Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn’t necessarily a series that is renowned for its scary moments, but it is most certainly one that is capable of them when they’re required.
Buffy’s Halloween episodes notably tend towards the more humorous side of things but, at other times, the show exhibits a willingness to wade into the darkness beneath its premise and examine the consequences that come from living in a town that sits over the mouth of Hell.
Here are five of the most scary episodes from the show’s seven seasons…
About as postmodern as Buffy gets, the sixth season’s ‘Normal Again’ envisages a world in which the eponymous heroine is a mental patient suffering from delusions. It questions numerous elements of the series and makes for a surprisingly unnerving episode of television. The ending leaves things open-ended as to whether Buffy really is sane or not.
‘Conversations with Dead People’
Telling four isolated stories, ‘Conversations with Dead People’ sees characters interact with people who have died. The emphasis here is on how alone they are now. Buffy gets psychoanalysed by a vampire she’s trying to kill, Dawn believes her mother is trying to contact her, what seems to be the ghost of Warren is manipulating Andrew and Willow talks to someone who says that she’s been sent by Tara. The chilling episode builds to the reveal of The First Evil as the final season’s villain.
‘Restless’ captures the essence of a nightmarish dream expertly. The seemingly bizarre finale to the fourth season is one of the most interesting episodes of the show, weaving foreshadowing and meaning into a trippy and unfamiliar landscape. The uncertain nature of this episode, and its strange imagery make it a very unsettling experience.
‘Killed by Death’
Another episode based around dreams, ‘Killed by Death’ sees Buffy rescue hospitalised children from Der Kindestod, a frighteningly cruel demon who feeds on the life force of sick children and makes it appear that they died of their illness. Realising the demon was also responsible for the death of Buffy’s cousin when she was younger and the level of threat to these helpless children give this eerie episode a really scary atmosphere.
Perhaps Buffy’s greatest episode altogether, ‘Hush’ is frequently very creepy. A group of evil demons called the Gentlemen arrive in Sunnydale to steal all of the residents’ voices before attempting to gather seven human hearts to harvest. This groundbreaking silent episode of television explores just how lost we would be without the ability to communicate as the terrifying Gentlemen float around clutching their scalpels and constantly grinning to one another.
What’s your favourite scary episode? Let us know below…