I am a big, and I mean BIG, fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The show is generally made up of ongoing character development storylines and ‘Big Bad’ season arcs, interlaced with stand-alone monster-of-the-week episodes. Some silly; some terrifying. So I decided to compile the top 13 Monsters-Of-The-Week, ranked from worst to best – because it’s more fun that way. The following contains spoilers for the whole series of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
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From the Season 2 episode ‘Go Fish’. Xander joins the swim team in an undercover attempt to find out why a demon seems to be targeting and killing members of the swim team. It turns out that the coach of the swim team is drugging the boys with fish dna to make them better at swimming, however, it’s turning them into Creature From The Black Lagoon type demons (which is never given a name in the episode so I’ve endearingly dubbed them ‘Fish Dudes’). It’s a controversial opinion as a lot of people hate this episode, but it’s silliness always gives me a little giggle. They are kinda creepy though, imagine your insides morphing, forcing you to shed your human skin and become a fish-demon-thing.
Best quote about the beastie – Willow: “So we’re lookin’ for a beastie.” Giles: “That, uh, eats humans whole… Except for the skin.” Buffy: “This doesn’t make any sense.” Xander: “Yeah, the skin’s the best part.”
From the Season 4 episode ‘Wild At Heart’ and portrayed by Paige Moss. Oz finds himself attracted to a female singer, but it turns out they have more than just music in common – she’s also a werewolf! The two are overwhelmingly drawn to each other, but Oz’s love for Willow is stronger than his animal instinct, and he is forced to kill Veruca in order to save her. This leads Oz to realise he still has a lot to learn about his inner wolf, and leaves a heartbroken Willow on a journey of self-discovery. I really liked Veruca – in an I hate you way, because Willow crying is honestly one of the saddest things you’ll ever see. It was interesting though to see another werewolf on the show, especially as Veruca happily embraces being a werewolf, whereas Oz hides away in his cage every month.
Best quote about the beastie – Oz: “Veruca was right about something. The wolf is inside me all the time…”
From the Season 3 episode ‘Faith, Hope & Trick’ and portrayed by Jeremy Roberts. A new slayer arrives in town after the untimely demise of Kendra at the end of season 2, but she brings vampires Kakistos (an ancient vampire so old his hands are turning into cloven hooves) and Mr Trick to town in her wake. Faith seems confident and fun on the surface, but she has actually fled to Sunnydale out of fear after seeing Kakistos kill her Watcher. Buffy helps Faith slay the vampire, who is basically The Master 2.0 and requires a giant stake in order to be killed. I really love Mr Trick too, but as he appeared in several episodes after this, he won’t be appearing in this list.
Best quote about the beastie – Buffy: “Like you took care of your Watcher…? He killed her, didn’t he?” Faith: “They don’t have a word for what he did to her”
From the Season 2 episodes ‘Surprise’ and ‘Innocence’ and portrayed by Brian Thompson. On Buffy’s 17th birthday she gets an unwelcome surprise from Spike and Drusilla, who have reassembled a deadly demon named The Judge. The Judge relentlessly burns up the humanity in people just by touching them, but when his strength grows he just has to be near them. If that wasn’t terrifying enough, ‘no weapon forged can stop him’, he was only stopped during his original reign of terror when an army dismembered him, scattered the pieces around the world, and buried them. Buffy doesn’t have an army, but weaponry has evolved quite a bit since The Judge’s day, and she blows him to pieces with a rocket launcher.
Best quote about the beastie – Giles: “A true creature of evil can survive the process. No human ever has.” Xander: “What’s the problem? We send Cordy to fight this guy and we go for pizza”
From the Season 2 episode ‘Ted’ and portrayed by John Ritter. Buffy’s mum has a new boyfriend named Ted, whose seemingly perfect exterior seems to charm everyone except Buffy. After a heated confrontation between the two turns physical she kicks Ted down the stairs, accidentally killing him. Whilst Buffy is racked with guilt over killing a human, the rest of the gang look into Ted’s past; it turns out he’s a robot – a psychotic, wife murdering robot! When Ted returns to the house alive, Buffy realises he’s not human and beats him to death? (I guess robots don’t really die) with a frying pan (the same cast iron frying pan he praised highly at the start of the episode). I like that Ted is the classic evil step-parent character, with a Buffy twist.
Best quote about the beastie – Willow: “What’s in there?” Xander: “His first four wives.”
From the Season 6 episode ‘Once More With Feeling’ and portrayed by Hinton Battle. Sweet is accidentally summoned to Sunnydale by Xander, but it’s not so bad, he just makes you sing and dance… until you burn and die. Sweet is sassy, a dapper dresser, and has those weird puppet minion things – there’s a lot to love! Once More With Feeling is one of the only successfully done musical episodes within a non-musical show.
Best quote about the beastie – Xander: “Does this mean I have to… be your queen?” Sweet: “It’s tempting… but I think we’ll waive that clause just this once”
From the Season 1 episode ‘Witch’ and portrayed by Elisabeth Anne Allen and Robin Riker. Buffy fears she has a witch on her hands when members of the cheerleading squad, including herself, fall victim to supernatural attacks. The finger soon points to Willow’s childhood friend Amy, who seems obsessed with her mother’s former success as a cheerleader, and more upset than she should be about not making the team. Giles and a gravely ill Buffy pay a visit to Amy’s mum, Catherine, where it transpires that she is actually the witch and switched bodies with Amy weeks ago in an attempt to relive her glory days as a cheerleader. I love witches, and I like that we get to see the dark places Witchcraft can take you so early on in the show – something that will be a recurring plot point throughout the show.
