by zombies than I was back then.

Bath Salts? How pedestrian!

Vampires Were Awesome … Were Being The Key Word Here.

So that brings me to vampires.  When I was a kid, I thought vampires were SO cool.  They were just cannibal enough to strike fear, without any lumbering zombie silliness.  They could entrance their victims in their gaze.  They moved silently through the night.  They were picky about whom they would turn into a fellow vampire, not willy nilly turning every person they bit into their kind.  Most of all, I suppose it helped that I came along at the absolute peak of the movie vampire.  No, seriously.  Here, let’s take a trip through vampire film history…

Me? What am I doing?? Uhhm…. nothing?

Nosferatu (1922) – Admittedly, the first major appearance of vampires on film was pretty bad.  Nosferatu was based on the book Dracula (so… yeah… changing the name will totally throw people off I guess?).  He has long fingernails, which are more “eww, that’s not hygienic” than “yikes, that’s scary.”  His fangs are the front two teeth, giving him a rather goofy evil bunny look (I’d call him Bunnicula but that name’s taken).  The real problem with Nosferatu, though, is his permanent look of surprise.  He always seems shocked to be doing whatever it is he’s doing.  From, “Whoa!  I’m on a boat?” to, “Whoa!  I’m in a castle?”  to, “Whoa!  I’m biting a chick?” … none of his surprised looks really seem appropriate.

I vant to suck your blood.

Dracula (1931) – Bella fuckin Lugosi.  Where Nosferatu had bucktooth fangs, Dracula had gleaming canines.  Where Nosferatu seemed in a state of constant surprise, Drac seemed constantly pissed off. And, seriously, it worked.  Every version of a vampire for decades to come would be based on this.

After Dracula came dozens upon dozens of vampire movies, most of which were based on Dracula.  Most of them were schlock (Blacula was a badass though, and could really rock a purple silk cape… don’t let anyone tell you otherwise).

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – Then came the intensely creepy Gary Oldman version of Dracula.  Okay, forget that they cast Keanu Reeves in this thing for a moment.  That movie was freaky.  And that was absolutely the peak of vampires on film.  That was the crowning achievement for vampires.

After that came Interview With the Vampire in 1994.  I love Anne Rice’s books, but frankly, the characters were a little gay.  Well, maybe not gay, but at least bi-curious.

Ummmm… this isn’t what it looks like.

Blond Tom Cruise munching on Brad Pitt.  Seriously?  Way to ruin it for me.

And Then Came Fucking Twilight

Vamps took a hit with that nonsense.  It was hard to escape the feeling that these characters were weak-willed little bitches, drawn into becoming vampires out of boredom.  There was so much more to it in the books, but none of that made the cut when translated to film.  SO vampires were suddenly less cool than they had been.  Other movie franchises attempted to return vampires to the cool status they previously enjoyed, like Blade and Underworld.  And they worked.  Soon it was like 1992 all over again, with people everywhere wishing they were vampires.  And then… Twilight happened.

I can’t even go into this goddamn series without cursing vigorously.  See?  Fuck!  Seriously, why?  When the books were first becoming popular, my stepson (I won’t say WHICH stepson, because he probably hates himself for suggesting it) told me I should read the books.  So, thinking to myself how much I rather enjoyed a number of the works Anne Rice put out through the years, I went to the local library and checked out a copy of the first Twilight book.  Fuck. Me. In. My. Eye.  Two days later I returned it, handing the book to an overenthusiastic librarian woman (who was, quite likely, a Twi-hard).

Librarian: (Surprised that anyone with a penis would have this book) OH!  Twilight!  How did you like it?!

Me: (Trying my best not to curse in public) I’d say on a scale of one to ten, I’d give it an elevated middle finger… which is not to say I’m giving it a one, because that would be too generous.

Librarian: (Still surprised, this time because anyone could dislike Twilight) Really?  You didn’t like it?

Me: I’d rather read Judy Blume write about getting her first period.

These weren’t vampires!  These were emo kids doused in glitter.  They weren’t even cannibalistic.  THEY ATE DEER.  Fuck them!  I eat venison, and there’s nothing scary about that.  Unless it isn’t prepared properly, which I guess theirs wasn’t.  Was that the scary part?  Are we supposed to be frightened by the possible spread of e coli?  Maybe I was too enraged that I was tricked into reading some teenage girl romance novel to read between the lines and sense the bacterial danger lurking beneath the surface.  If that’s it, then I apologize for my outburst.  E coli is totally just like the rage virus, but instead of vomiting blood, you’re just vomiting.

Cannibals, Zombies, and Vampires, OH MY!

The gist of my rant is this: I once loved vampires.  They gave me chills, and freaked my freak.  But that love is dead.  My inner child is whining, but I don’t care.  Down with vamps.  Long live zombies!

That said… I still have no desire to see the Amazon.  Those cannibal bastards are creeping around the jungle, ready to saute me in butter and fry my skin for cracklins.  I know those fuckers are out there…

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4 Comments
  1. I wish someone would turn me into a real, non-sparkly vampire, just so I could go to that bitch writer of Twilight’s house and chew her head off. Literally. SPARKLE!?! Really?? Let’s give this asshole a drug test, because I’m pretty sure she was high the entire time she wrote those books.

    And FUCK KRISTEN STEWART! I’ve put on better performances during puppet shows than she has EVER!

    VIVA LA ZOMBIES!!!!

    Hugs!

    Valerie

    • Gah! I know! SPARKLE?

      As for Kristen Stewart, I’m fucking baffled by her being cast as Snow White. Firstly, when Charlize Theron asks the mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all… if it answers anything besides “your fine ass is!” THAT is complete and utter BULLSHIT. Secondly, what, nobody was casting for Sleeping Beauty? Because Kristen Stewart could really nail that role. Sleeping. For the greater portion of the movie. She could really explore her range in that role.

      • Seriously!!! No. Way. In. Fucking. Hell. Stewart is better looking than Charlize. I mean, come ON casting directors!! Put some fucking thought into this!

        The only part where she might have a bit of trouble with the role of Sleeping Beauty is with the part where she has to wake up and act…. Oh, and the “beauty” part.

        • Ready to lose your shit (hopefully not literally)? Kristen Stewart was the HIGHEST PAID ACTRESS IN THE WORLD between May 2011 and May 2012. How much, did miss couldn’t-act-her-way-out-of-a-paper-bag earn, you ask? How about an APPALLING 34.5 MILLION!? Not Pesos. Dollars.

          I have decided: she is the female Keanu Reeves.

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