A bubble-headed valley girl discovers she has inherited the mantle of Slayer, destined to hold back the legions of undead threatening the world, well, California at least.
Now superseded (and bettered) by the television series it inspired, this spoof vampire flick's sole joke is that the heroine (Kristy Swanson) is a blonde, L.A. airhead rather than a beefed-up stake-toter, mentored by Donald Sutherland's deadpan Watcher.
Cluttered with B-list names: Luke Perry (in need of a slap), David Arquette (as Perry's vampirised pal), Rutger Hauer (lisping his lines through a gobful of fangs) and Swanson (good at kickboxing, but a bland heroine), it's full of dated pop music, silly wisecracking vampires and slapstick horror with one-note characters and senseless plotting, but Whedon's distinctive ear for teen-speak is already in evidence. ("Why do I have to learn about El Salvador? Like I'm ever going to Spain.")
Writer Joss Whedon has since claimed that his original, darker script was fluffed up by the studio for the teen crowd, but the basic premise is still sound. Watch out for future A-listers like Hilary Swank (Buffy's airhead pal), and an uncredited Ben Affleck (who gets snarled at by a vampire on the basketball court).
Enjoyable, but now basically a footnote to the TV series.