"Before we begin I'd like to discuss the subject of screaming. By saying this — go right ahead."
Black Mask, Batman

A sadist is someone that enjoys the suffering of others. This is the kind of character that takes pleasure in inflicting Cold-Blooded Torture and psychological abuse. Whether it's physical or psychological, a sadist will take pleasure in making or seeing others suffer. Sometimes, a sadist has a Lack of Empathy that stops that from feeling any guilt from the suffering they cause. However, that is not a prequisite. Most do indeed feel bad about their actions; they just enjoy it too much to stop.

The Trope Namer comes from a Real Life disorder called sadistic personality disorder. The word sadism itself originates from the Marquis de Sade, who was the author (and practitioner) of some rather sadistic works. The specific disorder was removed from the referenced Diagnosis and Statistics Manual after the 3rd edition (or rather, demoted to the "Other" section), partly due to fears of legal abuse (ie. the disorder being misused as a valid Insanity Defence), partly because the criteria was deemed flawed due to lack of research in the area.

Modern psychology has a much broader understanding of the term than listed above. In general, a sadist is anyone who seeks not only to harm another person, but to control or dominate them; others seek revenge (even pre-emptive revenge) for perceived slights, real or imagined, sometimes targeting innocent people as substitutes for the true subject of their wrath (e.g. Abusive Parents); some are emotional vampires who like to experience terror by instilling it in others (kind of an inverse or twisted empathy); some take out their personal inadequacies, stresses, or self-loathing on other people; and still others wish merely to feed their own ego — having power over another "proves" they are better than them; and some merely wish to see others suffer. While not all sadists do things For the Evulz and some are rather opportunistic and pragmatic, For the Evulz is reserved for the most obsessed of sadists.

In practice, most sadists are not physically violent, and the ones who are usually come from a violent culture or background. Psychological and emotional sadism is much more common and, in some cases, much more sophisticated and harmful, being easier to disguise from either the victim or their loved ones. It's also, often, very mundane — the Mean Boss, The Bully, and the Domestic Abuser are all often types of sadist. Many target family members in particular, as they are "safe" targets they can control easily, or otherwise go after someone who is in their power (eg. a Mean Boss with their employees, or a Sadist Teacher with their students) so that it becomes harder for them to resist. Others, including the nastier types of internet Troll, prefer to target strangers and may hide their behaviour from those closest to them (at least, if they feel they will be judged for it), essentially leading a double-life.

The difference between The Sociopath and the sadist is that the latter wants to hurt others; the former is defined by their utter indifference and lack of remorse, and typically cause harm only as a means to an end. A sadist is not necessarily devoid of guilt; rather, like the Narcissist, they just ignore or find excuses for it, frequently blaming their victim ("You're stupid"; "you're weak"; "Why Did You Make Me Hit You?", etc). That being said, the two disorders are highly comorbid, meaning that there are plenty of sadistic sociopaths and sociopathic sadists both in fiction and in Real Life. When sadism meets narcissism, the results are equally ugly. Serial Killers and, indeed, many violent criminals and personalities, often have shades of all of the above. Many sadists won't see, or even consider the idea that there is a problem with their behaviour.

The difference between this trope and a Blood Knight is that a sadist may not even enjoy fighting. They simply love the misfortune of others. Whereas a Blood Knight will enjoy fighting his opponent, a sadist is perfectly fine with torturing a helpless victim. Expect them to take extreme actions to make their victim suffer as much as possible. That said, there are plenty of characters who fit both bills. The Comedic Sociopath is usually this trope Played for Laughs. See also It Amused Me (which may or may not include torture), Hollywood Personality Disorders, Soft-Spoken Sadist, and Unsexy Sadist. May overlap with Ax-Crazy, The Sociopath, Mad Doctor, Sadist Teacher, Depraved Dentist, Blood Knight, and Loves the Sound of Screaming. Compare and contrast with Combat Sadomasochist, who's just as happy receiving pain as dishing it out. Dystopia Justifies the Means often involves sadistic delight in the misery of a whole setting.

A sadist is quite capable of delving into Stupid Evil if they take their joy for harming others over actually choosing the more intelligent decision.

