Edward Cullen (above, far left) is practically the perfect boyfriend. He's a kind-hearted musician. A granite-bodied heartthrob. A chivalrous protector. And a deadly killer capable of stopping your heart in .53 seconds flat. Yet, tweens, grandmothers and every woman in between inexplicably crave this dichotomous character. Whether it be a Cullen coven member or gentlemanly Bill Compton (above, far right) and his Louisiana sheriff Eric Northam from "True Blood," it's likely you've got a bleeding heart for a vampire or two. But what is it about these bloodsuckers that we just can't get enough of?
Newsweek spoke with psychologists, authors and gals like you and me to get to the bottom of our desire for the undead and, not surprisingly, the answers were as varied as the fanged-ones we love.
1. They've got skills
"It's fang, penetration, ecstasy," says Laurell K. Hamilton, bestselling author of the "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" series. "Our readers know that vampire sex is somehow going to be the very best sex a woman has ever had." I guess we'll have to take her word on that one. Adds "Southern Vampire Mysteries" author Charlaine Harris (whose books were the inspiration for "True Blood"), it's so enticing because "they've generally had centuries to practice."
2. They're just like us ... sorta
Bloodsuckers have cleaned up nicely since 1922's "Nosferatu" crept out of the coffin. (Take a look at his chilling mug here.) Today's vampires are still dangerous but accessible in a way that's hard to resist. Joan Raymond, the author of the Newsweek piece writes, "In some ways, these new vamps have been defanged — a few wear condoms and others sparkle in the sun like Abercrombie & Fitch models (OK, that's just the "Twilight" vampires). But these changes in the vampire myth also have helped to humanize the characters, turning them into modern-day Romeos for all the angsty Juliets in the tweenage world." And what woman isn't looking for her Romeo?
3. It's the economy, silly
"In times of economic contraction, fear of job loss, and war, the vampire myth really speaks to people," says Donovan Gwinner, assistant professor of English at Aurora University, who teaches the class "Got Blood? Vampires in Literature, Film and Popular Culture." "What's so bad about being powerful, almost immortal, always in control, and incredibly desirable?" Answer: Nothing at all.
4. They're eternally youthful
"We're obsessed with staying young," Charlaine says. "And vampires never worry about Social Security or knee replacements. That's almost irresistible to us." Every time I watch "True Blood" though, I can't help but wonder what will become of the immortal beloveds when Sookie's once-supple body is pumped full of Botox.
What do you think of the reasons theorized in Newsweek? Do any of them ring true for you?