The Twilight Saga is, realistically speaking, a cult of personality. After four books, five films and endless interviews promoting those four books and five films, we would hope so.
The books had humble origins. Stephenie Meyer, an all-American Mormon housewife crafted her ideal woman – submissive, hapless, awkward, insecure but destined for greatness – and pitted her against the insatiable thralls of teenage lust with a man so viscerally appealing that she, quite literally, couldn’t resist loving him.
At the heart of the books is an eternal romance, which is probably why women, teenage girls especially, have latched on to the franchise like it’s their sacred text; revealing the mystical life path that only a lucky few will experience.
Nonetheless, perhaps we should be grateful that young girls are reacting so strongly to marriage, family, loving relationships and celibacy.
Or maybe we should be terrified that they’ll take on board the secondary themes of angst, depression, obsession and suicide that also permeate the pages of Meyer’s phenomenon.
When the books were first marketed for Hollywood, it was only Indie director Catherine Hardwick who would touch the project with a barge pole. Her vision, to turn the sickly saccharine Twilight into a dirty indie portrayal of teenage sexual frustration, was pretty darn exciting (but certainly not unique).
Ironically, despite the millions that have been pumped into the franchise since the first film, it’s Hardwicke’s movie that stands as the best. The second, third, fourth and fifth movies reek of Hollywood blockbuster schmaltz. That doesn’t mean they don’t do their job; women (and men) the world over have been entranced by the sizzling on-screen chemistry between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, only made more enthralling by their off-screen romance.
So now that the fifth film is well and truly over (those who didn’t see it on its opening weekend probably never will) movie powerhouses are fighting tooth and nail to be the ones who create the next big thing.
Twilight had barely given its final wave when Stephenie Meyer’s other novel, The Host, was paraded in movie trailer form across the internet. It’s a not too dissimilar plot from its vampire cousin, but this latest venture features soul suckers of the alien variety. We predict another historic box office smash.
But sensing a deficit of sarcastic humour in the genre of boy meets girl, Summit (who produced The Twilight Saga) have adapted another book called Warm Bodies into movie form starring Brit boy Nicholas Hoult. He plays a zombie whose heart starts inexplicably beating again when he meets mysterious blond Julie.
The trailer for this 2013 project is really quite good, but can it strike a chord with a whole generation of teenagers who think overwhelming passion and intolerable obsession are the real markers of true love? Perhaps, to use the cliché, only time will tell.
For movie lovers, the seismic shift from mid-noughties action thriller adventures to thick romance will culminate with the adaption of Fifty Shades of Grey. No official release date has been given, but these films will ultimately conclude almost a decade of sexually-charged romantically-contrived fantasy.
The women are weak, the men are strong and the stereotypes are wrapped firmly around our pop-cultural generation. Thank God for Katniss Everdeen.
Sarah Jordan @S_L_Jordan