by Caitlin Marceau
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)
Directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui
Twentieth Century Fox
Before Sarah Michelle Gellar was falling for a vampire with a soul, saving the world (a lot), and trying to navigate high school and higher callings, there was Kristy Swanson. The OG Buffy Summers, this cheerleader and it-girl was living a life of shopping, gossip, and cute boys until a man named Merrick (Donald Sutherland) shows up to tell her that she’s the Chosen One (aka. the Slayer). Alone, she’s tasked with facing the forces of evil, and saving the world from the power and chaos of the vampires who lurk in the shadows… and the ones who crash her senior dance and try to kill half the school.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer is a fun twist on both high school and the world of the supernatural. When we think of vampires, brooding, well-dressed, violent beings are usually called to mind. Sometimes they’re compared to hungry feral animals, and other times we think of them as tortured souls. This movie challenged that idea, and instead it gave us funny, over-the-top, playfully dramatic creatures who are as much into the showmanship of their undead situation as they are drinking blood.
The film was also fiercely feminist in its message. It showed so many young women that they could be who they authentically were, and still save the world. That they didn’t have to throw away—or wear—their dresses to be powerful heroines. They only had to believe in their own abilities.
While the movie (penned by Joss Whedon) never quite struck the same chord with audiences that his show would later go on to do, it still makes for a fun watch. It’s great to see valley girl culture alongside classic vampire mythology. While it’s not the scariest film on our list, it’s an entertaining reminder that greatness can be found in all of us.
And that’s a message we can get behind all year long.