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Ten Great Villains From Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published March 10th 2020
In every generation, there is a chosen one
Ten Great Villains From Buffy the Vampire Slayer

"I'm the thing that monsters have nightmares about."

Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer

Buffy Summers is one girl, a chosen one, who learns in 1996 at age fifteen that she is the next in a long line of women "vampire slayers" destined to defend the world against vampires, demons and the forces of darkness. During her time as the Slayer, she fought a number of monsters. She encountered everything from "Big Bad" villains, which were major antagonists who threatened some kind of apocalypse, to vampires lurking around graveyards at night. This article lists 10 of the Best Villains she ever encountered, from the humorous, to the entertaining, the terrifying and bizarre. There will be spoilers ahead for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series and comic books.

1. D'Hoffryn

Ten Great Villains From Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Appearances: Season 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, various comic books, novels and other media.
Classification: Lower Being, Vengeance demon
Portrayed By:Andy Umberger

Best Quote:

Willow: "Really, no offence intended I mean, you've been super-nice and everything, but I don't wanna be a demon. I just wanna go back and help my friends."

D'Hoffryn: "That is your answer?"

Willow: "It is."

D'Hoffryn: "I'm sorry to hear that. Oh, well. Here is my talisman. You change your mind, give us a chant."

Willow to D'Hoffryn, Something Blue

D'Hoffryn was part of an ancient group of demons called the Lower Beings, he was the "boss" of the vengeance demons and the ruler of the demon dimension of Arashmaharr. D'Hoffryn could be described as a neutral evil character, which means he was an unscrupulous, self-serving character who was determined to achieve power, glory, wealth and a high position for himself. He didn't care about the feelings of anyone else, all that mattered was that he reigned supreme, which often meant going for the hurt instead of the kill. D'Hoffryn is a good example of a character on Buffy who has shades of grey to him. When Willow turns down his offer to join him in Arashmaharr and become a vengeance demon, he responds with a shrug, and an "Oh well" and gives her his talisman, much like a business card, and tells her if she changes her mind in the future to "give him a chant" similar to ringing him on the telephone. D'Hoffryn acts more like a businessman than an evil moustache-twirling villain.

2.Olaf the Troll

Appearances: "Triangle" Season 5, Episode 11 and "Selfless" Season 7, Episode 5
Classification: Troll
Portrayed By: Abraham Benrubi

Best Quote:


Olaf the Troll, Triangle

Olaf is one of the funniest characters ever to appear on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Olaf used to be a human centuries ago but in 880 A.D was turned into a troll by Anya (who called herself Aud back then) after he cheated on her with a load-bearing bar matron. After his transformation, Olaf adjusts to life as a troll and happily wreaks havoc for years until he gets cursed and turned into a crystal by a group of witches. The two episodes he appears in are some of the funniest episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In 'Triangle' he is released from his crystal and goes on a rampage searching for delicious ale, virgins to make merry with and nice, plump babies to eat. All of Olaf's lines in 'Triangle' were written in capital letters to symbolize his loud, booming voice. In 'Selfless' we see in a flashback what he was like as a human and how he was transformed into a troll by Aud. The scene was filmed intentionally to look like a grainy, poorly made horror film and has scared villagers fleeing from Olaf the Troll screaming "Run! Hide your babies and your beadwork!" and "The troll is doing an Olaf impersonation!" while others pelt him with fruits and various meats.


Ten Great Villains From Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Appearances: Season Five, Season Six, Season Seven
Classification: Vengeance demon
Portrayed By: Kali Rocha

Best Quote:

Tara Maclay: "I thought vengeance demons only punished men who wronged women."

Halfrek: "Oh, that was Anya's little raison d'Ítre. Most of us try to be a little more well-rounded, and actually, we prefer "justice demon. " Okay? FYI."

