Buffy Summers is the Slayer, but after being expelled from her old high school for burning down the gym (it was full of vampires) she just wants to forget about her destiny and be a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She and her mother move from L.A. to Sunnydale, California. She now has a new school, new friends, and a chance to start over.
But Sunnydale is on top of a Hellmouth -- a center of mystical convergence that draws evil and demonic forces -- and Buffy soon realizes that she will have to pick up her stakes and holy water in order to save her new friends.
Buffy Anne Summers
Alexander 'Xander' Harris
In the first classroom scene when Buffy doesn't have her own textbook, she shares Cordelia's. The teacher asks them open to page 63, but Cordelia opens the book almost at the beginning.
Thomas is the first vampire that Buffy stakes in the series.
The bite marks Darla leaves on the boy's neck run horizontally (when standing) and due to the shape of the neck and the location of the wound, a bite like that should be impossible. A bite would have to be vertical up the neck or close to vertical, and the way Darla bit him would have produced close to vertical marks anyway.
In the library, Giles stacks several books in Buffy's arms while telling her about all the different creatures that actually exist. He stacks them so that the bindings of all the books are facing Buffy. Right before she gives them back to Giles, the bindings are facing Giles. As she hands them over to Giles, the bindings are once again facing Buffy.
When Xander sees Buffy drop her stuff out of her purse onto the floor, we see a girl in the background walking down the hall. In the very next shot, the same girl is walking down the hall but in the opposite direction.
Angel: You're standing at the mouth of hell. And it's about to open.
Buffy: I'll be back in a minute.
Willow: Oh, that's okay, you don't have to come back.
Buffy: (smiles) I'll be back in a minute.
Buffy: Have you guys seen Willow? Did she come by here?
Cordelia: Why? Do you need to attack her with a stick? Jeez!
Giles: The vampire is not dead?
Buffy: No, but my social life is on the critical list.
Xander: Hey, I hope he's not a vampire, because then you might have to slay him.
Buffy: Was there a school bulletin? Was it in the newspaper? Is there anyone in this town who doesn't know I'm the Slayer?
Jesse: Listen, uh, you know, you wanna dance, you know?
Cordelia: With you?
Jesse: Well, uh, yeah.
Cordelia: Well, uh, no!
Jesse: Hey, Cordelia!
Cordelia: Oh, yay, it's my stalker.
Jesse: Hey, you look great!
Cordelia: Well, I'm glad we had this little chat.
(Giles shows Buffy a large book with "Vampyr" on the cover)
Buffy: That's not what I'm looking for.
Giles: Are you sure?
Buffy: I'm way sure!
Giles: Into each generation, a Slayer is born. One girl in all the world, a Chosen One. One born with the...
Giles and Buffy: ... the strength and skill to hunt the vampires...
Buffy: ... to stop the spread of their evil. Blah, blah. I've heard it, okay?
Buffy: (to Giles about the dead boy found in the locker) It's the weirdest thing. He's got two little holes in his neck and all the blood has been drained. Isn't that bizarre? Aren't you just going, "Ooooh"?
Girl #1: The new kid? She seems kind of weird to me. What kind of name is Buffy?
Girl #2: (walking by) Hey, Aphrodesia.
Angel: Is there a problem ma'am?
Buffy: Yeah, there's a problem. Why are you following me?
Angel: I know what you're thinking. But don't worry, I don't bite.
Xander: I kind of had a problem with the math.
Willow: Which part?
Xander: The math.
Willow: It sure is dark.
Thomas: It's night.
Willow: Well, that's a very dark time, night.
Xander: Oh, me and Buffy go way back. Old friends, very close. Then there's that period of estrangement where I think we were both growing as people. But now here we are, like old times. I'm quite moved.
Jesse: Is it me, or are you turning into a babbling idiot?
Xander: No, it's, uh, it's not you.
Buffy: Well, it's nice to meet you guys, I think.
Jesse: Well, you know, we wanted to welcome you. Make you feel at home.
Unless you have a scary home...
Buffy: It's my first day! I was afraid that I was gonna be behind in all of my classes, that I wouldn't make any friends, that I would have last month's hair! I didn't think there'd be vampires on campus. And I don't care.
Giles: Then why are you here?
Buffy: To tell you that... I don't care, which... I don't, and... have now told you, so... bye.
Mr. Flutie: You burned down the gym.
Buffy: I did, I really did, but... You're not seeing the big picture here, I mean, that gym was full of vampi... asbestos.
