This week in See This Not That, we encourage you to trade a flat, dopey, anticlimactic disappointment of a vampire movie (that was once a TV series), for a campy classic that changed the face of vampires in the media as we know it (that was also a TV series).
An easy choice, we know.
See 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
The film that started it all is a fun, camp-tastic trip back in time to 1992 when Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry were stars and before Joss Whedon was the biggest director in the world. The film famously ended up nowhere near as dark as scribe Whedon had intended, but as we all know, he later got his chance with the WB sequel/reboot series. The film tracks Buffy's origin and transition from shallow valley girl to tortured vampire slayer.
It was later reimagined in comic book form, where it took into account all of the retcon from the series, and created a canonical prequel. While reviews for the film have never been stellar, it had a strong following at the time, and is now a cult classic, thanks not only to the "Buffy" series, but to the film's kitschy nostalgia.
Not 'Dark Shadows'
While astonishingly, "Dark Shadows" pulls a 39% on Rotten Tomatoes versus "Buffy the Vampire Slayer'"s 31%, we're going to refer to that as the "Tim Burton margin of error." "Dark Shadows", like Buffy, is intentionally campy, and for the first half of the film, it sort of works, basking in its ridiculous charm. But about halfway through, anything likable about the movie goes out the window in favor of obvious plot twists, characters with forced motivation, a complete shift in tone, bloodless "action" scenes and countless other indefensible attributes. It's as if someone pressed a "become boring and stupid" button at the hour mark and was too amused at the notion of a flabbergasted, restless and confused audience to right his wrong.
Widely regarded as Burton's worst film to date, "Dark Shadows" has a lower RT score than even "Planet of the Apes." Yikes. If you're actually curious about "Dark Shadows" and what it meant to legions of loyal fans, check out the show the film was rebooting. You can get the complete series for only $431.00 on Amazon!