Famed Beverly Hills Courier columnist George Christy gives you an insider's peek into Hollywood's A-list parties and personalities.

Vampires have bared their fangs for centuries on the printed page, long before Stephenie Meyer struck bestseller gold with her novels of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan’s vampire love.  Her books have sold more than 5.5 million copies, with Twilight translated in 20 languages.  A third movie, Eclipse, follows after Twilight, and now The Twilight Saga: New Moon is setting advance box-office records, opening as it is this weekend.  Twilight grossed a phenomenal $383-plus million, a bonanza for Rob Friedman’s Summit Entertainment.  With unknown actors barreling in this kind of monster cash for the studios, the above-the-title stars, talented though they are, appear to be whimpering at the box-office.   Isn’t this disturbing, considering their rewarding experience and training?

Today’s hot-ticket idols, Robert Pattinson, 23, and Kristen Stewart,19, are starring in all three movies of Stephenie’s tales.  Joining them in New Moon is the hunky, bare-chested werewolf, Taylor Lautner, 17, who beefed up 30 pounds for the role of Jacob Black, to spark a romantic triangle in New Moon.  He claims he doesn’t ever want to take off his shirt for a movie again.  Tom Cruise, Gary Oldman, Gerard Butler, Rose McGowan, Kate Beckinsale, James Masters, and dozens more have pounced their blood-thirsty vampire-lust on the big screen.  Nor should we overlook Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon in their ménage a trois in 1983’s The Hunger, which Roger Ebert described as “agonizingly bad.”

Stephenie’s followed in the fang-biting tradition of authors Stephen King, Anne Rice, Ireland’s Bram Stoker, who created Dracula in 1897 after researching European folklore, with the lost manuscript surfacing during the 1920s in, of all places, a Pennsylvania barn (!).  The very first word about a vampire was written in 1047.  Soon “upir” became vampire, and “Upir Licky” then became wicked vampire.  Centuries later, poets and novelists including Lord Byron, Goethe and Samuel Taylor Coleridge found writing about the “underworld of the undead” irresistible.  Judging from the mega-success of Stephenie’s novels, and the humungous audiences the films that these young new stars attract, vampires are not overstaying their welcome.

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