Adam: “Vampires are a paradox.
Boone: “Okay, we're a paradox. That's cool...
Adam: “Demon in a human body. You're a hybrid. Natural and unnatural. You walk in both worlds, and belong to neither.
Adam and Boone[src]

Vampires (also known as Vampyrs and as Van-Tal in the dimension Pylea) were 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.


... 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]

Vampires were first created by ancient demons infecting human hosts.

According to a legend told by the Watcher Rupert Giles, before departing Earth the last of the Old Ones mixed his blood with a human's, thus creating the first vampire.[1] Maloker, the Old One responsible for siring the first vampire, was eventually sealed within the Deeper Well.[2] 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, degradingly referred to vampires as half-breeds. Whether or not the vampires contemporary to or followed immediately after the Old Ones were the Turok-Hans, regular vampires, or both, was never clear. 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.

While an Old one is responsible for the creation of Vampires, the ability to create vampires was not unique to him as the Demon Lord known as Archaeus, has created at least one vampire, The Master and thus began that bloodline.

Human Awareness of Vampires

File:Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 11.38.23 AM.png

Harmony Kendall revealed vampires to the world.

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. Rupert Giles once explained that people have a tendency to "rationalize what they can and forget what they can't."[1] Aimee Mann, a guest singer at The Bronze, once comically remarked that she hated playing in "vampire towns."[3]

For a period of time in Sunnydale, California, there existed a group of vampire wannabes known as the Sunset Club. Though they were aware of the existence of vampires, they were oblivious to their true nature, and referred to them as the "Lonely Ones"; they believed them to be gentle and misunderstood. They ultimately did discover the brutal and violent truth when they were attacked and nearly annihilated 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 Summers in retribution.[4]

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.[5] 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.

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.

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, 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 future timeline of Melaka Fray, vampires were called "lurks" and remained public knowledge, but most humans were unaware that lurks were actually demons, and not simply a particularly vicious form of mutant.


Ford: “I'm in. I will become immortal.
Buffy: “Well, I've got a news flash for you, brain trust. That's not how it works. 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.
Billy Fordham and Buffy Summers[src]

Unlike many other demons, 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 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." [6] Mentally, the root of a vampire's evil nature was his or her lack of a human soul. They were unable to differentiate between right and wrong, and had little care to do so.

Willow is shocked to see how different her vampire self is.

Vampires typically lost their feelings for the people they knew upon siring. For example, after he was turned, Jesse McNally told Xander Harris 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 after his siring, and even turned her in order to free her from death by consumption. When she came back as a vampire and taunted him, he mercifully ended her life. Unlike Gunn, Spike, despite lacking a human soul, showed impressive amounts of loyalty and love (two traits that he possessed in spades when he was alive).[7] 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 admitted that they never truly loved each other, and sometimes abandoned one another out of self-preservation. Watcher 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.[8]

There's a leading theory amongst Watchers that a person sired by a vampire will 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 Archeaus).[9]


  • Darla: As a human, Darla was a prostitute dying of syphilis in the Americas. After being sired, she became cruel, twisted and highly seductive. She despised religion as a human and as a vampire. Angel mentioned that she also had a fascination with religious wars. Christian religion rejected Darla's lifestyle as a human, so it seemed the vampire Darla enjoyed religious war as an example of religion causing destruction and bloodshed instead of salvation.
  • Angelus: As a human, Liam lived haunted by his father's disapproval and expectations that he would never be more than a lazy, womanizing drunk. Upon being sired, Angelus was driven by the memory of his father's contempt to show that he could be something great, and became famous for his sadistic tendencies. He considered himself an "artist", and reveled in destroying people, especially women, mentally and physically, and considered Drusilla his greatest "masterpiece." He also apparently liked ballet, and was able to enjoy it despite his lack of a soul, and later admitted to enjoying Spike's poetry.
  • Drusilla: Drusilla was a pious and chaste Catholic girl, gifted/cursed with psychic abilities and was disturbed because she did not know what was causing her visions. As a vampire, Drusilla became highly sexual and kinky, and revelled in her psychic powers. As a result of her psychological torture at the hands of Angelus, she was also insane.
  • Spike: William Pratt was an outcast, rejected and ridiculed by his contemporaries whom he regarded as ignorant and insensitive despite their wealth. As a vampire, Spike lashed out at society, rejected bureaucracy, aristocracy and authority and found pleasure in mayhem and chaos, while still remaining a romantic at heart. In addition, William was a shy, lovelorn young man with a peaceful nature and a love for poetry; in contrast, he later was considered one of the most violent vampires to exist—partly as a result of Angelus' influence over him. Both as a human and as a vampire, Spike demonstrated a potential for all-consuming, obsessive love, first for his mother, then for Drusilla, and finally for Buffy. Many of the sins Spike committed without a soul were done to retain Drusilla's attention and affection, and much of the good he later did could be attributed to his love for Buffy. He often pursued his object of desire to the point of self-destruction. Spike was also the only known vampire to gain a soul on his own. Angel had his forced on him, while Spike did not have this.
  • Jesse McNally: Jesse was attracted to Cordelia Chase, who snubbed him for his awkwardness. As a vampire, Jesse approached Cordelia in a predatory manner, filled with confidence and charisma, and for once she consented to dance with him.
  • Sheila Martini: Sheila was a dangerous student, enjoying to used a pair of shears on a teacher. Sired by Drusilla, she retain this violent impulsion, trying to attack Buffy with a hacket. Her personality is unchanged, because she was already depraved and without remorse.
  • Theresa Klusmeyer: Theresa was a anxious girl. Sired by Angelus, she demonstrated a clear self-confidence.
  • Willow Rosenberg: In Earth's dimension, Willow was a shy, virginal girl who had difficulty asserting herself. In the Wishverse, she was a highly seductive, depraved vampire who was not impressed by anyone. Her relationship with Xander was proof of this; while the mainstream Willow was never able to admit her feelings to Xander or seduce him, vampire Willow managed to do just this. She retained common points with her counterpart, such as an attraction to women and a sarcastic sense of humor.
  • Xander Harris: In Earth's dimension, Xander was comical, immature and something of a follower; he was consistently ignorant of Willow Rosenberg's attraction to him, and had a habit of seeking unobtainable—or even demonic—women. In the Wishverse, Xander was a vampire, and was portrayed to be confident and darkly diverting. He was also in a relationship with Willow. Like Willow, he retained several of his human traits: he still followed others' orders, and was rather nonchalant.
  • Harmony Kendall: Harmony was a vain, vapid, and snobbish member of the Cordettes before being sired at Graduation. As a vampire, she was still vapid and snobbish, and remarked that it was harder for her to do the right thing without a soul, although she remained mostly unchanged.
  • Alonna Gunn: Alonna Gunn helped her brother eliminate vampires on the streets of Los Angeles, often by serving as bait. However, she blamed Gunn for instigating the danger and that he could leave his life. Ironically, she was kidnapped and sired by vampires. Once transformed, she served as bait again to attract Gunn and suggested transforming him too, "to protect" him. Her personality as a vampire was not unchanged, the relationship simply became reversed. It was Alonna who acted as the big brother, fed by certainties while those of Gunn were destroyed.
  • Anne Pratt: William's devoted mother feared he was too attached to her but could not bring herself to the cruelty of saying so. As a vampire she has no such compunctions, and taunted William with the insinuation of Oedipal deviancy.[10]
  • Sam Lawson: Sam Lawson's need to serve a higher purpose, to be guided by a cause giving sense to his actions, haunted him into his unlife. He found himself completely incapable of obtaining pleasure from killing or torturing. While Lawson believed this was caused by being sired by a vampire with a human soul, Angel believed Lawson merely lacked a purpose in life.
  • Charles Gunn: In life, Gunn was a vampire hunter with a particular hatred towards them because one of them murdered and turned his sister. As a vampire, he became filled with self-hatred and blamed Angel for his condition. Despite his new status, Gunn still clung to the idea that he was one of the good guys, even though he had no soul and fed on humans.
  • Simone Doffler: In life, Simone was an insubordinate rogue Slayer who thrived on the fear and hate she got from ordinary humans and was obsessed with killing Buffy Summers. As a vampire, she remained much the same.

