- “Vampires are a paradox... Demon in a human body. You're a hybrid. Natural and unnatural. You walk in both worlds, and belong to neither.”
Vampire (also known as Van-Tal in Pylea, or lurk in Haddyn) was a species of soulless, undead demons that could only exist on Earth by leaving their own dimension and possessing human corpses. They were hybrids, and were thus despised by other, "purer" demon species. They were well-known for feeding on the blood of mammals, particularly humans.
- 1 Origins
- 2 Human awareness of vampires
- 3 Psychology
- 4 Reproduction
- 5 Resurrection
- 6 Society
- 7 Physiology
- 8 Feeding
- 9 Health
- 10 Powers and abilities
- 11 Related species
- 12 List of vampires
- 13 Behind the scenes
- 14 Appearances
- 15 References
- “The last demon to leave this reality fed off a human, mixed their blood. He was a human form possessed... infected... by the demon's soul. He bit another, and another... and so they walk the Earth, feeding. Killing some, mixing their blood with others to make more of their kind.”
- ―Rupert Giles[src]
According to Rupert Giles, before departing Earth the last of the Old Ones mixed his blood with a human's, thus creating the first vampire. Maloker, the Old One responsible for siring the first vampire, was eventually sealed within the Deeper Well.
A contemporary of Maloker, the Old One Illyria stated that she had been familiar with vampires in her time, and that they already existed before the Old Ones were driven from Earth. She, like many full-demons, referred to vampires with the derogatory term "half-breeds." When Xander briefly tapped into Maloker's memories, he became aware of a time when magic-wielding early humans were busily driving the Old Ones into the Deeper Well. Fearful that his time was up, Maloker sought to raise an army using his vampiric bite on a human. Taken in conjunction with Illyria's comments, this would imply that Illyria was one of the last Old Ones to fall, and that vampires existed for a relatively long period of time which saw the banishment of the Old Ones.
The Old one was responsible for the creation of vampires, but extradimensional demons were responsible for the essence that would enter their body and animate them. The demon lord Archaeus, for example, was the one who inhabited the Master's bloodline.
Human awareness of vampires
Throughout most of history, the majority of humans remained ignorant or in denial of the existence of vampires, which notable exceptions including the Watchers Council, Slayers, and certain vampire hunters like Daniel Holtz and Charles Gunn. Giles once explained that people have a tendency to "rationalize what they [could] and forget what they [couldn't]." The singer Aimee Mann once remarked that she hated playing in "vampire towns" after witnessing a fight during her presentation at the Bronze.
For a period of time in Sunnydale, California, there existed a group of vampire wannabes taking place at the Sunset Club. Though they were aware of the existence of vampires, they were oblivious to their evil nature, and referred to them as the "lonely ones," believing them to be gentle and misunderstood. They ultimately did discover the brutal and violent truth when they were attacked by Spike and his followers; they were saved by the Slayer, Buffy Summers. When meeting Angel, the actress Rebecca Lowell had also a similar poetic point of view and became intrigued by the possibilities offered by Angel's immortality to resume her career. Initially, she thought that vampires had total control over their instincts. However, she was clearly terrified by Angelus's brutality as he talked about decapitating her and carrying her head on a pike to show off after killing someone famous for the first time. Additionally, there was a vampire brothel in Sunnydale where humans could pay vampires to feed on them to get a rush from blood loss. Riley Finn made regular visits there until it was burned down by Buffy in retribution.
The Sunnydale High School board and the police department also appeared to be aware of the supernatural goings-on in Sunnydale, and often covered up vampire and demon attacks under order from the mayor Richard Wilkins. When Spike and the members of the defunct Order of Aurelius attacked Sunnydale High to kill Buffy, Principal Snyder and the police chief wrote it off to the public as an attack by a gang on PCP; apparently, that excuse had been used before. The U.S. government was also aware of the existence of the supernatural to some extent, and even built special units specifically meant for hunting them, such as the Initiative.
All the people present in Los Angeles became aware of vampires when the city was moved to a hell dimension by the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart in 2004, during the event known as the fall of Los Angeles.
In the early 21st century, the existence of vampires became public knowledge, causing them to become a subject of a fad that capitalized on the fact that many humans experienced a thrill when bitten by vampires. Harmony Kendall became the face of vampires to the media, and began starring in her own reality show called Harmony Bites. In response, during this vampire craze, two new vampire movements appeared: Reform Vampirism, in which vampires drank only from willing humans and never took enough blood to kill or sire, and Vampire Supremacism, in which vampires considered humans nothing but cattle and wished for things to return to the way they were before Harmony made them public. However, with increasing attacks by zompires, mindless vampires sired after the end of magic, public opinion of vampires began to shift, leading the San Francisco Police Department to create a supernatural task force.
In the 23rd century, vampires were called "lurks" and remained public knowledge. Although, most humans were unaware that lurks were actually demons, and not simply a particularly vicious form of mutant.
- “You die, and a demon sets up shop in your old house, and it walks, and it talks, and it remembers your life, but it's not you.”
- ―Buffy Summers[src]
The demons present in vampires appeared to have no more intelligence than solitary predatory animals, and were incapable of human speech. The principal evidence for this came from Angel's visit to the dimension of Pylea; whilst there, whenever he took on his "vampire face," he unexpectedly lost control and became a mindless beast. His behavior was remarkably similar to that of zompires (vampires who had been sired in a world void of magic). A vampire's demon core had no personality of its own. Ordinary vampires gained the qualities of the people they were in life, including memories, fears and desires. As Darla put it, "What we were informs what we become." Mentally, the root of a vampire's evil nature was their lack of a human soul. They were unable to differentiate between right and wrong, and had little care to do so.
Vampires typically lost their feelings for the people they knew upon siring. For example, after he was turned, Jesse McNally told Xander that he was nothing but a "shadow" to him. Most vampires reveled in destruction and cared only for themselves, but similar to how all human beings possessed different qualities, vampires could be equally varied. While all were essentially corrupt, soulless versions of their prior selves, some became direct opposites of the people they were, while others represented an expression of the potential they had in life. When Charles Gunn was turned, he continued to want to help people, and still despised vampires (himself included); however, his actions were held unchecked, and he eventually lost his way. In contrast, William Pratt retained affection for his mother, Anne Pratt, after his siring, and even turned her in order to free her from death by consumption; only when she came back as a vampire and taunted him, he staked her.
Vampires, despite lacking souls, were somewhat capable of human emotions like love, but tended to take twisted, obsessive forms, like Spike's affection for Buffy Summers and James's love for Elisabeth. While Angelus and Darla were nearly inseparable throughout their history together, Angel later commented that what they had was never true love, as they were both incapable of feeling love, and sometimes abandoned one another out of self-preservation. Despite Angel's words Darla came to rescue him from Holtz and even when turned again by Drusilla, Darla expressed some of the same longing she had for him as a human causing Angel to flee unable to kill her again. Duncan Fillworthe observed that vampires were nothing but regret personified, and had a "hunger for life that's been damned to never be satisfied."
The evil of individual vampires seemed to vary widely. Dalton retained enough humanity for the Judge to burn him but Angelus did not. The Judge blamed Dalton's status on his human trait of reading and also commented on Spike and Drusilla sharing the human traits of jealousy and affection.
There's a leading theory among Watchers that a person sired by a vampire would gain the essence of the same demon as their sire, meaning offshoots of the sire's essence will enter anybody in their successive bloodline. This theory was given some weight when Buffy entered Spike's mind and saw his previous sires (Drusilla, Angelus, Darla, the Master, and Archaeus).
The demon within
The physics of certain dimensions could affect vampires in various ways. In Pylea's case, vampires, known as Van-Tals, possessed some differences from its Earthly counterparts such as appearing reflective surfaces, living in the sunlight, and when they transformed into their "vamp face" they took the shape of a demon green, bestial, horned beast without any traces of humanity.
According to Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, this was what the demonic component of a vampire looked like. Wesley also theorized that such a demon could have been the one that created the first vampire. In truth, this was the Old One Maloker, whose appearance did not resemble Van-Tal; however, Wesley was not too far off in his suggestion, considering that Archaeus was the one responsible for Angel's bloodline and his appearances was similar to Angel's pure form, in that Archaeus' head and face had spikes coming out of it.
The existence of zompires put into the question the exact savagery of the demon's essence. Zompires were sired humans that weren't inhabited by a demonic spirit due to Earth's connection to other dimension being cut off. The result wasn't lifeless shells of dead humans, but vicious creatures not too different from Van-Tals' behavior. This suggested that the bestial nature of vampires wasn't something introduced by the demon's essence, but merely a component of their siring; the demonic essence could simply provide sentience by inheriting the person's memories and feelings.
To create a new vampire, blood exchange was needed. Victims of vampire attacks did not turn into new vampires unless they consumed the sire's blood when near death after being fed on by said vampire. If the vampire drained all of the victim's blood, the victim would simply die. A human who imbibed vampire blood when not at the point of death would not change.
The destruction of the Seed of Wonder by Buffy cut off the world from magic, interrupting the normal process of becoming a vampire. Thus, all vampires sired after that point became a mindlessly feral variety that Xander christened "zompires," speculated to be the result of the siring process still taking place but the vampire demon no longer able to manifest in the resulting corpse. Once magic was restored by the creation of a new Seed the outcome of the siring process returned to normal.
- “Welcome to my world.. It hurts, I know. But it won't for long. Birth is always painful.”
