Why all the Twilight hate?

I read a review of “Breaking Dawn Part 1” that began with the words “worst movie ever.” My reaction? Had this person never seen “Ishtar”? “Dracula 3000”? What about “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” or virtually anything directed by Uwe Boll? Or the entire “Star Wars” prequel trilogy?

The same week I went to a party. Some one went on about “Twilight” and how nothing but 14-year-old girls watched the thing (this, tellingly, was said with absolute disdain). Having seen the film a few days before, I told him plenty of adults of both genders were in the cinema. He flatly refused to believe me.

Astonishing the emotional impact of these four books by a Mormon housewife. Countless articles and blogs try to answer the questions about its popularity, some of them vivid, even insightful. But what about the other side of it? Why the hate? Not dislike in the same way some of us avoid football or soap operas or refuse to go on Facebook. I’m talking about the sustained loathing that makes it impossible for some to let any mention of the series go by without a disparaging remark. The comments from those who’ve never read the books or seen a movie, but claim absolute knowledge on the subject. People who don’t like the films yet go see them anyway just to gain fuel for their attacks. People who hate “Twilight” the way Birthers hate President Obama, or the way cowboys and farmer used to genuinely hate each other. Why?

Of course, no one answer will cover every Twihater, so what follows applies only to certain popular (or at least loud) factions of the movement…

Much seems to come from gender bias, specifically disdain for the romantic fantasies of teenage girls. This, in a society where the fantasies of teenage boys are very nearly a sacrament! The dream of becoming a professional sports star or a wholesale killer with a lot of style (Batman, the Terminator, etc.), or simply to have that car that does everything but travel light speed–these permeate our culture. But look at the fantasy in “Twilight.” A beautiful, sensitive and lonely young man falls in love with a girl, desires her beyond all reason, but not only maintains his self-control, gets intense pleasure from her presence. That such an idea inspires contempt seems worrying. Especially when you compare this image to James Bond–the ultimate cool guy who personally kills half the women he sleeps with, and never ever seems to even kiss the same woman twice. Misogyny seems sadly alive and well doesn’t it?

Claiming this accounts for all the Twihate would be wrong, inflammatory as well as just inaccurate. But that seems to describe very well those who use one specific derogatory term for “Twilight” over and over: Gay.

Another faction of Twihaters–with some (but only some) crossover with the misogynists–are the hardcore horror fans. To them, Stephanie Meyer seems a purer, more disgusting distillation of Anne Rice–the trend of seeing vampires as fully rounded characters, capable of guilt and other emotions. Some folks just hate that. They adore “30 Days of Night” where the undead are essentially human-shaped piranhas, or “The Strain,” a trilogy of novels that eschew fangs for a meter-long probiscus in vampires that (tellingly) have no sexual organs. Vampires have been stolen, in their minds. What should be the most terrifying of all monsters become (pause for their shudder) people. Not all horrorphiles feel that way, of course. One of the biggest “Twilight” fans I know adores torture porn a la “Saw.” She didn’t like “Sweeney Todd” because it had nowhere near enough gore!

Don’t think I can emphasize this enough–not all Twihaters fall into one of these categories. Nor do all horror fans loathe “Twilight.” Some will find the latter hard to believe, but that doesn’t change the facts.

Finally, a third faction of Twihate approaches it from a specific agenda when it comes to gender roles. The agenda itself is laudable, at least in general terms. Reacting to weary generations of frail ingenues seeking for men to rescue them, some audience members take one look at Bella Swan and see every nightmare that makes their collective gorge rise. We live, do we not, in the age of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Of Selene from “Underworld”? Of Ripley from “Alien” and other kick-ass heroines who refuse to take guff from anyone! Don’t we? How dare anyone try to put women back in that box?

Laudable. Save that insisting women belong in a box that says Action Hero is still a box–one maybe a lot more fun to look at, but no less constrictive a place to live. Or to be forced to live. Personally, Bella reminds me of Xander on the aforementioned “Buffy”–the one without the powers, without any real interest in combat or fighting per se, a loyal friend but one rarely at his best in physical danger (although he tries). If boys find it daunting, this expectation of becoming James T. Kirk (in another generation, it would have been Horatio Hornblower, or Sherlock Holmes, or John Wayne), might not girls find the feminine equivalent equally so? Me, I love a character who can handle pretty much any danger thrown at them, be they Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. Snark is fun to read or hear. But that’s isn’t me. Nor should it be.

