Written by Michael D. O'Brien
Friday, 18 December 2009
The astonishing success of the Twilight series of vampire novels written by Stephenie Meyer ranks second only to the Harry Potter series in publishing history, and the two films released to date also repeat this pattern.  Meyer’s series builds upon the foundation of older novels and cult films, themselves based on the European legends of vampires. The legends predate even these, for there is a long tradition in ancient religions of supernatural beings who are predators on humans, consuming the blood or flesh of the living, tales that can be found in Babylonian, Greek, Persian, Hindu, and Hebrew lore, as well as throughout Africa and the pre-colonial Americas.
The European legends appear to have been in wide circulation during the Middle Ages in the oral folk culture of numerous Christian peoples, sometimes in the writings of ecclesiastics (though this was rare), and began to be collected only in the 1700’s. This branch of vampire legends thrived mainly in South-eastern Europe, where the tendency to superstition was greater than in more developed urban societies, but also appeared elsewhere, for example in Russia and Germany. The verbal lore of several ethnic groups commonly depicts the vampire as an “un-dead” being possessed by an evil spirit, sometimes a suicide or a witch but often a corpse that had been bitten by a vampire. It is conjectured that the word “vampire” derives from a chain of linguistic adaptations that can be traced back through French and German (vampyre and vampir) to the Serbian vampir, Polish wapierz and numerous Slavic variants in other countries, such as upir, upyr, and upior. According to some etymological theorists the term originates in the Turkic term for “witch”—for example the Tatar ubyr.
The legend was popularized in Western literature through highly successful novels, beginning with John Polidari’s The Vampyre, published in 1819, and Bram Stoker's Dracula, published in 1897. It was the latter that provided the basis for most subsequent vampire fiction. Other novels of varying degrees of literary merit have appeared since then, but few, if any of them, depart from the basic “type.” In addition, there are literally hundreds of films dealing with the theme. Notable among these are the 1922 German film Nosferatu, and Universal Pictures’ Dracula (1931), starring Bela Lugosi, followed by a series of eight Dracula films in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, starring Christopher Lee. Significant among later films are Francis Ford Coppola’s rendition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), starring Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder, and Neil Jordan’s Interview with the Vampire (1994), based on Anne Rice’s novel of the same name, starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.
There are also numerous media off-shoots such as the British television series Young Dracula, which was first aired in 2006, the American television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which aired from 1997 to 2003, and the animated Japanese series Vampire Knight, first aired in 2008, as well as other series such as Blood Ties, Moonlight, Being Human, and True Blood. In a 2009 issue of the SCP Journal, Tal Brooke reflected on the possible causes of this cultural phenomenon:
Vampires as embodied darkness, are a perfect foil for boundary pushing as we get to know and accept them. The desensitized audience are the frogs sitting in the slowly heating kettle. The envelope of moral boundaries is constantly being pushed, with hardly a pause, and that has been happening since the early days of black and white TVs with their rabbit-ear antennas. Whether we like it or not, media is a change agent, earning vast sums and influencing populations. If a twenty second advertisement can be opinion-shaping, an hour-long program more so.
It has become clear that twenty-first century producers are neither respecters of morals nor vampire lore as they change the rules to fit the times. They clone, mix and match. The crucifix is becoming inconsequential along with holy water, removing the power of Christianity from the equation 
The theme of vampirism seems never to grow stale. In 2009 alone, seven films have been released, including New Moon, based on the second book of the Twilight series, with the third and fourth films soon to follow.
Vampire themes also figure in landmark end-of-the-world films such as The Last Man on Earth (1964), starring Vincent Price, Omega Man (1971), starring Charlton Heston, and I Am Legend (2007), starring Will Smith. Common to these later films is the deletion of any supernatural content and attributing the evils portrayed in them to purely physical causes. The zombie-vampires in I Am Legend, for example, are humans turned into monsters due to a plague unleashed accidentally by scientists seeking a cure for cancer. The evil is entirely natural in origins. In this film, as in most other grotesque manifestations of the horror genre, the monster has superhuman strength and eerie cognitive powers, is vicious, murderous, and hideously ugly.
