Thursday, March 06, 2014

Thursday's Ways Not To Die


"Can't even shout, can't even cry 
The Gentlemen are coming by
 Looking in windows, knocking on doors 
They need to take seven and they might take yours 
Can't call to mom, can't say a word 
You're gonna die screaming but you won't be heard."

A pause before we get to the rest of this most horrific, most wonderful Way Not To Die (cannot believe I've never done this scene before!) - Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuted on the WB (that was a television network once upon a time, kiddies) on March 10th, 1997 at 9pm - that's 17 years ago this upcoming Monday. Seventeen years!!! As I've said before I didn't start regularly watching the show until the 5th season and had to backtrack to see everything from the start; I probably saw "Hush" out of order though since everybody's always (correctly) pushing "Hush" as the episode you use to convince non-believers that Buffy is the bomb. Anyway that's why we're finally getting around to this scene. Happy 17, Buffy! And speaking of getting to it, let's get to it! We don't want to keep The Gentlemen waiting. They have places to be. Hit the jump...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Hush"
(Aired on December 14th, 1999)

Boom, cut to black, and the next thing we see...

Oh dear, I don't think they were just slicing off a hangnail for him, were they? I know it's been said a million times but "Hush" is just an astonishing thing, isn't it? From top to bottom, this is a television show that's wrapped its legs full around its stride and ridden it hard unto the bountiful lands of total endless awesomeness. Just dissecting (heh) this sequence shot to shot to shot for this post, absolutely everything is coming together - the direction, the the lighting, the make-up, the performances...

I've said it before and no doubt I'll say it again but bless you, Doug Jones, you magnificent weirdo, I adore you. Check out that link if you're unfamiliar with Jones - on top of playing the Lead Gentleman here he's also brought to life most of Guillermo Del Toro's most memorable monsters; looking at IMDb I'm super-excited to see his name listed in the credits for Guillermo's upcoming Crimson Peak, and he's going to be on GDT's vampire show The Strain as well - oh what wonderful horrors await us???

(Camden Toy is the other main Gentleman; he also played the so-called "Übervamp" in the show's final season.) Anyway obviously one of the things that's so effective about this scene in particular is the rape thing. This is a weird leering rapey scene! The Gentlemen and their terrifying henchmen are all male  (or you know approximately male-shaped), they burst into this this cute Freshman boy's room at night, throw him on his bed and hold him there, struggling to and fro, as the camera pans slowly down his exposed torso... Buffy dealt with rape a lot (like that controversial time that, uh, Buffy got raped by Spike) but I can't think of a scene where it was quite so... well, terrifyingly lascivious.

(Those are a couple pictures of Wayne Sable, the actor on the receiving end of the Gentlemen's nocturnal attentions; he doesn't have a lot of credits listed on IMDb but it must be something to at least have this one immortal moment on your resume.) I'm not the first person to wager that Joss has spent at least some of his time working out some same-sex feelings with his work, and this scene ranks way up there in the pantheon of That Going On, I'd say.