The Demon Within

File:Van-Tal and Fred.PNG

Angel transformed into a Van-Tal.

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 incorrectly 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, 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 has spikes coming out of it, Wesley was not too far off in his suggestion.

The existence of zompires puts 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. This suggests that the bestial nature of vampires isn'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 make you a vampire they have to suck your blood and then you have to suck their blood. It's a whole big sucking thing.
―Buffy Summers[src]


Darla siring the human Liam.

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.[11] Vampires experienced sexual pleasure from the act of siring, comparable to orgasm, and sometimes they might sire new vampires by sexual instinct, which would explain why many new vampires were abandoned by their sires.

The destruction of the Seed of Wonder by Buffy Summers 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 Harris 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.

Vampires' Rebirth

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 Wyndam-Pryce, would reawaken on the night after the siring, sometime between sunset and sunrise.[12] 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.

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!"[1]
  • 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!"[13] (Caveat: Borba spoke much the same way when alive.)
  • Darla: "It all makes sense now, doesn't it?" - Liam: "Yes. Perfect sense".[6]
  • 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!"[14]
  • 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."[15]
  • 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."[16]
  • Anne Pratt: "It's as though I've been given new eyes. I see everything. Understand... Everything.[10]

The new vampire was commonly astonished by the new sensation of power and the connection to an "all-consuming evil."

The Sire's Psychic Link

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".[17] 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.[18][19] 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 who originally turned The Master into a vampire.


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, Jenny 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,[20] 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 Gunn- who had been turned into a vampire when Los Angeles was sent to Hell- back into his human state, although he had to stay in hospital for several weeks afterwards due to his 'restored' injuries now that he was only human.

Any vampires that had been killed while Los Angeles was in hell were restored because of the temporal fold. Any vampires who were sired while Los Angeles was in hell (such as Gunn) were restored to their human state although they kept their memories of being vampires.

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.[21]


You will show proper respect.
―The Master[src]

The Master, an elder vampire, with his minions.

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

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.

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;[40]
  • Russell Winters and his hired muscle, butlers, bodyguards, lawyers and executives;[41]
  • Spike mentions that he once employed two Fyarl demons. While demons, both pure and half-breeds, often regarded vampires as inferiors, Fyarls were usually too dim-witted to grasp the concept of racial discrimination;[42]
  • Dracula and his "manservants": Xander Harris and Butterfield;[11]
  • As Lord of Beverly Hills, Spike was served by a harem of both human and demon females, his Spikettes.

The Slayer and Vampires

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?
File:Buffy Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer-001.jpg

The vampire Luke holding the Slayer Buffy

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 Buffy Summers would be The Master's successor.
  • Killing two Slayers in less than 200 years of existence made Spike an infamous figure among vampires and Watchers alike. Spike had once established "there was no tastier treat than taking down a Slayer".
  • In an alternate reality, when Buffy interrupted a vampire gathering when she attempted to assassinate The Master, the majority of his followers broke out in panic opposed to fighting her.
  • 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.
  • After her break-up with Spike, Harmony Kendall resolved to kill the Slayer, considering it a way to heighten her standing in the vampire community.
  • Spike poetically described fighting the Slayer, comparing it to "a dance" (which also can mean sex). He later claimed that "the only thing better than killing a slayer would be fuc-" after he slept with Buffy for the first time.
  • Fascinated by her reputation and adventures, Dracula wanted to make Buffy one of his undead brides.
  • Two male vampires attempted to seduce Buffy through speed dating, knowing perfectly that she was "the Buffy" (having bed two vampires before).
  • In addition to the above, Drusilla said that she be the "Slayer of Slayers" if she killed Faith.
  • 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.


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. 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 these alterations:

  • 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 mammalian beings, such as the Children of the Senior Partners fed a vampire as well and often had added benefits (see below). Vampires did not feed on the blood of other demons: Trask, a member of the Scourge specifically stated so.
  • 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.

Darla and Drusilla morph into their vampire faces.