Note that within the BDSM subculture, a person who can only get off through hurting others is pretty uncommon. Actual sexual sadists absolutely exist, of course; they just very rarely hang out in that community.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Rio Miyaichi from Ana Satsujin clearly enjoys her killings and frequently uses her main character boyfriend as an unwilling pawn in luring in victims, often at the expense of his own health and safety.
  • Russia from Axis Powers Hetalia almost always wears a smile despite being flat out cruel.
  • In Black Butler Sebastian and Grell fit well into this trope.
    • Grell's favourite colour is red, and he delights in painting the world red with blood. His line of work as a reaper effectively involves him hacking up people with a chainsaw every night. With paperwork in between. He is also actually Jack the Ripper.
    • Sebastian isn't sadistic 24/7. He can be somewhat caring when it comes to Ciel, but he drops straight into sadism whenever he fights Grell: "You have a lovely screaming voice"
  • Dragon Ball Z
    • Frieza enjoys slowly tearing apart his enemies and having them die in despair rather than outright killing them, as shown when he impales Krillin with his horns, shoots up Piccolo, brutally beat Vegeta to near death, and tears Goku apart with only half of his full power. When he is almost killed by the Spirit Bomb, he slowly picks off Goku's friends in front of him to rub in how helpless he is. This, however, backfires.
    • Cell is also this to even greater degrees. While Frieza is satisfied with the physical suffering of his victims, Cell prefers to add the psychological element to his cruelty, terrorizing and destroying any chance for hope his opponent has, before killing them. Of course, Frieza is capable of the same — he often feigns diplomacy merely for the fun of watching his victims' horror when he betrays them.
    • Kid Buu is a very sadistic Omnicidal Maniac. His only purpose in life is to kill until there is nothing left and he enjoys the suffering of others given how he brutally beats Vegeta and his good counterpart until they can't even move anymore.
      • His Super Buu form is on par in terms of sadism and is even worse than Frieza or Cell. He specializes in killing his victims in extremely gruesome ways. He killed a man by liquifying his own body, forcibly going down the guy's throat, and making him explode from the inside out. He also turned Chi-Chi into an egg and steps on her in front of her family and friends. Super Buu even adds psychological torture to his list, such as his fight Gohan which is one long breaking speech.
    • Nappa. He absolutely enjoys dominating his foes, as seen when he fought the Z-Fighters. In fact, he seems to have a sadistic joy with each act of destruction he performs, such as his grin when he blew up East City.
    • Vegeta, especially in the earlier seasons. He massacred an entire Namekian village with a huge grin on his face. He also tends to kill people while smirking. He does get over it once he settles down on Earth.
    • Future Androids 17 and 18 definitely qualify. They spent decades slowly torturing the people of Earth with running them over with cars, shooting them while they're running, and promising to spare them only to kill them anyway. That's not even getting started on how they treated beating Gohan and Trunks to near death like it is a game.
    • King Piccolo. Once he took over the world, he set all the criminals free and abolished all laws, just so he could enjoy watching humanity tear itself apart. He then had a lottery where he would destroy one section of the world for the next 36 years, all so he could enjoy the terror on people's faces during their final moments.
    • Piccolo started out as this, taking more than a little joy in breaking Goku's legs and trying to saw off his arm. He grins in delight when he's about to make the killing blow against Goku and Raditz. His training with Gohan was also brutal and he did seem to enjoy the boy's pain at first. He largely gets over it after he becomes more good. Although he still likes inflicting pain on those that get him mad or hurt Gohan.
    • Broly. This may stem from his general insanity. As with others such as Frieza, Cell, Buu, etc., this leads to his downfall — though he is shown as clearly capable of killing the Z-warriors in one fell swoop, he chooses to torture them instead, granting them the time to pull off a miraculous comeback.
    • Gohan becomes this when Cell's sadism triggers his Super Saiyan 2 transformation, deciding to torture Cell instead of just killing him. He manages to snap out of it, but only after his sadism results in the death of his father and the almost-destruction of the Earth.
    • The same happened to Goku when he first transformed into a Super Saiyan. He could have killed Frieza within minutes, but purposely dragged out the fight to cause Frieza as much pain as possible. He also wanted to fight Frieza at his full power not only for fun, but to show Frieza that he never had a chance. To add extra misery to Frieza, Goku chose to spare his life not out of mercy, but because he wanted him to live with the shame of being defeated by a monkey. Also as a child, Goku did take small delight in causing pain to those who hurt him or his friends, something King Piccolo notes in the dub.
  • In Durarara!! Izaya genuinely screws with people simply because he enjoys it and likes seeing their reactions — except for Shizuo. He hates Shizuo.
  • Fist of the North Star features many villains who enjoy inflicting torment and cruelty on the innocent. As Kenshiro despises such villains, they are often subjected to just as cruel ends.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist Envy delights in giving pain to others...but he doesn't like the same being done to it.
  • Okita Sougo from Gintama. Loves to see everyone, allies or enemies, in distress, but especially Hijikata. He's pretty dependable though when the times need for it.
  • The Yakuza Princess Mikako from Heaven's Lost Property.
  • Naruto:
    • Suigetsu enjoys cutting off the limbs of his opponents before cutting of their heads.
    • Sakon in the Creepy Twins duo of the Sound Five also counts, since he always likes to prolong fights.
    • Hidan is the most obvious example. He intentionally strikes non vital areas of his opponent so that he can make them die a "good death". Though he does feel the need to join a Religion of Evil before acting on his sadistic impulses, so at least he feels his sadism needs some "higher" purpose.
    • Orochimaru is a power-hungry psychopath but he clearly likes making people suffer along the way. He also seems to enjoy making a mockery of other peoples' beliefs and values, for example by how much his horrific actions freak other people out, as well as manipulating others to fight and die for him; in addition, his stated reason for trying to start another global war was "peace is boring". He also once lost the use of arms because he dragged a fight out for too long- because he was trying to make his opponent, his mentor the Third Hokage, psychologically suffer before losing.
    • He once tells Kabuto, his underling, that he is even crueller than he is. Kabuto is a Mad Doctor who earned Oro's praise because he was able to keep their human experiments alive for longer, and later forces the zombies of various famous ninja to fight their friends and family as a form of psychological warfare.
    • Gaara the Sand ninja is introduced as a psychotic sadist- he believes he must kill people to feed the chaos inside of himself, driven as he is by a combination of Demonic Possession, lifelong insomnia and a horrifically traumatic childhood. He once killed three ninja in battle, and then tried to find more people to kill because it wasn't enough. He also kept his older brother and sister in line by threatening to kill them if they didn't do what he said. He got better though.
  • Enter Vincent Nightray from Pandora Hearts. If he isn't molesting his stuffed animals with scissors, he's stalking his hot older brother or kidnapping women.
  • Ryouko Mendou from Urusei Yatsura, a rich and bored girl who found that causing trouble and watching people squirm was the best form of entertainment. She uses underhanded mischief and devilish practical jokes as a primary source of pleasure.
  • Dark Marik from Yu-Gi-Oh! is a pretty clear case of what used to be Sadistic Personality Disorder. He's a psychological and physical sadist, who rigs up his duels so that they will cause the maximum amount of emotional and physical trauma to the victims, gloating about it the entire time. The Spirit of the Millenium Ring is of a similar mindset, though he's not near as blatant about it as Dark Marik is.
  • One Piece: Almost all the primary villains have this, but some stand out more than others:
    • Kuro, captain of the Black Cat Pirates, who went into great detail about why he despised working under Kaya and says how he was looking forward to the day he kills her. This is despite treating Kuro like a friend and father figure for three years.
    • Arlong who laughs at Nami's misery after he breaks his promise to her. He then brags to his crew about he would keep Nami under his control for the rest of his life.
    • Crocodile who goes out of his way to cause pain and misery to other for no particular reason other than to be cruel. He causes Vivi great emotional distress by causing a Civil War that nearly destroyed her country, sending sandstorms just to torture some old man in another town, creating Hope Spots just to drive home how helpless everyone is. It is strongly hinted that he does this because his own dream of becoming Pirate King was crushed by people like Whitebeard, so he wants everyone to be as miserable as him.
    • Rob Lucci. He enjoys making people bleed and licking their blood. He actually bits Luffy in his leopard form.
    • His boss, Spandam is even worse. While Lucci has no problem making people who can fight back suffer, Spandam mercilessly beats and brutalizes Robin and Franky, both mentally and physically, when they couldn't fight back, disgusting even Lucci.
    • Doflamingo who enjoys torturing people in much the same way as Crocodile. After he forcibly takes over a country, he has people fight until they're maimed in gladiator battles and turn others into toys to serve as his slaves. He also delights using his powers to control people's bodies and make them attack their own love ones and allies.
    • Kid, one of the Supernova. He is known for his sadism. He crucified pirates for daring to try to leave the New World.
    • Law zigzags. He is known for being overly cruel and do enjoy causing pain, but he does so for mostly pragmatic reasons. The only person he truly enjoys torturing is Doflamingo and his family, but that's purely for personal reasons.
    • Blackbeard. This guy enjoyed telling Luffy in detail about how he defeated his brother and how he's on death row because he tried to protect him. He also mocks Whitebeard for his inability to save Ace. To really show how sadistic he is, he laughs like a manic as he and his crew are shooting Whitebeard to death.
  • Quattro from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, a borderline sociopath who takes great pleasure in torturing Nanoha's six-year-old adoptive daughter Vivio, an act for which Nanoha more than makes her pay.

