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My Flatmate, the Vampire

Posted: 29/11/2012 19:17

The final bell has tolled for the Twilight saga with Breaking Dawn Part 2, and Bell and Eddie will look no more into each other's red-tinged eyes.

Burning glances mean little to the average Asperger, too many modern-day films (Argo and Silver Linings honourably excepted) seem to have sacrificed plot and character development for empty spectacle, and I was more than a little tempted to pull the old trick of writing the review without seeing the film.

But no, I dragged myself down to the Grosvenor in Glasgow's Ashton Lane for to watch a film of empty spectacle and burning glance, the plot of which seemed to fall mainly on the plain of a disagreement about a baby (?), came close to sinking under the weight of its own pretension and appeared to co-star a bunch of Prussian hussars who'd fallen off the set of Doctor Zhivago as well as pragmatically giving a placement plug to Volvo.

Now, though, the twist which Twilight so singularly lacked:

If you yourself had in real life taken a quest across the sea with a TV vampire as your guide and a human actress as your muse, could the ersatz emotions of made-up demons and long lingering pans on snowy mountain, ridge and valley capture even the faintest echo of the way it truly felt?

That's why Twilight couldn't do it for me. Because Bell and Eddie couldn't hold a candle to Spike and Dru from Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and James Marsters and Juliet Landau would act Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart off the screen any day of the week.

But of course, in real life such a quest would be impossible.

Wouldn't it?

In the last Twilight, Taylor Lautner says something like:

"The world's not the way you think it is."

Some truths are stranger than fiction, some quests still there for the taking.

In brief and in recovery from the trauma I endured at the hands of the NHS (see previous post), I took a casual interest in the character of Drusilla the soulless vampire (Dru for short), and funnily enough I found her kinder at heart than some of the so-called caring humans I'd met in the National Health Service.

For fun, I wrote a fan-fiction short story about Dru, and for no reason I knew at the time, found that strange connection some writers have with a character.

Fictional Dru came to life in my mind, and as people with autism can think in pictures (as Temple Grandin once said), it seemed I'd found myself with a virtual vampire flatmate.

Once written, I sent the story - Drusilla's Roses - to Juliet Rose Landau, the actress who'd portrayed Dru on Buffy, and I was more than a little surprised to hear tell from her that the tale had "blown her away."

Even more surprisingly, she (the celebrity) and I (the man in the street) commenced an email correspondence, I broke away from the life of quiet desperation I'd led, crossed sea and land and plain and desert; and one Sunday morning in March I met my Hollywood star on a boulevard west of Sunset.

So if it seems I slag off Twilight out of cynicism or sarcasm, nothing could be further from the truth. The journey I took and the life I lived was stranger and greater than any work of fiction could ever be.

And no film can ever touch that.

James Christie is the author of Dear Miss Landau. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of autism, at the age of 37 in 2002. He lives and works in Glasgow.

 
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