Buffy the Vampire Slayer – movie vs. graphic novel

buffy collage

Buffy creator Joss Whedon has said that the script he wrote for the original movie was nothing like the finished product. He has also said Donald Sutherland massacred the dialogue as written and ad-libbed most of it. As a result, when Buffy mentions her past in early episodes of the TV series, it does not align with the details of the movie, because Whedon based his TV show off what happened previously in his script.

buffy sutherland

However, for those who wanted to know just how different Whedon’s vision was from the movie, parts of the script were eventually used for an adaption of the movie into a graphic novel entitled The Origin. So I watched the film and read the graphic novel to compare the two. Honestly, aside from some scenes being in a different order and a different ending, the two are pretty much the same fricking story, even with the supposed butchering Sutherland did. So here’s what I found.

  • SAME: both begin with a very brief scene set during the dark ages, simply letting us know that there will always be one girl who is The Chosen One.
  • DIFFERENT: The movie begins with Buffy (Kristy Swanson) and friends cheerleading in the gym (to a C&C Music Factory song) before they go to the mall, where she briefly notices her watcher (Sutherland). The girls then go to a movie and have a little argument with two guys, Pike (Luke Perry) and Benny (David Arquette). The graphic novel begins at the theater.
  • SAME: Buffy and friends run into Pike and Benny again at a diner. Pike and Benny are attacked after they leave, Benny is dragged away, and the watcher rescues Pike. The attacking vamp is named Amilyn and played by Paul “Pee Wee” Reubens in the movie.
  • DIFFERENT: In the movie, the watcher first confronts Buffy in the gym and then takes her to the cemetery. In the graphic novel, he confronts her outside the school.

buffy arquette

  • DIFFERENT: In the movie, Benny, now a vampire, visits Pike, who won’t let him in. Buffy has a dream about Lothos. The next day, the watcher shows up in Buffy’s school locker room because she blew him off for training. This is followed by a training montage set to a Divinyls song. After this, she briefly talks to her guidance counselor.

buffyorigin watcher

  • In the graphic novel, the watcher comes to get Buffy in the locker room then they train. There is also a scene of her getting holy water at a church, after which she sees her guidance counselor. After all that, Benny visits Pike.
  • DIFFERENT: In the film, Pike, a mechanic, tells his boss at the auto shop that weird shit is happening in the town and he’s leaving. We then see Buffy kill a vampire in an alley and her watcher scolds her for almost getting herself into a trap.

    In the graphic novel, Buffy’s friends talk about missing students, and Buffy takes down a male student who gets inappropriate with her. Pike tells his boss he’s leaving town…and his boss is killed right in front of his face!

buffy origins lothos

  • DIFFERENT: Vampires chase Pike in the movie. Buffy and the watcher come and save him and Buffy brings him back to her house. In the graphic novel, she doesn’t bring him home.
  • DIFFERENT: In the movie, Lothos scolds Amilyn for screwing up. Now we get the scene in which the girls talk about their missing friends and Buffy roughs up one of the guys at school. After this, Buffy fights with her watcher and storms out to go to a basketball game. One of the players is a vamp, so Buffy chases him on a motorcycle. Pike hops on his motorcycle and follows. At an amusement park, Pike helps her take down some vamps. Suddenly. Lothos is there with Amilyn. The watcher also shows, and Lothos kills him before taking off. Buffy mourns the watcher’s death while Pike stands nearby.

buffy rutger

  • There is no basketball game in the graphic novel. Lothos and the watcher have a confrontation, and the watcher kills himself to protect Buffy. She mourns him when she is by herself in their training space.

buffy girls

  • SAME: Buffy goes to meet her friends to decorate for a high school dance (in the movie, it’s a senior dance) and they argue. Then Buffy goes shopping for a dress and runs into Pike, who tells her she needs to fight the vamps. But she just wants to go to the dance. Vampire Benny informs Lothos that she will be at the dance. At the dance, Buffy’s boyfriend shows up with another girl. Pike shows up to be Buffy’s date. Vamps break into the gym because one of Buffy’s friends (Hilary Swank in the movie) invited them in. They threaten to kill everyone unless they send Buffy outside. She goes out alone. While fighting vamps, she sees her boyfriend in a car having sex with date he brought to the dance.
  • DIFFERENT: Amilyn fights Buffy in the movie before she kills him, but in the graphic novel, he fights Pike. In the movie, Pike fights Benny.

buffy reuben

  • DIFFERENT: And now here’s the major difference. Lothos shows up. In the graphic novel, Buffy sets the entire school gym on fire with a hairspray bottle to kill the vamps. In the movie, she has a long confrontation with Lothos then burns his face with the hairspray. She returns to the gym and he follows. Pike helps her take him down once and for all.

buffy high school vamps

  • DIFFERENT: In the graphic novel, a news report claims that crack crazed gunmen infiltrated the school. It then cuts to Buffy’s friends by a pool, talking about Buffy being expelled and her parents getting divorced. Then we see Buffy and Pike going to Las Vegas to look for vampires. To tie the graphic novel in with the TV show, it turns out we are in the Sunnydale library, and Buffy is telling Giles, Xander, and Willow the story of how she found out she was a slayer and why she was expelled from school.

buffy perry

  • In the movie, Buffy and Pike have a final dance in the gym then ride off on his motorcycle. On the news, Buffy’s boyfriend and others talk about being attacked by vampires. As the credits role, we see that Amilyn is still busy dying from the stake to the chest.

So basically, aside from a slightly different scene order, the big difference in the graphic novel is that Buffy burns down the school gym…and she isn’t a senior.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES.

I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.

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