Buffy the Vampire Slayer (film)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Nope, you're not seeing things. It existed.

"You're not like other girls."

Before the series, there was this.

In 1992, Joss Whedon wrote a script for a movie called Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The plot should be very familiar to a lot of us: a Valley Girl named Buffy finds out that she is The Chosen One. An old British guy named Merrick trains her to become "the Slayer." Her job is to fight a bunch of vampires. Like the series it would later spawn, the Buffy movie was intended as a subversion of the usual "Damsel in Distress" roles that young women usually fill in horror movies. 20th Century Fox picked it up and turned it into a movie.

The end results... weren't really what Joss planned. The original script intended the film to be a serious metaphor of female empowerment with a comedic bent, but the director turned the film into an outright comedy. The movie had some success in the big screen, but Joss was dissatisfied by the changes.

Five years later, we got the well-known series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the rest is history. The film itself occured in Broad Strokes in the regular Buffyverse, but more specifically the original screenplay, not the released movie. Early on, the series made mention of Buffy being expelled from her old high school because she set the gym on fire (to kill the vampires inside), which was the original intended ending of the movie, but was vetoed by Executive Meddling.

However, it is an interesting look at what the show could have been like.

Tropes used in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (film) include:
  • Accidental Athlete: Buffy discovers her untapped fighting prowess when she punches Merrick in the nose during a tantrum.
  • Action Dress Rip: Actually starts out with I See London overtones. Pike tries to keep Buffy from pursuing the vampires at the dance but tears her ball gown in the process, exposing her legs and petticoats. But Pike promptly makes up for his mistake by lending Buffy his large black leather jacket to cover herself. Voila, back to Badass mode!
  • Action Girl: The original intent of the film was to take a typical horror film's 'Dumb Blonde' who either dies first or only survives because she's the hero's love interest, and make her the Chosen One of Destiny, while the Loveable Loser that she 'surprisingly' falls in love with, who would ordinarily become the Badass Chosen One, takes her place as the film's Damsel in Distress.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Buffy boasts that she is going to succeed where all of her predecessors failed because she has something none of them ever had. When Merrick demands to know what this mysterious power is, Buffy replies: "My keen fashion sense." This causes Merrick to remark that, yeah, that's really going to frighten vampires. But instead of getting angry, Buffy laughs - not so much because the line itself was funny as because of the surprise of someone as supposedly humorless as Merrick actually cracking a joke.
  • Allergic to Evil: A Slayer gets pains similar to menstrual cramps when a vampire is near.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Buffy's gal-pals gradually turn into this once it becomes clear that something's up with Buffy.
  • Almost-Dead Guy: Merrick, mortally wounded by Lothos, lasts just long enough to reassure Buffy that he approves of her and to dispense a piece of cryptic advice that will come in handy later.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Amilyn (the "Pee-Wee Herman" vampire) attacks one of his victims from atop a merry-go-round horse.
  • Arrow Catch: Buffy catches a dagger that's thrown at her -- by Merrick, to prove to her that she has Slayer reflexes.
  • Ballroom Blitz: Lothos's teenaged hordes crash the school dance in the climax. The deejay at the event must have somehow known they were coming, because just before they arrive he puts on Ozzy Osbourne's "Party With the Animals."
  • Berserk Button: You would be wise not to throw anything sharp at a Slayer's face (or grab her butt). Or to tear the jacket of a well-dressed vampire henchman.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Buffy appears out of seemingly nowhere to rescue Pike in the park, just as he is about to be beaten to a pulp by a vampire thug.
    • The Cavalry: And in the climax, Pike returns the favor by breaking Buffy out of a spell she has fallen under just before she is to be "turned" by Lothos.
  • Bittersweet Ending: As a result of the decision to (reluctantly) embrace her destiny, Buffy has by the end of the film lost her mentor, her boyfriend, the respect of her peers, and the carefree teenage life she had once enjoyed. This doesn't stop her from triumphing over the vampires, of course, but we still have a Bittersweet Ending because all that's left is good ol' Pike and his motorcycle.
  • Black Like Me: Merrick prompts Buffy to remember the time she dreamed she was a slave on a plantation in the South during the slavery days - the implication being that she'd have to have been black or part black, or have been suspected of being so.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Not quite, but we do have the quartet of Buffy (blonde), Jennifer (light brunette or strawberry blonde, so effectively redheaded), Kimberly (medium brunette), and Nicki (dark brunette).
  • Brainless Beauty: Buffy begins the film as one but she matures out of it. Her vapid friends on the other hand remain airheads throughout. (One of them ends up getting killed by the vampires.)
    • Looking at the whole film in context, it's not hard to surmise that Buffy was never that stupid to begin with, and was play-acting in order to be accepted by her dumb but "cool" friends.
  • Broad Strokes: A series-canonical comic book was later written to work the essentials of the movie's storyline into the Buffyverse's backstory and mythology.
  • Buffy-Speak: Ironically, mostly averted here (which, yes, technically makes it an Unbuilt Trope). Joss Whedon took pains to make the dialogue for the original script quite witty, and you can still hear a lot of this in the film.
    • Then again, Buffy does describe a Virginia plantation (one of her Past Life Memories) as a "big farm."