- ―Darla to the newly risen Liam[src]
Following the blood exchange, the victim died of blood loss and, according to Wesley, would reawaken on the night after the siring, sometime between sunset and sunrise. However, certain other vampires rose a few hours after the blood exchange. No special preparations, such as burial, were required for the vampire's rebirth; vampires mostly rose from graves because they spent a time between death and rebirth as corpses and were buried. Some vampires however, preferred to bury their progeny out of some form of tradition.
In any event, new vampires often awoke with a sensation of disorientation, in which most vampires were highly violent and feral, before recovering and realizing their new status. This was not however always the case. For example, Sarah Holtz or Holden Webster didn't attack from their awakening. This clarity usually "kicked in" after the vampire rose from the grave or at least after the first feeding. When the vampire overcame the confusion, they experienced a sensation of clarity that was new and unique, and which they would express in different ways:
- Jesse McNally: "I feel good, Xander! I feel strong! I'm connected, man, to everything! I can hear the worms in the Earth!"
- Andrew Borba: "He is risen in me! He fills my head with song! You're the chaff, unblessed. I'll suck the blood from your hearts, he says I may!"
- Darla and Angel: "It all makes sense now, doesn't it?" — Liam: "Yes. Perfect sense."
- Alonna Gunn: "Don't be sad. I'm not. On this side there is no guilt, no grief. I got the greatest guilt cure ever. I can free you!"
- Spike: "Becoming a vampire is a profound and powerful experience. I could feel this new strength coursing through me. Getting killed made me feel alive for the very first time. I was through living by society's rules. Decided to make a few of my own."
- Holden Webster: "No, it feels okay. Strong, and I feel like I'm connected to a powerful all-consuming evil that's gonna suck the world into fiery oblivion."
- Anne Pratt: "It's as though I've been given new eyes. I see everything. Understand... Everything.
The new vampire was commonly astonished by the new sensation of power and the connection to an "all-consuming evil."
Angel dreamed of his progeny Penn's actions, later telling his friends: "I used to have a connection with those I sired. It just means he's close. That's all." Angel also demonstrated this to track down Drusilla when she first appeared in Sunnydale. Darla was later able to use this ability in combination with Calynthia powder in order to manipulate Angel's dreams. Various Watchers had speculated that this link was the result of all vampires in the same bloodline sharing a fragment of the essence of the original vampire demon that created them, which was apparently proven when Spike fell under the influence of Archaeus, the Old One that sired the first vampire of his bloodline.
It was possible to bring back vampires from the dead in various ways.
In 2004, Spike was brought back from the dead as a "ghost" and then re-corporealized as a vampire. After Spike died in the final battle in the Hellmouth, Wolfram & Hart's mystical Amulet would also ensure the survival of his spirit in Los Angeles, and his physical form was returned to him in a packaged spell by Lindsey McDonald, entailing a full resurrection.
After the Master's death, the Anointed One attempted to resurrect him using his skeletal remains but was unsuccessful. The spell required the usage of the blood of those who were with the Master upon his death — Rupert Giles, Jennifer Calendar, Willow Rosenberg and Cordelia Chase — but Buffy, Xander, and Angel stopped the ritual and destroyed the Master's skeleton to ensure that this ritual would never be attempted again. The Master was later resurrected by the Seed of Wonder as its guardian and protector during the Twilight apocalypse, but was killed again during the fight.
Angel was initially turned human by the blood of a Mohra demon in a negated timeline, but he turned back time when he learned that his new weakness would result in Buffy dying. Years later, the Senior Partners would transform Angel into a human to make him useless to The Powers That Be, but he was returned to vampire form when he provoked the now-vampiric Gunn into killing him, forcing the Senior Partners to turn back time to a point when Angel was last a vampire in order to ensure that he could still play his prophesied role in their apocalypse.
The same temporal fold also reverted any vampires that had been killed during the fall of Los Angeles. Any vampires who were sired while Los Angeles was in hell were restored to their human state, although they kept their memories of being vampires. Gunn was back into his human state as well, although he had to stay in hospital for several weeks afterwards due to his "restored" injuries since he was then only human.
Darla was resurrected by a ritual performed by Vocah and Wolfram & Hart, sacrificing five regular vampires to restore her, but this ritual restored her to life as a human rather than a vampire, requiring her to be sired later when the disease that had been killing her in life began to kill her again.
A strong electric shock could temporarily cause a vampire's heart to beat as if he or she was alive.
- “You will show proper respect.”
- ―The Master[src]
Vampires largely preferred working alone, though were sometimes found living in groups organized like packs or prides. These groups were commonly organized with the purpose of protection and feeding.
The leading vampire was known as "master," usually the sire of the group, the eldest one or the most powerful; in any event, the dominant vampire was the one capable of achieving the top position and enforce his authority through strength and violence. There were also some cases in which the leading position was occupied by a dominant couple, like Spike and Drusilla or James and Elisabeth.
The followers were commonly known as "minions" or "lackeys," though sometimes they could also be referred as "acolytes." These were commonly the progeny of the master vampire, or vampires that fell under the authority of the master due to their own weakness or youth. While minions were expected to follow the commands of their master and were punished when failing, there were examples of vampires rebelling against their masters, or even choosing to serve a new one.
In some vampire bloodlines, there was a tradition of choosing new names for themselves after being sired. The Master's bloodline was an example of this.
Clans, packs, and cults
- The Order of Aurelius;
- Darla, Angelus, James and Elisabeth;
- Darla and the Roman vampires who rescued Angelus from the Inquisitore;
- The Whirlwind: Darla, Angelus, (as the dominant couple) Drusilla and Spike;
- Spike and Dru and their minions: Dalton, Julia, Lucius, etc.;
- Angelus and his "boys" and girls (like Theresa Klusmeyer) as well (1998);
- Kakistos and the vampires that lived and died for him, including Mister Trick and a female vampire, though these two refused to die for him;
- Zachary Kralik and Blair;
- In an alternate reality, the Master and the Order of Aurelius, which included Willow and Xander, his most powerful acolytes;
- Vampire Willow and Alphonse and the other ex-minions of Mayor Wilkins;
- Sunday and her gang: Dav, Rookie, Tom, Jerry, and Eddie;
- Spike and the Gem of Amara diggers: Brian and other vampires;
- Russ and his punk vampire pack;
- Knox the skinhead vampire and his pack, including Ty and Alonna Gunn;
- Dracula and the Three Sisters;
- Harmony and her gang: Brad Konig, Mort, Cyrus, and "Peaches," until they rebelled against her;
- Whip and his vampire bite den;
- Doug Sanders and the vampire pyramid scheme;
- Carl and the rebel vampire posse: Justin, Zach, Christy, Maria, Glenn and other vamps;
- James and Elisabeth and their vampire pack;
- The vampire Cult of Ul-thar;
- Angelus and his "fans": Karl, Paco and others;
- Charles Gunn and "Team Gunn": Tank, Vic, Rod, Truck, Dave, Todd, Pat, Derick;
- Toru and his pack, including Raidon and Kumiko Ishihara;
- Judas Cradle and his vampire army;
- Tessa Freer and her zompire nest;
- Vicki and her gang;
- Walt Zane and his Amazonian zompire army;
- Drusilla and her evolved vampire pack, including Annabelle, Blythe, Shane, child ballerinas, and firemen.
Vampires as minions of non-vampires
There were cases in which vampires wound up in the service of non-vampires, such as very powerful sorcerers or demons, even though vampires were commonly rejected by other demons who regarded them as the ultimate filth since they had human bodies.
- Richard Wilkins and his lackeys: Mr. Trick, Lenny, Alphonse and other ex-minions of Spike and Angelus;
- Balthazar and El Eliminati;
- The Scourge, an army of pure-bred demons obsessed with scouring the world of "impure" demons who had a part human ancestry, briefly counted Angel among their ranks under the pretense that he despised his own humanity;
- Adam and his vampire minions: Boone and his pack (Adam's "first"), Jape (Adam's right-hand henchvamp), Spike, and his many vampire followers;
- The drug lord demon and his henchvamps;
- Deevak and his vampire thugs;
- Bro'os the loan shark and his vampire thugs;
- The First Evil and his Turok-Han army;
- Senator Helen Brucker and Ernesto and the rest of her "campaign staff";
- Wolfram & Hart employs vampires, including a vampire agent, Harmony, and Tamika.
- Maloker and his vampire followers;
- Archaeus and his vampire army, including Drusilla, Angus, Boyo, and Brandt.
Vampire masters with non-vampire minions
There were some cases in which a powerful vampire required the service of human minions and lackeys, and sometimes even demons:
- Spike assumed leadership of a group of revelers and trick-or-treaters transformed into demons and monsters by a bust of Janus one Halloween;
- Russell Winters and his hired muscle, butlers, bodyguards, lawyers and executives;
- Spike mentions that he once employed two Fyarl demons;
- Dracula and his "manservants": Xander and Butterfield;
- As Lord of Beverly Hills, Spike was served by a harem of both human and demon females, his Spikettes.
The Vampire Slayer
- “To most vampires, the Slayer was this object of cold sweat and frightened whispers. But I never hid. Hell, I sought her out. I mean, if you're looking for fun, there's death, there's glory, and sod all else, right?”
Within vampire society, the Slayer could be described as a source of great fear. Even vampires as powerful as Angelus and Darla preferred to avoid confronting Slayers, keeping a low profile to prevent attracting her attention. Vampires felt a great deal of hatred towards Slayers, the only exceptions being ensouled vampires Angel and Spike who were in love with Slayer Buffy Summers.
