|“||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.
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 and anything 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 to death with an American Indian arrow; however, another Katahdin (the cubs' father) appears just before the end credits.
Katahdin is a bizarre abomination that was created by the unintentional contamination produced by the paper mill in Maine, United States. Its name was given by the Native American Hector M'Rai, who assures that he had sighted it. She originally lived in an ancient bear cave from which she parted to cause terror in the forest and to rebel against humanity. During the time she was prowling through the forest, she had been seen by a forest ranger in a watchtower, but when he told this to Dr. Robert Verne and his wife, they did not believe him. After some events, the Vernes along with John and his partner Ramona show Isely (the owner of the factory) the mutated baby they found, which to everyone's bad luck turned out to be of Katahdin, which with much anger charged started chasing them. In the process, Katahdin killed several of those who made up Dr. Verne's group, reducing them to just three individuals. The beast finally confronted Robert, being severally wounded and finally killed in a lake. However, time after that, another ranger began to see many more monsters prowling around the forest.
In the film, Katahdin is seen as a huge bear that walks on two feet and has a mutated side to a truly critical degree. The time she was in her mother's womb along with the accidentally ingested methyl mercury affected her and she became deformed. On her right side Katahdin has a very similar appearance to a common bear, with the difference that her eye apparently does not have sclera, showing only a dark colored iris, and that she has missing fur in some sections like in her arm, back and legs. Unlike the right side which was fortunate to maintain most part of its original appearance, her left side was drastically altered by the methyl mercury. First of all, she lost her fur, which is now replaced by an apparent mass of meat, which seems to have been burned several times and which bear a certain resemblance to the keloid scars caused by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs. Katahdin's left side lacks various facial features, such as the eye, part of her mouth skin (which shows her teeth and grinders) and her ear. The most remarkable thing about Katahdin is her immense size, measuring 10.5 feet tall, considerably larger than a normal grizzly bear, which is 7 feet tall.
In the movie novel, Katahdin has a different appearance than her film counterpart. So far there is no illustration or image that reveals its appearance as such, but many details have been revealed to get an idea. The novel describes Katahdin as an amalgamation of all the creatures of the forest. She has a head similar to a bird's, and huge breasts. The movie trailer mentions that she has huge eyes, webbed hands, hooked claws, and that she walks upright. It is also mentioned that she is 15 feet tall, being larger than her filmic counterpart.
Powers, Weaknesses, and Abilities
- Strong Hind-legs: Unlike normal bears, Katahdin is able to walk upright for extensive amounts of time without tiring. 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.
- Strength and Resistance: Katahdin possesses enormous supernatural strength, which makes her a truly dangerous being. A single blow of her paw can throw a human over a long distance, knock down trees, destroy a cabin, move stones (heard in one scene), and overturn a jeep, and other very heavy objects. Katahdin also has incredible resistance. Katahdin's mutated skin became a really hard and almost inexpensive mass, managing to withstand gunshots and blows, making her 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 burned skin more likely than not must be a source of discomfort, making her more irritable than a normal bear, making her especially dangerous.
- 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, which she does not attack.
- Can hold her breath/Breathing underwater: By getting into the water, Katahdin can supposedly hold her breath or breathe underwater. This serves to finally attack and sink her preys underwater and devour them, but these can evade it, due to a bubbling (coming from the same Katahdin) 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. Her left eye is either absent or obscured by folds of melted skin, so she is partially blind and lacks depth perception.
Seemingly those of the filmic Katahdin. Despite this, there is an ability that she does not possess in the film.
- Gliding ability: Katahdin possesses the slight ability to glide in the air for short periods of time, mainly due to her enormous weight.
- 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)
- 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.
- In the film, Hector M'Rai describes Katahdin as a he and not as a she, when she is actually female.
- Katahdin was represented in the film by three suits and a puppet that included the head, torso, 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.
- These suits and puppet were dearly called "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".