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After watching “Twilight” the always brooding, oftentimes boring (that is, unless you’re a teenage girl with raging hormones) vampire love story, only one thought came to mind: When did these creatures of the night turn from horrific monsters into moody teenagers?
Somewhere along the line, Dracula gave up the velvet cape and started shopping at Banana Republic, a move that created Edward Cullen, probably the most anemic blood sucker ever to grace the cinema screen.
According to the Catherine Hardwick adaptation of the amazingly popular Stephanie Meyer novel (once again, among teenage girls with raging hormones), once you receive the vampire’s kiss, you become an undead, pasty-faced Jonas brother with Luke Perry’s “Beverly Hills 90210” hair.
For a reason that escapes most men, Edward (Robert Pattinson) is a primo piece of steak to all the young ladies at Forks High, a small school in the even smaller town of Forks, Wash., which sits under a constant canopy of clouds and jumbo pine trees.
It’s pretty clear that Edward could have his choice of female companions for dinner (take that any way you like), but he can’t stop thinking about Isabella Swan (Kristen Stewart), the pretty, but often uncoordinated new girl on the scene. He’s so enraptured by her that he’s decided not to eat her and begin a forbidden romance with a mortal.
Instead of running away, Isabella, the core character in a story laced with girl-power themes, can’t get enough of Edward, even though it would be quite dangerous to let things go too far — if you know what I mean.
After all, Edward is a monster, although he’s trying his best to be a “vegetarian” — meaning he and his tree-hugging family of vamps only dine on the blood of animals.
But in the end Edward is about as monstrous as Eddie Munster, even when he’s standing toe to toe against another crew of carnivorous vampires feasting on their sleepy town.
As I watched Edward and his family plunge a steak into the hearts of vampire lore purists everywhere (in “Twilight” the sun doesn’t cause a vampire to burst into flames. Instead they sparkle!) I kept trying to remember that the story wasn’t really about vampires but about embracing forbidden love and so forth.
Yet, I couldn’t help noticing how the dark portrayals of vampires in Hollywood have brightened over the last 20 years.
In the 1980s you had biker bad asses like Michael from “The Lost Boys” (sure, he had punk rocker hair, but he still relished in playing with his food). Then in the 1990s you had tortured characters like Angel from the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” series — a kick ass killer for sure, who gives up all the blood and villainy in an attempt to get his humanity back.
In the 21st century you have Bill from HBO’s “Tru Blood,” who is doing everything he can to mainstream into a society that is very much aware that vampire’s exist.
Now you have Edward, whose only sin seems to be he has Luke Perry’s old hair.
Back in the day, vampires had no reflections because they were reflections of our own dark side. Since we didn’t want to face these evil aspects of our psyche, they were left frightening us from the shadows.
Now they’re not frightening us at all — which I guess would make at least one psychologist theorize that we’ve finally come to embrace our own darkness.
Apparently now we’re afraid of nothing except — as “Twilight” shows us — fitting in at a new school.
Oh, the horror!
Starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Running time: 122 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some violence and a scene of sensuality.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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