Tara and Halfrek, Older and Far Away

Halfrek is a good example of a villain on Buffy who is not completely evil like The Master or Angelus, but is more of a chaotic neutral. Halfrek was a vengeance demon and long-time friend and work associate of Anya back when she was a vengeance demon named Anyanka. Halfrek used her work as a vengeance demon to seek justice for abused and neglected children. She was a cheerful individual who had her own set of values that she lived by in her line of work. She cared a lot for children and could sense when they were miserable. She was convinced that children needed her which is why she preferred to call herself a 'justice demon' instead of a vengeance demon. Like other vengeance demons, she was not concerned if she was being fair to the people she punished, and often used creative punishments designed to inflict mental tortures. Halfrek remained friends with Anyanka after she became Anya, even though she disliked humans, and had nothing but criticism for the human world. Halfrek, much like Olaf, is a very humorous character and brightens up almost every scene that she is in.

4. Holden Webster

Season 7, Episode 7 "Conversations with Dead People"
Classification: Vampire
Portrayed By: Jonathan M. Woodward

Best Quote:

Holden Webster: "Hey, I-I don't bean to be Count Buttinsky here, but you just don't seem as thrilled. Is it because we're gonna fight?"

Buffy Summers: "It's 'cause I'm gonna win."

Holden Webster: (laughing) "Hello. Two years of Tae Kwon Do and vampire strength. I think somebody's countin' their chickens."

Buffy and Holden, Conversations with Dead People

Holder Webster was an old classmate of Buffy's at Sunnydale High who was sired by Spike after high school and turned into a vampire. When he next meets Buffy, he is a newborn vampire and she is waiting over his grave to slay him as he rises for the first time. Holden attacks her, but then recognizes Buffy as an old friend, and stops. He is delighted to see her again and tries to get Buffy to remember him, but she cannot. Buffy is distracted by his cheerful attitude and lowers her guard. The two of them decide to pause their fight to catch up and talk about what they've been up to since high school. Buffy explains to Holden that he is a vampire now and that she is destined to slay vampires. Holden is utterly delighted and excited with his new vampire abilities and asks Buffy about her life as a slayer. Buffy begins to open up to him about issues she has been having and Holden listens for a little bit, then tries to bite her. He is still a lot like his former human self, which he uses to distract Buffy from their fight to his advantage. Holden Webster is a wonderfully written character and an absolute delight. Jonathan M. Woodward does a great job portraying a vampire who is humorous, dangerously charming, intelligent and manipulative.

5. Anne Pratt

Appearances: "Lies My Parents Told Me" Season 7, Episode 17
Classification: Vampire
Portrayed By: Caroline Lagerfelt

Best Quote:

Anne backs William up against the wall: "You want to run, don't you? Scamper off and cry to your new little trollop. Do you think you'll be able to love her? (She leans too close to William) Think you'll be able to touch her without feeling me? (William flinches, panicked and disgusted, and looks away from her) All you ever wanted was to be back inside. (Anne touches his face, his body) You finally got your wish, didn't you? Sank your teeth into me. An eternal kiss."

Anne to William, Lies My Parents Told Me

Anne Pratt was a vampire and the mother of Spike, who was an aspiring poet named William before he became a vampire. William had been a shy and sentimental gentleman in life. As a vampire, he woke up with an evil blood lust but still with a strong sense of love and capacity for loyalty. Anne was the first vampire that Spike sired after becoming one himself. He decided to turn Anne because the two of them had been very close in life and often spent most of their spare time together. William's love for his mother was so strong it followed him into his next life, but that was not the same case for Anne. As a human, she loved William dearly, but as a vampire, she found his love for her smothering and mocked him with the knowledge that she knew he had been hiding a sexual attraction to her. Anne's transformation from a loving mother into a demon was horrifying to watch, but also made for excellent viewing, and a fantastic exploration into Spike's character and his past.

6.Zachary Kralik
Ten Great Villains From Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Appearances: "Helpless" Season 3, Episode 12
Classification: Vampire
Portrayed By: Jeff Kober

Best Quote:

"My mother was a person with no self-respect of her own, so she tried to take mine. Ten years old and she had the scissors. You wouldn't believe what she took with those..."

