Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)
Directed by: Fran Rubel Kuzui
Written by: Joss Whedon
As this is my first review for The Blood Theatre, I feel I should begin by introducing myself. My name is Drew Comerford, but I’m better known for my role as “Patient 1” from Blood Theatre’s “Devil’s Night”. No not the impressive patient with the blank face that falls like a champ, the other guy with the 14 seconds of screen time and the ADR coughing. I enjoyed working with the Blood Theatre crew, and as a massive fan of horror movies myself I was totally onboard to write some reviews. When I was discussing with Ali which movie I could start with the topic of B-movies was brought up. I am B-movie fanatic. For me to enjoy a movie it has to be either really good, or realllllly bad. There is no gray area. More often than not I will enjoy a bad movie more than a great movie. Looking back at some of my favourite terrible movies I was instantly drawn to one in particular. One written by someone you may have been hearing a lot about recently, Joss Whedon. (Hold for applause)
Yes before he made the third highest grossing movie of all time Joss Whedon made a far lesser known movie about a bubbly teen that is destined to be something far greater than she ever imagined. Despite the films poor reviews and failure at the box office, Whedon was eventually able to bring the idea back to life with the darker and well-received television series of the same name, but we’ll get to that later. So without any further ado, here is my review of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.
“Into every generation, a slayer is born…” The opening scenes set the tone for the entire movie. It starts with a gothic period piece that briefly explains the vampire slayer lore, and then immediately cuts to a much brighter scene introducing Buffy who is cheerleading at a basketball game. It’s a perfect blend from dark to bubbly and after these two scenes you know exactly what you’re in for with this film.
Over the next few scenes we’re introduced to the entire core cast, and to me BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is one of the most hilariously casted movies I have ever seen. First we go to the mall where we’re further introduced to Buffy and her friends. Buffy, played by Kristy Swanson is instantly a dislikable character. She is portrayed as a selfish teen that is way beyond ditsy, certainly not anything close to the Buffy we know and love from the series. However, even though this isn’t considered canon to the series it is an origin story and some character development does happen by the end of the film. Even more dislikable than Buffy are her friends, one of which is portrayed by Hilary Swank. We’re also introduced to Pike, the bad boy love interest played by Luke Perry (who we all know is a total badass), and his sleazy friend Benny, played by David Arquette. My favourite casting ever is Donald Sutherland as Buffy’s watcher Merrick. Apparently one thing they don’t teach at the Watcher’s Academy is how to approach teenage girls without coming off as a total creeper. If you want her to go to the graveyard with you, don’t lead with that and certainly don’t try to catch her after cheerleading practice when she is alone and half naked in a school gym. Meeting someplace other than the girls change room is another great way to avoid being arrested. All kidding aside, as always he is an excellent actor. Last of our leading characters are the villains, Rutger Hauer as the Vampire Lothos and his disturbingly creepy henchman who is of course played by Paul Reubens. Also Stephen Root is the principal, which is awesome.
If you’re a fan of cheesy movies you’ll probably enjoy BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. There are a couple notable scenes that deserve mention. One of my favourite scenes is when Pike gets a midnight visit from his freshly vamped friend Benny. Pike is sleeping but for some reason he has music blaring in his room (Again, total badass). Benny shows up at his bedroom window on the second floor, hovering in the air because vampires could fly until about 1994. The performance from David Arquette is almost as hilarious as Luke Perry’s soul patch. Another excellent and cheesy scene is Buffy’s training montage that for some reason is set to “Ain’t Gonna Eat My Heart Out” by Divinyls. Also Buffy appears to be practicing her kamekameha in the mirror. This movie also proves once and for all that vampires are almost as good as teen wolves at basketball. Honourable mention for the basketball scene: Ben Affleck as “Basketball Player #10” (uncredited). The last notable scene I’d like to mention is Paul Reubens’ death scene. His delayed death is so funny and it is perfectly delivered by Reubens. It actually sounds exactly like what I imagine PeeWee Herman’s death would sound like. (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT2syd-_HVU )
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER can’t be compared to the series, but it does have certain similarities and “Whedonisms”. The dialogue is very Whedon, and the scenes with Merrick and Buffy in the graveyard feel very similar to the graveyard scenes with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Anthony Stewart Head. It was obviously not intentional since Joss can’t predict the future, but near the end of the movie Luke Perry actually starts to look like Spike. If you are expecting this to be like the cult series, don’t get your hopes up. Even Joss has stated that it didn’t turn out how he envisioned it. In my opinion as a fan of Joss Whedon and cheesy b-movies, it’s still an enjoyable flick if only for a laugh. I’d recommend it to any fans of the BtVS series, b-movies, The Lost Boys, or Ben Affleck.