Abraham "Bram" Stoker (November 8, 1847 – April 20, 1912) was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula. During his lifetime, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.

M. Carmen Gomez-Galisteo: Vampire meets girl: gender roles and the vampire’s side of the story in twilight, midnight sun and the vampire diaries

NeoAmericanist;2011, Vol. 5 Issue 2, January 2011

by M. Carmen Gomez-Galisteo, Universidad de Alcalá (Spain)

The Monday after New Moon, the film based on the second book of the Twilight saga by Stephenie
Meyer, opened worldwide, I asked my junior year students in my seventeenth- and eighteenth-century
American literature seminar if they had watched it. That in the middle of a discussion about Jonathan
Edwards’ fear-filling sermons about the dangers and the extreme pain awaiting sinners in Hell. Though
the looks on my students’ faces said — “This is it, she has lost it after reading so many sermons by wackos,”
my question was to the point. The Puritans lived in a world where they believed that supernatural
happenings could take place anytime, where the Devil was always lurking to stalk them by sending witches
or sea monsters, and where miracles might happen (though they were rather called instances of God’s
providence, reflecting the Puritans’ rejection of the Catholic terminology). That there exist men who can
transform themselves into wolves or evil creatures feeding on others’ blood would not have been a matter
of too much wonder for them. Even reputed Puritan divine Cotton Mather, author of over 400 books,
had devoted a section of his masterpiece Magnalia Christi Americana (The History of Christ’s Church in
America) to supernatural occurrences. The Puritans’ fascination with natural sciences and their interest
in the new scientific methods that were being developed at the time did not prevent them from believing
in the Occult or the supernatural, just the contrary. The Devil being a constant presence in their daily
lives, surely, the Puritans would have had no qualms in attributing vampires’ and werewolves’ special
characteristics to witchcraft or the devil’s doings — and put them to the bonfire right away. Because the
Puritans would have found it a perfectly logical explanation for the Cullens’ mysteriousness and their
sometimes bizarre behavior that they were vampires, the Twilight saga thus is heir to an early American
tradition of believing in the supernatural.
It is recurrent among twentieth-century rewritings of famous monster stories that the point of view
is no longer that of the more or less helpless victim or even that of the rather cold, and unsympathetic
(to the monster’s plight) omniscient third-person narrator; instead, we are privy the point of view of the
so-called monster, whose monstrosity comes to be questioned. In these retellings, the monster appears
to be much more human, having feelings and emotions that up to them had been impossible for him to
have due to his very characterization as a monster. For instance, Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin, through
the eyes of the homonymous protagonist, the servant of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, offered a much more
humane vision of the physician and his nemesis than Robert Louis Stevenson had provided. Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein, the most recent cinematographic adaptation of the popular nineteenth-century
novel, brings attention to the story’s authorship to claim a version closer to the original, far from other,
somewhat sugar-coated and at other times frankly risible representations of Victor Frankenstein’s
creature as a man with a greenish face and screws from his temples. This Frankenstein’s creature is
far from being happy with his lot and pledges revenge on his maker for his present anguish. In these
contemporary, post-modern retellings, the focus (and thence, the reader’s sympathy) is on the monster
that cannot prevent his condition, much to his own chagrin, no matter his efforts to put an end to his
situation. These are monsters, indeed, but they try their best not to be. They also suffer from pangs of
their consciences, telling them not to kill unnecessarily and, even when forced to kill, they are plagued by
remorse and guilt. These monsters are, in way, moved by biological determinism: they try to avoid being
what they are, but they miserably fail, because of their very natures — or their genetic makeup, if you wish.
A sequel told from the point of view of a character from the original novel is a rather popular
literary development. Well-known examples include Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (off Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë), The Wind Done Gone (off Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell), March
by Geraldine Brooks (off Little Women by Louisa May Alcott), or Pemberley by Emma Tennant (off
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen), just to name a few. In 2008, Stephenie Meyer’s work in progress,
Midnight Sun, was posted all over the Internet, with all the efforts to put a stop to this violation of
copyright miserably failing. Eventually, given the multiplicity of pirate versions, Meyer decided to give up
writing Midnight Sun and instead posted the manuscript in draft form as it was in her own website (www.
stepheniemeyer.com). What was intended to be the fifth book of the Twilight saga represents Edward’s
side of the story. It is a very rare gift to have an insight into the male protagonist’s thoughts. See Pride
and Prejudice— we don’t know Darcy’s true thoughts till the end. This makes Midnight Sun so relevant to
the study and better comprehension of the Twilight saga. In Twilight we see Bella’s despair for receiving
the cold shoulder from her biology class lab partner during her first days in Forks. It is not until later in
the novel when we discover Edward’s reasons for such an attitude towards Bella. Midnight Sun analyzes
Edward’s thoughts at meeting his forbidden object of desire.

Rigor Mortis (director: Juno Mak)

Rigor Mortis

Chin Siu-ho
Anthony Chan
Kara Hui
Lo Hoi-pang
Paw Hee-ching

A famous actor ex-vampire hunter with an empty bank account and deeply despondent try to take his own life into a room of a dilapidated tower block...