10 Buffy The Vampire Slayer Moments That Shocked Us All

The sun doesn't always shine in Sunnydale.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Mutant Enemy

Typically remembered for its more whimsical tone and pitch-perfect dialogue, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of nineties television's most highly regarded shows and one that usually sparks happy memories when brought up in the pub with friends.

And yet despite the big warm fuzzies that it tends to evoke, there was always a hidden knife that was ready to pierce viewers' hearts at a moment's notice. With its tendency to brutally murder characters, or blindside its audience with hard-hitting slices of reality, the show possessed an expert skill at pulling the rug out from under our feet and pummelling our emotions into the dirt.

For all its high-kicking, fast-quipping, fist-pumping action, it was a surprisingly dark show that was capable of twisting the knife in ways that could even put the likes of Game of Thrones to shame.

So we're here today to outline the ten most shocking moments from Buffy's tenure as Sunnydale's resident demon killer extraordinaire, so pour yourself a stiff drink and prepare to be heartbroken all over again.

Content warning: This article not only contains major spoilers for the entirety of the show but also talks about subjects that some readers may find uncomfortable or triggering, including sexual assault, bodily mutilation and death.

10. Possessed Anya - After Life (Season 6, Episode 3)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Mutant Enemy

There's a wealth of overlooked gems in the Buffy canon, and After Life is certainly chief amongst them.

Taking place after Buffy's traumatic resurrection, this episode sees The Scooby Gang besieged by a malevolent presence that was created as a byproduct of the spell that brought Buffy back to life, and without a physical body to call its own, it begins tormenting and possessing each member of The Scooby Gang in turn. For the most part, the hauntings and possessions are fairly par for the course of the show - which is to say they're mildly spooky and kinda fun.

The absolute stand-out moment however is when the being takes control of Anya and has her lurching towards Xander. Her eyes are completely white and she's carving up her own face with a blade, all the while laughing maniacally. It's a surprisingly violent and genuinely disturbing image that comes completely out of nowhere and helps to further cement the much darker tone that season six would become so infamous for.

Aside from Anya's impromptu facial surgery, this episode also delivered a gut-punch ending in which Buffy revealed that she'd actually been pulled from heaven when resurrected.

Truly bleak stuff.


UK based screenwriter, actor and one-half of the always-irreverent Kino Inferno podcast. Purveyor of cult cinema, survival horror games and low-rent slasher films.