Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Donald Sutherland, Kristy Swanson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Before there was a show, there was a movie. And though Kristy Swanson never went on to star in Buffy the Vampire Slayer the TV series, she is quite a different slayer than the one we grow to love over seven seasons. This movie explores the question, what would happen if a valley girl was given supernatural powers to slay the undead.

Watching Buffy one sees a plethora of famous people in roles that range from important to so minor they went uncredited. Some of these actors went on to win academy awards, some to host talk shows, others to marry Courtney Cox.1 Though by far my favorite performance in the movie is by Paul Reubens as the main vampire's (Lothos, played by Rutger Hauer) number one flunky. Also intersting is that Donald Sutherland plays a slayer trainer while his son Kiefer Sutherland had five years earlier played a vampire.

Luke Perry, David Arquette, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy maintains a great deal of camp value, similar to The Lost Boys and launched Joss Whedon's career to new heights, much to the joy of nerds everywhere. Most people who have watched the show haven't seen this movie. This is an unfortunate fact. The two are wildly different from each other, but I think that it is important to recognize where the show came from, and to respect the movie for its own brilliance.

Vampires according to Buffy, The Vampire Slayer:
  1. Vampires have been around just as long as humans.
  2. Only the Slayer is truly able to consistently kill them.
  3. There is a group of Watchers who follow the slayer and know about vampires.
  4. Vampires do sleep in coffins. At least, the important ones do.
  5. Vampires cannot enter your home unless invited.
  6. The Slayer can detect vampires.
  7. A wooden stake through the heart kills vampires.
  8. Crosses seem to have no effect, though, they'll burst into flames in front of a vampire (a tribute to Bram Stoker's Dracula).
  9. Vampires can fly.
  10. Vampirism causes funky ears.
  11. If a vampire feeds on you, you become a vampire.
Paul Reubens, Rutger Hauer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Andy: They had fangs. They were biting people. They had this look in their eyes: totally cold, animal. I think they were young Republicans.

Notes:
1. Hilary Swank and Ben Affleck, Ricki Lake, and David Arquette, respectively.

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