Previous Ways Not To Die: Spade & Neutered -- Flambe By Vincent -- L.O.O.K.E.R Over -- Something in the Fog -- Polly Wants A Scalpel -- Major Swirly -- White Meat Dark Meat -- Oh Dae-su You Devil -- Unto Darkness Delivered -- A Hammock Built For Slew -- Venom Down -- Worm Turned -- This Anaconda Do Want Some -- Cereal Murdered -- Deady Dearest -- Spotted Dick -- Chinatown Syndrome -- Feeling the Fury -- Blank With the Blank in the Blank -- Kill the Cook -- You be The Steeple -- Boiled Bashed Stabbed & Gassed -- Iced Princess -- Straight Razor Symphony -- Prey For Mantis -- Talos Unplugged -- A Mysterious Raptoring -- Mad Monkey Robo Rampage -- Give Me Liberty, Or... -- Horns of Plenty... Dead! -- Mistress-And-Run -- Wolverine Interrupted -- Who Let The Guts Out -- Zzzapped Innards-Side-Out -- Bad Romance -- Twas Beauty (And Also Aeroplanes) -- Bad Head -- Valentine's Day Massacred -- Belly Buster -- For Being Not The Babysitter -- Splat In Slo-Mo -- To Be Dis-Continued -- For Being Mouthy -- Do You Smell What Billy's Mom Is Cooking -- The Milk Done Gone Bad -- An Inability To Stop Drop and Roll -- Bug Sprayed -- Extreme Makeover: Leatherface Edition -- Window Seat Suck -- Razor Bunting -- Stabbed Thru The Heart And Witches Are To Blame -- Shark Kibble -- Is That a Straight Razor In Your Trunks Or Are You Just Happy To See Me -- Bad Dates -- Fry Guy'd -- Super Battle Bystander Shrapnel Shred -- Staring Contest of the Dead -- Satanic Self Sacrifice -- Fist and Fortune -- Psychedelic Penis Slice To Window Toss -- For Crimes Against Accent -- Sacked -- Speed Bumped For Traffic Spikes -- Shark Versus Jet-Ski -- Hot Oil Treatment -- Tucked In By Jason -- Just A Pair of Snowbodies -- Poison Pellet Kibble Swap -- Dolly Disassembled -- Fire Escape Fall Out -- Unbuggered -- Tell 'Em Large Marge Sent'cha -- Blue Man Gooped -- Tongue Stung -- Now Wouldn't Cha, Barracuda? -- Leaving on a Rat Plane -- Panthers! -- Fashion Faux-Pwned -- "It's Just A Box." -- Blasted Pigeons -- Taunting Ahnuld -- The Too Hot Tub -- Beyond the Veil -- Sunken Prayers-- Super Crack -- Brains Blown -- Fur For The Boogens -- White Hot Bunny Rabbit Rage --Dragged To Hell -- The TV Van That Dripped Blood -- Don't Mess With Mama -- Heads Ahoy --Martyred For Sheep -- Heads Nor Tails -- He Loves Me Knot -- The Great Bouncing Brad --Miss Kitty's 8 Mishaps -- Boat Smoosh -- Meeting the French-Tipped Menace -- A Magic Trick -- Slick Suck -- We Who Walk Here Walk Alone -- Raptor Bait -- Kneegasm'd -- Dare to Dream in Fincher -- Reach Out and Throttle Someone -- De-Faced -- Voluntary Drowning -- Cross Borne -- Pulled Up Hell's Sphincter -- An Arrow Up The Ass - The Numerous Violent Unbecomings of Olive Oyl -- Ack! Ack! Zap! -- Baby's First Acid Splash -- Chop, Drop and Sashimi Roll -- Forever Rafter -- Can't You Hear Me Now? -- Daisies Ways #5 - Harpoony Side Up -- Acid Dip -- On a Wing and a Prey -- For Standing in the Way of Sappho -- Busting Rule Number Three (For The Purpose of Number Two) -- Daisies #4 - Window Dressed To Killed --Hands Off the Haas Orb -- Bullet Ballet -- A Single Vacancy at the Roach Motel -- A School Bus Slipped Thru The Ice -- Trache-AAHHHH!!!-tomy'd - For Mel Gibson's Sins -- A Wide Stanced Slashing --- Daisies Ways #3 - Scratch n' Snuffed -- The Victim of a Viscous Hit & Run-- Curled -- Kabobbed -- Daisies Ways #2 - Aggravated Cementia -- Boo! Nun! -- 2009's Ways Not To Die -- Bug Scratch Fever -- Daisies Ways #1 - Deep Fat Fried in My Own Unique Blend of 500 Herbs & Spices -- By the Yard End of the Stick -- Screwed From A Very Great Distance-- A Righteous Bear-Jew Beatdown -- Fisted By Hugo Sitglitz -- Xeno Morphed -- Fuck-Stuck -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 4 -- Lava Bombed -- The Cradle Will Rock... Your Face Off!!! -- The Food of the Nilbog Goblins -- The Slugs Is Gonna Gitcha -- Phone Shark -- Hide The Carrot -- Sarlacc Snacked -- Avada Kedavra!!! -- Hooked, Lined and Sinkered -- "The Libyans!" -- Axe Me No Questions -- Pin the Chainsaw on the Prostitute -- The Wrath of the Crystal Unicorn -- The