  • Facial alterations (pronounced brow ridges, golden/yellow eyes, disappearance of eyebrows, elongated upper canines, and pointed upper incisors) 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 (Connor asks Angel to show him his "second face" and Angel reluctantly obliges), 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 Kendall implied that maintaining "vampface" 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.[43] However, older vampires like The Master, Kakistos, and The Prince of Lies were in vampface 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).
  • As well as possessing greater physical attributes, a vampire's senses (particularly sight, smelling and hearing) are greater than a human's.
  • 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 (Spike did this to Drusilla[44]) and that vampires could become intoxicated (Spike became drunk multiple times). Male vampires were capable of having sex, so they did have some blood flow enabling an erection.

A vampire (the figure to the left) appearing on an infrared camera.

  • 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.[45] Electric security systems were incapable to detect them.[46] 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.[6] A thermal scanner showed Spike's body temperature to be 62.3 degrees Fahrenheit (16.8 degrees Celcius).[47] However, Winifred Burkle's scans of Spike's incorporeal body showed that he generated body heat.[48]
  • 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.[10] Dracula, despite being a decrepit old man in reality, was still just as able and stronger than most vampires. Even a morbidly obese vampire could outrun both Tara, Giles and Spike (this was after Tara exposed him to sobri root which was intended to confuse him, only to make him 'peppy').[49]
  • Their lungs did not absorb oxygen or any other gases; vampires thus could not be drowned or asphyxiated, although their bodies may retain the breathing reflex (such as when Angelus choke-holded Spike).[15] A vampire was capable of speaking and smoking, however, Angel said that he could not give artificial respiration to a drowned human ("I have no breath"[50]). However, the first Turok-Han held Spike's head underwater while torturing him, and Spike briefly passed out and coughed up sizable amounts of water afterward.[51]
  • Vampires healed rapidly, more so than Slayers albeit in a similar way to human bodies.
  • Immunity to diseases: Darla and Spike's mother Anne were both cured of the diseases they were suffering from after they were turned into vampires.
  • 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.[52] 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, as these systems functioned in the same way as human eyes.
  • 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 1920's 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. Strangely, Spike did not grow a beard while hidden in the school's basement after becoming ensouled.
  • Vampires also seemed to be able to walk or run without making noises, as a feline, 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.[8]
  • Vampires seemed to have fully functional tear ducts and were capable of crying; both Angel and Spike shed tears on several occasions.
  • Vampires could be temporarily rendered unconscious by an electric shock produced by tasers.[53][54][55][56]
  • Vampires do seem to require sleep like a normal human, but seem to prefer resting during the day and going out during the night. However, this doesn't seem necessary. They were also capable of dreaming.,[57]
  • Modern vampires were unable to regenerate lost limbs,[58] though they could be surgically reattached.[59]
  • Vampires were unable to procreate in the human manner, although Angel and Darla managed to conceive Connor seemingly because of Jasmine's manipulations.
  • Vampires could survive the extremely high pressures of the deep ocean.[60] Angel was able to sink down to a submarine with only weights attached to his legs and no protective suit.
  • 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;[61] Spike fell in love with Buffy,[62] lost his voice,[63] sang,[64] became amnesiac[39] and totally optimistic [65] because of magic; Angel became totally peaceful once affected by a magical stick,[66] reverted to a teenager because of a magic ritual,[67] was compelled into performing endless sex with Eve,[65] had his free will was stolen by Roger Wyndam-Pryce with the Staff of Devosynn[68] and was transformed into a puppet.[69] Additionally, these three vampires each had their soul restored through magic rituals. Vampires could also be manipulated by necromancers due to their undead nature.[48] 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,[70] and Giles claimed his sleeping spell would only work on Spike if he allowed it.[9]
  • They were immune to the bites of the werewolves and certain demons.
  • Vampires were immune in 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.[58]
  • According to Spike whilst smoking a cigarette with Faith Lehane, a vampire's teeth's can deteriorate over an eternity though through staining.[71] Harmony herself was seen brushing both her human teeth and her fangs each morning.[72]
  • It is 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.[72]
  • When autopsying a victim of a vampire attacks, Winifred Burkle was capable of determining the sex of the perpetrator based on size and depth of the wound.[72]

Powers and Abilities

Even newly-risen vampires possess great strength.

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,[1][60] while others were held back by wooden doors (that were barricaded from the other side albeit).[50][5] Chains had varying degrees of success and failure at restraining vampires; Angel was able to break out of them after hours of trying,[73] 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.


Drusilla (aged 150+ years) punches a hole through John's body

A vampire's strength increased with age, though even newly-risen vampires had incredible strength. On her first day as a vampire after being re-sired, Darla effortlessly lifted Angel (who was considerably taller and more muscular than she was) off the ground by the throat with one hand, tossed fully-grown men around and snapped a shop assistant's neck with ease.[12] Century-old vampires were able to do greater amounts of damage. Angel tore a man's heart out with his bare hands, ripped demon's limbs off and claimed he could literally rip a man's head off his body.[74][75][76][77] Angel, Spike and Drusilla have killed powerful enemies by punching a hole through their torsos [78] [79], while Angel and Dracula have decapitated opponents with a single blow. [80] [81]

Dracula (aged 500+ years) decapitates a vampire.

The vampire's strength also appeared to increase when in their "game 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.[50] Furthermore, after assuming his vampire face, Angel was able to overpower the Beast and force him to his knees.

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.[82] 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.
  • For his initiation in the Circle of the Black Thorn, Angel was given "supercharged warrior juice": Drogyn's blood.[83]
  • 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.

Angel crosses a street as fast as Wesley turns his head.