Frankly, this image of the swashbuckling grrrl has some problems. When we judge female characters based on this, we not only create a standard impossible to meet, but distort seeing what’s actually present. Bella Swan, for example, is the protagonist of the “Twilight” Saga. This escapes one critic after another. She makes every single important decision when it comes to her life. People try and tell her what to do in all four books. She sometimes listens. Sometimes. More often that not, her decisions also prove right–so much so the other lead characters increasingly follow her lead. Physically, she’s the weakest of the major characters (until halfway through the last book), and that forms part of the plot. Yet she is the one who saves others again and again, albeit not be punching anyone or some death-defying stunt. Amidst all the whining that she’s not assertive (actually, she’s rather shy and humble, but very stubborn) the fact that Bella is the one who pays the piper and calls the tune gets…well, ignored. That she actually grows stronger as the story goes on doesn’t get mentioned either, nor does the growing maturity of the two male leads, Edward and Jacob–both directly as a result of their relationship with Bella.

But she doesn’t fit the paradigm of tough grrrl, so her courage and patience don’t count. Just as housework isn’t considered employment. And men used to congratulate each other for having children, rather than the women who actually went through labor.

A similar reaction sets in because Bella chooses to risk her life rather than abort her unborn child. This pretty clearly results from the view of art-as-propaganda. Me, I’m pretty firmly pro-choice (although some will dispute that after reading this) but I take it very seriously–namely, that people should indeed have a choice. How odd is it that a young woman finding herself pregnant would go through hell or high water to bring that child to term? Really? Indeed, the other characters in the story seem intent at that moment on taking Bella’s choice from her–as do some audience members. But this comes methinks from the volatile nature of current events. Readers, probably accurately, presume Meyer to be conservative on this issue and so reject that plot point not for its own sake but for what they see as preaching. Even if it needn’t–perhaps oughtn’t–be read that way at all.

By david

David MacDowell Blue blogs at Night Tinted Glasses.  He graduated from the National Shakespeare Conservatory and is the author of The Annotated Carmilla. and Your Vampire Story (And How to Write It) as well as a theatrical adaptation of Carmilla.


  1. I’m in a slightly different situation. I didn’t enjoy the Twilight books but quite enjoy the movies. I think the reason being that after reading all four books back to back, I was well and truly sick of being stuck inside Bella’s head. In fact, my favourite book of all was the last because it gave me a brief respite from Bella to see things from Jacob’s viewpoint.

    That’s where the movies differ. While she is still, undoubtedly, the main character, it doesn’t feel like a trudging hike through her diary.

    I’m also avidly team Jacob so haven’t really forgiven Bella for ‘choosing’ Edward over him yet. ;)

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  3. I agree with this. Part of me wants to say everyone is different. You’ll find those who love a great story and those who will hate it. Some people like pizza, some don’t. Getting into the whys can be a complicated thing, LOL.

    But there is another angle to this. Some people react negatively and strongly to cover their own emotions too. Look at all those people so strong against gays who were in fact gay themselves.

    I think the bottom line is the box office dollars made from the movie. From the looks of those big dollars, this latest movie has been a big hit. That translates to another movie!

    I love a vampire that can show emotions and loves. To me, that’s more realistic. But the world is big enough to accomodate various versions of vampires from monsters to lovers. That’s what I like about the character.

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  8. Excellent points.

    Anti-Twilight hate is as close to 1984’s Two Minutes Hate as anything I’ve seen in popular culture.

    Twilight is simultaneously trashed for being too vanilla and for being too sociopolitically transgressive. Speaking of transgressiveness, how many vampire or other horror and fantasy franchises would withstand such psychosexual scrutiny and ideological standards? (The homophobia/femiphobia of some obsessive male Twi-haters is sometimes thinly camouflaged by their unconvincingly rote parroting of the usual sociopolitical criticisms.)

    I’m disappointed by the intolerance and herdlike behavior of much of scifi/fantasy fandom when it comes to Twilight. But what really gets me is the temerity of the self-appointed vampire police for issuing edicts on what does and does not constitute an authentic vampire mythos. And a lot of the horror community seems awfully fragile and histrionic (wonderfully gendered etymology there) if they believe that a single franchise can possibly “ruin” vampires. (I’m old enough to recall similar claims about Anne Rice and Buffy.)

    Like the ardent character of its fandom, the virulence of its haters is testament to what potent and resonant stuff Twilight is made of.

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  12. Frankly, I’m simply bored by the story (and I’m even more bored by the characters). I read the first book and it was okay. For some reason, I never read any of the sequels (apparently, other books seemed more fascinating to me).

