I’ve never given much thought to how I would come across Twilight. But watching it for someone I love seemed like a good reason to. So, I can’t bring myself to regret the decision to press play.
I was 25, it was August 3rd, 2020, and my then partner, now fiancé, Beka, informed me they were fun, bad movies and I would enjoy making fun of them. Over the span of 5 days I watched them, one extended cut on Amazon Prime per night. A few weeks went by and I thought, “yep, they were bad movies. Yep, I still love Paramore”. But then, much like my experience with another “so bad you can’t help but love it” thing, I found myself talking about the series nonstop with the girls at work. I found myself playing the soundtrack repeatedly. I found myself considering reading the books.
To speed the story up, let’s say I lasted two weeks before considering myself a fan. I was hooked. I bought the movies on blu ray in case Prime lost them. I bought the first two movies’ soundtracks on CD because the Spotify playlists were good, but not perfect, missing a few songs from both movies and it just wasn’t cutting it for me. I fucking wound up buying and framing a movie poster of Twilight, because I was now officially a twihard.
Growing up, I remember the craze, I remember my middle school girlfriend repeatedly playing “Decode” when we’d hang out at her house, I remember girls choosing teams, even my English teacher buying clothes that looked like Bella’s because, “adults can enjoy things too, Zach.” I don’t remember how much old men hated it, though. Holy shit does some sparkle piss old dudes off.
Back to 2020, the Renaissance hadn’t happened just yet. I was just bothering all of my friends with something they hadn’t thought about in roughly 10 years. I moved past the movies, and the soundtracks, and I became obsessed with Robert Pattinson(Bobby P, if ya nasty) and all the shit he said about the series. His commentary on the first movie, his insane struggle to be anything other than typecast as a vampire(shoutout, Good Time), and how much I was clearly in love with this dude, lol. Kristen Stewart, I was a big Adventureland supporter from the beginning, so I had nothing but respect for her. Taylor Lautner, he continued to have my support with Scream Queens. And the others, I was following them on social media left and right. I had to know what Ashley Greene was eating with her way too beautiful friends. I wanted to see what cool-dad stuff Jackson Rathbone was doing. I was way too curious about how ripped Kellan Lutz stayed all these years later. I had to know. My obsessive personality refused to let me have it any other way.
By September of 2020, I had found out that Beka was not actually a fan, and just “read the books and watched the movies because it was the thing to do”. They liked vampires, they loved werewolves, they felt like it was a rite of passage as a young adult in the 2000s/2010s to keep up with the trends, but didn’t really care in the end. This hurt me to my core, but Beka continues to not take down the poster in our hallway, so I guess I can’t win them all.
These movies are what would now be considered A24 staples. Up there with Napoleon Dynamite and Juno, they might be MTV worthy promotion wise, but they aren’t on the scale of widely consumable like Mean Girls. The characters are kind of annoying, the score is dogshit, the soundtrack goes way too hard, and none of the actors seem to really get the love they should for enduring this bullshit. Arthouse kids should be getting tattoos of Charlie Swan’s mustache today, but we’ll keep praising Spring Breakers like it actually is worth the love. Okay.
When July 2021 came, and the movies hit Netflix, it was finally THE(pronounced thee, not the), Twilight Renaissance(read in cool olde English font for added effect). Depop had women paying months worth of bills with old merch at $200 a pop, the series was in the top ten most watched things on Netflix for weeks, and the Robert Pattinson meme page I was in blew the fuck up. Less Devil All the Time delusion memes, more “I don’t want you to cum” ones instead. Hell, I’m in like six Twilight groups alone, not to mention the three Bobby P ones.
In September, I tried to read the books. I read a few chapters of the first one, had to put it down because what the fuck is that editing?, and did an audiobook version instead to kill the time of my second job where I stare at an oven all day. Even with the ease of another person reading to me, I still couldn’t finish New Moon, let alone the others. Maybe one day, but for now I’m chill with just being a stan of the movies.
This weekend we will lose the movies from Netflix, the fad will die down, and Depop hype beasts will chill the fuck out. But for the last few months, these movies have gained a lot of love, regained some fans, and earned some new ones, myself included. The library I work at even bought more copies of the series to keep up with the check-out numbers they were doing. Midnight Sun’s release certainly didn’t hurt, and I’m sure Stephenie Meyer had that book finished and shelved for like 10 years and just waited for something like this to happen.
I can honestly say, I am not ashamed of how much I love these stupid fucking movies, and how much joy I get from watching the cast fumble through a script that tried so hard to make up for how goofy the books are, and only made it slightly less bad. But dammit, these actors gave it their all.
Beka and I went to fucking Forks, Washington last year. It was great. It rained nonstop. The first motel we passed had a sign that said, “Edward Cullen did not sleep here”. And I bought a $30 candle that had a wax baby on it. All in the name of vampires, werewolves, and a girl who isn’t even Italian.
As we ride out of final hours of fandom on Netflix, because apparently no one has any other fucking streaming service(seriously, Peacock is free, y’all. Steal your mom’s Prime like a real millennial, and do a carpool situation where one of you pays for each $6 a month streaming service. You’ll be covered every 6 months when another app gains the rights), I can say I’ve gained a lot of respect for the Twilight saga, and the other twihards. As a lifelong Star Wars fan, an aging punk kid, and a comic book nerd, I can say for certain this is the least awful fan base I’ve ever been part of. I can handle “ice pee-pee” and “do you think Edward drinks Bella’s period blood?” every day over people threatening death over the proper way to pronounce Boba Fett(it’s “bow-buh”, not “bah-buh”).
Twihards, nobody has ever loved anybody as much as I love you.