Buffy Summers and the Scooby Gang have faced a lot of baddies over the course of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's many seasons. Living in a town right on top of the Hellmouth means coming in contact with all sorts of supernatural villains looking to utilize it. From vampires to demi-gods and everything in between the Slayer and her friends have fought them all countless times.
One of the most prominent antagonist of the series has always been demons. From the demons that are just trying to do their jobs (Vengeance demons), to the truly diabolical (The Gentlemen), they all have different capabilities that make them dangerous no matter their motivation. Demons can hypnotize their victims, transport them to another dimension, cast spells, and even breathe fire. Here are the heaviest hitting demons on the show, from the disgusting to the truly disturbing.
You’d think wanting to add a little more song and dance to your impending nuptials wouldn’t turn into a dance off with a demon, but that’s exactly what happened when Xander Harris decided to use a talisman to summon Sweet, a demon as old as Emperor Nero, who has the ability to possess people to literally “dance themselves to death”.
Not only that, but while under Sweet’s spell, victims confess their innermost thoughts and darkest secrets, prompting chaos and calamity from the damaged parties. The Scoobies learn all sorts of things about each other, which proves almost more dangerous to their unity than Sweet’s control of their physical motions.
9 WIG LADY
Buffy Summers has been late to the party in a lot of areas pertaining to typical young adult milestones. She described driving as “cars and Buffy are unmixy things”, and when it came to maintaining a job, well, she was too busy saving the world and in her off time going to school. Eventually in Season 5 however, she decided to join the ranks of the workforce at the Doublemeat Palace, a burger chain in Sunnydale.
Unbeknownst to the Slayer, one of the regulars (dubbed “Wig Lady”) wasn’t visiting the palace for its Doublemeat Medley but rather, for its employees. The reason there was such a high turnover rate wasn’t because the job sucked, but because a parasitic demon was paralyzing employees and sucking them dry.
8 ANYA JENKINS
Though Anya has been a vital member of the Scooby Gang through many of their greatest trials, she began her life as a vengeance demon, fulfilling the wishes of scorned and jilted women. Capable of truly horrific acts of revenge on behalf of the injured parties, she once massacred an entire fraternity for their acts of cruelty.
Besides having demon strength, the ability to teleport, healing powers, and hypnosis, Anya has been known to alter reality, such as when she sent Willow and Xander to an alternate dimension where they were both vampires that drained Cordelia’s blood, and Buffy died trying to stop The Master. A truly powerful demon, she (usually) fought on the side of good.
Anya wasn’t the only vengeance demon operating in Sunnydale. Her centuries-old friend Halfrek also had occasion to pass by the town built on the Hellmouth. Halfrek was a powerful vengeance demon that unlike Anya, didn’t seek justice for scorned women, but for children that had been neglected.
In some ways, Halfrek could be as noble as Anya when she chose to be, but her methods for enacting vengeance often seemed an overreaction. She once coaxed Dawn into calling upon her powers when she felt neglected by the Summers family, causing Halfrek to trap them all in the Summer’s house during Buffy’s birthday. Like Anya, she possessed superior strength and healing abilities, only able to be smited by their mutual boss, D’Hoffryn.
D’Hoffryn was an ancient demon that oversaw the activities of all Vengeance demons. Normally he remained in the Hell dimension, known as Arashmaharr. Not one to flaunt his powers, he often showed up to steward his demon underlings, but make no mistake, he was one of the mightiest demons Sunnydale had ever seen. In his lowliest state, he could create rifts in time, fly, and destroy other Vengeance demons with a snap of his fingers.
In his prime, D’Hoffryn could resurrect the dead and perform pyrokinesis, though he didn’t make a habit of it (it was far too messy). He spent most of his time recruiting to fill his ranks (he occasionally had to kill Vengeance demons when they broke the rules), always hoping to sway Willow to his side.
5 THE JUDGE
The Judge may not have gotten a lot of screen time on the series, but he was an incredibly powerful demon who possessed the ability to burn the humanity from his victims. Like his name implies, his ancient demon could sense the dark or the light in people’s souls and arbitrarily decide which way they leaned.
According to scholars he couldn’t be killed, and centuries of armies attempted to smite him to no avail. Legends spoke of his dismembered limbs being hidden at the far corners of the world, only to become reattached. Drusilla and Spike reassembled him in an attempt to incinerate the citizens of Sunnydale, but Buffy was able to stop him with a rocket launcher.
While not technically a full-fledged demon, the Frankenstein monster-esue Adam was made from parts of a demon, as well as human and machine. He absorbed electricity to power himself, which gave him ten times the strength of a human. Neither the soldiers of the Initiative or Buffy and the Scooby Gang could keep him at bay.
The Big Bad of Season 4, Adam was only able to be killed when Giles and the rest of the Scoobies cast a spell on him, which imbued Buffy with the power of the First Slayer during their epic standoff. His vision of creating a master race in his own image would die with him.
3 THE GENTLEMEN
Some of the most horrifying demons to ever show up in Sunnydale, The Gentlemen swept into the sleepy town one night to steal the entire population’s voices while their ghoulish lackeys carved out their hearts. Though their powers weren’t flashy, the ease with which they incapacitated everyone was terrifying, rendering the Scooby Gang unable to communicate with one another.
Unfortunately for the Scoobies, The Gentlemen couldn’t be harmed by normal weapons, including Buffy’s trunk of swords, crossbows, or flails. It took the help of Riley and his technologically advanced Initiative Team in combination with Buffy Summers to defeat these grimm fairytale creatures.
Gnarl may not have seemed like the most powerful demon in Sunnydale, but his methods of carnage were particularly disgusting. He first got the Scoobies’ attention when he began flaying teenagers in Sunnydale, and eventually captured Willow to make his next meal. Paralyzed in his lair, Willow was helpless as he began feeding on her stomach skin and remained impervious to her magic spells.
Buffy’s younger sister Dawn was also taken by Gnarl, paralyzed with the secretions from his razor sharp fingernails with the intent to be flayed in the same way. Luckily Buffy, Xander, and Anya (who used to know Gnarl) were able to defeat him, delivering the killing blow by gouging out his eyes.
1 THE MAYOR (OLVIKAN)
One of the first demons Buffy ever encountered was surprisingly someone she was somewhat acquainted with, Richard Wilkins, the Mayor of Sunnydale. His only desire was to eventually turn into a pure demon, the giant creature known as Olvikan. Originally human, he made a pact with hellspawn to sell his soul for immortality.
The transaction gave him some powers of manipulation (which helped him to become the mayor of Sunnydale) and eternal youth. He would later become a sorcerer, and achieve his coveted immortality (albeit briefly). His greatest act was eating Principal Snyder and several students of Sunnydale High at graduation.