Prepare to be scared.
In New Moon, the second installment in Stephenie Meyer’s wildly popular Twilight saga, readers are first introduced to the ancient ruling class of vampires known as the Volturi. Determined to capture their creepy menace for his screen version opening Nov. 20, New Moon director Chris Weitz has given them custom-crafted blood-red eyes.
“They’re all hand-painted, specially manufactured contacts,” Weitz tells PEOPLE. “They’re opaque red, almost like preying mantis eyes. You can’t really see into them. There’s something terribly off-putting about it.”
British actor Michael Sheen (The Queen) plays Aro, leader of the Italian blood-sucking clan. Although Aro and his brothers Marcus (Christopher Heyerdahl) and Caius (Jamie Campbell Bower) have been “alive” for thousands of years, Weitz says he “deliberately” gave them a younger look in the film – for which he credits author Meyer.
“Stephenie was very keen to steer away from a kind of wizard-y look for the vampires,” says Weitz. “They do look quite young, but they convey a formality and self-possession, which comes from age.”
Perhaps most lethal of all the Volturi is Jane (Dakota Fanning), an angelic-looking vampire who inflicts torture on her victims. “She is very strange and very spooky in this movie,” says Weitz. “I think [Dakota] wanted to play an evil character for once.”
• Go behind the scenes on the set of New Moon!
• Think you know Twilight? Test your vampire IQ in Odd Star Out!