I don’t know who scares me more – the creatures of “Twilight” or the fans of “Twilight.”
Each group has certain qualities that bring fear to me. The creatures have their ruthless blood-sucking and extreme paleness, but the fans have the obsessive and protective tendencies of a cornered mother grizzly.
“Fans” is a choice word considering the situation. For these so called “fans,” common side effects of catching sight of Twilight characters like Edward (Robert Pattinson) or Jacob (Taylor Lautner) usually include a mixture of doubling over, crazed screams and an “Oh my god!” or a related phrase expressing crush-induced euphoria. To insult a fan’s love of Twilight almost certainly results in a snappy backhand to the cheek, at best.
Admittedly, I have never read a “Twilight” book. Nor have I seen the first installment of the film series. So as a complete outsider to the phenomenon, I was confused. I told myself that there had to be more to the series than Hollywood producers capitalizing on teen girls’ physical and emotional attraction to these characters. I decided to investigate firsthand what Twilight was all about at the midnight premiere of “New Moon,” the second part of the series. I also decided to bring a classic vampire-vanquishing wooden stake, for protection from both creatures and fans.
To prepare for this daunting experience, I checked out some of the pre-premiere chatter on the imdb.com (Internet Movie Database) message boards. One topic was all about the “double standard” for women, and how they go wild over the tall, gaunt and handsome Edward or the abdominally-gifted Jacob, but their jealous boyfriends are not allowed to comment on Megan Fox’s strengths.
Another discussion was even more heated. One user, obviously a cynical male, brought up the point that since Edward is 109 years old, it is creepy that he is in love with a 17 year-old girl. Another user, an obviously female fan, nitpicked her way through this argument, proceeding to make personal attacks on the male.
More intimidation and fear took over after reading these passionate imdb.com threads. These fans meant business.
Finally, the big night arrived. Around 9 o’clock that night, I took a bath in liquid garlic as yet another precaution. Vampires hate garlic, and I imagined any fervent Twilight fan would be too repulsed to bother me if I let a sarcastic comment slip.
After walking into the theater, I realized I was greatly outnumbered. A quick cross-examination of one section of the theater revealed that about one out of five attendees were male. More extensive, long-winded calculations indicated about four out of five of the men present had been physically dragged there by their significant other, making the percentage of men that willingly showed up to the midnight premiere incredibly slight. The fact that I had willingly showed up made me feel like a real outcast.
As expected, the fans were not only great in numbers but in material support. “Team Edward” t-shirts, vampire costumes and wolf nature tees could be seen in every row.
After summoning ample courage, I approached a fan and asked her to summarize the first movie, so I could follow the plot of “New Moon.” She explained how Edward and Bella had met, how Bella had discovered Edward was a vampire, and how much they love each other. I then asked her why she loves Twilight so much. She responded with a resounding, “EDWARD CULLEN!”
The previews started rolling. I found my second-row seat. Everything went fine until the preview for “Remember Me” appeared, starring none other than hunk Robert Pattinson. Gasps. Quiet. His face appeared again. More gasps. The preview ended. The theater collectively exhaled.
After another preview, it began. I was one of about three people breathing. The fans’ senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch were so focused on the screen that a bull elephant could have performed the Stanky Leg in the first row and they wouldn’t have noticed.
Fast-forward to the end of the movie. Here’s a plot summary: vast amounts of hair product, followed by gasps from the audience, followed by a long period of shirtless Jacob, followed by a unanimous “Sooooo hot!,” followed by kissing, followed by amorous audience smiles, followed by vampires fighting werewolves, followed by audience whimpering, followed by kissing, more shirtlessness, and finally kissing. In other words, over two hours worth of what was in the 30 second trailer.
It was 2:30 a.m., and as I walked out of the movie, I seemed to be one of about three people who were exhausted. The rest were cheerily delighted after witnessing the most PG-13 rated shirtlessness ever.
Other than the crowd it brought, I was not that impressed by “New Moon.” Much of it probably has to do with me not having to wear a top swimming pools. Plus, I am already partial to another film involving the teenage supernatural, Michael J. Fox’s “Teen Wolf.”
I may not have liked “New Moon,” but I can’t argue with $142.8 million, the third biggest opening weekend gross in movie history. Hollywood may be exploiting teen girls’ biological attractions to steamy vampires and werewolves, but they do it darn well. Reconsidering my investment opportunities wouldn’t be a bad idea.
But hey, I can’t be greedy. I’m just thankful I didn’t have to use the wooden stake.