    Comic Books 
  • Darkseid is a sadist on a tyrannical scale. He has built a galaxy-spanning empire as well as a Religion of Evil entirely on the concept of spreading misery and suffering and his self-proclaimed right to control, dominate and enslave all life in the universe. All of his underlings are absolutely terrified of him and he often has them tortured or killed for the most trivial offences — or for no offence at all. One of those, Desaad, is actually the God of Sadism, though of the depraved spineless bully variety rather than the relentless force of evil his master embodies.
  • The New 52 version of Superwoman. Her lasso looks like barbed wire.
  • The Joker is typically characterised this way as well. His original Golden Age incarnation was out simply to kill people and terrorize the city, and many later versions are if anything worse.
  • The Bronze Age Superman villain Mongul is a psychological sadist of the first degree, who in the Superman story For the Man Who Has Everything locked Superman into a mental delusion that he can only escape by throwing away the things he cares about most. Superman was less than happy with Mongul upon finally coming out.
  • Malekith the Accursed from The Mighty Thor, demonstrates a penchant for torture and dismemberment that few can rival.
  • Norman Osborn has built his entire supervillain career around the torment of one man, usually by targeting said man's friends and family. He is a misogynistic Control Freak who was finally caught after it was discovered he was murdering his employees and nosy female reporters For the Evulz in his spare time, and his Green Goblin persona is an Ax-Crazy Mad Bomber whether or not it is Osborn himself who is running the show. And he bullied and dominated the life of his only son Harry, in the delusional belief that this would make him more of a man.
  • Another Spidey villain sadist is Carnage, whose mission in life is to go on ultraviolent killing sprees. He thinks the world is dull and uninteresting but can be made more colourful by spraying the streets red with blood. He is also a Straw Nihilist who thinks the very idea that "murder is wrong" is just The Man keeping you down, and that cowardice and weakness are the only reasons everyone else isn't killing too.
  • The Red Skull sees Cold-Blooded Torture as "recreation", frequently murders his subordinates for no reason whatsoever, trains himself by fighting his underlings to the death without telling them it is "to the death", and seeks World Domination and godlike power mainly because he wants to terrorise as many people as possible. He joined the Nazi Party because he wanted a quasi-legal reason to assault and kill people, and has expressed empathy for both his abusive, drunken father and his Evil Mentor Adolf Hitler- specifically, for their psychological need to have victims, be it family for his dad or the Jews for Hitler, and is himself guilty of numerous war crimes and acts of terrorism. His backstory suggests he is driven by a monomaniacal desire to take revenge on the entire world for his crappy life. He suffers the odd bout of depression, but can be cheered up by reminding him of all the atrocities he has commited in his life. And then there is his treatment of Mother Night... The Red Skull's entire motivation for villainy is recreating the sheer bliss he felt when he murdered a Jewish girl who rejected his creepy advances back when he was a bitter angry teenager. He's so twisted that torturing and killing people are the only things that make him happy.
  • The Marquis of Death. Just dear God. He makes it a habit of torturing the heroes of a universe right before destroying it. He even outright states that he only does it for the fun of it.
  • X-23's former handler, Kimura. Despite being a victim of emotional and physical abuse herself (and in fact having a childhood which in some ways paralleled Laura's), she joined the Facility both for the means to exact revenge on her tormentors and to put herself into a position where she could torment others. She was one of X-23's chief abusers, and routinely tortured her for the slightest of infractions; notably, after the mission where Zander Rice (who could justify an entry of his own) left her to die, Kimura actually punished her for surviving entirely because she was told X had been killed and her return to base meant it was a lie. She has pursued Laura relentlessly since her escape, and is gleefully willing to murder and torture her loved ones for no other reason than to punish her it, even when Laura offers to return to spare them.

