Welcome to The A-Z of Horror – an alphabetical window into the horror genre. Over the course of 26 days, I’ll be taking a look at horror in all its facets and forms, offering up suggestions of what to watch, should you be in the mood for a real good scare.

Today: B is for Buffy

If you’re taking the time to read this blog post on horror, I think it’s a safe bet to say you’re probably familiar with Buffy the Vampire Slayer – the teen-turned-vampire hunter who balances homework with demon dispatching.

But which version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is your jam? The TV series or the movie?

*Pauses for an answer*

It’s OK if you want to say both. It’s OK, because I love both too.

Created by Joss Whedon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was originally a big screen horror comedy, which hit cinema screens in 1992. The film – which starred Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Rutger Hauer and Luke Perry – was not a huge success upon release and is often considered by many – including Joss Whedon – as a huge misstep for the character.

The series, on the other hand, ran from 1997 to 2003, starred Sarah Michelle Gellar, amassed a huge following and is often considered as one of the defining genre shows of the ‘90s. And of course, it is!

But, as mentioned above, it’s OK to like both.

While the original movie may not be the stellar piece of cinema that it could have been, Buffy the Vampire Slayer does have something going for it – a certain nostalgic charm. There’s a trashy ‘90s aesthetic surrounding Buffy the Vampire Slayer which makes the movie an enjoyable romp to watch and so long as you mentally disconnect the movie from the show, then there’s no reason not to dive right in.

As for the show – well, what a show indeed. Whether you watched it when it first aired, you caught up with it at a later date via DVD or Netflix, or you’ve yet to see it, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is as fresh today as it was back in ’97. Sure, the fashion, terminology and technology has changed, but the core values of the show remain; presenting a brutal, yet honest portrayal of high school as horror.

And that’s why Buffy the Vampire Slayer appears on this A-Z of Horror – because if you look past the demons, the vampires and the things that go bump in the night, the horror of everyday life remains. The horror of having to deal with the same crap, day in, day out, is perhaps the scariest thing of all and that’s what Buffy excels at.

If you’ve not seen the movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then free up a Friday night, grab a pizza and a couple of cold ones and give it a whirl. So long as you take the movie for what it is, Buffy the Vampire Slayer can provide you with an enjoyable trip back to the ‘90s. It’s camp, it’s kitsch and it’s a heck of a lot of fun.

Buffy TV

Image: 20th Century Fox

And if you’ve never seen the series… then you really need to rectify this now, as I guarantee you will adore it!

I could list a number of key episodes which really make the series shine, but the true beauty of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the way in which the show plays out across the course of its seven seasons, so picking out random stories for newbies is kind of counterproductive. Just trust me, it’s worth the time you’d need to invest in its 144 episodes and once you’re hooked, you’re hooked!

For more than 25 years, Buffy has endured as a pop icon, a heroic crusader and a horror staple. Why? Because her sass, her determination and her strength of character shine through, providing a well-rounded, selfless hero who faces the darkness so you don’t have to.

Should you find much to like about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then spin-off show Angel is also a must-watch. And should you want even more, then you might like to pick up one of the many Buffy-themed comics published by Dark Horse Comics.

Tomorrow: C is for…