    I watched the first movie and it was okay-ish. Robert Pattinson isn’t even remotely handsome in my eyes, so that already ruins most of the appeal for me (well, *you* try to get in the mood when the romantic lead doesn’t do it for you *g*). But then I watched the second movie and I was bored out of my mind. I apologized repeatedly to the two friends who accompanied me to the cinema. I actually felt bad for subjecting them to something this plotless (I still believe nothing at all happened in that movie).

    I do have problems with some of the more subtler points Meyer makes, but in the end to each their own. But the huge success of the Twilight books has ruined the vampire (book) genre for years to come. Because publishers are lazy and cowardly, they’re publishing the same books over and over again. That’s not Meyer’s fault, but it’s a sad thing nonetheless.

      1. Read those:) I’m not saying there isn’t anything else at all. But for one novel like “The Stain” you have to wade through ten all age fluffly romance thingies. And it’s starting to annoy me.

        1. Yeah, well, I’ve had to live through the bizarre and worthless official religion here in the United States (i.e. professional sports) my entire life. You’ll survive. We all have crosses to bear.

          1. You make it sound like other countries aren’t fanatic about sports. Feel free to visit Germany and “enjoy” the Bundesliga.

            But we’re digressing, because I have actually no idea how vampire novels relate to sports.

          2. It relates because I hate professional sports and have been subjected to them for longer than many Twihaters have been alive. Yet I don’t behave the way many Twihaters do. I simply don’t watch professional sports. I addressed this in the article btw.

  13. I’ll keep it simple.

    1. Vampire stories that eschew horror for romance are simply not my cup of tea. I prefer my vampires to be the monsters they were intended to be. You can have well-rounded characters without totally betraying the core concept of what that character is. You wouldn’t turn Charles Manson into a romantic hero, would you? Vampires were, for a long time, monsters meant to be feared, and now because a handful of people finds them attractive, we horror fans are supposed to just give up and let them take away something we’ve been enjoying for ages now? And I do mean that as “take away” because that’s what has happened. There’s this notion that vampires portrayed as sexy and romantic are not only automatically more “well rounded” characters, but because they’re being portrayed this way, suddenly the vampire genre is balanced. I’m telling you, it’s not. I want balance. I’d love balance. But right now, those of us who prefer our vampires in the horror genre are on the losing side of the scale, and it’s not fair. You don’t get to say “It’s fair now because we get what we want,” when simultaneously robbing us on the other side.

    2. The characters are paper thin and the plot is boring. What other motivations are there for the characters? All Bella wants is a man, and all Edward and Jacob want is a woman. There’s nothing else there.

    3. It’s incredibly sexist against women. The only reason Bella exists as a character is to want her man. She has no aspirations beyond the penis. And this is supposed to be a “feminist” series? HA! No self-respecting feminist would be caught dead supporting something that perpetuates sexist stereotypes the way this series does.

    4. Abusive characters and relationships are portrayed as romantic ideals. Edward is very controlling and abusive throughout the series, for one thing. Remember the part when he sabotages Bella’s truck so she can’t see Jacob? That’s not romantic. Jacob, on the other hand, is reduced to a child-grooming pedophile when he imprints on Bella’s newborn baby.

    5. Twilight’s success has nearly destroyed the vampire horror genre, because now publishers and filmmakers are only interested in sexy romantic chick-flick vampires, and vampires-as-monsters are rarely given any serious thought.

    6. There is just no logic to anything. Example: if a human ages at a natural rate, and a vampire doesn’t age at all, then how does a hybrid between them age rapidly until they’re ripe for the sexual picking? Because that’s all that’s for, in the end. She only ages so fast so Jacob can have a bed buddy with the mentality of a toddler and the body of a young, sexy woman.

    As far as the differences between fantasies for men and women, it’s certainly true that a lot of people can’t handle the idea of women having their own fantasies portrayed on screen and in fiction. The problem is, Twilight is a TERRIBLE fantasy. I don’t understand how any self-proclaimed feminist could even begin to defend it. I’ll freely admit to being a guy, but I’d be glad to see women’s fantasies portrayed more often, but if THIS is the fantasy that gets all the ladies cheering, then if anything, feminism has been set BACK several steps.

    Basically, I just think that embracing Twilight as an example of a female fantasy is silly. Twilight PERPETUATES sexist stereotypes, it doesn’t abolish them.

    1. If this was Facebook and there was a “like” button, I would like this comment a million times. Very well said Tally. I tip my metaphorical hat to you.

