July 2, 2009

Have You Been Bitten? NY Times Explores the Vampire Bug

I can't believe it, it's finally happened.

I've been largely hiding my second-life as a TwiCrack Addict from my real-world friends, because I'm semi-embarrassed to be *this* obsessed with a fictional teenage undead creature.

However, this morning, I get an email entitled, "Am I in Forks, WA?" from one of my BFFs, who *finally* succumbed and read Twilight and has now discovered how dazzling Edward Cullen really is. Moreover, she supplied me with TwiCrack and sent me a link to this interesting NY Times article on the Vampire trend, excerpted here:

“The vampire is the new James Dean,” said Julie Plec, the writer and executive producer of “The Vampire Diaries,” a forthcoming series on the CW network based on the popular L. J. Smith novels about high school femmes and hommes fatales. “There is something so still and sexy about these young erotic predators,” she said.

This generation of undead prowls high school hallways and dimly lighted dance clubs as menacing — and as seductive — as they have ever been. The June premiere of the second season of “True Blood,” in which Sookie, played by Anna Paquin, is reunited with her imperious fanged suitor, drew 3.4 million viewers, making it HBO’s most-watched program since the “Sopranos” finale in 2007.

Charlaine Harris has just published “Dead and Gone,” the ninth novel in her Sookie Stackhouse series, variations on Southern Gothic fiction on which “True Blood” is based. The publishing world has been intrigued by “The Strain,” a first installment in a planned trilogy written by the film director Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, about bloodthirsty predators run amok in Manhattan.

The style world, too, has come under the vampire’s spell, in the shape of the gorgeous leather- and lace-clad night crawlers who have crept into the pages of fashion glossies.

Vampires, of course, are part of a hoary tradition that harks back to Nosferatu and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” at least. Anne Rice updated the genre, introducing the ghoulishly aristocratic vampire Lestat. But the undead are returning with a vengeance, in part because they “personify real-world anxieties,” said Michael Dylan Foster, an assistant professor in the department of folklore at Indiana University in Bloomington.

“Especially during these post-9/11 times of increased vigilance, representations like the ‘Twilight’ series reflect a kind of conspiracy-theory mentality, a fear that there is something secret and dangerous going on in our own community, right under our noses.”

Given all that baggage, what keeps vampires so alluring?

One might point to their combination of deathless good looks and decadent sexuality. Their faces, as described in “Twilight,” “were all devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful. They were faces you never expected to see except perhaps on the airbrushed pages of a fashion magazine.”
Ah, the NY Times tries to validate and dissect our irrational love of Edward Cullen by putting it in the context of a vampire obsession. Heh.

Read the rest of this interesting article here.

8 comments:

  1. I like it!! the article is "dead-on" no pun intended. I think we have been obsessed with Vampires for longer than post 9/11, at least I have. Look at the original (vampire) Bela Lugosi-luv those movies- Just saw a similiarity with Bella's name) It's a stretch, but after all I'm an addict!! Thanks for the article TCA!!

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  2. Twilight didn't sell me because of the vamps. It sold me because of the wolves.
    I think I'm in the minority when I say the vamp stories I do like are about vamps who are trying to be good people and reform them selves. The ones that feature characters who struggle to be good despite their natural instincts. The struggle to be good has always been something that sells me hook, line, and sinker.

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  3. Woo-hoo! To my online Times subscription ('cause I only get "The Weekender" package delivered - lol)! Now I can wave my Twi-Freak flag a little higher - right? Right?! Maybe??

    And jftr I got an email from my sister a week or so ago titled "Am I in Forks?" - it has been cold and rainy in Jersey - lol! She ended it with "Edward my darling, where are you???" - I was cracking up - it only took me about six solid months of pestering to get her to read the Twilight in the first place... But now she's hooked. Natch.

    : )

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  4. I don't agree that we all as Twilight fans have an obsession with Vampires.
    When it comes to the Cullens it's their level of commitment to relationships that keeps you going back.
    It's the way that Edward and Bella love each other and not that Edward is a Vampire!!!
    Hell he could be human and it's still a great love story.
    Then throw into the mix that there is drop dead gorgeous Brit by the name of Rob Psttinson playing the lover of the century in the movie, and it still isn't about Vampires, it's still about the love story, that just happens to have a supernatual twist.

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  5. @STY @TCA--Love the intellectual validation. They were actually talking about vampires and zombies on my local NPR station today too! I have said it before, NPR has a secret love affair with Twilight--they have mentioned it many times over the last year plus--nationally not just my local station. They included Twilight in their year end round-up for 2008 even. It gives me great pleasure to be able to show my eye-rolling husband NY Times and Huffington Post articles written about Twilight/Vampires, etc.

    Yes, I think this allows you to let the freak flag fly a wee bit higher....as if my freaky opinion counts. :)

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  6. I DONT agree that Twilight fans are obsessed with vampires. Im not, atleast. (Rob, yes...) You could be the most beautiful sparkly person on the planet, but have an atitude like your sh*t dont stink and that'll turn me off immediately.

    What sells the franchise is the men's behavior of the novel. Not just Edward but both vampires and wolves alike. The very idea of such men, selfless and protective, not to metion hard working and attentive makes me weak in the knees. It isnt because Edwards a vampire...if anything Stephanie humanized the Cullens so much that the only vampiness left in them is their struggle with bloodlust.

    Girls today see nothing but music videos with 99% naked chicks shaking their money maker, and movies are full of dorky husbands/boyfreinds with hot skinny wives. Am I right? YES! So girls have this image shoved down their throats 24/7. Stephanie gave us the photographic negative of this world in her novel. Bella is normal, ordinary really. But Edward loves her with an undying passion. Thats what sold Twilight, not the vampires! It gives us hope.

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  7. Before Twilight, I didn't have much interest in vampires. The obsession has to do with the Cullens being more like humans with their own demons they have to deal with, especially Edward. Oh and he's super sexy, smart, witty, funny, and just perfect.

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  8. Ever since I can remember I've loved the story of Romeo+Juliet. Something about forbiden love just draws people in, including myself. And Twilight has the same appeal. I love stories that the characters love eachother so deeply and unconditionally that they would do anything for one another, cleary that's Edward and Bella's relationship in a nut shell:)

    So it's not that just that Edward is a vampire (it does make it exciting) or the fact that he is perfect-looking, for me, the biggest factor is the WAY he loves Bella and that didn't go for the ditzy, big boobed cheerleader type which he cleary could have had. His inner depth I think speak to a lot of women who love Edward.

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