You may have heard the news that the ‘Twilight’ actor Robert Pattinson was caught naked on a hotel bed with a member of the crew. The incident allegedly happened at the end of July, after a wrap party for the latest flick in the vampire franchise, ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’. Some reports have it that the two were high on methamphetamine, but nothing has been confirmed. Still, the scandalous event made headlines across the globe, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if that continues to be the case for a while.

What has been more surprising is the number of female fans who have come forward to defend the 28-year-old British actor. Many have stated they are willing to forgive his indiscretions and welcome him back into the fold once he has finished his drugs problem. That sort of response is intriguing and rather sexy when you think about it. But what is this ‘Twilight’ fascination with vampires? And what impact does this sort of obsession have on our cultural perceptions of gender roles? Let’s take a closer look.

The Evolution Of Vampires

If you’ve been following the latest news reports on Robert Pattinson, you know that he has a history of getting in trouble with the law and struggling with drug and alcohol problems. Before he became famous, Pattinson was actually a professional skateboarder who achieved some notoriety for participating in the sport professionally. But it was his role in the 2009 film ‘The Twilight’ that really put him on the map. Since then, he has been typecast as a vampire, and even went through a ‘vampire phase’, during which he dyed his hair orange to match his character’s outfit in the movies. In reality, Pattinson has light brown hair and is not a fan of the Halloween look.

The character of Edward Cullen is a handsome, rich, and powerful vampire who is portrayed as the quintessential alpha male. His good looks are attributed to his vampire blood that flows through his veins. The ‘Twilight’ books and movies have been praised for their empowering female characters and for encouraging strong female friendships, which is no doubt part of the allure of the series for some fans.

You may also be familiar with the case of David Benioff, the ‘Game of Thrones’ co-creator who reportedly spent five years of his life developing the character of Tyrion Lannister. Much like Benioff, the ‘Twilight’ directors spent a lot of time developing the characters and finding the “right” look for each of them. In the case of Rob Pattinson, they decided to go with a darker look for the character since he is a vampire. This, however, doesn’t mean that he has to look like a monster! He just needs to have the distinct appearance of a vampire.

The Appeal Of Vampires

While some people may turn their nose up at the whole idea of vampires returning to their classic film look, there is a definite appeal to this kind of visual. Even those who love ‘Twilight’ have to admit that the blood-sucking creatures are rather cool-looking, especially when they are set against a beautiful ocean or nightscape. Of course, it also helps that there aren’t many good-looking men who aren’t also vampires in real life. It is a double-edge sword, but there is still something thrilling about being a part of this fictional world.

The appeal of vampires to women is quite clear. We love a good horror movie, but we also love a smart, sexy, alpha male. The combination of the two is highly combustible, especially when set against a handsome, brooding bad boy. Some may say that the very fact that the vampires in ‘Twilight’ are so attractive is a commentary on society’s attitudes towards women. And that, in and of itself, is interesting.

Why Do We Vary So Much From The Classic Vampire Look?

The traditional vampire look is, in fact, not very popular anymore. According to some reports, it was inspired by an old Dracula poster that featured a pale, gaunt face with glaring white fangs. This kind of image is associated with the horror movie ‘Nosferatu’, which was released way back in 1922. Since then, the vampire look has mostly been used in horror films, and it was initially defined by its coldness and emptiness. Take note of all those classic vampire movies made before the 1970s, and you’ll notice a theme: all of them feature a very monochromatic look with a lot of black and white shots. This is, in fact, how Hollywood saw the future of cinema back in the day: stark white cliffs and rain-soaked nights evoke an atmosphere of impending doom. The lighting and shadows in these movies create a very otherworldly feeling, which is exactly what the creators of ‘Twilight’ were going for.

As the 20th century progressed, the vampire look became less about fear and more about sex. In many of the classic vampire movies, there are several bawdy scenes involving blood-drinking and, well, you know what, so much for subtlety. Take the 1975 movie ‘Black Christmas’ for example, which was the first mainstream appearance of what would come to be known as the “death grip”. In this movie, Michael Myers (played by a very young Ted Bundy) is a grotesque, hunchbacked figure striding towards town, his arms raised above his head in a position that suggests an awkwardness about the act of kissing. When the townspeople see him, their first impression is that of a bat (hence the infamous “batty boy” quip, repeated ad nauseam in news outlets around the world). In a climactic scene, Michael Myers attempts to strangle a woman to death. When one of her friends interrupts him, he pauses for a second, before turning towards the friend and showing his fangs. Suddenly, the scene is no longer one of horror, but one of rape. This is, in fact, one of the main reasons why the vintage vampire look hasn’t been popular for a very long time.

These days, movies featuring vampires are more often than not set in the 1990s or later, and the creatures generally have a more human appearance. Take the 2017 movie ‘Beauty And The Beast’, for example. In this case, the beast part is embodied by none other than the “Lion King” himself, Simba (played by the legendary Michael Jackson). As the man behind the beast, Jackson lends his distinct appearance and charisma to the role, making it clear that he is anything but subservient to this royal family. He also gets to show off his athletic skills, as he runs around the savannah, hunting down his prey. While we haven’t seen the last of the “samba” king (he will return in the upcoming movie ‘The Circle’), it is clear that Michael Jackson has not taken his foot off the gas, and that this character will not be easily defined by his animalistic instincts.

Vampire-related Scandals

Of course, even if you adore the ‘Twilight’ characters, you are aware that they are fictional. Still, the fact that these stories exist as written documents is enough for some people to get very upset. The fact that there are multiple books and movies in the ‘Twilight’ universe is enough to make any fan anxious. This may also explain why the vampire-related scandals never seem to die. Take the recent case of Corey Feldman, for example. The actor and model fearlessly discussed his alleged encounter with Michael Jackson on Twitter. “I was in his room, hanging out with him and his family. He pulled me into his room and closed the door,” Feldman wrote. “Then he started grinding on me. It wasn’t just me, there were others in the room,” he continued. “He eventually got on top of me and started thrusting. I tried to get away but he kept holding me down. Then he turned to me and smiled. I thought he was going to kiss me but he bit my tongue. It bled a lot. I’m still trying to get the taste out of my mouth,” he concluded.