25 Years Later I Still Love “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

The story of Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is about as classic a tale and about as old a tale as most other movies in development. Whedon had a vision for a new take on a horror story and Hollywood didn’t get it and kind of fucked it up. Everyone by now knows the tale of 1992’s “Buffy,” and how Joss Whedon initially wanted to make something of a darker more stern take on the vampire hunter that minced a coming of age tale with a story of a young woman coming to maturity. When Whedon was given the chance to finally bring his film in to development he kind of lost control of his creation.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

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With “Age of Ultron,” Marvel and Joss Whedon essentially pave the way for a series of films that will make “The Avengers” the enduring franchise that fans have always wanted. It’s made abundantly clear that not only is the movie series here to stay, but we can expect a roster of rotating superheroes in the future that will create new conflicts and brand new dynamics. While “Age of Ultron” sags in certain places, it’s a superior follow up to “The Avengers” which was much more simplistic and aimed more to establish the crossover. “Age of Ultron” garners higher aspirations, constructing new story lines and setting up foreshadowing for future films. It also greatly raises the stakes for our team of flawed superheroes, all of whom are still learning to work as a unit. Set almost immediately after “Iron Man 3,” and “Winter Soldier,” we meet the Avengers, all of whom are back in combat fighting Hydra and taking on the elusive corporation’s hideout.

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Our Horror Expendables Dream Team

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Art by Chris LaBrenz

There’s been rumors of a horror movie expendables in the works, and it’s one we hope will be so much better than the actual expendables movies. Since we loved the idea we thought it’d be a good idea to cast a team of horror heroes and anti-heroes we think would be best suited for a horror expendables team. We teamed up with Brian Pittman from Batman’s Got a Nosebleed to cast our own picks on who should be battling pure evil when no one else wants to step up.

I mean, picking your own squad of kick-ass horror characters to take on all comers? That’s something we can get behind whole-heartedly. But we weren’t ready for how genuinely hard this actually was. We have redone these lists several times because we kept feeling unsure of who should be on it. There are so many amazing horror heroes and heroines! And we’re picking six of them? Oy, this was a task we truly were never prepared for. But we did it, finding six characters a piece from horror who we think could stand up against pretty much anything. Well, maybe now Godzilla, but he’s not really horror. If he was horror, he’d be on the squad.

So, there they are, our squads of horror heroes to face on the throes of evil that may stalk their way. We’d trust them with our lives and we hope you dig our choices. Who would be in your Horror Expendables?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

ttt_buffy-560x300Yes, 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.

Our Top Five “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” Big Bads

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March 10th marked the seventeenth anniversary of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” the cult television series that continues living on through a humongous and devoted fan base that proudly celebrate the series to this day. To mark the occasion, we, also fans of the series, decided to write down five of our favorite “Buffy” villains, and how much they rattled Buffy.

What are some of your favorite Buffy Villains?

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Five Great “Team” Movies You Should Watch

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Today the full length trailer for “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie premiered to much fan fare.

My initial reaction was: “Holy shit. That’s the Guardians of the Galaxy?!” Let me emphasize the “Holy Shit,” because when I was a kid growing up in the 90’s, this was the “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Don’t get me wrong, the comic was okay, but I rarely ever bought it or read it. But holy shit, when did this new cinematic adaptation become the Guardians?

When did Chris Pratt become such a bad ass? Why are raccoons suddenly so amazing?! That said, I loves me some movies about a motley crew of rough necks that learn to trust one another and to get ready for “Guardians of the Galaxy,” here are five great “team” movies you should watch as an appetizer. Or if you want to see “Guardians” now and need something to tide you over. Either way the movies on this list are great..

United they stand, Divided they fall.

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Five Reasons Why I Love Felicia Day

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Felicia Day began her notable career among her fans as a potential slayer in the final season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and from there went on to create one of the very early web series that was not only successful but is still very much adored by her fans. A true geek girl herself, Ms. Day portrayed human, realistic, and flawed fanatics of online gaming, and from there has dipped her feet in every aspect of fandom.

She’s voiced animated characters, video games, starred in movies, worked with folks like Joss Whedon, executive produces many series for fellow geek guru Wil Wheaton’s channel “Geek & Sundry,” and has guest starred on a ton of hit shows. Like just about every other fan boy out there I’m a huge fan and admirer of Felicia Day, and without further ado, here are five reasons why I’m going to be following her career for many years.

She created The Guild
I like to think of “The Guild” as the original “The Big Bang Theory,” except Day’s web series was much less a sitcom and much more a dramedy. Not to mention Day didn’t have much money to work with so she often had to get creative with every episode. Sets were re-used over and over, but with tricky directing and editing you could barely tell the difference. “The Guild” is a hilarious and often times surreal series about a group of online role players that unite when group member Codex is greeted by a fellow member who professes his love for her. From there, the series takes us in to great directions, including a convention, a hilarious house party, and a confrontation with a rival group of online role players led by an evil and smarmy Wil Wheaton. You can’t help but be sucked in by this series time and time again.

She’s Charlie on “Supernatural”
One of the few really good aspects of season seven of “Supernatural,” Charlie is a geek girl who loves Star Wars. She happens to work for one of the biggest corporate executives in the world who sadly happens to be a flesh eating monster intent on consuming humanity. When called upon by Sam and Dean for help, she reveals herself to be a master hacker, and proudly gay. Over the course of the episode, and her next appearance when she’s asked for help by a mystical princess who she seduces, we learn that she’s not only proudly gay but possibly loves women more than Dean Winchester ever has and ever will. Now that’s a shocker.

She out adorabled everyone on “Eureka”
“Eureka” was one of the final really good TV series from the Syfy Channel here in America, and before it was taken down in its prime, it merged with other hit Syfy shows and even brought on Felicia Day. Playing the socially awkward Holly Martem, she becomes the love interest for geeky character Fargo and also inadvertently falls in to the center of the massive plot in the series involving Eureka and America’s government. Given one of the more bittersweet storylines, Day really managed to give a great show a rather charming send off with a depiction of a truly entertaining character.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
During the 2008 writer’s strike, creator Joss Whedon staged his own web series and musical that starred Neil Patrick Harris as an aspiring super villain building a freezing ray. Dr. Horrible is also a lovelorn everyday Joe who happens to have a huge crush on a neighbor of his who does laundry at the public laundromat every weekend. Played by Day, the character Penny is a sweet and kind volunteer worker for the homeless shelter who becomes the object of affection for Dr. Horrible and the pompous superhero Captain Hammer. With a beautiful singing voice and quirky performance, Day is the perfect love interest. It’s also the second time working with Joss Whedon.

She hasn’t let her Anxiety control her life
It’s well known among Ms. Day’s fan base that she suffers from anxiety, an illness that often sometimes cripple those afflicted by it. Take it from someone who knows. Through acting, and self expression, Day has managed to learn how to seemingly cope with and often overcome anxiety and has become a admired and respected public figure among fantasy, science fiction, and pop culture fans alike. Anxiety can’t be cured, but it can be conquered with enough practice and experience, and Day has shown what had work can accomplish. It’d be a shame if her anxiety deprived us of the outgoing and hilarious personality we know today.

Our Top Ten “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Episodes Of All Time

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We’ve grown to love “Buffy” more and more over the years. Our appreciation for Joss Whedon has also grown, as he’s managed to deliver cult series’ that are immortal in spite of their short lived, and often under appreciated shelf lives on television. This October, we’re naming our Top Ten Buffy episodes of all time, and it wasn’t an easy decision. There were some really good episodes we left out of the equation, but in the end we were happy with this definitive list of ten episodes we just love to watch over and over.

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