Dead Man's Party (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode)

Dead Man's Party (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode)

Infobox Television episode
Title=Dead Man's Party

Series=Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Airdate=October 6, 1998
Writer=Marti Noxon
Director=James Whitmore Jr.
Episode list=List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes
Next=Faith, Hope & Trick

"Dead Man's Party" is episode 2 of season 3 of the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Plot synopsis


Buffy struggles with life back in Sunnydale; tension simmers with those around her; Joyce's mask does not help.

Expanded overview

Joyce is hanging up a Nigerian mask given by a gallery friend when Buffy finishes unpacking. She reluctantly allows Buffy to go to find her friends, who are coordinating a vampire hunt via walkie-talkies. They are surprised by one another after Buffy runs into first Xander and then a vampire. After a fight where the gang tries to fight the vampire but gets beaten, Buffy stakes it. At Giles' apartment, Buffy avoids most questions about her summer, while Giles hides his emotions in the kitchen.

The next day, Joyce takes Buffy to see Principal Snyder, who takes vindictive pleasure in keeping Buffy from re-entering Sunnydale High. Joyce then drops off Buffy at a coffee shop for a scheduled meeting with Willow, who does not show up. She goes home and meets Pat, a book club member of Joyce's who does not hesitate to comment about Buffy's recent behavior and its impact on Joyce. While fetching fancy company plates for a dinner with her friends, Buffy finds a dead cat. Buffy and Joyce bury it, but that night, the Nigerian mask's eye sockets glow red and the dead cat crawls its way out of the earth.

Buffy has a nightmare involving Angel. When she wakes, the dead cat surprises her in the kitchen. Giles arrives to remove it in a cage. He notices the mask before leaving for the library, informing Buffy that she is not allowed on school grounds. At school, Buffy's friends decide to throw a big party. Giles is distracted by the discussion from a page showing Joyce's mask.

Dingoes Ate My Baby soon arrives at Buffy's house without notice. Overwhelmed by dozens of guests she does not know, Buffy tries to talk to a distracted Willow, but gives up. Xander and Cordelia are too busy kissing to care. Meanwhile, Joyce is telling Pat in the kitchen how tough Buffy's return has been on her. Overhearing Joyce's words, Buffy decides to pack again.

At the library, Giles is horrified by what he finally uncovers about the mask. He tries to phone Buffy, but party-goers fail to relay the message. Giles decides to drive to the party when he hits a man in the road. Giles gets out of the car and finds the man reanimated. Giles barely escapes oncoming zombies as bodies rise all over Sunnydale.

Willow finds Buffy in the bedroom and expresses her disapproval. Joyce joins her and when Buffy tries to leave the party, she stops the merriment. Xander chimes in on the gang-up against Buffy as well, telling her that running away like she did was selfish and stupid, and just when Buffy is about to break down completely, zombies crash in through windows and doors. Several guests are killed. Oz and Cordelia hide in a downstairs closet while Buffy and others rush upstairs with a gravely injured Pat. In the bedroom, Willow checks Pat's pulse and finds she is dead.

Giles arrives to tell Oz and Cordelia about the mask containing the powers of a Nigerian zombie demon, Ovu Moboni. Whichever zombie puts it on becomes the demon -- and Pat does. Other zombies are cowered while Buffy soon realizes that its gaze hynotizes the recipient when its eyes flash (like a camera flash) in the direction of the recipient. Buffy pushes Pat out of the window when it is about to kill Willow. Oz tries to tell Buffy about how to kill it when he is hypnotized. Buffy takes the opening to plunge a shovel into its eyes. It vanishes along with all the other zombies. The gang reconciles.

The next day, Giles tries to convince Snyder to let Buffy return. When he refuses, Giles applies a little physical pressure. In the coffee shop, Willow tells Buffy about her dabbling in magic and the two are again best friends.



*Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
*Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
*Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
*Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
*David Boreanaz as Angel
*Seth Green as Oz
*and Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles

Guest starring

*Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
*Nancy Lenehan as Pat
*and Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder


*Danny Strong as Jonathan Levinson
* Jason Hall as Devon MacLeish
*Paul Morgan Stetler as Young Doctor
*Chris Garnant as Stoner #1


A patchwork plot derived from Stephen King's "Pet Sematary", George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead", and perhaps even "The Mask", this episode dramatizes the consequences of repressing emotions.

Production details


* Christophe Beck - "The Mask theme"
* Four Star Mary - "Never mind"
* Four Star Mary - "Pain"
* Four Star Mary - "Sway"
* Oingo Boingo - "Dead Man's Party". The episode's title derives from the eponymous song and album by Oingo Boingo.

Trivia and quotes

* The episode's title refers to the Oingo Boingo song of the same name.
* When Buffy meets Xander in the alley while out patrolling, he is holding a stake. Buffy jokes that it is all fun and games until someone loses an eye. In Season 7, Xander does in fact lose an eye in a fight against Caleb.
* "Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty? It raises the dead. Americans!" -- Giles after learning the truth about the Nigerian mask Joyce owns.


* Italian title: "La festa dei morti viventi" ("The party of the living dead ones")
* German title: "Die Nacht der lebenden Toten" ("The night of the living dead ones") "Episode 3x13 has a similar German title: "Die Nacht der lebenden Leichen"
* French title: "Le masque de Cordolfo" ("The Mask of Cordolfo")
* Japanese title: "死人パーティ" ("Shinin Paati" - "Dead Man Party")
* Spanish title: "La fiesta del muerto" ("The dead man's party")


Arc significance

*Buffy has reconciled with her friends. She now must deal with herself.
*This episode hints about Principal Snyder's connections with the mayor (when Joyce and Buffy are in his office). The mayor will eventually become the Big Bad of this season.


* Stories that take place around the same time in the Buffyverse:

External links



* [ Peripheral Visions Review]
* [ Section 31 Review]
* [ Swing the Sickle Review]

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