    Animated Films 
  • Rattlesnake Jake from Rango. He constantly terrorizes his victims. In his first appearance, Jake strangles Beans and licks her face, and strangles her again in another scene, looking like he's enjoying it way too much.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, we have Turbo, known as King Candy. "I should thank you...but it'd be more fun to kill you!"
  • Lotso Huggin-Bear from Toy Story 3 is so embittered that his owner lost and replaced him that he snapped, took over the Sunnyside daycare centre, and turned it into a toy prison where he rules with an iron fist. While his principal aim is to ensure that he and his cronies get to live the good life and have run of the place, he clearly takes pleasure in deceiving new toys and bullying those under his power and gets especially mean when the idea of owners actually loving their toys is brought up and nearly laughs as he leaves Woody and the others to burn to death, saying "Where's your kid now, Sheriff?". Even his underlings seem more than a little scared of him.
  • Lord Business from The LEGO Movie is so sadistic, it's a wonder how they managed to put him in a kids' film. He kills a man in cold blood by decapitating him, he psychologically and physically tortures his lieutenant Good Cop Bad Cop to turn him into his puppet for his masterplan and he crushes Emmet's self-esteem brutally in the climax when Vitruvius claims the prophecy was made up just before he dies before leaving him and the Master Builders to die in the Think Tank, which he sets to self-destruct. Oh, and let's not forget that after using Bad Cop for his own goals, he abandons him to the same fate.

    Live-Action Films 
  • In the film version of Battle Royale Kiriyama actually joined The Program to kill students he doesn't even know, and shoots at them with a smile.
  • Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs.
    "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, but I've heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a quick death... which you ain't gonna get."
  • Sergio Leone's villains. Ramon and Esteban Rojo from A Fistful of Dollars, El Indio from For a Few Dollars More, Angel Eyes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Frank from Once Upon a Time in the West, and Gunther Reza from Duck, You Sucker! all enjoy hurting other people; for Indio and Frank in particular it is their whole raison d'etre.
  • The dream serial killer Freddy Krueger, also known as "The Springwood Slasher" from A Nightmare on Elm Street.
  • The Scorpio Killer from Dirty Harry is completely Ax-Crazy and very sadistic as well.
  • O-Dog and A-Wax from Menace II Society.
  • Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange.
  • Red Grant of From Russia with Love. His SPECTRE file describes him as a homicidal paranoiac, which comes into view when cornering James Bond, where, instead of just of going with the fake murder/suicide, Grant plans to humiliate and torture Bond.
    "The first [bullet] won't kill you. Not the second. Not even the third. Not until you crawl over here and kiss my foot!"
    • Xenia Onatopp from Goldeneye, whether it be crushing her victims to death during sex or gleefully machine gunning a bunch of computer programmers.
  • In The Crow: City of Angels, crime lord Judah Earl admits point blank to one of his goons he executes that hurting people is his only enjoyment.
    Judah: Weren't you listening before, Basset? I said we all have our pleasures. Mine is the pain of others.
  • Tommy De Vito from GoodFellas is constantly seen using sadistic violence to threaten others, and shows no apparent mercy for his victims. He also seems to be very familiar with utilizing fear and humiliation, especially when he kills Spider.
  • Nathan from Ex Machina. He programs his creations to desire freedom so that they would suffer in captivity. And it's visually implied that he enjoys their psychological pain as evidenced by his smug and satisfied expression when one of his creations go mad from isolation.
  • The Indominus Rex from Jurassic World. She doesn't strictly kill for pleasure, she hunts for it. This is most chillingly brought to light upon discovering she left one of her suffering victims still alive to expire in an excruciating slowness.
  • Palpatine/Darth Sidious from Star Wars. This was best demonstrated with him using force lightning to torture both Mace Windu and Luke Skywalker, when he could have just killed them.

