When I was waiting outside of the Scholastic store in Soho to buy the 7th Harry Potter book, I saw a reporter from the New York Post who was walking up and down the massive line and interviewing people for a story about the book’s release. I overheard him speaking with one guy who had a lightning bolt scar on his head.
I know what you’re thinking—“All right, it’s kind of odd that an adult man would dress up for the release of a kid’s book, but it’s not totally unheard of. That dude probably wasn’t any weirder than any of the other people in the line.”
Wrong. This nutbar didn’t just draw a lightning bolt on his forehead—as he told the reporter, he had literally carved the scar into his skin with a razor blade.
And to make matters worse, I was ahead of him in line. Yes, I had arrived at the bookstore before the psycho.
So needless to say, I know a thing or two about what happens when fandom gets extreme. Even so, Twihards—people who are obsessed with the Twilight books and movies—take things a step beyond anything I’ve ever seen before. As of Wednesday, at least 2,100 screenings of New Moon, the second movie in the series, were sold out—and those are only the showings measured by MovieTickets.com. There’s also a ton of Twilight merchandise available all over the web, stuff that ranges from normal (t-shirts, posters) to full-on batsh*t crazy (A shower curtain screen-printed with a giant picture of Robert Pattinson’s face. A life size vinyl wall decal of Edward Cullen’s silhouette, accented by the words “Be Safe.” A pair of underwear that’s illustrated with the sexy vamp’s face—inside the crotch).
io9 has a pretty awesome and comprehensive list of these wacky products. But most of the stuff they found comes from Etsy, which means that it’s specially made by individual craftspeople. I find it even more interesting that Hot Topic, the main source for all things Twilight, has almost 200 Twilight-related products for sale on its website. You can buy a duvet cover with Edward’s face on it, or body shimmer designed to make you look just as sparkly as your favorite vampires. You can buy a Twilight New Moon Vampire Girl Cuff, a Volturi Crest necklace, an Edward Charm bracelet (tagline: “Let Edward be the charms around your wrist”), and a Choose Musical Jewelry Box, which plays “Bella’s Lullaby” (whatever that is) and features “a rotating Cullen crest/Wolf tattoo emblem,” to store them in. There’s even Twilight-brand band-aids, for Anne Rice’s sake.
I know that this isn’t exactly an original question, but I have to ask it anyway—what is it about Twilight that makes people go so bonkers that they would actually buy any of this crap? Wouldn’t even superfans be embarrassed to go out in public with an Edward umbrella? Why is Twilight so good at warping people’s—or, to be more specific, girls’—minds and convincing them to spend their money on this kind of garbage? Or that it’s OK to have some guy’s face in the crotch of your undies?!
I get a seriously creepy vibe from all of these products, which matches the feeling I got when I read “Twilight” in an attempt to understand why it’s so popular. I don’t think I’ll ever really get why a story about a girl and the menacing, much-older guy who stalks her is so big. At least Harry Potter has a sense of humor.