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Twilight 'Eclipse' Lures Dueling Vampires and Wolves

Equal time with the two best-looking lads on the big screen characterized the third and final installation of the extraordinarily popular Twilight saga.

It took over two hours, but what we learned last night includes the following: Vampires can shatter. Werewolves can swoon. And, despite whatever magic you may be imbued with, love can conquer that, too.

Like everywhere in the nation, Twilight mania swept the county yesterday as the premiere day of final epic movie in the series based on Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novel hit theaters big and small.

And nearly equal numbers of fans on either sides of Team Jacob (the werewolf romantic lead) and Team Edward (the vampire that heroine Bella is in love with) showed their support in a very special Patch survey.

I decided to venture out among the true fanatics and risk my very own blood supply to meet up with other warmbloods that had made it a priority to see the film on its opening, and craziest, day. (Spoiler alert for those of you who haven't read the books or seen the movie – though the dramatic events are all rather foreseeable, even without Alice's vampiric telepathy.)

At Clearview's Larchmont Playhouse, five showings played starting at 12 midnight, when employees first saw crowds arrive an hour prior to showtime (ultimately, without reason; the house was not quite at capacity for the first show.)

Though the daytime shows were not very crowded either, workers expected a huge turnout when the cloak of evening set in.

"I've seen a lot of Eclipse tee-shirts," said worker Dariel Richardson. "Some people had the hairy gloves [and getup] like that, and a lot of people had on the tee shirts," said Richarson, who noted that Toy Story 3 had at least as nutty, if not more, of an opening day than Eclipse. "A lot of people were lined up there [outside until the doors opened.]"

Perhaps that's because, unlike Toy Story 3, Eclipse's plotline is particularly difficult to follow without the context of the previous two movies in the saga or at least the the novels as background.

"I saw it last night, I didn't know what was going on," said Richardson. "I had to ask [my friend], 'What's he doing that for? Why he want to kill that guy?'  But it was good. I think they should make it into a TV show," said the avowed "True Blood" fan.

The soap opera-esque quality also ensured that most groups we approached leaving the theatres were firmly in the 13- to 14-year-old age range, at least until the night shows.

Darryl Davis, who works at the Clearview Mamaroneck Playhouse, said the opening night there was jam-packed. "People were coming in by 10:45 p.m. to buy their tickets and make sure they had their seats. People were lining up all along the wall here just to get inside," he said. 

Normally he said the theatre would be closed that late mid-week, but they stayed open for the special event. Inside the theater itself, he said people crammed themselves into every seat in the house.

"It was just packed. They loved the jokes - there were a lot of puns, about the wolves and the vampires, and they were loving it. We still had people hanging out in the lobby and on the street when it was time for us to lock up, talking about the movie and goofing around after the whole experience," he said. "I'm sure we'll have people pouring into the theater once it gets dark."

Though he didn't see any Team Jacob or Team Edward shirts, he definitely heard people choosing sides. Personally, "I will always say werewolf," he said, after a nickname his twin brother calls him.

The United Artists Cortlandt Stadium Town Center in Mohegan Lake had five midnight showings for Eclipse, selling 1,000 tickets said movie theatre workers. Tickets could be purchased up to a month in advance, though only a few sold that way. Theaters were not filled to capacity during the initial midnight showings but last night their evening show was sold out to mainly teenage and college-aged girls. "They were wearing tee-shirts: Team Edward and Team Jacob," said Eric E., an employee.

So far we had two vampire votes, and two werewolf votes, but our tally would continue in White Plains, where City Center 15: Cinema De Lux (the only theatre with a subtitle) had the film on four screens, including IMAX, and it played every half hour from 11 a.m. onward.

We found some more wolf fans among a group of Eastchester teenagers coming out of an evening show.

Fayrez Alama, 13, said, "I thought it was amazing, especially when Taylor Lautner [the werewolf] was shirtless." Her friend Jennifer Paez, 13, called it the best out of the three, and Jocelyn Merlo, 14, agreed, adding, "they got the most details from the book right." 

Julia Alex, 14, admitted "I like Taylor Lautner the best...but I thought it was sweet when Edward proposed to her." Three werewolf votes and one vampire were among them.

White Plains teenager Jasmin Mann, 14, said her favorite part was when the simmering, nay, smouldering tensions between Bella and Jacob come to a head before the werewolf pack engages in a battle against a coven of newblood, or young, vampires. "When Jacob and Bella kissed, like how she told him to kiss her," she said, a die-hard werewolf fan.

Her friend Natalie Malescio, 14, agreed, adding, "I liked when Jacob was hugging her." But their friend Leo Baena, 13, said, "I just liked the fighting. I never knew a vampire looked like ice on the inside. Like, they could break."

Inside my theater, for the night's last showing, the audience was all too eager to share their votes on who was better, hotter, more heroic, or, mainly, who deserved Bella's love and life commitment.

While the audience was quick to hoot and whistle at the moment Taylor Lautner appeared on screen, it was Edward's (played by Robert Pattinson) sweet-talk and inherent vampiric charm that lured the audience to "awwww's" as he watched Kristen Stewart's character sleep, proposed to her and begged for her to slow down their physical relationship. (Yes, it's laid on just that thick.)

But despite a steamy sleeping-bag scene with Jacob and an epic, three-films-coming kiss on a mountaintop, the fans of Westchester have spoken.

Werewolves: 58      Vampires: 63

Me personally? Totally team werewolf. Scalding sleeping bags, steaks and cozy campfires are just too worthwhile to give up for Alaska, constant starvation for the sake of civility, and an endless existence in high school.

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