Saturday, November 22, 2008
Camera Obscura: "Twilight" Heat and Other Hot Vampire Tales
There are several great things about the movie "Twilight" opening to massive, adoring crowds this weekend. It's making vamp tales hot again and I love vamp tales; it is based on already best-selling books which kids are snarfing down like Hot-Pockets and anything that gets someone hot for reading is a fine thing; and it also is bringing more attention to HBO's excellent vamp series, "True Blood", also based on a series of novels, and which has it's series finale on Sunday night.
Naturally, as East Tennessee's Finest Film Critic, I told you back this summer how hot and fantastically popular both "Twilight" and "True Blood" would become after the huge frenzy for both were unveiled at the San Diego Comic Con. Trust me to always be On Point and Always Right. Especially when it comes to horror movies.
Now where was I?
If you wish to be hip, call the fans of "Twilight" Twihards. 'Cause that's what they are calling themselves (though I am fond of the term Twerds myself). I told Newscoma I was not going to see the movie this weekend, as being an old man in a theatre full of squeally girls could likely get me arrested or something. I'll wait a bit. What strikes me a bit odd about the movie plot is that the tempestuous love story between high school gal Bella (is her last name Lugosi?) and her new 107-year-old vamp teen boyfriend Edward is -- they don't give in to their carnal temptations. Abstinence is a kind of foreplay, and Abstinence is more easily sold if it's hot and once you give in to temptation, well, the heat... dissipates ... and then gets all hot again.
Let's face it America: Teens is tempted in today's modern now-a-go-go-world. But nothing, not even Capital S Sex, teases them like the chance to spend money - on books, t-shirts, movies, hand-held devices (!!), or anything they desire and angst about. Been that was for a while, actually. And it's good for the Economy.
Angst about Sex, Aging, Adulthood, Childhood, Love, Death and What It All Means can make any Teen say, like, OMG!
And such concerns have always been at the heart of the Vampire Lore. From the pre-Dracula days to the Movie-Age Vampire and the Anne Rice Vampire Romantics to the Buffy The Vamp Slayer days - the Big Issue is whether or not anyone can contain or control the raging storms of Life and Death. And is it more fun to finally give in to the steaming heat of passion or to enter a stage of Eternal Teasing, forever on the edge of Gratification?
(That's also a sort of Economic question, too ... or am I the only one who finds words like "Lay-Away" and "Interest Payment" slightly erotic? I am? Then never mind.)
Let's explore the Giving Into vs Holding Off Gratification a bit here. For instance, "True Blood", running now on HBO (and they are working on season 2 already, yay!!). Once I got hooked on the story in the first episode, I encountered many folks who said they would wait until the series comes out on DVD and watch them all in one, guilty, heady rush. But for me, I love a TV show which hooks me and then I have to wait before I get the next fix.
I start yearning for the next episode in the waning minutes of the one I'm watching, and I start pondering on what will happen next, what turns and events await. I know there is a massive trend to grab a couple of seasons of some TV show on DVD and watch them all at once, but what makes me happy is a show I have to wait for, which arrives is brief packages and is gone and I am back to waiting again. I have not read any of the 7 "True Blood" books, and I won't as long as the series is on. I don't want to know it all in one go, I like waiting for it. (Oh my that sounds kinky. And "True Blood" is pretty kinky, so just roll with the metaphors people, we are talking fiction here.)
While you can have much fun getting that TV show in one gulp, it is not the same as being part of the audience who has been captivated slowly over time and then all arriving together at that shared moment of the Series Finale.
If you are worried about all this Twihard Heat and the Teen Frenzy, relax. The young lovers don't give into temptation in the first movie, or book .... that may arrive later, so maybe they'll be older when It Happens.
Next up on the Vampire Hot Movie will be "Jennifer's Body", from "Juno" writer Diablo Cody. She says her teen girl tale, starring the "Transformers" hotty Megan Fox, is a sort of horror/vampire/sci-fi/comedy/cultural metaphor:
"I am directly influenced by girls I have known.Girls who treated life as a race, and if there was someone or something they wanted, they would stab you in the back. It's a movie about hunger. A lot of teenage girls are starving themselves and a lot of them are psychologically hungry, because they are so misunderstood."
Postscript: Any talk about Hot Vampires has to include the ever-popular Vampirella, so a link and a picture of this 1960s-era sex symbol.