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The 40 Best ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ Villains, Ranked

Attention Slayers: these are the greatest adversaries in the many adventures of Buffy Summers.
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By  · Published on September 20th, 2018

10. The Master

The Master

Back before the centuries when Angelus ruled the Northern Hemisphere with an iron fist, before Darla wrought havoc on any man foolish enough to take her flirting seriously, there was The Master – the king of vampires, the leader of the order of Aurelius, and the prodigy of the Demon Lord Archaeus. A demon so ancient his lips are forever stained with the blood of the innocent, this baddie is one of the few villains to ever really give Buffy a run for her money – actually momentarily even ending her life for a few seconds before the ever-resilient Slayer bounces back. Without a doubt, one of the best things about this Whedon Big Bad is just how frightening he really is, raising the bar so high in season one with his wicked sharp claws and fierce olden presence and Terence Fisher-esque crypt that no other vampire ever really came close to mimicking his prowess. Not even the steel cage rib, nearly indestructible original vampires that the First uses as minions to do her bidding in season seven.

9. Gachnar the Fear Demon


Everybody’s afraid of something. Whether it be Willow’s frog fear or Xander’s grim memory of the birthday party clown who couldn’t even make a decent balloon animal, or even Anya’s revolting from rabbits, each person has his or her own personal little fear demon. Normally, most people would face their fears metaphorically, but this is Sunnydale, home of the Razorbacks and the Hellmouth, which means when Buff and the gang hit up the local Halloween party, all of their greatest fears manifest into a literal haunted house of horrors. Oz has zero control over his werewolf transformation abilities, Willow’s magic goes wonky, Xander becomes invisible to his friends, and Buffy, always slightly more serious than the rest of the Scoobs, has every single monster in the house telling her she’s always going to be alone. Lucky for her, the demon at the center of all of this chaos is Gachnar, and he is about six inches tall. Size doesn’t matter is given a new meaning in this fun little seasonal episode, wherein Buffy learns not to stress the small stuff and coincidentally comes into contact with arguably the cutest little baddie on the show.

8. The Judge


In the 14th century, The Judge was brought forth to wipe out humanity once and for all from this dimension, and he nearly succeeded. According to legend, no weapon forged by man can stop him, some of the military men were finally able to break the judge down into separate bodily pieces, which they then scattered across the ends of the earth. Six hundred years later, Spike decides that the reuniting of all of these parts would make a perfect birthday present for Drusilla. This is a crucial episode and monster for a few reasons – first of all, this is the first time it comes to light that the sweet and loving Angel we once knew is gone, the gypsy curse lifted by a moment’s happiness, and now only Angelus remains. This becomes evident when the Judge attempts to “burn” the humanity out of him, as he’s done hundreds of times before, only now, his latest victim is too vicious to be properly judged. As Angel changes sides, a major tonal shift occurs within the show, citing the beginning of a different, seriously darker program. But perhaps most importantly, this episode represents the start of an essential trend on this show – the first makings of Buffy as a true warrior. Absolutely everything in Buffy’s life is going wrong, all at once, and yet, she prevails. The love of her life now wants her dead, her enemies have brought an impervious demon for her to face, but if anything, all of these challenges have just made her stronger. That’s why when the judge joins her ex-lover at the local shopping mall to wipe out as many humans as possible in one fell swoop, Buffy meets them head-on, Uzi raised to one shoulder, cannon pointed at the big blue beast foolish enough to step foot in her town.

7. Spike


Not everybody knows this, but Billy Idol actually stole his look from Spike. Known to some as William the Bloody, to a few others as Hostel 17 and to one very sweet little vampire as Blondie Bear, Spike always had a knack for making an impression. Although he starts out as one of Buffy’s ultra nemesis, this punk rock on the outside, lifeless heart of gold on the inside baddie ultimately teams up with the Scooby gang, even going so far as to sacrifice himself up for the good of the world in the grand finale. He even gives Angel a run for his money as the vampire with a soul – the one who eventually wins over the Slayer’s very guarded heart.

6. Angelus


Looking at the way things wound up, you’d never believe that Buffy and Angel’s relationship started out like a fairytale. A vampire in love with a slayer – even Giles was shocked by how romantic the very idea of mortal enemies contemplating holy matrimony could be. Despite their best – and most logical – intentions, this pair fell hard for each other, and as a result of this broody broad shouldered salty morsel finally experiencing a moment of pure happiness after three hundred years of flogging and punishing, the gypsy curse is lifted, Angelus’ soul is removed from his body, and all that remains is the vampire demon within. Now, as the new and improved (or is it old and returned?) Angelus begins picking off the slayer’s friends, one by one, Buffy must rise to the challenge, diminish the demon who wears her ex-lover’s face, and ascend to a higher level of hero – one that isn’t a slave to her passions. Arguably the cruelest villain of them all, this Big Bad of season two earned his infamous reputation by carrying out cute little pranks like nailing puppies to walls and arranging his victims’ bodies in their beds so as to look like they’re merely sleeping. When Angelus rears his ugly head from Angel’s neck in season two, his transformation not only presents one of the most difficult opponents Buffy’s ever had to face, but also signifies a similar situation that many young women can relate to – the one in which the guy you once knew suddenly becomes a different person after you allow yourself to be intimate with someone you thought you could trust.

