Last May marked the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Interview with the Vampire, vampyre fiction’s grandaddy. Since then, the bloodsuckers have been portrayed by various A-list celebrities, including Tom Hardy, Willem Dafoe, and Tilda Swinton. We’re still waiting for our very own Edward Cullen!

The literary world lost a great author when Stephenie Meyer kicked off the vampire craze with her best-selling Twilight saga. Since then, Hollywood has delivered an endless stream of vampire films, taking full advantage of this subgenre’s popularity. The most recent entry in the Twilight film franchise is Eclipse, which hits theaters on Friday. In the meantime, let’s take a retrospective on how the vampire became one of the most popular literary characters of all time.

The Twilight Saga

The first installment of Meyer’s Twilight Saga, Twilight, was released in 2008. Based on the 1995 New York Times Bestseller by the same name, this adaptation of Rice’s novel follows sixteen-year-old Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) as she searches for love amongst the undead in the forbidden paradise of Forks, Washington. Set in a small town populated by vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of the night, the story focuses on Bella’s struggle to embrace her fantastic new life while maintaining her normalcy.

Bella’s narration is alternately hilarious and heart-breaking as she struggles to understand what it means to be a vampire-in-training. As she starts her senior year in high school, she makes a series of rash decisions that place her in grave danger. But her greatest trial and error comes in the form of a friendship with a vampire named Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), whose icy exterior hides a warm and caring heart. Even though she doesn’t know it yet, Edward’s the only person she’ll ever need.

The History of Vampyre Fiction

The most interesting part of the journey to the big screen for Twilight is the long and winding road that led Meyer to pen the novel that became a blockbuster. Before Twilight, Meyer wrote several short stories about vampires that became instant classics. In 1975, after selling her first short story to Playboy, she was on the verge of publishing a book of tales about the undead when she learned that writer Bram Stoker had perished in 1906. Believing that she was indirectly responsible for Stoker’s death, she decided to rewrite the rules of vampire fiction.

After a chance viewing of the movie Count Dracula, she began developing ideas for a book that would become her magnum opus, Interview with the Vampire. She took her time with the project, writing in four-hour bursts that would eventually become her daily routine.

Upon its 1995 release, Interview with the Vampire was hailed as a masterpiece, selling over 10 million copies worldwide and winning the prestigious Bram Stoker Award. It was also the starting point of a trend that continues to this day: the cinematic adaptation of a vampyre story. Since then, Hollywood has deluged the market with vampire films, delivering an endless stream of adaptations of Meyer’s work and that of other classic writers.

Why Do People Love Vampires So Much?

It’s not hard to see why vampires have struck such a chord with audiences. The very nature of the creature itself is mysterious, alluring, and quite often, terrifying. The prospect of becoming one is more than just a little terrifying. But beyond that, there’s also the fact that vampires are really cool to look at!

Whether it’s the classic wooden stake through the heart or the more sophisticated approach of turning someone into a slave-servant of the vampiric master, there are certain old-school methods of dealing with the monsters that humans find fascinating.

And let’s be honest—who wouldn’t want to hang out with a cool, charming, and incredibly hot group of friends? Especially since there are so many delicious morsels at the end of each rainbow?

Who Are The Celebrities That Play Vampires In Movies?

In the last few years, celebrities have largely shied away from public scenes and social media, limiting their access to fans and the media. As a result, it can be difficult to ascertain the true identities of some of the people who play vampires in popular culture. However, thanks to the wonders of the internet, we can confidently assume the following individuals are, in fact, vampires: