Those of us who have always been into vampires have thought that the vampires from the Twilight series just aren’t authentic enough for us to take them seriously. Come on, vampires who abstain from biting humans and walk around in daylight? Imposters! Phonies! But now, academics are saying that we should consider the sparkle-vamps to be “starter vampires for beginners,” an introduction to real, actual vampires. This is a really nice way of saying that we still don’t have to take the Twilight vampires that seriously. Thank you, scholars!
Dr. Thomas Garza teaches vampire lore at the University of Texas (which sounds like an amazingly fun way to collect a paycheck) and admits that while Edward Cullen and his teetotaling ilk are certainly non-threatening and atypical of everything we know about vampires, they have been a positive means of introducing young fans to the mythology of vampires. Because let’s be honest — vampires are not for the faint of heart. Because they are horror characters. Always have been, always will be. But rather than scare the crap out of everyone, the Twilight vampires are giving young fans (or, more accurately, adolescent girls) the story of vampires without being overtly graphic or sexual. Says Dr. Garza:
“He’s pretty, yes, so the seduction’s there, but he’s more than reluctant to act on his and Bella’s sexual desires. He can go out in daylight — and even ‘sparkles’ in the sun, giving him a completely non-threatening character. He drives a Volvo, for goodness sake.”
So when they’re finally old enough to crack open Bram Stoker‘s Dracula, they won’t be all that surprised to find out that vampires are ruthless predators. (Like Jerry in Fright Night. Not a nice fellow, once you get to know him.)
This is a darling theory, the idea of a “vampire for beginners,” but is it fair to the noble, bloody history of the vampire that they must be toned down for people who can’t handle reading about them? If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen, wimps! Even Harry Potter had evil vampires! What’s the starter version of Freddy Kreuger? This lady? Psssssssht …