The killing of a Slayer was considered a great feat in vampire society. For example:
- Following the death of the Master in 1997, the vampires of the Order of Aurelius claimed that whoever managed to kill the Slayer would be his successor.
- Killing two Slayers in less than 200 years of existence made Spike an infamous figure among vampires and Watchers alike. According to Drusilla, Spike once established "there was no tastier treat than taking down a Slayer."
- The prospect of killing and draining Buffy gave Mr. Trick a sensation of euphoria that made him lower his guard, allowing Faith Lehane to kill him.
- In an alternate reality, when Buffy Summers interrupted a vampire gathering when she attempted to assassinate the Master, the majority of his followers broke out in panic opposed to fighting her.
- As he heard Drusilla had killed a Slayer, Kendra Young, Spike was surprised and happy for her. She eventually said that she would be the "Slayer of Slayers" herself if she killed Faith as well.
- Fascinated by her reputation and adventures, Dracula wanted to make Buffy one of his undead brides.
- After her break-up with Spike, Harmony resolved to kill the Slayer, considering it a way to heighten her standing in the vampire community.
- A vampire who severely wounded Buffy with her own stake proceeded to show it off to his friends as a trophy and said it should be put in a museum.
- Spike claimed that he knew that "the only thing better than killing a slayer would be fuc-" after he slept with Buffy for the first time.
- Two vampires attempted to seduce Buffy through speed dating, knowing that she was the famous Buffy and had bed two vampires before.
- “No more sickness. No more dying. You'll never age another day.”
Vampires were commonly described as "dead." Death could be defined as a status in which the body lacked physiological functions, such as having a heartbeat or breathing. However, vampires were able to move, feed, talk and feel despite inhabiting dead bodies. Most showed no outward signs of not being living humans while not in "vamp face" except lack of a pulse. The term "undead" was much more fitting because vampires, while not alive, weren't dead either.
When a human was sired, their human soul left their body and a demon soul took possession of the corpse, reanimating it and altering its physiology. The demon within the vampire caused a series of alterations.
They required mammalian blood to maintain strength. Usually, this was human blood, but rats, pigs and otters were consumed as well, though they didn't give vampires as much nutrition or satisfaction as human blood. The blood of supernatural, human-appearing beings, such as the children of the Senior Partners, fed a vampire as well and often had added benefits. Vampires did not feed on the blood of other demons; Trask, a member of the Scourge, specifically stated so.
Vampires were able to cast vocalizations such as hissing and roaring reminiscent of lions, tigers, and other big cats whenever they were angered or trying to intimidate and/or frighten their opponents.
Facial alterations such as pronounced brow ridges, golden/yellow eyes, disappearance of eyebrows, elongated upper canines, and pointed upper incisors would appear when feeding or under stressful situations such as fighting, in which a vampire might assume its real face in preparation for feeding or to intimidate the opponent. In addition to this, a vampire may show their "vampire face" at will, when generally angered, sexually aroused, or suddenly and/or unexpectedly injured. This was the vampire's true face, and their ability to disguise themselves with the face of their human predecessor was one of the vampire's most useful powers. Harmony implied that maintaining "vamp face" took effort and could not be maintained for too long, but considering her vain and shallow personality however, it could be taken as "hard" for her to on a hideous appearance. However, older vampires like the Master, Kakistos, and the Prince of Lies were in vamp face permanently, suggesting that the necessary effort if any faded over time. Over time, other deformations may also take hold, such as Kakistos' cloven hooves. However, these took many centuries — perhaps even millennia — to occur (Kakistos was from Ancient Greece, therefore at least 2500 years old). In the future, the vampire Harth Fray revealed that most vampires had forgotten that they could take on human form, implying that if there was any effort in changing and maintaining an appearance, it was actually to take on human form, not the other way around.
As well as possessing greater physical attributes, a vampire's senses (particularly sight, smelling and hearing) were greater than a human's. Despite this, numerous vampire wore glasses. Angel once mentioned to Faith that if they needed glasses as humans, they would as vampires. However, vampires, such as spike, would mention that that they had "vampire enhanced vision."
While their hearts didn't beat, vampires had some kind of blood flow which allowed the blood in their bodies to be transported. This also meant that vampires could be rendered unconscious if blood flow to the brain was interrupted and that vampires could become intoxicated (Spike became drunk multiple times). Vampires were capable of having sex involving penetration, indeed having some blood flow that enabled an erection.
They generated no body heat while at rest, though muscle action produced transient heat. Humans only rarely perceived vampires' skin as cold as Billy Fordham did upon meeting Angel. Electric security systems were incapable of detecting them. However, vampires occasionally had visible breath when in the cold, such as when Liam first emerged from the grave and was talking with his sire, Darla, indicating some sort of body heat, even immediately after reanimation. A thermal scanner showed Spike's body temperature to be 62.3 degrees Fahrenheit (16.8 degrees Celsius). However, Winifred Burkle's scans of Spike's incorporeal body as a ghost showed that he generated body heat.
Their bodies performed motor functions like human bodies, often better than humans. Even if a person was sired at an old age, they would not be restricted by the same physical limitations as a human would. Anne Pratt went from a frail old woman to one with a healthy and glowing appearance. Dracula, despite being a decrepit old man in reality, was still just as able and stronger than most vampires. Even an obese vampire could outrun Tara, Giles, and Spike, although after Tara exposed him to sobri root, which was intended to confuse him, only to make him "peppy."
Vampires could survive the extremely high pressures of the deep ocean. Angel was able to sink down to a submarine with only weights attached to his legs and no protective suit.
Vampires healed rapidly, more so than Slayers albeit in a similar way to human bodies. As example of this, Spike was capable of regenerating his spine after a wound that made him unable to walk. He could also have both of his hands surgically reattached after being cut off, demanding minimum physical therapy to regain its function. Although, modern vampires were unable to regenerate lost limbs by themselves.
They did not generate life force, and their brains did not have the same mystical qualities of a human brain. This meant Glory was not able to feed on vampire brains, nor could the Root Monster suck the life force from Angel, defeating itself trying to do so.
Their bodies cast no reflection on reflective substances such as mirrors or water. This also caused them to be immune to mind reading powers. The thoughts were there, but they created no reflection within the mind reader, making it impossible for them to read the thoughts. However, they could still be photographed or video taped.
Even though their bodies were clinically dead, a vampire's hair was apparently still able to grow. For example, Angelus had long hair until the 20th century. By the 1920s he had short hair, but by the 1970's he was long-haired again. Spike's hair grew during his time in the Sunnydale High School basement and Dracula grew a full beard during his mid-life crisis. In 1884, when killing Margaret, Angelus was bearded. In contrast, Spike did not grow a beard in the time he was hidden in the school's basement after becoming ensouled.
Vampires also seemed to be able to walk or run without making noises, allowing them to attack their victims by surprise.
A vampire's nerve endings and pain receptors seemed to work just as well as a human's; Angelus was incapacitated with pain after Buffy kicked him in the groin.
Vampires seemed to have fully functional tear ducts and were capable of crying; both Angel and Spike shed tears on several occasions.
Between their undead status and lack of exposure to the sun, vampires' skin tone was quite pale, which was more noticeable on the rare occasion they were seen in daylight.
Vampires required sleep, but preferred resting during the day and going out during the night. However, this doesn't seem necessary. They were also capable of dreaming.
Vampires were unable to procreate in the human manner, although Angel and Darla managed to conceive Connor seemingly because of Jasmine's manipulations.
Vampires were not impervious to magic or demonic powers. For example, Drusilla fell in love with Xander because of a spell cast by Amy Madison; Spike fell in love with Buffy, lost his voice, sang, became amnesiac and totally optimistic because of magic; Angel became totally peaceful once affected by a magical stick, reverted to a teenager because of a magic ritual, was compelled into performing endless sex with Eve, had his free will was stolen by Roger Wyndam-Pryce with the Staff of Devosynn and was transformed into a puppet. Additionally, these three vampires each had their soul restored through magic rituals. Vampires could also be manipulated by necromancers due to their undead nature. However, vampires appeared to be immune to certain spells. Spike was not affected by the memory-wiping spell used by Glory to conceal her connection to Ben, and Giles claimed his sleeping spell would only work on Spike if he allowed it.
Although, they were immune to the bites of the werewolves and certain demons.
Vampires were immune to the effect produced by pheromones of certain creatures such as the She-Mantis. It was demonstrated when Claw tried to attack the She-Mantis in her human disguise: he was immediately frightened by her, implying that, unlike the human males who were smitten by her presence, pheromones either alerted vampires or (at least) made them perceive her true nature.
According to Spike whilst smoking a cigarette with Faith Lehane, a vampire's teeth's could deteriorate over an eternity though through staining. Harmony herself was seen brushing both her human teeth and her fangs each morning.
It was possible to determinate if a vampire had recently drunk human blood with an electronic system, similar to a VIH control. After becoming the head of Wolfram & Hart, Angel established this as a new rule to deter harmful behavior from the vampire employees.
- “The Master is centuries old. He has grown past the curse of human features.”
Being undead, vampires did not age as living humans did, but the passing of centuries did benefit them.
- Strength, agility, senses, intelligence, speed, and endurance improved with age. The Master's advanced age made him able to kill his victims "before they could draw breath."
