Buffy Character: Ubervamp | Camden Toy

Introduction 

The ‘Ubervamp’ (also known as the Turok-Han), were a race of proto vampires that preceded vampires  that were more commonly slayed by the Scooby Gang in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

They are ancient, and incredibly powerful vampires. The Ubervamps bridge the gap between demon and vampire.

We think that Rupert Giles, the Watcher and father figure of Buffy, describes the Ubervamp best as: 

As Neanderthals are to human beings, the Turok-Han are to vampires. They’re primordial, ferociously powerful killing machines, as single-minded as animals. They are the vampires that vampires fear. An ancient and entirely different race. And until this morning, I thought they were a myth.

We will take a look at the Ubervamp in this profile, as well as Camden Toy, who played one of the most notable of the Ubervamps in the whole series. 

Biography 

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The Turok-Han is a race of ancient and powerful vampires, that are to vampires as Neanderthals are to humans.

This has meant that they are feared even among other vampires (so imagine how powerful they are when in battle with human Slayers). 

In Sunnydale, the Turok-Han first appear after they are released by the Scooby Gang enemy the First Evil, through its Harbingers of Death.

This is achieved by using the blood of both Spike and Jonathan Levinson to break open the Seal of Danzalthar. They quickly begin their conquest of Sunnydale, slaughtering many of its residents. 

When Buffy Summers first encounters the Turok-Han, they are too powerful for her, as the young Slayer is caught totally off guard because she is exhausted from not getting enough sleep, and worrying about her and is nearly killed.

Buffy encounters the Ubervamp again after it kills one of the young Potential Slayers, Annabelle, who originally had been sent to Sunnydale to be protected.  In this fight, Buffy tries a different tactic, and spends most of her time avoiding the Ubervamp instead of fighting it. However, it still beats her, and she has to flee.

Between the skirmishes with Buffy and the Scooby Gang, the Ubervamp spends most of its free time tormenting and torturing Spike, who it is keeping captive.

When Buffy finds out that the First Evil has infiltrated the Potential Slayers, it tells them that it is going to send the Turok-Han to go after them. The Ubervamp then breaks into the Summers’ home, by fighting through a protective force field that Willow Rosenberg created.

After the break in, Buffy, her friends, and all the Potential Slayers flee from the house. 

Despite this, Turok-Han catches up with the group, and Buffy tries to buy the group some time by engaging in a fight. After a brief struggle with Buffy, the Ubervamp is able to turn its attention to the Potential Slayers.

It follows the group to a construction site, where a long battle ensues. Buffy is finally able to kill the Ubervamp in front of all the potential slayers. 

Not one to let a sleeping dog lie, Lissa tries to release the Turok-Han again, using the blood of Alexander Harris, but the ritual is interrupted, and the Turok-Han is only able to thrust its arm out of the Seal before the Seal closes again.

They then proceed to attack the Scoobies, but are defeated by them. However, they escape into the sewers, where they remain. 

Later on in the series, the Shadowmen show Buffy the vision of a thousand Turok-Han vampires, who are all living below the very first seal. It is revealed that the First Evil had planned to release all of these Turok-Han, and let them conquer the whole world.

After this conquest, the First Evil would be able to manifest in its physical form, as its soldiers would have outnumbered the humans in the world. Eventually, the First Evil does manage to release a few more of the Turok-Han. 

Buffy and the other Slayers manage to kill all the Turok-Han, as they go into the Hellmouth to slay them all.

Thousands are killed using the mystical/magical amulet that had entrapped Spike. Later on in the series, Spike makes a comment that the Turok-Han are part of a list of things that ‘just don’t exist anymore’, alongside his relationship with Durscilla, and decent punk bands. 

Appearance

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The Turok-Han Ubervamps are very pale in appearance, and appear like bald-looking humanoid beings. There are a few notable things about the way that they look – such as their lack of hair, their very pronounced brow ridge, and their clear eyes, which only have black slit pupils (like a snake).

They also have flat noses, like that of a bat, and are clad in a leathery looking black outfit. Like the vampires in the series, both the body and the clothes of the Ubervamps turn to dust when they die. 

