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Buffy vs. Twilight - Stalking Scene Comparison

by Jonathan McIntosh

• Compare to stalking scene in Buffy - episode #1
• Compare to stalking scene in Buffy - episode #13
• Compare to stalking scene from Twilight
• Compare to Bella's reaction from Twilight

There are strikingly similar narrative elements present in both the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and in the 2008 feature film Twilight. Both stories follow a teenage heroine as she develops a relationship with an older male vampire. Both also contain stalking sequences in which the female protagonist walks alone at night and is followed by shadowy figures. The similarities, however, end there as each saga has radically different outcomes and narrative lessons.

In Twilight Bella is confronted by a group of aggressive, drunken frat boys, and begins to defend herself – but is interrupted when Edward, her vampire love interest, swoops in to rescue her. In the next scene, when pressed, Edward admits to stalking her but insists it is only for her protection, saying: "I was trying to keep a distance unless you needed my help." Bella responds by condoning his behavior, timidly telling him not to stay away from her.

In contrast, Buffy turns the tables on her pursuer by knocking him to the ground, stepping on his chest and demanding answers (episode #1). Later Buffy stops in a dark ally and, annoyed, confronts her pursuer again – who again turns out to be her own vampire love interest, Angel. When questioned he also admits to following her in case she might need his help. Buffy’s having none of it, asserting that she can take care of herself and delivering her brilliantly pointed line: “You know, being stalked isn’t really a big turn on for girls” (episode #13).

Comparing these sequences we see examples of how the dynamics embedded in the two relationships are completely different. Buffy quickly establishes control in each potentially dangerous situation while Bella is perpetually cast as the damsel in distress. Stalking, spying and over-protective male behavior is present in Buffy's world but it is always framed as creepy or inappropriate and is often the subject of ridicule. The same type of male behavior in the Twilight series is framed as romantic, sexy and a sign of "true love".

Read more on this topic via Women In Media & News

Watching the watched

by Julz

In this clip, Buffy is being watched and followed by a strange man. There are a few elements in this clip that suggests ego libido.  As an audience, we see that it is nighttime and Buffy is walking alone on a dimly light street.

We are presented with Buffy, as she walks on the sidewalk, afterwards, a male figure enters the frame.  Now we, as an audience, are put into the pleasure of watching and wondering what is going to happen. We go to a shot of her maybe noticing something, but then resuming that everything is fine.  Buffy finally realizes that she is being followed go into an alley to try to escape from her stalker.  Once in the alley, she confronts her stalker and the tow exchange dialogue. It is determined that the man is a friend of someone and gives Buffy some much needed advice.

This clip is relevant to the article, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema by Laura Mulvey because it focus on taking pleasure in watching and looking. Furthermore, she states that women “in their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact”. Here we have a slim and attractive female who is walking alone on a dimly lit street.  The tone of the clip helps us to view her as the victim, the helpless woman. If the gender roles were switched, meaning if we were to follow a man from a woman’s point of view, the tone of this clip would change.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Stalking Scene (episode #1)

Buffy turns the tables on her vampire stalker.

from Buffy the Vampire Slayer - "Welcome to the Hellmouth" (1997)
Creator: Joss Whedon
Distributor: 20th Century Fox Television
Posted by Jonathan McIntosh