Defending TWILIGHT and Stephenie Meyer
by, 12-08-2011 at 11:12 AM (11469 Views)
I've never read any of Stephenie Meyer’s TWILIGHT novels, and I’ve only seen the first movie. The first time I heard of this phenomenon was when a female cousin of mine revealed her obsession with the series shortly before heading off to Cornell University. I was quite taken with her fascination; after all, I’d made a movie about vampires, UNDYING LOVE, and I’ve made other horror films and have had several horror novels published, and yet my own blood, who had never shown any interest in my work, was caught up in some vampire series aimed at teens.
Later, I attended a packed screening of the first film. It was pretty weak, but certainly no worse than 1,000 other vampire films. However, I had a great time: I was delighted by the cheers and delighted squeals of all those teen and tween girls. It was as if they had found their STAR TREK franchise, or if they had gone all fanboy-geeky because their two-dimensional superhero comic book had been (poorly) adapted for the big screen. Or maybe I had it backwards: maybe all of those STAR TREK and comic book fans had simply been behaving like teenage girls all those years.
The point is, sitting in that theater, surrounded by all of those burgeoning young woman soon to be identified as Team Edward and Team… uh, what’s the other guy’s name? It doesn’t matter… I realized the obvious: because I’m an adult male and not a 15-year-old girl, TWILIGHT was not aimed at me. And I was fine with that, and I enjoyed listening to all of the high pitched chatter as we filed out of the multiplex.
Since then, the hatred for everything TWILIGHT has become a phenomenon unto itself. I can hear the whining now: “Vampires don’t sparkle!” Um, excuse me, cynical minded adults, but does that mean you believe vampires are real? Or do you simply believe that creators should not deviate from genre conventions, ie clichés? What if George Romero had felt that way when he made MARTIN, or Kathryn Bigelow when she made the classic NEAR DARK (which failed at the box office, eclipsed by the success of THE LOST BOYS, which also appealed to teenage girls )?
A lot of the hatred aimed at TWILIGHT – and at Stephenie Meyer, and at her readers/ fans – comes from horror filmmakers, authors, and fans, including Stephen King. Except for King, I suspect that in many cases there’s a great deal of jealousy and bitterness at play here. What else can explain grown men and women dumping on a series that’s engaged young women and encouraged them to read? There is a superior minded mean spiritedness inherent to all of this that I find somewhat disturbing. Everything is subjective, we all have our likes and dislikes – and our extreme likes and dislikes – but what explains this obsessive and near-genetic compulsion to deride entertainment aimed at young females? TWILIGHT is no worse than Harlequin romances, paranormal romances, or mediocre men’s fiction. I admit there’s some weird undercurrents there which seem designed to dissuade these same gals from having pre-marital sex, but whatevuh…as a parent of a young daughter, that message doesn’t offend me in the least.
I’ve never once felt tempted to make fun of these books, movies, or fans. What really is the point of pissing al over someone else’s parade? Would you piss on a dollhouse, or on a dress purchased for a first dance? At what point do young women become old enough to serve as the receptacles for all this adult bitterness?
I’m sure I’ll never read one of these books – again, I’m not the target audience – and I think I’m safe from being forced to sit through the other movies for several years, so I can’t defend the artistic merits of Meyer’s creations, but you have to tap into a vein to achieve this kind of rabid following, and Meyer has certainly done that to a degree of success most of us will never know (Mind you, I’m not equating financial success or loyalty with quality).
So leave the TWILIGHT lady and girls alone; let them enjoy their thing. Do you see them attacking tribbles, lightsabers, web shooters, shields, video games, or any other testosterone driven media or behavioral patterns?
And to all of those girls and young women who feel they have been mistreated because of their choice in entertainment: if TWILIGHT has whetted your appetite for dark fiction, feel free to check out my website, www.slimeguy.com...
SLIME CITY MASSACRE is now available on DVD, PlayStation Network, Xbox, and VOD: my latest novel, COSMIC FORCES: THE JAKE HELMAN FILES, is available as a trade paperback, audio book, and e-book. In 2012, look for my zombie novella CARNAGE ROAD; my werewolf novel THE FRENZY WAR; the fourth Jake Helman book, TORTURED SPIRITS; and another edition of Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival.