*Warning, seriously spooky spoilers*
Buffy toed the line between comedy and drama in a way unique to Joss Whedon. His conception of the show was to turn a well-used horror trope on its head. What if the blonde girl that goes into a dark alley is scarier than the monsters there? Then she kicks their ass? With this choice, we cannot escape Buffy’s horror roots.
Although the show made me feel love, happiness, sadness, anger, among other emotions, there were times it down right just frightened me.
So I thought seeing as it’s October we might as well get down to the top ten times Buffy scared the shit out of me.
Season 2, Episode 11, “Ted.”
While the whole aspect of John Ritter’s serial killer robot was infinitely creepy in itself, it was something Buffy did that frightened me. Even now knowing how it ends, it still gives me chills. When Buffy pushes Ted down the stairs during an argument, the subsequent consequences are harrowing.
Just look at her face while being questioned in the police station. Buffy thinks she’s killed a human being. There is no going back from that.
Season 1, Episode 10, “Nightmares.”
Look I know it’s irrational, but you can thank Stephen King and the weird vigilantes who were wandering around as clowns, but they’re terrifying ok!?!
This episode has the fun concept of your worst nightmares coming to fruition. Giles loses the ability to read, and then he sees Buffy dead. Willow has to sing in front of a large crowd, not a fun time for an introvert. Buffy turns into a vampire, which means not only would she have to die, but she would become that which she despises.
Xander turns up to class naked and then discovers a bunch of candy bars. Until he realises one of them is from his childhood and a birthday in which a clown nearly frightened him to death. The laughter of the clown, coupled with the knife-wielding made this very uncomfortable to watch.
Season 6, Episode 10, “Wrecked.“
While struggling with addition Willow puts the most vulnerable member of the group in grave danger, causing her to brake an arm.
This is terrifying to me because I know the people we love aren’t themselves when their addiction is ruling their every move. Willow isn’t herself, she even steals a car, which granted she did to save Dawn. However, she could have made the monster disappear as she did at the end of the saga.
Plus the demon Willow summoned by accident was pretty horrific.
Season 2, Episode 18, “Killed By Death.“
Although a lot of the monsters in the series came off more kooky than spooky because of budgetary constraints, the make-up department got it right on occasion. In this episode, Buffy can see a monster usually only children can see because she has a temperature.
It jumps scares us at one stage, while Buffy gazes out at the hallway.
Then if he wasn’t creepy enough, we get to see the full horror of what he does to children, before Buffy manages to break his neck. Phew!
Season 5, Episode 19, “Tough Love.“
I’ve spoken about this before in a previous post on the episode Tough Love. Glory is a wonderful villain, compelling because of her human traits, despite being a god. However, her means of gaining energy to survive in our dimension petrifies me to this day. She literally sucks your brain force, leaving you helpless and lost.
As someone who struggles with mental illness, I’ve often genuinely felt like I am losing my mind. So with that being said Glory’s description of what the brain suck is like, makes my skin crawl.
Season 4, Episode 10, “Hush.“
The only episode to garner the show an Emmy nomination (not a win mind you) was the creepy Gentlemen filled Hush. Which in itself is scary, *sigh* genius is never recognized in its time.
Now the entire episode is dread-fest in the ‘no one can hear you scream’ sense. Literally the demons, called ‘The Gentlemen’ come into your town, steal your voice, and 7 fresh human hearts. Real party animals.
The worse part of the episode for me though is when they show The Gentlemen’s minions, holding down a man. While he silently tries to scream for help, they cut out his heart. Yeah, this one affected me for a few weeks afterward let me tell you.
Season 3, Episode 21, “Graduation Day: Part I.“
Hopefully, I’m not alone when I say, that I absolutely loved Faith as both a character and a slayer. She was the darkness to Buffy’s light, and she went where Buffy wanted to go, but couldn’t. Faith was a slayer without morals.
So when I thought Buffy had killed her I was both saddened and terrified at the prospect. Had Buffy actually killed a fellow human being?
During the fight, we can see the fear in Faith’s eyes because I think she knew Buffy was the superior fighter all along. Then Buffy comes out with this, “What’s the matter? All that killing and you’re afraid to die?”