- The ability to take on human appearance was eventually lost. Russell Winters, while able to assume human visage, had much more deformed vampire features such as greenish skin, indicating old age, though not one as advanced as that of the most ancient vampires seen in the Master, Kakistos, and the Prince of Lies. These vampires did not resemble each other, yet they all had obtained more demonic features. Kakistos had cloven hooves instead of hands and feet, while the Master and the Prince of Lies had elongated talon-like fingers and pointed ears. It was unclear how long a vampire had to live for their humanity to fade. Angel was over 200 and Darla over 400, and neither had yet lost any of their human visage. However, it may have something to do with their own will - the Master has considered all the human residues in vampires (such as the human visage) as a curse, and likely desired to be free of them, which might was a factor in that this eventually came to pass.
- The Prince of Lies had eyebrows, wherein other vampires' eyebrows disappeared when they assumed their vamp face.
- The Master's skeleton, uniquely, remained when his flesh turned to dust. The Master also bore a slight resemblance to the Turok-Han.
- “I don't breathe, you idiot!”
Vampires did not require oxygen to survive, allowing them to survive in poisonous atmospheres, underwater, and resist strangling. Angel was unaffected by gas and was even able to survive in the poisonous atmosphere of the home dimension of Jasmine's zealots.
However, vampires did maintain some sort of breathing reflex, which allowed them to speak and smoke, and gag reflex. However, Angel said that he could not give artificial respiration to a drowned human ("I have no breath"). Vampires could not be killed by being drowned or asphyxiated; although, the breathing reflex could affect them. As such, Angelus was able to strangle Spike, holding him by the neck and making him unable to speak properly. Drusilla also fell unconscious after Spike chocked her, and a Turok-Han was also able to torture Spike by holding his head underwater, making him briefly pass out and cough up sizable amounts of water afterward.
- “Blood is life, lackbrain. Why do you think we eat it? It's what keeps you going, makes you warm, makes you hard, makes you other than dead.”
A vampire's normal diet consisted solely of mammalian blood. They possessed the ability to completely drain a human body in a matter of seconds. Though they preferred the blood of humans, that of other mammals, including rats, pigs, and otters, seemed to suffice. After their ensoulment (and before, in Spike's case) vampires Angel and Spike managed to remain strong and healthy by regularly purchasing pig's blood from butcher shops, but needed to keep them contained in fridges to keep them fresh. Many vampires were shown to dislike the taste of non-human blood, but otter blood seemed to be something of an exception.
As such, the vast majority vampires fed exclusively from humans despite being able to live on lower animals. Their soulless natures led them to value the taste (and sadistic joy of the act) first and foremost. However, if a human's blood was tainted in some way, such as through steroid use, it tasted bad to vampires. Certain other factors about the human may also affect their blood's taste as youth and virginity seemed to be rather palatable choices. The blood of an elderly or middle-aged person was considered unappetizing.
Adam once warned Jape, one of his vampire minions, to not feed off a corpse of a woman who had a blood disease, indicating that digesting contaminated blood could make vampires sick, similarly to how digesting blood that contains drugs could make vampire experience similar symptoms to these of the drugs.
According to Harmony, individual vampires could either prefer biting on the right or left side of a human's neck, describing herself as a "right-biter." This was, however, proven false on several occasions, implying that biting a certain side of the neck might just be a preference.
- “So, like, first and foremost, human beings love having vampires suck their blood. It's, like, super fun for them. And vampires try their best to not suck out so much they kill anybody, but if they do, like, on accident, nobody freaks out.”
- ―Harmony Kendall[src]
The bite of a vampire could stimulate the victim's pleasure receptors, causing them to experience some sort of euphoric rush while being fed off, as was shown when Buffy was bitten by Angel. The experience was so powerful that she unintentionally crushed a metal pot with her hand and sent a table flying after kicking it in response. Angel later utilized this to calm down "Dark Willow" and prevent her from wrecking havoc. Because of the euphoric properties, victims rarely fought back when bitten.
Darla especially enjoys the sensation of being bitten by Angel as frequently shown in the flashbacks. When manipulating Angel by pretending to be DeEtta Kramer under Wolfram & Hart's orders, Angel made her break her role by biting her neck. Which caused a organismic reaction in Darla and turned her back to her usual Darla-personality.
While vampires seemed to be able to ingest and digest normal food and drink, they were described as having a human-level sense of taste in comparison to their other heightened senses, and were henceforth greatly unsatisfied with normal food, at least in comparison to blood. Still, they appeared to retain the ability to differentiate liquids. Spike was immediately able to determine that the substance in the Cup of Perpetual Torment was Mountain Dew. Spike also possesses an extremely varied diet for a vampire. He was very often seen drinking alcohol, and enjoyed eating Weetabix (which he mixed into blood for texture), chocolate, spices and burba weed (which he mixed into blood for flavor), Buffalo wings, crackers and peanut butter, and fried onion blossoms. Angel, on the other hand, seemed to be very fond of coffee and drank it often.
According to Trask, a member of the Scourge, vampires did not feed on demon blood. However, Gunn gained visions by feeding on a prophetic demon. Spike also once claimed that demon blood tastes like "astringent" and was "oaky," which he stated after biting Cordelia Chase to determine whether or not she was possessed. When Charles Gunn faced off against an overwhelming number of Scourge demons, he imagined himself as a vampire butchering and feeding from the demons. He speculated that their blood would taste metallic to a vampire. It seems that vampires did not gain any sustenance from feeding from demons.
Even though vampires did not feed on the blood of other vampires, Drusilla did lick blood of Spike's cheek after slicing it with her nail in an affectionate manner (which Spike allowed), and Buffy caught Spike tasting his own nose blood. Angelus and Darla would outright drinking each other's blood, often during sex.
Vampires could not die of starvation, but they did suffer severely debilitating effects if they did not feed for prolonged periods of time:
First, their strength dwindled considerably and they became paler and experienced cold. Second, after months of not feeding, they suffered damage to higher brain functions, which could result in extremely vivid hallucinations. Blood from a healthy human was required for the vampire to recuperate. Eventually, they became "living skeletons," according to Spike.
Vampires had a tendency to hunt in alleyways as victims were more vulnerable and out of the public eye. They hunted in packs for easier access to blood and there were cases where a group of vampires fed on a single human. In times of crisis, such as if their pack leader had left or died, vampires could become scattered and return to easy feeding grounds such as parks.
Drugs and poisons
Vampires could be affected by any kind of drugs and poisons just like humans, though lethal drugs and human poisons did not kill them:
- Spike smoked tobacco, but wasn't affected by the smoke. Despite free of the danger of cancer, he still could have yellowed teeth.
- Spike reported that at Woodstock he "fed off a flower person and spent the next six hours watching [his] hand move," presumably an effect of LSD.
- Angelus tried to feed on Gage Petronzi, but spit out his blood because either the steroids in it or the ongoing transformation into a fish creature gave it a bad taste.
- Vampires could become intoxicated by normal alcohol to the point of unconsciousness, but they had a much higher tolerance for it than humans.
- Kralik was treated with and dependent on anti-psychotic medication; without them, he suffered extraordinary pain.
- Vampire Willow was knocked out by a tranquilizer dart commonly used on Oz in his werewolf form.
- The Killer of the Dead was a mystical poison. It caused a severe fever and killed the vampire in a matter of days. The blood of a Slayer was the only known cure.
- Angel was paralyzed by a neural paralytic drug that would kill a human being, but he managed to shake off the effects shortly after his attacker left him in his office.
- Angel was highly susceptible to the effects of caffeine.
- Vampires captured by the Initiative were fed drugged packets of blood to be incapacitated for vivisection.
- Rebecca Lowell slipped Angel a "happy pill," which gave him a false sense of bliss and for a limited time caused him to revert into Angelus, making him an immediate threat to Wesley, Cordelia and Rebecca.
- Calynthia powder seemingly augmented Angel's synapses enough to keep him in restless sleep, plagued by dreams, and rendered him more suggestible.
- Tara Maclay once hit a vampire with sobri root dust which was intended to confuse him, only to make him "peppy" instead.
- Vampires got high from feeding off junkies using intravenous drugs, such as the mystical Orpheus.
- When going to the Wolfram & Hart Halloween Bash, Archduke Sebassis secretly armed himself with poison darts which he claimed were powerful enough to kill humans "before their next heartbeat," but only enough to render Angel comatose for a week.
- Wolfram & Hart employee and vampire Tamika was able to make fellow vampiric co-worker Harmony pass out by slipping rohypnol into her drink.
- Dana incapacitated Spike with the drugs previously used to disable her, to the point where she was able to cut off his hands before he regained consciousness.
Vampires could suffer severe injuries and required a long time to recuperate. Blood deprivation also slows the rate in which they heal.
- Drusilla, after being caught by an angry mob in Prague and suffered long sessions of torture, was left extremely weak for months, until she was cured by a special ceremony requiring the blood of her sire (Angel). Angel in turn required weeks to recuperate from the ordeal.
- It had been mentioned that Angel had well above average healing. This was demonstrated by his recovery from being run through by a wooden beam.
- Spike was forced into a wheelchair when an entire church organ collapsed on him, but months later he was back on his feet.
- Gwendolyn Post tried to kill Angel by hitting his head with a shovel, as the trauma would've killed him if he was human, though it only angered him.
- In an alternate reality, Angel had burning scars on his chest from Willow's torture using matches.
- Modern vampires could lose appendages, and could not regrow them. However, they could be surgically reattached.
- After being brutally tortured by Glory, Spike was left with numerous cuts, bruises, and a swollen black eye. He was shown, sometime later, to have a heavily bruised face and a noticeable limp, but was then shown the next day to be completely healed.
