“I was relieved when it was late enough to be acceptable
for bedtime. I knew I was far too stressed to sleep, so I
did something I’d never done before. I deliberately took
unnecessary cold medicine.” — Twilight
I read the entire Twilight series a couple of years ago. I started because I felt like I ought to give it a try, given my love of supernatural fiction. I finished out of spite.
I wanted to understand exactly, and in detail, what was wrong with the stupid things.
Now, put aside the well-canvassed arguments and jokes that the “vampires” aren’t really vampires. Put aside the appalling sexual politics*, and how derivative it is, and the fact that the “hero”, who is supposed to be the sexiest thing ever, drives a Volvo and wears tan sweaters.
While all of those points are massively valid, the main reason why the Twilight series sucks is because the books are poorly written. They move at a snail’s pace and not much happens. The characters are not believable, particularly the teenage heroine, who acts like a 40-year-old housewife obsessed with doing laundry and cooking dinner.
Every tiny, pointless thing, including brushing her teeth and eating cereal for breakfast, rates a mention. Repetitive, mundane dialogue is showcased like it’s a lesson for writers on what not to do.
These things should have been fixed before the books were published. The editor should have gone through them with a red pen, and gotten rid of — say, the entire scene I started quoting above, for instance, which goes on as follows:
“…I deliberately took unnecessary cold medicine – the kind that knocked me out for a good eight hours. I normally wouldn’t condone that type of behavior in myself, but tomorrow would be complicated enough without me being loopy from sleep deprivation on top of everything else. While I waited for the drugs to kick in, I dried my clean hair till it was impeccably straight, and fussed over what I would wear tomorrow. With everything ready for the morning, I finally lay in my bed. I felt hyper; I couldn’t stop twitching. I got up and rifled through my shoebox of CDs until I found a collection of Chopin’s nocturnes. I put that on very quietly and then lay down again, concentrating on relaxing individual parts of my body. Somewhere in the middle of that exercise, the cold pills took effect, and I gladly sank into unconsciousness.
I woke early, having slept soundly and dreamlessly thanks to my gratuitous drug use.”
I’m surprised her own boringness didn’t put her to sleep.
Anyway, why am I writing this blog post now? A friend who also loves a good vampire story recently watched the first Twilight movie, and she had a good rant to me about how shit it was, and how the dialogue was so bad, and the main actress looks like she can smell dog shit through the whole thing, and how she couldn’t believe that it’s a phenomenon, and is everyone crazy?
Which is when I had to tell her that at least it was better than the book, since they cut out the bits about her washing her clothes and marinating chicken.
The punchline to this story is that we had just watched the 1974 Hammer “masterpiece”, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. Which we thought was miles better than the Twilight movies, because, like all old Hammer movies, it wasn’t pretending to be good.
The trailer will give you a good idea of the quality:
* UPDATE: Don’t know what I’m talking about here? This woman’s video sums it up brilliantly: