Vampires & Werewolves: THE ETERNAL TREND?
“Death is peaceful–easy. Life is harder,” says Bella Swan in Twilight, a book series that’s been sending this dangerous message to millions of teens across the globe.
These macabre beginnings go back to the early silent films. As a result of television shows like The Vampire Diaries and the Twilight movies and books, vampires and werewolves have been thrust into America’s pop culture. Contrary to popular belief, though, vampires and werewolves have fascinated the American public since the early twentieth century. The first vampire movie ever made was a silent film called “Vampires of The Coast,” while the first werewolf movie was “Werewolf of London.” Together these two flicks laid down the foundation for today’s vampire and werewolf movies.
The fascination for these underworld creatures was re-captured in 2004, when the “Twilight” book series, written by Stephenie Meyer, hit our society with a supernatural force. Since then, Meyer’s vampire books have turned a seemingly sedentary teen population into bookworms, and in the process garnered much hate over this genre by some critics, who voice that the books send off bad messages to teens, such as:
- Vampires are cool
- The notion that the underworld and human beings can mix and marry is fascinating
- Paedophilia—a psychiatric disorder of adults with a sexual interest in 11-14 year olds is acceptable
- It’s all right to steal
- It’s all right to have an abusive and creepy boyfriend
- Every girl must have a guy to be happy
- A girl has to be depressed if the guy leaves her
- It’s okay to jump off a cliff
While the above points are alarming, there’s actually scientific gathering that the vampire craze in teen literature is affecting the dynamic workings of the teenage brain in ways that even scientists don’t understand. A recent article on LiveScience.com stated it this way: “We don’t know exactly how literature affects the brain, but we know that it does,” said Maria Nikolajeva, a Cambridge University professor of literature. “Some new findings have identified spots in the brain that respond to literature and art.”
According to this article, scientists, authors and educators met in Cambridge, England, September 3-5 for a conference organized by Nikolajeva to discuss how young-adult books and movies affect teenagers’ minds. “For young people, everything is so strange, and you cannot really say why you react to things–it’s a difficult period to be a human being,” Nikolajeva told LiveScience. The conference, she said, brought together “people from different disciplines to share what we know about this turbulent period we call adolescence.”
While some are trying to address “the huge popularity of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series and other vampire-themed books,” the world is devouring them–one book at a time. “I really like them, especially werewolves, because I find they have the more aggressive side,” said a CCA 10th grader, who shares this passion with others toward vampires, werewolves and Twilight. In fact, “Twilight: New Moon” grossed nearly one hundred and forty million dollars in just its opening weekend. It also sold nearly twenty million books in just the United States alone. This shows that vampires and werewolves are still a fixture in America’s pop culture—and in these numbers we find Christians and non-Christian fans alike.
Not everyone feels that this vampires and werewolves craze is all that great. In fact, while some people feel that they are silly, many others go as far as saying that they have evil roots. “I feel that the whole trend is kind of demonic. And people that are into it are kind of crazy,” said junior, Sam Midence, whose viewpoint is shared by many who have even led an anti-vampire movement on Facebook. If you wonder who these people are, you might just say that they are a committed group who have come together in an attempt to stick a wooden stake through this vampire trend’s heart. “I think that’s a little bit too extreme,” said junior, Heather Wroth, who has seen how some teens are terribly obsessed with Twilight characters, even painting them as some kind of heroes and heroines. Wroth adds, “This idea becomes sinful when you start using them as idols. We also have to be very careful with what we read and what we watch, as these kinds of books and films can easily influence our hearts and minds.”
Generally, American Society doesn’t see it that way. They’re just books, they say. It’s very innocent, they add, ignoring the question whether the Twilight saga and those like it are a negative or positive influence to teens. With the recent addition of television shows, books, and movies that revolve around these dark creatures, it seems this trend has an “eternal life,” or at least, they play like they do.