- Dawn attacked a vampire with a burning chemical substance found in a school science lab. Even though it left visible burns on the vampire's face, it did very little to deter it as holy water would.
- Breaking a vampire's neck will incapacitate it, but not kill it. Balthazar broke the neck of one of his vampire minions and it fell lifelessly to the ground, but didn't turn to dust.
- A demon dissected a vampire and mangled his organs as part of an ancient ritual. The vampire was in immense pain but was still conscious enough to beg for death, and told his to "just stake him already," indicating that vampires may be able to regrow inner organs, except the heart - if removed, the vampire normally died.
Humans suffering from some sort of mental illness would keep it as vampires, though in a different and less ailing form. This illness would also be central to the formation of the vampire's persona:
- Drusilla's visions and her subsequent ordeal at Angelus' hands traumatized her into some sort of schizophrenia. As a vampire, Dru remained schizophrenic, yet she was not paranoid or depressive like she was when she was human. Combined with her psychic powers, Drusilla's madness gave her a unique perspective in which she reveled.
- Andrew Borba was a religious fanatic who seemed to have carried his zeal as a vampire, despite fearing the cross (which he was quite baffled of).
- Zachary Kralik still relied on his pills to cope with his headaches even after he was turned.
- According to Angel, if a vampire required glasses during their human life, they would still need them after being sired.
- Vampires did not experience the same revulsion to blood and death that a human normally would, soulless or not. When Angel was temporarily turned human, he was taken aback by the sight of bloody corpses. Doyle told him that it was part of being human.
Powers and abilities
Superhuman strength: Vampires possessed superhuman physical strength, though the exact extent and limits of this strength are debatable and often varied from individual to individual in the same way that it does in humans; either because of their age, what supernatural blood they had consumed, or how long they've been a vampire. Some vampires were capable of deforming metal with their hands, while others were held back by wooden doors (that were barricaded from the other side albeit). Chains had varying degrees of success and failure at restraining vampires; Angel was able to break out of them after hours of trying, while others found them unbreakable. Vampires could easily press both their own weight and the weight of an average adult human, as they were shown to throw human bodies anywhere from 5 to 25ft away.
A vampire's strength increased with age, though even newly-risen vampires had a great strength. As shown on multiple occasions, even vampires who just rose from the grave are already strong enough to easily snap a human's neck. Century-old vampires were able to do greater amounts of damage. Angel tore a man's heart out with his bare hands, ripped a demon's limbs (albeit after feeding on supernatural blood) off and claimed he could literally rip a man's head off his body.
Spike and Drusilla were able to kill enemies by punching a hole through their torsos, while Angel and Dracula had decapitated opponents with a single blow. Spike had even at one point single-handedly flipped over a car in anger.
The vampire's strength also appeared to increase when in their "vamp face," as Buffy ordered Angel to assume it before he fought off vampires to keep them from butting into Buffy's fight with the Master. Furthermore, after assuming his vampire face, Angel was able to briefly overpower The Beast and force him to his knees before he was overwhelmed by the latter's superior strength.
The blood of enhanced human and human-like beings augmented their strength to a great degree. Vampires also derived pleasure from the act of feeding off such humans. Examples of vampires feeding on superhumans and gaining a charge include:
- The Slayer's blood was the only cure for a poison called the Killer of the Dead. Feeding off Slayers provided a temporary "high" as well; Spike likened it to an aphrodisiac on his first taste. Slayer (Buffy's) blood also provided enough temporary strength to enable the Master to escape his mystical prison.
- Angel, after having been secretly fed his own son's blood, who had supernatural qualities himself, was strong enough to rip a demon's arm from its body effortlessly.
- For his initiation in the Circle of the Black Thorn, Angel was given "supercharged warrior juice": Drogyn's blood.
- Angel's strength was greatly augmented after drinking from Marcus Hamilton, a supernatural humanoid being infused with the power of the Senior Partners and dramatically stronger than Angel.
Superhuman speed: Vampires could move much faster than normal humans. They could flash across distances in an instant and preform actions very quickly in complete silence; the Master disappeared from Buffy's line of sight when she briefly looked away before hearing his voice from afar, Spike drained and hid the bodies of two fully grown men in a few seconds without alerting the girl they were walking with, and Angel entered and exited Buffy's bedroom from her window without her noticing.
Angel could run at such speeds that he appeared to teleport several meters in mere seconds. On one occasion, Angelus moved so fast that as he was chasing down Jenny Calendar he appeared in front of her even after she slowed him down from another direction. Penn, the vampire that Angel sired when he was still Angelus, took out a room of armed police officers so fast that he was perceived as a fast-moving blur from the perspective of Kate, a human.
Vampires had incredible reaction speed; Angel once spun around and caught a crossbow bolt fired at his back from point-blank range, side-stepped a tranquilizer dart fired at a close range and dodged bullets fired from multiple riflemen. Even a lesser vampire could bat away crossbow bolt fired less than 10 feet away.
Superhuman agility: Vampires possessed greater athleticism and maneuverability than normal humans and could leap great heights and distances. A newly-risen Darla effortlessly rose up to the ceiling with Angel in hand to smash his head against the glass plane above.
Angel possessed the ability to jump over 10 feet in the air. He once jumped over a tall gate, and reached an airborne helicopter by leaping from within inside a building. On occasion, he could jump almost 100 feet in the air.
Superhuman durability: Being undead, vampires could endure and survive near-limitless amounts of bodily damage so long as they were not decapitated or staked through the heart (see #Weaknesses). Their bodies appeared more durable to blunt force trauma than humans and could shrug off mortal wounds. However, a certain degree of damage could cause visible or debilitating effects. Drusilla was once hit by a car, but instantly got up completely unfazed. A member of the Order of Aurelius was also hit by a bus and had no difficulty in killing the bus driver and the passengers afterwards. Angel and Spike could take multiple gunshots to the torso and still escape. Spike even using his body as a human shield to protect Gunn and Lindsey from a Uzi sub-machine gunfire which bloodily shredded his back but didn't slow him down in the slightest. Explosives could kill vampires, but older vampires like Angel and Spike could withstand explosions within close range to the source with their bodies intact and fully mobile. Vampires could fall from high altitudes (such as skyscrapers) and land with little to no injury. Vampires could also have live surgery preformed on them with little preparation or equipment.
Accelerated healing: Vampires could heal more quickly than humans, though the process could vary depending on the severity of the injury (from months to mere seconds), and some vampires could receive permanent scars (see #Injuries). Angelus, for example, was beaten several times with a crowbar, but recovered in slightly over a minute and was able to engage in a full-blown sword fight with Buffy without any physical handicap. Similarly, Angel was run over by a truck and beaten with a sledgehammer several times across his chin and mid-section, and recovered to fighting form in mere seconds. Angel once took a shotgun blast to the back which pained him for the next few hours, but was completely healed and ready to fight the following night.
However, vampires could suffer trauma (such as being put into a coma) that rendered them unconscious. In his battle against Xin Rong, Spike left with a permanent scar on his eyebrow. Their healing abilities seemed to be somewhat superior to those of a Slayer; after a brutal fight between himself and Faith, Angel was barely scorched the next day, while Faith was still healing herself.
Superhuman senses: Being primarily nocturnal, vampires had enhanced hearing, smell and night vision. They were especially sensitive to the scent of blood, and could distinguish individual humans and vampires by scent, as shown by the newly sired Gunn. There were exceptions: Spike was unable to identify Charlotte, nor Harmony with Tamika before she showed her vamp-face (Tamika suggested she would have if she "wore less of that tacky perfume"). Alphonse and his minions took some time to distinguish between both Willow and her alternate reality counterpart. The vampire Carl was also taken aback by Spike's resistance while they were in confrontation.
Spike in particular had an acute sense of smell; when the Scooby Gang turned on Buffy and forced her to leave, Spike tracked her down by scent alone at least several hours after she had left. He was also able to track down the demon Gnarl and the Slayer Dana. Angel could tell by scent that Wesley had sex with a bleached blonde the night before, and also tracked the scent of a Triune demon across the city of London. Dracula recognized Rupert Giles when he was his child self based on the scent of his blood. Vampires apparently were attracted to bright colors, and the Sunnydale citizens in an alternate reality were careful not to wear brightly colored clothing.
Vampires possessed a highly advanced sense of hearing which allowed them to pick up faint noises from far distances. Members of a vampire cult were able to overhear Fred whisper something to Darla who then informed her: "vampires have great hearing." Angel heard a bloodthirsty demon hiss from the top floor of the Hyperion. Darla used this when she spied on Buffy and Willow through a window of the library.
Vampires appeared to possess some degree of night vision. When the Mayor turned the school's lights off, Angel assured Buffy that he could "see all right." The Order of Aurelius vampires also had no problem navigating the dark sewers in pursuit of Buffy and Xander who had to use flashlights (in fact, vampires in general would normally use sewer systems to transverse during day time without any lighting aids). Additionally, the Aurelius vamps' eyes illuminated in the dark in a similar manner to many animals do which help them see in low-light environments. However, unlike their other senses, a vampire's night vision appeared to be inconsistent; Angel at one point used night vision goggles while working a case with Kate Lockley, while Spike needed a flashlight to see in the abandoned Initiative base.