But the monstrous is not always portrayed as this kind of tragic aberration. With increasing frequency the monster is presented as a new and advanced breed of human who evokes our sympathy—and even our identification with him. In the most alluring manifestations, he possesses superhuman strength and intelligence, he is more moral than his predecessors, and he is physically beautiful. In the earlier stages of vampire fantasy, the reader or viewer was shaken by terror and rewarded with the thrill of escape. In the present stage, we are stimulated by a combination of fascination with the mysterious paranormal and rewarded with the thrill of sensual desire.
A number of authors have pointed out in their studies of this genre that the thirst for the life-blood of others is a metaphor of lust. It is important to note in this regard that the vampire of legend only sometimes kills his victim; just as often, he infects the victim, turning him or her into a vampire. E. Michael Jones has written that at the root of the phenomenal rise of horror culture is suppressed conscience. Tracing the pattern from Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein (first published in 1818) through to Ridley Scott’s film Alien (1979) and its sequels, Jones argues that the denial of moral law produces metaphorical monsters that arise from the subconscious of creative people and spread into society through their cultural works. The monster in the Alien films, for example, is a ghastly abomination of the feminine, and salvation is possible only through expulsion of the offspring it implants and incubates in humans—a subconscious eruption of internal conflicts (and guilt) over abortion.
As Jones points out:
By following our illicit desires to their logical endpoint in death, we have created a nightmare culture, a horror-movie culture, one in which we are led back again and again to the source of our mysterious fears by forces over which we have no control. 
Even though modern man denies the authority of moral conscience, he cannot escape it. He is created in the image and likeness of God, and deep within the natural law of his being the truth continues to speak to him, even as he adamantly denies the existence of God (in the case of atheists) or minimizes divine authority (in the case of nominally religious people, the practical atheists). In order to live with the inner fragmentation, which is the inevitable effect of violated conscience, he is driven to relieve his pain through three diverse ways:
a) He makes open war against conscience and all its moral restraints, and pursues with radical willfulness an aggressive consumption of sensual rewards—generally a plunge into various kinds of addictions and a life of sexual promiscuity;
b) More passively, he simply ignores the inner voice of conscience and distracts himself from it by sensual and emotional rewards—generally the search for love without responsibility and a restless striving for worldly success;
c) He tries to rationalize a self-made form of conscience for himself, based in values such as “tolerance” and “non-dogmatism.” Generally this produces a new kind of perverse moralism, a self-righteousness which is, paradoxically, quite intolerant of genuine righteousness. Its anti-dogmatism is its dogma. Here there is no absolute rejection of morality, but rather a rewriting of it according to subjective feelings.
None of the foregoing coping mechanisms need be conscious. Indeed they tend to be largely subconscious processes through which a person feels that he is finding his personal identity, is living out the principle of freedom, discovering his path in life, and getting from it a portion of happiness. Though he is afflicted from time to time by a sense of the inner void, he presumes that the remedy for these dark moments will be found by increasing the dose of the very drug that is killing him.
The Twilight series, it would appear, follows the third coping mechanism mentioned above in c), the one which appeals to the broadest possible audience. The books have won numerous awards, notably the British Book Award for “Children’s Book of the Year” and the 2009 “Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Book,” and to date have sold more than 85 million copies and been translated into 38 languages. This, despite the fact they are poorly written teen romances, pulp fiction with a twist of supernatural horror combined with racing hormones and high school boy-girl relationships. As with the Harry Potter series, blood is a crucial theme, connected with life itself and inextricably bound to the theme of immortality. But where the Potter series is only secondarily romantic, in the Twilight series romance is primary, with vampirism as the thrill that gives it spice.
