Top 10 most Horrific Deaths on Buffy The Vampire Slayer

I am a huge fan of Joss Whedon’s classic series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and  since I started my blog I have wanted to write about it. Its hard however to think of something new to cover as more essays have been written about Buffy than any other television series!

So I have decided to come up with this gruesome little list (though even this has probably been covered a lot of times too.) I am going to look at the nastiest deaths in the entire history of the show.

 

 

10/ Celia, Buffy’s Cousin/ Killed by Death

Sadly Buffy’s sweet cousin Celia gets one of the most frightening deaths in the entire history of the show. Celia is a victim of the demon called Der Kindestod. Der Kindestod is a demon that can only be seen by those who are ill and only targets children.

When the monster attacked Celia, Buffy was standing right there but couldn’t see it and assumed that Celia was simply succumbing to her illness. Its only years later when Buffy has an encounter with the demon herself whilst she is ill that she realizes what really happened.

The flashback we are later shown where Celia screams and panics as the invisible monster kills her is definitely one of the shows most terrifying moments. This is what Der Kindestod looks like by the way.

Imagine that thing bearing down on you whilst you are a child, ill and no one else, not even your family who are standing next to you can see it!

 

9/ Sunnydale Swim Team/ Go Fish

The Sunnydale Swim team are infected with a chemical that causes them to mutate into heinous monsters. Its bad enough becoming a horrible savage Fish man who has to go and live in the ocean for the rest of your life, but the way they change is even more horrible as the monster they become literally bursts its way from under their skin.

8/ The Monk/ No Place Like Home

Not quite as creatively horrible as some of the other deaths on this list. It earns a place for how brutal it is. This unnamed monk is the last survivor of the order of dagon all of whom one by one are tracked down and killed by Glory who is searching for the Key. The last of the Monks is tortured throughout the entire episode by Glory. Though Buffy does manage to get him out of there he ultimately succumbs to his wounds they are so great.  Glory would torture a few other people including Spike for the location of the Key throughout series 5, but none of them died so evidently this poor monk got it the worst.

 

7/ Catherine Madison/ Witch

Unlike the previous victims on this list Catherine completely brings this on herself (literally Buffy deflects her own spell back at her). Still her fate is truly horrifying as Catherine ends up trapped in her own statue seemingly forever unable to move or speak. I don’t know whether to class this as a death as technically Catherine’s mind survives in the statue. Still she’s dead technically as her body was destroyed and also since the statue is presumably later destroyed either when the school or Sunnydale are later destroyed, then it can be assumed that Catherine did die anyway, but had to spend years trapped in a statue.

6/ Spike/ Chosen

Spike’s death whilst noble and poignant is also pretty fucking horrific when you think about it. The amulet he wears which ultimately destroys the Uber Vampires also slowly burns him to death from the inside out causing his skin to slowly burn off, his eye balls to melt in their sockets, his organs to explode and his bones to crumble to dust and he’s conscious right until the end of it. Though to be fair Spike does relish in the mayhem he causes and we all know this death didn’t take anyway as Spike later returned in season 5 of Angel anyway.

 

5/ Rickie/Anne

Poor Rickie is a victim of the demon Ken. Ken captures runaway’s and forces them to work in a hell dimension for the rest of their lives where they are brutalized and tortured to the point where they don’t even remember their own name. As time runs differently in hell dimensions 100 years in hell is equivilant to only 1 day on earth. Thus Rickie is gone for only a few hours on earth before being spat out as an insane, aged old man who dies from the life time of abuse he has endured.

Anne 180

 

4/ Student/ Hush

A legendarily horrible scene from possibly the greatest of all Buffy episodes. The Gentlemen, ghastly demons steal everyone in Sunnydale’s voices so that they can attack them in their sleep an cut their hearts out (they need 7 for some nefarious scheme that is never revealed). One unlucky student is cornered by the monsters and has his heart cut out slowly by the grinning monsters as hopelessly tries to scream for help.

“You’re gonna die screaming but you wont be heard” 

 

3/ Caleb/ Chosen

Caleb played by Nathan Fillion is the recipient of one of the most gruesome and emasculating deaths in the entire history of the series. Fortunately he is the one person who you not only don’t mind it happening to, but you are actually happy for it to happen too!

