Ever wonder who sits next to you in class? Well if several teens and ‘tweens' had their way, they might have opted for a vampire! Many, many years ago, vampires were associated with killing and turning human beings into ghoulish beings. But not anymore. Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series has rescued vampires from the hellfire of fiction and elevated them to stardom. “It is very difficult to predict what can click at any one time. The Twilight series seems to have clicked in India probably because American trends are picked up by kids all over the world,” says Khyrunnisa A., author and lecturer of English, All Saints College.

Says Vishnu, a young Twilight enthusiast: “It's different; it is not like the usual blood sucking vampire stories. I read the book at one go.”

What is more interesting is that with the popularity of one such film, many others of the same kind surface. In this case many vampire novels, movies and television series based on vampires have hit the charts. The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead and lots more have eager takers. Even libraries have started stocking them. However, not even one copy of the Twilight series seems to be available to a random enthusiast. Eloor library manager K.A Narayanan says: “The first three books of the series is issued most amongst college students and it has not been kept long enough on the shelf even for me to take a look.”

Depicting the human side

The Twilight series depicts the vampire's human side. Sony, an M.B.A graduate, says: “Its appeal lies in the fact that the story is about the perfect guy (Edward) falling in love with an ordinary belle (Bella) who stumbles her way through life.” The lot in Twilight is like our friendly neighbourhood ghost ‘Casper.' While Casper is cute and very nice, the vampires in Twilight live a little on the edge.

What blew open the readership of such novels is the release of the Twilight movie. This has to be because of the fantastically beautiful, sparkly vampire, as the author herself describes in the book. In the movie, this vision came to life with such gusto that the hero Edward Cullen became an irresistible icon with an unconventional heroine. The usual bad guy figure is given a superhero image. Priyanka, a post-graduate student, has read the book and seen the film. She saw the movie first and then read the books. She says: “It's an unconventional love story yet conventional in many ways.”

It is like Peter Parker in Spider Man where his Uncle told Peter just before he died that ‘With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.' Even though the select vampires haven't taken it up on themselves to do good, they refrain from acting on their vampire instincts. And when the time comes they even go against their own race for the greater good. This larger-than-life story gives the audience a characteristic vampire story with a twist. The romance between Edward and Bella is intense and idealistic but it is unthinkable in the real world and the fantasies of the young audience are brought to life. It gets even better with the Werewolf Jacob Black competing for Bella's affections. The action progresses systematically and reaches its zenith in the movie Eclipse, the third part of Twilight. The fan following is strong and it is clear that vampires are in.