  • But Not Too Black: Nicki, a minor member of Buffy's Girl Posse.
  • Camp Gay: Amilyn has touches of this. (Is it any wonder he's got a feminine-sounding name?)
  • Captain Crash:
  • Captain Obvious:
    • "One vampire is easier to kill than many vampires." (lampshaded)
    • "That is definitely not a student." (said of Lothos)
    • "How can you not tread on the earth? You kind of have to."
  • Casting Gag: Anne Rice had originally envisioned Rutger Hauer (Lothos) as Lestat when she wrote The Vampire Chronicles, but by the time Interview With a Vampire was filmed in the early 90s, she said he was too old to play a vampire.
  • Chain Link Fence: When Buffy is chasing a vampire on a motorbike (that is, she's on the motorbike, he's on foot), he goes over a chain link fence in the traditional manner. She goes back around the building and picks up the trail, and the chase continues.
  • Child-Hater: With the exception of Merrick, Lothos and his minions are never shown attacking anyone over the age of 18.
  • The Chosen One: In true Arthurian fashion, a Slayer can be identified by hurling at her face a knife, which she alone can catch. (She also characteristically sports a hairy growth - but Buffy, embarrassed, had hers removed.)
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The basketball coach. Even he probably couldn't explain those weird symbols on his writing board.
  • The Comically Serious: Merrick. Although even he manages to get in a few zingers.
  • Confused Bystander Interview: The closing credits include a montage of confused bystander interviews. Taken Up to Eleven at the very end, where it's revealed that the news reporter herself can't even guess what happened.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Merrick wears one when he goes looking for Buffy at the beginning. Between that and his fancy hat, "devil" beard, and spookily whispering voice, you really can't blame Buffy for being suspicious at first.
  • Cool Old Guy: Merrick, who is played by Donald Sutherland. You know, Kiefer's dad.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: The Divinyls covered the Young Rascals' "Aint Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" for this movie, and it plays during Buffy's Training Montage (and again over the closing credits). In the context of the film, then, "Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" becomes an "I Am Becoming" Song.
  • Creative Closing Credits: We get a montage of various minor characters appearing on the TV news, giving their own....idiosyncratic interpretations of the chaos at the school dance.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Merrick gives this ultimatum to Buffy, albeit with the admission that it's pretty much his fault she's been put on the spot. (He had a hard time finding her.)
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Merrick.
  • Decoy Damsel: A rare heroic example, with Buffy pretending to be frightened in order to lure a vampire into a blind alley so she can kill it.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: "Are you addressing I?"
  • Developing Doomed Characters: In order to more sharply contrast the essential frivolity of these kids' existences with the Gothic adventure soon to come.
  • Dirty Coward: Granted, Buffy's "friends" were not very admirable people to begin with. But it becomes clear how thoroughly rotten they are when the vampires storm the gym at the climax and one of them throws another girl out the window so she'll get eaten instead. Dick move, lady, dick move.
    • It's not quite that bad. A girl is being attacked when her friend attacks the vampire with girly punches; said vamp grabs her instead and hauls her out the window while the original victim just stands there and screams.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: "You ruined my new jacket!....KILL HIM A LOT!" (Of course, Amilyn has also lost his arm, but he doesn't seem to care about that.)
  • Dull Surprise: Kristy Swanson (at least in 1992) is one of those performers who can make Keanu Reeves seem like a Large Ham.
    • Lampshaded subtly in the scene of Buffy making her first kill, where she (unenthusiastically) feigns fear in order to lure in the vampire she's been tracking: "Boy, I'm feeling really helpless." She fools no one but the vampire.
  • Dumb Blonde: Perhaps not dumb as such but this version of Buffy is rather more ditzy than the one you're used to ... in fact the character she resembles the most (from the show) is probably Cordelia.
    • Buffy in the series does once remark that she used to be very much like Cordelia, and a flashback from Angel's perspective also seems to show her as popular and shallow prior to the whole Slayer business.
  • The Dung Ages: The medieval European setting that figures in Buffy's Flashback Nightmare looks appropriately filthy and barbaric, even to the point that the usually refined Lothos shows up as a grimy, bearded derelict. A notable exception is Buffy's counterpart, who looks exactly the same as Buffy does in the twentieth century; she isn't even Hollywood Homely!
  • Fake Nationality: The medieval maiden played by the California-born Swanson in the flashback sequences would obviously have to be non-American. She comes off as English (not that Swanson tries very hard), but a brief line by Merrick suggests that she was Hungarian. (In the original script, she's an Italian.) And with Merrick himself, of course, we have a British character being played by a Canadian.
  • Final Girl: This movie is based on this subverted. The charecter who would normally be the final girl in any other horror is the first victim, While the ditsy blonde who is normally dead before the title survives the whole movie.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Buffy repeatedly dreams about her previous unsuccessful incarnations, though she doesn't know what the dreams mean until Merrick shows up.
  • Four Bad Band
  • Girl Posse: Buffy and her fellow mall rats.
  • A God Am I: Grueller (one of the vampirized teens) actually says a version of this as he and his fellow vampires confront Buffy. This then leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny as Grueller is immediately staked from behind... by Pike of all people.