Ultimate Extreme Make-Over -- Drown In A Sink Before The Opening Credits Even Roll -- The Dog Who Knew Too Much -- Don't Die Over Spilled Milk -- Inviting the Wrath of Aguirre -- An Inconceivable Outwitting -- The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique -- Nipple Injected Blue Junk -- Your Pick Of The Deadly Six -- Thing Hungry --Don't Fuck With The Serial Killer's Daughter -- DO Forget To Add The Fabric Softener -- Any Of The Ways Depicted In This Masterpiece Of Lost Cinema -- Rode Down In The Friscalating Dusklight -- Good Morning, Sunshine! -- Mornin' Cuppa Drano -- The Cylon-Engineered Apocalypse -- Tender-Eye-zed -- Martian Atmospheric Asphyxiation -- Maimed By A Mystical Person-Cat -- The Sheets Are Not To Be Trusted -- Handicapable Face-Hacked -- I Did It For You, Faramir -- Summertime In The Park... Of A Pedophile's Mind -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 3 -- Strung Up With Festive Holiday Bulbs By Santa Claus Himself -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 2 -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 1 -- Decapitated Plucked Broiled & Sliced -- Head On A Stick! -- A Trip To The Ol' Wood-Chipper -- Pointed By The T-1000 --Sucking Face With Freddy Krueger -- A Pen-Full Of Home-Brewed Speed to The Eye --Motivational Speech, Interrupted -- A Freak Ephemera Storm -- When Ya Gotta Go... Ya Gotta Go -- Hoisted By Your Own Hand Grenade -- Having The Years Suction-Cupped Away --Criss-Cross -- Turned Into A Person-Cocoon By The Touch Of A Little Girl's Mirror Doppleganger -- Satisfying Society's "Pop Princess" Blood-Lust -- Done In By The Doggie Door-- Tuned Out -- Taking the 107th Step -- Rescuing Gretchen -- Incinerated By Lousy Dialogue-- Starred & Striped Forever -- Vivisection Via Vaginally-Minded Barbed-Wire -- Chompers (Down There) -- Run Down By M. Night Shyamalan -- Everything Up To And Including The Kitchen Toaster -- Sacrificed To Kali -- Via The Gargantuan Venom Of The Black Mamba Snake -- Turned Into An Evil Robot -- The Out-Of-Nowhere Careening Vehicle Splat -- "Oh My God... It's Dip!!!" -- Critter Balled -- Stuff'd -- A Hot-Air Balloon Ride... Straight To Hell!!!-- Puppy Betrayal -- High-Heeled By A Girlfriend Impersonator -- Flip-Top Beheaded --Because I'm Too Goddamned Beautiful To Live -- By Choosing... Poorly... -- Fried Alive Due To Baby Ingenuity -- A Good Old-Fashioned Tentacle Smothering -- Eepa! Eepa! -- Gremlins Ate My Stairlift -- An Icicle Thru The Eye -- Face Carved Off By Ghost Doctor After Lesbian Tryst With Zombie Women -- Electrocuted By Fallen Power-Lines -- A Mouthful Of Flare --Taken By The TV Lady -- Bitten By A Zombie -- Eaten By Your Mattress -- Stuffed To Splitting -- Face Stuck In Liquid Nitrogen -- Crushed By Crumbling Church Debris -- Bitten By The Jaws Of Life -- A Machete To The Crotch -- Showering With A Chain-Saw -- In A Room Filled With Razor Wire -- Pod People'd With Your Dog -- Force-Fed Art -- Skinned By A Witch -- Beaten With An Oar -- Curbed -- Cape Malfunction -- In The Corner -- Cooked In A Tanning Bed -- Diced -- Punched Through The Head -- Bugs Sucking On Your Head


Joey said...

Ohhh man! The Gentlemen gave me legit nightmares for days.

Anonymous said...

Hush is a good ep, but I would recommend either The Pack (season 1) or I Only Have Eyes for You (season 2) to someone if they wanted to watch an episode that would typify the series. I have turned on more than one person to this show.

I love Joss.

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Anonymous said...


Hush received Buffy's only non-technical Emmy nomination - for writing.

Can you imagine how different this episode would have been just a few years later with text messaging? True, cell phones never really made it to Sunnydale.

The Pretentious Know it All said...

Here's hoping the series has a good birthday. Better than what happened to Buffy herself when she turned 17...

Jim Steele said...

Most frightening TV episode EVER! It was years before I could watch it again because I was so spooked the first time. I LOVE it.