Powers & Abilities 

The Ubervamps share all the common/conventional powers of normal vampires, including superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability, reflexes, etc. They can also regenerate at an accelerated rate, heal quickly, and even make themselves invisible. 

However, they are stronger than most other kinds of vampires, as evidenced by the fact that they are able to defeat and overpower Buffy with ease in their first two battles. 

Their main difference from regular vampires is that they do not need to be invited in to enter a property. They are also much harder to kill – as told by Anya, who describes the higher amount of effort that it takes to drive a stake into a Turok-Han vampire, comparing it to trying to pierce steel with wood. 

They are super strong – as a Turok-han is easily able to push a whole wheelbarrow that has been filled with tools and wood by with just its hands. It is also able to punch through a block of solid cinder with absolutely no ill effect.

Furthermore, they are also a lot more resilient than standard vampires – the first one that Buffy encounters is able to recover immediately from having an entire set of steel beams dropped directly  onto it, and was able to continue to fight Buffy even after she had shot it through the eye socket using a crossbow arrow.

They can also go incredibly fast, to the point that their movement can sometimes mimic the speed of teleportation. In Buffy’s very first encounter with an Ubervamp, it appears suddenly next to her, even though it hadn’t been there just a few seconds before.

They can jump over long  gaps and distances without any additional help, and their claws are strong enough to shred flesh. Though they are not classed as intelligent creatures, they are still able to follow instructions and orders from the First Evil, and can manufacture weapons for themselves, making them distinct from animals. 

This all being said, there are still a number of vulnerabilities for the Turok-Han. They have some common vampire weaknesses, such as sunlight, being staked, exposure to holy water, and decapitation. 

There are also some Turok-Han specific vulnerabilities, meaning that even regular (non-slayer) humans can match and defeat an Ubervamp in combat, so long as they are given the proper training by a slayer. 

Appearances 

The Ubervamps first make an appearance in the episode ‘Never Leave Me’ (which is episode 9, Season 7, and is the 131st episode of the series in total). They are last seen in the episode entitled ‘The Chain’, which is the fifth issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic book series. 

Camden Toy portrays the Ubervamp in episodes: 

– Never Leave Me (episode nine, season seven). 

– Bring on the Night (episode ten, season seven).

– Showtime (episode eleven, season seven). 

– Get It Done (episode 15, season seven)

The Turok-Han race of vampires is mentioned in the spinoff series Angel, in Season 5, in both the episodes ‘Unleashed’ and ‘The Girl in Question’. 

The Turok-Han race of vampires also appears in the spinoff series Spike, in the episodes ‘Alone Together Now’ and ‘You Haven’t changed a Bit’. 

 The Ubervamps also appear in the novelization books for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, such as: 

– ‘Chosen: The One’ 

– ‘Queen of the Slayers’ 

– ‘Sacrifice’ 

Categories 

Scooby Gang Enemies | Vampire Breeds | Accomplices of the First Evil

The Actor: Camden Toy 

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Camden Toy was a character actor who appeared in several episodes of the television show ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, and Buffy spin-off Angel and Spike. He appears as multiple monsters in all three shows.

The most notable of these parts is the Ubervamp, a role for which he had to don intense character makeup, which really helped to bring the character to life.

He also used prosthetic suits to become this ancient vampire, and really epitomizes classic horror, as the Ubervamp looks a lot like Nosferatu, who was the first iconic vampire in cinema and television. 

Camden Toy has also appeared in small roles in other TV shows such as ER and Law & Order. Toy’s father is a special effects makeup artist, and taught him the basic stage and television skills necessary when he was young.

Alongside Camden Toy’s love of fantasy, monsters, and old-school horror movies, this early childhood exposure to extreme SFX makeup led Toy to develop a fascination and passion for character acting. 

A character actor is a supporting actor, who plays an interesting, eccentric, or just generally unusual character. As we can tell from his performance in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we know that he is adept at playing kooky, scary, and off the wall character parts. 

Alongside his work as a monster in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Toy has also appeared in over one hundred indie movies and TV shows. Often, these parts mean that he has to do stunts and plays characters under heavy makeup and costumes – which is really hard work.

That being said, Camden Toy has reiterated that he is not a stuntman or a special effects guy, but rather he is an actor who successfully integrates full prosthetics into his performances and his art.