Their powers of perception were so great that they were capable of perceiving certain minuscule details that most beings would easily overlook. An example of this was when Illyria used her time-slowing powers to facilitate her and Knox's escape from the Wolfram & Hart Science Lab, Spike was the only one who "saw a blur" just before Illyria vanished, leading to him, Angel, Gunn, and Wesley to speculate that her inexplicable disappearance stemmed from altering time rather than teleportation.
Several vampires, including Dalton, Penn and Marcus, wore eyeglasses. William Pratt, however, wore eyeglasses as a human, while Spike did not seem to need them he never showed signs of either myopia or farsightedness, and was able to read books and aim a gun with no problem. According to Angel, if a vampire required glasses as a human, they still needed them after their siring.
Immortality: Vampires did not physically age from the point that they were sired and could live for centuries with the same vitality and vigor. While their human selves didn't get any older, their "game face" became more gruesome and their ability to assume human form appeared to lose itself in some millennia-old vampires (see #Age).
Innate fighting prowess: Upon being sired, nearly all vampires possessed extraordinary ability in hand-to-hand combat, able to fight with great skill and shoot with great accuracy even if he or she had never possessed such skills or training as a human.
When being taught how to slay, Dawn nervously hoped that the newborn vampire pitted against her might not "know all the fancy martial arts they inevitably seem to pick up," though she was proven wrong. On one occasion, Angel, even while suffering from amnesia and believing himself to be a teenager, managed to defeat Connor by fighting purely on instinct. Spike also fought off and killed multiple vampires while suffering from a memory loss spell.
One exception appeared to be Harmony, who had poor fighting skills during her first year as vampire, equally matching up against the human Xander in a fight. Over time after her first break-up with Spike, the newly-independent Harmony eventually began honing her instincts, holding her own in fights against Riley, Spike, and fellow Wolfram & Hart employee Tamika.
Sharp fingernails: Vampires' fingernails were sharper than those of humans. Vampires like Drusilla and Dracula have killed humans by slashing their necks with their nails, and a random vampire caused Jasmine heavy bleeding by sinking his nails into her arm for a brief moment. Additionally, Darla, Drusilla, and Dracula have used their nails to draw their own blood to feed the person they wished to sire.
Spike mentioned his desire to turn his fingernails into claws to incorporate into his fighting (saying it was "always more Dru's thing), and did use them to tear a demonic entity posing as his mother into shreds.
Rare or unusual powers: There were several instances of vampires possessing unusual abilities, either by practicing magic or through some other force:
- Some vampires, including the Master, Drusilla and Dracula, were able to hypnotize their victims. Others, such as Angel, were never able to get the hang of this ability, however, it was noted that hypnosis was a inherent power of vampirism but it simply requires effort and willpower to use.
- Drusilla's psychic powers (precognition and empathy) came to her as a human, and she retained them as a vampire.
- Marcus the vampire torturer sensed Angel's soul and that he had known love. As a vampire was immune to mind-reading, it indicates that he was an empath.
- Darla, like Marcus, sensed Angelus's soul when he was first cursed. Wesley confirmed that some vampires were capable of sensing Angel's soul.
- Angel's psychic link to his progeny allowed him to perceive their actions through dreams and track them down as well, though he could only do it consciously. He was incapable of sensing their presence by intuition. Angel tracked Drusilla shortly after he was aware of her arrival in Sunnydale and Penn after he confirmed his presence in Los Angeles. However, Angel did not similarly perceive Sam Lawson's presence in Los Angeles. This power was similar to what the father of Angel's bloodline, Archaeus, had been able to do.
- Angel had a photographic memory. He used it to recall all the people present at an event which he visualized in front of him. However, he claimed that this wasn't an automatic reflex.
- Dracula was able to take the form of a wolf, a bat, a panther, a swarm of bees, and mist. Spike claimed these powers stemmed from gypsy magic. At first, Dracula said these powers were part of "the ancient magics" and that he had risked his soul to achieve them, but he later revealed the spells were mere window dressing, intended to strengthen his power of will. He gained his shapeshifting powers literally by willing it to be so, although it took him decades to achieve them. This meant that potentially any vampire could do this but, as with hypnosis, required sufficient willpower and even then it seemed it had to be amplified first.
- Dracula could reassemble himself after being dusted, as shown when Buffy staked him and he reconstituted shortly after. The only way to permanently kill him was decapitating him and burning the head and body separately.
- The vampire Marissa, whom Connor chased, scaled up the side of a building like a spider, moving very quickly once she made contact with the building.
- When Drusilla dreamed of Archaeus, she levitated in her sleep.
- “You fear the cross. The sun. Fire. [...] I believe is a problem as well. You fear death. Being immortal, you fear it more than those to whom it comes naturally.”
While vampires were immune to a number of things that would kill humans, vampires had a number of weakness that could destroy or repel them. They could be killed when impaled in the heart with a wooden object, beheaded, exposed to direct sunlight, or consumed by fire.
Wood: If the heart of the vampire was pierced with a wooden object, the vampire would immediately die. Instances included stakes, arrows, a tree branch, a pencil, bamboo, and a chopstick.
A wooden stake in an area other than the heart would not work, nor would puncture of the heart by other materials such as metal, plastic wood grain, or synthetic wood. Bullets and blades could cause great pain, but would not kill the vampire, unless they resulted in decapitation.
The vampire's flesh seemed to be especially vulnerable to wood. This would explain why it was relatively easy for Cordelia, who had no fighting training or enhanced strength, to stake a vampire minion during the graduation battle, how Candy Gorch got dusted by the wooden handle of a spatula, why Jesse was accidentally dusted when pushed against the stake Xander was holding, or how Kate Lockley was able to impale Angel through the stomach with a broken board and stake Penn while the latter was on Angel's back.
The amount of wood also seemed to be another factor to consider when analyzing vampires' weaknesses. A vampire as ancient as Kakistos barely even felt pain when stabbed with a common stake, but died when impaled with a large beam of wood. The Master was also impaled on an unusually large piece of wood after being thrown from a roof by Buffy. Common vampires, however, could be staked with pieces of wood as thin as a pencil or a chopstick. In contrast, the Prince of Lies was easily dusted by a simple stake, despite having claimed to be "as ancient as the darkness itself."
Dracula appeared to be immune to stakes to some extent; during his confrontation with Buffy, she staked him twice in a row, and he reformed from mist both times.
Fire: When set on fire, the body of the vampire would be consumed in a relatively short time. The more powerful and/or older the vampire was, the longer it would take for their bodies to be properly destroyed, which explained why Darla and Drusilla were able to survive being set on fire while an anonymous vampire was quickly consumed when Spike lighted him with his Zippo lighter.
If a vampire survived the fire, the healing process would regenerate the charred flesh, skin and hair. The time required also depended on the age and power of the vampire: following their immolation at Angel's hands, Drusilla healed faster than Darla because she was now the older vampire.
Sunlight:The light emitted by the Earth's sun was extremely hazardous to vampires, if they were exposed directly to it. When exposed to direct natural sunlight, the body of the vampire combusted and would quickly be consumed by the resulting flames. However, older and more powerful vampires like Spike or Angel could resist sunlight better than younger, weaker vampires like Boone's buddies, who were consumed almost instantly. When Spike was first sired, he and Angelus bonded by deliberately exposing themselves to the sun. Simply being outside during the day could be dangerous to vampires; after the death of the Beast restored the sun, two vampires standing outside the warehouse where Angelus, Faith and the Beast had confronted each other burnt up in seconds, and when fighting Buffy during the day while wielding the Gem of Amara, Spike began to scream in pain and flee for the nearest sewer the moment Buffy pulled the Gem off his finger, despite the fact that he was in a shaded area with no clear sign of sunlight shining on him.
Filtered and/or indirect sunlight may not cause any kind of injury to vampires. If protected from direct exposure to sunlight, vampires could be active in the middle of the day: Angel frequently used sewer tunnels under the Hyperion Hotel, while Spike was often seen traveling under a heavy blanket or in cars with blacked-out windows. To protect its vampire employees, the Los Angeles offices of Wolfram & Hart employed "necro-tempered" tinted glass to filter the components of light that were dangerous to vampires, while leaving brightness intact. When attacking Gunn's Crew and kidnapping Alonna Gunn in full daylight, Knox and his pack proved ingenious by wearing an overall and a gas mask to protect them from the sun.
Exposure to artificial sunlight such as tanning lamps did not harm vampires. However, the light emitted from multiple tanning beds worked on zompires (Spike was able to narrowly avoid it by leaping out of the way). Also, the light of suns in other dimensions was shown to not injure vampires in any way. The twin suns in Pylea and the sun in Wolfram & Hart's Holding Dimension were safe for vampires. The witch Willow planned to create magically artificial sunlight to use against vampires.
Decapitation: It was also possible to kill a vampire through decapitation. Like in the case of staking, the vampire would turn to ashes. Decapitation could be achieved through blows with sharp objects such as metal axes and swords, by ripping off the vampire's head, as Adam did with one of Boone's pack mates. Rapid bullet blasts, headshots from high-powered rifles, and even car doors were effective.
Holy items: Christianity-based holy items such as crosses, bibles, and holy water (water blessed by a priest) burned vampires on contact, producing smoke but not flames. Thus, they were employed to ward off vampires with moderate success. The mere sight of a cross could cause a vampire to recoil in fear. Vampires could enter consecrated buildings such as churches, but doing so appeared to produce feelings of unease. Chanting prayers in the presence of a vampire did nothing.