      I agree with Tally 100%, and add that the popularity of Twilight, when it doesn’t deserve all the love, also adds to people’s hatred. There are countless books more deserving of the fame and I think that plays into the hate.

      1. See, this idea that men’s fantasies are automatically about guns and cars and beating up and killing people, while women’s fantasies are all about romance, is in itself a sexist idea. Why can’t a woman fantasize about being a badass? Why can’t a man fantasize about finding true love? Hell, I’m a guy and I love Batman (who is not a murderer) and Terminator all the same, and the most profound experience of my life involved a friendship with someone who I truly loved deeply, but didn’t love me back.

        And I don’t even mind romance in the vampire genre when it’s A, done well, and B, not at the cost of the horror. Perfect example: Let The Right One In. The story deserves all the praise Twilight is getting, in all three forms (the book and two movies), but for some reason, the high praise it does receive seems to fall on deaf ears when Twilight is around.

        Twilight is just a thinly-veiled reality show. Meyer may as well have included phone numbers in the back to determine which boy Bella knocked boots with. It’s not a story, it’s an episode of The Bachelorette. A bad one. See, I don’t mind love triangles when they’re done well. When the characters are interesting, the romances make sense, and the plot is thick, a love triangle can really work. There’s a reason we see it all the time in fiction. But Twilight has none of those qualities. Again, it’s little more than a crappy reality show.

        I love vampire fiction. Not ALL OF IT, of course. Even in the horror genre, vampire fiction has plenty of clunkers. Sturgeon’s Revelation. But look at the rate of vampire romance to vampire horror. It’s just…not fair. Vampire romance gets all the attention, and there’s much, much more of it than there is vampire horror. I may not understand vampire romance (again, they were meant to be monsters, not lovers), and I may not like it, but I have no problem with there being a decent balance between the romance and the horror.

        But there is no such balance, and I’m on the losing end. Why should fans of vampire romance get everything they want, but folks like me who like vampire horror have a much more limited number of books and films to go through? What makes them so much better than me, or other like me? Why do they deserve to get all the vampire romance their hearts could dream of, and I’m lucky if I get so much as a bone tossed my way?

        1. “But there is no such balance, and I’m on the losing end. Why should fans of vampire romance get everything they want, but folks like me who like vampire horror have a much more limited number of books and films to go through? What makes them so much better than me, or other like me? Why do they deserve to get all the vampire romance their hearts could dream of, and I’m lucky if I get so much as a bone tossed my way?”

          Wow. Sense of entitlement much? Are you seriously suggesting you have a RIGHT to choose what kinds of vampire stories are most popular right now? Really? REALLY???????

          1. No, not really. I have a right to like what I like. It just so happens that because what I like isn’t popular, and I’m voicing my dissatisfaction of that, I’m the bad guy. Am I not allowed to mention that I’m not happy? Why can’t I be upset about something?

            I like vampire horror, they like vampire romance. I want more vampire horror, they want more vampire romance. I get very little vampire horror, they get a ton of vampire romance. I voice a negative opinion about that, and suddenly I’m a problem to be dealt with on a blog?

            Is it so hard to understand why this is upsetting to me?

          2. Tally–you can like what you like and hate what you hate, say what you like within some fairly straightforward guidelines.

            But when you claim you’re somehow entitled to not have something you hate be popular–well, expect somebody to call you on it.

            You have a right to say what you like. Well, so do I.

          3. Except that’s not what I’m saying. I’m not asking for vampire romance to be totally unpopular in favor of vampire horror. In other words, what I want isn’t for them to be unhappy. I just want myself, and others like me, to be happy.

            And I don’t appreciate being told I’m the bad guy for wanting that.

          4. Tally–I responded to EXACTLY what you said. Kindly don’t backtrack and reword it to mean something else then act amazed someone took you at your word.

            You said something specific. Something pretty clear. And I called you on it. Now you’re pretending you said something else.

            Maybe you MEANT to say something else. Okay. Happens to pretty much everybody sooner or later. But re-read your words and try to see what they look like to anyone else.

          5. I said, “but there is no such balance, and I’m on the losing end,” which is true. Vampire romance far outweighs vampire horror right now.

            I said, “Why should fans of vampire romance get everything they want, but folks like me who like vampire horror have a much more limited number of books and films to go through?” A valid question, I think. I’m not suggesting that they have less and I have more. I’m saying it’s not fair that they get more and I have less.