Buffy: You know, I just wanted to start over, be like everybody else. Have some friends, you know, maybe a dog. But, no. You had to come here. You couldn't go suck on some other town.
Darla: Who are you?
Buffy: Don't you know?
Luke: (grabbing Buffy from behind and tossing her) I don't care.
Buffy (to the vampire that took Willow): Okay, first of all, what's with the outfit? Live in the now, okay? You look like DeBarge.
(entering a mausoleum)
Buffy: Well, this is nice. Uh, it's a little bare, but a dash of paint, a few throw pillows, call it home.
Cordelia (to her friends after being attacked by Buffy): Excuse me. I have to call everyone I have ever met right now.
Cordelia (to Buffy after almost getting staked by her): God! What is your childhood trauma?
Buffy: There's one.
Buffy: Right there, talking to that girl.
Giles: You don't know…
Buffy: Oh, please! Look at his jacket. He's got the sleeves rolled up, and the shirt? Deal with that outfit for a moment.
Giles: It's dated?
Buffy: It's carbon dated. Trust me, only someone who had lived underground for ten years would think that was still the look.
Buffy: I didn't say I'd never slay another vampire. It's not like I have all these fluffy bunny feelings for them. I'm just not going to get way extracurricular with it. You know, if I see one, sure…
Giles: Will you be ready? There's so much you don't know about them, about your own powers. A vampire appears to be completely normal, until the feed is upon them. Only then do they reveal their true demonic visage.
Buffy: You're like a textbook with arms. I know this.
Giles: Who told you this?
Buffy: This... guy. Dark, gorgeous in an annoying sort of way. I figured you two were buds.
Giles: No. The Harvest. Did he say anything else?
Buffy: Something about the Mouth of Hell. I really didn't like him!
Giles: I'd much rather be at home with a cup of Bovril and a good book.
Buffy: You need a personality, stat!
Willow: I thought Xander was going to show up.
Buffy: Oh, are you guys going out?
Willow: No, we're just friends. We used to go out, but we broke up.
Buffy: How come?
Willow: He stole my Barbie. (sees the look Buffy's giving her) Oh, we were five.
Buffy: From now on, I'm only going to hang out with the living – I mean, lively… people.
Joyce: Okay. You have fun.
(looking in her mirror)
Buffy (holding an outfit in front of herself): Hi, I'm an enormous slut! (holds another outfit in front of herself) Hello, would you like a copy of The Watchtower? (puts both outfits down) I used to be so good at this.
Buffy: Oh, come on. This is Sunnydale. How bad an evil can there be here?
Giles: I believe this whole area is a center of mystical energy, that things gravitate towards it that you wouldn't find elsewhere.
Buffy: Like vampires.
Giles: Zombies, werewolves, incubi, succubi – everything you've ever dreamt was under your bed but told yourself couldn't be by the light of day. They're all real.
Buffy: What, you, like, sent away for the Time/Life series?
Giles: Uh, w-well, yes.
Buffy: Did you get the free phone?
Giles: Uh, the calendar.
(talking about the dead guy found in the locker)
Buffy: How did he die?
Cordelia: I don't know.
Buffy: Well, were there any marks?
Cordelia: Morbid much? I didn't ask.
Cordelia (to Buffy after finding her with Willow, Xander, and Jesse): I don't mean to interrupt your downward mobility, but I just wanted to tell you that you won't be meeting Coach Foster – the woman with the chest hair – because gym was cancelled due to the extreme dead guy in the locker.
Willow: What are you talking about?
Cordelia: Some guy was stuffed in Aura's locker.
Cordelia: Totally dead. Way dead.
Xander: So not just a little dead, then?
Xander: So what do you do for fun? What do you like, what do you look for in a man? Let's hear it.
Jesse: If you have any dark, painful secrets you'd like us to publish…
Buffy: Gee, everyone wants to know about me. How keen.
Xander: Well, not much goes on in a one-Starbucks town like Sunnydale. You're pretty big news.
(talking to Buffy)
Jesse: Oh, you know, we wanted to welcome you, make you feel at home – unless you have a scary home.
Xander (holding up Buffy's stake that she dropped earlier): And to return this. The only thing I can think is that you're building a really little fence.
Buffy: Look, I really want to get by here. New school. And Cordelia's been really nice… to me, anyway… but, um, I kind of have this burning desire not to flunk all my classes and, I heard a rumor that you were the person to talk to if I wanted to get caught up.
Willow: Oh, I could totally help you out. Uh, if you have sixth period free, we could meet in the library.
