Cult Film Crash Course: ‘The Twilight Saga’

“Twilight” has maintained millions of fans years after its release, earning it a spot on our cult film list. The film has vampires, werewolves and love triangles galore. Photo courtesy of Imdb

By Savannah Cooper | Reporter

What differentiates a cult film from the countless other movies released from Hollywood every year? Why do these movies stand the test of time and, more importantly, maintain fervent, committed followers? In this series, Cult Film Crash Course, we attempted to answer these questions about cult film qualities and more. Enjoy this final installment!

In November of 2008, Stephenie Meyer’s four-part novel series came to life with the release of the first of five blockbuster films that grossed over $3.3 billion worldwide, sparking a mania that made fans hungry for a blood-sucking romance.

Twilight opens in a small, notoriously rainy town called Forks in Washington state where Isabella (Bella) Swan, played by Kristen Stewart, moves from Phoenix to live with her police chief father, Charlie Swan, played by Billy Burke. Bella isn’t content with the move and attends high school knowing very few people, making feel like an outsider. All of that changes when she spies an open seat in a biology class next to Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson, a 104-year-old vampire who looks 17 and can’t get enough of her scent.

As the story unfolds, viewers are introduced to the love affair between Bella, a typical high school teenager, and Edward, a vampire who craves human blood. After a potentially deadly accident is averted thanks to Edward, Bella realizes that he’s not like everyone else and wonders about him and his family. With Bella’s consistent questioning and Edward’s growing interest in her, she meets his eclectic family, witnesses his supernatural abilities and expresses her desire to become a vampire too so they can be together forever. Their whirlwind romance comes to an unexpected halt when three vampire hunters arrive in Forks with the intent to kill the Cullen family. The issue takes a toll on Bella and Edward’s relationship but together they find the strength to fight back.

After getting a paper cut from opening presents at her 18th birthday party with the Cullens, Bella is saved by Edward when his brother Jasper becomes overwhelmed with her blood’s scent and charges after her. This incident proved to Edward that their relationship isn’t safe for Bella. He ends their relationship and the Cullens leave Forks. Heartbroken by his departure, Bella begins to develop another relationship with a werewolf named Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner.

With the introduction of Jacob as a romantic interest, fans were then offered a juicy love triangle riddled with drama, betrayal and paranormal activity. As the series progresses, viewers learn of the bad blood between vampires and werewolves as predator and prey for decades. In 2010, the third installment, Eclipse debuted and fans had to decide if they were either Team Edward, Team Jacob or Team Switzerland — the neutral side as Bella describes.

Slight spoiler, Bella picks Edward and throughout “Breaking Dawn — Part One” (2011) and “Breaking Dawn — Part Two” (2012), fans saw them become a family that further endures challenges seen and unseen.

Before any film concept was made, Meyer started gaining traction in 2005 with the release of the first of a four-part novel series. Young adults everywhere were all taking a bite out of the juicy red apple on the front cover. After “Twilight’s” release, subsequent novels furthered the plot and fans started to picture these characters, imagining what their lives would be like personified.

If the dystopic, small-town allure wasn’t enough, Bella was living out many middle and high schoolers’ dream of having two hot guys fighting for her love. Having two contrasting characters also built engagement from fans as they started to side with one or the other and proudly expressed why Bella fit best with him.

This series revolved around themes of love, family and coming of age — things that impact us all. The “Twilight” Saga garners the term cult classic because it birthed Twilighters, Fanpires and Twihards — terms describing the fans. Over the course of four years, moviegoers grew up with these characters and storylines. No two Twilight fans are the same thanks to these films offering a world full of supernatural elements with a dynamic range of personalities that appeal to a wide audience. These films garnered committed fanbases, making the series a staple topic in 2000s pop culture discussions.

If you want to take a trip down memory lane before finals, or want to see what the hype is about, dedicate a day to a supernatural love story with a little something for everyone.