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Can the Twilight Movie Capture Red-Blooded Horror Fans?

Twilight Movie Capture Red-Blooded Horror Fans?” width=”560″/>

Breathless updates about Twilight are already flying around the web like Euros in a Jay-Z video. If you are old and used up like me — by which I mean you are old enough to legally consume alcohol and remember life before TMZ — then you were probably just as confused as I was when jabber about this movie began to trickle into horror blogs. Turning to trusty Wikipedia, I learned that “Twilight” is “the time before sunrise, or after sunset.” Thank goodness for that disambiguation page: Twilight is also the bestselling series of vampire novels by Stephenie Meyer, and its (inevitably bloodless) PG-13 movie adaptation. As the horror genre is besieged by a new generation of gore-mongering little rascals, is there any hope that an actual red-blooded horror fan can enjoy participating in the clamor around this epic vampire soap? Or is slowly drowning in sexually-repressed tween-frenzy all I have to look forward to in 2008?

The Hype
In the last two weeks I counted numerous Twilight link-fests on Cinematical and MTV is all in your face with a video introducing the lissome cast and some early special effects. Is this horror? I confess to being too blinded by abs to tell. I needed the help of an expert, so I called on Laura Cristiano, co-owner of the Twilight Lexicon blog, the epicenter of the Twilight fan universe which after just two years, gathers 30,000 unique hits a day.

“It’s classic storytelling, as imaginative as Bram Stoker,” says Cristiano, who has utmost faith in director Catherine Hardwicke’s vision of the film, “[She] doesn’t just go for the cheap and the cheese. She really wants to build a compelling reality, as surreal as that may be.” She admits it’s “a little weird” to see Twilight news on serious horror sites like Bloody-Disgusting (Twilight Trailer to Debut Before Speedracer!!”) but concedes that the hardcore horror types and the Mormons (the books’ author, Stephenie Meyer, is Mormon as well) mingle better than you’d think on the Lexicon’s forum. “Every forum has its rules, ours is basically, ‘The books are written at what you’d call a PG-13 rating — let’s just keep the language of the site at the same level.’ It’s just a matter of mutual respect.”

Cristiano is understandably optimistic about the film’s allure to people of all ages and backgrounds, and urges people with more adult tastes in horror to resist the hype-fatigue and keep an open mind. “I would get them to think about their favorite movie of all time, and ask them what it is about that movie that pulls them back to it again and again… It’s like that for us; the writing behind this is so good, you’ll just get sucked into it.”

The View Like From Within the Movie
Kellan Lutz, who plays Emmett Cullen in the film, gave me one vampire’s opinion. “I don’t look at it as a horror genre movie, but I also don’t see it as a romantic drama, like so many people do,” he says. Lutz does think the film will sweep away cliches that vampires usually bring to film. “There are a couple great fight sequences with some great stunts,” he says, “Vampires against vampires. You can’t kill a vampire with a stake anymore, or a werewolf with a silver bullet — you have to rip them apart and just burn them to death, and that’s the only way to take care of them.” He finds the jungle of fans to be exhilarating, and marvels at the homemade trailers some have cobbled together. “Without fans like those, the movie might never have been made,” he says, “The more the merrier.”

So what do they say? I decided to grill my cousin Christine, an unofficial “Twilight Mom,” who finds the series sophisticated and daring, adult, but not overt, when it comes to crafting moments of sexual tension and fear. Her eight-year-old is reading them. While she, too, was adamant that there was genuine dread to be wrung from the books themselves, she shared my misgivings that Hollywood would let down the Twilighters. Based on the MTV clip, I was sure this would be another overcalculated moneymaker, launched from a platform of special effects and lip gloss (if ever a male actor could be described as “dewy,” it’s Jackson Rathbone).

But In the midst of my intention to dismiss this as another The Covenant disaster in the making, something mysterious happened. The Twilight trailer was released … and damned if my cold heart doesn’t thrill to the genuine chemistry between Bella and her undead beau after all! Between that and talking to the Twi-hards, this horror fan has fresh hope — I just may read those books after all.

Read James Rocchi’s review of Twiligiht.

Ready Grady Hendrix’s review of Twilight.

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