TV’s Most Menacing Vampires

Vampires have taken over the known world!  Okay, maybe not the known world, but they’ve taken over television in a new way, with the advent of HBO’s True Blood and The CW’s The Vampire Diaries.  Bet CBS feels pretty stupid about canceling Moonlight, huh?  They could have been the forerunners of the new vampire movement instead of the wannabes.  For decades vampires have intrigued fans with their ruthlessness, their sensuality, their seamless drifting through time.  Some of the most recent vampire shows that have turned fans heads are the 1960’s television serial Dark Shadows, which was remade in the early 1990’s starring Ben Cross, Kindred: The Embraced, Forever Knight, Blood Ties, Blade: The Series, Moonlight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and of course, Angel.  With the phenomenon that is Twilight looming on the big screen with another movie release, WhedonAge wants to highlight the most menacing vampire on television.

So on to our list of the Most Menacing Vampires in recent television history!

Angelus1. Angelus

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

Angelus was considered the most ruthless and ferocious vampire in history.  Pitiless, single-minded and devoid of all emotion, Angelus didn’t stop at merely killing his victims.  Instead, he was a master of psychological torture, often driving his victims insane before murdering them.  Angelus didn’t feel the need to prove himself to anyone; everything he did was for his own enjoyment and satisfaction.  His crowning achievement was showcased in Angel season 2’s “Darla.”  There the ripping apart of Drusilla was chronicled.  In 1860 Darla calls Anglus’ attention to a pious young woman gifted with the Sight.  Enthralled, Anglus torments Drusilla, tortures her into madness by killing her entire family.  When she retired to a convent, he broke in and killed everyone, driving the final stake in her sanity.  Unfortunately, death wouldn’t even be a safe haven for the broken young woman as Angelus refused to let her die.  Instead, he turned her into a vampire, sealing for her an eternity of torment.

When the soulless vampire reared his head once more in Sunnydale after Angel’s one night of pure happiness with Buffy, he wreaked havoc in the city and everyone’s lives by torturing Buffy and her friends, stealing the unbalanced Drusilla back from Spike, killing gypsy-descended teacher Jenny Calendar, torturing Buffy’s Watcher Giles and nearly driving the entire city into hell.

Angel2. Angel

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

Despite being one of the “good guys,” Angel had more than his fair share of darkness inside.  He was always the outsider on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and was often distrusted by the other member of Buffy’s Scooby Gang.  But that darkness was never more apparent than on the Buffy spin-off series, Angel.  Showcased most deeply in season 2, we caught that first glimpse of darkness in the memorable episode “Are You Know Or Have You Ever Been,” when he abandoned a hotel full of humans to a fear demon.   He also terrorized Wolfram and Hart executives Lilah Morgan and Lindsey McDonald, locked several Wolfram & Hart lawyers in a basement room with soulless Drusilla and Darla, then set the female pair on fire in “Reprise.”  After hitting rock bottom, his climb back to sanity is hard and not without its own pitfalls.  Luckily, he’s won the devotion of former Watcher Wesley Wyndham Price, street-wise fighter Charles Gunn and long time friends Cordelia Chase.  Though Angel often has bouts with darkness, he ended up being a flawed champion of humanity, despite being one of the most menacing vampires in television history.

Eric3. Eric

True Blood

Ancient and tyrannical, Eric is the Sheriff of Area 5, a vampire district in Lousiana that includes Sookie Stackhouse’s home town.  A Swedish Viking warrior in life, he’s over a 1,000 years old and a very powerful member of the vampire community.  Intrigued by the psychic, Eric wants Sookie.  But vampire etiquette forbids his acting on his interest while Sookie is with Bill.  But Eric sidles around etiquette when he manipulates Sookie into forming a blood bond, one that ties them together.    This connection can even engendered within Sookie a love interest in the vampire, one she may not have felt prior to consuming Eric’s blood.  Yet when he wants something, Eric is relentless and ruthless in his quest.  Cold, icy and disdainful of human softness, he is willing to deal out immediate death to anyone who crosses him.  He has killed brutally in the past, and there is no reason to think he will not do so again.  The quintessential vampire, Eric makes murder and mayhem look sexy as hell and just as deadly.

Darla14. Darla

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

Darla ended her human life as a disease-ridden whore.  She joined the Order of Aurelius when she was turned by The Master, and spent years under his tutelage and a favorite.  Though she’d spent her human life with hundreds of men, she searched for centuries to find her one, ideal soul mate; one who could sustain her interest through the decades and one who could match her in ruthlessness.  In 1753 she found him in a small Irish hamlet and turned a brash, discontented Irish nobleman into a vampire the very same night.  She then turned him into the most ruthless vampire the world had ever known.  She also led a massacre on the gypsies who restored Angelus’ soul and mentored Spike and Drusilla.  Cold and driven, Darla isn’t someone you’d want to meet in a darkened alley.