Caleb is one of the shows nastiest villains. Aside from blinding Xander in one eye, Caleb is also shown to enjoy brutally torturing and murdering young women for fun. This makes his gruesome death at the hands of an iconic female hero like Buffy (who kills him by stabbing him in the balls with an axe and then slicing him up the middle) probably the least subtle death in the entire history of the show. Still its nevertheless one of Buffy’s defining moments as both a hero and a feminist icon.

 

2/ Warren Mears/ Villains

I know what your thinking shouldn’t this be number 1? Well as nasty as this is I actually think there is one worse which is really saying something. Much like Caleb, Warren is not exactly that sympathetic a character. Having already murdered his girlfriend in cold blood (after having attempted to turn her into his sex slave) and also having murdered fan favourite Tara Maclay, he was probably the best person to give this horrible fate to. Warren is tortured by a vengeful Willow who strings him up, stitches his mouth together so that he cannot scream and slowly sticks the bullet into his chest. Later when Warren pathetically begs for his life, Willow grows bored of him and strips the skin from his body before burning him alive. It is later revealed however in the season 8 comic that Amy, an old witch rival of Willows teleported him to safety after Willow flayed him. However he did still die as the first was able to take his form, so in his later appearances he is technically undead.  Later when magic is banished from our reality Amy’s magic that is keeping him alive after losing his skin vanishes and he finally dies from the flaying.

Sometimes a pic isn’t enough.

1/ Skinned Teen/ Same Time Same Place

Buffy’s most gruesome death is another flaying, but this is even worse than Warrens. The perpetrator is a Gnarl demon that kills its prey by slashing them with its claws which completely paralyses them leaving them unable to move or speak. The Demon then uses its claws to slowly peel the skin from their bodies piece by piece and eat it in front of its victim who is unable to move, speak or scream.

This seems to be a common theme throughout Buffy of being attacked, but being unable to call for help. Buffy’s cousin is attacked by Der Kindestod and no one but her can see it, The Gentleman take away your voices so no one can hear you scream when they tear your heart out, Willow stitches Warren’s mouth up so he can’t scream as she slowly sticks the bullet into his chest, and the Gnarl paralyses its victims to the point where they can’t scream for help.

This is definitely more horrible than the others for me. Warren’s flaying whilst vile is at least over in a second, similarly the Gentleman’s victim and Celia’s deaths would have been over much more quickly. This however goes on for hours and added to that the Gnarl looks a lot uglier and nastier than even the Gentlemen or Der Kindestod. Willow ironically very nearly becomes a victim of the Gnarl, but Buffy manages to save her and gives the Gnarl itself a pretty horrible death by putting her fingers through its eyes.

Unfortunately at the start of this episode she is unable to save a young teen from the same fate which is our number 1 most gruesome death in Buffy, (if not anything.)

703 STSP2

 

 

Top 10 Christopher Lee Peformances

Similar to my other post here I will be looking at the top 10 performances of an another horror icon Christopher Lee. Now Christopher Lee is probably more recognizable to contemporary audiences than his frequent collaborator and friend Peter Cushing due to his recent starring roles in major franchises such as the Lord of Rings as well as its prequel series The Hobbit and the Star Wars trilogy.  Though perhaps somewhat typecast as villains Lee has nevertheless managed to maintain a truly remarkable career spanning several decades He has appeared in over 300 films and is still working at the age of 92. As you can imagine its hard therefore to pick out his top 10 performances as there are just so many to choose from, but these nevertheless are still my favorites and I hope you agree with at least some of my choices.

 

10/ Mr Midnight/ The Return of Captain Invincible 

Now let me get this straight I do not like this move. By and large I found it to be very boring, However despite this I would still consider this to be one of Lee’s best performances. Lee’s character serves as the main villain of the piece and the archnemesis to the titular hero Captain Invincible. He is a gloriously OTT, camp character who is assisted by a ridiculous looking Goblin and has a very unusual habit of bursting into song, well I suppose maybe its not so unusual in a musical. By far and away the most memorable moment however in the film is when Lee’s character is cornered by Invincible and with seemingly no other way of escape bursts into a song about how wonderful it is to get drunk. Invincible is a recovering alcoholic, booze is his Kryptonite and Mr Midnight not only sings about the wonders of getting smashed, but actually has a bar appear out of no where as well as several young women dancing around all of which turns Invincible into a wreck. The song is named “Choose Your Poison” and is definitely one of Lee’s finest moments.

