The face of monsters is changing, and it’s not pretty.
Or rather, it is pretty, and that’s the problem.
Once upon a time, vampires were undead bloodsuckers who lacked reflections, were scared of lower-case t‘s, and could be dispatched by a stake, sunlight, or garlic. Werewolves were infected lycanthropes who transformed under full moons and could be killed by silver or cured by hierarchical murder. Zombies were infected animated corpses that sought to eat your brains but could be taken out with a double-tap to theirs.
In other words, monsters were, well, monsters: scary and evil.
But lately, things have begun to change. Vampires avoid the sun not because they’ll burst into flames, but because they’ll burst into FABULOUS! Werewolves transform not into hideous man-wolves, but into overgrown Labradors. Zombies may not have brains in their heads, but they sure as hell have product in their hair. It’s almost as if someone said, “Hey, monsters are great for the nerds and geeks and goths out there, but what about the popular and attractive people? What about their needs?”
Apparently, one person was brave enough to answer that call. Legend has it, she studied the movie Underworld, which involves an ill-fated love story set against an age-old battle between vampires and werewolves, and identified 5 areas for improvement by which the whole thing could be made palatable by the clientele of Abercrombie and Fitch, namely
- All monsters should be more hunky and less bitey.
- All traces of action should be removed.
- The heroine must be the daughter of an recognized authority figure and be prettier than all her friends.
- The heroine must, at all times, have at least two handsome, antagonistic suitors with awesome hair vying for her attention at all times.
- Despite all the things going for her, the heroine must spend all of her time feeling, like, totally unloved and unpopular until the audience’s patience runs out.
And Stephanie Meyers wrote Twilight.
Now, to be honest, I haven’t read Twilight or the rest of the so-called saga, although to be fair I did try, only to give up at the reveal that vampires were descended from sparkly sparkly disco balls instead of bats. (I have, however, seen the resulting movies, which can be summarized as:
- Twilight: A romance between an expressionless, emotionless, not-quite-human teen… and her vampire boyfriend. (I contend Kristen Stewart jokes will never get old.)
- New Moon: Bella spends the first half of the movie trying to get her werewolf friend to take off his shirt, while spending the second half trying to get the vampire to put his shirt back on again.
- Eclipse: Basically the same thing as Underworld, but with camping instead of latex and guns.
- Breaking Dawn: Wait… I have to sit through two movies for this? Oh, hell no.)
Nevertheless, the same 5-step process above can be — and has been — applied to any manner of monster story, converting the traditionally flawed geek/goth-centric movie version into the new and improved ones we see today, fit for popular girls… a process we here at komplexify call Twilightification:
That is, if we twilightify the vampires and werewolves of Underworld, we get the Twilight saga.
What about zombies, another staple of movie-monster fare? Start with a well-established zombie flick, but replace their undead cravings from “brains” to “Beiber,” add a few Shakespeare references, and boom:
Can one twilightify invading aliens? Start with a classic alien invader — say, the body snatcher type — add two hunky love interests and the words “Stephanie Meyer” to the title slate, and voila:
What about twilightifying a generic monster? Start off with the most iconically generic monster — “The Beast” — and change his beastly affliction from monstrous teeth and hair to unsightly tattoos and facial piercings, switch things up by adding two feuding girlfriends, and you have it:
In fact, fairy tales are apparently ideal for twilightification. For example, change the big bad wolf into Twilight-style werewolves but retain the heroine’s unique fashion sense, add two hunky suitors, and boom:
What about witches and dwarves? Add a second love interest, Thor say, and boom:
Even non-monster movies can twilightified! For example, take a popular Japanese movie in which high schoolers are dumped on a deserted island and made to kill each other for sport. Make the heroine pretty, give her two suitors, and avoid the gore and bam!
Behold the new face of monster movies: defanged, declawed, and devoid of all horror.
At least it has dreamy eyes. And rock-hard abs.