In the first volume, Twilight, a young high school student named Isabella (Bella) Swan, the daughter of divorced parents, moves to the small town of Forks on the coast of Washington State in order to live with her father, the town’s police chief.  She has not seen him since her childhood and finds that he is a kindly but uncommunicative man—the quintessential absent father. Enrolling in the local high school, Bella is drawn to a mysterious, handsome boy in one of her classes, Edward Cullen. Burdened with a poor self-image, Bella wonders if Edward is attracted to her, or hates her, since his behavior toward her is erratic and full of confused signals. Then comes a day when he rescues her from an impending car accident, using what appears to be superhuman strength to deflect an oncoming vehicle that would have killed her. She probes for an explanation, and as their relationship develops little by little he reveals that he is “not like other people.” Gradually she realizes that he is a vampire, and Edward confirms her suspicions when he tells her:
“I’m the world’s most dangerous predator. Everything about me invites you in. My voice, my face, even my smell… I’m designed to kill… I’ve wanted to kill you. I’ve never wanted a human’s blood so much in my life… Your scent, it’s like a drug to me. You’re like my own personal brand of heroin.”
This is delivered in the low, breathless voice of an impassioned lover. This is sensual desire, this is barely restrained lust. This is definitely a new kind of vampire. There are no fangs dripping blood, no black capes, no ritual commerce with the dead, no terror of daylight, just an aversion to direct sunlight because under its rays his skin glitters like diamonds. “You’re beautiful!” exclaims Bella when Edward opens his shirt and reveals his sparkling flesh.
Bella is then introduced to the members of the Cullen family, whom we learn do not eat normal food or sleep at all. They appear to be intelligent, cultured people, sensitive and “caring.” They also have astounding physical strength, can run faster than horses and run up the trunks of trees at top speed. Most of the Cullens also have paranormal psychic gifts of various sorts. Edward can read minds, his adoptive sister Alice has the ability to see the future. We learn that the head of the family, a local physician named Dr. Carlisle Cullen, infected Edward with vampirism after the First World War, when the boy lay dying of influenza, both his parents already dead from the epidemic. In order to save his life, Dr. Cullen had taken his blood by the traditional bite on the neck, thus infecting Edward, turning him into a vampire. Now the boy is perpetually seventeen years old, and immortal. But Dr. Cullen is no Dracula. The family he has collected around him, his wife Esme and the five young people of the household, have all been “adopted” in similar fashion—for humanitarian reasons.
Edward and Bella fall in love, but soon the family encounters another coven of vampires nearby in the forest. Among them is a sadistic vampire named James who sees in Bella nothing more than food, and is excited by the prospect of a challenging hunt, because he realizes the Cullens are protecting this human prey. Edward and the other Cullens defend Bella, helping her to escape to her old hometown of Phoenix Arizona. But James tracks her down there and tortures her in preparation for killing her. She is seriously wounded, but Edward and the family arrive just in time to rescue her. They kill James (by ripping him to pieces and burning his body parts), and then they all return to Forks. The story ends at the high school prom where Edward and Bella dance together and realize they are hopelessly in love with each other. Bella whispers that she wants them always to be together, and Edward refuses to do what would make this happen. As they cling to each other with the vampire question unresolved between them, they are secretly observed by the deadly vampiress Victoria, a member of James’s coven. Victoria is now intent on revenge, setting the stage for the next book and film.
In the second novel, New Moon, Edward and the Cullen family throw a birthday party for Bella. Unwrapping a gift, she loses a drop of blood from a paper cut, and Edward’s adoptive brother, Jasper, frenzied by the scent, instinctively attacks her in order to kill her. Edwards stops him in time, but he now concludes that it is too dangerous for Bella to associate with the family. He and the Cullens leave Forks in order to protect her from themselves. Because of his absence, Bella falls into a deep depression, until she develops a strong friendship with a native-American youth named Jacob Black. Jacob is in love with Bella, and we later discover that he is a werewolf. He and the other werewolves in his tribe try to protect her from Victoria.
