That’s why I don’t think comic books superhero franchises are ever going to fall out of favor. We need these figures to look up to for hope and inspiration. While murderers and psychopaths help us deal with the potential of evil in our natures, superheroes show us the potential for greatness within us. We can relate to Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, and Bruce Banner because they are humans that fell into extraordinary circumstances and rose to the occasion (sometimes with the help of a little radioactive mutation but hey, who’s judging?).
It’s why we cling to news stories that trumpet human bravery such as when a mother summons some sort of gorilla strength reserve and lifts a car off of her child, or when people like Wesley Autrey jump on the subway tracks to save a fallen seizure victim as the train’s about to arrive. We’d like to think we would have that kind of courage, strength, or quick-wittedness (is that a word?) about us when the going gets tough. But this particular article is not about the hero within us. It’s about how we’re all a bunch of superstitious, sniveling pansies.
|I think Jane fared pretty well in the fate department actually.|
I know this particular post is rather cumbersome so why don't you take a little intermission before we dive into some heavy thinking, stretch your legs, and enjoy this rendition of Twilight: The Untold Story courtesy of my friend Ann:
I hate to burst the bubbles of Twi-hards everywhere but vampires did not traditionally sparkle and look like Robert Pattinson. Vampire archetypes have taken on various forms and titles in many ancient mythologies, such as the Mesopotamian succubus, Lilitu, or the fanged Hindu goddess of death, Kali, who drinks blood and wears a necklace of skulls.
In 19th century novels and short stories, the vampire began being depicted as sympathetic creatures who were charming yet tragic anti-heroes. And thus we jump forward a century or two from the age of Stoker’s Dracula and arrive at the age where vampires are objectified by millions of screaming tweens and their moms from here to Singapore.
In theory, vampires should be super terrifying. They are basically undead, over-sized mosquitoes that have inhuman strength and live forever. So why do they hurt so good?
One of the studies had to do with people who had just dismounted a roller coaster and were asked to rate the attractiveness of a photographed face. The other study had women approaching men on a rickety, unstable bridge, and some on a non-threatening bridge to ask male subjects a question. In both studies, the apprehensive subjects' level of attraction was dramatically increased from that of the control group. Now you no longer have to wonder why taking your date to a scary movie is such a time-honored tradition. Her brain can subconsciously associate her pounding heart with your oh so sexy presence. So there you have it, something that should frighten us, in this case vampires, can simultaneously attract us.
For years movie-goers have had a love affair with “The Bad Boy.” The James Dean type who’s too wild to be tamed, lives by his own rules, and has an air of danger about him, yet we are drawn to him despite our better judgment. There is something to be said about the thrill of the chase and taking on an impossible challenge. We want to be the one person who can capture his unattainable heart. If we can succeed where others have failed, it will validate that there’s something special and extremely valuable about us. This is unfortunately why some women stay with callous, selfish or unfaithful husbands.
It's why Team Edward fans lose their marbles when Robert Pattinson gives them a hug or takes a picture with them. For that moment in time, the actor who portrays the brooding vampire singled them out as more special than anyone else in the crowd. The allure of the bad boy and the promise of maybe one day holding a special place in his heart above all other women is too much for some to overcome. I wonder if this desire to be considered unique enough to touch the heart of an untamable beast could be the reason why certain women write love letters and marriage proposals to imprisoned serial killers. Well, that and latent cases of severe mental illness.
The tendency is to cast vampires as desperately attractive individuals who manage to always be suave, and look good in both battle and various stages of undress (Stephen Moyer, Brad Pitt, R-Pats, Kate Beckinsale, need I go on?) The focus now is that you be drawn to them, not repulsed by them. The vampire story format has slowly evolved into a breed of vampcore porn and the masses are eating it up. Werewolf stories tend to fall into a similar pattern although they still retain some of the gritty nature of being part animal so they aren’t always stereotypically hunky (Taylor Lautners of the world excluded).