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In fiction, there's a popular tendency for especially fearsome characters to be known as "The Beast," or some variation on this theme. A subtrope of Names to Run Away from Really Fast, the reasons for this particular moniker vary from depiction to depiction, though rarely for positive ones.

In some cases, this is due to the character possessing some animalistic attribute, a "beastly" appearance or nature . In others, this is due to brutish, violent or savage behavior, a close tie-in with the first reason possibly to the point of being a Feral Villain. Alternatively, it will be associated with the titular beast of Christian theology and the Book of Revelation, there may be some connection with the demonic or diabolical; the Mark of the Beast may be utilized.

Other times, the character in question is literally an animal — only so monstrous or so indescribable that giving it any name other than "beast" simply will not suffice.

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On occasion, a hero may end up with this name for similar reasons — but not often.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 
     Anime & Manga 
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Downplayed. Atsushi's Ability is called 'Beast Beneath the Moonlight', which enables him to transform into a tiger with a Healing Factor. Unfortunately, Atsushi can't control his Ability without the aid of Fukuzawa's, and when exposed to moonlight during a conversation with Dazai, he went from being a nervous kid to a hungry monster in seconds.
  • The Beast of Darkness (or simply "the Beast") from Berserk is Guts's Enemy Within. This horrific Hellhound-like monstrosity is the manifestation of all the fear, hatred and other negative emotions that arose in Guts after the living hell that was The Eclipse, and it wants more than anything to have Guts take revenge on the Godhand and every demon in existence while turning Guts into a monster himself.
    Comic Books 
  • Daredevil: The Beast is the name of a demon tied to the origins of the evil Ninja clan known as the Hand. In the Shadowland story arc, it possesses Matt.
  • Invincible: The alien Thokk goes by the moniker Battle Beast. He is a shameless Blood Knight and has the appearance of a white, lion-like creature. While technically on the side of the heroes, Thokk is only working with them to satisfy his own bloodlust.
  • Preacher: At one point God names Cassidy "Beast" to express contempt for Cassidy being a blood drinking parasite that crawls in the night. And despite God's own many failings, this judgement of Cassidy was correct. Cassidy lives down to the name due to his tendency to drag other people down into ruin with his careless selfish hedonism.
  • X-Men offers a rare heroic version in the form of Hank McCoy, AKA Beast: codenamed for his gorilla-like physique, enormous hands and feet, and (later) his blue fur and other animalistic attributes. In sharp contrast to his beastly appearance, Hank is commonly portrayed as a brilliant scientist and a gentleman. However, this is played straight by his Mad Scientist Evil Counterpart Dark Beast.
    Films — Animation 
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    Films — Live Action 
  • The Big Bad of Krull is known only as the Beast, an Evil Overlord leading the Slayers in an attempted plan to fulfill a prophecy that he believes will allow him to take over the universe.
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, one of the many villains is an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy dubbed "the Beast". Known for his Toad-style fighting technique, he spent a big chunk of the backstory killing various masters in search of a Worthy Opponent, before checking himself into a mental asylum out of sheer boredom. Despite his seemingly-lackadaisical appearance and laid-back attitude, he soon proves himself one of the deadliest combatants in the film by killing the apparent Big Bad and taking centre stage as the main villain of the story.
  • Men in Black 3 has a variant with the Big Bad's nickname "Boris the Animal," which he hates ("It's just Boris!").
  • The sinister entity behind the haunting in Poltergeist is referred to as "The Beast" - in this case, a definite nod to a demonic nature.
  • The dreaded guard dog of The Sandlot is popularly known as "The Beast" by the local kids; believed to be genetically-altered by his equally-dreaded owner and responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people, nobody even dares to broach the fence for a closer look at him... which is a bit of a problem when Scotty ends up losing a priceless baseball over the fence. It turns out that the dog is not only harmless, but is actually a Big Friendly Dog. His real name is Hercules.
  • Shot Caller: The imposing leader of the Aryan Brotherhood chapter is known only as "The Beast". Captures both his brutal, animalistic nature, and as a dragon for Jacob to slay.
  • In Split, the last and most feared of all Kevin Wendell Crumb's multiple personalities is the Beast. Revered as a godlike entity by Hedwig, Dennis and Patricia, he's the logical conclusion of the Clap Your Hands If You Believe nature of the personalities, possessing superhuman strength, speed, and even bullet-proof skin. Also, he's possessed of an appropriately animalistic personality, either crushing his foes with his bare hands or literally devouring their bodies.
  • Ultraman: The Next: The film's main antagonist is a monster known as Beast the One who is portrayed as a terrifying Eldritch Abomination
  • Throughout What We Do in the Shadows, frequent references are made to Vladislav's arch-nemesis, known as "The Beast". It is eventually revealed to be a subversion, as The Beast is just an ex-girlfriend who barely remembers him when they encounter each other at a party.
