i found this article which i thought was interesting and good for discussions..its really long i dont expect u to read the whole thing, i just thought i might share with whoever is a fan of both stories..i know i am lol








Love at first bite ... Kristen Stewart as Bella and Robert Pattinson as Edward in Twilight, based on the Stephenie Meyer book. Right: Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin in True Blood.



Vampires are at it again, on the screen and in teen novels. But it's not just the gore and sex that make them popular: they tap into our deepest fears.

WHAT is it with the undead? It's like they just won't die or something. Ever since Bram Stoker snuck an erotic masterpiece, in the form of a penny dreadful horror story, past the moral guardians of Victorian England, the vampire has been with us. And no amount of garlic, holy water or overexposure to UV rays or Hollywood seems able to see it off, either as folk legend or mass cultural icon. No sooner has some wretched howler such as Moonlight (a vampire-detective unrequited-love mash-up) done its worst to kill off the genre than a high-concept quirkfest like HBO's True Blood (think Twin Peaks meets Salem's Lot) will appear to revive things like a long, cool drink of O-negative.

Joss Whedon, the precocious genius behind the last great revival, with Buffy The Vampire Slayer (the TV show, rather than the movie), even satirised the count's infamous inability to stay dead for too long. When Buffy, his perky blonde superhero, finally muscles up to the uber-vamp at the end of the episode entitled Buffy vs Dracula, the slayer had to stake him twice as he kept morphing from dust back into corporeal form.

Buffy, of course, was about a lot more than just vampires. She fought demons, giant slugs, an out-of-control, off-the-books military research program and the more standard teen horrors of peer group issues, parental conflict, adolescent angst and boyfriend problems. The boyfriends in particular were powerful drivers of the series' narrative, two of them being vampires. And while Buffy was superficially a teen soap leavened with flashes of comedic brilliance and bogyman excitement, at its dark heart lay an older and much grimmer tale: the hero's journey in which everything is sacrificed until the sacrifice itself becomes the journey's meaning.

All of this stands in stark contrast to the latest popular vampire outbreak, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, in which the heroine, 16-year-old Bella Swan, is such a limp, wan, bloodless slip of a girl it is hard to imagine what the sexy and rather too Byronic teen vampire Edward Cullen sees in her. Edward, himself the sort of forever-young adolescent male who so inflames Germaine Greer, is an almost perfectly realised paradox of the dangerous but non-threatening boy. A hard-bodied but doe-eyed "vegetarian" vampire, who dresses impeccably, composes music and frets endlessly about the ethical dilemma of the couple's mutual desire, he is probably what you would get were you to distil the essence of every teenaged girls' archetypal perfect partner. Twilight positively quivers with the unrealised sexual energy that throbbed through Stoker's novel and climaxed, so to speak, as Dracula bit three times into the virgin flesh of Mina Murray-Harker. The series' success - more than 5 million sales so far - has drawn repeated comparisons with J. K. Rowling, a flattery Meyer wisely resists at every opportunity, and has spawned any number of imitators.

"Guess what's clogging up my in-tray," jokes Pan Macmillan's deputy publishing director, Cate Paterson. "Hello, I've written a novel about a teenage vampire/troll/pixie/werewolf/bad fairy/zombie ..."

All of which probably miss the point. Meyer claims never to have read Dracula and Paterson lends that some credence. "Now that I've read Twilight I realise that it isn't a vampire thing - it's just the age-old sexual tension model in another guise. My niece is addicted and she has never read a vampire novel and probably won't again.

"You are just as likely to see a teenager reading [Princess Diaries author] Meg Cabot after a Stephenie Meyer than another vampire novel. What Stephenie Meyer has managed to do is bring together a teenage female who feels like a bit of an outsider and bring her up against a dangerously attractive male - bingo, sexual tension. And she does it bloody well."

Slate.com's Dana Stevens, reviewing the film of Meyer's book, cites approvingly the "feminist critique" of Twilight, pointing to "all that's reprehensible about the Twilight universe: the heroine's passivity and masochism, her utter lack of grrl-power spunk". Stevens sees Bella as an "anti-Buffy": a vulnerable high school girl "committed not to slaying vampires but to being slain" by one of them, Edward.

The audience for Bella's tale skews almost entirely female and teen, and the shamefully compelling nature of it was nowhere better demonstrated than in a writing workshop I supervised a few weeks ago, where all of the earnest high school girls had read Meyer and professed to hate the story, and to hate it viscerally. Indeed, they hated it so much they'd had to read every novel in the series, sometimes more than once, just to make sure it was every bit as appalling as they suspected.

IF MEYER is less a vampire novelist than a fantastically successful re-inventor of the Mills and Boon oeuvre, that is not to detract from the appeal of the vampire in modern mass culture. It is ubiquitous. So much so that, as Tom Shales, The Washington Post's Style columnist, has written, "You need a very good excuse to dig up the subject of vampires yet again." You can see them disguised, in sci-fi raiment, as the Borg of Star Trek, a soulless, parasite species who sire more of their own by plunging two steel prongs into the necks of their victims, by which means they inject "nanites", a technobabble version of the vampire's tainted blood.

