Advertisement

Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

Turn the Other Neck: ‘Twilight,’ Vampires and Christianity

lugosi.jpgLast week Donna blogged about the new novel “Thirsty,” by Tracey Bateman, a Christian take on the vampire vogue spurred by the success of the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer. Bateman’s vampire, like Meyer’s Edward, is a sympathetic fiend: a bloodsucker in recovery, he befriends a woman dealing with her own addiction issues. When, I asked, did vampires get so friendly?
For an answer, I sought out John Granger, whose book “How Harry Cast His Spell” parses the myths behind J.K. Rowling’s Potter series, and who has recently completed “Spotlight,” an examination of the spiritual and literary influences behind the Twilight stories. (He also writes a “Twihard” blog for those who take Meyer’s series very seriously.) I asked him about Meyer, Dracula, and our current mania for the undead.
How are these modern vampires we love different from the bloodsuckers we grew up with?
“Dracula”–Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel that was the model for “Nosferatu” and Bela Lugosi, and the vampires in the Twilight books–define the two ends of the vampire spectrum. Stoker was a Victorian, a Presbyterian writing in the Romantic tradition, which resisted scientific empiricism and materialism. Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon writing postmodern fiction. They differ in all the ways you’d expect in meaning and focus.

Advertisement


Stoker’s vampires represent the xenophobia that gripped England then–the Count constitutes a one-man invasion of the homeland by Eastern and Southern European immigrants. The vampires of Twilight are misunderstood monsters about whom a laughably unfair meta-narrative–Stoker’s–has sprung up. Bella Swan, the heroine of the Twilight stories, calls us to get past our prejudices, to live outside the accepted paradigms of our age.
Meyer’s stories are informed by her upbringing in the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Can we find a Christian context in Stoker’s tale?
He was definitely part of a Christian literary response to the Industrial Age. Gothic horror is the fictional expression of the Calvinist position that our world is a nightmare existence of sin and depravity between the Paradise of Eden and the glories of heaven. Stoker argued through his soulless hemophages that there is a great evil afoot in the world–in the darkness in every man’s heart. Science denies this evil because it cannot understand. In “Dracula,” the monsters, like Victorian factory owners, thrive by sucking away the lives of other men. The only way to defeat them is through the Church’s sacraments. Stoker’s hero, Van Helsing, has a dispensation to use the Host as a weapon and shield in his battle with Dracula, and he does so with great liberality.
The Christian roots of this battle go deep. The only dietary law in Christianity is not to eat blood. The only binding law is “Love God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Vampires are blood eaters who consume rather than love their fellow man. In Christian morality, our conscience is our point of contact with reality–with the Logos or Creative Word that we find in the Gospel of John. Stoker’s vampires can’t bear the Light or make a reflection in a mirror because their “inner hearts”–the Logos–have been extinguished. Conscience is precisely what they lack. They are humans who have embraced power and ego. Through the sacraments and a community of believers acting in sacrificial love, Stoker said, this enemy, which he dramatized as an external being, but really lives inside us, can be defeated.
Why do you think we’re so fascinated with vampires right now?
Isn’t our fascination our intuitive recognition of ourselves as desire-driven monsters? Our postmodern vampires are sympathetic characters because we share their struggles to fit in, to find love, to overcome their condition. The vampire has shifted from Stoker’s external horror to an internal reality we must somehow come to terms with.

  • http://www.twilighteclipse.info/twilight-new-moon-movie-clips Twilight Eclipse

    Just like Harry Potter, Twilight is nothing to do with Christianity. It’s a kids book!

  • windyblue

    I could notver get into Twilight I tried to even read the book and well I got the first chapter read and that was it. Harry Potter ya, it was more interesting.
    And alot more cute. Vampires I am not into.

Previous Posts

How One Basketball Player is Dreaming Again
Isaiah Austin was a Baylor basketball standout  who was primed for the 2014 NBA Draft, until he was sidelined with a rare disease. His book Dream Again shares his story of faith and his courage to dream again. What does it mean to you to ...

posted 3:39:12pm Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Phil Vischer and Creative Trust Partner for New Series
"Galaxy Buck" is the first narrative video series that Phil Vischer has launched within a decade. The Galaxy Buck space trilogy series will feature the popular characters from Vischer's bestselling series Buck Denver Asks...What's in the ...

posted 2:05:00pm Jun. 30, 2015 | read full post »

The New ‘Peanuts’ Trailer Is Here, And We Just Can’t Get Enough
[youtube]https://youtu.be/El7chqzwKlo[/youtube] Charlie Brown and the gang have a whole new look in the first-full length trailer for the “The Peanuts Movie”, and it’s absolutely fantastic. We promise, you’ve never seen them quite like ...

posted 5:28:01pm Jun. 17, 2015 | read full post »

‘I'm Tired of Watching America be Led by Lunatics’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0j_JmeYUsZM Conservative talk show host Kevin Jackson was signed to a national syndication deal by USA Radio Networks and will launch July 20th on USA Radio Networks XDS Channel 3. The Kevin Jackson Show will ...

posted 9:41:20am Jun. 16, 2015 | read full post »

Academy Award Winner Morgan Freeman Will Produce 'The Story of God'
National Geographic Channel and Executive Producers Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger of Revelations Entertainment announced today The Story of God, a new global series exploring mankind’s quest to understand the divine. Host ...

posted 9:17:12am Jun. 12, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.