Donald Sutherland, Luke Perry, Candy Clark and Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reubens round out the quirky cast of this cult favorite, which was written by Joss Whedon. Yes, the same screenwriter who worked on such box-office hits as Speed and Toy Story. And here's his current claim to fame -- he is the creator of the highly rated television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which has easily surpassed its namesake feature in terms of popularity. By the way, has anyone noticed the striking similarity between Buffy and a popular Japanese anime which preceded it, Vampire Hunter Yokho?
Buffy was directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui (Tokyo Pop), an executive producer on the series, and was not without its share of controversy. Avoiding the opportunity to use a predictable menacing vampire image in their campaign, 20th Century Fox decided to go with the provocative image of a woman's legs and the tag line, "She knows a sucker when she sees one." When Columbia Pictures started using an almost identical image on the posters used to promote their film A League of Their Own, some on the Fox lot believed that the Columbia crew was guilty of borrowing a little too heavily from Fox's poster. Whatever the case, the whole thing blew over when Fox's head of marketing decided that if Columbia did lift the idea, it was a major compliment.
Of course, every generation needs its own brand of horror movie and it's not surprising that the over 40 crowd would be put off by a title as cheeky as Buffy The Vampire Slayer. A prime example is Donald Sutherland, who plays Merrick, Buffy's wizened mentor and tutor in the art of vampire extermination. Not to be confused with the wizened mentor and tutor he plays in "J.F.K." or Backdraft
Sutherland told the Los Angeles Times in 1992 that he was initially so embarrassed about is role in Buffy that he couldn't even bring himself to say the title out loud. Instead, he resorted to writing it down on a piece of paper one evening in a restaurant, when a couple of his show biz cronies asked him what he was currently working on. As they read the title, Sutherland's fears were confirmed, and they fell on the floor, convulsed with laughter.
Paul Reubens appears here in the first role after his high-profile bust for indecent exposure in 1991. Reubens' character, Amilyn (lead vampire Rutger Hauer's right hand man), provided him with the opportunity to make a significant break with his Pee-Wee Herman character, which was still prime material for late-night hosts and stand-up comedians at the time.
Also appearing (although uncredited) are Ricki Lake, as a waitress named Charlotte, and Ben Affleck, as a high school basketball player. See if you can spot him - he's wearing jersey #10. David Arquette is also on hand, appearing as Luke Perry's pal Benny, a guy almost as obnoxious and abrasive as the spastic jerk that Arquette plays in those ubiquitous AT&T commercials. And scandal fans will appreciate the fact that Liz Smith, long time gossip columnist for the New York Post, appears in a role as a news reporter named - guess what? - Liz Smith (it was easier to remember her character's name that way).
[fading] Men dig dirty socks out of the hamper and wear em for two more days. That's cause women do the laundry Now. Men do the laundry when they're out of beer, they're down to using paper towels for toilet paper, and they can't put off going to the store any longer, so they might as well buy laundry detergent while they're there. Actually, the day AFTER that, they do the laundry.
"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" Commercial Break #2
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer," the film that spawned not one but TWO TV shows. "Buffy," of course, and the new spin-off, "Angel," starring Buffy's vampire ex-boyfriend, David Boreanz. Anyway, the guy who plays Benny here -- he's the vampire who floats outside the window saying "I feel pretty" -- that's David Arquette -- used to be known as the brother of Rosanna Arquette and Patricia Arquette, till he did the Scream movies. Now, of course, he's known as the husband of Courtney Cox. And the girl who gets kidnapped and taken to head vampire Rutger Hauer, Cassandra -- that's Natasha Gregson Wagner, daughter of Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. And the girl who plays Nicole, one of the senior dance planners, is Paris Vaughan, daughter of Sarah Vaughan. And later on we'll see two MORE daughters of celebrities -- female vampires played by Amanda Anka, daughter of Paul Anka, and Sarah Lee Jones, daughter of Davy Jones. You guys remember Davy Jones? "Hey hey, we're the . . ." That's right. Makes you think they put up a casting notice at the Screen Actors Guild. "Bring your nubile daughters down to the high school this weekend. We're making a movie." Anyway, time for the "Rocky"-style training montage, as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" continues, after the commercials.
[fading] Nothing wrong with nubile. When you make a high school movie, you need nubile. What is nubile? What is the difference between nubile and perky? They always go together. If she's nubile, she must also be perky. I'm gonna look this up in the Oxford English Dictionary so we can be more informative in the future.
