New Moon, the second film in the Twilight series, set a new single day box office record this weekend, taking in $72.7 million on Friday alone. And, as it happens, at least 12 of those dollars were mine. No faithful Cracked enthusiast, I am not a closet Twilight fan, nor a hardcore vampire movie junkie, nor even a simple moron. Rest assured, I was there entirely unwillingly, sent on an assignment to observe the burgeoning Twilight culture in its rawest element: outside a suburban movie theater.
I managed to snag tickets to the midnight showing last Thursday by pulling a few strings (exchanging $12 at the box office is a type of string). Told to arrive early to ensure I got a good seat, I came back a little after seven in the evening to find about a hundred people with a different definition of "early" than myself. That was OK; I was there to see the people, not the movie. "Good seats for that Twilight movie" is not a phrase that holds a lot of meaning to me. I slid into place at the end of the line and tried to look like I belonged there
Many of the others in line were in costume, dressed up as their favorite Twilightopian, like Johnny Fangs or Lesley Skinnypants or Reggie Whateverthefuck. I, of course, had suspected this would be the case before arriving, and had already made preparation to blend in with the crowd.
The original delicious vampire.
Within a minute of me arriving, a half dozen girls squealed into place behind me in line. Judging by the degree my toes clenched at the sound of their voices, I'd estimate they were around 12- or 13-years of age. I had forgotten what it was like to be in the presence of a mass of young girls. It was intense. Thousands of words spewed from their mouths every second, few of which were intelligible (or even audible) to my ears, but after a short while I was able to gauge the ebb and flow of their discussion and get a rough estimate of their mood. They were excited.
"So girls, pretty exciting, isn't it?" I said, trying my best not to sound like a sex offender.
Beautiful, blessed silence greeted me in return. That seemed to shut them up. I'd have to remember that for later.
"What are you supposed to be?" one girl, who I presumed to be their leader, asked. "Blade?" A chorus of giggles erupted from the group.
"I'm Count Chocula, you… uh," I protested, scrambling to come up with a word that was similar to 'bitches,' but less inappropriate when talking to 12-year-old girls. "Bitches!" I finally spat, shoulders sagging in exhaustion.
"Like from the cereal?" More giggles. "You dressed up as the guy from the corn flakes?"
"Count Chocula is a chocolate themed marshmallow based cereal," I responded, authoritatively. "He is like Robert Pattinson multiplied by chocolate. He is as incredible as you are ugly."
"Whatever Snap, Crackle or Pop." The mouthy leader turned away from me. A heated discussion erupted amongst the group, during which I believe they collectively decided I was "random." I took out my notebook, and wrote down "Twilight fans suck," and underlined it a couple times. Tucking my notebook back in my cape, I turned around.
"Hey man, can you believe this bullshit?" I said to the guy on the other side of me. He turned around, startled I was talking to him, and I got a good look at his costume. Actually, what I had at first assumed to be a vampire costume, was now on closer appearance, just a cape. So just a guy, regular clothes, but in a cape. Awesome.
Capes and back rubs, reunited at last.
"What's that?" he said. "I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention."
"Never mind. Hey maybe you can help," I asked, slipping back into reporter mode. "I'm from… Time Magazine… and I'm trying to find out more about the whole appeal of this Twilight thing. Can you help me? Why are you here tonight?"
"You're from Time?"
"Oh the costume?" I laughed. "The publishing industry has fallen on hard times, so a lot of us Time reporters have to take on second jobs, " I explained. "I sometimes do mascot work at conventions for dry goods manufacturers."
"Oh. I guess that makes sense." He was wrong; that didn't make any sense at all. But I felt no need to correct him.
"So why are you here then?"
"Uh, I dunno."
"Seriously? You don't know what you like about Twilight?"
He shrugged. "I guess the vampires?"
I gave him my blankest look. "The vampires," I repeated. "Can you be a little more specific?"
"You know," he said. "The vampire guy. He loves Bella because of… a reason… and they fight werewolves and love werewolves and look at each other. It's just all so awesome."
I frowned at him. Was this guy for real? I decided to call him out. "Scooter--and I don't know if you're actually called Scooter, but I'll be damned if you don't act like one--I'll be honest with you. My dry-goods-mascot bullshit detector is going off all over the place here. It sounds like you know next to nothing about Twilight. What are you doing here, dude? Trying to meet girls?"
He didn't say anything, but did sort of shrink back into his cape a bit.
"Wow that's just… atrocious," I said, not lying. We sat there in incredibly awkward silence for a few seconds. My entire body itched just being next to him.
"Hey girls?" I said, turning back to the flotilla of bitches behind me. "Wanna trade spots? You'll get in a little sooner that way. Maybe get better seats."
We shuffled around. until I was a half dozen places further back in line, and a little closer to Hell. I was now standing beside a couple of ordinary looking girls in their mid-20s. I stood there looking nonchalant, idly playing with my cape in a manner I hoped made me look professional. After 10 minutes or so of listening in on their conversation, I concluded they were the least weird people here, and decided to try again.
"Wow! You look ordinary!" I said, by way of introduction.
A long pause. "OK. Thanks," one of them replied slowly while the other one stared.
"Hey, seeing as we're all ordinary dudes and lady-dudes here, maybe you'd like to answer some questions for me?" I said, addressing the one who spoke. "What's the big appeal with this Twilight business? Why are you here tonight?"
Her gaze narrowed. "I'm not so sure you're ordinary."
"Because of the costume?" she nodded. "Look, it's like I was telling Johnny Clammyhands up there, I'm a reporter trying to get a scoop on Twilight culture, and I'm wearing thi- HHHHHYURK." My explanation, complete with a purposeful thrust forward and dramatic sweep of my cape, was cut short when I tripped over my enormous feet, stumbled, then caught my cape on something sharp. I slumped to the ground, elegantly strangling myself. Everything went black.
The gentle prodding of a police man's foot roused me from my slumber. My eyes opened. I was still on the ground, my cape having been cut loose at some point during my unplanned coma. The line had dissipated. "What time is it?" I tried to ask, although, "blrughr Fim gh het?" Is what I believe actually came out of my mouth.
"About 12:30." I gaped. Those Twidstsicles left me unconscious on the sidewalk for five hours. I rubbed my throat, batting aside the scrap of cape that hung limply around my neck. Shaking the dizzies out of my head, I then got to my feet after a couple of practice tries.
"Thank you officers, but I won't need any further assistance. However, if circumstances arise such that you have to shoot several people in that theater, I will totally have your back if you get called up on some 'excessive force' bullshit. Respect." My offered fist bump hung in the air for 12 seconds, while we all stood there staring at it. Eventually they wandered away.
My conclusion: Twilight fans are cold-blooded harlots, possible pedophiles or 12-year-old girls. How we as a society deal with these parasites is a complicated issue, but pelting them with rocks would be far from the worst option.