The Times Journal & Russell County News
Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY —
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Thoughts from the Lower 40: Welcome to the Twilight Zone
In Nov. 22 Issue
Russell County News
By Wade Daffron, Columnist

Let’s talk about things that suck…

Earlier this week, I received an excited phone call.

“Looks like you’ve got a date this weekend!” she said.

Wow, I thought to myself, that cute, cool chick finally noticed me…

“You’re going to the movies!” she said.

“Oh,” I said. “Uh…who am I going with?’

“ME!” she squealed. “We’re going to see ‘Twilight.’ “

‘Twilight’…I should have known.

Twilight is a movie that debuts this weekend.

It’s based on the EXTREMELY popular “vampire novel” by Stephanie Meyer.

Since I work at the Russell County Library, I hear ‘Twilight’ several times a day.

We receive numerous calls from people wanting to read ‘Twilight,” or Meyers’ other books: New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn-all “vampire” related.

(Another Meyer novel, ‘The Host,” is about aliens, and is not as popular and quite frankly, not as good. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Even though we have multiple copies of these books, they are CONSTANTLY being checked out.

Folks around here sorta have a taste for the macabre.

We all know the Elmer Hill story, we share stories about “Devil’s Gallow” or the “Caged Grave,” we cut our fangs (uh…teeth) on Dr. Lynwood Montell’s, haunting, folklore books and it seems like everybody has a good ghost story or two.

Our fascination with the supernatural is probably why “Twilight Fever” is running rampant in Russell County.

I’m impressed with the ingenuity of people like Main Street Liquidators, who have had Twilight jewelry and posters on sale long before the movie hit the theaters. (The people at Main Street Liquidators are also big Meyer fans, too. Hey, Holly!)

Speaking of the movie, I think it’s pretty darn neat Robert Leach and the fine folks at the Key Twin Cinema brought Twilight to Russell County on its debut weekend.

Only a hot, new fad could cause to me actually leave the house on the weekend and go out into the public.

I can’t remember the last time I even went to a movie, but I do recall wanting a box of Snow Caps-which I got-and spilled on the floor as soon as I opened them. Darn it!

I predict there will be long lines at the ticket counter this weekend all over the world-even right here in Russell County.

What does all this mean?

I think there’s an interesting “psychological’ factor.

With our present, economic woes, people are seeking an “escape” from all the bad news that bombards us each and every day.

The Meyer books give us that “escape” because they are a “good read”-good enough that people read them over and over.

There are elements of danger, intrigue, romance-you know, just like everyday life on the farm. HA!

These books let people enjoy a shared interest.

Although written for “Young Adults,” Meyers books-perhaps like no others before-have bridged the gap between children and adults.

Their appeal is “cross generational.”

Adults enjoy them as much as the teens, and they all gather in excited circles to talk about the perils of “Edward,” “Bella,” “Jacob,” and others.

Within the next few days, there will surely be a “book vs. movie” debate, which will probably lead to the book become even more popular-if that is even popular.

Already, I have seen FOUR different versions of the Twilight book: hard cover, large paperback, small paperback, and paperback with a “movie-themed” cover.

There’s even a Twilight movie “photo book.”

In a historic first, the soundtrack to the Twilight movie shot to Number One BEFORE the movie’s release!

You may find it interesting that this has all happened before…

In 1897, as a way to supplement his income, an Irish theater manager wrote the vampire novel, “Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Stories.”

It was two years after Bram Stoker’s death that his widow published what is now known as “Dracula.”

The public was fascinated by the subject matter and the novel became a huge success.

A film version, “Nosferatu,” followed, but the mighty vampire was “killed” by legal challenges from Stoker’s wistful widow who fiercely protected her late husband’s creation.

Through intense battles, Dracula was resurrected for long-running and wildly-popular theater runs, and eventually appeared again on the silver screen in 1931 with Bela (hmmmm…sound familiar?) Lugosi in the legendary title role.

There are now hundreds of Dracula movies. (And if you want my two cents worth, Hammer Films’ “Brides of Dracula” or most of the Christopher Lee Dracula films are primo!)

Please seek out the excellent book, “Hollywood Gothic,” by David Skal, for the amazing story of Dracula from print to film, and beyond.

Blah! OK, where were we?

Anyway, as I write this, I am hours away from having to find a clean pair of pants, an unstained shirt, and a fresh paif of socks (there I go again!) for my “movie date.”

I am wondering if perhaps I should take along a glove of garlic, a cross, maybe some holy water, and a wooden stake.

And the “cute, little, chick” I hoped finally noticed me?

It’s my wife. Now THAT’S scary…

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