Graveyard Shift

Characters You Never Realized Are Basically Satan  

Jacob Shelton
2.8k votes 586 voters 15.2k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the characters that most embody the Devil archetype.

Satan comes in many forms: a voice inside your head, a well-dressed man, and even a nurse mad with power. Cinematic history is littered with movie characters who are a lot like Satan, and the worst of them are engaging to watch. These aren’t merely annoying characters or even actors who played the Devil - these are characters who are so dark the atmosphere of the film changes when they appear onscreen.

These characters ruined by pride may not be the Devil, but they provide a visual symbol for evil incarnate. Some are super-powered maniacs with a taste for dark clothing, while others are more or less normal - except for that whole thing where they embody pure wickedness. Like Satan, many of these characters would be fun to hang out with for a weekend; any longer than that, and you'd be in a living Hell. 

Vidal is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Characters You Never Realized Are Basically Satan
Photo: Picturehouse

As the stepfather of Ofelia, Captain Vidal is both a fairytale monster and a captain of the Falange, a Spanish nationalist regime that attempts to force Spanish Catholic authoritarianism on the country's people. In Pan's Labyrinth, Vidal is draped in an immaculate, dictatorial costume which makes him resemble a bespoke Devil, and he's intensely physical in a way that's hard to watch.

Like the most famous depictions of Satan, Vidal's monstrousness is all internal. If you look only at his features, he appears as a perfectly manicured, well-to-do man. You'd never know the darkness that exists inside him. 

Played By: Sergi López

Is this basically Satan?
see more on Vidal
Hans Landa is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Characters You Never Realized Are Basically Satan
Photo: Universal Pictures

The inherent wickedness of Hans Landa doesn't merely come from him being a member of the SS, though that plays a significant part in it. His similarity to Satan extends to his willingness to betray those who believe in him. By the end of Inglourious Basterds, Landa realizes the Allies are going to win. Rather than go down with the ship, so to speak, he makes a deal with Aldo Raine in exchange for immunity.

Landa ensures his safety by betraying those who trust him. 

Played By: Christoph Waltz

More Hans Landa

#25 of 584 on The Greatest Movie Villains of All Time #1 of 41 on The Best Quentin Tarantino Characters of All Time

Is this basically Satan?
see more on Hans Landa
Nurse Ratched is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Characters You Never Realized Are Basically Satan
Photo: United Artists

Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is cold and indifferent about those seeking her help. Consumed by the minor amount of power she's given as head nurse, Ratched refuses to empathize with her patients and instead humiliates them into following her orders. 

Ratched is quick to dismiss those who step out of line or displease her; she even goes so far as to lobotomize a ward who continues to flout her rule. She takes what she wants, when she wants it, and does not hesitate to harm the powerless people put in her care. 

Like Ratched, Satan is said to care only for himself and his power. 

Played By: Louise Fletcher

More Nurse Ratched

#94 of 289 on The Best Female Characters in Literature #10 of 339 on The Greatest Female Villains #18 of 381 on The Greatest Female Characters in Film History #39 of 958 on The Greatest Movie Villains of All Time

Is this basically Satan?
see more on Nurse Ratched
Frank Booth is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Characters You Never Realized Are Basically Satan
Photo: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

If any character in film crawled directly out of Hell, it's Blue Velvet's Frank Booth. In David Lynch's standout film, Booth is a small-time underworld boss from North Carolina who bends people to his will through force and coercion. If you're around Booth, you do what he wants you to do; and if you disagree with him, you may not exist much longer. 

Like Satan, Booth's exterior is handsome and charming, but his internal goals are against the betterment of those around him. He seeks to control, and as the film progresses, Booth's wickedness escalates until he's finally put out of his misery. 

Played By: Dennis Hopper

Is this basically Satan?
see more on Frank Booth