Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Dead Man's Party

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Dead Man's Party
Dead Man's Party
Season 3, Episode 2
Airdate October 6, 1998
Production Number 3ABB02
Written by Marti Noxon
Directed by James Whitmore, Jr.
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Faith, Hope and Trick
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Three

Dead Man's Party is the second episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the thirty-sixth episode overall. Buffy returns to find problems in her relationships in Sunnydale, while Joyce's art is raising the dead.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), David Boreanaz (Angel), Seth Green (Oz)

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), Nancy Lenehan (Pat)

and Armin Shimerman (Principal Snyder)

Co-Starring: Danny Strong (Jonathan), Jason Hall (Devon), Paul Morgan Stetler (Young Doctor), Chris Garnant (Stoner #1)

Uncredited: Heath Castor (Party Guest), Scott Duthie (Zombie)


Plot Overview

Joyce collects artwork, including a mystical Nigerian mask, which raises the dead. Zombies walk in Sunnydale, while Giles tries to figure out what is causing it. Meanwhile, resentment has built in the Scooby Squad as Buffy's absence has forced the rest of the crew to pick up the slack in the slaying department.

Things blow up at a party commemorating Buffy's return when Willow catches Buffy packing her bags after she overhears Joyce voicing her frustrations to a friend. The crew go at each other and let it all out. The zombified corpses reach the Summers house and the argument is put on hold as everyone inside the house is forced to battle the zombies. Joyce's friend is killed by a zombie, then is reanimated and puts on the mask to become the embodiment of the evil entity within the mask (which has the ability to hypnotize anyone looking at it whenever it flashes its eyes), but Buffy stops her and all of the zombies vanish as a result.

Snyder, who suspended Buffy from school at the end of the second season and has refused to allow her to return out of pettiness, is physically coerced by Giles into letting Buffy return to school. Buffy and Willow reconcile at the Espresso Pump coffee bar in the aftermath of the party.


Monster of the Week

Ovu Mobani is a zombie demon who's power is consolidated within a fanged Nigerian mask. The mask turns the recently dead into zombies, who converge upon the location of the mask. When they reach it, the zombie that puts the mask on is transformed into the demon incarnate and the rest of the zombies cower in fear of it. Once the demon's host is destroyed by damaging its eyes, it and the zombies disappear in a cloud of pink smoke.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Vampire Buffy Staked Alley
2 Pat Zombies/Buffy Stabbed in the Eyes Buffy's Yard


  • Four Star Mary - "Never Mind"
  • Four Star Mary - "Sway"
  • Four Star Mary - "Pain"

Arc Advancement


  • Expulsion: Buffy's expulsion is repealed after Snyder is physically threatened by Giles, although he doesn't allow her back into school immediately.


  • Willow: In Buffy's room, Willow admits to her that she's been dating Oz and has also been studying witchcraft during the summer, all without anyone to talk to.


  • 2x22 - Becoming (2): Buffy was accused of murdering Kendra when she arrived at the library too late to save her and in time to be caught at the scene by the police. She evaded arrest, which only served to make her look even guiltier.
Oz: Hey, so you're not wanted for murder anymore.


The Show

  • Dingoes: The songs that Dingoes Ate My Baby play at the house party are "Nevermind", "Pain" and "Sway".

Behind the Scenes

  • International: Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been dubbed into many different languages and the title translated for each different international version. Some international translations of this episode's title are:
    • French: "Le masque de Cordolfo" ("The Mask of Cordolfo")
    • Italian: "La festa dei morti viventi" ("The Night of the Living Dead Ones")
    • German: "Die Nacht der lebenden Toten" ("The Night of the Living Dead Ones")
    • Japanese: "死人パーティ" ("Shinin Paati" - "Dead Man Party")
    • Spanish: "La fiesta del muerto" ("The Dead Man's Party")

Allusions and References

  • Dead Man's Party: The title of this episode is a reference to the song and album by Oingo Boingo, Dead Man's Party. The album, the band's fourth, was released in 1985 and notably included "Weird Science", which was used in the John Hughes film of the same name. Incidentally, the band itself played the title track at a house party in the film Back to School.

Memorable Moments


  • When the zombies crash through the Summers home, Joyce asks if they're vampires, at which point Buffy stakes one in the heart to see. However, she would know that they're not by the mere fact that they got inside the house without an invitation.


  • Giles: Unbelievable. "Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty? It raises the dead." Americans.
  • Cordelia: Time out, Xander. Put yourself in Buffy's shoes for just a minute. Okay? I'm Buffy, freak of nature, right? Naturally I pick a freak for a boyfriend, and then he turns into Mr. Killing Spree, which is pretty much my fault --
Buffy: Cordy, get out my shoes.
  • Oz: Okay, gonna step in now, being referee guy.
Willow: No, let them go, Oz. Talking about it isn't helping. We might as well try some violence.
(zombies burst into the house)
Willow: I was being sarcastic!
  • Giles: Cordelia, it's me. It's me.
Cordelia: How do we know its really you and not zombie Giles?
Giles: Cordelia, do stop being tiresome.
Cordelia: It's him.
  • Xander: Generally speaking, when scary things get scared - not good.