Where in the Horror are they Now? Julie Benz!

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THEN: The first time I caught the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I was instantly hooked. And I’ll never forget that pilot episode “Welcome to the Hellmouth.” The second you saw the pretty blonde girl breaking into the high school with some bad boy, it was clearly a poor choice. The surprise being that the bad boy wasn’t the one to worry about. Nope, it was Darla, the pretty blonde who had a taste for blood. It was even better because Julie Benz was delightfully perky, even when she was slaughtering residents in this fictional town. While Ms. Benz only did a handful of episodes as a vamp that had a thing with Angel (David Boreanaz), she certainly made a huge impression on me. I will forever be a Darla fan, but let’s face it, this delightfully stunning actress has a whole bunch more to offer.

Well before she hunted down Buffy, Julie Benz was already making a name for herself on both the big and small screen. In fact, her first role according to IMDb was in the segment “The Black Cat” for the George A. Romero and Dario Argento collaboration TWO EVIL EYES in 1990. After that she made appearances on a number of TV shows including Married With Children (1994), Hang Time (1995), High Tide (1995) and Step by Step (1995). Her next foray into genre included the sci-fi acton flick DARKDRIVE in 1997. In fact, that was a particularly busy year for her.  She had a role in television projects like The Big Easy, A Walton Easter, Fame L.A. She even had a couple of bit parts in  INVENTING THE ABBOTTS and the critically acclaimed AS GOOD AS IT GETS. 

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JAWBREAKERS is not technically horror, even if there are some very dark ideas in this flick. However, it was super twisted thus I'm adding it here. The 1999 comedy also starred the lovely Rose McGowan and Judy Greer. And speaking of dark, what about the television remake of the cult classic Satan’s School for Girls in 2000 - I missed that one and I must see it. If that wasn’t enough she also joined the cast of the series Roswell from 1999-2000 for seven episodes. In between her work on Roswell and Buffy, she decided to have a little fun with horror for SHRIEK IF YOU KNOW WHAT I DID LAST FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH. So is it okay if I talk about how great she was on Buffy again? Okay, fine, I’ll let it go. But she really was! #DarlaLives.

Television has been kind to the actress. She had roles on Glory Days (2002), She Spies (2002), Taken (2002) Coupling (2003), and then there was that OTHER series about vampires. At one point she left Buffy for Angel where she really took Darla to another level. She quickly became a fan favorite, and frankly I fell in love with her on both of the Joss Whedon created shows. In 2005, the actress left Sunnydale and Angel to become one of the BAD GIRLS FROM VALLEY HIGH, she fought off Locusts: The 8th Plague and she found herself in a world of sex and pornography in 8MM 2. Hell, just to keep things right with the world, the actress also showed up for an episode of Supernatural in 2006. 

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Not slowing down one bit, Julie appeared in few notable films in 2008. She helped out RAMBO take care of business. She was terrorized by Jigsaw in SAW V. She also found herself in the world of PUNISHER: WAR ZONE. A couple years later, Benz had the opportunity to chew a little scenery with her wild turn in THE BOONDOOK SAINTS II: ALL SAINTS DAY. Now we could talk about her time on Desperate Housewives… but, nah. Let’s get to the good stuff. How fantastic was Julie on the series Dexter. I loved her as a loving wife who had a husband with serious secrets. She made for a perfect romantic interest opposite Michael C. Hall. Now look, I dug this show, but man was I bummed how they ended her character. That shit was brutal. And for me, Dexter was never the same again.

The next few years Julie continued to work a ton. When it came to television you could find her on No Ordinary Family - the series didn’t last long. She made appearances on Royal Pains (2011), A Gifted Man (2011-12) and she also appeared in a few flicks including ANSWERS TO NOTHING in 2011, SUPREMACY in 2014 and CIRCLE in 2015. It’s impressive looking at how much love Ms. Benz has given to the world of horror and science fiction. And frankly, I haven’t even gotten to yet another project that she was involved in. And this time, she demanded attention. I know quite a few people who were on board for the series Defiance that ran from 2013 - 2015. Honestly I never got around to that one but I'd be interested in checking it out. Any fans here?

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NOW: Besides her run on Defiance, Benz also starred in a couple other projects in 2015. She appeared in the indie feature LIFE ON THE LINE, and the TV-movie Charming Christmas. The following year kept Julie quite busy. She has appeared in twelve episodes of Hawaii Five-O (from 2015-17). She showed up for a few episodes of Training Day in 2017. And next up is the TV-series Dark/Web. The horror anthology also features another couple of Buffy favorites, the lovely Clare Kramer and the terrific Nicholas Brendon. Now if we could only have some sort of proper Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion I’d be incredibly happy.

Here is the thing, Benz actually auditioned to play Buffy. And while I love Sarah Michelle Gellar, that would have been an interesting casting choice as well. Thankfully though, she killed it as Darla. In fact, every damn time I see Julie Benz on my television or the big screen, it makes me happy. This talented and quite beautiful actress took a cool character and made it great. In fact, she has taken on a ton of great characters. And holy hell I will never forget her final episode of Angel. That was one of the best things on TV at the time. If you’d like to see what Julie has been up to, you can follow her on Twitter, or Facebook. You can even check out one of her many fansites. Trust me when I say, she is worth it.

Extra Tidbit: Who is your favorite Buffy/Angel villain (or big bad if you'd prefer)?
Source: AITH



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