  • In A Brother's Price, Keifer Porter was this kind of person. Most of his abuse was emotional abuse of his adult wives, he threw tantrums, played them out against each other by making them jealous, and locked himself up in his room for days when things weren't done as he wanted it. Ren suspects that he hurt her on purpose when he first had penetrative sex with her. (She was a virgin and had nothing to compare him to) By far his worst offense was torturing teenage Trini, after giving her a Tap on the Head and tying her to his bed.
  • The Crapsack World of A Song of Ice and Fire provides numerous examples, including:
    • The Blood Knight Gregor Clegane, who as a child held his younger brother Sandor's face in a fire for playing with his discarded toy, and who leads a band of Psychos For Hire in a campaign of Rape, Pillage, and Burn against the hapless peasantry.
    • Sadism runs In the Blood of the Obviously Evil House Bolton, who have a history of flaying their enemies alive, and continue to practice it in secret despite it being outlawed by their overlords. Ramsay Snow, after capturing Theon Greyjoy, engages in psychological and physical abuse. He flays Theon's fingers and toes and possibly castrates reducing him from a proud handsome man to a broken wreck, terrified of and submissive to Ramsay. Ramsay's behavior is atrocious enough that his father Roose berates him for it — not because he's appalled by what his son is doing, mind you, but because it's bad for PR.
    • The Caligula Joffrey Baratheon takes delight in his absolute power over his subjects, and particularly enjoys ordering executions, mutilations and forced duels to the death.
      • Joffrey appears to be a pure sadist. Unlike the other examples on this list, he is never even hinted to actually have sex with or rape his victims. Remember, this is a teenage boy with near total power who was engaged to two if the most beautiful girls in the Seven Kingdoms, and yet may very well have died a virgin. It seems Joffrey gets off on pain and nothing else.
      • Joffery groped Sansa during her wedding to Tyrion Lannister and tried to rape her, or it was implied that he would do something like that to Sansa, by spontaneously kick starting the usual "undressing of the bride by the king" ceremony. He was plenty sadistic but it can't be said that he wasn't without a libido. It's just that it took the backseat to the lust of making himself feel powerful and others absolutely miserable.
    • And Joffrey is often compared to Aerys II, who did such lovely things as lighting people on fire and setting up Saw-like traps for the people who weren't on fire. At one point, one of his bodyguards reminisces that Aerys would get sexually aroused from seeing people burned alive, and one time clawed his own pregnant wife so fiercely while having sex with her that she had to be evacuated from the capital, covered in scratch-marks.
    • Euron Greyjoy crosses this line with gusto, and likes manipulating people before torturing them for that extra evil touch.
  • A Wrinkle in Time: IT, the Brain in a Jar that rules over the world of Camazotz, refers to itself as "The Happiest Sadist".
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward's father is suspected to be a sadist, who beat his children just for fun, though he certainly also had a nasty temper. There is also Bastilla, Kariarn's slave, who plainly "likes to hurt people".
  • Morgoth, the Big Bad of The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth, has sadism among his many unpleasant qualities. While torturing captives can get him useful information, he often just does it for fun even when it has no practical purpose, and takes great joy in his victims' agony.
    • Sauron as well, though for slightly different reasons- several thousand years of being thwarted and forced to run away from fights- and on more than one occasion, the physical death of his body-, along with general decay of his powers, has left him extremely embittered and completely intolerant of anyone who defies his will. Case in point, his torture of Thorin's father- he tried to get him on side with a We Can Rule Together bargain, but one refusal from the dwarf was enough for Sauron to flip and torture him for days on end out of spite. By the time of The Lord of the Rings he wants to dominate the world and destroy all opposition simply because that's all he's got left.
  • As a child, Peter Wiggin from Ender's Game flayed squirrels alive and subjected his brother to cruel games. His genius qualified him for Battle School, but he was rejected as too dangerous. As he grew up, his moral compass largely overcame his sadistic tendencies, and he used his intelligence for good.
    • Achilles de Flandres in Ender's Shadow is his inverse. He doesn't take pleasure in the method of death, favors efficiency over pain, doesn't even need to witness it, and only goes out of his way to kill someone if they have shamed him in some way. Yet he is more evil than Peter.
  • The Villain Protagonist libertines written by the Marquis de Sade were all about enjoying themselves, very frequently at other people's expense — and their treatment of others, particularly those they hated, was beyond cruel. There's a reason this guy is the inspiration for the word "sadism".
  • From That Hideous Strength, Miss Hardcastle a.k.a. The Fairy. She uses cigarette burns to interrogate a prisoner—then she gets so carried away with the torture that she neglects to get any actual information from the prisoner.
  • Drake Merwin from the Gone series is one of these. A vicious psychopath who serves both a sociopath and a God of Evil purely for the chance to hurt as many people as possible. There is rarely anything he does in the series that is not for the pleasure of harming another human being. His psychological profile at the Coates Academy even diagnosed him as a sadist. Diana drew a smiley face next to it.
  • Bellatrix Lestrange from "Harry Potter" is one, considering her aptitude for torture.
  • Venandakatra from Belisarius Series is also known as the Vile One (a name given to him by the psychotically evil Malwa regime), and fully lives up to it. Anyone who crosses him in even the slightest way ends up on the wrong end of a short stake, even minions who failed at impossible tasks. He also gets a kick out of beating up kids, among far worse things. Venandakatra is so gratuitously evil and pointlessly, self-sabotagingly cruel that the racist, fascist-lite Malwa regime that considers gang-rapes and mass murders of captured civilians standard military policy thinks he's beyond the pale.
  • Ivarr Ragnarson of The Last Light of the Sun is a Serial Killer and Torture Technician whose dream in life is to successfully blood-eagle somebody while keeping them alive. Since blood-eagleing involves cutting open the victim's ribs and removing their lungs while they are still alive, this means all his victims are in for a long, drawn out, and thoroughly agonizing death, which Ivarr enjoys every moment of.
  • Department 19 has two examples. Alexandru Rusmanov is a cruel brute who revels in death and pain, inflicting it on his own minions when they fail him. Dracula is even worse, thinking up nauseating tortures and using them any time he has any kind of excuse, and it's made clear that he greatly enjoys this.
  • Most of 'the Forsaken of The Wheel of Time have cruel or spiteful streaks, particularly towards those who defy them, but Semirhage takes the cake. Also known as "the Lady of Pain", she was once a world-renowned healer who defected to the Shadow after the fact that she went out of her way to cause her patients pain came to light. She became the Dark One's favorite torturer, and even her fellow Forsaken - The Dreaded one and all - tend to be wary of her cruelty.
  • Mollyl from Kane story "The Cold Light" is one. He likes causing pain to people and the fact that he comes from famously degenerate island of Pellin does not help, either. He joins Lord Gaethaa (aka the Crusader) simply because it gives him a lot of possibilities to inflict pain. When Gaethaa's men rape Kane's lover Rehhaile and his second-in-command Alidore later checks on her, seeing bruises and welts on her body, he reflects that she isn't really badly messed up, compared to other women with whom Mollyl played.
  • Achilles Desjardins from Rifters. He controls his urges very well, with help of sofisticated technology, but when it fails, all hell breaks loose.
  • Duke d'Angouleme from Malediction Trilogy is a very powerful troll and the main enemy of troll prince Tristan and his human wife Cecile. He uses pain and terror as a tool to intimidate his enemies but he also thoroughly enjoys it. And then he gets to look after Tristan's younger brother Roland, very powerful but also raving mad and it goes from bad to worse.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Toby Meres from Callan takes great pleasure out of 'interrogating' members of The Opposition, is the only assassin in The Section who volunteers to visit the interrogation department, and generally enjoys seeing even his co-workers in pain (emotional or physical) and is inclined to try to see how much he can get away with in regards to increasing it.
  • Angelus from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "Last time I tortured somebody they didn't even have chainsaws."
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is a show about sex crimes, and sadists show up from time to time. Whenever the Villain of the Week is a Serial Killer, there is a good chance of him being one. Interestingly, the victim from the Pilot was one.
  • Charles Augustus Magnussen from Sherlock. Sherlock describes him as "a shark", as well as the worst person he had ever met, and says that he "picks on people who are different". He is a media baron who is secretly the "King of Blackmailers"; digging up dirt on people — usually people in positions of power or influence — seems to be his very raison d`etre. But he doesn't use this information just to gain advantages for himself or his newspapers; he uses it, along with his own position of power, to bully and humiliate people in extremely cruel and childish ways, such as forcefully licking a government minister (i.e.. sexual assault) after threatening to paint her husband as a child molester (her husband had earlier committed suicide over this threat — he cheated on her with a 15 year old girl, but he thought she was of legal age — so Magnussen going after the man's wife afterwards is beyond low), to pissing in Sherlock's fireplace, to having Watson thrown in a bonfire (claiming afterwards that he had a man there ready to save him if Sherlock didn't) and watching it on his television over and over and over again... all for no other reason than he can. He also admits at the end that he is willing to publicly humiliate and ruin people in his newspapers regardless of whether he can actually prove anything he says.
  • Many killers from Hannibal, but explicitly the man himself when somebody tries to copy his crimes and both Will and the FBI realize the key difference between the two killers- the copycat didn't torture his victims to death. Its strongly implied in the novels that this is how Lecter kills but it is made crystal clear here. Beyond that, of course, is that he is the Trope Namer of Hannibal Lecture for a reason, and in his particularly twisted pathology seems to regard psychological torture, Criminal Mind Games, exercising and abusing power over others, and pitting people against each other as acts of love. He likens himself to God and thinks that he is Above Good and Evil, and believes that both he and God are cruel to those they love because that is simply their nature.
  • Many of the killers on Luther. The most notable example is Villain Protagonist Alice Morgan, whom Luther diagnoses as a malignant narcissist, a particularly nasty condition that combines narcissistic, antisocial, and sadistic behaviour into one vicious package.
  • Justified:
    • Dickie Bennett, Big Bad Wannabe of Season 2 is a cowardly drug dealer who wants respect, and will inflict as much pain as he can on anybody who doesn't give it to him. His Establishing Character Moment has him forcing a man to put his leg in a bear-trap because the man dared to grow weed without his permission. He later captures protagonist Raylan Givens, strings him up from a tree, and tries to beat him to death, gloating the entire time.
    • Robert Quarles, Big Bad of Season 3 is a Serial Killer and Serial Rapist of male prostitutes (as well as a Detroit gangster). He kidnaps boys off the street, tortures and molests them, and then kills them, all as part of a hideous ritual that he can't seem to stop doing. Most of it stems from the utterly horrifying abuse he suffered at the hands of his own father.
  • It's a family comedy, but Reese from Malcolm in the Middle has been shown to have no empathy and enjoy bullying others, especially his brothers. In one particular episode, he makes the neighborhood kids, whom he's bullied horribly for years, think that they're finally getting to beat him up, when in fact Reese had kidnapped a kid of about the same size as a stand in.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: By Season 3, Alex, Justin and Max turn out to be this after they kill Stevie for trying to get rid of the wizard competition and don't care, even though getting rid of the wizard competition meant that they wouldn't have to fight each other to keep their powers.

