I know this is old news now, and I sincerely apologize for not being as timely as I could have been, but this rant has been festering for a little while now. The subject is Twilight. Oh, sure — now I have your attention. This is probably going to get me into a little bit of trouble here, but maybe you’ll finish reading this and actually agree with me, so here goes…
Twilight (henceforth, Twilight refers to the series as a whole rather than just the first book) is NOT HORROR!!! I really can’t use more exclamation points than that and still be taken seriously. But believe you me, I want to use them. In fact, I would very much like to shout this statement from the rooftops. I want to shout it more specifically at the folks of the Academy who included clips from Twilight in their horror montage. How can I respect anything the Academy Awards has to say or stand for if they haven’t figured this out?
What am I trying to say here? Twilight is Fantasy. Plain and simple. Or at least, I thought so. Awhile back I broached the topic on here about whether vampires are horror or fantasy. Are they a genre in and of themselves or just a part of a much larger tapestry? Do they shape that tapestry or does it shape them? I’m getting a little flowery and off topic here, but this is the conclusion I came to upon talking to quite a number of people on the subject: vampires can be damn near anything; they are not genre-specific. It all really depends on the context.
Let’s look at the context of Twilight, shall we? It essentially involves supernatural beings (vampires and werewolves), which would initially lead you to horror, but the supernaturals are mostly good folk. Even the non-“veggie” vamps throughout play by the rules the Cullens set up. Now I know what you’re thinking: Oooo, the Volturi, yeah, sure, they are threatening, and Jane can make you believe you’ve taken a mean punch, but really, they get defanged without even a fight. No blood, no guts… no horror. Victoria is one mean S.O.B., but she amasses an army of supernatural beings, which really is more of a fantasy motif than a horror trope.
The Volturi and Victoria exhibit elements that I feel are firmly planted in the fantasy genre. The Volturi, for all of their creepiness is set up and is portrayed essentially as a political force. They govern and enforce the one really big law that vampires have. While there may not be very many rules, they play by that one. Dracula didn’t have a choice, he couldn’t go out during daylight hours, but do you really see him playing by the rules? I don’t.
As mentioned above, Victoria is frightening — she’s almost horror all by herself. She could just show up anywhere and attack, which is horrifying, yet rather than do that, she backs up and creates an army. Serial killers and psychopaths are scary because (generally) they act alone, they can strike at anytime, and they are usually mercilessly brutal. Victoria has the brutality, but she fails at being “horror” when she enlists the help of others and must organize them to her will. Now, a vampire army is scary, but so is an army of Orcs. An army of Orcs is “clearly” fantasy, and I would suggests that an army of vampires is as well. Victoria had potential, but she was watered down.
Don’t even suggest to me the Cullens come anywhere close to making the series horror either. I will outright laugh at you. I’ll hear counter arguments to the Volturi and Victoria, but not to the Cullens. Sure, Jasper still has a hankering for blood, but ultimately, he’s not scary. I am never going to have a nightmare about Jasper. I feel strongly that once you insert love, and love is a factor against causing violence, you’ve stepped away from horror and are in fantasy. Dracula is a love story — Dracula sees Wilhelmina and is reminded of the love he lost — but that does not stop him from being what is his nature, a blood-sucking monster. Love stops the Cullens from being horror, just as it neuters (you were waiting for it, weren’t you?) the Wolfpack from being creepy werewolves.
Call Twilight whatever you like — call it the best series ever, call it teenage smut — but DO NOT call it horror. The only thing I found remotely cringe-worthy in the whole series that might have given me nightmares was the whole Renesmee birth scene. Holy cow, the idea of childbirth seems painful enough, why add alien-esque “eating out through the stomach” heebie jeebies to it?