Eunice does Buffy the Vampire Slayer

“All I want to do is graduate from high school, move to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die.”

The Scoop:1992 PG-13, directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui and starring Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, and Rutger Hauer

Tagline: Homework. Cheerleading practice. Killing vampires. No one said high school would be easy.

Summary Capsule: A teen discovers that she’s destined to battle the forces of vampiredom in her California community.

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Eunice’s Rating: I now have the strange urge to throw on some jelly shoes and hit the Orange Julius stand in the food court.

Eunice’s Review: I’ve never re-reviewed a movie here on MRFH. Usually, I’m in agreement with my fellow mutants and have nothing different to add.

And then I read Justin and Sue’s Buffy reviews.

Give Jabba the Hutt a Swedish massage? Doom Generation? Really? Seems kinda harsh.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that I was eight the first time I saw it, or that I’m one of those people who can watch the movie without comparing it to the TV show (which I *heart*). Maybe it was being brought up on cheesy fare like Condorman and My Boyfriend’s Back. Whatever the reason, I’ve always had a soft spot for this movie.

First of all, Rutger Hauer scares me. Like clown level fear. I mean Ladyhawk? Had a hard time accepting him as a good guy because I was totally expecting him to start massacring people. Because it’s Rutger Hauer. So making him the big bad works for me. And Benny floating around yelling that he’s hungry is genuinely creepy.

Secondly, I actually find most of the jokes (not all, let’s not get crazy) quite funny. Paul Reubens’ Amilyn is one of my favorite parts.

Third, as much as I’m afraid of Hauer, that’s how endearing I find Donald Sutherland.

(Okay doing away with the number system) It’s weird – with VAMPIRES. I love weird. And movie vampires are my crack.

Most of the irritating characters in the movie end up on a vampire buffet.

Pike the stoner was a way better boyfriend for Buffy than Riley.

Perhaps this is a movie I’m just blind to, but I truly do not understand the virulent reactions of my colleagues. I’m not saying movie-Buffy is the bestest movie ev-ah! But it is a silly, culty, day-glo spandex clad, Valley girl talking bit of ‘90s fluff. Fluff that I’m okay with watching about once a year when they put it on TV for Halloween. I think it’s fun.

Let me say it: I like Buffy the Vampire Slayer the movie.

Justin’s Rating: It’s woofalicious

Justin’s Review: For a long, long time, this film held the “Most Goshawful Film Ever Made” spot on the dusty shelves of my mind. Ironic thing was, I never got through half of it before hating it fully. My mind could not come to grips that a film like this would have ever been made. A vampire film. Set in the Valley. Starring a girl with the porno-ish name “Buffy”. And that 90210 Luke Perry’s also in it. So… much… badness… so much film time. Except if you’re looking at it through relativity’s glasses, where two hours with a movie like Aliens is like a minute, and a minute with Buffy is as close to Hell as mere mortals can withstand. You may think you’re starting to get the idea of the depth of loathing I held for this movie, but you really have no idea.

However, a few years went by and The Doom Generation quickly overpowered Buffy as worst film ever made. Then I made another mistake of actually watching the Buffy TV series, which sucked me in faster than any vampire metaphor I’m willing to go into here. It was like converting to a religion… in the middle of a random conversation with friends and family I’d boldly blather “I’m watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I like it!” Non-Buffy fans to not understand this. Non-Buffy fans naturally assume that I’m consorting with the Devil’s poodle, or at least running for Senator. I do not mention my Buffy love much anymore, but I still go around humming the theme song. Hey, at least Seth Green’s in the show!

So a little part of my mind thought that maybe I should give the Buffy movie a second chance. Perhaps I was wrong entirely, that my taste buds had not corroded to the level of putricity that they are at today. So I went to my local video store, plopped a copy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the counter (having to state again, “I like the show, okay?” to the clerk), and revisited my worst nightmare.

In retrospect, it wasn’t too bad. So long as I was fully occupying myself with fighting off the hordes of Mutant Squirrels that escaped their laboratory that evening (PoolMan’s getting docked pay for that). When I actually watched the movie, I realized that it was, in fact, a pretty bad film. If you feel compelled to rent Buffy, I suggest you watch the first five minutes (the cheerleader scene to dance music is about as cool as this film gets) then hit yourself on the head with a tack hammer or something else to induce unconsciousness. This movie is infused with stink, and I’d hate to see you go through the same level of pain I did.

The Valley Girl thing is cute when done in moderate self-mocking proportions (like Clueless), but in Buffy you just want to drill through your eardrums to drown out moronic chicks blabbing about clothing that was so, like, ten years ago! Buffy herself goes from ultra-annoying to somewhat-less-annoying by the end of the film, but she has no spark or pinache that Sarah Michelle Gellar brought to the role. However, the one plus of this movie is that Buffy IS Kristy Swanson, and she wears a lot of spandex.

