I find myself asking this question as I re-read the Twilight books. After seeing the movie last weekend, I felt compelled to pick up the books yet again. The movie was good – better than I expected, in fact. The rainy, woodsy scenery was just how I had pictured it. Not all the characters looked exactly as I had imagined, but they were close enough. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised because when you love a book, it's often a disappointment to see the movie.
After all the frenzy surrounding the Twilight release, I began to wonder why vampires are so popular. Objectively, we should be repulsed by them. These guys are walking around in dead bodies, for goodness sake! And they typically view humans as nothing more than a snack waiting to happen. Most vampires have no respect for human life and don't hesitate to kill off any humans who get in their way. So what's the attraction?
In the case of the Twilight vampires, they're beautiful and rich and always in control. All fans of romance novels will immediately recognize Twilight's hero Edward Cullen as the ultimate alpha male. For whatever reason (I blame genetic wiring), that type is often attractive to women. Many romance readers have commented that it would be hell to live with the kind of guy who they look for in novels, however. He'd be controlling and domineering and probably a little sexist. I don't see him cleaning baby spit-up out of the car seat.
On the upside, vampires will never get old. They will always be handsome and young and strong. No thinning hair, no belt creeping up toward their chests as the decades pass, no need for Viagra. And, as an added bonus, many vampires can offer the same deal to the loves of their lives. Vampires usually have the ability to change others into immortal, beautiful, strong creatures just like themselves. With a bite, they can cure disease and death. What's not to like? Isn't that worth putting up with a little sexist behavior? And the fact that alpha male vampires won't clean up after the kid gets car sick doesn't matter, since vampires can't have babies anyway.
So I guess my conclusion is that there's a lot to attract readers and moviegoers to vampires. They spark our imaginations and define what many women see as the "perfect" hero. Plus, since they only drink blood, they'll never leave empty beer cans or pizza boxes cluttering up the coffee table. Sure, the bloodless body of your mailman might turn up in your cellar, but that's a small price to pay for eternity with the vampire of your dreams, isn't it?
Peace and great vampire stories,
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