Ah 1992 how I look back on you as one of, if not the favorite summer of my life. Lifeguarding at a pool surrounded by cuties, A League of Their Own, Bram Stokers Dracula, and a movie with a ridiculous title but that I was required to see by an unwritten law of the undead – Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Written by a man whom at the time no one knew, some guy called Joss Whedon (heard of him since then?) who had this concept of mixing horror with a level of self aware ridiculousness and a storyline at the time we had never seen before. He sold his idea to the studio 20th Century Fox, who bared their teeth and showed him just what kind of damage they are willing to do to his ideas in the years to come.
Fran Rubel Kuzui (director and producer), who still has film rights to the name, concept and characters treated the introductory work the way Vlad Tepes treated his dinner guests. Turned this intresting concept into raw camp and borderline schlock with no love for the writers intent, vampires, movies, or actors.
Let us add to the butchering a well known actor who refused to concede on anything and to this day Whedon dislikes by the name of Donald Sutherland. We will fill our movie out with Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Rubens, Rutger “I’m here for a paycheck” Hauer, Luke “90210” Perry, Hilary Swank in her first movie role, David “Scream” Arquette, and Kristy “I’ve done nothing you know since” Swanson. Let me also include Thomas “Punisher” Jane (in his first movie), an uncredited Ben Affleck, Ricki Lake, and Seth Green Stir it together in celluloid for 92 minutes and you have a beautiful mess that somehow ended up being as entertaining as it was horrible.
The effects are sufficient for the time especially when you consider the ridiculousness the studio went for over the semi-serious tone that was intended. Make up wise it is oddly better than average with some small attention to detail that might be overlooked. The look of the vampires were comical but at least they had fangs and drank blood.
While the final product was utterly ridiculous, it does have some beautiful gems of dialogue and moments where you can’t help but laugh as you’re rolling your eyes at it. Swanson actually despite everything shows more growth during the film than many movies can claim for their heroine. She has moments where her acting shines showing the vulnerability of a teenage girl faced with a completely strange world and how she deals with it. She captures a bit of the fear and incredulousness at her new situation along with her transition from vapid and shallow to the savior of the school and Slayer. There are plenty of subtle nuances in her performance and a delicate fatigue she brings as the movie progresses to it’s climax.
Thankfully, for vampire fans everywhere, five years later Joss Whedon once again gave the concept to Warner Bros who let him hold to his vision and gave us the Buffy TV series we all know and love.
So 21 years after release where does that leave us for TL;DR?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer the movie needs to be watched at least once. Embrace the ridiculousness and praise the Whedon that he was able to salvage the characters to become an amazing seven season show.
Buffy is and always will remain a guilty pleasure movie of mine, while not good, still highly entertaining with one liners I quote to this day.
Tomorrow’s review realized if it wasn’t fun – whats the point.