Before the era of superhero mania and reboots galore, cinemas were filled with fans flocking to see a different kind of feature. The early 2000s saw a massive increase in the young adult genre, with many beloved young adult novels ending up with counterparts on the big screen. Perhaps the most popular of these was the resurgence of the vampire genre of storytelling. Made famous in movies like Dracula, Interview with the vampire, and the Underworld franchise, vampires have always been a fascinating subject in cinema. However, the beginnings of a novel took the industry by storm when it was adapted for theaters in 2008.
After unpretentious teenager Bella Swan after moving to Forks, Washington, dusk begins like any typical early 2000s teen love movie: a girl meets a boy, the boy shows a borderline obsessive interest in a girl, and they fall in love (under questionable circumstances). However, dusk throws an interesting key into the mix from the get-go by revealing the love interest of Bella, the dreamer and brooder Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a 100-year-old teenage vampire.
dusk was arguably the biggest movie of the late 2000s, grossing $ 407 million at the box office and becoming a global sensation, throwing its cast into stardom almost overnight. Writer Stephenie Meyer took inspiration from classic vampire novels and films and put a unique spin on the mainstream vampire with her four-book series for young adults (and later five subsequent films). While this is an original take on the traditional monster genre, there are some characteristics of Twilight vampires that differ from the more well-known creatures of the night.
Pale frosty white
dusk ignited the passions of teenage girls around the world with the introduction of Edward Cullen and his family of breathtakingly beautiful century-old vampires. Their physical characteristics follow themes similar to more famous movie monsters: icy pale skin and sunken eyes, heightened senses of sight and hearing, and super strength and speed. Or dusk deviates from that traditional path and is in its modern setting: taking the vampires the story is based around and placing them in a modern, high school setting.
Meyer treats immortality as a curse in her tale, using the Cullens’ absence of age as a crux rather than a gift, condemning them to repeat their formative teenage years over and over, ultimately forced to move cities after graduation to avoid growing suspicion from friends and neighbors. It’s a ruthless, but also immortal life, and this standoff plunges the Cullens into a whimsical, grayish, sweater-clad mope party throughout the season. The Twilight Saga.
The sun presents a new dilemma
The most iconic characteristic of vampires is their inability to walk in daylight. Traditionally, the sun has been fatal to vampires, scorching them the moment they step into its powerful light and also revealing their true nature to all humans nearby. The vampire diary, another young adult who aired on The CW between 2009 and 2017, introduced an interesting remedy for this problem by giving his vampires magically enchanted daylight rings that allowed them to walk during the day without a problem. dusk used a completely different approach on this subject, where Meyer’s vampires sparkling in the sun rather than being damaged by it.
The concept itself is almost comical compared to previous vampire-centric films. the dusk the books often described the appearance of Edward’s skin as resembling diamonds; not rough on the surface but reflecting brightly in the daylight, forcing the Cullens – and other vampires in this universe – to stay in hiding on particularly sunny days. This is ultimately why the Cullen family chooses Forks to reside; the rainy climate of the Pacific Northwest is just dark enough that they can walk around during the day without having to worry about the sun exposing their immortal status to the rest of the Forks people.
Let them in
Searching for the term “vampire” on Google brings up countless results for classic vampire novels and movies, all showing similar characteristics among their titular monsters. The first literary examples of vampires first appeared in 18th century poetry, describing mysterious creatures of the night who looked like ordinary men but secretly wanted to taste human flesh and blood. One of the most common parts of vampire lore is that you have to invite a vampire into your home when you first meet. In the 18th century, in a spiritual sense, the threshold of one’s house meant a sort of insurmountable barrier between the outside world and the actual house in which one resided. Inviting a creature like a vampire, usually enveloped in evil or dark magic, meant breaking that barrier on purpose.
By voluntarily breaking this invisible connection and allowing a vampire to enter, the vampire could now come and go as he pleased in a human residence. The vampire diary and Interview with the vampire both touch on this specific vampire trait, however, it is noticeably absent in the dusk series aside from perhaps a few short lines of dialogue in the books that were completely omitted from the screen adaptations. Edward and the rest of the Cullens travel freely with virtually no restrictions on or they could enter. There is no real explanation why Meyer decided to deviate from this original story; it could be to turn the tale of vampires upside down as audiences learn about them, or simply to provide a more modern, practical version of the story.
A stake in the heart
Time and time again, popular vampire content all provide the same solution to destroying an immortal vampire once and for all: by piercing their unfazed hearts with a wooden stake. Again, Meyer briefly addresses this point in the dusk books, although it is more banter between Bella and Edward as she first tries to figure out What It is. Edward later explains – although briefly in the first film of the The Twilight Saga – that the only way to properly eliminate a vampire (at least, in Meyer’s universe) is to tear it up and burn the pieces. Of course, the only thing strong enough to tear a vampire apart is another vampire, which presents a challenge for any human trying to confront the Undying Beings.
dusk changed the face of the young adult genre forever. More than a decade after its theatrical release, all Twilight Original fans have since grown into adulthood and now consider their favorite old teenage movie to be one of the most worthy films of all time. After being uploaded to Netflix in the summer of 2021, dusk saw a huge resurgence when fans revisited the film – mostly to tear it apart with scathing tweets and hilarious memes. Regardless of what fans take on their opinion of the series, it is undeniable dusk helped reshape vampires for the modern world as we know it.
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