Through a misunderstood vision, Edward comes to believe that Bella is dead, and he travels to Italy where he decides to commit suicide from grief over losing her. But he is stopped at the last moment by the arrival of Bella, accompanied by his sister, Alice. In a meeting with the Volturi, a powerful coven of vampire “royalty,” Edward is told that according to vampire law Bella must either be killed or changed into a vampire, because she has discovered the great secret that vampires exist. The Volturi govern the world of vampires with self-protective rules, much as does the Ministry of Magic in the Potter series, and they must be obeyed. The Cullens return to Forks and vote in favor of Bella being transformed into a vampire. Edward is not happy about this, for he loves her as she is. But he offers her a choice: either she lets Carlisle transform her into a vampire after her graduation from high school, or, if Bella agrees to marry him, Edward will change her himself.
In the third novel, Eclipse, the story opens with a series of unsolved murders in Seattle, Washington. Edward suspects these are being committed by an unidentified vampire who is unable to control his thirst for human blood. As Edward and Bella apply to colleges, Bella explains to Edward her desire to see her friend Jacob Black again. Although Edward fears for her safety, Bella insists that neither Jacob nor his werewolf pack would ever harm her, and she begins visiting him occasionally. Meanwhile, Alice Cullen has a vision that Victoria has returned to Forks. A few days later, Edward proposes marriage to Bella and she accepts.
Bella and the Cullens learn that the murders in Seattle are being committed by an “army” of newborn vampires, controlled by Victoria. The Cullens join forces with the werewolf pack and prepare to combat Victoria’s forces while Edward, Bella, and Jacob camp in the mountains, in order to remain hidden during the battle. There, Jacob becomes upset when he overhears Edward and Bella discussing their engagement and he threatens to join the fight and let himself be killed. To stop him, Bella kisses Jacob and realizes that she is in love with him too. During the battle, Victoria tracks Edward’s scent to Bella’s hiding place in the woods, but Edward successfully defends her. After Victoria and her army are destroyed, Bella explains to Jacob that while she loves him, her love for Edward is greater. Receiving a wedding invitation from Edward, Jacob runs away in his wolf form, angry and heartbroken at Bella’s decision to become a vampire.
In the fourth novel, Breaking Dawn, Bella and Edward are married, but their honeymoon is disrupted when Bella discovers that she is pregnant. Her pregnancy progresses more rapidly than normal and severely weakens her. Edward, fearing that a monster is growing in her womb, wants Bella to have an abortion, but she refuses. She nearly dies giving birth and Edward injects Bella with his venom to save her life, transforming her into a vampire. The newborn baby is a daughter, half-vampire-half-human. Edward and Bella name her Renesmee. The Volturi heard about the baby, who has been reported to them as an “immortal child” (a child who has been bitten by a vampire and survived). Such children are not allowed to live because their continued existence would violate vampire law. The Volturi tribunal travels to Forks in order to decide on the case, but the Cullens gather vampire witnesses who testify that Renesmee is not an immortal child. They succeed in convincing the Volturi that Renesmee is no danger to vampires or their secret, and the family is left in peace to continue their new life together. All is well.
One might ask how such a thinly plotted bloody mess has managed to obtain such an enormous worldwide following. Part of the answer lies in the power of romantic fantasy at any stage in history. In the modern age, however, romantic fantasy in both text form and visual form is charged with powerful stimulation of the senses. In the Twilight series the main characters are highly attractive young people. For example, Bella describes Edward as “excruciatingly lovely and forever seventeen.” In the two films released to date, Edward is acted by the “narcotically beautiful” Robert Pattinson, as one feminine commentator put it. Jacob Black’s handsome face is matched by shirtless exposure of his muscled torso, as is the case with others in his werewolf pack. Bella, acted by Kristen Stewart, is very pretty (though not quite as much as her vampire friends). The Volturi look like exotic, exceedingly pale fashion models.
