So as part of My Year of Buffy mission, my completest OCD Geek gene kicked in right away and the power of Joss compelled me to start at the beginning. Or shortly after the beginning. I actually saw this after finishing Buffy season one.
So yes, we now travel way back to the much reviled original movie, which I have not seen since it was in the theatre in 1992. Thanks to the magic of Amazon, a cheap dvd was acquired, and away I went. Now onto my SPOILER FILLED look at this movie.
And wow, this movie sucked. Like, sucked so hard it has its own event horizon. Redeeming qualities are virtually non-existent. I have to wonder why the studio grinded Joss’s vision up, all in order to produce this monstrosity. My guess is that the idiot executives responsible moved on years later and made the Green Lantern film.
The basic plot of Buffy The Vampire Slayer The Movie is that young woman exist all through history and that they are trained by old guys called Watchers, all in order to fight the evil undead. In the present day of 1992, which really feels like some bad 1980’s music video, Buffy is a massively annoying valley girl played by the equally annoying Kristy Swanson. She meets at the mall a creepy looking old man in a flasher trench coat who looks like Donald Sutherland slumming. Into this already crazy mess, Buffy also meets a loser slacker Pike, played by the sleepwalking Luke Perry of 90210 fame. Rutger Hauer and Paul Reubens show up as the villains, namely vampire master and lackey, and cemented my hatred of both actors. Eventually Sutherland convinces Buffy that she is the Slayer and begins a training montage, which culminates with the two bonding, all to evoke awws from us. More and various fight scenes happen, including one with Pike figuring out these are vampires, and has a hint of romance between the two.
So just when you think Buffy The Vampire Slayer The Movie might be getting somewhat better and perhaps gain some semblance of internal logic, we get the basketball game. No one really seems to notice one of the players is actually a vampire, and this facts leads to a chase scene, fight scene, and a death scene. Sutherland finally recovers his dignity and dies, all to get out of this mess.
Now Buffy goes to the big dance, sees Pike clean up into the cute version of Luke Perry, and realizes the vampires are attacking. Or dancing. Or being annoying. Anyway, Buffy kills Paul Reubens and this leads to the most pointlessly long boring thing ever committed to film. And remember I have seen Green Lantern. Buffy fights Rutger Hauer once in a basement, and once again for no reason back in the dance. Cue happy ending with Buffy riding off with Pike.
And the torment finally ended.
This movie is a colossal waste and has a ton of useless mythology that Joss thankfully jettisoned before the television series. Things like Buffy’s parents, boyfriend, and friends being off the scale obnoxious, or a mole as the sign of the slayer, or cramps serving as a spidey sense, or flashbacks to the Dark Ages, do not work in the slightest. Same with the very lame fight sequences, with the graveyard one trying for funny and failing, and the one at the parade floats starting creepy and just devolving into silliness.
Very very few aspects of this film work, which are probably the parts Joss managed to slip past the clueless executives. The dreamlike segments where Buffy is romanced in bed, in a chaste way, by the vampire master Hauer is appropriately creepy and moody, while Pike occasionally quips in a Xander like manner, showing a prototype version of that character on display. I now wonder if Pike ever rides into Sunnydale on the television show.
Thankfully for all of us, Joss managed to salvage his concept and create the legend we know of to this day. Die hard fans might want to view this turkey just because of Geek OCD, but the pain of this hour and a half is hard and brutal. Be warned, Buffy fans, be warned and hug your box sets of the REAL Buffy The Vampire Slayer tightly.
…is currently reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.