The third movie in the wildly popular "Twilight" vampire saga premiered in theaters on Long Island and nationwide on Wednesday, June 30 at 12:01 a.m. "I think it was the best movie I ever saw," says Cassie Caruso, 13, of Lake Grove, who attended an advance screening two days earlier at the Regal Cinemas in Deer Park.

"Eclipse" had everything, viewers say - the continuing love triangle between vampire Edward Cullen, man-wolf Jacob Black and human high school senior Bella Swan, as well as action scenes in which the wolves and vampires team up to battle an army of "newborn" vampires. The audience burst into spontaneous applause at the end of the movie.

Moviegoers have already seen "Twilight" (2008) and "New Moon" (2009), which ended with the cliffhanger of Edward asking Bella to marry him before he would turn her into a vampire. "Eclipse" has brought new blood to the screen, including the introduction of new vampire characters Riley Biers, played by Australian actor Xavier Samuel, and Bree Tanner, played by Canadian actress Jodelle Ferland. A new soundtrack CD includes 15 songs from Muse, The Black Keys and other artists.

Here's the up-to-the-minute scoop on all things "Twilight":

SCORE ONE FOR TEAM JACOB

Spoiler alert: Jacob fans will be thrilled that some lip-locking happens between Bella and Jacob. And that Jacob spends most of the movie bare-chested, exposing his chiseled six-pack. "Doesn't he have a shirt?" a jealous Edward asks at one point in the film.

"My favorite part is when Bella asked Jacob to kiss her," says Cassie. "I think Jacob's better for Bella."

"I don't know who's better for Bella. I don't really care," says Andrew Caruso, Cassie's 10-year-old cousin. He just likes that there was a pack of wolves in a brawl, and that they tore the heads off vampires. "That was cool," he says.

A NEW BOOK

If only Bree Tanner could have resisted the offer of a cheeseburger. But the teenage runaway had been starving, and the handsome Riley was buying.

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Instead, Bree became his meal, as Riley drank her blood but left enough to turn her into a vampire. So goes the story in "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella" by Stephenie Meyer. This novella, released earlier this month, gives the backstory of the new character Bree and marks the first time Meyer has written from the point of view of a vampire instead of Bella.

Bree has a small part in "Eclipse" - all her fellow vampire newborns are killed, but she surrenders, only to then be offed anyway by the Volturi - the Vampire police. For fans who have read all four books in the saga but crave more, this book is a "hyperlink" that explains Bree's role in events.

As a gift to fans, Meyer has put the 178-page novella online at breetanner.com for free reading through Monday, after which it will be available as a hardcover for $13.99, with $1 from each sale going to the American Red Cross International Response Fund.

NEW TUNES

Also on shelves this month is the CD called "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Original Motion Picture Soundtrack." The album ($18.98) includes the song "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)" by Muse, Meyer's beloved band, and 14 songs by artists such as Vampire Weekend, Sia and The Black Keys. A deluxe edition ($21.98) includes two bonus songs and an "Eclipse" poster.

@Newsday

WHAT'S NEXT? 

The transformation of the final book, "Breaking Dawn," to movie has been a matter of much speculation. Will it be made in two parts? The answer: Yes. The first part is expected to be in theaters next year.