Several people have asked me whether I plan to see Twilight. Because it “has vampires”. The truth is that Twilight is a vampire film in much the same way that Titanic was a sailing film. Its purpose lies elsewhere. In fact the inclusion of vampires in the Twilight story can be viewed in only two ways: incidental or else an exploitation of a profitable subgenre. I do not intend to indulge its creators, though I am fascinated by the success of its marketing. In the States the books are undeniably popular in a Potter-esque way (by which I mean Harry, not Beatrix), though at least the boy wizard’s adventures were reasonably well written. Here, to my knowledge, they never really took off in the same way. And yet somehow the film’s marketing has convinced the public at large that this film is an event, part of a hugely popular franchise. So successfully, in fact, that it could be self-fulfilling.
Interestingly there is a vampire film I am highly anticipating, and while it too features young protagonists, it could not really be more different. Let The Right One In seems at once chilling and warm, a Swedish film about a fragile, bullied 12-year-old boy named Oskar who meets a pale, peculiar girl named Eli. By the time he discovers she is a vampire, a subtle romance has already blossomed between the pair. The image of an adult trapped within the body of an eternal child has fascinated me ever since Interview with the Vampire’s Claudia, and here both the film’s brooding palette and young actors seem able to convey the disconnection beautifully.
The release of the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s delightful children’s story Coraline, directed by stop-motion master Henry Sellick, is now imminent. So to celebrate you can read the entire book online for free. Neil is certainly one of the folk who understand that giving things away for free actually serves to make more money as well as generally making everyone happier, and I suppose Harper Collins make enough out of him that they’re willing to give it a go.
On a related note, the Open Rights Group have put together a short informative video on the suggested European copyright duration extension and exactly why this won’t help artists or consumers. It’s an issue worth considering, discussing, spreading and generally opposing. Particularly in that all the major independent IP bodies who have conducted studies oppose it, and yet the European Commission has mysteriously ignored them.