Spike5. Spike

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

In 1880, a failed young poet tripped into Drusilla’s heart and became her companion and love.  William had always felt on the outside in life, and this didn’t change when he was turned.  He competed with the stronger and more volatile Angelus for Drusilla’s attention and to carve out his place in the vampire world.  Needing to prove he was badder and stronger than Angelus, he fought and killed not only one but two slayers, and cut for himself a reputation as one of the bloodiest vampires, earning the nickname William the Bloody.  Later, his penchant for driving spikes through his victims turned that moniker into Spike.  Yet somehow, despite his soulless status, a kernel of humanity remained in Spike that allowed him to truly love Drusilla, to find it within himself to grudgingly help the Schoobies on their cases, and to later love a Slayer.

6. Damian

The Vampire Diaries

Single-minded, The older brother of Stefan Salvatore, Damon is an unapologetic hedonist. He loves being a vampire, and all that it entails. He is charming and handsome, and he knows it—using both to get what he wants. Of course, what he wants most is Elena Gilbert, his brother’s beloved. . . .Damon is described as extremely relentless. He never takes danger too seriously and possesses a dark sense of humor, as well as very little regard for human life unlike his brother Stefan. He likes to make fun of mortals, shown by his Ferrari having a police scanner inside and how he first calls Matt, ‘Mat’ (Mortal Annoying Thing) until he realizes that Matt spells his name with two ‘T’s, so he just called him Mutt (Mortally, Unable, To, Talk). He has deep feelings for Elena as they have established a connection, especially in The Fury that fails to be understood by others. Damon is cocky and arrogant but can be very sweet at times.

7. Henry FitzRoy

Blood Ties

Henry FitzRoy was the bastard son of Henry VIII and the 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset.  He chose love over familial duty and gave up his mortal life for the woman he loved; Christina.  However, because vampires are territorial and hunt alone, his changed condition prevented him from remaining with her forever.  After 450 years, he lives in Toronto and lives a quiet and hidden life as a graphic novelist.  Circumstances bring him into contact with private investigator Vicki Nelson and he helps her stop a man from bringing the demon Asteroth into the mortal world.  After succeeding, they work together to solve other supernatural cases.  But though Henry becomes attached to Vicki, one thing is never forgotten by either of them; Henry FitzRoy is not human.  He’s a predator who has spent years working to control his instincts to hunt.  But despite the venere of civilization, sooner or later, according the Henry, “someone’s gotta die.”

8. Bill Compton

True Blood

Bill Compton was turned after the Civil War, and returned to his ancestral home of Bon Temps, Louisiana.  He seeks a relationship with and seduces Sookie Stackhouse on orders from the vampire queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq in order to investigate her telepathic abilities.  While he later develops true feelings for Sookie, he remains covert about his initial intentions, which drives a wedge between the pair.  Concerned also about the power Area 5 Sheriff Eric wields, he applies for that area’s investigator position and gets it.

Bill is also the creator of a valuable database in which all the vampires in North America are listed along with their significant information. Vampires from other areas of the world, such as Peru, have also provided information for this database. The database itself has been controversial because of potential security issues and is only available for purchase to other vampires.  While Bill protects Sookie from many outside sources, too many secrets drives a wedge between the pair.  Secretive, deceptive and strangely protective, Boll Compton is a vampire a peace with his existence, yet strangely ill at ease with humanity.

9. Drusilla  

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In life, Drusilla was a young woman with the Sight, or premonitions in a time when such a power was viewed with suspicion and fear by her fellow man.  But one vampire found her endlessly intriguing and took a special interest in the young psychic.  After torturing her into insanity, Angelus refused to grant her the “mercy” of death, but instead made her torment eternal when he turned her into a vampire.  Psychotic, unbalanced and mad, Drusilla made a perfect torture companion for Angelus, whose increasingly demented actions confounded even his lover and teacher, Darla.

When Angel reverts to Angelus, he re-joins the Drusilla and Spike. Drusilla soon kills Kendra, another Slayer, by hypnotizing her and cutting her throat with a fingernail.  She is delighted by Angelus’s determination to destroy the world and encourages his ongoing sexual attention; both dynamics strongly disturb Spike, who wants Drusilla to himself again and does not particularly want the world to end.  After Drusilla leaves Spike, she reunites with Darla in Los Angeles and wreaks havoc in the city, and has a brief connection again with Angel when he locks her and Darla in a basement full of Wolfram & Hart lawyers.

10. Josef Kostan


A 400-year old vampire and Mick’s mentor and friend.  Josef is a businessman who does not stint himself in luxuries, from an expensive house to the company of numerous beautiful women who are more than happy to sate his desire for blood.  A cold-blooded businessman, Josef walks the fine line between maintaining a covert existence while fully embracing his vampire nature.  Tolerant of his friend Mick’s humanistic lifestyle, he is, nonetheless a vampire who does what needs to be done to keep the secret of their existence from humanity, and views humans as a necessary cog in how the world is run, though not in his class.  Joesf Kostan is a vampire for the modern era; clinical, fastidious, mercenary and willing to do what must be done to ensure his pamper existence.


Kristen, a freelance writer, has been a part of the Whedonverse Network since 2004 and Managing Editor since 2008.She has contributed news items as well as feature pieces reporting on and exploring the wide, wide world of Whedon and beyond.

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Kristen, a freelance writer, has been a part of the Whedonverse Network since 2004 and Managing Editor since 2008. She has contributed news items as well as feature pieces reporting on and exploring the wide, wide world of Whedon and beyond.

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