When I was in high school I dreamt of the entire school being taken over by vampires. It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the steaming pile of shit that was those four useless years, but rather because of a lifelong love of vampires. It was a love that was fed (pun) by Anne Rice, Bram Stoker and eventually Joss Whedon. In 1992 Whedon released the soon-to-be cult classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I haven’t stopped loving him since. Most people have fond memories of the TV show based on the film (ONCE MORE WITH FEELING) but few feel as strongly for the film or its original Buffy, Kristy Swanson. But where has our Buffy gone? Is she off fighting vampires somewhere with Luke Perry, or was she finally bitten… just not by the acting bug.
Swanson was born in Mission Viejo, CA, the daughter of two physical education teachers. This will be helpful later in life when she’s fighting vampires (THEY’RE REAL I SWEAR). She got a ton of TV work before landing her first non-speaking role as the girl who gestured to Ducky at the prom in the final scene of “Pretty in Pink.” Speaking of “Pretty in Pink,” I think we can all agree that nothing in this world is more disappointing than Molly Ringwald’s prom dress in the film. What the fuck. We had such a montage/build-up then we were left with a formless sack and a lace turtleneck, but I digress/undress.
In 1987 Swanson played the lead role in the film adaptation of the book Flowers in the Attic. If you’ve never read this or seen the movie I can sum it up like this: Incest, abuse, God, imprisonment, escape and blonde people. You will never not be creeped out. You will always be creeped out. Creepy.
That movie was so intense there was only one way to follow it up, and that was with Mannequin 2: On the Move. Where the first Mannequin film was insane and nonsensical, its sequel was fucking insane and nonsensical. How does one go from escaping the tyrannical cult-like rule of a violent, manipulative grandmother in Flowers to playing a medieval princess turned into a mannequin only to be awoken a thousand years later by a kiss? I’m not suggesting her acting was stiff or emotionless but she was a goddamn mannequin. All I can say is thank God for Starship’s return.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj7RYi97E08
I often wonder if the mannequin used in the movie is currently sitting in Kristy Swanson’s home, married to her husband, raising her kids. Probably. Now we’ve reached the pièce de résistance… Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This movie is FLAWLESS from start to finish. Even in 1992 you got a solid taste of Whedon’s wit and his ability to tap into the teenage mind. If you’re still not on board let me give you three names: Luke Perry, Rutger Hauer and Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens. All of them are in this movie. Paul Reubens delivers one of my favorite death scenes in cinematic history. At one point a one-armed Paul Reubens tells Buffy/Swanson that vampires can do anything and she says “Oh yeah? Clap,” CLASSIC WHEDON. If you’ve never seen this movie because you’ve been living in a cave or a coffin for the past 21 years, do yourself a favor and fix that.
A couple of years after Buffy she starred in The Chase with Charlie Sheen. This movie was terrible. She played a rich daddy’s girl with a terrible fake tan. Charlie Sheen was Charlie Sheen but Henry Rollins played a cop. Evidently there is a missing scene sitting in a hidden film vault somewhere that involves Henry Rollins ripping off Charlie Sheen’s head while screaming the lyrics to Black Flag’s “Rise Above.” I would pay all the money to see that.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHR-rzUjCzU
Things went south from here, straight into The Phantom with Back to the Future’s own Billy Zane, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, Big Daddy and of course Dude Where’s My Acting Career?
Since then it’s been all made-for-TV movies and one season of something called “Skating with the Stars,” where she met her now husband Lloyd Eisler. It was actually quite a romantic scenario. You see, Eisler was married at the time and his wife was pregnant! I think the original working title of the show was “Skating with the Starfuckers.”
Here are Swanson and Eisler on MTV’s Cribs, but the best part is, this is just a regular house. And MTV tries so hard to MTV it up but they literally can’t do it. At one point Swanson describes the living room as the “fun room where Christmas happens” and MTV doesn’t even show it. Then they pan over to a regular looking dining room and into the incredibly boring kitchen which features a fridge stocked with energy drinks because LIFE IS SO EXHAUSTING. Pay special attention to her riveting description of the TV in their bedroom.
God that was depressing. Based on Kristy’s outdated fashion choices I guess we know what happened. She was in fact turned into a vampire and is incapable of leaving the ’90s, both clothing-wise and film-wise. RIP Buffy.
Jenn Tisdale is a D.C. stand up comic. Follow her on Twitter at @Jenn_Tisdale.
No “celebrities” were harmed in the writing of this column. Its purpose is to mourn the loss of their careers, status, and in all likelihood bank accounts. This is an homage to their life’s work, both well-received and utterly humiliating. I have the utmost respect for all of them, even if they no longer have respect for themselves.