Superhuman speed: Vampires could move much faster than normal humans. They could flash across distances in an instant [84][77][23][85] 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 [50], Spike drained and hid the bodies of two fully grown men in a few seconds without alerting the girl they were walking with [5], and Angel entered and exited Buffy's bedroom from her window without her noticing (Xander even remarked that he wanted to put a bell on him).[86][5]

Angel could run at such speeds that he appeared to teleport several meters in mere seconds.[87][88][89][90] 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.[91]


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.[17]

Vampires had incredible reaction speed; Angel once spun around and caught a crossbow bolt fired at his back from point-blank range [92], side-stepped a tranquilizer dart fired at a close range and dodged bullets fired from multiple riflemen.[90][93] Spike has blocked an oncoming blade from hitting his back, by grabbing his foe and swinging her 90 degrees to the path of the blade before it could finish travelling.[94] Even a lesser vampire could bat away crossbow bolt fired less than 10 feet away.[95]

Angelus using his agility to evade danger.

Superhuman agility: Vampires possessed greater athleticism and manoeuvrability than normal humans and could leap great heights and distances.[96] A newly-risen Darla effortlessly rose up to the ceiling with Angel in hand to smash his head against the glass plane above.[12]

Angel possessed the ability to jump 10+ feet in the air.[97][33][98][99] He once jumped over a tall gate [89], and reached an airborne helicopter by leaping from within inside a building.[92] On occasion, he could jump almost 100 feet in the air.[90][100][101]

Drusilla gets hit by a car with no injuries.

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 below). 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.[12] 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.[13] Angel and Spike could take multiple gunshots to the torso and still escape with Spike even using his body as a human shield to protect Gunn and Lindsey.[102] Explosives could kill vampires[15][34], but older vampires like Angel and Spike could withstand explosions within close range to the source with their bodies intact and fully mobile.[103][85] Vampires could fall from high altitudes and land with little to no injury; Angel, Spike and a newly-risen Darla have fallen from multiple stories - even skyscrapers - and continued with no problems.[104][12][84][105][59] Vampires could also have live surgery preformed on them with little preparation or equipment.[57]

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 below). 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.[44] 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.[106] Angel once took a shotgun blast to the back which pained him for the next few hours[107], but was completely healed and ready to fight the following night.[108]

Darla's hand was impaled by a stake and it completely healed moments later.[23] Spike once had his eardrums poked out, but regenerated them seconds later amidst fighting a siren.[109]

However, vampires could suffer trauma (such as being put into a coma) that rendered them unconscious. They could also have permanent scars under certain conditions: Xin Rong, for example, used an enchanted sword that gave Spike 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 Lehane, Angel was barely scorched the next day, while Faith was still healing herself.[110]

Spike picks up Buffy's scent.

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,[3] nor Harmony with Tamika before she showed her vamp-face (Tamika suggested she would have if she "wore less of that tacky perfume")[72]. Alphonse and his minions took some time to distinguish between both Willow Rosenberg and her Wishverse counterpart.[27] The vampire Carl was also taken aback by Spike's resistance while they were in confrontation.[32]

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.[111] or searching the demon Gnarl [112] or the psychotic Slayer Dana.[59] 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.[113] Dracula recognised Rupert Giles when he was his child self based on the scent of his blood.[114] Vampires apparently were attracted to bright colors, and the alternate Sunnydale citizens were careful not to wear brightly colored clothing.[26]

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 that "vampires have great hearing".[33] Angel heard a bloodthristy demon hiss from the top floor of the Hyperion.[115] Darla used this when she spied on Buffy and Willow through a window of the library.[116]

Vampire's eyes glowing in the darkness.

Vampires appeared to possess some degree of night vision. When the Mayor turned the school's lights off, Angel assured Buffy that he could "I can see all right".[117] 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.[1] 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,[66] while Spike needed a flashlight to see in the abandoned Initiative base.[118]

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.[119]

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 below).

Harmony fights off a vampire with no prior training.

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.[120] 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.[67] Spike also fought off and killed multiple vampires while suffering from a memory loss spell.[39]

One exception appeared to be Harmony Kendall, who had poor fighting skills during her first year as vampire, equally matching up against the human Xander in a fight.[47] 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,[57] Spike[56] and fellow Wolfram & Hart employee Tamika.[72]

Drusilla murders a Slayer by slashing her throat with her fingernails.

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.[121][11][122][123] 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.[124][125]

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/Angelus, 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.[126]
  • 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.[127] 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.[31]
  • 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[45] 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 is similar to what Archaeus has been able to do which makes sense considering he is the father of Angel's bloodline.
  • 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. [128]
  • 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.[11] At first, Dracula said these powers were part of "the ancient magics" and that he had risked his soul to achieve them,[129] 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 means that potentially any vampire could do this but as with Hypnosis, requires sufficient willpower and even then it seems it has to be amplified first.[114]
  • Dracula could reassemble himself after being dusted, as shown when Buffy staked him and he reconstituted shortly after.[11] The only way to permanently kill him was decapitating him and burning the head and body separately.[130]
  • 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.[95]
  • Angel had the ability to regenerate lost limbs, an ability revealed after James ripped off his hands and feet, due to a powerful supernatural upheaval about to take place. Illyria claimed that vampires possessed such an ability in ancient times.[131]
  • When Drusilla dreamt of Archaeus, she was seen levitating in her sleep.[132] It's possible that this was an extension of her psychic powers.


[...] The Master is centuries old. He has grown past the curse of human features.
Am I gonna get a bat nose like that?
Very few vampires are cunning enough to live as long as I.
―Darla, Angelus and The Master[src]

Being "dead", 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 Master, the oldest vampire ever recorded

  • 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 an old age, though not one as advanced as that of the most ancient vampires seen The Master, Kakistos, The Prince of Lies, and San Sui. Also Lothos looked through his old age from very deformed, although he could still assume a human face. These four 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 is 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.
  • 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.[50] The Master also bore a slight resemblance to the Turok-Han, indicating that as a vampire aged, their appearance evolved more into that of their demon soul.


I don't breathe, you idiot!

Drusilla's vamp face.