Buffy: Or not. Uh, we could meet someplace quieter. Louder. Uh, that place just kind of gives me the wiggins.
Willow: Oh, it has that effect on most kids. I love it, though. It's a great collection, and the new librarian is really cool.
Buffy: He's new?
Willow: Yeah, he just started. He was curator at some British museum or–or THE British Museum. I'm not sure, but he knows everything, and he brought all these historical volumes and biographies, and am I the single dullest person alive?
Cordelia: Of course, we do have to test your coolness factor. You're from L.A., so you can skip the written, but let's see. Vamp nail polish?
Buffy: Um, over?
Cordelia: So over. James Spader?
Buffy: He needs to call me.
Buffy: Trendy, but tasty.
Cordelia: John Tesh.
Buffy: The Devil.
Cordelia: That was pretty much a gimme, but you passed.
Buffy: Oh, good.
Xander: I don't know you, do I?
Buffy: I'm Buffy. I'm new.
Xander: Xander is–is me.
Xander: Hey, Jesse. What's what?
Jesse: New girl.
Xander: That's right. I saw her. Pretty much a hottie.
Willow: I heard someone was transferring.
Xander: (to Jesse) So tell.
Jesse: Tell what?
Xander: What's the sitch? What do you know about her?
Jesse: New girl.
Xander: Well, you're certainly a fount of nothing.
Cordelia: So, you're from Hemery, right? In L.A.?
Cordelia: Oh, I would kill to live in L.A. That close to that many shoes!
Giles: A, a Slayer slays, a Watcher...
Giles: Yes. No! He, he trains her, he, he, he prepares her...
Buffy: Prepares me for what? For getting kicked out of school? For losing all of my friends? For having to spend all of my time fighting for my life and never getting to tell anyone because I might endanger them? Go ahead! Prepare me.
Buffy: Uh, Hi! Willow, right?
Willow: Why? I-I mean, hi! Uh, did you want me to move?
Buffy: Why don't we start with, 'Hi, I'm Buffy,' and, uh, then let's
segue directly into me asking you for a favor. It doesn't involve moving, but it does involve hanging out with me for a while.
Willow: But aren't you hanging out with Cordelia?
Buffy: I can't do both?
Willow: Not legally.
Xander: Well, uh, maybe I'll see you around... maybe at school... since
we... both... go there.
Buffy: Great! It was nice to meet you.
Xander: (unimpressed with how he spoke) We both go to school. Very suave. Very not pathetic.
Xander: Oh, hey! Hey, you forgot your... stake?
Joyce: Have a good time. I know you're gonna make friends right away, just think positive... Oh, and honey? Try not to get kicked out?
Buffy: I promise.
Buffy: Who are you?
Angel: Let's just say... I'm a friend.
Buffy: Yeah, well, maybe I don't need a friend.
Angel: I didn't say I was yours.
Buffy: To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It's like a whole big sucking thing. Mostly they're just gonna kill you.
Xander: (to Buffy) Can I have you? Uuhh, can I help you?
Principal Flutie: Welcome to Sunnydale! A clean slate, Buffy, that's what you get here. What's past is past. We're not interested in what it says on a piece of paper, even if it says... (reads) Whoa!
Buffy: Mr. Flutie...
Mr. Flutie: All the kids here are free to call me Bob.
Mr. Flutie: But they don't.
Xander: Can you help me out tonight, please, be my study buddy?
Willow: Well, what's in it for me?
Xander: A shiny nickel!
Willow: Okay. Do you have 'Theories in Trig'? You should check it out.
Xander: Check it out?
Willow: From the library? Where the books live.
Xander: Right, I'm there! See, I wanna change...
Angel: Truth is, I thought you'd be taller, or bigger muscles and all that. You're pretty spry, though.
Buffy: What do you want?
Angel: The same thing you do.
Buffy: Okay. What do I want?
Angel: To kill them. To kill them all.
Luke: The sleeper will awake. And the world will bleed.
Willow: Well... when I'm with a boy I like, it's hard for me to say anything cool, or–or witty, or at all. I–I can usually make a few vowel sounds, and, then I have to go away.
Cordelia: It's in the bad part of town.
Buffy: Where's that?
Cordelia: It's about a half a block from the good part of town. We don't have a whole lot of town here.
Cordelia: Willow, nice dress! Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears.
Willow: Uh, well-well, my Mom picked it out.
Cordelia: No wonder you're such a guy-magnet.