Physical beauty is the glue that holds the whole banal tale together. If one were to dim down the prettiness and subtract the horror from these four novels and their films, there would be little left. They would become no more than mind-numbing Harlequin Romances for very immature teenage girls. The sexual attraction and the appeal to romantic feelings, combined with the allure of mystery, all obscure the real horror of the tale, which is the degradation of the image and likeness of God in man, and the false proposal that consuming the lifeblood of another human being bestows life all around. As E. Michael Jones writes:
Both Christ and Dracula deal with blood and eternal life. Vampirism is, as Renfield makes clear, the antithesis of Christianity. Whereas Christ shed his blood so that his followers could have eternal life, Dracula shed his followers’ blood so that he could have eternal life; Dracula is a reworking of Christianity according to the canons of Social Darwinism. The monster is simply the inversion of Christianity that was taking place throughout Europe as once again the Enlightenment was implemented through one of its pseudo-scientific ideologies. … In a satanic way typical of the reversal of Christian order that the vampire creates, man achieves immortality through immorality and by infecting others—that is, through lust. Christianity exalts love; vampirism—Darwin’s survival of the fittest pushed to its extreme—exalts the hunger of desire. 
In the Twilight series we have a cultural work that converts a traditional archetype of evil into a morally neutral one. Vampires are no longer the “un-dead,” no longer possessed by demons. There are “good” vampires and “bad” vampires, and because the good vampire is incredibly handsome and possesses all the other qualities of an adolescent girl’s idealized dreamboat, everything is forgivable. Recall at this point that Edward has told Bella that he has killed people. Recall that he has struggled with himself not to kill her. Recall, as well, that when the “good” vampires catch a bad vampire, they rip off his head and tear his body into pieces with their hands and then burn the remains.
But this does not matter to Bella, because Edward and his family are apparently dedicated to reform—though a very selective kind of reform. They do not want to be monsters. They are what might be called vampire vegetarians—they hunt in the forest and drink only the blood of wild animals. Throughout the four novels, Edward has trained himself to resist his desire for Bella’s blood, even as she increasingly desires that he bite her and infect her. Edward, we are led to believe, is outstandingly “moral,” his self-denial resembling heroic chastity. It is all so tender and touching until one recalls that this is a story about savage killers who have infected normal humans and brought them into their “family.” But readers and film audience are conditioned to forgive this too, because they have been shown throughout the series that infecting others can be a saving act.
Referring to the vampire television series, True Blood, Tal Brooke notes that vampires are presented as a misunderstood persecuted minority who must fight for their rights against the intolerant churches.
The church service in True Blood is about as unsympathetic a portrait of Christians as any Hollywood director could hope for. It fits the carefully developed caricature of hooting ignoramuses—simple minded idiots calling out for more blood, fire and brimstone than their vampire counterparts. The public does not miss it, storing away the image.
In a double-minded gambit, the audience knows vampires are evil and yet is compelled to support vampire “rights” as the latest underclass. Killing vampires is seen as a hate crime driven by bigoted intolerance. Yet they [the audience] have seen the dark side of vampires in which mortals are despised, slaughtered and drained at whim. Like a co-dependent mother constantly making up excuses for her serial-killer son and immune to reality, the audience has been enlisted to see them in a permissive and apologetic manner—a backdoor covenant with evil and Orwell’s Double-Think in action.
Brooke states that the evils which horrified earlier generations are now embraced by “open minded” audiences as new avenues of liberation. This, he says, is part of a larger “retinal circus” in contemporary culture, one that implants images of depravity into the minds of millions through sensual lures that bypass normal human instincts of fear and disgust.
