Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) Facts About Kristy Swanson's Original Film

This feature length version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, released in 1992, is a forgotten flick that serves as the precursor to the acclaimed television series of the same name. Directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui, the film features Kristy Swanson (Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) in the role of Buffy, a popular high school cheerleader who discovers that she is the chosen one, the Slayer. Our Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) facts include why Joss Whedon famously hated the film, who was originally lined up to play Buffy before Kristy Swanson and where you can see Seth Green, who later starred in Buffy as Oz, for three seconds!

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This feature length version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, released in 1992, is a forgotten flick that serves as the precursor to the acclaimed television series of the same name. Directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui, the film presents a unique blend of horror, comedy, and fantasy but it is viewed in the modern day as having outdated special effects, cringe-worthy dialogue and dated costumes.

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer film features Kristy Swanson (Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) in the role of Buffy, a popular high school cheerleader who discovers that she is the chosen one, the Slayer. Guided by her mentor, Merrick (Donald Sutherland), Buffy embarks on a mission to fulfil her destiny and protect the world from vampires and other supernatural threats.

Joss Whedon famously stated that this version of his beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a ‘scary film about an empowered woman’ turned into ‘a pop culture comedy’.

Our Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) facts include why Joss Whedon famously hated the film, who was originally lined up to play Buffy before Kristy Swanson and where you can see Seth Green, who later starred in Buffy as Oz, for three seconds!

1. The Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) Directors Were Credited On The TV Version

In 1992, Fran Rubel Kuzui directed Buffy the Vampire Slayer featuring a cast including Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Paul Reubens, Rutger Hauer, Luke Perry, Hilary Swank, and David Arquette. Although the movie achieved moderate success at the box office, it received mixed reviews from critics. The film took a different direction from the original vision of its writer, Joss Whedon who claimed in interviews this version lost “its intended edge”. 

Whedon went on to create the highly acclaimed and darker television series of the same name five years later.  The film's director Fran Rubel Kuzui and husband Kaz Kuzui are credited on the television version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer as Executive Producers on every episode despite never being involved in the creation of the show.

2. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) Was Made By Dolly Parton’s Production Company

Writer Joss Whedon sold the film Buffy The Vampire Slayer to Sandollar Productions, country singer Dolly Parton's production company, in the autumn of 1991. 

3. Luke Perry Could Only Work For 5 Weeks

The production of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) had to be completed in a limited five-week timeframe to accommodate Luke Perry's filming schedule for Beverly Hills, 90210.

4. Joss Whedon Left His Advisory Role On The Film

While initially involved in an advisory role, Whedon became dissatisfied with the film's direction and eventually departed. Executives at 20th Century Fox removed many of Whedon's jokes, deeming them too abstract for the audience, and opted for a lighter comedy instead of the darker elements in his original script. 

5. Buffy’s Watcher Was Meant To Commit Suicide

Merrick's suicide, planned by Joss Whedon, was replaced by his death at the hands of Lothos, and the scene where Buffy sets fire to the high school gym to eliminate the vampires was eliminated entirely.

At the start of the TV series, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon writes that Buffy left her previous school and moved to Sunnydale because she burned down a gym.

6. Joss Whedon Said Donald Sutherland Was Difficult To Work With

Joss Whedon openly criticised actor Donald Sutherland's behaviour during filming, describing him as entitled and difficult to work with. Sutherland had a tendency to improvise or modify his lines, which director Fran Rubel Kuzui allowed him to do freely due to his status as the film's most prominent star. Whedon believed that this made Merrick's dialogue in the film disjointed and incomprehensible.

7. University High School (LA) Was Used To Film The Gym Scenes

Filming for Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) took place in various locations in Los Angeles. The ballroom scenes, where Merrick resides and trains Buffy, were filmed at the Park Plaza Hotel. John Marshall High School in Los Feliz was used as a filming location, and the gymnasium of University High School in West Los Angeles was where the high school dance and vampire attack scenes were captured.

8. Despite Criticisms, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) Was A Commercial Success

Upon its release, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) debuted at the fifth spot in the North American box office. It went on to earn $16,624,456 in revenue against its $7 million production budget.

9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) Has A 36% Approval Rating

On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 36% approval rating based on 53 reviews, with an average rating of 4.4/10. The website’s critical consensus highlights the film's shortcomings in directing and plot, although it acknowledges the strong performances by Kristy Swanson and Paul Reubens. 

10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) Went To VHS, Laserdisc, DVD & Blu-ray

Following its theatrical release, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) became available on VHS and Laserdisc in the U.S. in November 1992 and in the U.K. in April 1993 through Fox Video. It was later re-released under the Twentieth Century Fox Selections banner in 1995. The film was also released on DVD in 2001 and on Blu-ray in 2011.

11. There Are Some Major Differences Between The Buffy Film And TV Series

Significant differences exist between the details presented in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) and those found in the subsequent television series. For instance, Buffy's age and background are not consistent; in the film, she is a high school senior, while the series portrays her as a sophomore when her Slayer journey begins. The film provides a glimpse of the pre-Slayer Buffy, who is popular but self-centred and superficial. Additionally, the film portrays her parents as affluent but neglectful socialites, uninterested in her well-being and preoccupied with their own social engagements and golf tournaments. In contrast, the TV series introduces Buffy's caring and recently divorced mother, Joyce.