    Literature 
  • The main antagonist of Peter Benchley's Beast is a giant squid of the same name, a hundred-foot-long creature known for preying on local shipping as well as unlucky swimmers.
  • In Beauty and the Beast and its various adaptations, the eponymous character is so named due to his animalistic appearance and brutish nature, the result of his Karmic Transformation into a monster. It's not until he is able to overcome his beasty attitude and win true love that he loses both the name and the appearance.
  • In Dragonlance: The New Adventures, the characters come to a town terrorized by both bandits and a bear-like monster called "the Beast". It turns out the Beast Was Once a Man and returns to his true form (Senwyr, Davyn's father) when killed.
  • Count Glossu Rabban of Dune is popularly known as "Beast Rabban" by his subjects for his unrelenting cruelty. Needless to say, he most commonly serves as The Brute to his uncle, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, in his efforts to crush the population of Arrakis.
  • The Big Bad of The Magicians is named "the Beast" by the Brakebills faculty for want of a better title - as absolutely nothing is known about him when he first appears. A neatly-dressed Humanoid Abomination with too many fingers and a face perpetually covered by a branch, his name is a reference to the fact that he's believed to be an extension of a full-blown Eldritch Abomination hidden in another world... but also to the fact that he eats Amanda Orloff alive in his first appearance. He's actually none other than Martin Chatwin, one of the heroes of the Fillory and Further book series, having literally given up his "humanity" to remain in Fillory and became a monster as a result.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: In Princesses on the Lonely Isle, said "Lonely Isle" is also known as the "Island of the Beast", and said Beast has other names:
    the Fallen Guardian, Lurraldea's Bane. It would rage and lay waste, then disappear for decades, then be returning both larger and more powerfully. Time and time again it would come, to be causing despair and destruction.
  • In The Secrets of Droon, "Beast" is a classification of evil creatures, under the control of the Beast Emperor, Ko. Other than Red Eyes, they have no common appearance and are a wide range of Mix-and-Match Critters (for example, Ko is a three-eyed minotaur with four arms).
  • Beast of Burden in Ward is a villain and mercenary with a Brute power that allows him to move easily despite wearing heavy steel armor. His rude and violent behavior makes him a Brute in more than just classification.
    Live-Action TV 
  • The Chase: Mark Labbett goes by "The Beast" due to his genius-level knowledge of trivia, and perhaps also his imposing figure at the time of the show. As a Chaser, he is basically the antagonist of the episodes he's in, as the players have to compete against him to win.
  • The Sealed Evil in a Can of the Doctor Who two-parter "The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit" refers to itself as the Beast. A Big Red Devil from before the dawn of time, he's claimed to be the inspiration for every single Satan-like figure in the universe's mythology, and specifically claims to have been known by the names of Abaddon and Lucifer, along with many other ominous titles. For good measure, his human hosts even manifest a Mark of the Beast.
  • Teen Wolf: The Big Bad of Season 5 is The Beast, a.k.a. The Beast of Gevaudan, the first werewolf the Argent family ever killed.
  • In the fourth season of Angel, a demonic-looking creature called the Beast is the first Arc Villain of the season. He is eventually replaced by Angelus and then Jasmine.
  • The Sopranos: Phil Leotardo takes to referring to Tony Blundetto as "Animal Blundetto" after the latter murdered his brother Billy during the Lupertazzi civil war. In reality, Tony B. was more of a Beware the Nice Ones-type guy who got in over his head when he recklessly tried to make a name for himself, with the vicious, hotheaded Phil himself being a much better candidate for that title.
    Music 
    Myths & Religion 
  • In the Book of Revelation, two "beasts" are stated to emerge in the last days as servants of the Dragon. The first, the Beast from the ocean, is a monstrous creature that inspires humanity to follow it. The second, the Beast from the earth, is also known as the False Prophet; he commands that the people worship the first Beast and accept a Mark of the Beast — with dissenters being executed. As such, the second Beast is a popular contender for the role of the Antichrist.
    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: The War of the Beast was the single most destructive war the Imperium ever faced since the Horus Heresy against the biggest Ork warlord ever; known as the Beast, he was so huge he was at first mistaken for a Humongous Mecha and also terrifyingly intelligent by Ork standards. And then it turns out there were six of them. In addition, The Beast's Orcish name was translated to Gothic as "I am Slaughter"... but in Orcish, it was "Mag Uruk Thraka", marking Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, the Beast of Armageddon, as the next incarnation of The Beast. That Mag Uruk Thraka sounds like Margaret Thatcher is either an unfortunate coincidence or a full-on Take That!, depending on who you ask.
