“I have learned not to think little of any one’s belief, no matter how strange it may be. I have tried to keep an open mind…” —Abraham Van Helsing, Dracula
The professor’s logic has become customary. Sure, vampire tales aren’t for everyone, but “fangaticism” has certainly increased in the past four years, probably because vampires have come a long way in media since Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This can, at least in part, be attributed to the release of the Twilight Saga film series and HBO’s True Blood television series in 2008. By now, most of us have formed opinions on each series, whether we love one and hate the other, can’t get enough of both, or are just plain disinterested and can’t understand what all the hype’s about.
Personally, I feel there’s no contest when it comes to True Blood and Twilight. Yes, they both have supernaturally-driven plots that employ the perspective of a danger-prone female who is deeply in love with a vampire. And yes, they are both based on novels. But to a fan of either series, calling them similar is offensive. The Twilight films were written by Melissa Rosenberg, and based on Stephenie Meyer’s fantasy romance novels for young adults. More like preteens. And it’s obvious.
The acting is overdramatic and reeks of cheesy romance. As a young adult myself, I couldn’t get through any of the four movies without wanting to stop watching. I did. I didn’t like how vampires were portrayed in these films, with the ability to walk in the sun, their lack of fangs, and their obnoxious decision to be “vegetarian” (drinking the blood of animals, instead of humans). Check the labor laws, and give me a break! Allergy to the daylight, sharp fangs, and blood-thirst are what make vampires so mystifying. Who could fear a sparkly high school student?
Now True Blood, on the other hand, has the right kind of vampire representation. There aren’t any cheap-looking vampires, like in Twilight, with their pale face makeup and golden eyes. The vampires in True Blood look naturally pale, as if the actors are instructed to limit sunlight exposure in their time off. Now that’s dedication. Furthermore, the fact that the True Blood vamps cry blood tears is both disturbing and amazing at the same time.
In case you live under a rock, or just don’t subscribe to HBO, True Blood is a television series based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries novels by Charlaine Harris, surrounding the life of one Ms. Sookie Stackhouse. The story takes place in fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana, where the days are long and accents are strong, y’all. We follow Sookie (played by Anna Paquin, popularly known for her role as Rogue in the X-Men trilogy) and her romance with the dangerous undead and bear witness to a world where humans and vampires, along with other supernatural creatures, are able to cohabitate due to a synthetic-blood drink, called Tru Blood. A vampire’s need to feed on human blood is supplanted by this bottled beverage. A-negative (pun intended) is that humans are exposed to the dangers of addiction to V, a street drug made of vampire blood. V is sold in a vial and taken in drops. It gives humans super-strength and feelings of invincibility. Like other hard drugs, V has withdrawal effects which make it hard to stop taking.
The issue of addiction is just one of many societal issues that True Blood presents within its storylines. Vampire mythology is commensurately infused with real-life circumstances, exposing such elements as politics, crime and punishment, religion, civil rights, human emotion, and the bond of a family, consanguineous or not. The plight of vampire acceptance by human rights activists in the show has been criticized as one of the biggest examples of how True Blood improperly reflects society in relation to the struggles of acceptance in the homosexual community. This is ironic because the show’s writer and creator, Alan Ball, is gay.
It wouldn’t be fair of me to disregard the Twilight Saga as complete fantasy, containing no reflection of society. Digging deep, I can pull out the fact that Bella and Edward’s relationship is characteristic of teenage love: the innocence and exaggerated emotion, disapproval from those on the outside looking in, and finally, having to choose between two suitors. Whew! That was tough, because what’s more accurate is the reverse, that the Twilight Saga mostly influences society. As with most media aimed at youth, content isn’t necessarily what’s important as much as is getting what’s desired as a young person. Young girls didn’t know they wanted romance. Hell, most young girls were born after chivalry’s funeral. However, they do know they want to see “good-looking” guys who are mysterious and dangerous, and Stephenie Meyer just so happened to combine that ingredient with some old-fashioned sentiment and corn.
Not only are young girls hyping these films up and warranting immature drivel like “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob,” but another large fan base for these films is middle-aged women. Either Mom finally found something to help her connect with her daughter, or maybe romance is just that hard to come by for these women and Twilight fills the void. Whatever the case, let’s just get this last movie over with. It’s bad enough that the Breaking Dawn book had to glorify teen pregnancy, but did they have to split the movie version into two parts? Part One was released in November 2011 and did well in the box office, and Part Two is set to hit theaters the same time this year. Just put the pen down, Stephenie.
You know who should be keeping the writing coming, and is? That’s right: Alan Ball. HBO is currently airing Season Five on Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. If you’ve been meaning to get into it, make no more excuses. On your next day off, cancel all your plans, start at Season One on Netflix and work your way through to the end of Season Four. You’ll be a Truebie faster than Jace Everett can sing “Bad Things.”