Vampires did not require oxygen to survive, allowing them to survive in poisonous atmospheres, underwater and resist strangling. Angel was unaffected by gas[133] and was even able to survive in the poisonous atmosphere of the home dimension of Jasmine's zealots.[134][135] Darla also mocked Angel when he strangled her.[23]

However, vampires did maintain some sort of breathing reflex, which allowed them to speak and smoke, and gag reflex, which could affect them when choked, though they could learn to ignore it, such as Darla when Angel strangled her[23] or when Angel was being attacked and strangled by a tentacled monster from a portal.[128] While they did not require air, they were shown to pant after running for long periods of time. While unable to perform CPR, vampires were capable of smoking and speaking. Strangely, however, the first Turok-Han was shown torturing Spike by holding his head underwater.[51]


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.
File:316 Doppelgangland5.jpg

Wishverse Willow feeds on a human

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.[116][136] Many vampires were shown to dislike the taste of non-human blood, but otter blood seemed to be something of an exception.[137][138]

Spike feeds on pig's blood.

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.[139] Certain other factors about the human may also affect their blood's taste as youth[140] and virginity[1][83] seemed to be rather palatable choices. The blood of an elderly or middle-aged person was considered unappetizing.[5][32]

According to Harmony Kendall, 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. She may have been 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's interpretation of being fed[src]

Angel bites Willow to calm her down.

The bite of a vampire can 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.[82] Angel later utilized this to calm down "Dark Willow" and prevent her from wrecking havoc.[141] Because of the euphoric properties, victims rarely fought back when bitten.[142]

Establishments called "vampire brothels" or "bite dens" made money off of this phenomenon where humans could pay to be bitten to non-lethal extents.

Other food

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.[138] 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),[63] chocolate,[143][144] spices and burba weed (which he mixed into blood for flavor),[32] Buffalo wings,[15] crackers and peanut butter,[63] 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.[20] Spike also once claimed that demon blood tastes like "astringent" and is "oaky", which he stated after biting Cordelia Chase to determine whether or not she was possessed.[101] 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.[5][57]


Spike after weeks without feeding

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.[145]
  • Second, after months of not feeding, they suffered damage to higher brain functions, which could result in extremely vivid hallucinations.[95] Blood from a healthy human was required for the vampire to recuperate.
  • Eventually, they became "living skeletons", according to Spike.[145]


Vampires had a tendency to hunt in alleyways as victims were more vulnerable and out of the public eye.[3][10][41][45][49][104][127][137][146] They hunted in packs for easier access to blood and there were cases where a group of vampires fed on a single human.[145][147] 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.[148]

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.
  • 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.[139]
  • 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.[25]
  • Vampire Willow was knocked out by a tranquilizer dart commonly used on Oz in his werewolf form.[27]
  • The Killer of the Dead was a mystical poison.[149] 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,[150] 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.[47]
  • Actress 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.[97]
  • Calynthia powder seemingly augmented Angel's synapses enough to keep him in restless sleep, plagued by dreams, and rendered him more suggestible.[19]
  • Tara Maclay once hit a vampire with sobri root dust which was intended to confuse him, only to make him "peppy" instead.[49]
  • Vampires got high from feeding off junkies using intravenous drugs, such as Orpheus, a mystical drug.[151]
  • 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.[65]
  • Wolfram & Hart employee and vampire Tamika was able to make fellow vampiric co-worker Harmony Kendall pass out by slipping rohypnol into her drink.[72]
  • Dana, a Slayer, 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.[59]


Vampires could suffer severe injuries and required a long time to recuperate.

  • Drusilla, almost killed by an angry mob in Prague, 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.[152]
  • It has been mentioned that Angel had well above average healing.[127] This was demonstrated by his recovery from being run through by a wooden beam[17]
  • Spike was forced into a wheelchair when an entire church organ collapsed on him, but months later he was back on his feet.[152][153]
  • 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.[154]
  • Kakistos was given a deep facial scar and permanently blinded in his right eye by Faith Lehane.[24]
  • Wishverse Angel had gruesome burning scars on his chest from Willow's torture (presumably she had used holy water on him).[26]
  • Modern vampires could lose appendages, and could not regrow them.[58] However, they could be surgically reattached.[59]
  • After being brutally tortured by Glory, Spike was left with numerous cuts, bruises, and a swollen black eye.[155] He was shown, sometime later, to have a heavily bruised face and a noticeable limp,[156] but was then shown the next day to be completely healed.[157]
  • 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.[158]
  • 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.[37]
  • 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.[134]

Mental and Physical Health

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.[13]
  • Zachary Kralik still relied on his pills to cope with his headaches even after he was turned.[25]
  • According to Angel, if a vampire required glasses during their human life, they would still need them after being sired.[119] However, Spike never needed glasses after being sired and he also mentioned once about his eyes being enhanced when talking to Buffy about Angel.
  • 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.[159]


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 have a number of weakness that can destroy or repel them. They can be killed when impaled in the heart with a wooden object, beheaded, exposed to direct sunlight or consumed by fire.

Wishverse Xander getting staked in the heart.

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,[86] a pencil,[32][160][117] bamboo[3] and a chopstick.[72]

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 of course they resulted in decapitation (see below).

The vampire's flesh seemed to be especially vulnerable to wood, which would explain why it was relatively easy for Cordelia, who has 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,[161] why Jesse was accidentally dusted when pushed against the stake Xander was holding,[1] 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.[17]

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.[24] The Master was also impaled on an unusually large piece of wood[50] after being thrown from a roof by Buffy. No previous staking attempt had been made on The Master, but it was presumable that he was also invulnerable to common stakes. Common vampires, however, could be staked with pieces of wood as thin as a pencil or a chopstick.[72][160] Strangely, the Prince of Lies was easily dusted by a simple stake, despite being 'as ancient as the darkness itself'.[60]

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.[11]

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 [162] while an anonymous vampire was quickly consumed when Spike lighted him with his Zippo lighter.[49]

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.

A vampire combusts and dies in sunlight.

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,[163] who were consumed almost instantly. When Spike was first sired,[138] he and Angelus bonded by deliberately exposing themselves to the sun.

Knox and his gang kidnapping Alonna using special suits to protect themselves from the sun

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.[14]

Exposure to artificial sunlight such as tanning lamps did not harm vampires.[77] However, the light emitted from multiple tanning beds worked on zompires (Spike was able to narrowly avoid it by leaping out of the way).Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many 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. Whether or not this applied to all alternate dimensions was unknown. Willow Rosenberg planned to create magically artificial sunlight,[164][165] however, no such spell was shown to ever been made afterward because, if Willow's theory were right, it would've greatly helped the Scooby Gang whilst patrolling during the period when Buffy was dead.

