The popularity of the teen romance novels in the Twilight series has given rise to a renewed interest in vampires. The vampire is a mythological being who is said to exist by drinking the blood of other people, usually by biting their necks, after which the victim also becomes a vampire who seeks new victims. The vampire legend can be traced back to medieval and Eastern European folklore, but variations of tales of vampire-like creatures also exist in Africa, Asia and the Americas.
The current vampire craze really has its roots in two quasi-romantic novels of the 19th century, The Vampyre by John Polidori (1819) and Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897). These two are the progenitors of the romantic vampire genre of fantasy fiction. The seductive “kiss of the vampire” has generated an alluring mystique, especially for young women, and that mystique, along with the “forbidden fruit” syndrome, is the basis for the popularity of the Twilight series. The romantic/sexual attraction of the suave, sophisticated vampire Count Dracula as portrayed by Frank Langella in the movie Dracula (1979) is an example of the allure of the vampire. The film’s tagline is "Throughout history, he has filled the hearts of men with terror, and the hearts of women with desire."
While fantasy fiction such as Twilight is probably for the most part harmless, any obsessive interest in vampires—or, for that matter, witches, ghosts, and other occult figures—can be unhealthy at best and dangerous at worst. It depends on the spiritual state of the person whose interest is piqued by such subjects. A weak, emotionally fragile young girl, for example, whose life is characterized by family stress, self-esteem issues, and a lack of strong role models, could be at risk for developing an unhealthy interest in the occult. Such an interest can be an open door for demons to infiltrate her mind and spirit. Satan, as we know, is the enemy of our souls, who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). This is why God, in His wisdom, forbids occult practices, describing them as an “abomination” and “detestable” (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).
How is the Christian to think about vampires and vampire fiction? We are reminded in Philippians 4:8 to fill our minds with “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy.” While there are elements of nobility in the Twilight books, there are also elements of darkness and the occult. There is also a very strong pull toward the “hero” of the book, Edward, who is a vampire. He is a seductively attractive, charismatic figure who has a great deal of appeal to teen girls. The author skillfully portrays a beautiful, romantic, perfect—although flawed—character, the kind of guy most teen girls are drawn to. The problem comes from idealizing such a person and then setting out to find someone like him. No human male can live up to such an ideal. Christian girls and young women should be seeking beauty and perfection in Christ. When they understand true beauty of character, they will be able to recognize it in the young man God brings to them for a husband.
So does this mean that Christians should avoid vampire fiction altogether? For some families, the answer is yes. For others, the answer is no. Parents whose teen or preteen daughter is interested in the series would do well to read it for themselves, discuss it with their girls, and perhaps point out the ways in which it contradicts God’s Word. Such an analytical discussion can do much to dispel the mystique that surrounds the vampire myth. Ultimately, the decision regarding any reading material for Christian children and teens is the responsibility of parents.