  • Many lyrics from Death Metal songs have a quite sadistic quality to them.
  • In the Hip-Hop, several Gangsta Rap and Horrorcore songs (especially in the Horrorcore) tell stories of people quite sadistic.
  • The Beatless song Maxwell's Silver Hammer'' is about Maxwell Edison, an Ax-Crazy kid (and pretty sadistic) that uses the title hammer to murder a girl, his teacher, and the judge who took his case, in front of a full courtroom.
  • Doom Metal band Saint Vitus, The Sadist.
  • The subject person in Adam And The Ants' "Whip in my Valise", whose activities include pulling the wings off flies, killing grandmothers and good old punishment.
    Your sadistic suits my masochistic

    Role Playing Games 
  • Only the most vile of Dino Attack RPG's wide cast of villains are Sadists, including Michelle Glados, Carolyne Provencal, Zed Provhezor, the Brickspider Bot v1.0, and the Darkitect, for they are the ones who actually enjoy watching the suffering of others.
  • Hida Tsuneo from Legend of the Five Rings was the Crab Clan Champion and Right Hand of the Emperor during the reign of Hantei XVI. He was also unquestionably brutal, was personally involved in killing or torturing the Emperor's political enemies, and seemed to draw particular joy from hurting those who were physically weaker than himself. His defining moment probably came right before his death, when he was ordered by the Emperor to kill the Emperor's mother- and did so by crushing her head with his bare hands.