            I said, “What makes them so much better than me, or others like me?” Again, a valid question. I’m not suggesting that I’m so great I deserve everything I want, but I want to know what makes me so terrible that I don’t deserve what I want. Why is it that us horror fans are just a problem to be dealt with when they voice their frustration over a drought in what they enjoy?

            I said, “Why do they deserve to get all the vampire romance their hearts could dream of, and I’m lucky if I get so much as a bone tossed my way?” Another valid question. Again, the ratio of vampire romance to vampire horror is highly in the former’s favor, and because I point that out and voice my dissatisfaction with that, I’m insulted.

            Then you said, “Wow. Sense of entitlement much? Are you seriously suggesting you have a RIGHT to choose what kinds of vampire stories are most popular right now? Really? REALLY???????”

            I am not suggesting I have a right to choose what kinds of vampire stories are popular. I’m suggesting that it’s not fair for me, and the horror fandom, to be attacked and insulted for daring to voice our frustration over the favoritism toward romance that exists in the vampire genre right now.

            I just want one thing: more vampire horror. That’s all. I shouldn’t have to feel insulted for saying that. I shouldn’t have to feel like I’ve been attacked for feeling like my opinion doesn’t matter.

          6. I said, “Why do they deserve to get all the vampire romance their hearts could dream of, and I’m lucky if I get so much as a bone tossed my way?” Another valid question. Again, the ratio of vampire romance to vampire horror is highly in the former’s favor, and because I point that out and voice my dissatisfaction with that, I’m insulted.

            –Sorry but what nonsense. Nobody said TWILIGHT fans are better than you. It isn’t about “deserving” anything, and frankly that does indicate an incredible sense of self-entitlement on your part. Now you’re playing the martyr because someone called you on it. Well, no. Sorry something you dislike is so popular. Been there my entire life. But we don’t get to vote on what other people like. Nor should we.

            And as this article points out, the seething hatred and name-calling is rarely aimed at those who hate Twilight (although interestingly you equate public disagreement with you as the same thing) but rather at those who love the books, or (in my case) merely enjoy them.

            If all you want is “more vampire horror” then that is what you should have said instead of pretending a lack of same is somehow an infringement on your rights or a judgment of you as a human being.

            Mind you, it would still be kinda off topic. My article wasn’t about how wonderful TWILIGHT is, but what seems to lie behind some of the most vitriolic hatred directed at a books series and its fans. Not whether those books are any good at all.

          7. You’re right. It isn’t about “deserving” anything. Perhaps I’m just wording my thoughts in a way that suggests entitlement, but I assure you, that’s not my intention. To put it in Sesame Street terms, I don’t see why I’m the bad guy for pointing out the favoritism toward romance, or voicing my opinion on said favoritism.

            I’m not trying to say “I’m so special I deserve whatever I want.” I’m just trying to say that, this favoritism exists, and I don’t think it’s fair. It wouldn’t be fair to them if the tables were turned either. No one is better than anyone else, horror fan or romance fan. I just wish that, as a horror fan, I didn’t have to feel attacked for voicing my opinion.

            That’s the bottom line of what I’m trying to say, I guess.

        2. Let The Right One In is essentially Twilight for males. And I’m saying this as someone who likes Let Me In even more than Twilight. Yeah, it’s grittier, but the essence is a love story between a vulnerable, lonely human and a powerful, protective vampire.

          The difference is that teen boys and men don’t like to admit their vulnerability, so the reason it works for males is that both the vampire protector/lover (Eli/Abby is indeed a lover, even if Platonic) and protagonist (and reader avatar) have been aged down – and physically sized down – to prepubescence.

          It’s interesting that they were independently written around the same time. (Things tend come in waves – in this case the vampire-human romances of True Blood, LTROI, Twilight, Thirst. All independently tapping into the zeitgeist.)

          Read Stephen Bissette (Swamp Thing artist and longtime horror comics artist/writer) comparing Twilight and ’08 LTROI:

    2. 1. Nothing is being taken from vampire horror fans; thanks in great part to Twilight as a publishing and movie phenomenon there are more vampire movies, books, video games, comics, art etc. of all subgenres than ever, including horror vampires.

      2. Where exactly is this shortage of horror vampires? There’s the aforementioned The Strain (now a comic book series as well), The Passage (movie in 2013), the expanding 30 Days of Night franchise, Stake Land, Daybreakers, Fright Night, Priest, upcoming movies like The Last Voyage of the Demeter and many more. The notion that Twilight has resulted in the suppression of horror/monstery vampires is just rubbish. Or look at comic books: Virulents, American Wasteland, the adaptation of Fevre Dream. Or low budget independent films of the last few years, like Grace, The Hamiltons, I Sell The Dead, Strigoi, Demon Under Glass… Where is this “robbery” and deprivation? Maybe you’re just not looking hard enough.