This movie is a sore spot on the résumés of actors and actresses who have gone on to… other things, and it’s somewhat fun to pick them out. You have Donald Sutherland as Buffy’s Watcher, who just serves to look creepy for his entire role. David Arquette (Dewey from the Scream movies) looks mostly hung over, and Hilary Swank (of the Most Depressing Film Ever Made, Boys Don’t Cry fame) gives me just another reason to dislike her.

Sure, I’m critical and heartless, but I honestly cannot understand why anyone, even in the cult movie circles, would have thought this neon-colored movie would be successful. Well, more so than a one-note joke, at least. It’s a wonder the series ever got made at all. And now we leave you with a Public Service Announcement:

Got Buffy?

Sue’s Rating: I wanted to rent Serenity doggone it!

Sue’s Review: Let me be up front with ya’ll. When the idea for Whedon Week was first bandied about amongst my fellow mutants, I knew I was in trouble. It’s not that I’m totally unfamiliar with the work of Joss Whedon. I’ve caught a few episodes of Buffy, Angel and Firefly here and there, but when it comes to rabid fandom, I’m always a few steps behind the rest of the herd. Heck, I didn’t discover the joy of Farscape until after it was cancelled, and my Star Wars obsession built over the course of twenty-odd years. Heck, in a decade or so, I’ll probably get an itch to start writing Harry Potter fanfic. I must be the ultimate fandom procrastinator. So for all you Whedonites out there, please forgive an old woman her frailties.

Now being more the sci-fi/fantasy type than horror-centric in my tastes, I figured Serenity would be my best bet for a review. Imagine my shock then, when I went to the local video store (Netflix is my friend, but I was in a hurry), and couldn’t find it! I mean, sometimes their method of displaying movies is a little… obscure, but I checked the S section, the New Release section, the Slightly Less Than New Release section, the Staff Pick section and even the Sequel section and Television section. Nothing. Nada. Zilcherino. Buffy The Vampire Slayer was there though, so I snatched it up preemptively, just in case my fears proved correct. Finally, as a last resort, I asked a clerk. (I hate asking clerks questions, because they look at you like you’re an idiot when you ask for things like G.I. Joe, and like a pervert when you rent movies like Better Than Sex.) As it turned out, not only was this gal friendly and helpful, but she is apparently a Whedon fan in the finest tradition.

Their copy of Serenity, she told me, had been damaged and they were waiting for a replacement. I sighed and said I’d have to go with Buffy, and in something resembling panic, she recommended that I rent Firefly instead. The whole series, preferably. Cause it’s great. (I don’t doubt it.) Besides it’s not that long. I could do it in a day or two, she assured me.

Well, no I couldn’t.

So I insisted on Buffy and she relented, but as she rang it up, she said as a sort of disclaimer, that it wasn’t one of Whedon’s best works. There was an implicit apology in her tone that bordered on frantic warning. Hmm. Oh well.

Anyway, I watched Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

What an absolutely frelling load of dren.

Now don’t get yer pantaloons in a twist, folks. It’s just that having seen a few of the television episodes, I guess I expected Buffy to be the sort of movie that, you know, you might want to make a spin-off from. This was just… well, let me put it to you this way. These are a few of the things I’d rather do than have to watch this movie again:

1. Sit in an escape pod with a nervous Hynerian.

2.Sing campfire songs over a warp core containment breech.

3. Give Jabba the Hutt a Swedish massage.

4. Take a 3,000 hour audio course in Parseltongue.

5. Shovel a Death Star sized pile of Bantha poo-doo.

6. Take a Quantum Leap into a plague victim.

7. Undergo the cruciatus curse. A lot.

8. Become possessed by a disposable Goa’uld underling.

9. Talk… like… Kirk… at… formal… dinner… parties…

10. Be fed to an all-powerful Sarlaac where I will find a new definition of pain and suffering as I am slowly digested over a thousand years.

Well, you get the picture.

I couldn’t quite shake the conviction that if I turned off the sound, it would have been a far more enjoyable movie to watch. If I’d cared enough, I might even have tried doing exactly that. Buffy, the so-called heroine started off on such a self-indulgent, shallow and unsympathetic note that I couldn’t ever make myself like her. At all. Ever. The acting across the board was wooden enough to drive through any bloodsucker’s heart with fatal results. Donald Sutherland, you gave us Kieffer. You did not deserve this.

Accio antacids.

The good news, of course, is that as bad as the movie is, the concept was sound enough that the resulting television series were successful and interesting. I liked what I’ve seen on TV. I’m glad to know that good can come from bad. That somehow, some way, this travesty eventually gave us David Boreanaz. There’s a lovely sort of balance to that.

Next time though, I’m going to listen to that nice movie store clerk.

Ben Affleck, in his finest role ever: Number 10!

Intermission!

