For the many horror fans upset over the fact that Twilight ruined Comic Con, you might be consoled by the initiative Twilighters have taken...

TwiCon and Is Twilight a Horror Film?

For the many horror fans upset over the fact that Twilight ruined Comic Con, you might be consoled by the initiative Twilighters have taken in forming their own convention for all things Twilight. TwiCon is getting under way this weekend from July 30-August 2, 2009 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. In addition to Q&A panels and a screening of the film, the conference will also feature an appearance by Jackson Rathebone, the actor who plays Jasper Hale in Twilight.

On a separate note, the legitimacy of Twilight as a horror film as been kicked around the horror blogosphere with most opinions falling in the resounding negative. That said, I’d like to pipe up and throw my own two cents into the ring.

Sans vampires and werewolves, Twilight would be nothing more than a romanticized teen drama in the tradition of Beverly Hills 90210 or Gossip Girl. If that were the case, its release would have passed without incident, lost in the shuffle of dozens of other movies just like it (Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You). But since it does contain supernatural creatures, people are quick to place it in the horror genre with films like the Werewolf of London (1935 ) and Interview with a Vampire (1994), even though it may lack some of the essential elements of a horror film.

The definition of horror is “the strong feeling of fear caused by something frightful or shocking” and as a genre, horror is built on fear. From Rosemary’s Baby to James Whale’s Frankenstein, these films take us to the edge of our consciousness by exploring subconscious fears of birth, death and the destruction of the individual.

If fear is what is needed to make a horror film, then the major flaw with Twilight is that it overly romanticizes the figures of the vampire and werewolf to the point that they can’t be used as effective objects of cinematic fear. At the very least they might represent teen angst, but films like Teen Wolf (1985) and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957) have already accomplished that task far more effectively in the past.

The classification of Twilight as a horror film is tenuous because it lacks the one thing that would make it a true horror piece, fear. As a result, Twilight is a horror film and it’s not. At best, Twilight can be considered a teen drama/horror hybrid in that like science-fiction horror and the horror musical, it tries to appeal to two very different audiences (teen movie fans and hardcore horror fans) to make a buck.

The result has been riotous success with one and complete rejection by the other, making Twilight into the true bastard child of the horror genre.

Further Reading:
I Love Horror: Fuck Twilight and fuck Stephanie Meyer
TwiCon Website