There’s no denying it: Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a fantastic show. Running from 1997 to 2003, Joss Whedon’s flagship brainchild lasted for seven seasons and no less than 144 episodes. In that time, the show introduced some truly awesome characters, had some genuinely standout episodes, ran some brilliant stories, dealt with some difficult social issues, and even spawned a spin-off series in the form of Angel (which, in its own right, had an impressive run from 1999 to 2004).
However, for every Willow, Spike, and Faith, there were almost as many characters who weren’t quite as great — not least in the form of the show’s villains. The Master, Angelus, and Glory were all fantastic big-bads, and one-off antagonists like Der Kindestod, The Gentlemen, and Sweet were equally as good, but Buffy and her fellow Scoobies had to deal with some pretty damn ludicrous foes as well.
Whether it was because the concept was ridiculous, they looked silly, or because they were just feeble in comparison to the Slayer, some villains just didn’t cut it in Buffy’s world. In this list, we’ll take a look at a handful of the worst. Here are the 15 Most Ridiculous Buffy the Vampire Slayer Villains.
15. The Trio
The Trio were Warren Mears, Jonathan Levinson, and Andrew Wells — three literally basement-dwelling geeks who teamed-up as “supervillains” to take over Sunnydale, becoming enemies of Buffy Summers in the process. Each member debuted in different seasons (Warren in five, Jonathan in two, and Andrew in six), but they came together as an evil group in season six’s “Flooded”.
At first, they were benign, oafish, and merely mischievous, but they soon became much darker than that — with Warren killing Tara Maclay, for example — but they were, more often than not, quite pathetic. They each had their own area of “expertise”; Warren was a technology expert, Jonathan could cast spells, and Andrew could summon demons, but the fact is that they were just three unpopular students who took their lack of social status out on society (something that is all the more poignant these days, thanks to some tragically similar real world incidents). In terms of their physical threat, however, they were a joke. Jonathan was killed by Andrew, Warren was flayed to death by Willow (though revealed to be alive in the comic books), and Andrew went on to be a member of the Scoobies and a Watcher.
Balthazar was a morbidly obese demon and a long-time enemy of Richard Wilkins who came to the attention of Buffy and her allies when he attempted to kill the aforementioned Mayor of Sunnydale, prior to his ascension into the form of the pure demon called Olvikan. Balthazar had a decent degree of physical strength, possessed a moderate level of telekinesis, and commanded El Eliminati — a dueling vampire cult ruled by codes of honor — but he was essentially just a fat, useless lump of demonic lard.
What made him even more ridiculous is that he was clearly a rip-off of the minor (but very fat) vampire villain known as Pearl in the 1998 Blade movie. Blade was released just one year before “Bad Girls”, the season three episode in which Balthazar appeared, which made the rip-off even more obvious. Moreover, his death was startlingly similar, in that they both got fried to a crisp — Pearl by fire and Balthazar by electrocution.
13. The Bezoar
Appearing in the season two episode “Bad Eggs”, the Bezoar was a huge, prehistoric, tentacled parasite living under the original Sunnydale High School. Its offspring were capable of attaching themselves to other creatures and taking control of their host’s motor functions by clamping their mandibles into their nervous systems. All Buffy viewers really saw of it was its big, beady eye and a drawing of it in one of Giles’ books, which suggested it was indeed massive.
The Bezoar’s eggs were inadvertently given out in health classes at Sunnydale High. Health teacher Mr. Whitmore mistakenly believed them to be chicken eggs and gave his students the responsibility of looking after them, which led to the Bezoar’s offspring spreading around Sunnydale like wildfire. The victims/hosts of the offspring all ended up brainwashed, working to free their “mother” and to further distribute her eggs and, consequently, her influence. Buffy ultimately killed the immobile Bezoar — although we didn’t see much of the attack, as it took place underground — resulting in her being covered in an awful black goo.
12. Moloch The Corruptor
Moloch the Corruptor was an ancient demon who, records show, was being worshiped by a cult in Italy as far back as the fifteenth century. He was charismatic and mesmerizing, but also extremely manipulative and narcissistic, insisting that all his followers love and serve him — otherwise they’d be killed, because he was also a murderous fiend.
A group of monks led by a fellow called Brother Thelonius bound him into a book, where he was trapped for centuries — that is until Jenny Calendar insisted that all of Sunnydale High School’s books were scanned into computers to make electronic copies of them (Sunnydale High just happened to be the place where the book housing Moloch ended up!). Appearing in the season one episode “I Robot, You Jane”, Moloch entered the world wide web, created the false persona Malcolm Black, and seduced Willow Rosenberg in an internet chat-room. That’s right, Moloch catfished Willow! He had a robotic form built for himself, but Buffy tricked him into punching into a circuit breaker, overloading the body’s circuits and causing it to explode.
