These are just a few of the ideas that come to mind when thinking about the overextended Twilight series that adds “Breaking Dawn – Part 1” to it’s cinematic entries in Potter-mimicking fashion. To think that this film will certainly eclipse the dark-toned but fun REAL vampire film produced this year (read: Fright Night) is troubling but true. Still, another film with the brooding boys of Team Sullen and Team Fruit Brute also means we’re one step closer to being done.
Can we learn NOTHING from the adventures of an overgroomed vampire and the shell of a girl readers can pour themselves into and fall in love with him? Come on… of course we can. In fact, the first Twilight film made for a great film event I was blessed to speak at. Despite all the roll-eye realities of the franchise, it’s cultural presence sets up a nice opportunity for conversation on the vampire myth itself: it’s origin, evolution, and narrative uses in culture from before Bram Stoker to Blade and beyond.
The vampire is such a versatile metaphor… this curse, or disease, or “gift” has been used to illustrate mankind’s fears regarding sexuality, his fears of societal isolation or outcast status, the seduction of an amoral worldview, our desire for immortality… even the AIDS virus. In a few centuries, the visceral image has been used to image a wide array of our fears… and, possibly, human realities. At a fundamental level, it just brings out a fear that our basic nature may drain the very life out of those around us.
This audio of the event starts by peeling back those centuries-old layers and then (after a viewing of the film) we pulled apart how this latest – ahem, loose – adaptation of the vampire legend shifts gears, fangs and metaphors to make a very different point. You can decide if it bites…
By the way, if you REALLY want to have fun with the first Twilight film, check out the RiffTrax audio addition and throw a party with friends. This makes the film about 100 times better thanks to the guys who brought us MST3K.