You're shitting the bed, Hollywood -- the last Twilight film came out in 2012, and you have yet to whip up a profitable monster to replace Twilight's gang of Lisa Frank Nosferatus. (EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: My sister explained the entirety of Twilight to me in five minutes five years ago so I'd never have to watch the movies. Three of those minutes were spent explaining why the werewolf in jorts falls in love with the half-vampire baby.)
I mean it, Hollywood -- you're shitting the bed so royally that your stool contains shards of Faberge eggs. There was The Host (extraterrestrial body snatchers), Beautiful Creatures (witches), and The Mortal Instruments (graphing calculators, tubas, beats the fuck out of me).
Sony Pictures Entertainment
That's definitely Harry Potter in the back. I think he's going to kill these kids.
All of those paranormal tween movies bombed because you had no idea how to make kids look up from trading Snapchats of their butt-chugs on their Game Gears. By the way, The Hunger Games doesn't count, because nobody's going to Comic-Con dressed as "vitamin B deficiency" or making millions off of Eight Inches of Snow (Fifty Shades of Grey starring Donald Sutherland, of course).
"Hey, shorty, my beard is a merkin."
But as someone with absolutely no marketable insights into youth culture, I think I could bring a bold outsider perspective to the young-adult-novel game. Furthermore, my credentials are sterling: I recently wrote my own Star Wars fan fiction for this very site. Also, people are making bank on dinosaur erotica -- how hard can it be? Here are three monsters that I deem the next Draculas-who-wait-until-marriage.
NOTE #1: Dear publishers and agents who want to swaddle me in a man-size papoose woven of crisp hundos: The requisite progression here is book, corn maze based on the book, movie, and another corn maze based on the movie. I'm trying to scam some farm subsidies out of this. (You buy my whole vision or nothing at all.)
NOTE #2: To ensure that your imagination sockets are properly greased, I'll need you to listen to John Tesh's "Roundball Rock" on loop for the duration of this article.
If you've never made love to this song, consider yourself a virgin.
#3. The Phantom of the Opera
Project Title: The Phantom of the Sadie Hawkins Dance
Why You Will Buy My Shit, Hollywood: We will make millions off of Glee-style compilations of baseball-organ covers of Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars and other names that mean nothing to me.
The Pitch: Imagine you're a below-average teenager. (If you are a below-average teenager, imagine you also have oniony armpits.) You've just moved to some Podunk latrine with a two-digit zip code. Your only friend is the tumbleweed trapped in your front yard. Your unhip dad works the night shift at the Sadness Mine. Being a teenager sucks.
But your boring, puberty-packed world is blown to smithereens when EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE 200 STUDENTS at your new high school turns out to be a Phantom of an Opera. That's not a love triangle -- that's a love dihectahenagon! What young adult franchise can boast those numbers?
Who needs one mopey vampire when you have 200 Lon Chaneys?
Of course, you don't notice your peers at first because you're a teenager, so you're on molly all the time. You're the only player on the JV soccer team, but you win all your matches because chandeliers keep falling on the field and maiming the opposing players. And, strangely enough, Andrew Lloyd Webber is your gym teacher.
Really Useful Films
"Drop and give me Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, shit for brains!"
Sure, this premise sounds unlikely, but young adult novels don't place a high premium on verisimilitude. For example, the main vampire in Twilight went to high school for a century to avoid blowing his cover. Having to sit through pre-calculus for 30 years? That's fucking nuts. It's a wonder he didn't go on a killing spree by 1974.
Yes, 200 Phantoms is far more believable than one twee vampire. Just imagine High School Musical or Glee if everybody had nostrils like the Black Hole of Calcutta.
Sample Blurb: As expected, nobody came to the Sadie Hawkins Dance, save Mary and Coach Lloyd Webber, who had clearly never learned her name and taken to calling her characters from his Tony Award-winning musical CATS.
"You're looking as dowdy as ever, Mungojerrie," he said.
"Thanks, Coach," responded Mary glumly as she picked at her gown, which was just two grocery bags with holes cut in them. She had hoped that her secret admirer -- the one who had left the 200 courtship baguettes in her locker -- would show up to prom, but it looked like it would just be her and Coach again.
I INTERRUPT THIS ARTICLE TO REMIND YOU I EXIST
"Coach, why is this room empty? And where are all the other students? Seriously, final exams are next week."