When Dracula made his one and only appearance on screen in the Buffyverse in season five’s “Buffy vs. Dracula”, the main cast of characters were starstruck (well, apart from Anya, who had apparently cavorted with him during her time as a Vengeance Demon, and Spike, who was owed eleven pounds by the Count), but it turned out that he wasn’t all that — in fact, he was arguably the most pathetic depiction of the character ever seen in fiction!
He did his best to preach his dark nature to the Slayer and her allies, but he was actually nothing more than a wannabe pretty boy with the flair and flamboyance of a cocktail-making bartender and the intimidation prowess of a napkin. Sure, he could do all the things we expect from the iconic villain — enthral his victims (poor, poor butt-monkey Xander), change into a misty form, and shape-shift into both a wolf and a bat — but he was an absolute wuss! Buffy sent him on his way in embarrassingly easy fashion in the end, scaring him off even though he kept reforming after being staked.
The incredibly powerful Gachnar the Fear Demon was inadvertently summoned by an unsuspecting UC Sunnydale fraternity member, when he painted Gachnar’s symbol on the floor of his frat house as part of their Halloween decorations that year. When Oz accidentally spilled blood on the mark, the summoning spell to bring forth Gachnar was initiated. Gachnar subsequently unleashed the worst fears of those present in the house and drew power from their terror to bring himself into the world.
Appearing in the season four episode “Fear, Itself”, in spite of the fact that his power could alter the very fabric of reality itself, Gachnar turned out to be a ridiculous villain because it quickly became apparent that he was only a couple of inches tall! He might have worn some evil looking garb and spouted some pretty intimidating words (“I am the Dark Lord of nightmares, the bringer of terror… Tremble before me! Fear me!“), but he was killed very easily when Buffy squished him under her shoe! If Giles had read the caption next to Gachnar’s illustration during his research (“Actual size”), he might not have made the Scoobies worry so much about his impending arrival.
Lissa was a demon who, like a number of others before her (Ampata from season two’s “Inca Mummy Girl” and the next entry on this list, for example), captivated Xander with her beauty before revealing her true nature and ulterior motives. In Lissa’s case, she used Xander’s home improvement knowledge to help her set up a pulley system over the Seal of Danzalthar, which she subsequently suspended him over and bled him in order to gain the approval of the First Evil.
What was so ridiculous about Lissa is that not only was she far too much of a tried, tested, and highly unoriginal villainous archetype for such a late episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she was also played by pop sensation Ashanti Douglas (badly, may we add!)! Upon her death via decapitation at the hands of Buffy, her body reverted to its demonic form, which was bald, doughy and covered in grotesque stitch-like fissures. The season seven episode in which she appeared, “First Date”, was…not a high point.
8. The She-Mantis
The first of Xander’s aforementioned ill-fated liaisons came with the beastly creature known as the She-Mantis. Appearing in the season one episode “Teacher’s Pet”, the She-Mantis had taken on the identity of Natalie French — a retired high school biology teacher — by substituting French’s personal records with her own.
She took over the biology classes at Sunnydale High and used pheromone emissions to attract virgin young men. She would mate with them in order to breed, but she would bite off their heads during the mating process. She was superhumanly strong, could twist her head 180 degrees, emit the aforementioned pheromones, and shape-shift (you know, given that she was actually a gigantic praying mantis, but looked like an attractive young woman). Her most ridiculous trait? Eating live crickets in her human form, but putting them between slices of bread to make a sandwich! In the end, Buffy hacked her to death with a machete and Xander destroyed all of her eggs.
7. Daryl Epps
Daryl Epps was a Sunnydale High School football hero who was tragically killed during a hiking accident. In the season two episode “Some Assembly Required”, his brother Chris (and Chris’ lab partner Eric Gittleson) brought him back to life as a sort of Frankenstein’s-monster-esque character — and the undead Daryl wanted an equally undead girlfriend to (after)live happily ever after with.
That’s what brought him into conflict with Buffy. Not only did Chris and Eric harvest the body parts of three recently dead girls who had died in a car accident, they also needed the brain from a living girl to create Daryl’s lady. They chose the head of Cordelia Chase to provide the brain, but were ultimately thwarted in getting it by Buffy. Daryl didn’t get his girl, and chose to die in a fire rather than live alone. FrankenDaryl was a silly concept, but his inexplicable Slayer-rivalling super-strength was undoubtedly the silliest part about the whole thing.
Bringers, or Harbingers of Death as they were more formally known, were the high priests and foot soldiers of the non-corporeal entity known as the First Evil. They were demonic in nature, but were seemingly former humans that had been corrupted by the First and transformed through a series of rituals that included self-mutilation. They referred to themselves as “The We” and seemed to operate under a hive mind.
