After being an avid viewer of the television series in my high school days, I was excited to venture into this project of comparing “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in it’s two very different elements of the television series and the film. The show’s creator, Joss Whedon, wrote the film. But Whedon was not pleased with television producers making changes to the movie. Whedon originally wanted the film to have the darker and more dramatic element (that we see now in the series) and it was turned into a film with over the top acting and outrageous effects and comedy. There are notable differences between the film and the series, such as costumes, the character of Buffy and overall theme and feel of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.
In the film, the vampires are pale, have pointy ears and have fangs. They still look human, and they don’t have a reflection. They fit more into the stereotypical look of a vampire from a cartoon. In the series, the vampires change their faces when they get ready to fight and/or feed and look very demonic. In the film, Merrick (the Watcher) is dressed in a trench coat and hat and would stand out in a crowd based on his outfit. It’s very detective looking. In the series, besides being British, Giles would blend into a crowd and doesn’t make much of a stir among other people and playing the role of a school librarian.
The character of Buffy differs as well. Movie Buffy has skills in gymnastics and has really corny catch phrases that she says throughout the film. TV Buffy is shown to have extraordinary strength. Also, in the series, Buffy’s identity is known throughout the vampire community and she is trying to hide from being discovered. It is already a known fact of who Buffy is and thus, they tend to avoid her. But in the film, Merrick warns Buffy to keep her identity a secret in order to protect herself because the vampires will track her down. In the film, there is also a note of the “mark of the slayer”, where it is not mentioned in the series. Movie Buffy also experiences pain, or something similar to cramps when there is a vampire around her. In the series, Buffy seems to have an intuition of who is undead and who isn’t. In the film, Buffy is a senior in high school and in the series, Buffy is a freshman in high school. The series mention the burning down of the gym at Hemery High School, but in the actual film, the gym is not seen being burnt down but instead filled with vampires.
Overall, besides having the same writer, the film and the television series are two completely different entities. Joss Whedon was disappointed with the film and the way it turned out. His vision for Buffy was better seen in his development of the television series, which took off five years later after the film came out. Whedon was able to bring his true vision of Buffy to the public and it became a huge success, while the original film still collects dust in our movie shelves.