Vampires are villains. From the first story ever written about vampires, they were blood-sucking monsters that parents would tell their children about to scare them into saying inside at night. Recently, these same monsters have been revered and turned into a seductive creature that teenage girls ogle at. Instead of hanging garlic from their bedposts, these little girls are hanging pictures of vampires in their rooms and putting vampire stickers on their lunchboxes. What changed in the last five years that has caused this radical change of vampires from horror movie monsters into Hollywood stars with no shirts? The answer can be summed up in on title, Twilight.
In the popular teen book series The Twilight Saga, author Stephanie Meyer takes an interesting approach at the traditional “love story.” In her novel, the main love interest is not a drop dead gorgeous sweetheart like in most teen novels, but a blood sucking, immortal, vampire. The vampires in Twilight are very different than they are in classic vampire novels, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula. When asked by Entertainment Weekly if she has ever read Dracula, Stephanie Meyer responded with, “No, but it’s on the list.” This explains why the vampires are not similar in many ways and why Meyer has no credibility in taking about vampire lore. It is borderline insulting that she would write a novel starring a mythical creature without researching the myth thoroughly before writing.
One of the main reasons for the success of Twilight and the overall popularity of vampire movies today is the illusion of Edward Cullen, the vampire love interest in Twilight as a protagonist. It is merely an illusion, though. Vampires have overwhelming charm and seductive powers that they use to get people to fall in love with them, so that they can enter one’s house and feast. In vampire lore, a vampire cannot enter a house unless he is invited inside, and a majority of the world is being tricked into thinking that it is acceptable to allow a vampire into their dwelling. Vampires are not, and should not, be portrayed as protagonists. It may have made Meyer a shit load of money, but she unknowingly just put the entire world at risk by minimizing the threatening image of the traditional vampire.
The deciding factor in whether or not the vampire film outbreak would occur was the casting of the vampires in Twilight. By putting good looking actors into the roles of vampires, The Twilight Saga has single-handedly reduced the image of the vampire from monster to pop-star. Teenage girls flock to the theaters to see Robert Pattinson in pale white makeup as the vampire Edward Cullen. Pattinson himself is confused and worried about the reactions of these girls to his character. In an interview with Premier Magazine two years ago, Pattinson stated that, “It was always surprised me to hear that Edward was the ‘perfect boyfriend’ of the ‘perfect guy.’ To me, he is a person filled with anger, it worries me a lot.” Edward Cullen is indeed filled with anger, and also a vampire. That is what Pattinson should really be worried about, not that the kids are falling in love with someone who is angry, but because they are falling in love with someone who is hungry and only drinks human blood.
There is no arguing that The Twilight Saga has revolutionized the way society views vampires and monsters in general. Werewolves are also in abundance in these books and films. The idea is so popular largely due to the fact that the viewers are obsessed with fantasy relationships, and Twilight truly brings this to the next level. But also because of the fact that the audience will cheer for, or fall in love with, anything good looking. Stephanie Meyer should be commended for her unique portrayal of these classic villains. Her books have brought vampires to the peak of their popularity. Although, a healthy fear of vampires cannot hurt anyone, and I’m sure the residents of Transylvania would agree with me.