Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The third movie based on the occult fiction thriller, Twilight, opened this week to record breaking sales at the box office.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the latest movie in the series, Eclipse, sold more than $30 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada during its midnight debut on Tuesday night. The previous record for midnight screening ticket sales of $26.3 million was set by the last Twilight movie, New Moon, in November 2009.
The movie also broke the previous record set by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince which grossed $22.2 million in midnight ticket sales last summer.
The Twilight series is based on four novels written by Stephenie Meyer who claimed she was given the story line in a dream. It is based on a romance between a vampire named Edward Cullen and a mortal teen named Bella Swan. In the series, the “undead” Edward struggles with himself not to feed on Bella’s blood and avoids having sex with her because he doesn’t want her to become a vampire like him.
However, as Bella falls ever deeper in love, she repeatedly voices her willingness to forfeit her soul just to be with him forever, which is why Monsignor Franco Perazzolo of the Pontifical Council of Culture warned that the saga is “nothing more than a moral vacuum with a deviant message and as such should be of concern.”
What is most concerning about this phenomena is that, like Harry Potter, it is once again aimed at youth. The principal audience for the books and movies are pre-teen and teenaged girls. According to Box Office Mojo, exit polling for the first movie found that 75 percent of the audience was female and 55 percent was under 25 years old.
Much like the Harry Potter novels did when they exploded onto the scene in the late 90’s, Twilight is breeding its own culture among its young fans. Since the saga’s debut several years ago, vampire clubs, some called “Bite Clubs” have sprung up throughout the world where people gather to participate in rituals and even drink blood.
One group member, a man named Marc from Sydney, Australia, told The Sunday Telegraph that he drinks a tall glass of blood on a regular basis. Where he gets the blood he doesn’t say.
“We’re real, we’re alive, we live and work in cities, we hold jobs, we’re your next-door neighbour,” he said. “We have families, but we just have a different understanding.”
Marc said there were two types of vampires in society – the sanguinarian vampire and the Psi or psychic vampire, who feed off others emotions.
“I’m seeing a lot of people who are into Psi vampirism in Sydney without necessarily calling themselves vampires,” Marc said.
“The more unusual phenomenon is the fact that sanguinarian vampires are actually using blood as a food substitute.”
To illustrate how easy it is to go from being a Twilight movie fan to a participant in the occult, Vampire Covens are also springing up around the world. One Sydney-based coven advertises itself as being for “Real Vampires, Donors, Otherkin, Pagans, Witches, friends-family or such, and those who are curious.”
The Internet is the unofficial hub of the vampire movement. One site, hosted by the international Temple of the Vampire, promises members they can “enable you to acquire authentic power over others, build real wealth, achieve vibrant health, and even live beyond the usual human lifespan.”
Another site, hosted by VAU (Vampires Among us) calls itself “an on-line haven to help and unite like-minded souls of the vampire/vampyre/gothic/pagan/alternative/etc communities.”
Young people are joining these clubs, or forming their own, by the thousands, and many of them are convinced that they really are vampires.
“My personal belief: Vampirism is an inexplicable part of science that we don’t understand yet,” said 28 year old Anshar Seraphim to ABC News in 2008. “I don’t know if the things that cause it to exist are chemical. When we associate ourselves with the word ‘vampire,’ we’re describing the relationship that we have with the people around us.”
During the interview, Seraphim claimed to belong to House Lost Haven, a close-knit, semiformal group of vampires and “otherkins” who believe that their souls are connected to nonhuman creatures.
Katherine Ramsland, a forensic psychologist and author of “Science of Vampires” says the new sexy vampire image that is attracting people to these new cults might be just for fun for some; but for others, it can create a genuine belief that the person really does need the blood or energy of another person or animal to subsist.
While not all young people who read the Twilight novels or watch the movies are going to become more deeply involved, many obviously are; which begs the question – will your child be one of them?
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