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Reverend Henry Kane

"Reverend" Henry Kane, also known as The Beast is the fictional main antagonist of the Poltergeist film series. He is the ghost of an angry cult leader who wishes to abduct the youngest child of the Freeling family: Carol Anne, to use her innocence to capture souls trying to enter the Afterlife. He was portrayed by Julian Beck in most of the second film and Nathan Davis in the final.

Fictional character biography Edit

Kane clams to be a Reverend, likely from the American South, who started and became leader of a utopian cult in the early 19th century. However, Kane simply wanted to harvest the energy of his followers' spirits in the Afterlife to gain supernatural power. He led his "flock" across a desert t southern California into an underground cavern under the premise that the world was about to end, but in truth Kane simply wanted to kill his disciples and himself and then harvest their souls in death. It is implied in Poltergeist II: The Other Side that Kane became enemies with a Native Shaman known as "Medicine Man" (Medicine Man, the spiritual figure, not the character) who is also known as Taylor. The novelization for Poltergeist II: The Other Side states that Taylor is the reincarnation of a man named Ben Lagou. Lagou was a member of Kane's cult, but when he witnessed Kane's growing evil, he turned against him. Ben Lagou was briefly possessed when he drank tequila, just as Steven Freeling later would be. Ben was able to free himself from the possession, while Kane told his followers that had witnessed this event that Ben Lagou was evil. Kane's cult headed for the cavern and sealed themselves in. Ben tried to find Kane to stop him, but could not find him. He used his shaman abilities to reincarnate himself through lifetime after lifetime until he was reborn as Taylor, who helped the Freeling family defeat Kane.

The Beast Edit

After Kane died, his ghost absorbed the energy from his followers and this fused with the power-hungry evil in his heart, transforming Kane into a monstrous apparition that the psychic Tangina Barrons would go on to call "The Beast". Kane/The Beast was able to gain his powers from his followers. However, he desired the energy of more souls which he could not obtain because they kept entering the Light, but when a house was built over his cavern in 1980s and the Freelings moved in, Kane immediately sensed the power of the Freeling's daughter Carol Anne's innocence, and realized that it shone like the Light. As the Beast, Kane persuaded other benign spirits(possibly his followers) to abduct Carol Anne through the screen of a TV set (showing only static) and bring her to their realm, dubbed the "Other Side" where he could use her to attract more souls. Luckily, Carol Anne was rescued by her mother, Diane and brought back to the real world whilst Tangina was able to persuade most of Kane's minions to enter the Light. A vengeful Kane/The Beast used his remaining strength to make the corpses of his followers rise from their graves and eventually consumed the entire Freeling house, but unfortunately for Kane, the Freelings escaped.

A year later, Kane tracked Carol Anne to a new house where her grandmother, "Grandma Jess's" clairvoyance was able to forbid him from entering the house without permission. This is the moment that Kane takes his human form and attempts to gain the Freeling's confidence but Carol Anne's father, Steven, manages to see through Kane's lies and Diane even has visions of Kane's life. This is known as the famous "Let Me In" sequence. After Grandma Jess dies, Kane attacks the Freelings but is stopped by the Medicine Man, now calling himself "Taylor". Taylor gives Steven the Smoke Spirit, which has the power to resist Kane's attacks. Kane also manages to possess Steven and in a disturbing scene, it is shown that Kane is also a rapist, as he tries to use Steven's body to rape Diane, this echoes a scene from Poltergeist, where the Beast telepathically drags Diane above her bed and lifts up her top to reveal her undergarments. Luckily, Diane's love for Steven forces Kane out of the body. At the end of the film, the Freelings travel to the "Other Side" and Kane is defeated by Steven using a magical spear that Taylor gave him.

In Poltergeist III, Kane manages to trace Carol Anne to her new home at the John Hancock Centre and takes possession of the entire building, using the mirrors as a gateway to their world and getting his minions to take the form of reflections. Once again, Tangina comes to Carol Anne's aid but is captured by Kane. The now defenseless Carol Anne is almost taken by Kane but thanks to Tangina's sacrifice, a softer side to Kane is shown as he is offered redemption if he enters the Light, which he obliges to and moves on to the Afterlife.