Zachary Kralik, Helpless

Zachary Kralik is one of the most terrifying villains that appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Before he became a vampire, Kralik was a crazed serial killer who tortured and killed more than a dozen young women and was eventually put in an asylum for the criminally insane. After he became a vampire, Kralik killed and ate his own mother, to get back at her for physical and sexual abuse she inflicted upon him as a child. Kralik then went on a murderous rampage, torturing and killing many others. He became dependent on anti-psychotic medication and ended up being shunned by other vampires due to his mental state. He was eventually captured by the Watchers Council and was recruited to take part in the Cruciamentum of Buffy Summers. Kralik managed to escape from his restraints before the Cruciamentum could begin and then kidnaps Buffy's mother Joyce. The cat and mouse game that Zachary Kralik plays with Buffy is disturbing to watch. Buffy is stripped of her powers and reduced to a frightened teenage girl trapped in a house with a dangerously unstable vampire. The scenes where Kralik stalks Buffy and lures her to his lair play out like a horror film with Buffy playing the role of the screaming, terrified blonde. Kralik is excited to play the "game" the Council have recruited him for and takes glee in torturing Buffy, until she tricks him into drinking a bottle of holy water, which causes him to disintegrate from the inside out.

7. Gachnar

Appearances: "Fear, Itself" Season 4, Episode 11
Classification: Demon
Portrayed By: Adam Bitterman

Best Quote:

"I am the Dark Lord of nightmares, the bringer of terror... Tremble before me! Fear me!"

Gachnar, Fear, Itself

Gachnar was the Demon of Fear, the Dark Lord of Nightmares and the Bringer of Terror. Gachnar appears in the season four episode "Fear, Itself" after his mark is accidentally painted on the floor of a frat house as part of decorations for a Halloween party. Gachnar's presence starts to manifest itself in the house after a drop of blood falls on his mark. Gachnar traps the party goers in the house, including Buffy and her friends, and tricks them into thinking all of their deepest fears have become reality. When he is finally made flesh, everyone is expecting him to be monstrous, but then he is revealed to be... only a few inches tall. The twist in the episode that Gachnar is so small in real life is hilarious. My favourite part in the episode is when Giles discovers a caption beneath an illustration of Gachnar in a book and gets annoyed when he realizes it translates as "Actual size".

8. Ted
Ten Great Villains From Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Appearances: "Ted" Season Two, Episode 11
Classification: Robot
Portrayed By: John Ritter

Best Quote:

"So, I'm Ted, the sickly loser. I'm dying and my wife dumps me. I build a better Ted. He brings her back, holds her hostage in his bunker o' love until she dies. And then he keeps bringing her back, over and over. Now, now that's creepy on a level I hardly knew existed."

Xander Harris, Ted

Ted was a robot duplicate of an inventor from the 1950's named Ted Buchanan who suffered from ill-health. After his wife left him, Buchanan created a robot version of himself, the kind of Ted he felt his wife should have married. Buchanan died not long after, leaving the robot-Ted to take his place. His duplicate then kidnapped his wife and held her captive in a bunker until she died. Ted repeated this cycle for the next several decades, dating women, getting them to fall in love with him, and then kidnapping them and holding them captive until they died so they could never leave him. When Ted meets Joyce, Buffy's mother, he appears like an ordinary man. But there is something about him that disturbs Buffy, he seems too perfect, and she feels like he is having too much of an interfering influence in her life. Buffy has trouble convincing others of her suspicions about Ted because outwardly he appears very nice. But in private he threatens Buffy, enters her room without permission, accuses her of being mentally ill, expresses sexist 1950s values toward women and even hits her. Ted is a great villain because until it is revealed that he is a murderous robot, he appears as a normal human being, which is a lot more terrifying to Buffy because she feels powerless against him.

