Daddy Warpig’s Twilight Saga!

Monday , 10, July 2017 24 Comments

I did.

Friends and neighbors, I’ve come to tell you this: there is discontent stirring across the land. Yea, behold, upon yon Facebooks the cry has gone out: “Why do you hate everything, Warpig? Why do you criticize the things I like?! HAVE YOU NO HEART NOR SOUL?!”

(The answer is “No, I don’t.”, as it turns out. But that’s beside the point.)

Today I shall answer their pleas and shall NOT heap criticism and scorn upon a work of fiction. But they’re not going to like it.

Let’s talk Twilight.

The “Twilight Saga” is one of the most vilified-yet-beloved mass market success stories maybe ever. Scorned by millions, loved by millions, it’s reached a level of pop culture prominence second only to Harry Potter. The books were hits, the five movies were hits, and since I would never read the books, and the movies were available for $2 a pop in HD, I decided to buy the lot and immerse myself in the cinematic Twilight experience.

The first thing about Twilight is this: It’s a series of Paranormal Romances written for teen girls. That’s what it is, that’s what it’s supposed to be. Criticizing it for being a Romance is like criticizing the Spider-Man movies for having Spider-Man in them. Sorry, folks, but that’s just insane. The problem is, most of the criticism of the Saga is, at its core, whining about a Romance novel that features actual romance.

“SHE MADE MUH VAMPIRES SEXY!” Look, I’m a big proponent of monstrous, inhuman vampires, and have been ever since I stopped worrying and learned to hate the “World of Darkness”. I got sick of vampire eroticism long before “Urban Fantasy” novels stopped fetishizing bloodsuckers and turned to angels for all their superhuman beefcake needs. So, really, I get this complaint. But it’s STUPID. It’s a Romance novel. THE MALE LEAD IS SEXY. The male lead is ALWAYS sexy in Romance novels.

More, vampires were ALWAYS about the sexy. The very first vampire novel, Carmilla (from which Dracula was derived), was all about a sexy lesbian vampire trying to sex up a Victorian hottie. Lots of movies followed in this vein (Ha! I kill me.), up to and including the Hammer Horror films, which often featured sexy vampire babes being all sexy and nekkid. Then there was Lifeforce, the central monster of which was an insanely hot space vampiress seducing all the gents while being totally nekkid. Like almost the entire movie. Vampires were ALWAYS sexy. Get over it.

“SHE MADE THE VAMPIRES SPARKLE!” Now, I don’t understand why she did this. Makes no sense to me. Yet, she’s not the first. In Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files”, an entire race of super super sexy vampires of sex, lust, and sex actually glow. GLOW. Like fluorescent lightbulbs or something. (AND IT’S AWESOME.)

Considered next to the rampant violations of the vampire canon that prior Vampire Horror works have perpetrated, sparkling is a pretty minor thing. Yes, it’s more than a bit twee, but it’s a book WRITTEN FOR TEENAGE GIRLS. So some twee-ness is pretty much de rigueur. Their Trapper Keepers sparkle, their makeup sparkles, their vampires sparkle. QED.

Then there’s the pathetic whine lodged by nearly everyone on the Left: “The real message of Twilight is ‘Men really want to have sex with pretty women so they sometimes have to restrain themselves to maintain their moral decency!'”

I know this comes as a great big shock to the Left, but men (as a general rule) find women attractive. Some of them—crude, sick bastards, the lot—actually want to engage in physical affection with women. They even seem to actually enjoy it! (The men, I mean. Of course women never do.) And men can behave in pretty bad ways to secure the attention and affection of women. This is generally considered to be a bad thing, and noble men don’t do it.

This is, I am convinced, the core objection many have to Twilight: Young Adult books are veering more and more towards sexual deviancy, and vampire novels have long set up shop in the “Explicit Perverted Sex” district, but Twilight dares to be decent. It dares to feature an honorable man who refuses to take advantage of a woman who’s totally smitten with him. In fact, he insists they—THE BIGGEST GASP AND SHOCK OF ALL GASPS AND SHOCKS—wait until marriage to consummate their physical desires. And it drives the counterculture mavens UP THE WALL.

I’m not saying the movies are great and moving cinema. They’re just not my cup of tea (because I, unlike the target audience, AM NOT A TEEN GIRL). Nevertheless, they have their own sweetness and charm. The dad is a good guy who love and protects his daughter, the mom (who divorced the dad long ago) is flighty and kinda self-centered, and the Cullens, the vampire coven, are creatures afflicted with a curse who try to behave decently, and even do some good in the world.

This is OFFENSIVE. It is WRONG. You must never show people struggling to do the right thing in the face of their own limitations, temptations, or afflictions. SELF CONTROL IS BADTHINK.

The movies have their share of weaknesses, many of which can be traced back to the books. Yet, despite what many have held, they are not wholly without merit. They are decent, touching stories, and that is vanishingly rare in this fallen world, rare enough to merit benign neglect rather than overweening scorn from all allies of decency.

