With the crazy success of the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer which has grossed close to a Billion Dollars to date with a bunch of Bedazzled vampires it is clear to see romance sells but Paranormal Romance Sells BIG!
I am a fan of the Twilight series even though I have a tough time getting past the shimmering Robert Pattinson who my daughter defines as ‘Dreamy’ or the attractive Kristen Stewart who my sons seem to stare at from the corner of their eyes as we pass her movie posters at the malls.
I must confess I do try to steal a glance as well. But you cannot ignore the huge $$$’s that this series brings in on the screen, DVD and of course the books, millions of them!
I think the paranormal romance is far from a niche market considering the billions they rack in. They cross all genres, both Horror, Romance combining Science Fiction cross over, Action, Adventure, Drama and a very small touch of Comedy. With this alone you can conquer any demographic from adult to teen from male to female. They only genre left untouched are those of Musical, War and Western but I am sure Hollywood is working on a Western themed vampire Civil War film as we speak. Hmm, Gone with the Wind Meets Vampires! (Sorry I already have a working titled registered at Copyright.gov!)
Out of sheer boredom came the dawning of modern Paranormal Romances such as the Twilight series, ‘True Blood’ (Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Series books) and ‘The Vampire Diaries’ to name a few. Paranormal Romance has been around since ancient times in literature. Take example of Greek Mythology. It is littered with gods who visited humans to spawn half-human, half-god, Heroes. In fact the direct translation of heros from the Greek definition; ‘Mythological or legendary figure, often of divine descent, who is endowed with great strength or ability.”
Heracles (Hercules) – the greatest of Greek heroes and almost a god, known for his superhuman strength was a son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene.
Perseus – beheaded Medusa and inspired the film Clash of the Titans
Jason – of Argonauts fame
Theseus – king of Athens who killed the Minotaur with a magic sword
Oedipus – accidentally killed his father and slept with his mother
Achilles – hero of The Iliad
Odysseus – hero of The Odyssey
Though some of these stories can be horrifying it is not close enough to what we have been accustomed to classify as horror. But this was just to; briefly show the ancient ties to modern paranormal romance and how it still has ties to good defeating evil to this day. But honestly if you think about it, vampires the main subject of the paranormal romances thrives on the blood of humans in such quantity to kill its host. So thinking of the actual relationship becomes awkward. Kind of like someone keeping a pet turkey all year round and then chopping its head off Thanksgiving Day to cook it for dinner.
It was a pet a few hours ago and now table dressing ready to eat. Morales of this… modern paranormal romance go right up to that kind of edge.
Since we are going a bit of all over the place, let’s continue this bizarre journey. Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ not to be confused with the 1987 CBS series of the same named. Starring Linda Hamilton (Terminator movie series) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy) visits a classic paranormal encounter and romance. A beautiful human girl who meets a dreaded sub-human beast who had a spell cast upon him making him half-animal and half-human kind of like H.G. Wells ‘Island of Dr. Moreau’ meets Disney World. Great story, children love it as Disney glosses over the horror and sugar coats it into a saleable item in its fantasy filled franchise. Then it was a Broadway show and then on ice! Looking deeper into it, it is a horror with the modern day Paranormal Romance that everyone is trying to cash in on.
Being an avid bibliophile I see the daily trend of books trying to cash in on this modern phenomenon with new vampire themed romances showing up weekly at Barnes&Noble and Amazon.com. I myself found when I was writing my book ‘Rhinehoth’ that I was writing a Dark Gothic novel with a small part with paranormal romance. But in testing some chapters I found that it was only appealing to 5% of women.
It was not until I expanded the romance plot that my potential readership climbed to 40% just by heightening the paranormal fantasy that the women seemed to crave. Did I sell out? Or rather cash in?
So what is the deep attraction of this dark type of romance? It is like anything else about literature; it is entertaining and brings you to a world beyond the reach of your normal life. An escape from mediocrity with a fantasy world that could not exist in our know worlds. But the story tellers have done a great job creating a credible (somewhat) imaginative get away for a price of a book or a movie ticket.