Friday, November 20, 2009

Twilight New Moon Realizations

There is no denying that Twilight has a huge following. We may wish that it didn't. We may wish that the tween/young adults of America...nay...the world would have more of a brain in their skulls to realize what over indulgent dribble the Twilight saga really is in comparison to other notable fads, and in that vein wish that the aforementioned group would dedicate some of their brain cells to realizing what horrible literature Twilight really is. Horror affictionadios may despise Stephenie Meyer for "what she has done to vampires."

But all that stashed aside, it is still widely received and it is apparent that it unfortunately is not going to go away. Even if real vampires were to emerge and they all looked like Eric Northman, I still think Twilight would stay around. This saddens me.

So since I've tried my hardest to fight it...apparently the rest of my guerrilla army friends have given up the fight, and I but one man, have not the influence, nor the dashingly good looks, to sway the swarming throngs of Twilight fans away from this garbage that is spelling the downfall of American society.

Therefore...I've chosen to try to identify what exactly it is about Twilight that makes girls scratch their necks to the point of bleeding when merely in the presence of Robert Pattinson.

Everyone I ask about Twilight, after I go off on my rant about how Twilight vampires aren't really vampires, will say, "well I still love the romance aspect." Okay. That's fair. I mean I guess if I were a girl I'd like being adored by a vampire who was only attracted to me in the first place because I was the only girl whose mind he couldn't read. I also suppose that I'd like for him to leave me despite the fact that there are still other vampires, not to mention jealous shifters around. I also surmise that I'd like to be impregnated by his undead DNA and then have him rip the baby out of me with his fangs, because I'm so sure that he is certified as an OBGYN. But alas, I'm not a girl, so I can't completely wrap my head around how un-ridiculous that all sounds.

So then that brings us to the movies. Prior to the casting of Robert Pattinson, girls could have the image of the perfect man to be their Edward Cullen. It could be their secret crush. It could be the older neighborhood boy. I could be the high school quarterback. It could be the guy who would never notice "me." But then when it was announced that the movie would be made and it was Robert Pattinson, the image of Edward Cullen was solidified forever. It didn't matter who it was. It could have been Jonah Hill cast as Edward Cullen and the reaction would have been the same. The point was that now Edward Cullen had a face. Edward Cullen had an image. Girls/Fans can now close the eyes and see the physical image that is their one true love. The ultimate lover has now been made real. It didn't matter who, it just matter that it was someone. So that is why I don't think Robert Pattinson is the actual real appeal for the Twilight fans.

I don't normally assess males for their attractiveness but all I have to say is, Robert Pattinson? Really? I mean he is pretty much following the same trend as Hayden Christiansen, except he is more emo. Because let's be fair: They are both undead...from a certain point of view.

That brings us next to Kristen Stewart. Now, I do normally assess females for their attractiveness and all I have to say is Kristen Stewart? Really? I mean normally when it comes to chick flicks, and lets once again be fair, Twilight and it's Saga-parts are nothing more than a glorified chick flick, at least the boyfriend who has been dragged along can look at a pretty girl. But when I think Kristen Stewart, my only frame of reference is when she was in "Panic Room." In this film she plays the diabetic, "my life sucks cause I'm the daughter of a single mom," type character. I believe you substitute diabetic for psychic blocking and you essentially have the same character. But anyways in this film, Stewart is like 13. This was my first time seeing the actress, so for me, now, even though she's in Twilight, I know her as a 13 year old girl, and that is in NO WAY APPEALING. So obviously Kristen Stewart also can not be the driving factor behind the Twilight craze. I mean also because now Kristen and Robert are irrevocably in love for realz IRL. So there is no hope for any fan girl to have her very own Edward Cullen.

So then that brings us to Vampires. Vampires are the only thing about Twilight that make Twilight stand out. I mean really girls pine to be Bella so that an Edward can whisk her away. Or, they enjoy reading about the greatest lovers of all time? Right? If Edward Cullen were let's say a Navy SEAL, or a Mafia hitman, or a Cowboy, would anyone really care? Those character types are all awesome, but they are not vampires. Would Twilight have been noticed amongst the others that rest upon the bookshelf in the young adult section had Edward Cullen been Batman, or a rock star, or a young Prince attempting to unite his kingdom? I really don't think so. I believe this is even more evident now because at Barnes and Noble there is a "vampire romance" section and although it is dominated by Twilight, it is by no means the only series to find a home in that corner of the store.

So what does this all mean? It means that a majority of America love Edward Cullen purely for his vampiricness. Which means that most American's have a desire for vampires. This is nothing new, but there was no such craze before Twilight. So what's the difference? Stephenie Meyer changed her vampires. They glitter in the day light, thus making them more beautiful. Which, is stupid, but in some ways takes away the shadows and mysteries associated with normal vampires. They integrate with human society and the main ones that the reader are exposed to are "good guy" vampires. Again, this dulls them down. In Twilight everyone wants to be a vampire and it's cool, even though normally vampires stand as a literary device to represent one of the seven deadly sins: Lust.
So essentially...Stephenie Meyer has chosen to ignore the negative aspects of vampires and only focus on the positive ones. She has forced most of America to admit that if vampires were real and played by her rules, that they would be more socially acceptable, because there was never such a craze or acceptance of vampires prior to Twilight. Twilight vampires are more accepted because they are "less cruel" "less harsh" are more "familiar," "less frightening." Which means that if vampires were ever to "come out of the coffin," and they behaved like Dracula and were in no way like the beloved Edward Cullen, that there would be an inherent fear. This would be the same inherent fear that exists in most of post 9/11 America whenever they see someone with Middle Eastern features. So Stephenie Meyer has proven that American's on the whole are actually very much racist. Good job.

