Analysis -- Buffy the Vampire

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a difficult media to classify into one genre. An obvious classification of the programme¡¦s genre would be horror; but this isn¡¦t entirely true, because the show has more concepts and themes that a horror movie would, and deals with more issues as well. The show uses elements contained in the more fantasy-orientated horror movies (such as Dracula): these include mythological beings such as vampires, demons and zombies; things that aren¡¦t always contained in horror movies. In the episode ¡§Dead Man¡¦s Party¡¨, the show deals primarily with the undead (a vampire appears near the beginning of the episode, and has very little effect on the story). Mythology is also applied in the form of a Nigerian mask, which raises the dead. Mythology has not always been applied in horror movies that use such creatures, but most movies that use these creatures (especially those containing vampires) almost always follow several rules. Examples of such rules are:

„h A vampire cannot enter a home unless invited first ¡V afterwards they are forever welcome. „h Vampires can not come into contact with direct sunlight. „h The only way to kill a vampire is to penetrate its heart with a stake.

These rules are also applied in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and some others are devised in order to enhance storylines. This would associate Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the horror genre, although there is more to the show than vampires: there are situations involving teenage angst (especially in the given episode, because it deals with the consequences of Buffy running away from home). Some people have likened Buffy the Vampire Slayer to a hybrid of Dracula and Beverly Hills 90210, which might be an accurate description ¡V the show does contain elements of a horror movie and tries to include situations experienced in a teenage soap (the characters attend high-school and experience friendship and love).

Mise en scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is usually quite similar in each episode, and ¡§Dead Man¡¦s Party¡¨ isn¡¦t really an exception to this belief. The settings used are Buffy¡¦s house (located in a middle-class suburb), the school corridors and library, and Giles¡¦ apartment. The behaviour of the actors, in terms of humour, is often cynical and sarcastic, and though most characters share this, it does vary depending on each character. There are times when the characters behave threateningly towards other characters, such as near the end of the episode in which Giles threatens Principle Snyder to let Buffy back into the school. Some of the behaviour seems a little apprehensive, or awkward, especially with Buffy and Joyce; they both seem to feel intimidated by each other¡¦s presence. Behaviour seems to change often during the party: Buffy feels overwhelmed and that she doesn¡¦t belong, and the other characters (especially Willow, Xander and Cordelia) appear ignorant towards Buffy. There is also a scene in which the characters show anger towards Buffy, who becomes very upset by this, but then the scene is interrupted and the characters instantly resolve their feelings towards each other. The behaviour of Angel also seems quite distant, and generally unlike the character. Lighting in this episode is quite mundane, although there are a few anomalous uses of light. At night, the lighting is dark, but it is easy to see what is happening. Indoor lighting is moderately lit, except in a few locations, such as the basement, which is a little dark, with beams of sunlight coming through windows. The light in Giles¡¦ apartment is lower than most other settings, and the moonlight shining through the window in Buffy¡¦s bedroom is unusually intense. The lighting in the emergency room of the hospital is also lower than expected, yet enough to make a reflection in the heart monitor. The costumes consist of everyday wear, and doesn¡¦t really show any distinct patterns, except near the beginning of the episode where Willow, Xander,...
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