5. Dark Willow

Dark Willow

She is death. She is fresh vengeance rained down upon the heads of the men who wronged her. She’s not back on the magicks, she is the magicks. Coursing through her system now is only the current of the dark arts, and the rage that fuels her fire to keep up the carnage. It was only a few short hours ago that Warren shot Willow’s best friend Buffy and killed her girlfriend Tara, but it feels like a different lifetime. That Willow, the red-haired stuttering bookworm who packed her own lunches and wore Floods died the minute that Tara’s body hit the floor. This new black-haired, black magic fueled assassin is all that’s left, with one singular mission in mind: kill those who killed the one she loves and leaves no survivors in her wake. Anyone who tries to stop her is as dead as the Trio.

4. Sweet


After Buffy sacrifices herself at the end of season five in order to close the portal to Glory’s Hell dimension, her friends call upon reliable ‘ol Osiris to resurrect the Chosen One back to this plane. Willow, Tara, Xander, and Anya truly do believe they’re doing the right thing when they bring Buff back from the dead, imagining all this time that she’s been trapped inside of some unfathomable Hell, being tortured for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, that wasn’t exactly the case. The truth is, Buffy was actually in Heaven, and her best friends ripped her out. Of course, Buffy knows she can never tell her friends the truth – it would devastate them. But alas, a dancing demon named Sweet has just tapped his way into town, and he’s brought with him a spell that causes everyone in Sunnydale to sing and shimmy and shuck and jive and spill all of their innermost secrets through the power of song. It’s an interesting tactic that not only shows off Whedon’s affinity for having characters reveal secrets in ways that aren’t so straightforward, e.g. “Hush”, but also started a craze of ‘musical episodes’ that ranged all the way from shows like Daria to Scrubs to That ‘70s Show. “Once More With Feeling” is arguably the best episode Buffy the Vampire Slayer ever aired, and the slick, sultry Sweet is without a doubt the coolest demon Buffy ever faced – and it’s worth noting that he nearly defeats our girl without ever laying a hand on her.

3. Glory


For four straight seasons, Buffy was an only child. It was just Buffy, her mom Joyce, their two-story house in Sunnydale, and the occasional uninvited undead guest smashing in through the living room window. Then, suddenly and without warning, Dawn appears – Buffy’s younger sister inexplicably added to the lineup, and no one bats an eyelash. This bold maneuver is actually played out for a few episodes before it’s finally revealed what the gorram is going on here – Dawn is actually a ball of green energy that a group of monks made into human form, and placed at the Slayer’s side, for they knew that the Chosen One would protect the key with her life. And protection she would need, for Dawn isn’t just any key, she is the key whose blood opens the portal to Glory’s dimension, and Glory will stop at nothing to go home. Of course, this would normally pose no challenge for our Slayer, but there’s just one tiny difference between this opponent and every Big Bad the Buffinator has faced before – Glorificus is a god. A tall, beautiful, stylish, bratty, punches-through-walls-when-she-doesn’t-get-her-way god, and right now, the only thing that’s standing between her and the key to opening all of the different dimensions and unleashing Hell on earth is Buffy – an insect she’ll soon squash with pumps that perfectly match her early 2000s slip-on dress.

2. The Gentlemen

The Gentlemen

“Can’t even shout, can’t even cry. The Gentlemen are coming by. Tapping on windows, knocking on doors. They need to take seven and they might take yours”. This may sound like a cutesy fairy tale, but as the people of Sunnydale will tell you, it’s anything but a sweet fable. In what’s arguably the best episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that Joss Whedon ever released – and actually, was the only episode to ever be nominated for an Emmy Award – Buffy and her friends, and the entire town fall ill from a strange type of laryngitis that sweeps over Sunnydale in the dead of night, rendering the entire city literally speechless by morning. Led by master creature feature deep makeup man Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water, Hocus Pocus), the gentlemen are on the hunt for seven hearts, but the most terrifying thing about them – aside from their ghastly grins, that is – is the way in which they extract the hearts from their unwilling patrons. Because their victims are unable to talk, when preyed upon, the kids scream at the top of their lungs for help – only to die struggling, silent, unable to cry out for rescue. It’s hard to think of a more horrible way to die.

1.The Mayor

The Mayor

Polite, punctual, and positively mad, Richard Wilkins III, or as he’s known to most in Sunnydale, the Mayor, is without a doubt the most terrifying opponent Buffy and her gang of Slayerettes have ever faced – at least by season three standards. Initially introduced in the season three episode five entry titled “Homecoming”, the Mayor is almost immediately ousted to the audience as a bad guy, but what’s so devilishly delightful about his character is how the true depths to which he’s willing to sink are only dueled out in such small doses. Little sneak peeks at his innate sinister nature spread out and snuck into scenes where he’s offering advice on cleanliness, or handing over milk and cookies. It’s not until all of his sheepish pranks culminate into a grand finale where he ascends into a giant snake monster on graduation day that everyone really starts to take his insane quest for power seriously – everyone, that is of course, except for the Scoobies. Like always, they’re at the ready, even Buffy, who within the past forty-eight hours fought her best friend nearly to the death, nursed her dying boyfriend back to health, and oh yeah, recently awoke from a deep and life-threatening coma. All in a day’s work for a Slayer. The girl that for whom not even an impending apocalypse could cause her to quake in her stylish yet affordable boots.

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