As the aftermath of Halloween continues for the “Cinema Bums” characters, so too must the tale of my Halloween partyin’. The comic book store-sponsored costume jamboree was on Saturday night, but Sunday evening brought a soiree of a different colour.
As mentioned previously, I had plans to co-host Monster Movie Party. Some of the movies on the docket included “The Thing”, “Attack the Block”, “Monster Mash” and “Sleepy Hallow”. Ultimately, democracy dictated (interesting word combo) that we watch “Beauty and the Beast” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Now, the former flick has a pretty tenuous connection to Halloween, but it’s definitely got a monster as a titular character. Also, it’s got some pretty tense scenes. Those initial “Maurice in the castle” and both of the “wolf attack” bits are thrilling. The big splashy musical numbers cut the tension a bit, but there are still some scares to be found if you look for ‘em. Also, big newsflash: Disney was making some really animated good movies in the early nineties.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, meanwhile, was absolute crap. This is the pre-TV show depiction of the Slayer, which has a single redeeming feature, which I’ll get to in a minute. First of all, you’ve got a completely unsympathetic protagonist in Kristy Swanson. She’s materialistic, rude and just plain boring. She’s a typical Californian cheerleader, fitting into the cliche in every way. I was hoping for some kind of subversion beyond the simple “oh, and she fights vampires”, but it never comes. The opportunities for character development (which I won’t spoil) are ignored as Swanson vacantly wanders from scene to scene. Donald Sutherland plays the Watcher role in this one, and if you’re a fan of this exceptional actor, I would probably recommend you skip “Buffy”. He just seems bored, putting all of his energy into unexplained character quirks, like his unusual habit of chewing on a handkerchief. Rutger Hauer plays the Big Bad, a centuries-old vampire whose Evil Plan seems to be: Make more vampires, take over the world. For an undead violin maestro with a habit of snacking on kittens, he’s a very uninteresting character.
Unless you’re some kind of Whedon completist who insists that everything penned by Joss must be consumed, regardless of quality, you should stay away from this flick. The only worthwhile element is Paul Reuben as the Renfield-type character. His death scene, which seems to have made it into all of the trailers, should have been turned into a nifty short film, with the rest of the footage left on the cutting room floor.
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