Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Own it!

review by Scott Hamilton and Chris Holland
See also:

Devil Hunter Yohko


Heroic Trio

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Our rating: two LAVA® motion lamps.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"Well this is fun, Rutger, but are
you sure you can get me
Harrison Ford's autograph?"
Irony of ironies: a film in which Rutger Hauer rightfully should have sucked, and did not.

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hauer plays the main vampire villain Lothos. Vampires, as we all know, suck blood, but Lothos never seems to get around to doing so, at least not on screen. Hauer really hits the right notes in his performance as Lothos (even if most of his scenes seem to have been left on the cutting room floor), and so it's a shame that we don't ever get to see him chow down on anyone.

These days when you say Buffy, people think of the TV series, and rightly so. The series is consistently one of the funniest and scariest shows on tv. While it is widely thought that the series is based on the movie, that's not quite true. Joss Whedon, writer of the movie and creator of the series, based the series on his original script for the movie which is quite different from the filmed version. For example, there are often references to the fact that Buffy burned down her previous school's gym. But in the movie, Buffy leaves the gym relatively untouched. Luckily for us Buffy fans, Whedon's original script is being adapted in to comic book miniseries called Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Origin.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Perry and Swanson check the
acting classifieds for their next jobs.
Enough digression: on to the movie. Buffy opens with the obligatory flashback to Europe during medieval times, where we see vampires attacking a serving wench who is not as defenseless as she appears. Fast forward to Los Angeles during the "Lite Ages", where a valley girl named Buffy (Kristy Swanson) lives a typical high school life. She's the high school's head cheerleader, she has a popular boyfriend, and she and her friends freely denigrate the less fortunate. What she doesn't know is that vampires have come to town, and that the weird dreams she's having are because she is one in a long line of female vampire slayers who are reincarnated from generation to generation. The slayers are trained by Merrick (the ubiquitous Donald Sutherland), who is also reincarnated every generation.

There isn't much more you need to know: Buffy trains to fight vampires, and the vampires choose the senior dance as the time to make their presence known. Romance comes in the form of Pike (Luke Perry), a bad boy with a heart of gold. The villians are Lothos and his lap dog Amilyn, played by Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Reubens.

For people seeing the movie now, Kristy Swanson is put in the position of being compared to Sarah Michelle Gellar. Perhaps that's not fair, but what are you going to do? We can say this about Kristy Swanson: she can't dance. We were informed of this fact by a former cheerleader who watched the movie with us and spent most of her time snickering at Swanson's meager dance attempts. Swanson is, however, enough of a martial artist to pull off her butt-kicking scenes and a good enough actress to pull off Buffy's conversion from bubble-headed bunny to scourge of the undead.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"Dude, I think I'm gonna ask
Courtney Cox for a date!"
Many of the supporting actors in Buffy will look familiar. David Arquette, who seems to have been in every film made from 1992 on, plays Pike's toady who quickly becomes a lost boy. Oh, and let's not forget player number 10, who may or may not be Ben Affleck.

The problem with Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that it is supposed be both a horror movie and a comedy, but it doesn't do either very well. Whedon has said that the studio changed his script, reportedly to make the movie funnier, and presumably less scary. We suspect that most of the changes were made to the villains, reducing their parts quite a bit, because the subplot about the connection between Buffy and Lothos never comes completely into focus. Meanwhile the villains have been camped up beyond necessity, though Rutger Hauer avoids the temptation to be too silly until his last scene. Don't get us wrong: Paul Reubens' mugging of the camera, especially once he gets staked, is very funny. But Buffy the TV series proves every week that the humor is funnier when it is contrasted against serious threats. On its own, Buffy the Vampire Slayer might have received three lava lamps, but it so pales in comparison to the TV series that our estimation of it can't help but suffer.

Review date: 02/08/1999

This review is © copyright 2002 Chris Holland & Scott Hamilton. Blah blah blah. Please don't claim that it's yours blah blah, but feel free to e-mail it to friends, or better yet, send them the URL. To reproduce this review in another form, please contact us at guys@stomptokyo.com. Blah blah blah blah. LAVA® , LAVA LITE® and the motion lamp configuration are registered trademarks of Haggerty Enterprises, Inc., Chicago, IL














































Hauer was the actor upon whom Anne Rice based her famous vampire character Lestat. Rice had hoped that Hauer would get to play Lestat in the film version of Interview With the Vampire, but by the time the movie was made, Hauer had passed the proper age by a decade or two. This is the closest he ever got to playing Lestat. Go back!






















































Check out the Diary of Tuber archives for an article on the TV series. Go back!






















































According to the original script Buffy is set in LA. We didn't notice anything in the movie that actually determines what city the movie takes place in.

The movie can be assumed to be taking place in 1991 or 1992. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Origin places these events in 1990, which is a mistake if they were trying to synch the original script to the tv series. Now, in the show's third season ('98-'99), Buffy is a senior. In that case the events from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Origin would have to take place when Buffy was a freshman or sophmore in 1994, depending on whether or not she completed her last year in LA. In any case the movie's time frame cannot be reconciled with the series, as Buffy is a senior in the movie and therefore would not be transferring to a new school as we saw at the beginning of the tv series. Go back!






















































Buffy the Vampire SlayerHere is a picture of the disputed actor, uncredited at the end of the film. The IMDb and other fan sites say it is Ben Affleck, but we reserve judgement until more concrete proof can be found (like an interview with Affleck.) Among the group that watched the film with us, the vote was 4-2 in favor of the fact that was Affleck.
Go back!