Although we all remember ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ as one of the best fantasy series in television history, the truth is that Buffy’s first approach to the screen was with the 1992 movie, from the hand of Fran Kuzui and Joss Whedon. The attempt came out somewhat regular, with a tight collection at the box office and many good ideas wasted which, luckily, the series did know how to shine.
Both ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (film) and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (series) are available on Disney+
The “fun” of Buffy at the time was the shock to the viewer that a teenager could be the Slayer. The problem is that Kristy Swanson’s Buffy failed to break the “cheerleader blonde” stereotype and his personality was left in something quite two-dimensional.
Nevertheless, Sarah Michelle Gellar gave the chime and built a more realistic character, more ironic and funnier in every sense. The Buffy of the series had her teenage brat moments (in Season 1, at least) but she also knew how to get serious when she played and learn from her mistakes. And the best: she had 7 seasons to evolve and see how she matured over time.
In just an hour and a half, the film wanted to encompass too much: I wanted to be a parody of the horror genre, to be a comedy and a teenage drama at the same time, to develop a whole mythology of its own, to include a romance subplot… and, of course, that affected the tone of the film, which never ends. decide where to focus and ends up treating all those issues in a very superficial way.
If you have something in a series, it is time and it was the definitive proof that you could talk about all that without it screeching or making the viewer dizzy. Throughout 144 episodes, the series showed all its facets, from the most comical to the most dramatic, in a balanced and organic way. He also kept his parodic character of the genre without dispensing with truly terrifying moments and added several romantic plots that gave much more game. So yes.
From romantic interest to nice friend
In the 1992 movie, Luke Perry he played Oliver, who ended up becoming Buffy’s important ally against the vampires as well as her romantic interest. The relationship did not give much of itself, neither in terms of chemistry nor was it especially fun so no one missed her when they dispensed with her in the series.
Can we consider Xander a transcript of Oliver? The truth is that, when the character is introduced to us, he does not clash with the image of the typical flirt who falls in love with the newcomer to the institute and ended up going. The thing did not end there: he began as the nice friend and a little goofy to evolve and give us more nuances of one of the most beloved characters in the series, surpassing his comic relief role.
the female characters
Although the idea of putting a teenager to kick vampires was to a certain extent groundbreaking, the film ended up falling into the cliché that Buffy “isn’t like the other girls”. Thus, all the female characters, among whom we find a very young Hilary Swank, did not contribute much apart from being the counterpoint as a “mean and superficial girl” from which the protagonist ended up distancing herself.
Quite the opposite of the wide range of female characters that went through the series: WillowBuffy’s best friend, hacker and later almighty witch (not forgetting her relationship with Tare, who was one of the first important LGBT+ characters in two-mile series); the demon Anyathe Vampire glory, Dawn, Faith… up to Cordeliawho fulfilled the role of queen bee of the institute, we ended up taking a liking to her.
With all our respect to an actor of the stature of Donald Sutherlandhis role in the film as Merrick, the immortal guardian destined to guide the Huntress, was somewhat bland and rather creepy (appearing in the shadows hiding in the girls’ locker room doesn’t help much).
It still loses more if we compare it with the Giles of Anthony Stewart Headwho composed an endearing character, whose seriousness made him win in comedy (although it sounds contradictory). Change the guardian’s mystical origin and make it more human It was a success and gave us moments as memorable as the jokes about his English accent or the chapter in which he becomes a monster.
Taking “vampire slayer” in the title, it was clear that we were going to find many, so one had to stand out above the others. The chosen one was Amilyn (played by Paul Rubens, whose character has a funny cameo in the ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ series). He wanted to bring the “funny villain” point and, once again, the experience we knew little.
Leaving aside Angel and his love affair with Buffy, it is possible that the greatest heir to what was intended with Amilyn was spike (who was given a similar look, with a leather jacket and brush-dyed yellow hair). Here they really knew how to exploit their comic and evil vein in almost equal parts, leading to an unexpected chemistry with Buffy that also gave a lot of herself.
We are not going to fool anyone, because neither movie nor series can boast of having great visual effects. However, just as in the film the characterization of vampires greatly detracts (Rutger Hauer’s fangs look really bad), the series knew how to “make a virtue of necessity”.
The Serie embraced his pulp identity and exploited it without fear of ridicule. Its gallery of monsters featured crafted characterization that has stood the test of time better than many subsequent similarly themed series that attempted to play the same card but with far less charm. In addition, he reformulated the vampires in the film, adding that they turn to dust after death and that “demon face” they put on when they revealed their nature. All this was his seal of identity and made it the iconic series we all remember.