Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
August 1, 2023 11:54 AM - Subscribe

Blonde, bouncy Buffy is your typical high school cheerleader. But all that changes when a strange man informs her she's been chosen by fate to kill vampires.

Written by Joss Whedon, starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry. Featuring Rutger Hauer, Paul Reubens, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Swank, and David Arquette. Directed by Fran Rubul Kuzui who would go on to direct the show and Angel. This movie is Kuzui's directorial low point garnering only 36% at Rotten Tomatoes.

Despite its initially dismal reception, Buffy has been embraced for its camp. Soraya Roberts praised the film in an article for The Atlantic:

"The film’s high-water mark can be found in Paul Reubens’s performance as the vampire-king acolyte, Amilyn. At the time, the Pee-wee’s Playhouse star had an icky rep, having recently been arrested for masturbating in a porn theater. But Kuzui knew the actor was a pop phenomenon—“Pee-wee Herman is right up there with Mickey Mouse as far as I’m concerned,” she told the L.A. Times. Taking over the role from Joan Chen (who’d dropped out), Reubens turned Amilyn into an effeminate hair-metal-styled lackey, improvising a ridiculously long death scene to tonal perfection. It was magnetic camp—just like the movie at its best.
posted by miss-lapin (21 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I made this post in honor of passing of Paul Reubens who, when I first watched the movie, was the only part I thought was worthwhile.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:55 AM on August 1, 2023 [14 favorites]

It was an enjoyably cute little film. RIP Paul Reubens. Too bad Kristy Swanson grew into...whatever this is.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 2:47 PM on August 1, 2023 [2 favorites]

One time, in 8th grade, which I was in around the time this movie came out, we had to write an essay about our favorite scene in our favorite movie. I wrote about this movie because at the time we had to do the assignment (this was in class), I literally could not think of another movie. I still think it's not nearly as bad as people make it out to be. It has its moments.
posted by edencosmic at 4:36 PM on August 1, 2023 [2 favorites]

The worst. The only reason the director got to do this was based on their optioning the script. Thank heaven/gods/agents that the series didn’t have to suffer the same embarrassment. Soraya Roberts couldn’t tell a good film from hole in the ground.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:14 PM on August 1, 2023 [1 favorite]

If you think this is the worst, you need to watch more movies. I'm not saying it's good, but there's a loooooooooooooot worse out there. Try anything by Uwe Boll for example.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:23 PM on August 1, 2023 [2 favorites]

You threw a knife. At my head.
posted by Mchelly at 9:08 PM on August 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

the fashion square mall is no longer open air.

around the time the movie came out I read an interview with Perry or Reubens that said Reubens brought a Dylan doll to the set and put it in compromising positions but I can't find it.
posted by brujita at 10:41 PM on August 1, 2023

“The worst.”

Nah. It’s mediocre, but I remember enjoying it when it was in theaters. Paul’s death scene alone keeps it from being a total waste. Rutger Hauer seemed to have fun with it, too, if I remember right.

Could’ve been so much better, but I’ve seen way worse.
posted by jzb at 3:48 AM on August 2, 2023 [4 favorites]

The worst.

counterpoint: Donald Sutherland

that actor could fart in a film and improve it
posted by elkevelvet at 7:21 AM on August 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

It's not a great film, nor is it a terrible film. It has its moments, and Paul Ruebens is certainly part of what gave this film some of those moments. The death scene had me giggling for a long time after seeing it.

And Donald Sutherland brings something great to everything.
posted by nubs at 8:29 AM on August 2, 2023 [3 favorites]

I was never into 90210, but I appreciate that Luke Perry did so well in this as a damsel in distress.
posted by pxe2000 at 11:13 AM on August 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

“counterpoint: Donald Sutherland”

I liked him in this film, but Whedon says that Sutherland thought he was in a different kind of film and generally wasn't happy during shooting. I forget how much Whedon was actually on set, though, and he was just the lowly screenwriter and he wasn't that happy with the movie, either.

But I've always thought the movie was fine, even after I became a fan of the TV series. I didn't see it in the theater, but someone gave me a copy after it was released on VHS, saying "this seems like something you'd like".

Reubens really was my favorite part of the movie, though.

I was never fond of Gellar's "Buffy" — although I think her lack of relatability was an important part of the character as both written and portrayed, so I've always been okay with that — so in some ways, maybe, I might prefer Swanson's version. And she was the first "Buffy" I'd ever seen. I did really enjoy the juxtaposition of her being an airhead while also a fantastically competent vampire slayer and how she'd abruptly transition between the two.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:05 PM on August 2, 2023

I was never fond of Gellar's "Buffy"

Of the ensemble, Buffy was usually my least favorite character. In retrospect I think that was more about the writing and situations Buffy was put in than Gellar's portrayal. As you say, she was very good playing a convincing airhead and then doing a 180 to super-lethal slayer.

I would still love to see a "Buffy: Next Generation" of some kind with her involved in some capacity.
posted by jzb at 12:20 PM on August 3, 2023

I faintly remember liking this when it came out (probably largely because of Luke Perry).
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:44 PM on August 3, 2023

It’s a terrible film and I know Uwe Boll irl. Alone in the Dark is worse, but only by a hair.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:02 PM on August 4, 2023

Haven't seen the Buffy movie in ages, but I was fond of it. I think I liked it even better after hearing Whedon slag it as awful in dvd commentaries or interviews as the series drew to an end and I became increasingly bitter about various characters' demises and Whedon's whole 'I give the audience what they need, not what they want' stance. And now that his utter creepitude has become public knowledge, his low opinion of the movie counts as even more of a plus for me.
posted by oh yeah! at 3:06 AM on August 5, 2023 [3 favorites]

Trailer for the film Tokyo Pop

Directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui in 1988; it didn’t get US distribution at the time. It’s being rereleased in theaters this month
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:33 AM on August 6, 2023 [1 favorite]

It’s a terrible film and I know Uwe Boll irl. Alone in the Dark is worse, but only by a hair.

Well, I know Colman Domingo irl and he's not sure what Uwe Boll has to do with anything.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:34 AM on September 9, 2023

Well, I know Kazutaka Kodaka and he's not sure what anyone has to do with anything!
posted by praemunire at 11:28 AM on September 9, 2023

Well, I had to look up who Uwe Boll, Colman Domingo, and Kazutaka Kodaka are, and it was not helpful.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:00 PM on September 9, 2023 [2 favorites]

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