vamps

Which Vampire Projects Are Twilight Rip-Offs?

If you had any doubts that the torrent of vampire mythology currently pouring itself into every possible nook and cranny of pop culture will continue for years to come, the latest boffo box-office numbers from the Twilight franchise — $275 million and counting! — should promptly do away with them. Yet, though piggybacking on a craze is the way Hollywood works, every creator of a new undead TV show or movie magically claims to have been fascinated by vampires loooong before he or she had ever heard of Twilight. It gets hard to tell which ones are the shallow cash grabs and which are passion projects that only coincidentally happen to coincide with a national phenomenon, but we did our best. With our trusty scoring system for shamelessness (1 to 10, of course), we took a look back at every post-Twilight pop-culture vampire we could think of.

Premiere Date: January, 2008 Though it was released in the U.S. in 2009, after Twilight, giving the illusion of shamelessness, it actually came out in its native Sweden in 2008. Then again, it went into production after the Twilight books took off and was also adapted from a vampire novel. The deciding factor? Unlike Twilight, it is bat-shit crazy terrifying. Shamelessness Score: 0
Debut: January 29, 2008 Again, Vampire Weekend’s hyped-up self-titled debut was pre-Twilight the movie, but post-Twilight the book. Could one of Stephanie Mayer’s creations have found its way into front man Ezra Koenig’s hands during his formative years at Columbia? In their defense: reference Lil Jon and Latin American rice-based beverages more often than they do vampires. Shamelessness Score: 1
Release Date: July 29, 2008 A long-talked-about straight-to-DVD sequel that was criticized for not having enough Corey Haim? Shameless, although for reasons completely unrelated to Twilight. Shamelessness Score: 10
Premiere Date: 2008 B-movies like this get made (and ignored) all the time, but one has to wonder how the decision on which mythical monster the infamous outlaws would be facing off against was made. It’d just be nice to know that the chupacabra was considered. Shamelessness Score: 6
Premiere Date: September 7, 2008 It premiered two months before Twilight the movie, and is based on a book series that predates Stephenie Meyer’s, so its creation is definitively not attributable to the Twilight craze. Its continued success, however, presumably has at least a little to do with Twi-hards seeking out sexy vampires that actually have sex. Shamelessness Score: 0
Premiere Date: January 8, 2009 On the one hand, this vampire from Daybreakers is absolutely repulsive, which is contrary to the Twilight ethos. On the other hand, he is shirtless. Shamelessness Score: 4
Premiere Date: January 23, 2009 It’s the second sequel to 2003’s Underworld, but the first since 2006. Was there a reason why movies about vampires fighting werewolves got a whole lot easier to make right around the end of 2008? Shamelessness Meter Reading: 6
Premiere Date: March 20, 2009 Certainly less of a cash-in attempt and more a response to the Twilight franchise’s ongoing failure to address the homosexual vampire community. And the people who kill them. Shamelessness Meter Reading: 6
Premiere Date: 2009 A comedy about a rock band who finally makes it big when they go undead, Suck featured cameos from Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, and Moby. A wrong-headed cash-in attempt: Who loves vampires? Tweens! Who don’t tweens give a shit about? Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, and Moby! Shamelessness Score: 6
Air Date: May, 2009 The Ghost Whisperer episode “Endless Love” hopped right onto the bandwagon, with a plot about Jennifer Love Hewitt rescuing a girl from vampires. Come on, Ghost Whisperer, you’re better than that! Shamelessness Score: 8
Air Date: July, 2009 The Disney show did a full four-episode vampire arc in 2009. We can’t judge it too harshly, though, seeing as this tween-focused program would have presumably been canceled if it didn’t fall in line with its audience’s new obsession. Shamelessness Score: 8
Premiere Date:September 10, 2009 Like True Blood, the source-material novels predate the Twilight books, but the pilot for the TV show wasn’t green-lit until early 2009, a scant few months after Twilight the movie took off. Very interesting. Also, there is a freaking vampire love triangle. Shamelessness Score: 9
Aired: October 10, 2009 Even this aggressively nonsensical commercial featuring an attractive, superfast vampire for no reason at all can’t make us give up Google. Shamelessness Score: 10
Premiere Date: October 23, 2009 No romance, but it is based on yet another vampire novel series. Those vampires, they really need at least four authors working ‘round the clock just to pin down their many facets. Shamelessness Score: 6
Air Date: May 8, 2010 “The Vampires of Venice” episode is mostly forgiven for its overlap with Twilight mania: Vampires have been featured so much on Doctor Who they have their own Wikipedia page. Shamelessness Score: 1
Publication Date: June 8, 2010 Justin Cronin swears his 700-page-plus epic, the first in a planned vampire trilogy, has nothing at all to do with Twilight: Back in June he told the Times, “My relationship to vampire material definitely predates the recent renaissance.” But what about his relationship to making money? Thanks to these fortuitous times for bloodsuckers, The Passage netted Cronin a cool $3.75 million advance. Shamelessness Score: 5
Premiere Date: June 20, 2010 Other than a brief fang-baring in the trailer, the promotional material for this ABC summer series avoided the vampire plots, which is like if Pixar had concentrated all their Toy Story 3 marketing on the boy Andy. Its nonsensical modesty helps it only score in the mid-range of shamelessness, as well as the fact that it’s much more a rip-off of Desperate Housewives than anything else. Shamelessness Score: 6
Premiere Date: June 8, 2010 The IMDb synopsis for the episode “Lost Children of the Blood”: “When the dead body of a college student is found in her dorm room completely drained of blood, Nichols and Stevens are forced to turn to the dark side of ‘vampire’ culture for answers.” Now that’s good shameless stuff! Shamelessness Score: 9
Rerun Date: Summer, 2010 This one-season CBS drama about a vampire detective was canceled in 2008, before Twilight hit theaters (but after the books), but is being re-aired by the CW this summer following reruns of The Vampire Diaries. Stay shameless, CW. Shamelessness Score: 5 for the originals, 10 for the reruns
Premiere Date: October 1, 2010 This American remake of Let the Right One In from Cloverfield director Matt Reeves looks way too loyal to the original to try to cross over to the Twilight set. For one, Reeves resisted the temptation to move the movie to a warm-weather climate, where opportunities for shirt-removal would be more plentiful. Shamelessness Score: 0
Premiere Date: 2010 An upcoming sequel to the 2007 movie (pictured), which was based on the comic-book miniseries, Dark Days has Daybreakers-style scary vampires who are not as interested in love as much as, say, eating human flesh. Shamelessness Score: 3
Premiere Date: 2011 Krysten Ritter, who stars in Amy Heckerling’s upcoming film Vamps alongside Alicia Silverstone, told us that “Amy’s been working on this movie for a long time — it’s her passion project.” One has to wonder, though, why Heckerling chose to pull this particular script off the shelf at this particular time. Also, if Amy Heckerling has always been into vampires, why weren’t there any in Clueless? Shamelessness Score: 4
Which Vampire Projects Are Twilight Rip-Offs?