Holy water in particular could be lethal if ingested by a vampire, as exemplified by Zachary Kralik, who swallowed holy water and was burned to death from within. During the Harvest, Buffy was shown possessing a jar full of communal bread wafers among her other weapons; however, she never actually ever used it and what effect it might of had was never shown. Holy water could also affect vampires if it's bathed into rope, as shown when Billy Lane used this method on a few zompires.
Vampires were able to better resist the pain caused by crosses through force of will. For instance, the Master had become capable of touching crosses, and though they burned his hand, he withstood the pain. Likewise, Angel was capable of walking over crosses during the trials and enduring the pain of Buffy's cross necklace branding his chest, and Spike bludgeoned Angel with a large cross despite it charring his hands. Similarly, when Willow attempted to use a cross to ward off her alternate reality counterpart, the latter simply knocked it out of her hands, and left Wesley alone out of boredom when he threatened her with a cross and holy water.
The effectiveness of the cross largely seemed to be due to the vampires' fear of it rather than the power of the object itself. Adam was able to persuade Boone and his pack mates to overcome their fear of the cross, allowing them to invade a church and take the churchgoers hostage in broad daylight with minimal difficulty.
The substance of the cross was irrelevant: wood and metal crosses had the same effect. However, two rods temporarily held in the shape of a cross were insufficient.
Garlic: Garlic largely seemed to be used as a vampire repellent. Buffy kept garlic in a chest along with stakes, holy water, and crosses, and told Xander that garlic was indeed a useful weapon against vampires. In an alternate reality, Sunnydale High students hung cloves of garlic on their lockers and in the school hall. Buffy hung garlic in her bedroom to protect herself from Spike, and did the same thing to protect herself from Angelus, as did Liam's father and other people of his village after his son was sired..
When vampires died, their bodies and clothing turned into dust in a matter of seconds, which was usually followed by a high-pitched scream. This phenomenon was referred to as "dusting" vampires.
Any foreign object touching/piercing the vampire's body would disintegrate as well. While the signature robes of a group of cultist vampires would turn to dust upon their death as with the rest of their attire, Angel was able to a keep a robe from dusting by removing it from the vampire that was wearing it before dusting him. Xander was also angry at Spike for trying to stake himself while wearing his clothes, simply because his shirt would've perished along with him.
Even weapons, such as stakes, would dust along with the vampire if it remained in the vampire's body when it dusted. This happened when Cordelia pushed down on a vampire, causing it to fall on Xander who was holding a stake, dusting the vampire before Cordelia landed on Xander. If the stake hadn't also been destroyed, Cordelia would've been struck by it. Even when the broken part of a shovel was used to stake a vampire, the shaft along with the head dusted with it.
In spite of these examples, there were some instances that were exceptions to the rule. Buffy killed a vampire that crawled over her, accidentally moving into a stake that she held over herself in time, though the stake remained unharmed. When Angel staked Sam Lawson, the stake remained mid-air while he dusted before falling to the ground. This similarly happened to Kakistos by a wooden beam, the Master and Marcus; the latter of which were both impaled by large pieces of sharpened broken wood. It's possible the type of wood may play a factor as Angel killed Sam with a stake formed by broken wood from the Wolfram & Hart offices (an organization equipped with endless supernatural resources) while a rather large piece of wood might withstand the dusting process as the wood pieces that killed the Master and Marcus were part of a larger frame of wood. Apparently, if someone else is still holding the weapon that killed the vampire, even if it is still inside their body when they died, it won't be dusted, due to being in contact with something else.
Also, it's shown twice that any rings worn would remain after the dusting; once when Giles picked up a ring from the dusted remains of a member of the Order of Aurelius and a second time during Buffy's dream where Angel's rings fell through his fingers as they turned to dust.
Vampires could achieve invulnerability to all their weaknesses mentioned above in at least three ways:
- Wearing the Gem of Amara. The Gem of Amara was destroyed by Angel in the year 2000.
- Having a procedure that removed the vampire's heart and infused his/her body with mystical potions. While having the same effects as the Gem of Amara, its effects only lasted for six hours. After these passed, the vampire instantly dusted. A human scientist seemed to have improved the procedure. Instead of giving the vampire a six hour time limit, the scientist was able to extend the effects for 24 hours via removal of the heart. By creating an artificial heart for the vampire, the scientist was able to extend the vampire's invulnerability indefinitely, or at least until the artificial heart was removed or damaged.
- Becoming the host for Twilight. Long ago there was a prophecy that a vampire and a Slayer would reproduce and give birth to a new universe. Buffy became a candidate for this prophecy when she empowered the Slayers in 2003. Angel became a candidate for this prophecy because he was "the yin to [Buffy's] yang." The buildup to this prophecy necessitated that the Slayer and vampire must each reach an emotional low point where they experienced despair and helplessness. Once this was achieved, the Slayer and the vampire (Buffy and Angel) were endowed with superpowers which included enhanced strength, flight abilities and absolute invulnerability. While experiencing this invulnerability, Angel was unable to be staked even with an entire tree.
In each of these cases, the vampire was immune to the effects of sunlight and fire. The vampire instantly regenerated wounds, such as those caused by staking. However, it was likely that decapitation would still kill a vampire who was otherwise enjoying invulnerability. A scientist explicitly warned the vampire not to get his head cut off, because while the artificial heart may protect the vampire from sunlight, the scientist stated that "it's not a neck brace." When Angel was invulnerable due to being the host of Twilight, being in the proximity of the Seed of Wonder allowed him to be hurt.
- “It's alright. A vampire can't come in unless it's invited.”
Vampires could enter a private residence, including houses and apartments, only if invited; otherwise they would hit an invisible barrier. Areas open to the public were not protected as such.
The inviter did not need to be aware that the invitee was a vampire. This was the case of when Buffy invited Angel and Joyce Summers invited both Darla and Dracula into the Summers residence.. Cordelia invited Harmony into her apartment under the same circumstances.
If the resident of a property invited a vampire in but afterwards began living elsewhere, they had to extend another invitation to allow the vampire into the new property When Buffy moved from her home into a college dorm, Angel needed an invitation to enter her new residence
The invitation could be coerced through psychic means, as Joyce invited Dracula while under his thrall.
The invitation did not need to be immediate or specific. Cordelia invited Angel to her apartment before she had found one, so Angel effortlessly entered the one she bought. Rebecca Lowell invited Angel to watch a movie at her house without specifying a time. Wesley posing as Angel was invited by Benny into Magnus Bryce's residence; that invitation allowed Angel himself to enter.
The inviter had to be a resident, but not necessarily the owner. Kathy invited the newly sired Liam, her brother, into the family house. Buffy and Dawn did not own the Summers residence but had invitation rights, unlike Xander or Anya.
The mystical barrier faded if all residents died. Angel entered the residences of Lester Worth, Tina, Trevor Lockley, the hired rapists, and the Kramer Family. Likewise, Darla entered Liam's former house after he murdered his family.
No invitation was required for temporary accommodations such as motel rooms, hotel rooms, and frat houses or if the vampire was the legal owner of the building, for example, Russell Winters. On the other hand, since Angel was not the legal owner of the Hyperion Hotel and it no longer functioned as temporary accommodations, Fred had to invite Angel to her room, as she had taken residence there.
Invitation was shown to be necessary for dorm rooms: When Spike knocked on Willow's dorm room door, she shouted back, "Come in!" which granted him entrance.
The invitation could be conditional, even if the condition was not met. Catherine Manners was able to invite Angel into her home by saying "Help us." However, Angel instead helped Drusilla and Darla kill the people inside.
Once invited, the vampire was always free to enter, and the invitation was revocable only through the usage of a magic ritual. This was performed by Willow and Tara Maclay with respect to Angelus, Dracula, Harmony, and Spike. The invitation could be extended again later, as it was for Angel. and Spike.
The residences of vampires, other demons and half-demons were not protected. This was the case even if humans also lived there. As example of this, Darla was able to enter Angel's apartment; Angel to broke into Russell Winters' mansion; Angel broke into the apartment of Sharon Reichler, who was possessed by Talamour; Angel didn't require Wesley's invitation to Penn's lair; Spike entered Doc's place at his leisure; Angel entered Merl's lair whenever he desired; Angel entered Billy Blim's mansion; and Angel entered Connor's place uninvited.
After being turned, a vampire would require an invite even if they had been invited in or a resident as a human. Liam required an invitation to his family's home after being turned, and Timothy Jenkins needed an invitation into his mother's house where he lived as a human.
- A pseudo-vampire (a human wearing a cursed vampire costume) entered Buffy's kitchen uninvited; however, it should be noted that this was not an actual vampire, so the invitation rule may not have applied as the pseudo-vampire was not bound by the regular vampire rules.
- Angel asked Buffy if he could come into her dorm room, to which she replied, "I guess." He then stated that he needed a more definite invite. Willow specifically said, "I invite you to come in." However, Sunday's pack seemingly did not need invitations to enter dorm rooms, including Buffy's, allowing them to enter and either steal or kill at their leisure; considering that they targeted new students, it may be that the invitation rule was not entirely valid as the students did not feel as though they were at 'home' yet.
- Angel rushed into Kate Lockley's apartment to save her from a drug overdose. Kate said, "I think maybe we're not alone in this [...] I never invited you in," indicating that there may have been intervention from The Powers That Be.
The actual "wall" was not harmful towards vampires and touching it could create a ripple effect, since Angel casually leaned against an apartment's invisible barrier while standing by the doorway as he wasn't invited, and fell to the ground when the barrier faded because the owner died in hospital.
