Over the winter, you may have seen posters for a movie, certificate 12A ('moderate fantasy violence and horror . . . limited bloody images'): a bunch of teenagers, Hollywood-dishy, but coloured to look like corpses, with greenish-tarnished complexions and uncanny eyes. The movie, Twilight, is about a coven of high-school vampires in the American Pacific Northwest, and is adapted from the first of a series of four novels by Stephenie Meyer; the last instalment, Breaking Dawn, came out last year. In the US the books have collectively sold more than 28 million copies. Twilight seems to be a teenage-girl thing - fancy-dress meets, author tours with live rock bands, lots of fanfic and blogging and boy-band screaming - though there is also a middle-aged fan contingent, displaying itself on a website called Twilight Moms: 'Where Fans at Our Unique Phase of Life (balancing family, work and our Twilight addiction) . . . can gather unashamed of our irrational obsession'. It's interesting, the way women with silly habits so often want to show off about them. Is there something about being 'obsessed' and/or 'addicted' that is supposed to keep you youthful? Is it simply that being 'obsessed' and/or 'addicted' is the closest most of us can get to being as gorgeous as these people, the beautiful undead?
LRB 26 March 2009 | PDF Download