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Lecture Library

Buffy vs. Twilight - Stalking Comparison
by Jonathan McIntosh

A comparison of stalking scenes in the 2008 film Twilight and in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Stalking Scene (episode #1) by Joss Whedon (1997) Buffy turns the tables on her vampire stalker.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Stalking Scene (episode #13) by Joss Whedon (1997) A second vampire stalking scene foiled by Buffy.
Twilight - Stalking Scene by Catherine Hardwicke (2008) A stalking scene from the 2008 movie Twilight.
Twilight - Bella's Reaction to Stalking by Catherine Hardwicke (2008) Bella's reaction to Edward stalking her from the 2008 movie Twilight.