Luke: And like a plague of boils the race of man covered the Earth. But on the third day of the newest light will come the Harvest, when the blood of men will flow as wine - when the Master will walk among them once more. The earth will belong to the Old Ones... and Hell itself will come to town.
Buffy: Now, we can do this the hard way or... well, actually, there's just the hard way.
Darla: That's fine with me.
Buffy: Are you sure? Now, this is not going to be pretty. We're talking about violence, strong language, adult content.
Buffy: Well, my philosophy – do you want to hear my philosophy?
Willow: Yeah, I do.
Buffy: Life is short.
Willow: Life is short.
Buffy: Not original, I'll grant you, but it's true. You know, why waste time being all shy and why worried about some guy and if he's gonna laugh at you? Seize the moment 'cause tomorrow you might be dead.
Willow: Oh, that's nice.
Darla: Who the hell are you?
Buffy: You mean there's actually someone in this town who doesn't know already? Whew, that's a relief, I'm telling you! Having a secret identity in this town is a job of work.
Giles: Something's coming, something, something... something is, is gonna happen here. Soon!
Buffy: Gee, can you vague that up for me?
Joyce: Are you, uh, going out tonight?
Buffy: Yeah, I'm going to a club.
Joyce: Oh. Will there be boys there?
Buffy: No, Mom. It's a nun club.
Willow: I think boys are more interested in a girl who can talk.
Buffy: You really haven't been dating lately.
Originally, the Master was supposed to rise from the pool of blood and be covered with blood for the entire episode. But it turned out to be too difficult to do so they had him arise completely clean.
Alyson Hannigan was convinced that she had been so terrible in her first scene at the Bronze, that she had ruined the entire show. That convinced Joss Whedon that she was insane since he thought she had been wonderful in it.
The scene where Giles talks to Buffy in the Bronze was used for Anthony Stewart Head's audition.
In the scene in the Bronze Sarah Michelle Gellar had to eat a cherry the same way ten times from ten different angles - and she was very professional in it.
The scene where Jesse asks Cordelia to dance is actually from Joss Whedon's school experience. Though in answer to the girl's reaction "With you?" he said nothing and left unlike Jesse.
The reason why Joss Whedon gave his vampires their monstrous faces is because he didn't want to have Buffy fighting with and stabbing foes who looked like normal people.
This episode is the only time when we see Xander on a skateboard because the scene needed a lot of space and was hard to shoot. In later episodes we can see Xander holding a skateboard a couple of times, but never again does he ride one.
Special Make-Up Effects created by
Optic Nerve Studios
Sprung Monkey Courtesy of
Surf Dog Records
Main Title Design by
Processing by 4MC
Post Production Services Provided by
The original screenplay for this episode describes the necklace that Angel gives to Buffy as a small, antique cross on a gold chain.
In the original screenplay, the nightmare Buffy has before her first day at Sunnydale High was all about the Master instead of the montage which is in the final version. In the script, the Master says the following to Buffy: I'll take you...like a cancer...I'll get inside you and eat my way out...
The script for Welcome to the Hellmouth was written on August 26, 1996. After that, six revisions were made, the last on January 17, 1997.
The warehouses surrounding the exterior of the Bronze are actually the buildings where the Buffy soundstages were housed.
Todd McIntosh, John Maldonado, John Vulich and John Wheaton were all nominated for an Emmy in 1997 for outstanding makeup for a series due to their work in Welcome to the Hellmouth.
This and Harvest are two of the few episodes that feature the upper level of the Bronze. Joss Whedon wrote the script to feature the two levels, but didn't realize how difficult it would be to shoot these scenes. Not only was it impractical in terms of filming and lighting, but it increased the budget and at the time their budget was almost non-existent.
Anti-Heroes by Shake the Faith - When Joyce drives Buffy to school.
Saturated by Sprung Monkey - When Buffy is getting dressed before going to the Bronze.
Believe by Sprung Monkey - When Buffy enters the Bronze for the first time.
Swirl by Sprung Monkey - At the Bronze.
Things Are Changing by Sprung Monkey - When Buffy leaves the Bronze to look for Willow.
When the library scene between Buffy and Giles was originally shot, Sarah Michelle Gellar portrayed Buffy with much more bitterness and hostility than she intended for the character.
After the entire season was filmed, but before it aired, Sarah Michelle Gellar spoke to Joss Whedon about her concern. Upon reviewing the footage, he decided to reshoot her close-ups to tone the performance down. Thus, some of the scenes in this first episode were the very last things filmed in the entire season.