This of course is the point of True Blood, however True Blood at least has the fangs to address this issue straight up as opposed to trying to create the "super awesome forever ever ever vampire," like Stephenie Meyer. Bill tries to be a good guy vampire like Edward, but even Bill kills and drinks, and does some deplorable things. Much more realistic than dear Edward.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Zombies: The Ultimate Horror Device

So Halloween has passed. Sad face. But I still find myself thinking about scary things, as there are still a bunch of movies/books/web series.....lots of "web things" still doling out the horror. Seeing as though I try to keep content on this site somewhat related to horror, I had a revelation the other day.

There are many devices authors/screenwriters use to try to scare us. Supernatural beings like Vampires/aliens/zombies/werewolves/etc. There is always the serial Jason or Michael Meyers. There are disasters like comets hitting the earth or the end of the Mayan calender....(seriously don't you all think that maybe those guys just got tired after planning out over 2012 years of history? Or what if its all just a huge ancient joke and they are in their version of the afterlife rolling on the floor laughing?)

Vampires get staked (or glitter....I hate them I hate them I hate them) Werewolves get shot with silver bullets. Aliens...get viruses loaded to their wireless network. It may be a huge pain in the rear to accomplish these feats, but think of most movies/literature/Twilight (which is not literature) and you will see that something is done, even if the hero dies in the process. But there is a definitive ending, or at the very least a decent ending.

Serial killers usually die, or escape til the sequel, no mater the number. Sometimes the even get frozen and put into space where astronauts of the future unleash an unspeakable horror. But there is usually a definite ending, one that finalize the plot, even if there is a sequel.

End of the world movies, well nobody would watch them if Earth just got destroyed. Even if there is catastrophic damage, people survive and well yay! Same goes with government created conspiracy or disease outbreak plots. They always get exposed. Long story short a book or film wouldn't do well if the heroes don't in someway topple the opposition. They may die in the process, but its usually for the greater good. I also realize that as I'm writing this that there are examples to counter some of the things that are being said but the point is that it's extremely difficult to pull off effectively.

Which brings us to zombies. To include zombies in a story is really opening up a can of worms. You have to consider a lot of things: What stage of the outbreak, what type of zombies, what created the zombies, what kills zombies, how are new zombies created, etc? There are a lot of technical aspects that you must address if you are going to use zombies as a horror device. It is easy to have loop holes.

On the surface if you stack a zombie up against vampires, werewolves, sentient killers, comets, and prophecy then zombies kind of seem like the low undead man on the totem pole. They can't think, are usually slow, and usually can be easily dispatched. But zombie's strength lie in their numbers and their ability to never stop. Zombies have the best endurance ever. They are the endless hoard.

Equally as difficult about zombies, from the writer standpoint, is how to write an effective ending for the zombies. Sure survivors can find a "safe island" or the heroes can all die, or whatever, but nine times out of ten no matter what happens by the end of the book/film there are still zombies with which we must contend. Try to think of books or films where there is an ending you enjoy. Are there still zombies? Probably. Here are some examples that are the first to come to mind: (Spoiler alert, skip over the list in case you don't want things ruined if you haven't seen/read these:)
  1. Night of the Living Dead--hero shot by humans trying to hunt zombies, zombies remain
  2. Dawn of the Dead--two heroes are bit, the other fly off in a helicopter, zombies remain
  3. Day of the Dead--Most humans die...its been a while since I've seen but I know zombies remain
  4. Land of the Dead--Humans survive, but zombies find themselves a "home" Zombies remain
  5. Dawn of the Dead remake--Humans make it to "safe island" only to find...zombies!
  6. Shaun of the Dead--survivors "win" but zombies now exploited for entertainment, zombies remain
  7. 28 Days Later--Danny Boyle says they are not zombies, so they won't be included
  8. Zombieland--4 survivors now a "family" Zombies Remain
  9. World War Z--Survivors dictate the reclaiming of Earth from zombies, yet the job will never be fully complete, zombies remain
  10. Zombie Island/Nation/ All zombies defeated...but horrible ending Read For More Info
So you see a trend here. It is difficult to write an ending for zombies because they are that catastrophic. Those guys in Canada even did that whole research process on it. Read For More Info Most people who have tried have had a hard time completely getting rid of the zombies. It's almost impossible. It's almost even more impossible to write a good ending where zombies are gone forever. These reasons pave the road for Zombies to be regarded as the ultimate horror device for ever ever ever.

Agree/Disagree? Please back up your claims. 20 bonus points for the first person to correctly identify where the picture at the beginning of the post is from. Also: A Fun Zombie Song