Corruption takes place when images of depravity enter the mind—the younger the mind [and] the more depraved the images, the more powerful is the impact. In the case of a young child, an innocent mind can be corrupted readily. A range of common laws are based on this truth. That’s why we have “adult” movie channels and “adult” bookstores—at least for now. …
The power of seduction takes place when an outside influence penetrates down to the inner layers of the soul and spirit to bring about corruption—for which there is already an inner component. Potential depravity becomes realized and emerges out into the open. Evil spreads and infects, causing irreversible damage. Like a cancer, it can spread through individuals into communities. At some point a culture can become corrupt. Those cultures that imploded were in the throes of moral depravity; consider ancient Rome or Sodom. Consider what was happening to bring on Noah’s flood. 
E. Michael Jones argues that novels about vampire infection appeared precisely at the time in history (the 1800s) when the dreaded disease syphilis was spreading in the wake of the initial post-Enlightenment stage of the sexual revolution. Now in the age of antibiotics, the most horrifying, disfiguring symptoms of the infection can be controlled, if caught early enough, thus “liberating” the promiscuous from the immediate consequences of their immoral acts. In little over a century, untrammeled serial sex has become pandemic, without the grave consequences that once would have inhibited its progress. Similarly, in little more than a century, the universal archetypes of evil have been defused. No longer considered to be demonic, they have retained only their mystique of exotically attractive danger. Corruption of the creative imagination always has its roots in the corruption of the moral order—the order within the individual and within his surrounding culture. But corruption of creative imagination can also have its origins in forces beyond the purely social. In this regard, there is a disturbing inference in Meyer’s account of the original inspiration for Twilight:
I woke up (on that June 2nd) from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that A) they were falling in love with each other while B) the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately. ... Though I had a million things to do (i.e. making breakfast for hungry children, dressing and changing the diapers of said children, finding the swimsuits that no one ever puts away in the right place, etc.), I stayed in bed, thinking about the dream. I was so intrigued by the nameless couple’s story that I hated the idea of forgetting it; it was the kind of dream that makes you want to call your friend and bore her with a detailed description. (Also, the vampire was just so darned good-looking, that I didn’t want to lose the mental image.)
Meyer goes on to describe what happened during the writing of the book:
All this time, Bella and Edward were, quite literally, voices in my head. They simply wouldn’t shut up. I’d stay up as late as I could stand trying to get all the stuff in my mind typed out, and then crawl, exhausted, into bed (my baby still wasn’t sleeping through the night, yet) only to have another conversation start in my head. I hated to lose anything by forgetting, so I’d get up and head back down to the computer. Eventually, I got a pen and notebook for beside my bed to jot notes down so I could get some freakin’ sleep. It was always an exciting challenge in the morning to try to decipher the stuff I’d scrawled across the page in the dark. 
Of course, one might attribute the foregoing to the inflamed imagination of a sleep-deprived mother, following up on a powerful dream that had no source other than the natural subconscious. However, Steve Wohlberg, in his 2009 article in the SPC Journal, raises another possibility, describing what later occurred in the realm of Meyer’s imagination after the publication of Twilight. He begins with a reflection on the similarities in the original inspirations of the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series:
… [The] Twilight saga received its initial spark when Stephenie Meyer had an unusual dream on June 1, 2003. Eerily, the Harry Potter phenomenon began with a similar “revelation” given to Joanne Kathleen Rowling in 1990 while she was traveling by train outside London. “The character of Harry Potter just popped into my head, fully formed,” Rowling reflected in 2001. “Looking back, it was all quite spooky!” She also stated to inquiring media that the Potter books “almost wrote themselves.” “My best ideas often come at midnight,” Rowling declared.
As with Rowling, so with Meyer. When those mesmerizing tales first burst into the brains of these two women, neither was an established writer. Both were novices. They weren’t rich either. Now they are millionaires many times over. Their experiences are similar, with common threads. Both of their novels are permeated with occultism. Based on this, it’s appropriate to wonder, is there a supernatural source behind these revelations? If so, what is it?
