SELF-proclaimed "vampires" are walking the streets of Melbourne, inspired by the Twilight craze.
Hundreds of fans of the bestselling books and movies have taken their passion one step further and joined vampire clubs that have sprung up online.
Drew Sinton, who runs The Haunted Bookshop in the city, said vampires had always been a part of society. "They are definitely out there," he said. "We are normal people but we have some different ideas."
Mr Sinton said there had been a surge of interest since the Twilight books and movies. "It is huge," he said. "For some of these young people it is just a trend, but for others it is a way of life."
The gothic fraternity will be out early Thursday morning when Twilight: New Moon, starring Robert Pattinson, opens in some cinemas just after midnight.
The Melbourne Vampire Group, which has 169 members, is for "all those who are real vampires within the Melbourne, Australia region".
Other groups include the Melbourne Vampire Coven House of Shoel and Melbourne Vampyres.
RMIT screen studies Associate Prof Deb Verhoeven said the vampire phenomenon was not new, but enthusiasts were using new media to pursue it.
"Teenagers have always acted out their interests, it is part of growing up," she said.
"It is probably just a bit of fun for most of these kids. Parents don't need to worry. It sounds confronting because it is about blood but I am sure in most cases it is a phase that will pass."