From Nosferatu to Thirst, films have tried to capture the shadowy, seductive figure of the vampire. Writer Anne Billson chronicles the creature’s evolution.
Slide Ten: Twilight (2008)
Stephenie Meyers' emo-vampire romance, set in the Pacific North-West region, is the logical culmination of the Anne Rice syndrome, in which vampires are no longer purely evil, soulless predators but romantic anti-heroes with hopes, fears and histories. Meyers' tetralogy dilutes this idea still further into a "young adult" inter-species romance, complete with high school backdrop, abstinence (no biting or sex), a passive heroine who keeps having to be rescued and cypher-like characters whose lack of interesting personalities allows young audiences to project themselves into the roles. The books gained a fanatical following even before the first was filmed, but in neither book nor film is it pointed out that the liaison between vampire Edward Cullen and human teenager Bella Swan is fundamentally a little creepy, since despite his youthful looks, he's actually her senior by some 80 years, making their relationship the vampiric equivalent of a pedophile posing as a teen in an internet chatroom. The story's one big twist on traditional lore is having the vampires avoid daylight not because it destroys them, but because it makes them glitter, and in a welcome unexpected touch, the Cullen "family" resides not in the traditional cobwebbed castle but in an airy modern Frank Lloyd Wright-esque home, with picture windows.