Ever since Twilight, Hollywood’s been in love with vampires. But where once vampires were the stuff of horror movies, now they’re trendy and attractive. In fact, Hollywood may have made vampires so attractive that they’ve actually become a fashion trend on their own. But is this newfound interest in vampires and other dark creatures good for our mental health?

Wondering If Vampires Cause Mental Illness?

Since the 1900s, psychiatry has been grappling with the question of whether horror and other dark stories increase or decrease mental health. During the ‘70s, it was determined that horror movies increase neuroticism, or the tendency to be anxious and worried a lot. This was a popular theory then, and even now, many people believe that horror movies make us feel worse about ourselves and our world. But is that really the case?

A 2014 study in the journal Psychological Science explored whether watching horror movies makes us more or less happy. The study compared a group of adults who watched at least one horror movie a week with a control group who said they never or rarely watched horror movies. After analyzing the results, the researchers concluded that:

  • The participants who watched horror movies showed less negative emotional responses, such as anxiety, fear, and anger; and
  • Those who watched horror movies also had higher self-esteem and felt better about themselves and their lives.

While this research focused on adults, children are also potentially affected by the media they consume. A 2016 study published in the journal Psychological Science found that even when accounting for individual and family differences, watching scary movies with children causes them to develop a more negative outlook on the world. The researchers concluded that this is likely because children identify with the characters on-screen, and since the stories are usually violent and scary, it creates a “perfect storm” for them to feel afraid, insecure, and angry.

Is The Rise Of Vampires A Natural Or Unfortunate Fad?

While we can’t say for certain that Hollywood’s newfound obsession with vampires is a trend that will pass as more people get over their aversion to bloodsuckers, there’s one thing we can say for sure. Whether we like it or not, vampires have arrived in popular culture. They no longer have to be portrayed solely by Angelina Jolie in A Beautiful Mind, and they don’t have to be relegated to the role of villain in a superhero movie. Hollywood has made vampires trendy, attractive, and even inspiring, and not in a bad way.

But how long will this trend last? Is this newfound interest in vampires the beginning of a bright and shiny new era for Hollywood, or just a passing fancy that will inspire some movies and then be forgotten as soon as the next big blockbuster movie season starts?

The future of pop culture is constantly evolving, and since vampires seem to be around for the foreseeable future, it’s something that we as movie fans should get used to. But maybe not. Just because Hollywood is infatuated with vampires doesn’t mean that you, the viewer, should be too.