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18 June 2014
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Doug Petrie with weaponry. Grrr!
Doug Petrie
Buffy producer's inside guide

Fear, Itself
Blair Witch Buffy and Halloween specials.

BBC : Fear, Itself, the second Buffy Halloween episode, explores a familiar theme, whereby you have regulars in a position where they are confronted by their own personal fears and doubts. As a writer, do you find that to be good source of material?

Doug Petrie: Yeah, it's absolutely a staple in our show and I think that season four explored it more fully than ever before. David Fury came up with a concept of Fear, Itself, of the haunted house that becomes real, and he did a great job with that. I think that there was a conscious decision. We all spoke at length about our college experiences and what the first year of college was like, and we all agreed that your pre-existing friendships become tested when you meet new people. If you're part of a group, that group splits up a little bit and that really is what happened in season four with Buffy, with the Scooby Gang.

It was very tricky territory because it's very valid in terms of reality, but we and our viewers loved seeing this group so we don't want to see them fight and not get along and become disenfranchised from one another. And yet we felt it would be a cheat not to go there, so Fear, Itself was kind of, in many ways, kicking off the season emotionally. [It] was testing the group dynamic, and they became fully tested throughout season four.

BBC : I gather the original Halloween episode was a big influence on you?

Doug Petrie: I was a big fan of the original Halloween episode. It was the first episode that I saw as a fan, the second season Halloween episode. I think it was just called Halloween, where I watched and just kind of... the whole series popped for me. I was always a fan but that was the first episode that I watched and I said "I really want to write for that show, that's a brilliant television show." The specificity and the humour and the horror and the forward drive and the drama and all that stuff... [Fear, Itself] was beautifully shot and I was just a little jealous because it's funny, all the writers are... every time someone gets to almost any episode they go, "Gee I want to direct that one..."

I always, in my heart of hearts, wanted to do a sequel to it [Halloween]. I had just seen The Blair Witch Project at the time and I was trying to come up with something dark and horrible, not remotely comedic, but Fury came up with this great idea and did a great job.

BBC : Maybe next year.

Doug Petrie: Maybe next year. There's always another Halloween. I'm going to start writing now!

Read our episode guide to Fear, Itself >>

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