In author Peter Watts's hard-science space opera, Blindsight, Dracula's children aren't disguised at all; they're reborn from ancient DNA samples and put to work by humanity, which needs their superior physical and intellectual skills to face off a universe full of even scarier monsters. It all sounds like a low-brow spook'n'shoot, an ill-advised cocktail of the undead and laser beams. But it's high-concept low-brow, with Watts providing reams of credible-sounding scientific "research" in a "Notes and References" section that recalls nothing so much as the early work of the recently departed Michael Crichton.

It's even arguable that the monster du jour of Western mass culture, the zombie, is nothing if not a shambling, nihilistic re-imagining of the Stoker legend. Stripped of all eroticism, nuance and lyrical beauty, the zombie is a vampire for the Age of Terror, a flesh-eating critique of modernity, in the hands of a George Romero, or shameless, profit-seeking celebration of it in a video game such as Dead Rising, or the slightly more knowing and ironically distanced Left 4 Dead.

But the vampire legend hardly needs substitutes. It is strong enough to sustain itself for a while yet. While Shales was correct to warn against unthinking exploitations, he also admitted that the True Blood series was reason enough to go back to the haunted well. Funny, addictive and at times horrifically violent, in a very funny and addictive way, True Blood is proof that Russell T. Davies, the executive producer of the latest and hippest incarnation of Dr Who, wasn't blowing smoke up our collective fundament when he said that "writing monsters and demons and end-of-the world is not hack work. Joss Whedon [Buffy] raised the bar for every writer - not just genre-niche writers, but every single one of us."

In True Blood, set in the deep-south backwater of Bon Temps, the bloodsuckers are the least of the grotesqueries. Freed from the need to snack on humans by the invention of synthetic blood, they now move among us, "living" their alternative lifestyle surrounded by caricatures of Red State America, knuckle-draggin', tobacco-chewin', Lynyrd Skynyrd wannabes with pick-ups full of weapons, watermelon and moonshine. The same humming aura of sexual threat and promise surrounds the vampires but an acute sense of identity politics is also prominent as America's culture war is reprocessed through the story of their "coming out of the coffin"."It's very easy to look at the vampires as metaphors for gays and lesbians but it's very easy to see them as metaphors for all kinds of things. If this story had been done 50 years ago, it would be a metaphor for racial equality. But I can also look at the vampires and see them as a kind of terrifying shadow organisation that is going to do what they want to do, whether they have to break the law or not. And if you get in the way, they'll just get rid of you. So it's a very fluid metaphor."

The genre might be getting a little, ahem, long in the tooth but the creatures themselves remain so versatile that a new variation on the theme is never far away. Witness author Charlie Huston's bringing life back into the oldest and tiredest of genre tropes, the private detective story, by the simple trick of making his tough-talking, two-fisted shamus one of the living dead. The gothic setting of Manhattan is more than well suited to a crossover between the two noirs - crime and horror - and Huston has the writing chops to pull off the stunt where others don't.

When perceiving the growing hordes of vampires crawling towards us across the landscape of pop culture, I suppose the question must arise: why?

In part there is a simple element of reinforcing success. As Russell Davies pointed out, Joss Whedon set a challenge that a lot of creatives found impossible to ignore. More importantly, he also reminded studio executives that the undead do pay, sometimes handsomely.

Beyond the pragmatic, however, there is always something else working. The 1950s obsession with UFOs and alien invasion movies almost certainly had its roots in Cold War fears and the Russians' early lead in the space race. So why vampires, rather than, say, ghosts or werewolves or man-made monsters in the style of Frankenstein?

"When I pitched the show to HBO, they asked me what it was about," says Ball of True Blood, "and I said, it's about what it really means to be disenfranchised, to be feared, to be misunderstood. It's a metaphor for the terrors of intimacy. That's one of the reasons vampires have been such a potent metaphor and mythological motif for centuries. They show up in pretty much all cultures. It's the notion of separating that part which keeps us safe and separate from another person, both emotionally and physically. And how there is a certain loss of self that takes place when there is true intimacy. And I think that's really healthy. But it doesn't mean it's not scary."

The sexual power of our toothsome predators is undoubtedly a factor. "We did a focus group," Ball says, "and it was great because the women loved the romance and the relationships and the men loved the sex and violence. And I thought, well, that's kind of a cliche but I'm glad. There's something in there for everybody."

Beyond the merely prurient, however, lies the terrible attraction of the vampire, the feeling that while it would be awful to lose one's soul upon rebirth as one of the nosferatu, it would also be, well, kinda cool. You'd "live" forever, with superpowers and unnatural beauty, and your nightlife would really kick up a gear. The mundane concerns and frustrations of mortal life would no longer be yours. Of all the monster archetypes, none remain as intellectually appealing as the vampire. They seem to gain so much and give up only their immortal souls, and in a secular, materialist world that hardly seems to be any kind of loss at all.

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Tags: article, bella, bill, edward, sookie

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