I recently came across a video by Five by Five Takes on YouTube that delves into the nature of the vampires on Buffy: what they are, what it means to have a soul (or not), and whether the vampires are possessed by a demon, as is the standard (human) explanation on Buffy for where vampires come from.
It’s an interesting video, on a topic I’ve thought about before (see my post: “The Problem with Angelus.”) I don’t agree with everything discussed in the video; for example, the narrator questions why a demon would even want to possess a human in order to become a vampire. Because the demon loses all their memories in the process, the narrator suggests there’s nothing in it for the demons. I think getting out of hell and being able to walk the earth more or less freely would be a pretty big incentive. Most of the characters on the show who’ve spent time in a hell dimension don’t tend to speak of it fondly (despite repeatedly trying to open the Hellmouth– come on, guys). Besides the vacation from hell, I think being able to act on their violent tendencies and blood lust might also motivate the average demon. That’s just my opinion, though.
The video brings up an idea that I think is particularly interesting, which is whether the whole demon possession explanation for vampires is just the Watchers’ and Slayers’ way of dulling the trauma of killing people. If it’s a matter of a demon fully destroying the original human by inhabiting their body and absorbing their memories, then it’s a lot easier to kill without remorse, as opposed to killing a human who also happens to be a vampire (like the way the show claims that werewolves are still people and shouldn’t be slayed). It also could be a way for the Watchers Council to justify their own actions: when they let a demon infect a girl to make the Slayer, it’s acceptable because the Slayer is a force for good. When a demon infects a person to become a vampire, well, that just creates a killer. How the demon aspect affects Slayers is a topic for another time, though. For now, there’s plenty to consider when it comes to the vampires of Buffy, and this video does a good job of getting the ball rolling.
Personally, the idea of a demon stepping into a body and wiping out the actual human part of said body never entirely sat right with me. As the video points out, it would be a lot of effort for a demon to perfectly and consistently emulate the former person’s personality, mannerisms, and memories. It makes more sense that, while the soul might be gone, the person is still there. Probably.
Give the video a watch and tell me what you think about it. Is there still some human left in Buffy’s vampires? Share in the comments…
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Aspasía S. Bissas