Yes, it’s not the vision that Joss Whedon had originally planned, but you know what? “Buffy” was just too ahead of its time and eventually found its place with the cult favorite series. But that’s not to say that the original 1992 movie isn’t any fun, either. Taken as a stand alone horror comedy, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” actually manages to be a creepy, twisted, and very funny take on the vampire slayer mold, teaming an ass kicking valley girl against vampires. And Kristy Swanson is a better Buffy than Sarah Michelle Gellar. Teeming with 90’s paraphernalia, “Buffy” is dated, but definitely one of the better attempts at mixing vampires with comedy.
Surely enough it’s also a good gateway drug for anyone that wants to delve in to the horror genre without bathing in unnecessary gore, and heavy sexual themes. This variation of “Buffy” is “Clueless” meets “Lost Boys,” with Kristy Swanson playing the titular Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Cursed with visions and dreams of a past life involving a young girl seduced and eventually murdered by a vampire, Buffy slowly realizes her world is changing around her. Especially considering that the pains she’s experiencing are being accompanied by her sudden heightened strength, agility, endurance, and advanced senses. Buffy just wants to be a normal shallow valley girl whose world revolves around school dances and boys, but she eventually meets Merrick.
As played by Donald Sutherland, he proclaims she is one in a long line of vampire slayers, and is destined to guide her in her battle against the forces of darkness and the supernatural by acting as her “watcher.” Meanwhile, the immortal vampire Lothos has risen and begins feasting on local high schoolers, while Buffy realizes she has to train and eventually face off against the dreaded vampire master and his minions. “Buffy” has its share of problems, especially considering the fact that the entire grand plot of Lothos seems hellbent on eating Buffy and nothing more. All the while the face off and eventual death of the villainous vampire is abrupt and unsatisfying. I was also never sure how anyone would explain the vampires, but director Fran Rubel Kuzui approaches the material with absurdity so it’s a footnote that’s glossed over.
In either case, “Buffy” still entertains greatly, thanks to its hilarious script and slew of top notch performances. Luke Perry is fun as Buffy’s ally Oliver, while Kristy Swanson kills it as the sexy, smart alecky, and tough as nails Buffy. There’s also Donald Sutherland who is fun as Merrick, while Paul Ruebens is laugh out loud hilarious as Lothos’ second in command vampire Amilyn. He plays the role like Evil from “Fright Night” if he ever grew in to the role of blood sucker. While it’s been noted much of the dialogue is improvised, Reubens has fun the role, while also playing the resident punching bag. I still cackle at many of the one-liners, as well as Amilyn’s refusal to die after being staked. I also really find the martial arts throwdown between Buffy and the vampire minions in the fog pretty damn sleek. “Buffy” serves more as a fun guilty pleasure, but one that chooses to embrace the absurdity and run with it, as opposed to Whedon’s series that embraced the irony and wit.