And if you can recite the end of that movie tag line, then you too are a child of the '80s. Lost Boys was my introduction to the vampire oeuvre. Teenage boys were still way out of my league, so hot teenage boys that were vampires? Be still my still beating heart. That movie made such an impression on me that 23 years later (yes, I actually did the math), Kiefer Sutherland is STILL on my list. I loved that movie. I can probably still quote a dozen or so lines from it, verbatim.
Ten years later, vampires once again sunk their teeth into me. I was working two jobs, never sleeping, eating the worst that Applebee’s had to offer, when, on a random night off, I switched on my illegal cable and came across the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was love at first bite. (Sorry, sorry.) In a world before TIVO and DVR, and being inept at recording on my dilapidated VCR, I arranged my work schedule to always be off when Buffy was on. When Angel took her virginity then broke her heart, he broke mine as well. I can name the top five Buffy episodes off the top of my head (Hush, The Gift, The Body, The Wish, Once More with Feeling) and can explain why Band Candy, while fantastic, did not make the list. Buffy was must-see TV for me and it never released its hold. Through both the good (the Mayor) and the bad (Glory), I never missed an episode or a chance to discuss an episode, in depth, ad nauseam.
It took another decade before my fancy was once again caught by vampires, but this time, vampires didn’t live in fictional Sunnydale, they lived on your street. True Blood took vampires out of books and planted them straight in your backyard. There was sex, violence, and all sorts of other goodies. Once again, I was hooked. This was vampires for adults. (The books are practically porn.) Throw in an incredibly hot blonde (shades of Kiefer, but much taller), Southern accents, and plenty of atmosphere and I gladly hoodwink HBO for my free three months every time a new season airs.
Why do I go into such detail to explain my love of vampires? Because on the eve of my Twilight: New Moon viewing party, I believe it is important to set the groundwork that I do actually enjoy and appreciate vampire stories that are done well. And I appreciate the Twilight series, but for a totally different reason.
There is no subtlety in Twilight. No character development. No background, no foreshadowing, no humor. On Buffy, demons and vampires play poker for kittens, not coins. On True Blood, they play Yatzee and first person to reach a million points wins. In Twilight, they play piano. Boring! Twilight brings the vampire back to basics. Edward is the most neutered vamp in history. He doesn’t believe in sex before marriage, he likes to cuddle, he can go out in anything other than direct sunlight (and even then, he doesn’t burn, he only sparkles), and, to add insult to injury, he doesn’t even eat people! He’s a vegetarian vampire! There are Disney cartoon villains scarier than Edward. Even Jacob, the sexless soul mate is just an overgrown puppy with big teeth. The Twilight series is vampires for dummies.
Compared to the filet mignon (served rare) that was Buffy and is True Blood, Twilight is beef jerky. It’s what happens when you take out all of the flavor, the fat, the bones, and the blood. Did I read all four books in one week? Yes, I did. Have I gone to see both movies within 12 hours of release? Yup. I didn’t say beef jerky wasn’t addictive, or unsatisfying, but it certainly isn’t good for you and, like any salty snack, it just leaves you thirsty for something more. Luckily, I have only two months to go until True Blood sates that thirst (and if I can ever find bottled True Blood in stores, I will be one happy bloodsucker.)
“I don’t know who you think you are, but before this night is through. I’m gonna do bad things with you.”