Pike: Now you're a coatrack.

    • The vampire Amilyn, now having only one hand, makes a similar declaration...

Amilyn: We're immortal, Buffy. We can do anything!
Buffy: Oh yeah? Clap.

  • Good Is Not Nice: Merrick. He mocks Buffy, gives her condescending little lectures, and comes close to killing her in trying to prove a point.
    • Come to think of it, the title character herself. Because, let's face it, you wouldn't be too thrilled about hiring someone nicknamed "The Slayer" to babysit your kids.
  • Groin Attack: Implied with the weiner scene (see Something Else Also Rises) and Buffy showing her annoyance at Merrick chucking a knife at her head by jamming it into the bench he's sitting on right in front of his groin. The usually stoic Merrick visibly flinches.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Buffy's parents, summed up in an exchange between Buffy, her boyfriend, and her mother:

Buffy's mother: [leaving the house] Bye-bye, Bobby!
Jeffrey: She thinks my name is Bobby?
Buffy: It's possible she thinks my name is Bobby.

  • Heroic BSOD: Buffy is at first so afraid of Lothos that she experiences one of these the first time she meets him face to face (outside of her nightmares, that is). It costs Merrick his life.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: When Buffy is chasing a vampire to stop it telling Lothos who she is, she passes a group of bikers:

Biker: Hey babe, you want to get some real power between your legs?
Buffy: Yeah, I do. [beats the guy up and steals his motorbike]

"Yes, I am."