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Villain Overview

Out there, is a mindless, merciless creature of destruction... She will find you.
~ The narrator from the official trailer of Prophecy.

Katahdin is the main antagonist in the 1979 horror film, Prophecy and the 1979 horror novel of the same name.

She was portrayed by Tom McLoughlin, Charles Flemmer and the late Kevin Peter Hall, and her vocal sound effects were provided by Frank Welker.

Biography

Film

Katahdin is a horrifically mutated grizzly bear who has grown to abnormal size. It is believed that her parents consumed fish contaminated with Inorganic Methyl mercury, which caused the mutation of this monster when she was still in the womb (which in turn happens to Katahdin's own offspring). She was named by the local American Indian tribes, and mistaken for an ancient spirit angered by the logging activity on the mountain.

The dangerous beast is unusually large for a grizzly bear, and her face and body are hideously deformed. Katahdin is also mentally deranged and hostile, impulsively mauling anyone she comes across. She is drawn to her cubs, which is what causes her to pursue the protagonists throughout the film. After killing the bulk of the main cast, she is finally stabbed with an American Indian arrow and dies drowned in a lake; however, another Katahdin (the cubs' father) appears just before the end credits.

Book

Originally a bear, Katahdin is a horrible and strange creature that is an amalgamation of all the creatures of the forest, being "Part of all things created" as described by Hector M'Rai, the leader of the American Indian tribe who baptized her with that name. Her origin is the same as in the movie, being created from inorganic methyl mercury ingested by her mother by eating fish contaminated with it. She is just as large and also deranged in the same way as in the movie, impulsively killing whatever she finds, but yet she also has an "animal" side, hunting forest creatures in the winter, even cannibalizing black bears (different to her filmic counterpart, that only kills humans). As in the movie, she haunts the protagonists because of their affection for their cubs, but nevertheless, after killing most of them and her death from stabbing and drowning in the lake, many more monsters were seen prowling around the forest.

Appearance

In the film, Katahdin has the appearance of a huge bear that walks on two legs and has one side mutated to a critical degree. The time that she was in her mother's womb along with the accidentally ingested methylmercury affected her, and her appearance deformed until she became what she ended up being. On her right side, Katahdin has an appearance very similar to a common bear, with the difference that she never stops showing her teeth (perhaps because she does not have lips), and that she is missing fur in some sections such as on her arm, back and legs. Unlike her right side, which was fortunate to retain most of her original appearance, her left side was drastically altered by methylmercury. She lost her fur, which is now replaced by a mass of flesh running from her head to her waist, which gives the impression to have been burned several times and which bears some resemblance to the keloid scars caused by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs. Katahdin's left side lacks several facial features, such as the eye, part of the skin on the muzzle (showing her molars), and hers ear. Her upper mammary glands were transferred to her stomach, remaining on top of the lower ones. The most remarkable thing about Katahdin is her immense size, standing 10.5 feet tall, considerably taller than a normal grizzly bear, which stands 7 feet tall on two legs.

As stated previously, in the book, despite being a bear just like in the movie, Katahdin is physically an amalgamation of all the creatures of the forest. She has a bird-like appearance, huge eyes, webbed hands, hooked claws, huge breasts, and walks upright. She is also 15 feet tall, being larger than her filmic counterpart.

Powers, Weaknesses, and Abilities

Film

  • Strong Hind-legs: Unlike normal bears, Katahdin is able to walk on two-legs for extensive amounts of time without tiring, and she knows how to use her hind-legs, as she can run without even tripping or losing her balance. This frees up her fore-paws to grasp for prey, though it is unknown if she can travel very fast, I.e quadrupedal (4-legged) galloping, but it is sure to say that she doesn't.
  • Strength and Resistance: Katahdin possesses enormous supernatural strength, which makes her a truly dangerous being. A single swipe of her paw can throw a human to a great distance (evidently killing it), knock down trees, destroy a cabin, move rocks, and capsize a jeep. Katahdin also has incredible stamina. Katahdin's mutated skin turned into a really hard and impenetrable mass, managing to withstand shots from a rifle and arrows, making it almost indestructible.
  • Intellect: Katahdin is not a simple killing machine. She adores her cubs, and woe is all who stand between her and her babies. She will hold a deep hatred for her cub's abductors and anyone invading her turf, relentlessly tracking them and using various tactics like stealth to get close to them. She also knows to stand still and shut up until her prey is within striking distance, unlike typical monsters who roar constantly. This suggests she can indeed think and strategize. Her mutated skin more likely than not must be a source of discomfort, making her more irritable than a normal bear, making her especially dangerous. Even then, it doesn't seem to affect her so.
  • Sensitive Eye: Katahdin's eye has the capacity to detect movement easily, giving her a greater advantage in finding her prey and thus being able to kill it. However, the eye has the weakness of being very sensitive, which caused her eye to shoot out of its socket when it was minced by the arrow used by Robert Verne. Her eye also does not recognize humans when they wear animal skin, as happenned with Hector M'Rai, who she perhaps thought was an animal of the forest.
  • Can hold her breath/Breathing underwater: By getting into a lake, Katahdin sinks in the lake's floor and can possibly hold her breath or breathe underwater. This serves to finally attack and kill her preys on the surface, but these can prevent it, due to a bubbling (coming from Katahdin herself) that occurs and can be easily noticed on the surface.
  • Sharp Senses: Katahdin has shown that her senses are extremely keen, as she can detect her cubs despite being unable to see them. She either hears their cries and/or can smell them from miles away. She can also see in near-pitch-blackness, and spot prey from far away, and don't think she cannot find you if you hide deep underground. Despite her missing eye, Katahdin preserves her depth perception, knowing the range of distance between her and her prey to grab or hit them.
  • The American Indian Arrow: during her final battle with Robert, Katahdin had a weakness that eventually ended up killing her. Robert's constant stabbing with the American Indian arrow into her throat while she was unconscious in the lake prevented her from breathing, causing her to stop breathing and to drown, sinking into the lake in the process.

Book

Seemingly those of the filmic Katahdin. Despite this, there is an ability that she does not possess in the film.

  • Gliding ability: as she looks like a bird, Katahdin possesses the slight ability to glide in the air for short periods of time, mainly due to her weight.

Victims

  • Black bear (eaten (novel)
  • Search party (mutilated off screen)
  • Paul Nelson (killed)
  • Travis and Kathleen Nelson (killed off screen)
  • Kelso (killed)
  • An indian (thrown into fire)
  • Three Paper Mill members (killed off screen)
  • Sheriff Bartholomew Pilgrim (killed)
  • Bethel Isely (gutted (film), beheaded (novel)
  • Huntoon (decapitated)
  • Hector M'Rai (killed)
  • John Hawks (killed)

Trivia

  • Katahdin's name comes from an ancient spirit which is described as "Larger than a dragon and got the eyes of a cat." as Bethel Isely says.
    • This name also comes from a mountain that is in the state of Maine. The name "Katahdin" means "the tallest mountain," which was maybe used because of her height.
  • In the film, Hector M'Rai describes Katahdin as a he and not as a she, when she is actually female.
  • Katahdin was portrayed in the film by three suits and a puppet that included the head and arms. The suits were used by the actors mentioned above in most scenes, and the puppet was used in close-ups. While the puppet and suits tried to coherently maintain the monster's appearance, there are still notable differences between these.
  • Katahdin was dearly nicknamed "Barbara" or "Pizza Bear" by the staff of the film.
  • Katahdin is indirectly mentioned by movie director John Frankenheimer in a comment, where he says "I don't think our monster was very frightening".

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