In the fascinating world of Twilight, the undead are indeed among us and, like any self-respecting vampire, they’re hungry for blood.

But what has given Twilight — both the juggernaut book series by Stephenie Meyer and its filmed equivalent — its devoted following and inspired its legions of fervent admirers to swoon, is that the melancholy ghouls populating its pages are misunderstood and, by and large, just looking for love.

Unlike the human-friendly Cullen clan, some of the monsters in the Twilight world aren’t so endearing.

Case in point, the feral, ferocious Laurent played in both Catherine Hardwicke’s original Twilight film and Chris Wetz’s hotly anticipated followup New Moon, by actor Edi Gathegi.

“Playing Laurent has changed my life,” says Gathegi of his dreadlocked, deceitful and decidedly lethal blood-drinking heavy.

“I’m not a fan of horror movies but I’ve always wanted to play a monster. And on top of that, the films have given me the opportunity to see the world and travel and collect a pretty devoted fan base.”

Though not an admirer of horror films, Gathegi has starred in his share. Outside of his turn as Laurent, he also starred in last years 3-D shocker My Bloody Valentine, as well as 2007’s ultraviolent exploitation thriller Death Sentence.

“I really don’t think of either Twilight or New Moon as purely horror,” the actor says. “They’re more romantic and action oriented, more fantastical and mythical than your typical vampire movie.”

Whatever genre you want to pigeonhole the franchise in, there’s no arguing that with New Moon, the story takes a far darker narrative turn, expanding its universe and upping the ante in terms of both the romance (lead femme fatale Bella is torn between vampire Edward and werewolf Jacob Black) and the creepy, skin crawling stuff.

“I just saw the final cut and I think Chris (Weitz) really changed the entire feel of the series.” Gathegi says of the sequel’s helmer.

“There’s something about the tone of it, the texture, the dynamic of the images are different. It feels like it’s from the same world and yet not and its really kind of beautiful.”

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