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I'm a star!
~ Pearl's catchphrase, which is shared by Maxine.
Shhh. It'll be our little secret.
~ Pearl after groping Maxine, her most famous quote.
I want to be loved by as many people as possible. But truth is, I’m not really a good person.
~ Pearl in the titular film.

Pearl Douglas is the main antagonist of Ti West’s 2022 film X, and also serves as the main protagonist villain of the 2022 prequel film Pearl

She is a psychopathic, elderly housewife who is obsessed with youth and sex, causing her to become violently jealous of a group of young porn stars due to her husband's heart condition preventing them from making love.

She was portrayed by Mia Goth, who also portrays the main protagonist Maxine in the same movie, in her first villainous role.

Biography[]

Early life[]

Since Pearl was at least in her twenties during the First World War, she was most likely born in the 1890s, placing her in her eighties during X.

In her youth, Pearl was an aspiring dancer and was considered very beautiful. She married her husband Howard shortly before America's entry into World War I. She was separated from her husband when he left to serve in the war, leaving Pearl alone with her father, who was completely paralyzed, and her mother, an angry, unhappy woman who blamed Pearl for her misery.

Pearl puts forward a sunny, innocent demeanor, but behind that façade, she is deeply disturbed and prone to violence; she tortures the animals on the farm, acts out sexually with inanimate objects, and physically abuses her helpless father even as she professes to love him.

Pearl[]

Pearl (Young)

By November 1918, Pearl had grown to deeply resent her life on the farm. While she hoped to be loved and famous, she was stuck doing farm work and tending to her father. As she grew angrier and more unstable, she began desperately reaching for opportunities to leave - a chorus girl audition and a film projectionist who seduced her and promised to take her to Europe after the war. The night before the audition, she told her mother that she planned to go. When her mother refused to allow it, the two got into a fight, which ended when Pearl pushed her mother into the fireplace, severely burning her. Pearl dragged her dying mother into the basement, then fled to the projectionist's room in a panic, where the two had sex.

When the projectionist took Pearl back home the next morning, he quickly realized something was wrong with Pearl's behavior and tried to leave. Realizing that the projectionist meant to abandon her, an enraged Pearl impulsively stabbed him to death with a pitchfork. She then dumped him and his car into the alligator pond, feeding him to an alligator she had named Theda. After preparing for the audition, Pearl smothered her father to death with a pillowcase.

Pearl auditioned just before her sister-in-law Mitzy. Pearl's performance was rejected, sending her in a fit of screaming and crying. Mitsy comforted her and took her home, where Pearl admitted to her violent urges and confessed to killing her parents and the projectionist. Terrified, Mitsy tried to leave, only for Pearl to congratulate her on winning the audition. Mitzy denied this - Pearl may have simply assumed it because Mitsy met the judge's description of someone "younger and blonder" - but after Pearl insisted that Mitzy "[didn't] have to lie," Mitzy said that she had won in an effort to placate Pearl, and left, but Pearl followed her outside and murdered her with an axe.

Pearl dismembered Mitzy's corpse and fed it to the alligator. She then posed her parents' rotting bodies at the dinner table and waited for Howard to come home. When he returned, he found Pearl waiting for him at the horrific scene, with a pained smile on her face.

Later life[]

Howard presumably helped Pearl cover up the murder of her parents, and the two lived together on her farm for the rest of their lives. Pearl lived alone again only during Howard's service during World War II.

By the time of X, Pearl's rage at her frustrated dreams and sexuality had found an outlet in serial murder. Sometime before the beginning of X, Pearl murdered a young man who was living in the boarding house on her and Howard's farm. He would later be found strung up in the basement of their home. It is not certain if Pearl kidnapped and raped him before killing him, or if she killed him and then kept his body to sexually abuse. She also implies that she has killed others in this way.