Stephenie Meyer herself provides an amazing clue to the answer. After her unexpected rise to stardom, she later confessed,
“I actually did have a dream after Twilight was finished of Edward coming to visit me—only I had gotten it wrong and he did drink blood like every other vampire and you couldn’t live on animals the way I’d written it. We had this conversation and he was terrifying.” 
Who was this “Edward”? Was it the author’s subconscious telling her that she was attempting to tame what cannot be tamed? Or was it an evil spirit manifesting through the image, urging her to give her readers less moralism and more blood? However one interprets it, the question remains: Why did she not realize that the second dream was warning her about something? In her interviews she merely reported it without offering an assessment of what it might mean, then continued to write more of the same. Why did she respond to the first dream and not to the second? Was it because the first was extremely pleasurable and the second disturbing to the point of terror? Was it because pleasure had become her good and unhappy feelings a thing to be dismissed as bad? Conscience cannot be entirely eradicated in human nature, and when it raises its painful, unwelcome truths, the individual (or the culture in which he lives) must either pay attention to it or counteract it with a strategy of denial. Attention is redirected away from the truth about his condition, focusing on overcoming symptoms and ignoring the root cause of the symptoms.
In the Twilight series, vampirism is not identified as the root cause of all the carnage; instead the evil is attributed to the way a person lives out his vampirism. Though Bella is at first shocked by the truth about the family’s old ways (murder, dismemberment, sucking the blood from victims), she is nevertheless overwhelmed by her “feelings” for Edward, and her yearning to believe that he is truly capable of noble self-sacrifice. So much so that her natural feminine instinct for submission to the masculine suitor increases to the degree that she desires to offer her life to her conqueror. She trusts that he will not kill her; she wants him to drink her essence and infect her. This will give her a magnificent unending romance and an historical role in creating with her lover a new kind of human being. They will have superhuman powers. They will be moral vampires—and they will be immortal.
Here, then, is the embedded spiritual narrative (probably invisible to the author and her audience alike): You shall be as gods. You will overcome death on your own terms. You will be master over death. Good and evil are not necessarily what Western civilization has, until now, called good and evil. You will define the meaning of symbols and morals and human identity. And all of this is subsumed in the ultimate message: The image and likeness of God in you can be the image and likeness of a god whose characteristics are satanic, as long as you are a “basically good person.”
In this way, coasting on a tsunami of intoxicating visuals and emotions, the image of supernatural evil is transformed into an image of supernatural good.
 Stephenie Meyer, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn, Little, Brown and Co, New York, Boston, 2005-2008.
 Tal Brooke, “Vampires Rising,” SPC Journal, Volume 33:2—33-3, 2009, published by the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, Berkeley, CA. Web address: http://www.scp-inc.org
 E. Michael Jones, Monsters from the Id: The Rise of Horror in Film and Fiction, Spence Publishing, Dallas, Texas, 2000.
 For the sake of brevity in this overview, I have combined the original story with details that were adaptations in the film version, but nothing that alters the plot or characters.
 E. Michael Jones, Monsters from the Id: The Rise of Horror in Film and Fiction, Spence Publishing, Dallas, Texas, 2000. Renfield is a fictional character in Stoker’s Dracula, under the control of the Count but burdened with a conscience. Dracula offers him an unending supply of food, if Renfield will worship him. Renfield refuses and is killed by Dracula.
 Tal Brook, “Vampires Rising,” SPC Journal, Volume 33:2-33:3.
 Stephenie Meyer, "The Story Behind Twilight." www.stepheniemeyer.com/twilight.html
 Steve Wohlberg, “The Menace Behind Twilight,” SPC Journal, Volume 33:2—33-3, 2009, published by the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, Berkeley, CA. Web address: www.scp-inc.org. The quote from Meyer about this second dream is from EW.com (Entertainment Weekly).