Monday, November 17, 2008

Slayer Central part 1: The perfect man is a vampire

I'm having problems enjoying the "Twilight" trailer.  Is that weird?  People are lining up already to see the movie on opening night and poster signings have been cancelled because of the potential for mob madness.  I think I have seen spreads of Robert Pattinson (Edward) and Kristin Stewart (Bella) in every magazine publication this month, always looking pale, disheveled and sexy; our generations (eek can I say our? maybe my younger cousin's is better) Romeo and Juliet.  What is better than young, forbidden love...especially when one of them is a vampire.  But I'm just kind of put off by the trailer.  It makes me feel unsettled.  'So what' you ask?  'Aren't you a little old for that schmaltzy fare anyway?'  Why yes, I guess...but...well no.  It actually doesn't matter what I am, when what I really am is out of the loop.  Horribly, painfully out of the loop.  I haven't read the books.  I don't know the world and haven't been swept off my feet by Edward yet and that just makes me upset!  And even worse, everywhere on the web that I turn, I see a reminder of my neglect. 'Why does this upset you', you ask?  (starting to worry a little bit about my sanity no doubt). Well, because I am a normal girl (on the exterior at least), with a semi-normal life, who just loves, loves loves her vampires.

Wow- TMI you say!  All my budding credibility as a creative voice just vanished, like a vamp in direct sunlight.  But alas, it's true, I am addicted to the vampire genre and I have been for a long time.  But I had a brilliant idea today (which hopefully will be fleshed out as a new project, sooner rather than later) that made me really look at my fondness for the fare.   And I think I might have discovered the root of it all: It's really, actually, a very simple thought.  The romantic desire for the perfectly flawed man: the male vampire hero.  Think about it...I'll let the thought stew for a minute and reminisce before returning to it.  But just so you know, I'd like to figure out (at least so this piece has a function and isn't completely reflective) a) What does he (it) represent and b) what role does he (it) play in our generation's narrative. (I add 'it' because technically 'he' is not alive of course). 

When I was a child, I had an extremely over active imagination and would have an impossible time trying to fall asleep.  My parents would turn out the light and I would suddenly be plunged into a terrifying, paralyzing darkness where I would tug the sheets above my head, shielding the opening with an army of stuffed animals, and basically mummifying my body (perhaps that explains it all- I was oxygen deprived as a child) so that nothing from the world of the unknown could get at me.  My most vivid fear, besides the clown in the closet from 'Poltergeist' and the worm/parasite thing in the ear from the second 'Star Trek' movie, was of vampires.  My third eye would rise from under the sheets and watch in horror as an evil, wraith of a non-human would glide towards my bed, looking to feed.  I would hold my breath and lie so still so that it would think I was already dead (again the lack of oxygen thing).  It was awful.  But I honestly can't remember where I derived that fear from (and I've wracked my brain on that one) as I was under strict lock down from the parentals when it came to watching horror movies (though obviously I was able to sneak in a few of them) as they had an early inkling that my imagination wasn't exploring worlds of rainbows and unicorns (though "The Last Unicorn" was the best movie!!).  

So how did I go from such paralyzing fear to such unadulterated fanship?  I think I made the transition to tweenhood (I hate the word puberty so couldn't use it in a non-parenthesized sentence) and started liking boys.  I started watching the Canadian TV series "Forever Knight" and seeing the movie "Lost Boys".  Suddenly, vampires were sexy, forbidden, and the cool kids, or they were saving damsels in distress from evil mob bosses.  Did you ever watch "Forever Knight"?  It was a fantastic show that starred Geraint Wyn Davies (born in the same Welsh town as Catherine Zeta Jones btw) as police detective, Nick Knight, an 800 year old vampire.  I didn't quite know at the time why I was so drawn to this show as I was supposed to be watching '90210' and 'Melrose Place', but something about the flashbacks to Nick's adventures in 15th Century Italy, the forbidden budding romance between him and the mortal doctor trying to reverse his 'condition' and his explosions of vampire power during the pinnacle fight scenes where he was saving the day (or night as it had to be) were intoxicating.  He was such a flawed yet engaging hero.  Now that I think about it, it's so obvious.  Two of my favorite TV vampire characters, Mick from 'Moonlight' (passionate fan base) and Angel from, well if you don't know who he is then you probably aren't still reading this post, are just reincarnations of the same character.  They are both private investigators, love a mortal, ass kicking girl, can't act on their feelings, but swoop in and save the day- fangs bared- before retreating back into their solitary, loner world (after giving their love a longing glance).  Yumm!  No need for "Days of Our Lives" here!  I just dig a misunderstood loner who is all sensitive to women's needs as he's been around the block for 600 years and has finally learned from all his mistakes.   So with that thought, throw in Bill from "True Blood", and Louis from "IWTV".  Lots of members of the romantic vampires club.   And not only are they reluctant heroes, but these vamps declare their vulnerabilities and must embrace them- no sunlight for them and don't pass the holy water.   They want to return to the land of the living and give up immortality for their fair haired maiden, but when things get tough, that sentimentality goes straight out the window and mr. bad ass comes out swinging- inhuman strength, speed and stylish mayham on a plate- saving the day in the process.  

OK, now I'm becoming a little self conscious about what I'm writing as it just seems like I've dropped myself into the crazy world usually populated by comic con attendees, airport romance novel fans and those who will indeed stand in line for 5 days in advance of the Twilight release (because I am very different from them, please believe me).  But, my basic discovery serves a point.  The vampire is our generations Mr. Darcy.  Jane Austen had to illuminate Mr. Darcy's dark side by throwing him into fits of...silence.  Silence?  Well, rudeness too, he would be abrupt and rude to Lizzie as he didn't want to show his true feelings for her.  And he was unattainable because he was rich and wasn't supposed to marry beneath his class.  Well, OK. Those reactions to puppy love aren't too exciting in the 21st century and class boundaries don't really hold up anymore, but ancient gypsy curses and the need to feed on human blood certainly do!  Vampires are just a big old manifestation of our need for romance.  Of the unattainable kind.  

I'm going to end this post on that note, but also note that there are lots of vampire movies and shows that I'd love to explore from a digital blogger and writer's perspective (let me know if you have any requests).  I may even go see 'Twilight' and write about it, even if I haven't read the books.  Be back soon.

All Things T

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