Kristen Stewart is finally leading us into the conversation we’ve all been waiting to have. Twilight, she says, is a gay movie. And she could not be more correct about that. Queer folks have been saying Twilight is an icon of the gay oeuvre for ages. On the surface, Twilight might seem like a very heteronormative tale. But when you sink your teeth into it, the vampire franchise becomes something else altogether, especially in its cinematic renditions. Here’s what Stewart had to say about the queerness of the iconic vampire films.
Speaking to Variety, Stewart noted:
I can only see it [Twilight‘s queerness] now. I don’t think it necessarily started off that way, but I also think that the fact that I was there at all, it was percolating. It’s such a gay movie. I mean, Jesus Christ, Taylor [Lautner] and Rob and me, and it’s so hidden and not OK. I mean, a Mormon woman wrote this book. It’s all about oppression, about wanting what’s going to destroy you. That’s a very Gothic, gay inclination that I love.
Kristen Stewart is exactly right in her references. Although Twilight itself cannot be labeled as a horror movie, vampires as an institution have some very queer roots in the horror world. And many of the gothic, monstrous tales that have transformed into our universal horror monsters contain deep elements of queerness. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, especially, which set the tone for many a vampiric tale to come, offers us an undeniably queer tale. As Stewart notes, common queer aspects of vampire lore, such as the constant oppression, the desire for the forbidden, and the positioning of characters as “the Other,” flow all the way down into Twilight. In the end, how could Twilight be other than gay?
That’s, of course, not to even discuss the high-camp energy that the Twilight movies ended up serving us. Edward’s pained, over-dramatic expression as he moves into the sunlight only to… sparkle. Iconic. The strange speech patterns, the dramatization of the smallest moments, and did we mention, the sparkling, all come together to create the perfect storm of a queer-favorite film. And, as Kristen Stewart notes, her presence as Bella really does give off strong lesbian energy. (We won’t even get started about how queer Edward’s sister Alice reads.) And that makes the movie even better. A true must-watch for every queer person I know.
So thank you, Kristen Stewart, for saying it (out loud).