It was possible to magically revoke a vampire's invite. After Angel lost his soul, Buffy and Willow performed a ritual to keep him out of her home. This involved some ritual chanting and the hanging of crosses. The same ritual was used to uninvite Dracula, who had been invited by an enthralled Joyce, as well as Harmony, unwittingly invited by Dawn. Similarly, Buffy had invited Spike into her home during a brief truce and revoked his invitation nearly three years after.
- “Looking in the mirror every day and seeing nothing there... an overrated pleasure”
Vampires, as well as the clothes they currently wore, couldn't be seen on reflective surfaces like mirrors, glass or water. Even though tradition stated it was due to a vampire's lack of a human soul (as mirrors were believed to reflect a person's soul), Angel and Spike didn't cast reflections either. However, vampires could be seen in photographs, daguerreotypes, and video tapes. Vampires did have reflections in certain dimensions, such as Pylea, as its physics differed to those of Earth.
The lack of reflection also worked on telepathy: a vampire's thoughts and memories couldn't be read, except in the case of telepaths like Splenden beasts. However, vampires could receive projected thoughts, as Willow successfully telepathically communicated with Spike. Empaths were capable of reading vampires, as their powers were not telepathic in nature.
A vampire's mind was still susceptible to other sorts of mystical links, which allowed Buffy to be put into Angel's dreams and Darla to experience the Three Trials through Angel's eyes.
A separate vampire species called Turok-Hans shared some traits with common vampires (such as the need to drink blood), but their armored chest cavities were nearly impervious to stakes. Killing a Turok-Han with a stake to the heart was possible, but required tremendous effort to penetrate their thick sternums. On top of that, the Turok-Han were completely immune to crosses, and were only slightly affected by holy water. Their blood was also of a darker coloration, and they were unable to assume a human visage like modern members of their species. They also didn't require an invitation to enter a person's home. Although they were physically much stronger than their counterparts, they seemed to lack independence and intelligence. Giles mentions that they were an "entirely" different race to normal vampires.
In the year 2003 in Sunnydale, Turok-Han reappeared after millennia. An entire army of Turok-Han was destroyed in the battle at the Hellmouth. Spike later mentioned that Turok-Han belonged on a list of "things that just [didn't] exist anymore."
"Zompire" was a term coined by Xander Harris to describe all new vampires that were sired after the destruction of the Seed of Wonder, the source of all magic on Earth, but before the creation of the new Seed. Because the demon spirits that normally animated a vampire's body were unable to completely cross over into earth's dimension, the zompires were mindless and feral, with none of them retaining their human predecessors' memories and personality traits.
Named after a portmanteau of the words zombie and vampire, zompires were in no way related to actual zombies, but were called so because of their similar behavior. When taking on their "vamp-face" appearance, the zompires' characteristics were more extreme than those of regular vampires, appearing to possess a larger mouth with more sharp teeth. They were also stronger than regular vampires and able to enter human's home without an invitation. After a new Seed of Wonder was created, zompires could no longer reproduce, newly sired vampires instead turning into new vampires.
A "slaypire" was the result of a Slayer turned vampire. This gave them physical attributes superior to most vampires and Slayers, though with the same weaknesses as ordinary vampires. This was a controversial issue among the Watchers Council and there were a few rare cases where a slayer was sired: Yuki Makimura, Simone Doffler, Tessa Freer, and, temporarily, Buffy Summers.
Vampires who were sired after magic was restored to Earth by the new Seed of Wonder were fully intelligent and had the power to shapeshift into bats, mist, panthers, wolves and bees. They were also immune to sunlight and they were harder to stake and physically much more powerful than the older breed. It was later decided to write into the Vampyr book that these vampires were unable to use their shapeshifting powers during the day because Buffy considered them too powerful.
List of vampires
|The Vampire article has a Photo Gallery.|
Behind the scenes
- Whedon's vampires owe more to the cosmos of H. P. Lovecraft than they do to the European and Christian traditions that inform most such creatures, being remnants of an ancient race of demons, or semi-demons, that ruled the Earth before the advent of humans, were displaced by humans, and are now seeking to wrest the world away from humans. The writers added their own ideas, often based on popular culture, to the vampire myths that they, with Whedon, collectively developed throughout the duration of the series. These popular culture sources included a few of the traditional myths, comic book villains, The Exorcist, and makeup artists' ideas of how to depict demons, some of which ideas were inspired by reptiles (specifically, alligators).
- When discussing Penn's superhuman speed, Tim Minear, stated, "...to my mind we didn't really invent new powers for our vamps. Penn did leap into a second story window, but he had been feeding and was fueled with adrenaline. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. As far as anything that may have seemed new... I made a point to have Penn 'speed up' or go all Matrix-y when we were in a scene that was Kate's POV"
- Vampire dusting was a CGI effect. Visual Effects Supervisor Loni Peristere stated "Joss had a very specific ideas about what he wanted to see when a vampire turned to dust. He wanted it to feel as if, at the point of impact, all the moisture in a human being's body were just eradicated in this chemical explosion. So all these things were great and Joss was like 'yeah that's great, but how do we do it when the character's moving in live action, how do we integrate those kind of effects without having these tedious boring knock-offs?' and I said 'well, that's where we'll gonna have to go to 3d animation and compositing'." When filming a dusting, the actor would be required to enact being killed then leave the frame, giving several seconds for the dusting to take place. Applying the effect afterwards would take around 5–6 days to complete. The process needed a computerized rough skeletal or geometric form that would be added with elements such as textures and shading which would be layered together before being animated. Unable to see a visceral connection between the actor and the effect, Peristere brought tinfoil to the compositing bay and added a moving light so the process could be seen. In first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, vampires would explode upon impact, by the second, the vampire's body would turn to dust before exploding and starting with the third season's "The Wish," the skeletal structure of vampire could be seen in nearly every dusting in both later seasons of Buffy and the seasons of Angel. The introduction of the skeleton allowed a frame-by-frame process of flesh eroding to dust then eroding to bones. In the comic book continuations (and many other canonical and non-canonical comics), vampires would explode in a burst of green dust with the skeleton visible.
- The pronounced browridges were done by a foam prosthetic that was glued onto the actor's face. It was then smoothed around its edges before blending into the skin with products like latex. The next step was color which would start by painting a reddish tone on to the foam piece before adding the skin tones because the piece was opaque while skin was translucent. After that, details were added and airbrushing was done. Finally, the eyes were darkened as Makeup Supervisor Todd Mcintosh found it was essential, as even though the vampires looked feral, they needed to look mean. The teeth were custom made for recurring or regular actors by a silicon mold so they could pronounce words, while background actors and extras had a generic shells with acrylic relining material to set in their teeth, though its bulkiness prevented them from talking clearly.
- The Master's more demonic look was intended to be an advancement of vampirism. John Vulch from the Optic Nerve special effects team said "When we initially designed the Master, it was Joss' intention to make a more advanced than any of the other vampires would be and that got us in this kinda mindset that somehow this vampirism in his mythology was some kind of disease that you progress into, you have different stages of. So we actually developed a series of drawings, like six or seven drawings that show the differing degrees of vampirism and as you turn more and more into a vampire the features become more bat-like and more pronounced and the Master is so far be he's the most advanced version we've done."
- The vampires from the non-canonical film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, have several differences from the vampires depicted in the series. In the film, the vampires had relatively human features except for fangs, pale skin, and bat-like ears. They also did not crumble to dust when slain, hissed instead of roaring and had the power of flight.
- Additionally, in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot, the vampires shared the same physical characteristics as the canonical ones, save for their dusting effect; instead of instantly exploding, they gradually broke down in seconds, becoming a human-shaped pile of ashes.
- The Origin, despite canon, had vampires also able to transform into green creatures with red eyes, pointy ears, a wide mouth, and long teeth. Although, this seems more like an artistic choice, not having direct consequence to the stories published at that point.
- Despite garlic having several minor appearances throughout the series as a repellent against vampires, the actual effect of garlic was never been shown. Jane Espenson herself has said on her DVD commentaries for "Rm w/a Vu" that "garlic doesn't really seem to do a lot for, against our vampires. And we're pretty consistent with that."
- The first episode toyed with the idea that vampires' clothes would resemble the era in which they died, with Buffy identifying one purely by his dated outfit. Joss Whedon felt this concept was a "charming notion" but ultimately rejected it for the most part (though a few vampires such as Drusilla and Dracula do prefer archaic clothing) because he believed that, if every vampire in the show was dressed in old-fashioned clothes, they would cease to be scary.
- The fact that a vampire's clothes would dust along with their body was probably due to budget constraints. For a vampire to dust with its clothes remaining would require the actor's costume to be removed or doubled and meshing live material with a computerized dusting, which would be difficult.
- Each dusting featured a notable, high-pitched scream (possibly intended to simulate the idea of the demon escaping the vampire's body), which was also used in off-screen dustings to inform the audience of the vampire's death without having to spend time and money on the visual effect. This effect was present throughout the seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer but interestingly not in the fourth and fifth seasons of Angel (with some exceptions from time to time). It was also used during the deaths of Marc and Eyghon.
- As a protagonist or a regular monster, vampires appear in every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel with the exception of the episodes, "Witch," "The Pack," "I Robot, You Jane," "The Puppet Show," "Inca Mummy Girl," "Living Conditions," and "Fear, Itself." They have appeared in all season 3 episodes of Buffy, and all of seasons 5, 6, and 7. Since Angel is the leading protagonist of all Angel seasons, all Angel episodes have a vampire present.