Here it is

 

9/ Franklyn Marsh/ Dr Terror’s House of Horrors

A very overlooked performance from Lee, Franklyn Marsh is a snooty art critic who is humiliated by artist Eric Landor (played by Michael Gough) and eventually runs him down causing Landor to lose his hand. Landor later commits suicide, but his severed hand returns and later blinds Marsh in revenge. The thing I like the most about this performance is that unlike Lee’s other villainous roles there is nothing even remotely charismatic or likable about this character. He is just a snooty, pompous know it all who actually has no idea what he is talking about, hence why he is taken in by Landor’s prank where Landon shows him several splashes of paint on a canvas that Marsh believes is a modern art masterpiece, but which was actually made by a monkey instead. The movie goes out its way to make Marsh seem hateful, even just in little ways like when we see how he never buys a round for his friends despite being loaded. Still despite this one can not help but feel sorry for him at the end when he loses his sight. Lee’s blood curdling scream when he is told he will be blind for the rest of his life is truly chilling. This performance for me always showed how Lee was not limited even in terms of the villains he played. Franklyn Marsh was not the big charismatic lord of Evil like Dacula, Saruman or Scaramanga. He was a weasly, snooty, prissy hypocrite who could dish it out, but not take it and Lee excelled in the role. Even before we know Marsh’s story its just the way Lee plays him the way he talks, the pompous expressions on his face such as in the above pic all give off an impression that this is a thoroughly unlikable character, but again not in an attractive or fun way like Dracula.

 

8/Saruman/ The Lord of the Rings Franchise

 

 

One of Lee’s most recent big roles, Saruman much like Grand Moff Tarkin did for Peter Cushing brought Lee a whole new generation of fans at a later point in his career. However much like Tarkin Saruman I feel somewhat suffers from a lack of character development. Saruman is simply evil and that’s that. There is nothing more to his character, and on top of that Saruman much like Tarkin isn’t really given that much to do in all 3 movies (his scenes were cut from the final film altogether) Nevertheless Lee makes the most of what little time he is given and is able to make Saruman a very memorable character. He has tremendous screen presence and menace particularly in the scenes where he brutally tortures Gandalf for information. Lee was very unhappy that his scene was cut from the third movie, but fortunately he is slated to appear in the upcoming “The Battle of the Five Armies” in 2014.

 

7/ The Creature/ The Curse of Frankenstein 

 

 

The role that helped launch Lee’s career. Lee ironically almost did not get the part for being too small. Throughout his career up until this point he had been continually rejected for being too tall, but he almost lost the role that made him a household name because he was an inch shorter than Cary on Star Bernard Bresslaw their first choice. Imagine how bad Lee would have felt if having not got anywhere for years for being too tall he lost his chance at the big time for being 1 inch too short. Fortunately as we all know Bresslaw dropped out and Lee’s career would take off after the success of “The Curse of Frankenstein.”  The role of the creature in this film really wasn’t that much. Just a brainless monster as the focus was on Professor Frankenstein However despite this I still think that Lee made the most of the role. There are just little moments in Lee’s performance where he is able to inject a real personality into the creature. Particularly when he confronts Professor Victor Frankenstein. The Creatures brain comes from a man Victor killed in cold blood and whilst its brain was damaged to the point where it has lost all memory of who it once was when it see’s Victor we see a look of rage on its face that suggests it still remembers him in spite of everything else.

 

6/ Francisco Scaramanga/ The Man With The Golden Gun

 

Sadly “The Man with The Golden Gun” is not one of the most celebrated Bond movies. I myself enjoyed it, but its generally seen as a poor entry in the series when it was still trying to find its feet with new 007 Roger Moore. Fortunately Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga is generally seen as one of the better Bond villains. The antithesis to Franklyn Marsh, Scaramanga just oozes charisma and charm and is the perfect match for 007. Whilst I don’t think “The Man With The Golden Gun” is as bad as everyone makes out I do think that Lee manages to elevate it greatly and Scaramanga certainly has to go down as one of Bond’s most memorable villains.