  • Ben Affleck appears as a much-debated extra (a basketball player) — although he’s uncredited, IMDb has long ago affirmed he was in this movie
  • Buffy’s last name is never mentioned in the movie. Not until the release of the series was she referred to as Buffy Summers.
  • Okay, ancient mystics to modern pom-pom girls. Why did I feel more comfortable with the mystics?
  • Ugliest team mascot ever.
  • Interesting parking method with that motorcycle.
  • There’s a LOT of Pepsi in this movie!
  • During the end credits, there are TV interviews with people who were at the dance attacked by vampires. Amilyn revives to go through some more death throes.
  • The writer of this movie, Joss Whedon, was disappointed with the way the Buffy movie turned out, due to studio tinkering with his original script (darker and more humorous, so the legend goes). Disgruntled, five years later he created, wrote, and sometimes directed the Buffy series on WB, this time nailing his vision perfectly, and ended up with a 7-year hit show. In the show, events from the movie are referenced, but only in referring to Joss’ original script (where the school gym burns down, for example).
  • Seth Green, the only person in the movie to be in the spin-off show, was cut from the movie, but still appears on the video cover.
  • Vanessa writes “1) the novelisation of BtM was written by Richie Tankersley Cusick, who was one of the most popular YA authors of the 90′s. (it’s actually much stronger as a story than the finished movie) She must have impressed someone, because she also wrote the novelisation of ‘Welcome to the Hellmouth’.
    “2) the idea of the Slayer and the Watcher constantly being re-incarnated is admittedly one of the dumbest ideas in the movie; the novelisation actually has Merrick mentioning the genesis of the Watcher Society instead. The idea of the constant re-incarnation was apparently Donald Sutherland’s idea, because he wanted more screen-time. Instead, all the scenes that were meant to show previous Slayers and Watchers were cut to an absolute minimum!”

Groovy Quotes

Benny: Her yabos scoff at gravity.

Buffy: Does the word “duh” mean anything to you?

Coach: OK people, they are psyching you out. Let’s not be so defensive out there, OK? Now what do we say on the court, repeat after me; I am a person, I have the right to the ball.

Buffy: All I want to do is graduate from high school, move to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die. Now that might not sound to great to a sconehead like you, but I think it’s swell. And now you show up and tell me I’m a member of the hairy mole club so you can THROW things at me? I don’t THINK so.

Pike: Look! Air!

Buffy: Excuse me for not knowing about El Salvador, like I’m ever going to Spain anyway.

Pike: Buffy, you’re the guy. You’re the chosen guy.
Buffy: And I choose to be shopping.

Amilyn: You ruined my new jacket! Kill him A LOT!

Buffy: My secret weapon is PMS.

[Amilyn has lost an arm]
Amilyn: We’re immortal, Buffy. We can do anything.
Buffy: Oh yeah? Clap.

Buffy: Pike’s not a name, it’s a fish.

Coach: (holding chart): Now here’s our key play. We’re going to- uh- Are we the x’s or the o’s?

Newscaster: The apparent cause of death was a severe neck wound that resembled, in the words of one bystander, ‘a really gross hickey’.”

Buffy: My birthright? Is that like a trust fund or something?

Buffy: I can’t believe I’m in a graveyard with a strange man, hunting for vampires on a school night.

Gary: Don’t think of me as Gary Murray, administrator. No. Think of me as Gary Murray, party guy. Happenin’ dude who can talk to the young. So tell me. It’s uh… it’s drugs isn’t it?

Gary: I have detention slips here and I’m not afraid to use them.

Pike: Hey, I can keep talking until you strike me dead, or not. I prefer not.

Pike: Are you… calling me… a man?

Lothos: Honestly, I don’t know how you made it through the crusades.

If you liked this movie, try these:

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13 Comments

  1. Hear hear, Eunice! I first saw BtVS as a kid and have always had a certain fondness for it. No, it’s not great, but it has a definite retro charm to it, and the vampires have more personality than any of the ones on the TV show except Spike.

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  10. Finally, a Mutant who agrees with me about this! True, Buffy the movie isn’t anywhere near as awesome as the show… but I’ve seen much worse. There’s a neon, bouncy appeal to the movie; not to mention it’s sheer stones in just how baldly it parodies teen comedies of the time.

    Not to mention I have a soft spot for any movie that gives a boost to one of my fellow Australians; the soundtrack features Aussie pub-rock legends the Divinyls, who had one of their major hits (and, I think, their biggest US hit) with ‘I ain’t gonna eat out my heart anymore’. Their later hit ‘I touch myself’ was mentioned in a later Buffy episode (in quite possibly the dirtiest joke ever on the show – until Spike came along).

    A couple of ‘intermission’ bits

    1) the novelisation of BtM was written by Richie Tankersley Cusick, who was one of the most popular YA authors of the 90’s. (it’s actually much stronger as a story than the finished movie) She must have impressed someone, because she also wrote the novelisation of ‘Welcome to the Hellmouth’.

    2) the idea of the Slayer and the Watcher constantly being re-incarnated is admittedly one of the dumbest ideas in the movie; the novelisation actually has Merrick mentioning the genesis of the Watcher Society instead. The idea of the constant re-incarnation was apparently Donald Sutherland’s idea, because he wanted more screen-time. Instead, all the scenes that were meant to show previous Slayers and Watchers were cut to an absolute minimum!

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