As you can tell, Toy is an incredibly versatile actor who can play many characters. He has to do a lot of acting under heavy makeup and colored contact lenses – and it cannot be easy to portray emotions, speak or even just exist under all of those layers of prosthetics, wax and make up.

In spite of all of this, he is still able to do a great job, and is particularly adept at finding character voices and mannerisms, setting his performances out from the rest.

Toy is able to bring out the magic in monsters every time he performs, making it a real joy to watch him in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and other monster-based roles he has performed in.

In addition to the Ubervamp in season seven, Toy also plays The Gentlemen in Buffy, who are a creepy group of creatures that are able to steal people’s voices, and use them for evil.

Particularly creepily, they collect hearts from sleeping victims without waking them, as they can move gracefully around, as if they are floating.

In appearance, they just look like a group of gentlemen who wear suits, and make the occasional spooky face, but really this innocent appearance harbors something incredibly sinister. Their faces bear wide, maniacal grins – making them the stuff of true nightmares.

Their movements are slow and deliberate, and they act into their fingers. Joss Wheaton has said that The Gentlemen are particularly  creepy because they are polite and demure – unlike other monsters that Toy has played in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In contrast, the Turok-Hans are evil monsters that are older than any other type of vampire. They are primordial, strong, and very dangerous, meaning that when Buffy fights them and loses badly.

She staked one, but it still managed to survive – separating them from other kinds of vampires that Buffy, the Slayers and the Scooby gang have encountered so far.

Toy really manages to play up to this creepy resilience, developing mannerisms that show the Ubervamps to be cold, unfeeling, ancient and animalistic. 

Overall, the Ubervamp is a strong and scary opponent who is very different from other vampires – meaning the Gang has to develop new kinds of tactics to deal with him. He is also extremely dangerous because he is so fast and powerful.

Later on, in the Buffy spin-off Angel, Camden Toy also plays the monster The Prince of Lies, which is a vampire-like creature. He looks pretty similar to Nosferatu, and the Ubervamp, as they all have ancient looking, waxy and wrinkled skin.

However, to differentiate him from both the first cinematic vampire, and the Turok-Hans, he speaks with an Old-World accent. The Prince of Lies is incredibly powerful and scary.

He is captured by the Nazis during WWII and experimented on, but manages to escape by threatening people on a submarine, and sucking out a Nazi’s brain. As The Prince says himself, he’s a liar.

Throughout the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series and spinoffs, whenever Camden Toy appears, his physical appearance is terrifying. Oftentimes, his face is covered by a mask, and his hands have long claws attached to them.

Occasionally, he’ll wear a latex suit – so we know that he is no stranger to the makeup chair.

Miscellaneous Information 

– Camden Toy plays three other monsters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer; the Gentleman (in ‘Hush’ – episode 10, season 4), Gnarl (in ‘Same Time, Same Place’ – episode 3, season 7), and The Prince of Lies (in Angel, ‘Why We Fight’ – episode 13, season 5). 

 – The Ubervamp was made by Anya, from the Scooby Gang. The word ‘Uber’ hails from the German philosopher, Nietzsche, who coined the phrase ‘Übermensch’, which means the higher state that men are aiming to become. In this case, the Ubervamps are the Übermensch – and are essentially the ‘super vampire’. 

– Joss Whedon was criticized for continuity errors in the last appearance of the Ubervamps. Their performance in the last battle is noticeably a lot worse than their earlier performances – they go from easily trouncing Buffy with little effort, to being weak enough to be slayed by average human characters, like Xander and Dawn.

In the special edition audio commentary for this episode, Joss Wheadon,  who created the series, explains that he is well aware of this continuity problem regarding the power of the Turok-Han race of vampires, but decided to prioritize the story of the Turok-Han, rather than the continuity of their abilities. 

– Since the episode aired, we have found out the in the original shooting script for the episode ‘Get It Done’, Buffy’s vision that is shown to her by the Shadow men was supposed to show the Turok-Han overrunning in a post-apocalyptic Sunnydale, but this was changed to seeing the thousands of Turok-Han awaiting to be released from the Seal in the Hellmouth.

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Marianne LeBlanc
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