This past Friday, hordes of titillated girls spilled out of the nooks and crannies of Canadian cinemas, that had not housed an age median so low in years.
They turned up, of course, for the premier of Twilight, a film based on the first installment of Stephanie Meyers’ trilogy, that delves into the tumultuous love story of a century old albeit remarkably well-preserved vampire and his delicious,in the most literal sense, 17-year-old object of affection.
It’s been a while since any film has stirred up a cult following in the young teenage girl demographic as heatedly as Twilight has and the excitement surrounding it has proved contagious.
In fact, in the weeks leading up to its release I picked up a copy of the book, so I could better participate in the furor.
Unfortunately, I hated it.
Despite the “teen-fiction” label I thought it would be another Harry Potter, but instead of Hogwarts I got Sweet Valley High.
Which may be because I’m not a part of the target demographic of the series, generally 12 to 16-year-olds.
But too often cultural blips such as Twilight, are looked at only from the perspective of the 12 year olds blinded by love for the way-too-cute leading man or sympathy for the angsty heroine, and not by those who have been distanced by age from participating in the madness.
These are their stories.
Ruwaida Mortuza is a student at U of T who has read all of the Twilight books and saw the film opening day at Scotiabank theatre.
“I was expecting there to be a bunch of teeny-boppers inside the movie theatre and there were,” she said. “They were roaming around Queen street, there were people who had ‘I love Edward [the romantic lead] written on their face and there were people dressed up in full vampire gear.”
Although Mortuza found that the crowd for the second Batman movie, The Dark Knight, was more enthusiastic, she said the Twilight audience was still quite devoted.
“There were also a lot of Twilight t-shirts in the crowd. People went all out, as if they were going to a Jonas Brothers concert,” she said.
York student Anita Tavakol, who also saw Twilight opening day at Scotiabank theatre, said that the line ups inside were a little crazy.
“We had to wait, we couldn’t actually give our tickets and go into the line-up area until the previous show had gone in,” she said. “There were lots of huddles around the concession area and in these situations people are always trying to run and get ahead and cheat the system, but we went pretty early so we got good seats.”
Tavakol went ahead at 2 p.m and bought tickets for the 7 p.m showing, but only lined up about an hour before hand. In the meantime, there were lots of things to keep her entertained.
“One girl in line had written the characters’ names all over her face,” she said.
Kathleen Daunt, a manager at Scotiabank theatre is well acquainted with the hubbub that premiers with cult fan bases bring.
“There was definitely a younger audience for Twilight, about 13-20, with lots of intense giggling, but at this location it wasn’t that busy,” said Daunt.
“We tend to attract an older audience here,” she said, speaking specifically about the downtown location. “We thought it was going to be the next Batman but it ended up not being like that all. It was only opening night that was slightly busier.”
Daunt said that she doesn’t foresee crowd control being called in for this weekend’s screenings.
“It’s not going to be that bad, the crowds won’t be too large now.”
But for Mortuza and Tavakol, the attraction of seeing Twilight opening weekend centered on the crowds.
“It’s the best way to see it,” said Mortuza. “People would scream and laugh and giggle. It was so much fun.”
“It was definitely a very vocal audience,” she said. “They all squealed when it started and then squealed in the opening credits and then when he [romantic lead Robert Pattinson] came onscreen.”
“They were very responsive, they laughed and awed, so they were very vocal. You could tell it was a teen audience.”
Mortuza said her not being a teen anymore greatly influenced how she viewed the movie.
“Now that I’m in university I’m much more critical of it,” she said. “If I was younger I would go with the flow and lose my mind, like the younger crowd. But at this point I’m more critical of it.”
Despite age constraints of the same variety, Tavakol said that didn’t impede her opinion.
“I had no expectations for it, but it turned out not too bad,” she said. “I’ve gone into movies with high expectations, where I’ve come out really disappointed, but I didn’t feel that way with this.”
Mortuza said that being enveloped in the excitement of the opening was quite enjoyable.
“It made me feel 14 again,” she said. “It’s fun being a part of the hype.”
“You can be a critic about it but it’s fun, it’s not Marx and Engels.”