Twilight

Midnight Mass Borrowed Its Best Twist From Twilight

Although the teen romance saga Twilight and Netflix horror hit Midnight Mass don't seem too similar, their vampires share one thing in common.

It may not seem like the Netflix horror hit Midnight Mass borrowed a lot from the Twilight saga, but one of the show’s biggest twists was previously touched on in Stephenie Meyers’ teen romance franchise. On the face of it, Midnight Mass doesn’t seem to have a lot in common with Twilight. Admittedly, the Netflix miniseries does feature the same mythological bloodsucking creature as the earlier teen blockbuster movie franchise, but Midnight Mass’s vampires owe more to Salem’s Lot than the story of Edward and Bella.

Or at least, so it would appear at first glance. A closer look at both texts reveals that Twilight and Midnight Mass both share an unusual twist on standard vampire mythology, albeit for very different reasons. While it is unlikely that Midnight Mass was directly inspired by such a fundamentally divergent saga, there is still no denying that Twilight did one of the show’s most interesting subversive twists first.

The revelation that vampires can actually control their bloodlust and opt not to live off humans if they so choose was a shocking twist in Midnight Mass, but Twilight used the same logic years earlier with the saga’s “good” vampires, who only drink animal blood. Admittedly, the saga’s vampires are so-called “vegetarians” to make them less threatening to the reader and small-town teen Bella Swan, Twilight’s infamously passive protagonist, whereas, in Midnight Mass, the fact that vampires don’t need to give in to their bloodlust plays into the show’s broader critique of groupthink and fundamentalism. However, the basic premise still operates the same, with one major caveat.

In Twilight, the fact that the vampires can survive in the sunlight and don’t need to drink human blood to feed means that they are not necessarily forced to do anything evil to live and don’t need to hide by day. This makes them brooding, moody, and misunderstood, but not in any way evil or dangerous (prompting one screenwriter working Twilight’s first script draft to add plentiful violence and amp up the plot’s conflict). This means that Twilight’s vampires are perfect for a teen romance saga, but not particularly scary or tragic as characters om a horror story. In contrast, the bloodsuckers of Midnight Mass face a different, darker dilemma.

While the vampires of Midnight Mass don’t have to give in to their bloodlust, as proven by Riley’s parents resisting their hunger and refusing to kill innocent humans, they do die upon contact with the sun. Thus, the vampires of Midnight Mass can’t live a full or worthwhile human life and are instead condemned to hide by day, and there is no reason to believe they will be able to stave off their hunger forever. Midnight Mass, like most vampire stories, is more violent than Twilight, and abstaining from drinking human blood does not save the lives of its comparatively innocent “good” vampires. The Netflix miniseries is a darker spin on the vampire mythos, and the similarities between the two stories are mostly limited to this coincidence. Nonetheless, Twilight did do Midnight Mass’s vampiric abstinence first — even if it only saved the villains in that earlier saga.

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