Giles decapitates a vampire with a sword

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.

Wesley holding Angel back with a cross

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.[166]

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.[25] 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.[1]. Holy Water can also affect vampires if it's bathed into rope, as shown when Billy Lane used this method on a few Zompires.

As vampires grew older and more powerful, they became capable of better resisting 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.[167] 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.[138] Similarly, when Willow attempted to use a cross to ward off her Wishverse 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. It should be noted that vampire Willow was only a vampire for at least three years.[27]

Interestingly, Andrew Borba, who in life and unlife was a fanatical Christian, was effectively warded off by a cross, much to his own confusion.[13]

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.[163]

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.

It was never specified whether holy symbols of religions other than Christianity had the same effect on vampires, or whether non-Christians turned vampire were unaffected by crosses.

Garlic: Garlic largely seemed to be used as a vampire repellent. Buffy kept garlic in a chest along with stakes, holy water, and crosses,[140] and told Xander that garlic was indeed a useful weapon against vampires.[1] Sunnydale High students hung cloves of garlic on their lockers and in the school hall in the Wishverse.[26] Buffy hung garlic in her bedroom to protect herself from Spike,[168] and did the same thing to protect herself from Angelus.[91]


A vampire turns to dust upon death.

When vampires died, their bodies and clothing turned to dust in a matter of seconds, which was usually followed by a high-pitched scream. This phenomenon was refered 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.[31] 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.[136]

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.[169] Even when the broken part of a shovel was used to stake a vampire, the shaft along with the head dusted with it.[170]

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.[25] When Angel staked Sam Lawson, the stake remained mid-air while he dusted before falling to the ground [60] 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.[24][50][127] 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. 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[13] and a second time during Buffy's dream where Angel's rings fell through his fingers as they turned to dust.[171]

Absolute Invulnerability

Not stakes, not fire, and best of all - not sunlight.
Allen Francis Doyle[src]

Vampires could achieve invulnerability to all their weaknesses mentioned above in at least three ways:

  • Marcus walks in broad daylight thanks to the Gem of Amara.

    Wearing the Gem of Amara.[127][172] The Gem of Amara was destroyed by Angel in the year 2000. However, in 2004, Spike discovered another gem.[173] This too was destroyed. The "Forge of Amara" was mentioned existing in another dimension.[174]
  • Having a procedure that removed the vampire's heart and infused his/her body with mystical potions.[22] 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.[175] 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 with science and possibly magics, 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. Spike cut off the hand of a vampire who was wearing the Ring of Amara, severing the vampire from the protection provided by the ring.[173] 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."[175] 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, injured and possibly killed.


Angel: “It's alright. A vampire can't come in unless it's invited.
Buffy: “I've heard that before, but I've never put it to the test.
— Angel and Buffy after escaping The Three[src]

Drusilla is unable to enter Buffy's home without an invitation.

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:
    • Buffy invited Angel, and Joyce invited both Darla and Dracula, into the Summers residence[11][176]
    • Cordelia invited Harmony into her apartment[31]
  • 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[177]
  • The invitation could be coerced through psychic means:
    • Joyce invited Dracula while under his thrall.[11]
  • The invitation did not need to be immediate or specific:
    • Cordelia invited Angel to her apartment before she had found one. Angel effortlessly entered the one she bought.[178]
    • Rebecca Lowell invited Angel to watch a movie at her house without specifying a time.[97]
    • Wesley posing as Angel was invited by Benny into Magnus Bryce's residence; that invitation allowed Angel himself to enter.[179]
  • The invitation could be written instead of spoken:
    • The vampires led by Elisabeth were allowed into the dorm room because of an invitation flyer stating that 'Everyone's Invited'.[22]
  • The inviter had to be a resident, but not necessarily the owner:
    • Kathy invited the newly sired Liam, her brother, into the family house.[6]
    • Buffy and Dawn did not own the Summers residence but had invitation rights, unlike Xander or Anya.
  • Squatters and guests could also gain invitation rights:
    • Faith's occupancy of Dick the Pimp's apartment gave her invitation rights.[92]
    • Andrew obtained invitation rights by staying at Buffy and Dawn's apartment in Rome,[85] allowing him to invite Angel and Spike to it.
  • No invitation was required for temporary accommodations such as motel rooms,[24][181] hotel rooms,[182] and frat houses[183] or if the vampire was the legal owner of the building, for example, Russell Winters[41]
    • 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.[22]
  • Invitation was shown to be necessary for dorm rooms: When Spike knocked on Willow's dorm room door,[47] 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.[12]
  • 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/or Tara with respect to Angelus,[91] Dracula,[11] Harmony,[30] and Spike.[56] The invitation could be extended again later, as it was for Angel [143] and Spike.[104]
  • The residences of vampires, other demons and half-demons were not protected. This was the case even if humans also lived there.[89]
    • Darla entered Angel's apartment.[176]
    • Angel broke into Russell Winters' mansion.[41]
    • Angel broke into the apartment of Sharon Reichler, who was possessed by Talamour. [184]
    • Angel didn't require Wesley's invitation to Penn's lair.[17] Even if he did, Wesley's invitation wouldn't work as he was not the resident or the legal owner.
    • Spike entered Doc's place at his leisure.[185][70]
    • Angel entered Merl's lair whenever he desired.
    • Angel entered Billy Blim's mansion.[89]
    • Angel entered Connor's place uninvited.[115]
  • 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.
    • Timothy Jenkins needed an invitation needed an invitation into his mother's house where he lived as a human.
  • Troublesome cases:
    • The hand of one of The Three passed the jamb of Buffy's door.[176]
    • A pseudo-vampire (a human wearing a cursed vampire costume) entered Buffy's kitchen uninvited;[40] 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.
    • Vampires crashed Tito's party.[18]  (It's possible that the unseen Tito invited them earlier, though it appears they crashed right in.)
    • 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.[177] Willow specifically said, "I invite you to come in."[45]  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.[28]
    • Angel broke into Allen Lloyd's shrine. It was unclear whether the shrine was at Lloyd's residence or at some public place, like Lloyd's offices.[66]
    • Angel broke into Dick's apartment while Faith was living there without an invitation from either Faith or Dick.[92] Dick was not dead as Kate and another police officer questioned him later.[110](However, it should be noted that Faith earlier told Angel that he had an 'open invitation' to fight her, which may have counted as an invitation to the apartment as she was in it at the time).
    • When Angelus entered Sunnydale High to murder Jenny Calendar before she could find the Ritual of Restoration, Jenny was surprised to see him and asked how he got in, to which Angelus pointed out that the school's plaque translates to "All those who seek knowledge may enter." Of course, it is highly likely that he was merely joking.[91]
    • Spike entered the house of a person who fled Sunnydale in pursuit of Buffy following her expulsion from the Scooby Gang. Spike mentioned that the power of the Hellmouth had grown so great, he no longer actually needed an invitation to enter a house in Sunnydale;[111] alternatively, it may be that the resident never intended to return and therefore the invitation rule was irrelevant.
    • Willow informed Spike that the Scoobies were attempting to find a way to un-invite him from the Magic Box, while acknowledging that it, being a store, was a public place; thus, Spike could enter and exit the premises at his leisure. Despite this, Spike was never un-invited and this was not referenced again.[186]
    • 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.[106]

