Many fans were worried that the upcoming Twilight film adaptation would glamorise or normalise the issues surrounding vampire addiction and abuse. But after seeing the movie, it’s clear that this isn’t the case. In fact, the film provides a unique insight into these dark themes and offers a fresh perspective on the creatures of modern day folklore.

The biggest issue that many people have with the Twilight films is that they don’t portray vampires as being particularly sinister. While it’s true that most vampire stories don’t aim to paint the creatures in a positive light, this doesn’t mean that all of them are good. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some vampires are downright creepy, and the novel that the films arebased on features some of the most despicable characters in literary history. So before you start judging the book by its cover, let’s delve into what makes the Twilight series so special.

A New Insight Into Vampires

One of the most prominent differences between the Twilight films and other vampire adaptations is that the film versions acknowledge the creatures’ inhumanity. In the early 20th century, vampires were most often depicted as being bloodthirsty predators that had to be stopped at all costs. Yet in the Twilight films, these vicious monsters are presented as being just as human as the people that they prey upon. For example, in the book that the films are based on, the eponymous heroine, Bella, meets a group of vampires who have attached themselves to her family. When she attempts to escape, they show her just how much they appreciate her presence in their “coven” by threatening to kill her. It’s only then that she realises the depth of their bloodlust and the terrible toll that it will have upon her if she doesn’t get away. Later, she recalls the incident in horror as she listens to a recording of a menacing voice that reminds her of the bloodsuckers that tried to harm her.

Although this kinder, gentler approach might seem like a breath of fresh air for fans of the genre, it wasn’t necessarily what the creators of the Twilight films had in mind when they began adapting J. Scott Campbell’s bestselling novel. For them, the appeal of the creatures of modern folklore lay in their ability to effortlessly transform themselves into animals or humans at will. In other words, they see vampires not as people but as monsters–albeit monsters with a heart and a brain that can be understood and defeated.

A Fresh Perspective On Werewolves

If vampires are monsters with a heart, then werewolves are the terrifying creatures that exist in our worst nightmares. This image of a man with fangs, clawing his way out of his human form is something that we’re constantly thrown when we encounter werewolves in the wild. We want to run away, but our fear ends up helping the monsters that we’re supposed to be afraid of.

While the traditional wolfman image might be enough to upset many people, it’s the werewolves’ connection to another scary creature that has us all in a panic: the Frankenstein monster. It was originally thought that the two were directly related, as werewolves were sometimes depicted as part wolf and part human. However, according to “Frankenstein: The True Story” by Brenda Romero, Mary Shelley’s original story didn’t feature a werewolf. In fact, she originally wrote it as a cautionary tale about the dangers of creating life. Yet, somehow, this tale about a man who sets out to create a human being winds up inspiring one of the most iconic figures in all of dark fiction.

The link between the two was first officially established in 1926, when the German scientists whose research was used to create the monster appeared in a courtroom and testified that they were in fact inspired by the werewolf legend and not the other way around. Since then, the creature that continues to thrive in Scott Campbell’s Twilight books and films has become an integral part of pop culture. Even today, we’re still bombarded with references to the creature in popular media. Just consider how many times you’ve heard the words “werewolf” or “monster” used in tandem.

A Different Take On Vampires And Werewolves

If we compare the two monsters to one another, it’s clear that they’ve grown up alongside each other. It wasn’t until the 20th century that they began to be seen as part of the same “mythos” (mythical monster group), and it wasn’t until the 21st century that their difference in type became relevant. In the past, vampires were depicted as being weak and pathetic, while werewolves were always portrayed as being powerful and commanding. Something that’s only become apparent in the past couple hundred years or so, as traditional folkloric vampires were “invented” at the turn of the century, while werewolves started cropping up in fiction in the early 20th century, in the wake of the novel Dracula, which was published in 1897.

Since then, vampires and werewolves have gone their separate ways, with the former often referred to as “classic” vampires and the latter usually lumped under the heading of “vampires/werewolves”. Whether by chance or design, in the Twilight films the two are presented in a way that doesn’t adhere to traditional stereotypes.

A More Realistic Take On Paranormal Events

It’s not only in the depiction of vampires and werewolves that the Twilight films stand out. Author J. Scott Campbell attributes their uniqueness to their creator, Stephenie Meyer. Known for her YA works and fan-favourite Twilight series, Meyer has been dubbed “The Queen of Cool” for her ability to write interesting and unique character arcs and focus on teenage angst. Although the series might not be for everyone, it’s an interesting exploration of human nature and the desire for belonging that resonates with many readers.

Meyer has said about the Twilight films, “My attitude with these movies was that I wanted to make something different and not portray vampires in the typical cheesy, romantic way…When I read the script, I realised there was a real opportunity to present vampires in a different way.” It’s this more mature approach that has endeared the Twilight films to fans and made them want to see more.

However, perhaps the greatest attribute of the Twilight films is that they don’t gloss over difficult subject matter. For example, in one scene in the movies, Bella and her sister, Jane, are shown watching a scary movie together. Just as they’re about to laugh at the antics of some of the film’s characters, a young woman is gruesomely murdered onscreen. To be clear, this isn’t a glorified horror movie, but we as an audience are supposed to feel uneasy and disturbed, regardless.

A Bittersweet Moment For The Creatures Of Modern Day Folklore

If you’re a fan of the Twilight films, then it’s clear that you’re also a fan of J. Scott Campbell’s work. However, this doesn’t mean that everything about the creature’s “official” canon is perfect. In fact, there’s one character in particular that fans have complained about: Victoria, a vampire from the Underworld film series who returned in the form of a hologram in the latest Twilight installment. Despite the fact that she appears in a relatively minor role, Victoria is one of the most polarising characters in literary history. While some fans love her, most others have criticised her for being unbelievable and completely unlikeable. So it was with a mixture of pride and sadness that we watched as the hologram faded away after she saved Bella’s life. This is undoubtedly one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the entire Twilight saga.

What makes the Victoria controversy even more fascinating is that this isn’t the first time that this particular character has caused a stir. Back in 2012, Stephenie Meyer commented on Twitter, “[The hologram] was really difficult to shoot. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my amazing team. And Vic, I love you but you’re insufferable. And I’m sorry, I can’t be funny anymore.” Just like that, the last vestiges of Victoria’s hologram were wiped away, as the tweets continued with Meyer making fun of the character’s silliness.

With the release of the Twilight films, J. Scott Campbell has stepped out of the shadows and into the limelight, with some going as far to proclaim that he’s “the most popular author alive”. While we wait with baited breath for the next instalment of the Twilight saga, which is set for release in 2021, we can take comfort in knowing that this year has brought a bright light into the darkness.