"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" Commercial Break #3
Aaaaaaah. A bonding moment between Donald Sutherland and Kristy Swanson. This was the movie that was supposed to make Kristy Swanson a super-famous star. Actually it was the SECOND movie that was supposed to make her a super-famous star. She started acting when she was a kid growing up in Mission Viejo, California, and her parents were so supportive that they decided to take her out of school and teach her at home so she would have time to concentrate on her career. So she graduated high school at the age of 15, and she immediately got all these TV commercials, and then she had a small part in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," and then she got cast in the lead in a big Wes Craven horror movie, and that was supposed to be her big break. Unfortunately, the movie was "Deadly Friend," which we always enjoy here at "MonsterVision" but was not a big success for Wes. And then she was on "Knots Landing" and did a bunch of TV movies and "Mannequin Two" and remember that Aaron Spelling TV series "Nightingales," about sexy nurses -- she was in that. And then in 1992 they cast her in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and it did not make money, even though it eventually spun off into one of the breakout hit series of the nineties -- how bad do you think Kristy Swanson wishes she'd gotten THAT job? -- and it's still doing better than ever with the adolescent girls.
[fading] By the way, I looked up "nubile" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Three definitions: one, marriageable. Two, suitable for marriage. Three, sexually attractive. "Marriageable"? That's NOT what I thought it was. I'm disappointed. I thought it was something really WICKED. That's why I don't think you should look up words. It takes the dirty-mind factor out of it.
"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" Commercial Break #4
Look at the talent lineup they got for this B movie. Donald Sutherland, Oscar nominee for "MASH," he's probably made a hundred movies, including "Klute," "Ordinary People," "Eye of the Needle." Although his origins ARE in horror films. His very first movie was an Italian horror flick called "Castle of the Living Dead." So they got Donald. They got Rutger Hauer as the master vampire. They got Luke Perry, as Pike the love interest, who was a megastar at the time from "Beverly Hills 90210." And, of course, they got Pee Wee Herman as Amilyn, the flunky vampire who gets his arm hacked off. In fact, gimme that yearbook thingy over there. I want you to see this. [someone tosses the yearbook from off-stage] Twentieth Century Fox made up this little fake yearbook to promote the movie. And you can see here, they've written funny little inscriptions inside, and then when you turn the pages, it's a press kit made up to look like a yearbook. So here you have a page for Buffy, and it lists her nickname, her hobbies, her memberships, her likes and dislikes, a quote from her. And then BELOW that is the real biography of Kristy Swanson. Next page, same thing for Luke Perry. Then Donald Sutherland. And then we get to Amilyn -- and here's all the jokey stuff up at the top. And the rest of the page is BLANK. It doesn't even say Paul Reubens or Pee Wee Herman or anything. And the reason is that Pee Wee had just been picked up in the movie theater in Florida, you know, whippin out his whangdoodle, so they weren't really making a BIG DEAL at the time about him being in the movie. Even though I think he does an excellent job. VERY inventive. I wish "Mystery Men" had done better -- he needs a comeback.
[fading] Anthony Stewart Head is sort of the Donald Sutherland of the TV show. It's hard for me to watch the show without thinking of those Taster's Choice commercials he did, remember those? "Buffy, CONCENTRATE when you're doing your astral projection. Coffee?" Very disconcerting.
"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" Commercial Break #5
Aaaaah, Donald Sutherland is really dead, isn't he? He dies so that the bimbo might live. Meanwhile, we're introduced to Mark DeCarlo as the goofy basketball coach who says "Assert your personhood! Actualize!" I bet nobody remembers Mark DeCarlo's claim to fame. . . . Host of "Studs"! Remember "Studs," the sleaziest dating show ever? Mark was the oily host. He obviously didn't make it to the WB either. And speaking of women who would feel right at home on "Studs," [enters] it's time to break out the TNT Mail Girl, the gorgeous Rusty, and do a little "Joe Bob's Advice to the Hopeless." So what's goin on in your life, honey?
RUSTY: Oh, you know, mail delivery, conferences, conventions . . .
J.B.: Mail conventions?
RUSTY: Sure. I just got back from one, in fact. In Hawaii.
J.B.: Oh, I'm sure you got a lot of work done there.
RUSTY: We did. We went to meetings and seminars--
J.B.: Seminars on what?
RUSTY: How to pack your mail bag--
J.B.: --and make it double as a beach bag.
RUSTY: That's not true. We had zip code contests . . .
J.B.: Ooh, how fun.
RUSTY: And we had hydro-therapy for tired feet.
J.B.: Was that the hotel jacuzzi, or were you and the mailmen giving each other foot massages?
RUSTY: Here. An e-mail from Mark Bagley of Maple Valley, Washington. It was a professional mail carrier convention. There were no foot massages.