      Angel casually leaning against the invisible barrier and falls over when it closes.

    • When visited by Spike in Dawn and Xander's San Francisco apartment, Buffy told him that she could not invite him in because it wasn't her house, when squatters and guests normally have invitation rights. This can be explained as Buffy not wishing to have him in the house and Spike taking her word for it and not attempting to enter.[187]
  • The actual "wall" was not harmful towards vampires and touching it could create a ripple effect.
    • 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.[19]
  • Un-inviting a vampire:
    • After Angel lost his soul, Buffy and Willow performed a ritual to keep him out of her home.[91] This involved some ritual chanting and the hanging of crosses.
    • The same ritual was used to un-invite Dracula, who had been invited by an enthralled Joyce,[11] as well as Harmony, unwittingly invited by Dawn.[30]
    • Buffy invited Spike into her home on the night of Angelus' plan to resurrect Acathla[44] and, for unknown reasons, did not bother to un-invite him until she discovered that he had fallen in love with her, nearly three years after their original alliance against Angelus.[91]


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. The cause of this was unknown; 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, as these systems functioned in ways similar to human eyes. Vampires did have reflections in certain dimensions, such as Pylea, as its physics differed to those of our reality.

The lack of reflection also worked on telepathy: a vampire's thoughts and memories couldn't be read, except in the case of extremely powerful telepaths like Splenden Beasts. However, vampires could receive projected thoughts, as Willow successfully telepathically communicated with Spike.[104] 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.

Related or sub-species


Main article: Turok-Han Vampire

A separate vampire species called the Turok-Han Vampire 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.[188] Since normal humans were active during the era of the Old Ones, it is unlikely that the Turok-hans was born from neanerthals and since their numbers kept increasing while in the hellmouth according to the First, its possible that they are born from some other species. Giles mentions that they an "entirely" different race to normal vampires.

In the year 2003 in Sunnydale, California, 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 don't exist anymore".


Main article: Zompire
Zompire swarm.jpg

"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

Space-bug-zompire thing

A "space-bug-zompire thing", as it was dubbed, was created when one of Spike's bug demon minions was sired by a zompire. This caused it to mutate into an unintelligent, monstrous being.[189]


Main article: Slaypire
Buffy slay vamp nightmares.jpg

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 controversal 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

New breed

Main article: New vampire

Evolved Vampires in sunlight.

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.[190]


List of Vampires

See Vampire/Listed by Appearance

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).[191]
  • When discussing Penn's superhuman speed, Tim Minear, stated, " 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"[192]


  • 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.[193] 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 into 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.[194] 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 is 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.[195]
  • 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."[196]
  • A vampire in the 1992 film.

    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 to fly.
    • A vampire dusting in the pilot

      Additionally, in the unaired Buffy 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 being considered partially canon, depicts most of the vampires with green skin and more monstrous features such as claws and slumped postures.
  • Despite garlic having several minor appearances throughout the series as a repellent against vampires, the actual effect of garlic has never been shown. Jane Espenson herself has said on her DVD commentary of "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.[140]
  • 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.
  • The vampires' brow ridges may have been inspired by the vampires in the 1987 film The Lost Boys.