      3. A beautiful, refined, self-loathing vampire romantically mooning over a human can be found in the movies as early as Dracula’s Daughter (1936), which was one of Anne Rice’s inspirations. For a dark romance between a beautiful vampire and a human, check out La Morte Amoureuse (1830). The vampire as beautiful (and/or fangless, a daywalker etc.), a lover of humans, object of desire, hero fighting his or her own kind, human blood abstainer, boyfriend of high schooler, or any combination of these, is nothing new.

      The genesis of this modern trope as a pop culture phenom is BTVS season 1 episode 7. Which had the way paved for it by 1990’s acclaimed YA paranormal romance novel The Silver Kiss and the first Vampire Diaries novel in ’91. Remorseful, heroic, centuries old vamp who sucks face with a sixteen year old girl. (But it’s OK because Buffy is a butt-kicking superhero. That forgives all sins.)

      And where is the complaining from horror vampire fans about the ‘good’ vamp-human romance in the 30 Days of Night: Dark Days comic? But that gets a pass too since it’s 30DON.

      4. Sure, imprinting would be bizarre, implausible, and unacceptable in the real world. But so would much of the behavior (to say the least) of Eli, Lestat, Stefan, Selene, Bill and a lot of other characters beloved (even crushed on) by fans. And do you also condemn The Time Traveler’s Wife? Serious grooming, by that standard. Nobody is being forced to idealize or emulate the personalities and relationships in Twilight. Give fans some credit for knowing the difference between fiction and reality.

      5. “No self-respecting feminist would be caught dead supporting something that perpetuates sexist stereotypes the way this series does.” I’m not even going to pretend to speak for all feminists myself, since I’m a middle-aged straight man. You do know that Twilight (and Dexter) screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg is a feminist, don’t you? And that there are feminist defenses of Twilight fandom around the internet?

      1. 1. That’s just flat-out wrong. The majority of it is romance and sexy urban fantasy BS.

        2. Not looking hard enough? I look all the time, and I have to wade through endless amounts of vampire romance to find the horror. Let’s not forget that you’re lumping in multiple mediums AND going across a span of several years. If you looked at them one medium at a time and one year at a time, you’ll notice it’s by far in romance’s favor.

        3. Dracula’s Daughter didn’t sacrifice the horror in favor of the romance (though it is naturally very tame on both fronts, considering when it was made). Neither did La Morte Amoureuse. But why are you going back so far, and jumping around between mediums? I presume it’s to make your list appear more substantial. I’m not talking about the vampire horror genre as a whole throughout its history, though it has been dwindling for a while now. Go ahead and count the number of vampire romance novels compared to vampire horror novels released this year. When you stop jumping around between years and mediums, it’s much more obvious.

        4. The difference with, say, Eli’s behavior is that when she’s doing things that are strange, or even menacing or evil, it’s not being portrayed as romantic. Eli’s very much a monster, and that isn’t toned down just for the sake of the romance. As for the fans knowing the difference between fiction and reality, you’d be surprised how many do not know the difference. Certainly a smaller number than those who do, but regardless.

        5. Since when were middle-aged straight men not allowed to be feminists?

        1. OK, by definition I’m a feminist since I support women’s rights.


          Wired.com: “What do you think of the Twilight phenomenon?”

          Guillermo Del Toro: “I haven’t read them. I’ve never been a big fan of the romantic aspect of vampirism. But I don’t fault the books — I think that is a perfectly legitimate aspect of vampirism and if they make a lot of readers happy, that’s fantastic. I think that the only thing is I am of the mind that no interpretation of vampires should be the only one you get.”

          1. Yeah, he’s right. No one interpretation should be the only version available. Except, there is far more romance available than horror within the vampire genre these days. So it’s harder for folks like me when we want scary vampires, and the majority of what’s coming out is sexy vampires. Which isn’t fair.

          2. Tally, it’s ‘fair’ because that’s what the general public wants. If they wanted more vampire horror books, they’d be buying them. If there was a bigger audience for vampire horror, it wouldn’t be a ‘problem’. The people decide what’s ‘fair’, commercially-speaking.

