ProsIn vampire books and movies, vampires are often metaphors for fallen man who have turned from evil
ConsVampires are often controversial fictional characters seen as demonic beings whether written that way or not
Full ReviewThe popular Twilight movies caused quite a stir in Christian circles as they launched an immediate controversy over the alleged "demonic by default" perception of vampires. Are the Twilight movies evil because they feature vampires predominantly? Are vampires by nature evil?
This article is not about any of the other controversial topics including "Is Edward a stalker" and "Is Twilight too mature for young girls?" This article only seeks to look at vampires as creations of fiction to determine if vampire movies are inherently evil because vampires are considered to be always demonic creatures.
One of the interesting aspects of Twilight is Bella Swan's research into the mythology of vampires. Much like Bella, I spent some time researching vampires in books and on the internet. It is interesting to note that vampires don't show up in English lore until the 1700s. There are many theories where the word vampire, vampir or vampyre originated as well as what the word originally meant. And although historians can point to creatures in numerous mythologies that possess some of the characteristics given to vampires, it isn't until verbal traditions of the people of early 18th century South-eastern Europe that the modern idea of vampires was born. (Wikipedia)
The word vampire does not appear in the Bible nor do any of the similar variations vampir, vampyre, etc. Vampires are creatures of mythology just like the creatures used by C.S. Lewis. In Narnia, a faun could be seduced by the Witch and become capable of great evil such as betraying a small child. The same creature could have a conscience and repent of his evil and seek to make amends as did Mr. Tumnus. The creature Smeagol/Gollum in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings started life as a hobbit-like creatures, but was seduced by the power of the Ring into an altogether corrupt creature, yet even Smeagol almost repented of his great evil when reminded who he once was.
So why is it many Christians clamor that Stephanie Meyer's Edward Cullen is demonic evil incarnate just because he is a vampire? Edward began life as a human, was changed into a vampire, has made the decision along with the rest of his vampire community to refrain from human blood, and worries about the condition of his soul as he has also been taught vampires are all damned. He refuses to change the young woman he loves into a vampire, because he is concerned with the state of her eternal soul. He also refrains from seducing her physically because he wants to protect her physically as well as protecting her virtue and her soul.
Twilight was not the first movie to look at vampires in a different light. Consider 2001's The Breed where most of the vampires live in a community straight from a Jewish ghetto in World War II. These peaceful vampires have evolved past the blood-sucking stage and now want to coexist peacefully with humans.
Many other television shows and movies deal with vampires with a conscience but are met with the same "vampires are evil" stereotyping. But aren't vampires creations of fiction? As such, aren't they given their personality and characteristics by the writers? If Stephanie Meyer wants to use a vampire as a symbol of a fallen man who has repented and is seeking to rise above his baser instincts, what is wrong with that? If Christians can forgive Mr. Tumnus for falling in with the Witch of Narnia, if we can hope until the bitter end that Smeagol and Frodo will turn away from the power of the Ring, why can we not accept the concept of repentant vampires? If a writer imbues a fictional character with a conscience and causes that character to repent from past sins and turn from evil, isn't that a GOOD thing?