J.B.: "Dear Joe Bob, "You Sonofa____! I used to enjoy romantic Saturday nights with my wife, until you and MonsterVision came along. Now I can't get her attention, let alone get her out of the house on Saturday evenings. It's not that there's a whole heck of a lot to do in Maple Valley on Saturday nights. But, I'm getting kinda lonely. What does she see in you? "Mark Bagley, Maple Valley, Washington."
I am NOT responsible for the nocturnal habits of your wife, especially when you have forgotten the first rule of manhood: the remote belongs to Big Daddy. You're giving away your power, bud. Buck up! And give your wife my address: 1010 Techwood Drive, Atlanta, Georgia, 30318, or she can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or tell her she can go through the website: tnt.turner.com/joebob (note: Monstervision was cancelled 8/00, so none of these TNT addresses will work anymore)
RUSTY: Okay, okay.
J.B.: So, before you go, Rusty, tell me. Did you squeeze in any, uh, extra-curricular activity at the convention hotel, if you know what I mean?
RUSTY: I can't believe you. No! [exiting] That happened on the golf course.
J.B.: What? Did she mean what I think she meant? Did Rusty just make an OUTSTANDING unspoken pun? Think about it. Good job, Rusty.
"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" Commercial Break #6
In the great tradition of high school movies everywhere, the big finale MUST be at the senior prom. I think "Carrie" started this, and every high school movie since then has had an apocalyptic prom scene. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is no exception, so let's watch Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry kick vampire hiney in the oddly SERIOUS conclusion. Frankly, I liked her better when she was bimbotic. Did Sarah Michelle Gellar repeat her senior year? Did Buffy graduate from high school twice? Cause her graduation from Sunnydale was pretty memorable -- students against beasts, machine guns, bows & arrows. Great episode. Okay, senior dance theme: "Hug the World." Am I the only one who remembers that in reality, the prom is never at the end of the school year? It's always, like, in March or something. I'll shut up. Roll the commercials, and then back to the flick.
[fading] My favorite line in the movie is "What about the ozone layer?" And Buffy says, "Yeah, we've gotta get rid of that." Actually, a whole lotta great one-liners in this movie. "Her yabos scoff at gravity." "Does the word 'duh' mean anything to you?" "All I want to do is graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater and die." "Get out of my facial!" "Why do we have to invite Nadia, she's such a blemish." "Okay, team, repeat after me: I am a person. I have a right to the ball."
"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" Outro
And so Rutger Hauer gets a California flag through the heart and goes the way of all evil vampires, in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." You know what's really obnoxious? That Liz Smith thing at the end, where she's reporting on the movie. Is that one of those things they run during the credits to clear the theater? Very annoying. And the BEST thing in the flick is Pee Wee Herman's dying scene, which they also show AGAIN during the credits. Okay movie. Could have been better if they hadn't tried to turn all serious at the end. I wish Willow coulda been in the movie. Willow from the show, played by Alyson Hanigan. She was also in my favorite comedy of last summer, "American Pie." This one time, at band camp . . . " That was Alyson. But we didn't get Alyson. Oh, well, next week on "MonsterVision," "Skeeter," the sensitive tale of giant mosquitoes that live in an underground mine and dive-bomb cattle and tourists . . . well, just show up.
And that's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you not to be sexist -- broads hate that.
You guys hear the one about the blonde who calls her husband at work and says, "Can you help me when you get home?" Husband says, "Sure. What's the problem?" Blonde says, "Well, I started a really hard puzzle and I can't even find the edge pieces." Husband says, "Look on the box. There's always a picture of what the puzzle is." Blonde says, "It's a big rooster." Husband says, "Honey, put the corn flakes back in the box."
Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.
[fading] A blonde and a brunette are in an elevator. On the third floor a man gets on who's perfect: Italian suit, handsome, great build with a nice butt, but unfortunately he has a bad case of dandruff. The man gets off at the fifth floor. When the doors close, the brunette says to the blonde, "Someone should give him Head & Shoulders." Blonde says, "How do you give Shoulders?"
Note: TV Guide reports 5-12-01 that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has been cancelled by WB network, but has been picked up by UPN (the network that airs the new Star Trek tv series) starting 9/01. No word yet on whether either WB or UPN will renew spinoff series "Angel."
Buffy's creator-producer, Joss Whedon, has written the 8-part story Fray for Dark Horse Comics (first issue was June 6) following a Slayer 100 years in the future. Melaka Fray is a professional thief who "has no idea she's the slayer." She inhabits the vast slums of a post-apocalyptic Manhattan. "I've always wanted to write comic books," says Whedon. "I'm hoping some Buffy fans will come to Fray who've never really explored comics before."
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