Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer

Stephen King isn't in the the target audience for Twilight, but he knows his vampires — and he says the author of the teen serial "can't write worth a darn."

Promoting his new book, Stephen King Goes to the Movies, the prolific best-selling horror novelist said in an interview with USA Weekend that Stephenie Meyer can't hold a candle to Harry Potter's creator.

"The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn," he said. "She's not very good."

King did curb his attack slightly, explaining that while he's no fan of Meyer's prose, he does appreciate her storytelling — at least in relation to her audience.

"People are attracted by the stories, by the pace and in the case of Stephenie Meyer, it's very clear that she's writing to a whole generation of girls and opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books," King said. "A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that's a shorthand for all the feelings that they're not ready to deal with yet."

A publicist for Meyer told TVGuide.com the author has no comment.

King has rarely minced words about authors he doesn't particularly like, taking some of them to task in his book, On Writing. During the interview, King also called bestseller Dean Koontz "sometimes ... just awful" and James Patterson "a terrible writer" who is "very, very successful."

Whose side are you on? Do Meyer's vampire tales suck? Or is King's criticism out of line?