    Video Games 
  • Bug Fables features The Beast, a giant monstrous centipede responsible for deaths of many travelers who cross the Wild Swamplands, including Kabbu's old friends.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, during the quest "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine," Madanach's cell is guarded by an orc named Borkul the Beast, who once ripped a man's arm off and beat him to death with it.
  • Among the Marked Men patrolling the Divide in Fallout: New Vegas - Lonesome Road is a unique specimen known simply as Beast, likely due to the fact that his fearsome-looking gear invokes the armour of Legate Lanius (AKA the Monster of the East)... but also because he's an insane, skinless ghoul kept alive by The Power of Hate and armed with a gigantic rocket launcher.
  • The finale of inFAMOUS reveals that the true overarching threat of the setting is a giant, lava-skinned Humanoid Abomination known to Kessler as the Beast, responsible for destroying the world in one possible future. Likely named due to the connections with the Book of Revelation, the Beast becomes the Big Bad of inFAMOUS 2, destroying an entire city and leaving a trail of destruction across most of the American east coast before catching up with Cole for the second time. He's actually John White, one of your allies for the first game, and his real goal is to save potential Conduits from the plague now killing humanity. Unfortunately, saving them requires more ray sphere explosions to activate their latent powers, resulting in more destruction, more deaths, and a greater spread of the plague - in other words, the extinction of the human race.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Kreia's nickname for the Wookie bounty hunter Hanharr is simply "Beast." Normally, this would be just another sign of Kreia's Fantastic Racism, but in Hanharr's case, he's more than earned the title: quite apart from his crimes as a hunter and his efforts to murder anyone he owes a life-debt to, his own tribe exiled him for insanity before he killed them in a demented attempt to save them from enslavement.
  • In the Nintendo Wars game Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, the Starter Villain is a man simply known as The Beast. When he meets the Big Bad Dr. Caulder, Caulder originally refers to The Beast as Sergeant, before correcting himself - The Beast was dishonorably discharged from the military for his extreme aggressiveness.
  • In Path of Exile, the Beast is a creature mentioned in the lore as a source of virtue gems and thaumaturgy. It is a Reality Warper that created the Eldritch Abominations you see in Acts 3 and 4. In Act 4, the Exile ventures inside the Beast to destroy it. The Beast was created by Sin to suppress the gods and put them in an eternal slumber, but Sin created the Beast with no ambition of its own, which made it vulnerable to ambitious humans trying to use the Beast for their gain.
  • During the backstory to The Secret World, the legendary vampire queen Mara took to living large in mid-20th century Romania, committing such grisly crimes that Nicolae Ceausescu's Securitate could barely keep them hidden from the public - earning herself the nickname "The Beast of Bucharest" in the process. Unbelievably enough, this reputation led to her becoming partners with the Red Hand and paving the way for even bigger atrocities.
    Web Animation 
    Web Comic 
    Web Original 
  • Neopets has the Lair of the Beast, which houses the eponymous Beast: a pterodactyl-like creature who is notorious for its really loud, startling roar. If you go to the Lair, your pet will display a hangdog expression and tell you I Don't Think That's Such a Good Idea all the way.
  • Piecing Together the Ashes: Reconstructing the Old World Order: The backstory has the General Ripper-turned-President Evil who took control of America from a left-wing government in a Military Coup, and proceeded to persecute Muslims, invade neighboring countries when they protested his actions, and finally nuked the world in a delusional belief that God told him to do so. By the "present" of the story's far-future setting, he's remembered only as "the Beast" and is considered to have been evil incarnate.
    Western Animation 
    Real Life 
  • The Beast of Gévaudan was a man-eating animal that terrorized the province of Gévaudan in France between 1764 and 1767. Although generally thought to have been a large wolf or wolf-dog, some contradictory reports depicted it as a different beast. It spawned lots of articles in the contemporary press and many conspiracies and legends surrounding it.
  • Aleister Crowley liked to call himself "the Beast 666", among other elaborate occult titles; amusingly, his own mother referred to him as "the beast" throughout his childhood, a fact that young Crowley delighted in.
  • The US presidential state limo is often known as "The Beast".
  • Reinhard Heydrich was known as "The Blond Beast" for his blonde hair, and was one of the most infamous Nazis of World War II, having helped organize Kristallnacht beforehand, was directly responsible for the Einsatzgruppen death squads, and chaired the 1942 Wannsee Conference that formalized the Final Solution.
  • This wasn't uncommon among Nazis. Josef Kramer, the notoriously vicious commander of Belsen concentration camp, was known as the Beast of Belsen.
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II and Adolf Hitler were nicknamed in successive World Wars as "The Beast of Berlin" in UK propaganda.

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