If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either (a) a vampire lover looking for news about the upcoming ‘Twilight’ movie, or (b) someone who’s really excited about the upcoming Twilight movie and isn’t afraid to admit it.
I’m sure there are several other reasons why you’re reading this column, but those are the only two I can think of. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, let me fill you in on the skinny. Back in 2007, a humble group of vampire enthusiasts wrote a book called ‘Twilight’. The book was an immediate bestseller and sparked an explosion of interest in vampires (especially among young women). Since then, the vampire genre has taken over Hollywood, with numerous films and TV shows being released and many more in development.
Most recently, the highly anticipated ‘Twilight’ movie, now available on digital download, came out to rave reviews and an even bigger wave of interest in vampires (especially among women). Based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novel, the film is about a young woman named Bella (played by Kristen Stewart) who falls in love with a vampire named Edward (played by Robert Pattinson). Though they are reluctantly attracted to each other, Bella and Edward struggle to overcome their natures and be together as they deserve to be. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I’m friends with Stephenie Meyer. She’s also the author of the original ‘Twilight’ book, which is why I’m acquainted with her work. So yes, I’m definitely biased, but I think it’s fair to say that ‘Twilight’ is one of the best romance novels of all time.
If you’re wondering whether or not the ‘Twilight’ phenomenon will continue, I’d say it’s fair to assume so. The film was a critical and commercial success, and it seems like audiences everywhere are responding positively to vampires. As a result, the genre will undoubtedly continue to grow in popularity.
The ‘Twilight’ Phenomenon
When the news broke that Paramount Pictures was going to be releasing a ‘Twilight’ movie, I was extremely excited. Not only had I been anticipating this movie for years, but I had also been closely following the franchise’s development. The ‘Twilight’ books had been at the top of my reading list since the first one came out in 2005, and I’d been looking forward to the opportunity to see the story brought to life through the lens of Hollywood.
What is Hollywood without its vampires? For years, we’ve been bombarded with seemingly endless remakes and reboots of classic films, and now that the world of vampires has been introduced to a whole new generation, I’m sure we’ll continue to see films about the undead. In my opinion, the most promising upcoming film is ‘Crimson Peak’, a gothic horror film scheduled for a 2018 premiere. Based on the short story ‘Sister Annabelle’ by Edgar Allan Poe, the film follows a young woman named Annabelle who, having recently inherited a large fortune, travels to England to live with her new acquisitions: a pair of matching china dolls. On the train ride over, she meets a mysterious man who, it turns out, is a vampire. He begins to feed on her and, in true Gothic horror fashion, she is left fending for herself as he drains the blood from her veins.
This isn’t the first time Hollywood has dipped its toe into the world of vampires. In 1831, a humble author by the name of Edgar Allan Poe wrote a short story about a vengeful woman and her quest to destroy a vampire. Though the story was initially rejected by a number of magazines and newspapers, it was eventually published and, in 1912, became the basis of a Broadway play called ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’. In the decades that followed, numerous movies, TV shows, and stage plays would be based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story, cementing his status as the father of modern-day horror and fantasy fiction.
Though most people are familiar with Edgar Allan Poe’s work, it wasn’t until the 21st century that vampires truly made a comeback in popular culture. Part of the reason for this is that, in the years since Edgar Allan Poe’s time, the world has changed, and so has our perception of vampires. During World War II, a group of Romanian noblemen, scientists, and writers known as the Order of the Drac (Latin for ‘Kingdom of the Vampires’) gathered in a villa in Transylvania to discuss the problems facing humanity and the need for a master race. They decided that, rather than focusing on mental illness, alcoholism, or substance abuse, vampires should be bred to serve a greater purpose.
While most people these days might not put much stock in theories about creating a superior race of creatures, the Order of the Drac certainly did. They believed that a world full of vampires would not be a bad thing. Unfortunately, their ideas were ahead of their time. After the war, they started a breeding program that lasted until the early 1950s when the government (which had cooperated with them during the war) outlawed slavery, persecution of minorities, and all forms of eugenics. However, thanks to the efforts of the Order of the Drac, a small community of vampires still flourishes in Transylvania today.
If you’re wondering whether or not the world’s obsession with vampires will continue, then it’s important to take into consideration that this is a relatively new phenomenon. We’ve never had to deal with vampires on a daily basis, and, as a result, we don’t know what kind of relationship they’ll have with society at large. Though people have been studying and writing about vampires for centuries, until very recently, their existence was limited to folklore, goth subculture, and the occasional horror novel or film.
Do Vampires Have A Place In Today’s World?
One of the unique things about the ‘Twilight’ books and movies is that they speak to a whole generation of readers and viewers. Though written decades ago, the books’ appeal goes beyond just their literary value. In the last few years, especially thanks to the film adaptations, vampires have exploded in popularity. One can only imagine what would happen if a Broadway musical about Sherlock Holmes were to hit its stride right now.
When it comes to vampires, pop culture has caught up with academia. Though there have always been articles and books written about vampires, what’s different now is that they’re no longer just the stuff of legend and fairy tales. Thanks to Hollywood, fans of the ‘Twilight’ books and movies now have immediate access to the creatures that have captivated them. Plus, with so many vampire-related TV shows and movies being released each year, the number of potential partners for our favorite anti-heroes and heroines just increased exponentially.
Though fans of the ‘Twilight’ books and movies may enjoy a fleeting association with the creatures that they’ve encountered in Meyer’s novels, the truth is that vampires have inhabited our world for centuries. And for the most part, they haven’t exactly made friends with the mainstream society that surrounds them. With the sole exception of the Order of the Drac, which continues to this day to fight for their right to live as they are (and to try and rehabilitate vampires), most communities have looked upon them with fear and distrust. For the most part, the better part of humanity has had little to do with the supernatural, preferring to leave it to academics, scientists, and those few brave souls who have taken a liking to them.
In the coming months and years, I imagine that we’re going to see a lot more pop culture references to vampires (especially among the youth). Though they can be cute and cuddly with the right actor playing them (look at me, I’m looking at you), vampires are undoubtedly going to have to contend with prejudice and intolerance just like any other minority group in modern America. Or, for that matter, any other minority in modern America.
The Future Of Vampires
In general, I think it’s fair to say that the future of vampires is looking pretty good. Though there are still a few holdouts in Eastern Europe who refuse to accept them as part of modern society, everywhere else, vampires have found a welcome addition to the schoolyard, the workplace, and the world of sports. Thanks largely to the success of the ‘Twilight’ movies and series, the vampire genre is thriving as never before, setting the stage for numerous spinoff novels, stories, and film projects.
Though it’s impossible to say what the future of vampire cinema will hold, I think it’s fair to assume that this particular subgenre will continue to be popular for years to come.