    Video Games 
  • The Grand Theft Auto series is full of sadists, obviously being a Crapsack World:
  • Hazama of BlazBlue loves mind raping others, and trolls them as they get defeated. And that's not even mentioning the great enjoyment he appears to take in physically hurting his opponents in battle, either. It's suggested by another character in-story that he gets off on ruining people's lives and Hazama doesn't deny it.
    Hazama: It's time for a little punishment! I'll let you feel the most exquisite pain! Does it hurt? Doej it huwt?
  • StarCraft: Kerrigan the "Queen of Blades", and leader of the Zerg loves playing mind games with the other factions, and pitting them against each other, usually by feigning innocence to gain their trust. In StarCraft II this attitude of hers returns, when she tries to weaken Zeratul's mind by making him beleive the Protoss will be doomed to extinction no matter what he does.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World: Alice, a Cute and Psycho antagonist, is mentioned to be a Sadist. She's also seen kicking around her subordinates, and laughing at their pain.
  • Yuuka Kazami from Touhou. So much that she received the nickname "Ultimate Sadistic Creature" from the fans, and spawned the "Everyone is M for Yuuka" meme.
    • In her first appearance in Lotus Land Story, she playfully threatened to reduce you to a mist of atoms.
    • In her second appearance in Mystic Square, her motive for wrecking through Makai and beating people up is basically because she's bored and wants to play. She also uttered her infamous "Genocide is just a game" line. Her tendency to add "<3" at the end of every sentence doesn't help.
    • In the Windows era, she reappears in Phantasmagoria of Flower View, where she's supposedly has calmed down a lot. She still threatened everyone who met her, or accepted other character's accusations of being the culprit of the incident, even when she's really not, just so she has a reason to beat them up. When Eiki Shiki confronted her about this, she said it was just 'daily teasing'.
    • In fanworks, she's often portrayed as downright Ax-Crazy.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories introduces us to Larxene, a member of Organization XIII (and the only female member discounting Xion). She has many Kick the Dog moments she enjoys, and Demyx even fears her, calling her a witch.
  • We get two of these in the Ratchet & Clank games: Courtney Gears and Gleeman Vox, the latter being owner of an illegal gladiator games franchise.
  • The Metal Gear Solid franchise provides us with two. The first being Revolver Ocelot, who is outright referred to as one in the first game, and takes great joy in torturing Snake, and tortured Donald Anderson to death. If the player forfeits during the torture sequence, he promises to kill Meryl, for no other reason than to be cruel.
    • But worse than him, by far is Colonel Volgin, from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Unlike Ocelot, who serves higher (if extremely convoluted) purposes, Volgin's sole motivation for anything he does is to cause other people as much pain and suffering as humanly possible, which is why there's no small reason why he's one of the only MGS villains to not get the Draco in Leather Pants treatment. Within minutes of being introduced, he nukes his own country just because he can, knowing full well it could spark a war, and during the game, he abuses EVA, both physically and sexually, he beats a suspected informant to death with his bare hands, beats Sokolov also to death, and tortures Snake/Big Boss as well, expressing enthusiastic enjoyment when he sees Snake losing bladder control due to the pain. He is also stated to be personally responsible for hundreds of murders, most of them again, by beating people to death with his bare hands.
  • From the Street Fighter series, we have Juri Han. She loves to have fun, but unfortunately her fun involves beating her opponents within an inch of their lives. It doesn't matter if they're a guy or girl as long as she gets to torture them. It gets to where she literally gets off on the pain she inflicts.
  • Darkstalkers:
    • Lord Raptor is an Ax-Crazy, mass-murdering zombie who thrives off the deaths of countless people.
    • BB Hood outright states that she will never give up killing until every last living creature on Earth is dead.
  • Don Morello from Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, who is introduced beating an innocent person who accidentally rammed into his car to death. The next cutscene he is in sees him torturing a dockworker who went on strike.
  • Dr Vile/Weil of the Zero series is a huge sadist. He admits that during the Elf Wars he personally enjoyed the mass slaughter and devestation brought by his Dragon Omega, and in the present enjoys watching "pigs squeal." In Zero 4 he makes life in Neo Arcadia horrible and takes glee in the idea of destroying nature. While he does have a reason for this (mainly make humanity suffer for what they did to him), it's made all to clear from his attitude he's enjoying this. Combined with his narcissistic personality and desire for destruction, this makes Dr Weil one the most horrifying villains in Mega Man history.
  • Ramsay Snow lives up to his gruesome characterization in Telltale's Game of Thrones by purposely escalating a war between two feuding families so he could amuse himself by watching the two duke it out in a battle to the death. Either way, he's the only one to benefit both for his sadistic appetite and business wise.
  • The titular mask from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Everything it does, from threatening to drop the moon onto Termina to ruining the everyday lives of its people, is all because it finds the pain and misery it causes hilarious.
  • The Mad Scientist Relmyna Verenim in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion has a nigh-religious devotion to pain, though for all her musings on its purifying power, she only ever inflicts it on other people.
    "I became sheltered within a tapestry of tranquility, woven from the screams of the Breton's anguish..."

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 
  • Mryorg the ogre in Goblins, who, as the result of one too many journeys into hell, has been stripped of his ability to get satisfaction from anything except inflicting suffering on others.
    • Dellyn Goblin-Slayer enjoyed the Cold-Blooded Torture he inflicted on monsters, both the physical and the emotional. He also couldn't fully enjoy raping Kin unless he'd beaten her to near death at the same time.
  • Jae of Magience enjoys other people's pain.
    Jae: Memories of your screams will be my lullaby for the next decade, at least.

    Web Original 
  • Pretty Pink Ponytails in Angel Of Death loves nothing more than a nice, long session of Cold-Blooded Torture in the form of a childish game in her special "playroom."
  • Gray Boy in Worm is this, greatly enjoying using his time-looping powers to subject people to eternal torture.