Best line about the beastie – Buffy: “She’s our Sabrina”
Glarghk Guhl Kashma’nik
From the Season 6 episode ‘Normal Again’. Buffy is stung by a demon which causes her to have hallucinations that she is a normal girl in a mental ward, and her life in Sunnydale is just a big delusion. I think the concept of losing grip on your reality, especially when suffering from severe depression and your reality no longer appeals to you, is a really terrifying one. Also, I love the name of this thing, try saying it really fast after a few shots of tequila – I promise you won’t be able to.
Best quote about the beastie – Spike: “Oh balls! You didn’t say he was a Glarghk Guhl Kashma’nik” Xander: “‘Cause I can’t say Glarba-” *Gets hit by demon*
From the Season 4 episode ‘The Freshman’ and portrayed by Katharine Towne. In a show called Buffy The Vampire slayer, there is of course several interesting vampires sprinkled throughout the show. Sunday is one of them. Buffy is struggling to settle into college life, and notices that some students are starting to go missing – which is shucked up to just be Freshman jitters. Buffy is attacked one night by Sunday, a sassy, Gwen Stefani looking vampire, and gets hurt pretty badly, forcing her to retreat. It transpires that Sunday and her lackies have been killing freshmen students at the college, stealing their stuff, and making them look like runaways. Sunday had a lot of personality for a monster-of-the-week, I think it’s a shame that she only lasted the one episode as I feel she had potential to have a slightly longer story arc.
Best quote about the beastie – Buffy: “When you look back at this, in the three seconds it’ll take you to turn to dust, I think you’ll find the mistake was touching my stuff.”
From the Season 3 episode ‘Helpless’ and portrayed by Jeff Kober. On her 18th birthday, Buffy is forced to partake in a barbaric test by the Watchers Council, where her Slayer powers are taken away and she has to face a sadistic and psychotic vampire named Kralik. Like, this was a dude who was already crazy, so becoming a soulless demon didn’t really do him any favours. Brilliantly played by Jeff Kober, Kralik just creeps me the fuck out.
From the Season 4 episode ‘Hush’ and portrayed by Doug Jones, Camden Toy, Don W. Lewis and Charlie Brumbly. Often voted one of the best episodes, and one of the creepiest villains – and for good reason! Although they don’t quite top our list. Buffy has a dream in which a little girl is singing a creepy nursery rhyme (which I’ve lovingly typed out for you below) which prophecises the coming of something called ‘The Gentlemen’. The next day, everyone in Sunnydale has lost their voice, which is creepy and weird enough, right? Then that night, a college student is visited by The Gentlemen – some silent, creepy, ever smiling mother fuckers – who cut out his heart whilst no one can hear him screaming. Giles eventually figures out that they are creatures from an old fairytale who come to towns to steal 7 hearts. No weapon can harm them, but a loud human voice can hurt and even kill them, so they take away the voices of everyone in town. All Buffy has to do is get her voice back and scream for her life, easy right? If you’ve ever had those nightmares where you can’t scream, then you know why The Gentlemen are so particularly frightening.
Best quote about the beastie – Little Girl: *singing* “Can’t even shout, can’t even cry, The Gentlemen are coming by, looking in windows, knocking on doors, they need to take 7 and they might take yours, can’t call to mum, can’t say a word, you’re gonna die screaming but you won’t be heard”
From the Season 7 episode ‘Same Time, Same Place’ and portrayed by Camden Toy. Willow has been rehabilitating in London with Giles and a coven of witches after becoming the ultimate evil at the end of season 6. Anxious about her return to Sunnydale, she accidentally makes herself invisible to her friends, and her friends invisible to her. When a man is found flayed alive, the gang can’t help but think that Willow is back and not as rehabilitated as they thought. However, it’s actually a creepy little demon called Gnarl behind the killing, and Willow is his next victim! Gnarl paralyses his victims, slowly strips off their skin to eat, and laps up their blood. The victim is alive and conscious throughout the whole process, but unable to move or speak. If that doesn’t keep you awake at night, nothing will. Except maybe our next and final monster…
Best quote about the beastie – Xander: “You couldn’t help it. It had paralysing fingernails.” Buffy: “Just like you said it would. So, good on you.”
From the Season 2 episode ‘Killed By Death’ and portrayed by James Jude Courtney. Taking our top spot as the best monster-of-the-week is the nightmare inducing and child soul sucking Der Kinderstod. Buffy is hospitalised with a bad case of the flu and sees the creepy demon lurking in the corridors. Unconvinced that it was just a fever induced hallucination, Buffy investigates it further. She meets a young boy named Ryan who is fearful of the demon, dubbing it ‘death’ as it comes into the children’s ward and kills them. They start to suspect its not a demon at all and in fact the odd Dr Baxter, but when Buffy sees Dr Baxter get brutally murdered by an invisible force, they come to realise that they’re dealing with a demon who can only be seen by children – and feverish adults. Der Kinderstod pins down his victims – children – and sucks the life out of them. Buffy has to make herself ill again in order to see and defeat Der Kinderstod before he can claim another victim. If that wasn’t creepy enough for you, I forgot to mention that Der Kinderstod has a creepy, old man smokers laugh, which if I heard it in the middle of the night, there would be literal poo in my pants.
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