Truly evil characters in film and literature

I’ve been re-watching Oz on DVD recently. While many of the characters depicted on that show are of the most despicable type imaginable, Vern Schillinger has to be at the top of as far as evil bastards on that show goes. Besides running the Aryan Brotherhood, the things he did to Tobias Beecher, ranging from rape to having his kids kidnapped and tortured before killing one of them, makes him probably the most evil character I’ve ever come across.

This got me wondering, what other really evil people have other authors and writers dreamed up? So I says to myself, let’s make a list. I’d like to keep anyone with any redeemable traits off the list altogether, just to make it a bit more challenging. Also, since I know my audience here on the SDMB pretty well, I request that nobody mention God or any other religious figure. If you’d like to mention a particular depiction of one of them, such as one of the many characterizations of Lucifer, go for it. But let’s leave the religious literature out of this one, okay?

Jonah Malloy, a mob boss played by David Paymer in ABC’s short-lived series Line of Fire, was one of the most frightening characters I’ve seen on network TV. Merciless to everyone, including his wife.
Then there’s Al Swearengen and his rival–I forgot his name–on Deadwood. What mean, nasty people.

I’m sure others can come up with a lot worse.

How about Stephen King’s Randall Flagg?

From this thread:

Tim Roth as Archibald Cunninghman in Rob Roy. Few redeeming traits, and minus a short scene in which he seems to lament his own villainy, consistently destructive physically and psychologically. I was literally nauseated while watching some of his behavior.

Ritser Brughel and Tomas Nau from “A Deepness in the Sky” and Mr. Steel and Flenser from “A Fire Upon the Deep” (both by Vernor Vinge). To give you an idea

Tomas Nau raped and tortured to death a girl’s mother, then seduced the girl. Every time the girl figured out what had happened to her mother, Nau had her mind-wiped - he got a kick out of manipulating her, and a kick out of her repeated reliazations of what he had done - and in some ways, Flenser was worse

Hannibal Lecter

In a series filled with evil sons-of-bitches, Joffrey Baratheon from A Song of Ice and Fire tops my list.

Kaiser Soze from The Usual Suspects. I had a quote and stuff all ready, then “poof” it just disappeared.

Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life

Tom Riddle in Harry Potter seems to be nearly insane, unable to understand why others’ suffering is sad. Death, the ultimate human flaw, bothers him so much that he murders people in order to sever his soul into fragments and store them in objects.

I saw Lonesome Dove last week for the first time since it was aired so this is fresh in my mind: Frederic Forrest as Blue Duck, the half-breed renegade. Pure, distilled evil, and the protagonists never laid a hand on him.

Anton Chigurh

You’re thinking of Cy Tolliver, and I totally agree. George Hearst belongs in this list, too.

But Tolliver was the worst of all. No redeeming qualities whatsoever. He was a sadistic bully and a coward, and I wish he had died before the show ended.

Roland Croninger in Robert R. McCammon’s Swan Song would have to be up there.

Norman Stansfield from Leon (or Leon the Professional - whichever):

“You killed my brother.”
“I’m sorry. Do you want to join him?”
“Always the same thing. It’s when you start to become really afraid of death that you learn to appreciate life. Do you like life sweetheart?”
“Good. I take no pleasure in taking a life if it’s from a person who doesn’t care about it.”

Mr Blonde from Reservoir Dogs:

“Listen kid, I’m not gonna bullshit you, all right? I don’t give a good fuck what you know, or don’t know, but I’m gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to get information. It’s amusing, to me, to torture a cop. You can say anything you want 'cause I’ve heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain’t gonna get.”

I loathed Theon Greyjoy far more than Joffrey. In fact I can’t remember the last time I ever loathed a character as much as I loathed Theon.

I also came here to say Blue Duck fromk Lonesome Dove as well. Even his own father (who was no goody-two shoes himself) disowned him for being too F-ed up.

I’d add Dr. Potter from English Passengers. Nasty, horrible, EVIL.

Vorbis the Inquisitor from Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods.

The bad guy from Pan’s Labyrinth; he’s one sadistic son of a bitch, everybody (first of all his own men) is terrified of him.

If you’re from Spain there’s an additional twist: that actor has a total everyman face and was previously known for family comedies. It’s like going to buy bread and having the baker come at you with a cavalry saber.