9. James Stanley

Ten Great Villains From Buffy the Vampire Slayer

"I Only Have Eyes For You," Season 2, Episode 19
Classification: Human (formerly), Ghost
Portrayed By: Christopher Gorham, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Brian Poth, John Hawkes and James Lurie

Best Quote:

Giles: "To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It's... It's not done because people deserve it. It's done because they need it."

Buffy: "No. James destroyed the one person he loved the most in a moment of blind passion. And that's not something you forgive. No matter why he did what he did. And no matter if he knows now that it was wrong and selfish and stupid, it is just something he's gonna have to live with."

Giles and Buffy, I Only Have Eyes For You

James Stanley was a student at Sunnydale High School in 1955 who had an affair with his teacher, Grace Newman. When Grace tried to break off the relationship with him, he lost his temper and shot her dead, and then took his own life in grief. In 1998 the spirit of James returns to the school and begins haunting the campus. In an attempt to undo his mistake and seek forgiveness from Grace, James begins possessing people at the school and repeating his final moments with Miss Newman. But because James was trapped in a loop, forgiveness was impossible, causing the participants to repeat the couple's final moments and for one to shoot the other. Eventually, the cycle is broken when James possesses Buffy and Angelus takes on the role of Grace. Buffy/James still shoots Grace/Angelus and "Grace" still dies, but because Angelus is a vampire and cannot die from a gunshot, he survives the injury and is able to stop Buffy/James before "he" can kill himself in the music room. Grace forgives James and the two spirits are finally able to pass on to the next life. This is a great ghost episode with some excellent jump scares. James is a fantastic, tortured character and his storyline with Grace is a great parallel to the relationship between Buffy and Angel.

10. The Judge

Ten Great Villains From Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Appearances: "Surprise" Season Two, Episode 13 and "Innocence" Season Two, Episode 14
Classification: Demon
Portrayed By: Brian Thompson

Best Quote:

"What's that do?"

The Judge, Innocence

The Judge was an ancient and powerful demon who was brought forth centuries ago to rid the Earth of the plague of humanity by separating the righteous from the wicked and then burning the righteous to ashes. The armies of men were sent to destroy the Judge, but no weapon forged could stop him, so he was eventually dismembered and the parts were scattered and buried in every part of the Earth. In the season two episode "Surprise" the Judge is reassembled by Spike and Drusilla. The Judge was a powerfully built, intimidating demon, who could sense humanity and emotion in people, which he described as a "stink". The Judge is so strong, so powerful, he is almost unstoppable. In "Innocence" the Judge goes with Angelus and Drusilla to a mall to conduct a massacre. Buffy and her friends follow him there, and in a truly epic scene, the Slayer destroys him with a rocket launcher. The Judge has no understanding of modern weaponry so stands there with a confused look on her face as she fires the rocket toward him. Watch the scene for yourself below.

Bonus: The Cheese Man

Appearances: "Restless" Season 4, Episode 22
Classification: Magical construct
Portrayed By: David Wells

Best Quote:

"I wear the cheese. It does not wear me."

The Cheese Man to Giles, Restless

The Cheese Man was technically not a villain, but he was one of the strangest creatures that Buffy ever encountered, so I thought it would be fun to include him. The Cheese Man was a magical construct that manifested in the dreams of the Scooby Gang in the episode "Restless". In the episode, Buffy and her friends are each visited by the spirit of the first Slayer, Sineya, in their dreams. The First Slayer gives them all nightmares where she hunts them down and tries to kill them. The Cheese Man appears in all of their dreams as a bald man wearing glasses and holding cheese slices. He serves no purpose and always interrupted at a strange time to say something cryptic about cheese slices. He is a delightfully weird character who fitted in very well in an episode that had the characters trapped in their dreams.

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Why? Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a TV series that ran from 1997 to 2003 about Buffy Summers, the latest in a long line of women chosen by fate to defend the world against evil as a vampire slayer.
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