12. The Vampires Are Different In The Buffy Film And TV Series

The portrayal of supernatural abilities differs between vampires and the Slayer. In the film, vampires meet their demise similar to humans, whereas the TV series shows them disintegrating into dust. 

In terms of appearance, the film’s vampires retain a human-like facade with pale skin, fangs, and notched ears, whereas the TV series emphasises their demonic transformation, particularly upon their resurrection. 

The TV series suggests that new vampires must consciously learn to maintain a human appearance. 

In the film, the character Merrick has been reincarnated numerous times to train multiple Slayers, while the TV series presents Watchers as mortal individuals specially trained for their role. 

13. "It's a start, but it's not quite the girl." - Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon wrote the pilot episode of the TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer as a sequel to his original script, which explains why the series references events that did not occur in the film. 

14. Whedon’s Original Vision Of The Film Was Released As A Comic

In 1999, Dark Horse Comics released a graphic novel adaptation titled "The Origin," based on Whedon's original script. Whedon acknowledged its canonical status, despite having some reservations, and appreciated its incorporation of elements from both the movie and the TV series, particularly the portrayal of Merrick in line with the series rather than the film.

15. The Kuzui’s Announced A New Buffy Project In 2009 - Maybe For PR

On May 25, 2009, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Roy Lee and Doug Davison of Vertigo Entertainment, along with Fran Rubel Kuzui and Kaz Kuzui, were collaborating on a reimagining or relaunch of the Buffy film franchise for the big screen. This new project would not serve as a sequel or prequel to the existing film or television series, and Joss Whedon, the original creator, would not be involved. None of the characters, cast, or crew from the television series would be featured in this new film venture. It was later speculated that this news might have been a tactic employed by the studio to prompt Whedon into taking charge of the project.

In December 2011, over a year after the initial reboot announcement, the Los Angeles Times reported that the script written by Whit Anderson, the chosen writer for the new Buffy movie, had been rejected by the project's producers. They were in search of a new writer, acknowledging the need to do justice to the franchise. Sources revealed that although Anderson had brought forth interesting ideas and reinvented aspects of the lore, the final script did not meet expectations.

16. A Kuzui Buffy Remake Without Whedon Sparked Controversy

The idea of a Buffy remake without Joss Whedon's involvement sparked strong opposition among fans of the TV series. The project lacked connection to the show and did not align with the continuity maintained in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight and Season Nine comic book titles. 

Not only did fans express their dissatisfaction, but the main cast members from both Buffy and Angel also voiced their disagreement on social media and in interviews. Sarah Michelle Gellar, who portrayed Buffy, criticised the concept, stating, "I think it's a horrible idea. To try to do a Buffy without Joss Whedon... to be incredibly non-eloquent: that's the dumbest idea I've ever heard."

17. Several Songs In The Film Were Left Off The Soundtrack

Several songs were featured in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) film but did not make it onto the official soundtrack album. These include "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M., "In the Wind" by War Babies, and "Inner Mind" by Eon.

18. Alyssa Milano Was Meant To Star As Buffy Summers

Before Kristy Swanson took the role, Alyssa Milano was intended to play the role of Buffy in the 1992 film.

19. There Is A “School Ties” Connection

Andrew Lowery, Randall Batinkoff, and Ben Affleck, who appeared in School Ties (1992), also had roles in the film.

20. Ben Affleck Had A Small Role In Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

Ben Affleck portrayed a basketball player from an opposing team who unwittingly passes the ball to a vampire player in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992).

21. Buffy Wants To Marry Christian Slater

In Joss Whedon's original script, Buffy (played by Kristy Swanson) mentioned her aspiration to marry Charlie Sheen. However, in the final film, the character expresses her desire to marry Christian Slater. Swanson and Sheen later starred together in The Chase (1994).

22. Buffy Is Already A High School Senior In The Film

In the Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) film, Buffy is portrayed as a senior at Hemery High School, two years older than the Buffy from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series (1997), who starts as a sophomore at Sunnydale High School.

23. How Were Buffy’s Boots Made?

For the dance scene, Buffy wears white high-top boxing boots with strips of white muslin serving as laces.

24. She’s Not Actually A “Summers” In The Film

Buffy's last name is not mentioned in the film. It was not until the release of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series (1997) that she became known as Buffy Summers.

Most of the characters in the film, including the heroes, villains, and supporting cast, are only referred to by their first names. Last names are rarely mentioned.

25. There Were Meant To Be Several High Profile Vampires

Noteworthy cameos by David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Cary Elwes as vampires were planned but ultimately removed from the film due to time and budget constraints.

26. Seth Green Can Be Seen For 3 Seconds In Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

Although Seth Green claimed to have been cut from the movie, he does make a brief appearance. He can be seen for three seconds, mostly from behind, portraying a short red-haired vampire who gets kicked by Buffy outside the gym during a confrontation with a group of vampires.