They first appeared in the season three episode “Amends”, with the relatively small ambition of corrupting Angel and turning him to the First Evil’s side. They last appeared in the show’s final episode, “Chosen”, as part of the First Evil’s forces when its ambitions were somewhat bigger (in the sense that it wanted to take over the world!). They were fairly adept in physical combat, and their mere presence was enough to scare some of Sunnydale’s supernatural inhabitants out of town, but they were essentially just blind, excessively-stabby priests!
Machida, who appeared in the season two episode “Reptile Boy”, was a giant serpent demon who was worshipped by the inhabitants of a frat house in Sunnydale. He resided in a well in the frat house’s basement and, in exchange for money and power, received sacrificial girls as gifts from his worshippers. The ritual to summon him went as follows: “For he shall rise from the depths and we shall tremble before him. He who is the source of all we inherit and all we possess. Machida!”
He was a yellowish-green in color, had webbed fingers, hissed a lot, and had a snake-like appearance. Buffy and Cordelia were given to him as sacrifices by their “dates” from the Delta Zeta Kappa fraternity, but Buffy escaped his clutches and killed him with a ritual sword she took from the frat boys. In a nutshell, the most ridiculous thing about Machida was his appearance — the poor guy epitomized the term “1990s TV budget.”
4. Sex Ghosts
We’re back in another frat house now, and this time it’s for an entry about ghosts. The ghosts in question didn’t have names, but they appeared in the season four episode “Where the Wild Things Are” and their shtick was that they made their victims want to have sex. Yup, they were sex ghosts.
At a party in the aforementioned frat house, Buffy and Riley were compelled to have sex by the ghosts’ mystical influence. The house was formerly a home for wayward children and it was haunted by the angry spirits of the kids who were physically and emotionally abused by the woman who managed the home — a woman by the name of Genevieve Holt, whom Giles and Willow visited to obtain information. The ghosts were releasing their pent up sexual urges, which caused their victims to become insatiable to the point that they would have sex until they died. Way to push across the message that teenage sex is ill-advised, Buffy writers!
3. The Mutated Swim Team
As unlikely a threat as they were a ridiculous one, the Sunnydale High School swim team became villains in the season two episode “Go Fish”. It happened when their coach, Carl Marin, spiked the steam in the team’s steam room with fish steroids. Presumably thanks to the mystical influence of the Hellmouth, after initially improving their race times, this turned them into creatures that have since been referred to as Gill Monsters and Fish Boys.
At first, it was believed that the swim team members were being killed by a terrifying creature, as their skin was found near sightings of large beasts. As it happens, the beasts in question were actually the swim team members themselves, who had transformed into Gill Monsters and shed their human skin. After attempting to feed Buffy to his “boys” in their monstrous new forms, Coach Marin was killed by them. The last time we saw these Creature from the Black Lagoon-esque” beasts, they were swimming out into the ocean to embark on a new life, riding off into the sunset while viewers howled in laughter at their television sets.
2. Norman Pfister
Norman Pfister was a demon and a member of the Order of Taraka — a society of deadly and feared assassins and bounty hunters. While the other members of the society were seemingly human, Pfister was undoubtedly a demon. He posed as a salesman for a company called “Quintessence Skin Care and Cosmetics” and lied his way into the home of Mrs. Kalish, who lived across the street from Buffy. He killed her and used her home as a place to spy on the Slayer, which led to a bit of a mix-up.
Buffy was avoiding her house, as she knew the Order of Taraka were looking for her, so Pfister mistook Cordelia for her when she and Xander went looking for her there. When he used his salesman guise to gain access to the Summers’ house, he showed his true form — that of a repulsive bug man! Pfister was literally made from a swarm of maggots. This would prove to be his downfall, as Cordelia and Xander used glue to trap Pfister in his disassembled state, then stomped on the maggots until each one was dead.
1. Wig Lady
Without any shadow of a doubt, the Wig Lady is the most ridiculous villain in the history of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She was an unspecified species of demon who masqueraded as an old lady and regularly frequented the fast-food restaurant known as the Doublemeat Palace, where Buffy took a job to help her with her debt. Wig Lady was the nickname given to her by the establishment’s employees.
Appearing in the season six episode “Doublemeat Palace”, the Wig Lady actually fed on the aforementioned employees, insisting that they “slid down so smooth” when she swallowed them. Her true form was that of a bald demon with a giant, bulbous, worm-like appendage inside her that would emerge from her head, spray her victims with a liquidized venom, then devour them alive. She was actually killed by none other than Willow, who cut the worm clean off, then shoved it into the Doublemeat Palace meat grinder while it was still wriggling. Bon appétit!
What other silly villains from Buffy would top your list of ridiculous anatagonists? Let us know in the comments.