          3. In order for the publishers to determine that vampire horror would not sell, they would have to publish it so they could see whether or not it actually sells, not to mention market it fairly. Both Justin Cronin’s “The Passage” and Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Strain” were given decent marketing pushes and published from decent publishers, and weren’t they both best sellers? Cronin’s sequel “The Twelve” also appears to be a best seller, and the rest of the Strain trilogy was also fairly popular. “The Passage” got its movie rights bought up by Ridley Scott right around the time it came out and “The Strain” is getting a TV show at FX. And yet, we’re supposed to believe there’s no audience for that kind of thing?

  14. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but then so am I. I would refer to my two articles on “Top Ten Mistakes in Twilight” and “Top Ten Things Twilight Got Right” to give a more thorough critique of the series–which I don’t agree is sexist regarding Bella per se but IMHO is sexist about gender roles.

    Mind you, I suspect critics of this (and other) series rarely focus on what fans find attractive about them. Rather, they make the assumption that because someone enjoys or even loves these books they regard every detail of the heroine’s life so desirable as to be copied. Rather like those who look at HARRY POTTER and see nothing but kids studying the occult.

    But I feel compelled to point out that criticism of the books being primarily a love story would apply equally well to almost every love story–ROMEO AND JULIET (who make zero effort to, for example, end the feud between their families) or PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (which is about little more than getting certain couples together) or even the delightful films LOVE ACTUALLY and FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL.

    One last thing–“intended” by whom? Methinks every single creator of vampire fiction creates vampires with their own intentions. Neither you nor I nor anyone else can make the claim that some specific “intention” is more valid.

    1. Romeo and Juliet wasn’t JUST about the romance. It’s just that that’s the only part most people remember. The tragedy isn’t that two starcrossed lovers couldn’t be together, it’s that two families were blind to their children’s feelings until they killed themselves.

      Intended by whom? It’s not like some individual just pulled vampires out of their hat. They come from a rich cultural background, and were monsters from their very inception. Only recently has this idea come about that, since a writer can depict anyTHING they want anyWAY they want, killers and monsters can be romantics and lovers. The difference is, it’s only really acceptable when the monsters don’t exist.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a best-seller to write a whimsical romance that depicts Jesus raping a dead baby and then feeding it to her mother. Since, as the writer, I’m allowed to depict anything I want anyway I want.

      1. Yes–you can depict pretty much anything you choose in any kind of fiction, and if people like what you wrote, they’ll buy it and if enough people like it then others will try to copy your success. Really. That is the way the real world works.

        I utterly dispute that R&J is about the feud per se, but rather about experiencing the catharsis of tragedy. But the two leads aren’t thinking about pretty much anything except their love for one another (which was my point). Unlike Edward and Bella, who also have a peace to broker, lives to save, battles to plan, mysteries to solve etc. Not saying TWILIGHT is anywhere as good as Shakespeare, but as far as surface subject matters go they aren’t that different (which is one reason why surface subject matter isn’t that useful in judging works of art at any quality level).

        The earliest depictions of vampire fiction, including “Clarimonde” and even “Varney the Vampyre” most certainly depict the undead as something other than mere monsters. Even more-so “Carmilla.” Legendary vampires bear pretty much no resemblance to any fictional vampires for the past two centuries (although they are kinda/sorta like George Romero’s zombies–if they were rapists). Mind you, I still don’t think any previous writer’s intentions nor the folkloric beliefs of others are in and of themselves a valid basis for telling whether something is good or bad. Their intentions don’t make TWILIGHT bad or good. And yeah, every single writer about vampires gets to do whatever they like with’em. They don’t even have to ask your permission.

        1. R&J as characters weren’t thinking about anything but each other, this is true. But today that’s depicted as romantic, whereas it’s really just stupid. They’re two idiot kids who are only thinking about themselves and it’s tragic that their families ignored this. Shakespeare wasn’t trying to come up with the greatest romance ever, he was trying point out how silly it was.

          Indeed, the vampire has been romanticized early on. Except, once again, the romance didn’t always come at the cost of the horror. And besides, when I say “the vampire’s inception” I’m not referring to when it was first brought to fiction. The vampires of myth were very much nightmarish horrors meant to be feared, not loved. The closer to capturing that a vampire is, the more likely I might be interested. I understand that some people may not like that, but it’s what I like.

          And again, I’m not asking that writers change their vision. I just wish that those writers whose visions were terrifying to start with were actually given a chance by publishers and filmmakers.

          I’m not asking for LESS vampire romance, because that wouldn’t be fair to fans of that subgenre. I just want MORE vampire horror.