Films Edit

Poltergeist Edit

See article: Poltergeist

Only Kane's current incarnation is shown to the audience, Tangina Barrons simply reveals that he is Wikipedia:The Beast and wrongfully tells the family that he is a Wikipedia:demon, due to his monstrous aspects. His attempts to abduct Carol Anne fail and he wreaks vengeance by exhuming the corpses of his followers and consuming the entire house.

Poltergeist II: The Other side Edit

See article: Poltergeist II: The Other Side

Kane's backstory is revealed to the Freelings and he also reveals himself to them in human form. This is the film where his archenemy is revealed to be the Medicine Man. Kane is also shown to be a frightfully cheerful man and this hints towards how insane he was in life. His insanity is shown again as he attempts to rape Diane Freeling. Thanks to the Medicine Man and Tangina, the Freelings escape yet again.

In Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), he was played by Julian Beck.[1]

Poltergeist III Edit

See article: Poltergeist III

Kane traces Carol Anne to her new home at the John Hancock Center and manages to trick and capture Tangina, but this however turns out to be his downfall (or redemption) as Tangina ultimately offers to lead Kane into the Light, seemingly ending his reign of terror as the Beast, but in epilogue, ominous lighting strikes over the skyscraper and his maniacal laughter is heard, hinting that Kane may not be gone for good.

In Poltergeist III (known in Australia as Poltergeist III: The Final Chapter) (1988), he was played by Nathan Davis, but an uncredited Corey Burton provided his voice. He is depicted as a power-hungry zealot and religious leader who predicted the "end of days" in order to entice his followers into a cavern.[2]

Powers and Abilities Edit

In death, Kane possesses relatively Wikipedia:canonical poltergeist powers such as possession, invisibility, transparency and telepathy. But he also contains a vast amount of power due to him harvesting the souls of his followers, enabling him to shapeshift and virtually bend all matter to his will. Kane is able to transform into demonic monsters. He also can create minions such as in the third film, where he transforms the protagonists' reflections into flesh and blood servants. Kane does however have various weaknesses that can be used against him.

  • He cannot enter the property of the living without access to an electric item or permission from the owner.
  • Clairvoyant energy acts as a barrier to his power.
  • Displays of good emotions, love, kindness, and belief weaken him, yet bad emotions such as rage, frustration and despair strengthen his evil.

Personality Edit

Kane is the classic villain; he possesses characteristics such as Wikipedia:psychopathy, Wikipedia:sadism, and insatiable Wikipedia:greed.

Appearances elsewhereEdit

  • Kane was depicted on the cover of Among the Living by Anthrax. The band stated in interviews that he was one of the things that scared them the most.
  • Kane was also parodied in Scary Movie 2 under the name Hugh Kane.

CharacterizationEdit

Joseph Maddrey describes Kane as "a Jonestown-type father figure."[3]

ReceptionEdit

Gregory Anderson refers to the character as "the most infamous villain in horror history...brilliantly portrayed by Julian Beck."[4] [5]


References Edit

Citations Edit

  1. Coauthors= Jay R. Nash, Stanley Ralph Ross, title= The Motion Picture Guide 1987 Annual: The Films of 1986, publisher=Cinebooks |location=page 224, date=1987, edition=illustrated |pages=726 |isbn=0933997159, 9780933997158
  2. Scandalous preachers in film, sun-sentinel.com, Sun Sentinel, accessed 2009-05-11
  3. Joseph Maddrey, Nightmares in red, white, and blue: the evolution of the American horror film (McFarland, 2004), 73.
  4. Gregory Anderson, "Review of Poltergeist III," The '80s Movies Rewind.
  5. Exposure Is Phillips' First Series February 21, 1995 Google News Archive, Barstow Press, page 2, accessed 2009-05-11

See also Edit

Contains content from Wikipedia. Nominated for deletion at Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Henry Kane

External linksEdit

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