Before the first American airing of this episode, there was a promo spot which referred to two previous Slayers: Lucy Hanover, (Virginia, 1866) and an unidentified Chicago woman, in 1927. The promo was never shown in any of the overseas premieres of this episode nor does it appear to have been repeated before any subsequent airings of this, or any other episode.
The exterior shots of Sunnydale High are actually Torrance High, in Torrance, CA. The same school was used for the series Beverly Hills, 90210 and a number of other films and series.
For the entire first season, the sets for the interior of Sunnydale High School consisted of one hallway with two rooms (the library and a classroom) attached to it. It was constantly reshot from different angles to make every hall seem different.
According to the original script, the Master's real name is Heinrich Joseph Nest, and it states that he has been a vampire for approximately 600 years. Unfortunately, this was never mentioned onscreen.
When the initial score for the credit sequence didn't work out, it was Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg) who suggested that Joss look at the band Nerf Herder. Their version of the theme song captured what Joss Whedon was hoping to express, and the rest is history.
Joss Whedon had originally planned for viewers to never see Buffy's parents, but quickly realized that could become complicated. He wrote in Buffy's mom, Joyce (Kristine Sutherland), who would become an important character for the rest of the series.
Joss Whedon supplies the voice of the Mutant Enemy mascot which says "Grr...Arrgh" heard at the end of almost every episode.
Brian Thompson is no stranger to playing a vampire. He played Bocworth the vampire in the 1989 movie Fright Night II, and was Eddie Fiori, head of the Brujah clan of vampires, in the 1996 TV series Kindred: The Embraced.
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) originally auditioned for the part of Cordelia Chase and Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia), auditioned for the part of Buffy. Julie Benz also tried for the part of Buffy, but eventually landed the role of Darla.
Joss Whedon has said that originally he wanted to include Eric Balfour (Jesse) in the opening credits for this episode, to trick viewers into thinking that he is a regular character, only to shock them by having him killed. It was eventually decided that this idea would take too much time (having to develop alternative opening credits for use with just this one episode) and was dropped.
Welcome to the Hellmouth and The Harvest exist as both the original feature-length episode and and as a two-parter. When in feature-length format, the title Welcome to the Hellmouth is used for both parts.
Buffy: It's carbon dated. Trust me, only someone who had lived underground for ten years would think that was still the look.
Carbon Dating is a technique that is used to determine the age of organic matter. Buffy says this about the vampire's clothes because they are so out of style.
Buffy: (holds an outfit in front of herself) Hello, would you like a copy of The Watchtower?
Buffy here refers to the prim and proper appearance of the dress and compares it to Jehovah's Witnesses. Witnesses are a Christian sect which relies heavily on door-to-door prosetylization. Church representatives dress very formally and often try to sell subscriptions to their church magazine which is called "The Watchtower."
Buffy: Live in the now, ok? You look like DeBarge.
Buffy: Sorry, that's incorrect. But you do get this watch and a year's supply of Turtle Wax.
A supply of Turtle Wax car wax was a popular parting gift for game show losers.
Cordelia: James Spader?
Buffy: He needs to call me.
Buffy: It's two hours on the freeway from Neiman-Marcus?
Unlike Sears (which is the store that Cordelia makes fun of Willow with, saying she (Willow) shops there), the upscale Neiman-Marcus department store would certainly have clothing that met Cordelia's standards.
Xander: Not much goes on in a one Starbucks town like Sunnydale.
A play on the phrase a "one horse town" used to describe a small and slow placed town. Starbucks is of course the hugely popular coffee shop that can be found on every other street corner in a thriving metropolis.
Cordelia: Willow! Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears.
The department store Sears was for years best known as a place to buy tools and appliances. In their make-over attempt to boost their clothing sales they introduced the "softer side of Sears" slogan. As Cordelia is quick to point out however, Sears has not become the first choice of the fashionably dressed.
Cordelia: John Tesh?
A former TV show host turned musician, John Tesh is almost universally mocked in the press but still seems to sell records.
Giles: I'd much rather be home with a cup of Bovril and a good book.
The first of the British cultural references from Giles. Bovril is a food substance that can be spread on toast or made into a hot drink among other things. It's been described as "liquid cow" and is apparently extremely salty.
Buffy: What? You, like, sent away for the Time-Life series?
Time-Life publishes series of books on varied topics. This line most likely refers to the now out of print series "Mysteries of the Unknown" which focused on the occult and was still being heavily advertised at the time this episode first aired.
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