The misty forests of the Pacific Northwest, the haunting, romantic story of a vampire and his love — the shrill buzzing of an alarm clock after too few hours of sleep. It's all well and good to buy tickets for the midnight premiere of the hottest vampire movie in years, but heading off to homeroom with three hours of shut-eye is a bit of a bummer.
And parents are feeling more than a little conflicted about letting their tweens, the core audience for Stephenie Meyer's best-selling "Twilight" series, stay out till 2 a.m. on a school night.
Alma Dolan is having none of it.
It was one thing when the fourth book in Meyer's series came out at midnight in July. It was summer.
Last week it was clear that anticipation about the movie had moved to a whole new level when a scheduled appearance by Robert Pattinson, the actor who plays the hunky lead in the movie, created a melee at a Bay Area mall that had to be broken up by police after 'tween girls went crazy.
"I have a 13-year old daughter who wants to go to the midnight showing," says Dolan. "Sadly — for her — I told her no. Even when the Harry Potter movies came out, I did not allow my older daughters to go until they were 16 and an adult drove them home. And yes, I still waited up for them."
Besides, says the Pleasant Hill mom, the weekend matinees are just a day away.
Orinda mom Riki Sorenson isn't worrying too much, even though skipping school is out of the question.
"Are you kidding?" says Sorenson. "I'm on the school board!"
Her children have survived midnight "Harry Potter" premieres and 12-year-old Kacey, she says, will do just fine.
And Marie Rose figures it's a just-this-once experience.
"My 12-year-old daughter and I are going to indulge in this craziness and go to that midnight show," says the Pleasant Hill mother. "She has read all four books and then I read all four books. I even talked our book club into reading them. This is like the girls' 'Harry Potter.' They're only 12, so when Harry Potter was exploding, they were on the young side. But 'Twilight' has really captured my daughter. I'm going. I'm creating a memory for her."
Rose is hardly alone. The curtain goes up on "Twilight" tomorrow night, but more than 500 midnight showings had already sold out by Monday morning, and 86 percent of the daily movie ticket sales on Fandango were for the tale of Bella and her vampire beau. Rose couldn't even get tickets to the first showing at Pleasant Hill's cineplex. The 12:01 a.m. show was sold out, so she bought tickets for the 12:05.
"I'm going to be tired," says Rose. "I know that. (But) it's the last day of school before Thanksgiving break."
Liz Steenbeeke's 14-year-old is not just seeing the movie at midnight with her older sister and two friends. She's staying home from school for a mother-daughter movie date.
"I didn't want to go to the late-night showing," says Steenbeeke, a Livermore native who lives in the Seattle area now, "but I wanted to see the film when it was relatively quiet — not on a weekend — and I wanted to see it with Lauren. Both my girls are pretty much straight A students and that has made decisions about missing school much easier for me! And yes, I admit it, I'm a 'Twilight' fan."
But Sheila Haraldson worries that neither she nor her husband could stay awake late enough to drive anyone anywhere. And daughter Hailey, a Martinez sixth-grader, figures she'd fall asleep mid-movie anyway.
"She doesn't care when she sees the movie," says her mother, "just that she sees the movie."
Reach Jackie Burrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.