When Buffy does finally plunge the knife into Faith’s stomach, she simply says. “You did it, you killed me.” Buffy looks devastated as Faith falls from the roof onto a passing truck.
Season 2, Episode 17, “Passion.“
There are many deaths in Whedon’s universe not just in my beloved ‘Buffy‘. Although he ultimately has the say on who stays, and who goes, it doesn’t mean we can’t still be sore about it.
That being said I never really got over the loss of Jenny Calendar, and the hole she left in Giles’ life. Her death was brutal, and alarming, exacerbated by the fact she died at the hands of Angelus. Someone, Buffy had failed to kill because he used to be Angel.
When Jenny discovers that Angelus has snook into the room with her, the panic in her eyes is palpable.
Although she puts up a good fight, in the end, Angelus snaps her neck as easily as a child would snap a twig. Then simply says, “I never get tired of doing that.”
Season 7, Episode 10, “Bring On The Night.“
Buffy goes out to retrieve one of the potentials whose run off only to discover her dead. Before she can react she is taken by surprise by the Turok-Han, a prehistoric vampire. The fight between her and the Turok-Han was the most disquieting of the entire series in my opinion.
It repeatedly knocks her down, and as she is trying to limp away it is merely walking along. It isn’t worried she will get away, it’s just toying with her. The only time it displays any anger is when Buffy manages to knock a bunch of steel poles on it.
This doesn’t slow it down, and it charges at Buffy with such venom and force that he knocks her through a wall. When the gang finds her they think she is dead.
Even after the fight, the camera is on Buffy as she listens to her friends discuss how fearful they are, how she might have internal bleeding, and how she was their only hope. The look on her face is of complete dismay and disbelief.
Season 7, Episode 3, “Same Time, Same Place.“
Another monster I’ve mentioned before, and I am still repulsed by it to this day. Even though I must have watched the show over 10 times, Gnarl is anyone’s worst nightmare.
His opening sequences is him running around in the dark, preying on an unsuspecting bystander. He calls out in his sing-song voice, “All alone.” Then clicks his long fingernails in front of the camera. The eeriness of this scene is evident and sends tremors down my spine every time I watch it.
He scratches you, and through his fingernails, injects you with a paralysing agent so you can no longer move. When you are fully incapacitated he slowly cuts off strips of your skin with his fingernails and eats it. Lapping up your blood as he goes along.
This process takes hours and you can feel it the entire time. The paralyzing agent doesn’t stop your nerves from feeling. Poor Willow is suffering from a case of invisibility to her friends, so they accidentally block her into the cave with him. He sings that he loves a gifty and proceeds to eat some of Willow’s skin.
Don’t worry Buffy rescues her in the end.
Season 5, Episode 16, “The Body.”
I’m mentioning this one here because it truly frightened me to my core. You can lose someone you love so suddenly, without warning. Which is why you should hug your loved ones and tell them how you feel whenever you can.
Sarah Michelle Gellar’s performance is stellar and it’s one of the most realistic portrayals of death in television history. Why it didn’t receive a nod from any major award shows is beyond me.
I cry every time. I shake every time. I’m grateful every time.
Copyright © 2018 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved
Ok, let me know in the comments if you have any other scary moments from Buffy that haunt you!
Really great list! This has reminded me of many of Buffy’s best moments!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you so much!
I LOVE Buffy…I watch all 7 seasons at least once per year and continually get freaked out constantly! Love this!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I am literally the same. I have my annual watch through. I must have watched it 10 times. 😍
LikeLiked by 1 person
I saw the movie but I have to start watching this show – I have heard so many good things about it
LikeLiked by 1 person
It’s honestly such a good show. I’m obsessed.
You’ve picked some great spooky / scary themes here. But I’d also like to add Earshot, because 1. That if Buffy’s telepathy doesn’t stop she’ll go insane, I was scared for her, 2. Jonathan on that bell tower 😢 and 3. That there’s something trying to kill all the students, and with school shootings in the US, it’s a very real thing to be fearful of.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Totally agree that was so scary for her. Also Jonathan’s acting was absolutely wonderful in that scene.💙