 

5/ Nicholas Duc De Richleau/ The Devil Rides Out

 

One of the few heroic roles Lee has played throughout his long career. De Richleau is very much a Van Helsing type of character, the expert on the occult with a will made of iron. De Richleau has to stand among Lee’s best performances not only because “The Devil Rides Out” is an excellent film overall, but because it is so rare to see Lee playing a completely heroic role. Even his non villainous roles still often tend to lean towards the unsympathetic, but here Lee is given a chance to play a truly virtuous character. He is absolutely perfect in the role at no point when you watch him do you think of any of the many villainous roles he has played throughout his long career. It almost makes you feel sad however when you think just how well Lee could play the hero that he has been given so few opportunities to do so, then again at the same time its not as though he has ever been out of work either.

 

4/ Dr Charles Marlowe/Edward Blake/ I Monster

 

A lot of people forget Christopher Lee played Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, probably because the characters had completely different names. Still Lee for me gave along with Frederick March the best versions of the iconic characters outside of the novel itself. His “Jekyll” did seem like a genuinely sympathetic character whilst his “Hyde” was a genuinely terrifying monster. Most people I feel don’t know how to balance Jekyll and Hyde correctly. Often Jekyll is either too boring or too unsympathetic. Take Hammer’s two attempts at filming the novel “The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll” and “Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde”.  Paul Masse’s Jekyll is bland whilst Ralph Bates Dr Jekyll is just as bad as “Sister Hyde”. Lee however I feel managed to get the balance just right an make Hyde seem like a frightening and chilling monster whilst at the same time not making Jekyll into a bland or boring character.

 

3/ Kharris/ The Mummy

 

One of Lee’s most distinctive performances, much like the Creature in “The Curse of Frankenstein” the role of the Mummy in this film was not really that well developed a part. However once again Lee was able to elevate it into being something more which was even more difficult considering this time his face was completely covered by a mask. Lee was able to inject a great amount of sorrow into the Mummy’s eyes and make us feel genuine sympathy for the monster at times even more so than the hero of the film played by Peter Cushing.

 

2/Dracula/ The Hammer Dracula Film Series

 

Christopher Lee’s most iconic performance was as the Transylvanian Vampire in a total of 7 films for Hammer studios (though he also went on to play the role in other films too). The image we have of Dracula in popular culture comes solely from both Lee and Bela Lugosi’s performances. The cape, penguin suit, widows peak and accent as well as Dracula’s persona as a charming otherworldly gentleman all come from Lugosi, whilst the image of Dracula possessing fangs, having bloodshot red eyes and being incredibly tall comes from Lee. The idea of Dracula actively seducing his victims also comes from Lee as well, though Lee’s Dracula was not in any way a romantic character. Far from it in fact he was a vicious, sadistic animal who was dangerous to everyone and everything around him. Lee’s Dracula enjoyed beating and torturing his enemies, his servants and even his own wives. Lee also brought a much more physical side not just to Dracula but to vampires in general. Though there had been stories in literature that depicted Vampires with superhuman strength before on film they had always been portrayed as more hypnotic creatures. Lee’s Dracula however was a monster who could effortlessly overpower his victims and toss them aside as though they were children even if they were ultimate Vampire killer Van Helsing. Ironically despite the enduring popularity of his performances as Dracula Lee was often dismissive of the Dracula movies he appeared, believing that they didn’t stick closely enough to Stokers original novel. Despite his own personal feelings about them  Lee will always be remembered as one of cinema’s greatest Dracula’s and really helped to define the character for all time along with Bela Lugosi

 

1/ Lord Summerisle/ The Wicker Man

 

 

Christopher Lee cited this as his favorite performance of his and its not hard to see why. He is perfect as the fanatical Lord Summerisle who is more misguided rather than an out and out villain like Dracula or Saruman. Lee apparently played this role for free he was so impressed by the script. The Wicker Man remains one of Britains all time greatest horror movies and a large part of that is down to Lee’s stellar performance and also the way he plays off of Edward Woodwards character Sergent Neil Howe a man with just as strong beliefs as Summerisle himself. So much of the film revolves around these two fanatics remaining true to their beliefs which again is why Summerisle is not so much a villain, but more misguided.