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Sexing Up The PG-13 Vampire ... But Not Too Much

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Sexing Up The PG-13 Vampire ... But Not Too Much

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Sexing Up The PG-13 Vampire ... But Not Too Much

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

If you listen very, very closely you might hear, way off in the distance, the sound of teenaged girls screaming. The sound is only going to get louder as we get closer to this weekend and the premiere of the new "Twilight" movie "New Moon." Beth Accomando of member station KPBS reports that young fans don't agree if the human vampire romance is sexy or chaste.

BETH ACCOMANDO: Back in the '70S and '80s, Hollywood preached a clear message in its teen horror films: have sex and die - stay a virgin and live.

KEVIN DOUGHTY: Let's look to Halloween. Jamie Lee Curtis - a virgin through the entire movie - lived.

ACCOMANDO: 17-year-old Kevin Doughty thinks the Twilight films serve up a mixed message. Bella and her vamp boyfriend, Edward, don't have sex, but Edward gets to come in her room at night to watch her sleep in her underwear.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TWILIGHT")

ROBERT PATTINSON: I don't have the strength to stay away from you anymore.

KRISTEN STEWART: Then don't.

ACCOMANDO: But high school senior Mykah Johnson insists Twilight is all about the romance.

MYKAH JOHNSON: When I'm watching the movie, I don't think of sex. It's like totally innocent to me. I feel like I'm watching an innocent vampire movie with teenagers.

ACCOMANDO: Part of the appeal for female fans is that Edward makes caring for Bella more important than getting into her pants.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TWILIGHT")

PATTINSON: I feel very protective of you.

ACCOMANDO: As a vampire, Edward has super strength. But he's afraid he could hurt Bella if he loses control.

JOHNSON: When he crawled into her window and they started making out and yada yada yada, ok, they were about to go for it. But then he blows himself toward the wall or something like that.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TWILIGHT")

JOHNSON: He says that he can't lose control when he's with her. So after that, their relationship with each other kind of got stronger, I feel.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TWILIGHT")

PATTINSON: I can't ever lose control with you.

SIERRA HALEY: It's just pathetic. Like if that was me, my friends would've slapped me.

ACCOMANDO: That's 17-year-old Sierra Haley.

HALEY: I think it's more like that - that they're in love with love, like, If you die, I'm gonna die. And, oh, it's just sad.

ACCOMANDO: Fellow senior Jesus Gomez is a "Twilight" hater as well. He thinks Edward the sparkling vampire is lame, but he can see the appeal.

JESUS GOMEZ: I think the girls are playing on the fact that he's acting like a bad boy.

ACCOMANDO: But then vampires are usually bad boys. Just check out the oversexed vampires of HBO's adult-oriented "True Blood" or the teen bloodsuckers in either "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or the more recent TV show "The Vampire Diaries."

In the upcoming "New Moon," sexual tensions heat up even more. Teen Tashiya Harris says Edward leaves Bella and that provides an opening for Taylor Lautner's werewolf, Jacob, to make his move.

TASHIYA HARRIS: In "New Moon," Edward's not gonna even matter. It's going to be all Taylor.

JOHNSON: All about Taylor.

HARRIS: Just the fact that he comes in...

JOHNSON: With his shirt off.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

DOUGHTY: But that's not selling sex to kids at all?

That is completely selling sex to kids.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

JOHNSON: Ok.

HARRIS: Ok.

DOUGHTY: You guys are completely contradicting yourselves. You're saying the movie is not about it, it's about romance. How is looking at Taylor Lautner without a shirt on romance at all?

ACCOMANDO: So if Twilight is trying to send a new message about teen abstinence, it might not be getting through.

For NPR News, I'm Beth Accomando.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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