I’m not sure how many of the real swooners hadn’t read the book series first. I’m not sure how well the movies stand up independently of them in swooning terms.
But I don’t think it really has anything to do with vampires. It’s a Mary Sue story about a clumsy awkward girl who has two hot dudes fighting over her, one of whom is practically a stalker. In any case, their entire universes revolve around this girl and make her feel special. On top of which there are various obstacles to them being able to consummate their relationship, which makes them long for each other even more. So any teenage girl who reads the story is going to lap that stuff up like crazy.
From my observations of my wife and her friends, the appeal of the movies seems to be Taylor Lautner’s underage abs. As for the books it seems to be a mid-life crisis fantasy fulfillment. The core audience seems to be teenage girls and bored housewives.
Grown men are not the only ones who sometimes wish that they were younger. It’s nostalgic to feel the way you did back then. It’s written to press all the right buttons, while maintaining a very optimistic view of the way the world should work.
That’s because they’ve taken away the evilness of vampires. They’ve made them Sparkly for Pete’s sake. A classic vampire looked handsome and charming as a way to mask his unholy appetite for blood. These guys, on the other hand, are freaking vegetarian vampires, only hunting animal blood. So this girl has guys who are potentially capable of great violence and harm but who want to be her cuddly protectors.
The vampires in Twilight are evil and a line about “A vampire looking handsome and charming as a way to mask his unholy appetite for blood” is included almost verbatim in the book. Only the main characters are good vampires that refrain from eating humans. You know, just like Angel.
I read the first book out of curiosity. I’m pretty sure that if they’d come out when I was twelve, I would have secretly loved them. It’s a romance (swoom), but there isn’t any sex (which is good because twelve-year-old me wasn’t ready to think about sex). The narrator is so boring anyone can put her personality into her place. She’s beautiful and all the guys want her and the most gorgeous guy in school falls in love with her because she has a mysterious power. (If you’re not aware, Edward the Vampire can read people’s minds. But for some reason, he can’t read Bella’s. SHE IS SO UNIQUE YOU GUYS.)
Theirs is a love that is so obsessive it borders on stalking but if twelve year old me would have thought that’s romantic.
I haven’t seen any of the movies, but it’s not that mysterious as to why the books are popular. It’s a Mary Sue fantasy and pre-teen girls aren’t famous for their discerning literary tastes.
I think the motto is: teenage girls like pedophiles. How else do you explain 150-year olds hanging around with 15-year-old girls?
“Hmmm. I’m 150 years old. What now? Ah! I need to go to high school and get fruity with a girl barely past puberty! That’ll be fun!”*
Although I guess that pales in comparison to the whole mass-murder-drinking-blood thing.
Plus, vampires in all these whos and movies have no disadvantages. They’re just incredibly attractve, mentally-compulsive, super-fast and strong humans who don’t actually need to drink human blood but occasionally we’ll see a scene where they don’t want ot eat some vegetables. Angel, Vampire Diaries, Twighlight, ad-nauseum. They aren’t vampires, they’re super-teenagers. They all around in daylight, aren’t dependent on human blood, can look at crosses - basically vampires with all the disadvantages removed.