Plus—and I just have to get this in here—the final battle of movie five is actually really epic. It’s a full-blown Gothic Superhero brawl between rival vampire factions (Marvel’s Civil War, but with bloodsucking creatures of the night), with a mess of werewolves thrown into the bargain. Powers get trotted out, bad guys die by (bloodless) decapitation, and dozens of supernatural creatures kick the snot out of each other in spectacular ways.

If only because of that one scene, I feel my time with the five movies (four of which were “Extended Cuts!”) was not wholly wasted.

Jasyn Jones, better known as Daddy Warpig, is a host on the Geek Gab podcast, a regular on the Superversive SF livestreams, and blogs at Daddy Warpig’s House of Geekery. Check him out on Twitter.

  • Camilla Cameo says:

    Only read the first book and part of the second; saw all the movies (with Rifftrax.) The movies are much better than the books.

    Wholly agree on that final battle scene. And the plot twist concerning said battle, which many thought made it lame, I think is an awesome device.

    Unsurprisingly, this battle scene was not in the final book at all.

  • BigFire says:

    Larry Correia once said “The only time vampire sparkles is when they’re on fire”.

  • Tesh says:

    My objection to them is because Bella is insufferable and I don’t want my daughter to wind up like her. …that’s it, really. So far, I’ve been able to give her better books to read, so it’s not an issue.

  • PC Bushi says:

    I don’t feel any particular animosity toward Twilight, though I have no interest in the series. But if I were to level a criticism it’s that vampires are supposed to be soulless villains. I’m all for good heroes and temperance of all kinds; just have mixed feelings about the rebranding of vamps as good guys.

  • S1AL says:

    In fairness to Butcher, his glowing vampires aren’t actually vampires, and his actual vampires are horrific bloodsuckers who don’t get along with the sun.

    • Terry Sanders says:

      Yup. “Vampire” is a pretty generic term in the FILES. The White Court are more like incubi/succubi.

  • jic says:

    I’ve only ever seen the first movie, which was OK. Not exactly good, but not really bad either. If I was forced to watch a vampire movie from the ’00s that spawned a long-running series, better *Twilight* than the boring, incoherent *Underworld*.

  • I love self-control in all my heroes and this was the #1 reason I loved this series. When this came out, as a movie, I took my pre-teen girls to see it and as a mom, I have to say, I loved that message. And I for one, loved the sparkly vampires. The story satisfied on many levels, but the Romance in particular. Far too many stories are about promiscuity and the hookup culture where there is no taboo, no forbidden fruit, and hence no real romance.

  • Chris L says:

    Still doesn’t sound like my kinda thing, so I’ll probably not bother. On the other hand, some people (in the 10’s of millions I hear) seem to enjoy it. That these folks do not share my taste in reading and viewing material does not make them evil. It just makes them not me.

  • B&N says:

    Happy Birthday Earl Hamner Jr. Author of the Twilight Zone episode The Hunt.
    And Happy Palindrome Day! 7102017

  • Blume says:

    I just want them to get their peanut butter out of my chocolate. Paranormal Romance belongs in the romance section, not taking up half the sci-fi and fantasy section.

  • NARoberts says:

    My dislike of Twilight is not as great as my desire to piss feminists off, so I approve of this article.

  • NARoberts says:

    Pushing a bit further into this topic, I wonder what the situation in the YA romance mainstream actually is? Converged? in danger of convergence? Salvageable?

  • Vlad James says:

    “Lifeforce”! Now there is an obscure reference!

    • jic says:

      It shouldn’t be, it’s a great movie.

      • Vlad James says:

        Just realized it’s yet another Cannon Films production. Should have known…

        • Reziac says:

          Cannon Films was a money laundry for the Israeli mob. All of Hollywood is a giant money laundry, so this is hardly news, but they made no bones about it.

          Back a few decades I worked on several Cannon productions, and tho they paid bottom dollar, they were fairly well-organized as the industry goes (this makes for a much more pleasant workday), and they never tried to cheat us peons (can’t say that about some of the big studios).

          • Vlad James says:

            Heh, that’s amusing, and I wouldn’t be surprised. Which productions did you work on?

            While I didn’t realize it at the time, over half of the crazy action films I grew up on as a kid were made by Cannon Films. All those ridiculous cult classics with the likes of Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris, etc., or various types of ninjas? All Cannon Films.

            I really wish there was a production company like that since they went defunct back in the early 90s.

  • Reziac says:

    Didn’t read the books, but did see the first movie. I suppose it’s no worse than the average teen romance flick. Main flaw was the lame and inane dialog, but about halfway through we muted their dialog and substituted our own, and suddenly the durn thing was silly fun for a lazy afternoon.

  • David says:

    I think the most pressing question here is…Were the romance novels during the pulp era better than romance novels now? And almost as pressing is what have we lost from romance novels written in the early 20th century that lies waiting to be rediscovered?

    I kid.

    • Vlad James says:

      I once made the mistake of reading “Dora Thorne” by Charlotte Braeme, when it was mentioned as a popular 1880’s romance novel in Dreiser’s “Sister Carrie”. I can’t imagine any dreck today could possibly be any worse.

  • Stg58/AnimalMother says:

    Twilight: The story of a young girl’s choice between necrophilia and bestiality.

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