Twilight: Getting To The Bottom Of This Teenage Vampire Business

There is a highly-anticipated movie coming out called Twilight. All the blogs are talking about how exciting it is that Twilight is on its way. There’s going to be a Twilight trailer at the beginning of Speed Racer as an attempt to boost Speed Racer attendance. Well, I apologize as always to America, but up until a minute ago I thought “what the fuck is Twilight?” and now, after doing my research, the question has become “what is up with kids and vampires?”

Twilight is a YA series about a girl named Isabella who moves to a new town and falls in love with a vampire named Edward. Seriously, you guys, what is it? I really want to know. Is it just residual Buffy enthusiasm being transferred to whatever is available, or is there something deeper at work here?

Anything that involves the transmission of blood just seems like an easy metaphor for AIDS anxiety. Too easy of a metaphor? I don’t know. I mean, I know the vampire legend has been around a long time, but that doesn’t mean that legends can’t take on larger, deeper meanings. Not to mention that after the transmission of blood, or the bite, you die. Sounds AIDS-y to me.

Vampires, of course, are the classic “Other.” In the case of Twilight, this probably falls a little flat if it’s a love story. Although, again, that’s an extension of the Buffy legacy, where she started out murdering them, and then something something love something one of them, I have no idea. I didn’t watch Buffy, sorry. If it’s a metaphor for being accepting of other people’s cultures, no matter how strange they might seem to you at first, then I am all for it because the world is in turmoil! But then again, to love the “Other” is to die.

The transformation from human into vampire definitely mirrors the adolescent’s transformation from child into adult. Vampires are centuries old. They seem sophisticated and wise. They render humans powerless. But there is a great cost to having that sophistication and wisdom. It’s more than 30,000 a year if you go to a private college these days. Also, the transition results in death.

Vampire stories are probably not about werewolves, unless it is a gateway metaphor. We deal with our fear of vampires in order to prepare ourselves for dealing with our fear of werewolves.