    Western Animation 
  • Ren Hoek from The Ren & Stimpy Show. There have been several episodes where it is implied that he loves to inflict pain physic and psychologic of others and even himself.
  • The Mr. Bogus episodes "Computer Intruder" and "Bad Luck Bogus" featured a huge and hideous Evil Knockoff of the eponymous character who delighted in torturing Bogus.
  • Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons.
  • South Park is a series full of sadists, for obvious reasons. Eric Cartman is the biggest one. He's a sociopathic Enfant Terrible who is frequently shown to have a horrific sense of humor at the expense of others. He laughs at several of Kenny's deaths, delights in torturing Kyle relentlessly (and revels in the idea of actually killing him) and is revealed at one point to have bullied a classmate to the point of being Driven to Suicide. And probably, one of the most sadistic moments in the entire series was in the ending of "Scott Tenorman Must Die".
    Mr Mackey: Well, what did you use to think was funny?
    Cartman: You know, all the usual stuff. Dirty jokes, funny movies, seeing someone die...
  • In TMNT a mobster named Don Turtelli is presented as a sadist, who like to interrogate people by tickling their feet with a feather (which is presented as Cold-Blooded Torture in the show), unlike other villains who just put heroes in dangerous situations, especially since he clearly enjoys making his victims suffer. This is presented in one episode where Turtelli is torturing two kids, Rat King, who is dangerous villain was disgust with Tortellis method, he said, "I can't stand to watch...''
  • Family Guy
    • Stewie Griffin in the earlier seasons.
    • Even Brian has sadistic tendencies. He frequently kills and terrorizes squirrels for pure sadism. This is a act that even shocks Stewie.
    • Carter is even worse. Although not an inventor nor showing a particularly murderous streak, he is often gleefully sadistic, particularly towards Peter, and is shown to keep a Rancor in a pit below his house in "Peterotica". Worse, he torments orphans For the Evulz.
    • Jeff Fecalman from "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q." definitely qualifies as well. Unlike Peter and the other reoccurring jerks of the show, he is known as one of the most evil villains of the show and has no redeeming qualities.
      • Ditto with Mike Pulaski from A Fistful of Meg.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • Plankton. Even in one episode is seen in a dream, he is destroying Bikini Bottom, even tried to crush Gary with a sadistic glee. And this is is evident even in the movie, where he feels a great excitement and joy when Mr. Krabs will be executed.
    • The Bikini Bottom people has sadistic tendencies in later seasons. This is evident in episodes like "No Hat For Pat" and "Spongicus".
  • Invader Zim is a complete Ax-Crazy, Psycho for Hire, but also, very sadistic.
    • The Almighty Tallests as well.
  • Stevearino (Steve's evil clone) from American Dad! is a good example. He sadistically tortures and kills cats for fun.
    • Barry, when is not medicated.
  • Eddy's Brother from Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show. He had no qualms over beating his little brother and Edd. Unlike Kevin and Sarah, he has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
  • Bender from Futurama has his moments.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Several villains, with The Joker and the Scarecrow being the obvious examples, the latter especially since his crimes are almost entirely based around spreading terror and driving people insane with fear. There is also the one-shot villain Lock-Up, a cruel and power-mad guard at Arkham who thinks that criminals deserve to be tortured and clearly enjoys doing it- and when stopped, expands his definition of "criminals" to those who got him fired or condemned his actions, as well as Gordon, the Mayor, and Batman because he thinks they are too "soft" on criminals. He is so scary the other Bat-rogues tried to escape Arkham solely to get away from him.
    • Pamela Isley, alias Poison Ivy: all her crimes imply Pamela enjoying the suffering of others. She is a Control Freak and while most of her crimes fall into Well-Intentioned Extremist territory, although at the same time she just enjoys taking revenge on behalf of mother nature. Like Lock-Up, she is a good example of a sadist who truly thinks that their victims had it coming.
  • Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls. He had no qualms about trying to kill the professor.
    • Him as well. He enjoys torturing his victims psychologically.
    • Dick Hardly. He attempted to kill The Powerpuff Girls to make even more knockoffs of them and forced Professor Utonium to stay with him and make more Chemical X.
  • Katz from Courage the Cowardly Dog is a very sadistic villain, to the point of being frightening.
  • Vicky the Babysitter from The Fairly OddParents. Her main hobby? Torturing, tormenting and presumedly trying to kill children For the Evulz, though she also tries to profit from this by hiring out her services to gullible people who think she is good at her job. She also bullies her little sister and even her own parents.
    • Crocker (a Sadist Teacher) as well, especially in the earlier seasons.
    • A One-Shot Character named Miss Doombringer is even worse than Crocker.
    • Francis, The Bully.
    • Wanda himself is this in "A Bad Case Of Diary-Uh!", at the point of being an Ax-Crazy.
  • Total Drama has the host of the show, Chris McLean. This man throws teenagers in the most perverse, screwed-up challenges ever just for kicks and ratings. By the time of the fourth season, the original cast is so sick of him that many have sworn to never be on the show again in any capacity, barring the demos and other schticks their contracts required for the new cast of contestants/victims. DJ freaked when he was back in Camp Wawanakwa for a challenge in the fourth season, and he was the judge. The only reason a fifth "All-Stars" season happened is because of their contracts, with many explicitly stating that they hated Chris. There's a reason the writers have stated that Chris is the series' Bigger Bad.
  • Mrs. Robinson from The Amazing World of Gumball is a monstrous old lady who feasts off of the suffering of others. Her most prominent episode The Wicked outright shows the audience and characters that she amuses herself by poisoning animals, framing others for her crimes, kicking people then they're down, fooling others into letting their guard down before harming them, robbing people, vandalizing property, assaulting children, carjacking, disrupting the peace, attempting murder on a daily basis, making life a living Hell for all those around her, and drinking the tears of young children she bullies. The moment she truly crosses the Moral Event Horizon is when she purposely allows Darwin to choke to death while smiling and waving goodbye as she shuts her door on him. Even her own jerkass husband is terrified of her cruelty and goes into a monologue about how she loves committing horrible things For the Evulz. She has no reason to act so cruel, but she just loves to make everyone suffer out pure joy.
  • A bad habit of Queen Chrysalis of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, who's highly intelligent but easily distracted by an opportunity to cause pain and suffering.