27. There Is A Connection To “Salem’s Lot”

Donald Sutherland and Rutger Hauer both appeared in Salem's Lot (2004).

28. There Is A Connection To “The Lost Boys”

Donald Sutherland, who portrayed Merrick, Buffy's mentor, is the father of Kiefer Sutherland, who played David, the leader of the vampire gang in The Lost Boys (1987).

29. Buffy Experiences “Menstrual Cramps” When She Is Near A Vampire

In this film, Buffy experiences cramps whenever she is near a vampire and explicitly compares them to menstrual cramps. However, this aspect of her power is not carried over into the subsequent television series.

30. Buffy Almost Fulfils All Her Life Goals

In Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992), Buffy outlines her life goals as "graduate, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die." She didn't marry Christian Slater, but in the TV series Buffy did graduate, go to Europe, and even faced death twice.

31. Kristy Swanson And David Boreanaz Have Worked Together

Kristy Swanson, the actress who portrayed Buffy, later made a guest appearance in the second season of SEAL Team (2017), a show led by David Boreanaz, who played the vampire Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) and its spin-off Angel (1999).

32. There Is A Shannen Doherty And Buffy Connection

Luke Perry's character Dylan on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Shannen Doherty's character Brenda became the show's iconic first couple. Interestingly, Shannen is best friends with Sarah Michelle Gellar in real life, who portrayed TV's Buffy.

33. Merrick Dies With A Hamlet Quote

In Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992), Merrick meets his demise while attempting to complete the phrase "the rest is silence," which is a direct quotation from William Shakespeare's "Hamlet." The phrase represents the dying words of Prince Hamlet.

34. Joss Whedon Spoke Of His First Meeting With Luke Perry

On the day of Luke Perry's passing, March 4, 2019, Joss Whedon tweeted about their first meeting. They discussed the kind of movie they wanted "Buffy" to be, and when Whedon mentioned the film "Near Dark," Perry's reaction showed their shared enthusiasm. Whedon described him as funny, dedicated, and always gracious, expressing his disbelief at Perry's untimely departure.

35. Grueller Is Pictured Being Bitten By A Vampire On The DVD Cover

The picture on the back of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) DVD cover shows Grueller (played by Sasha Jenson) screaming as he is about to be bitten by a vampire. However, this scene does not appear in the actual movie. Later, it is implied that Amilyn (played by Paul Reubens) is responsible for turning Grueller into a vampire during the basketball game.

Paul Reubens displayed his improvisational skills during his death scene, adding a spontaneous touch to the performance.

36. Paul Reuben’s Look Was Inspired By His Own Mugshot

Paul Reubens' portrayal in the film, with his long hair and goatee, was inspired by his infamous mugshot from his 1991 arrest.

37. Ricki Lake Appears In Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) As A Waitress

Ricki Lake makes an appearance as a waitress in the scene where Buffy (Kristy Swanson) and Pike (Luke Perry) have their first official encounter.

38. There Is A Connection With “Dazed And Confused”

Both Sasha Jenson and Ben Affleck appeared together in Dazed and Confused (1993).

39. Joss Whedon Doesn’t Consider The Buffy Film Canonical

Joss Whedon has emphasised that Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) should be considered as a standalone and not part of the television series with the same name. According to Whedon, the events, characters, and character traits in this movie should not be considered canonical in relation to the TV series.

40. Seth Green And Chi Muoi Lo Went On To Star In The Buffy TV Series

Seth Green and Chi Muoi Lo are the only actors who appeared in both this movie and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997). Despite only 3 seconds of Seth Green appearing in this adaptation, he is a main member of the Scooby Gang in the TV series as Oz (Willow’s Boyfriend and Werewolf). Chi Muoi Lo starred briefly in Season 7 Episode 16 “Storyteller”.

41. There Is A Connection With “True Blood”

Stephen Root, who portrayed the principal, also played Eddie the vampire in Season 1 of True Blood.

44. Paul Reuben’s Character Was Meant To Be A Woman

The character of Amilyn, initially intended to be played by Joan Chen, was originally written as a female role. After Chen's departure from the project, the character was rewritten as male and portrayed by Paul Reubens.

45. Lothos Plays Schumann On Violin

The violin melody performed by Lothos (Rutger Hauer) near the end of the movie is the opening of Schumann's "Piano Quintet In E Flat, Op. 44: II. In Modo D'Una Marcia."

46. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) Is Hilary Swank’s Film Debut

Hilary Swank made her theatrical movie debut in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992), portraying the character Kimberly.

47. It Was Paul Reuben’s First Major Film Role

Following his infamous arrest, this movie marked Paul Reubens' first major film role, although he had previously made a cameo appearance in "Batman Returns" earlier in 1992.

48. Luke Perry And Rutger Hauer Passed Away Four Months Apart

Luke Perry and Rutger Hauer, two of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s (1992) main stars, sadly passed away approximately four months apart in 2019.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) Facts - Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) Facts About Kristy Swanson's Original Film

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