Horror Becomes Her - Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Horror and films directed by women are both big blind spots for me, so I am taking this deep dive into some of the more outre films I have come across in my movie watching.
I have yet to watch the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, the popular and perhaps most iconic and sneakily influential TV show of the 90’s. I know enough about the show that the subversiveness of its narrative and the complex relationships between the characters are largely absent from this Disney Channel movie, even if it shares that basic premise. This movie suffers from the trappings of the late 80’s early 90’s with Buffy fitting very squarely into the Valley Girl stereotype. I almost wanted to turn the movie off after hearing “What’s the sitch” for what seemed to be the 100th time. The movie also loses a lot of urgency by focusing on Buffy’s training while there are vampires on the prowl, but also they don’t really become a problem until later in the movie. Joss Whedon has disowned this movie, since it was basically taken away from him and rewritten to be lighter and more comedic, even though he wanted the movie to resemble Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark. Years of Buffy have more than proved that he was right.
I will say that at least physically Kristy Swanson really embodies the role. I am not necessarily talking about her beauty, although she does not look like any teenager I have ever met, but more for the fighting and her acrobatic ability. I thought she was convincing enough that she could have easily played a lot more action roles than she ended up playing. I also liked Luke Perry’s performance as Pike even though he’s clearly too handsome to play a weird, loner character that ultimately becomes Buffy’s boyfriend and sidekick. I appreciated that weird dichotomy of his looks and character though. If I did not know that a much better and sophisticated TV show existed then this would have been a fun romp and call back to the late 80’s (early 90’s is just the same as late 80’s).