Coach sighed. "Well, Mr. Mistoffelees, I had hoped to keep this dark secret from you, but damnation, you've forced my hand. You see, every single other student at this school is a deformed Parisian virtuoso hermit. (They all hang out together, so I'm really stretching the definition of 'hermit.') The point is, they all have a crush on YOU."
And with a fabulous flourish befitting of Starlight Express, Coach motioned to the rafters. There, Mary saw 200 sensitive rictus grins and 400 shy nasal canyons. It was an absolutely unsettling sight.
"It's every girl's dream!" Mary cried. "200 boyfriends!"
Stare at this image and listen to "Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls.
Mary's mouth began frothing with teenage madness. "Yes, 200 new boyfriends, all of whom will take me to a corn maze, because I'm a trend-conscious millennial and I spend the majority of my disposable income on maize labyrinths!" She did her eighth molly of the day and had the best prom ever.
#2. The Manticore
Project Title: Are You There God? It's Me, Manticore
Why You Will Buy My Shit, Hollywood: Manticores look dumb.
The Pitch: Tinseltown, I get that my pitch for The Phantom of the Prom may not make sense to you. But at what point in human history were young people ever sensible? Jimi Hendrix wasn't famous for his Roth IRA, you fools.
But I understand that you may want something different from the above wish fulfillment. You might want a fantastical yarn that confronts real issues for real teens, like a D.A.R.E. commercial about the dangers of eating paint chips from a haunted house. Then consider the manticore, the most awkward monster in the entire medieval bestiary.
"HEY GUYS I GOT MY BRACES OFF!"
Seriously, look at that poor SOB. It's like if Ulysses S. Grant banged a giant squirrel to celebrate a botched vasectomy. You can't find an old-timey illustration of a manticore looking dignified. In every picture, he resembles a hillbilly sphinx whose riddles all have one of two answers: "Def Leppard's Pyromania tour, 1983" or "a pumpkin butt."
"Which of these two things did I see last night at Jim-Joe's All-Nude Hooternanny? No looking at a calendar, that's cheating."
Yes, no other mythological terror embodies "hiding mystery boners behind a three-ring binder" like the manticore. Plus, we can lure Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars fans if we make the bad guys a clique of old-money teenage harpies with names like 1890s slaughterhouse magnates (because that's what rich crazy people do).
"HEY GUYS I RENTED FOOTLOOSE AND LEARNED KEVIN BACON'S WAREHOUSE DANCE AND THE TALENT SHOW-"
Sample Blurb: I saw them sashaying down the hall in full demon Lolita strut. Archibald, Cuthbert, Rutherford, and Hezron were the alpha bitches at Westchester Divots Preparatory Academy. They did all the purest molly (not that low-grade shit laced with bath salts the Model U.N. dorks did) and hung out at the hottest corn mazes. This past weekend, they went to a corn maze SO trendy that it was in the shape of a corn maze when you saw it from an aerial view. They were THAT popular.
Me? I wasn't popular whatsoever. I had just transferred from the deserts of ancient Persia to Westchester Divots on a merit scholarship. Furthermore, my body was going through some embarrassing changes. Just the other day I had sprouted a scorpion tail, and I got so hormonal that I ate the chess club.
The chess club was on molly, so I got super high.
As the clique approached, I became so self-conscious that I squirted my Go-Gurt all over my Sixpence None the Richer hoodie, which in turn made me so flustered that I shot out my tail in a flight-or-fight response. My venomous barb pierced Cuthbert through her $3,000 Corn Whore by Givenchy rain leotard, showering blood, toxins with silly wizard names, and rhinestones (that up until recently spelled out "WHORE FOR CORN") all over the lockers. Cuthbert's skull shriveled like a wormy walnut and exploded. A nearby exchange student with a fatal lactose allergy got Go-Gurt in his eye. His head exploded, too.
HOW COULD A LOVING GOD ALLOW ME
Archibald surveyed the carnage and death, her breasts looking pert as thunder. "Well, new kid, looks like you have one hell of a stinger -- and I'm a queen bee. Looks like I've got room for one more in my honey hive. Wanna be my drone?"
An air pocket from a pile of Cuthbert's brain mush burbled a profanity-laced rejoinder. By the three ineffable doom-heads of Zahhak, DID THIS MEAN I WAS POPULAR?