          1. Having studied Shakespear for many, many years I feel very strongly you’ve misunderstood R&J in a big way. Primarily because that particular tragedy not about any particular person’s foolishness but pretty much everyone’s. But I digress…

            For the record, I hope you get more horror-oriented vampire fiction that appeals to you. More, I hope it is good. Sadly 75% of almost all art is crap. I strongly recommend THE STRAIN and Brian Lumley.

            Me, I feel compelled to point out that most of the vampires in the TWILIGHT universe are among the most terrifying of their breed ever imagined–ruthless, invulnerable, not even remotely gallant or romantic, relentless dealers in torturous death. Kind of ironic, really.

          2. It’s odd because you’re saying you think I misunderstood R&J, but I find myself agreeing with you. But, as you said, that is a digression.

            Indeed, as per Sturgeon’s Revelation, most of anything is crap. As for The Strain Trilogy, I bought it, read it, and loved it. What I’ve read of Lumley’s stuff so far, I have enjoyed.

            As for the terrifying vampires of Twilight, it’d be nice if scaring the reader/audience was the primary goal, but for all the terror that could be evoked by this variation, it’s entirely wasted as part of the backdrop for a shallow romance.

  15. Reasons to hate Twilight:

    – Poorly written.

    – Mary Sue fic.

    – Abusive relationship.

    – Teaches nothing except ‘you will never be complete unless you have true love in your life’.

    I could go on, but you called Batman a killer, which tells me that you’re either not all there or an utter moron, so.

    1. Re: Batman.

      Bravo on finding one detail with which to dismiss everything–and totally miss the point of the article. I’m not saying TWILIGHT is good (or bad). I’m making a comment about the opposite side of the frenzy–those who unreasonably loathe everything about the series. Whether someone likes or dislikes the books and movies is beside the point. Just as whether you’re conservative or liberal or whatever has nothing to do with nature of the Birther movement.

      And you haven’t mentioned that issue. At all.

  16. For me personally, had I not seen the First Twilight movie, I would not have fallen in love with the human/vampire love story. Twilight may be very vanilla and clean cut, but it opened a whole new genre for me. I got my hands on every vampire story I could after that. I love every single vampire story i’ve read and watched, from the most gruesome to the most erotic. I have been very dissapointed with the rest of the twilight series, but I am still in love with the core of the story, I like my vampires to be a dangerous, but still capable of undying love.

  17. I think the romanticism of ‘vampires’ began with Bram Stoker. Or around that time. But well… the ‘normal’ vampires that basically everyone complains to Twilight about are Bram Stoker/Anne Rice’s vampires. Garlic/stake/fangs give or take a lot. ((I could go on how garlic is ‘deadly’ to vampires but that is a tangent.))
    It is an authors prerogative to change what they like to fit their story, but… Meyer really didn’t put it right. What I am getting at before you ask, or nit-pick, it is basically that Uwe Bowl has done dozens of movies and if you look at his work as a whole, he sucks, but his now later movies, are actually getting better. Meaning he is learning. Meyer seems to have written one book, then decided to write three more to that book without planing it out at all first. The books after Twilight, and a little of New Moon are just about after thoughts. This is a mistake, but a newbie one, maybe she will learn like Uwe Bowl seems to be, or maybe she will become like Ed Wood.
    Buuut I think another reason for the hate is that people read far to into the book. They take it and try to dissect it, even when it is so simple that it doesn’t need to be. The characters ((mainly Bella)) are blank slates we are basically meant to be, or like because we as a reader fill them in more. Which I think is the reason why people only like certain characters. The ones that THEY identify the most with. So the ones that they don’t find any sort of resemblance to are ones that they hate, or loathe.
    The impact of Twilight is that… I think it is just like a stupid pop song. Its catchy as heck and you hum it all the time, but after a few months you basically find something new to like. That’s my two-cents.

    1. Stoker’s vampires weren’t very romantic. Count Dracula was a monster through and through. However, the vampire did begin to change as soon as it hit literature. Polidori’s “The Vampyre” stands out particularly, as well as “Varney The Vampire” and its sympathetic titular character.

      I don’t know if Meyer is improving or not (The Host was just thinly-veiled Mormon propaganda and a bad riff on The Body Snatchers), but yeah, Twilight really is little more than a silly little pop song. In time, its popularity will fade. Fairly rapidly too, if pop singers are anything to go by.

  18. personally i hate twilight saga because of the shity plot and the shity way the vampires are interpreted (in no way would they ever sparkle!!). befor you start your shit storm on me let me say i have read the first book, but i burn the mother fucker the moment i read the fact that he sparkled >:(

    I forget who wroght it but i hate her/him for it

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