Prosthetic Creation

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "The Harvest"
  2. "The Core, Part Three"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Sleeper"
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Into the Woods"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 "School Hard"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 "The Prodigal"
  7. David Fury commenting in 'Lies My Parents Told Me' that he is an unusually human vampire
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Innocence"
  9. 9.0 9.1 Relationship Status: Complicated, Part One
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Lies My Parents Told Me"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 11.9 "Buffy vs. Dracula"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 "Reunion"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date"
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "War Zone"
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 "Fool for Love"
  16. "Conversations with Dead People"
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 "Somnambulist"
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 "First Impressions"
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 "Untouched"
  20. 20.0 20.1 Angel: After the Fall
  21. "Ground State"
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 "Heartthrob"
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 "Offspring"
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 "Faith, Hope & Trick"
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 "Helpless"
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 "The Wish"
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 "Doppelgängland"
  28. 28.0 28.1 "The Freshman"
  29. "Bachelor Party"
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 "Real Me"
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 "Disharmony"
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 "All the Way"
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 "Quickening"
  34. 34.0 34.1 "Dad"
  35. Wolves at the Gate
  36. Living Doll
  37. 37.0 37.1 "Bad Girls"
  38. "Hero"
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 "Tabula Rasa"
  40. 40.0 40.1 "Halloween"
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 41.4 "City of"
  42. "A New Man"
  43. Predators and Prey
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 "Becoming, Part Two
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 "Lie to Me"
  46. "The Shroud of Rahmon"
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 47.3 "The Initiative"
  48. 48.0 48.1 "Just Rewards"
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 49.3 "Bargaining, Part One"
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 50.3 50.4 50.5 50.6 "Prophecy Girl"
  51. 51.0 51.1 "Bring on the Night"
  52. "Earshot"
  53. "Wild at Heart"
  54. "The Ring"
  55. "Tomorrow"
  56. 56.0 56.1 56.2 "Crush"
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 57.3 "Out of My Mind"
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 "Teacher's Pet"
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 59.3 59.4 "Damage"
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 60.3 "Why We Fight"
  61. "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"
  62. "Something Blue"
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 "Hush"
  64. "Once More, with Feeling"
  65. 65.0 65.1 65.2 "Life of the Party"
  66. 66.0 66.1 66.2 "Sense & Sensitivity"
  67. 67.0 67.1 "Spin the Bottle"
  68. "Lineage"
  69. "Smile Time"
  70. 70.0 70.1 "The Weight of the World"
  71. "Dirty Girls"
  72. 72.0 72.1 72.2 72.3 72.4 72.5 72.6 72.7 "Harm's Way"
  73. "Beauty and the Beasts"
  74. Daddy Issues, Part Two
  75. "Sleep Tight"
  76. Live Through This, Part Two
  77. 77.0 77.1 77.2 "Belonging"
  78. "Dead Things"
  79. Spike (IDW series)
  80. "The Thin Dead Line"
  81. Live Through This
  82. 82.0 82.1 "Graduation Day, Part Two"
  83. 83.0 83.1 "Power Play
  84. 84.0 84.1 "Reprise"
  85. 85.0 85.1 85.2 "The Girl in Question"
  86. 86.0 86.1 "When She Was Bad"
  87. "Blood Money"
  88. "That Vision Thing"
  89. 89.0 89.1 89.2 89.3 "Billy"
  90. 90.0 90.1 90.2 "Release"
  91. 91.0 91.1 91.2 91.3 91.4 91.5 "Passion"
  92. 92.0 92.1 92.2 92.3 "Five by Five"
  93. The Curse
  94. The Devil You Know, Part Four
  95. 95.0 95.1 95.2 "Deep Down"
  96. "Soulless"
  97. 97.0 97.1 97.2 "Eternity"
  98. "Habeas Corpses"
  99. "The Magic Bullet"
  100. "Salvage"
  101. 101.0 101.1 "You're Welcome"
  102. "Underneath"
  103. "Lullaby
  104. 104.0 104.1 104.2 104.3 "The Gift"
  105. "Carpe Noctem"
  106. 106.0 106.1 "Epiphany"
  107. "A New World"
  108. "Benediction"
  109. I Wish, Part Two
  110. 110.0 110.1 "Sanctuary"
  111. 111.0 111.1 "Touched"
  112. "Same Time, Same Place"
  113. Live Through This
  114. 114.0 114.1 New Rules, Part Three
  115. 115.0 115.1 "Slouching Towards Bethlehem"
  116. 116.0 116.1 "Angel (episode)"
  117. 117.0 117.1 "Choices"
  118. "The Killer in Me"
  119. 119.0 119.1 Live Through This, Part Four
  120. "Lessons"
  121. "Becoming, Part One"
  122. "Shiny Happy People"
  123. Death and Consequences, Part One
  124. Love Dares You, Part One
  125. I Wish, Part One
  126. Daddy Issues
  127. 127.0 127.1 127.2 127.3 127.4 "In the Dark"
  128. 128.0 128.1 "Supersymmetry"
  129. Wolves at the Gate, Part Two
  130. New Rules, Part Five
  131. Crown Prince Syndrome
  132. Those Who Can't Teach, Teach Gym, Part Three
  133. "Out of Mind, Out of Sight"
  134. 134.0 134.1 "Sacrifice"
  135. "Peace Out"
  136. 136.0 136.1 "Doomed"
  137. 137.0 137.1 "Conviction"
  138. 138.0 138.1 138.2 138.3 "Destiny"
  139. 139.0 139.1 "Go Fish"
  140. 140.0 140.1 140.2 "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
  141. Family Reunion, Part Four
  142. Love Dares You, Part Three
  143. 143.0 143.1 "Lovers Walk"
  144. "Blood Ties"
  145. 145.0 145.1 145.2 "Pangs"
  146. "Soul Purpose"
  147. "Superstar"
  148. "Ted
  149. 149.0 149.1 "Graduation Day, Part One"
  150. "I Fall to Pieces"
  151. "Orpheus"
  152. 152.0 152.1 "What's My Line, Part Two"
  153. "I Only Have Eyes for You"
  154. "Revelations"
  155. "Intervention"
  156. "Tough Love"
  157. "Spiral"
  158. "Potential"
  159. "I Will Remember You"
  160. 160.0 160.1 "Band Candy"
  161. "Homecoming"
  162. "Redefinition"
  163. 163.0 163.1 "Who Are You"
  164. "Triangle"
  165. "Checkpoint"
  166. "Darla"
  167. "Nightmares
  168. "Wrecked"
  169. "Anne"
  170. "Some Assembly Required"
  171. "Surprise"
  172. "The Harsh Light of Day"
  173. 173.0 173.1 Lost and Found
  174. Spike: The Devil You Know
  175. 175.0 175.1 Some Like It Hot
  176. 176.0 176.1 176.2 "Angel"
  177. 177.0 177.1 "The Yoko Factor"
  178. "Rm w/a Vu"
  179. "Guise Will Be Guise"
  180. "Dead End"
  181. "Consequences"
  182. "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been"
  183. "Reptile Boy"
  184. "Lonely Hearts"
  185. "Forever"
  186. "I Was Made to Love You"
  187. Last Gleaming
  188. Alone Together Now
  189. In Space No One Can Hear You Slay
  190. Day Off
  191. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Monster Book
  193. Buffybites-Special Effects
  194. The "Special Effects" featurette in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Three DVD, Disc Six
  195. The "Beauty and the Beasts" featurette in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Two DVD, Disc Six
  196. The "A Buffy Bestiary" featurette in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Two DVD, Disc Six
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