X[]

For the majority of the beginning, Pearl is seen slowly creeping in the background stalking Maxine and her friends while they begin setting up for the movie. However, when Maxine comes back from a swim in the lake, she takes it as an opportunity to introduce herself and invites her inside for a glass of lemonade. After some awkward silence, Maxine quickly downs her drink and tells Pearl that she needs to get back to her friends before Wayne starts to worry about her. As they walk to the exit, they stop in front of some vintage photos taken during Pearl's glory days. She begins lamenting about her youth to Maxine, telling her that when she was young, she used to be a dancer, while expressing an obvious jealously for Maxine's youth and debauchery, while trying to make sexual advances on her that Maxine quickly rebuffs. As Howard pulls into the driveway, Pearl tells her that she should go, and warns her not to tell anybody about the advances, saying that, "It'll be our little secret." Later that night, after spying on Maxine and Jackson having sex in the barn, Pearl pleads for Howard to have sex with her, but he refuses, saying that his heart is too weak. Infuriated, Pearl sits in front of the mirror and begins to cry.

Later that night, RJ, infuriated by Lorraine's decision to do a sex scene with Jackson, decides to take the van and leave. His efforts are thwarted by Pearl, who stands in the middle of the road and causes the car to come to a complete stop. RJ, worried for Pearl's safety, tries to help her back into the house. But Pearl, still upset from earlier, tries to make advances on RJ as well, which he also rejects, causing Pearl to snap and stab RJ in the throat numerous times. She appears to have an orgasm while killing him. After finishing him off, she dances above his corpse before stealing the keys from the van to keep anyone else from fleeing.

Pearl then begins hunting the other crew members. She plants a nail in the barn so that Wayne steps on it while searching for RJ. When an injured Wayne crawls over to the barn's back wall, Pearl uses a pitchfork to stab him in the eyes through the wall, killing him instantly. Pearl then stabs the body to make sure he is dead.

After killing Wayne, Pearl sneaks into the boarding house, where she strips naked and crawls into bed with Maxine, eventually starting to caress and molest her. Maxine wakes up and screams, bringing Bobby-Lynne to her aid and running Pearl off. Bobby-Lynne finds Pearl by the lake and tries to lead her back home, assuming that Pearl meant no harm and simply has dementia. Instead, Pearl slaps Bobby-Lynne in the face, rants at her for being a "whore," then shoves her in the lake to be eaten by the alligator. As Bobby-Lynne is torn apart, Howard meets Pearl by the lake, having just killed Jackson himself.

Pearl and Howard return to the boarding house to look for Maxine. Failing to find her, they have sex on her bed, unaware that she is right underneath, and do not notice as she flees to the house. After having sex, they head back home, where Howard has trapped Lorraine as a gift for Pearl. As they return home, they are surprised by a fleeing Lorraine, who had just been freed by Maxine. Howard shoots Lorraine in the face, seemingly killing her. Pearl and Howard then drag Lorraine inside, hoping to stage her body to make the murder look like self-defense. However, Lorraine's death rattle surprises Howard, giving him a fatal heart attack.

As Pearl desperately tries to revive Howard, Maxine confronts her with Wayne's pistol and demands the keys to the van. Pearl tells her where they are, but blocks her way out of the house, hurling abuse at her. Maxine tries to shoot her, but finds that Wayne's pistol is empty. Pearl then grabs Howard's shotgun and fires one shot at Maxine. She misses, and the recoil knocks her out the front door, breaking her hip.

As Maxine leaves, Pearl begs for help. When Maxine shushes her and walks to the van, Pearl begins screaming and ranting at her, calling her a whore and telling her that her beauty and sexuality will fade just as hers did. Maxine then backs the van over Pearl's head, completely crushing her skull and instantly killing her.

Personality[]

Pearl is delusional, self-loathing, and is jealous of others' beauty and youth, claiming that they don't deserve it. This is especially the case for Maxine and her friends, since their excessive fornication and debauchery is the main driving force for Pearl's actions, mainly due to her not being able to make love with her husband, Howard, because of his heart condition. Because of this, she also has uncontrollable sexual urges and will kidnap men and women who stay in their guesthouse in order to pleasure herself with them. She is also slightly cowardly, and isn't above begging for help.

She also seems to be stuck in her past, as she's always seen staring at Maxine (who is a parallel of herself) or old pictures of herself and Howard, indicating that she misses who she once was and wishes she could have that life back. That's not to say that she doesn't have any redeeming qualities whatsoever, as she holds a very close relationship with Howard, even stopping what she was doing to help him when he was having a heart attack. She also holds a weird fondness for Maxine, trying her best to spare her, but only because she needs another victim to fulfill her perverted desires.

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

  • According to Mia Goth, she had no idea she was being considered for the role of Pearl when she first read the script.
  • Mia used plastic makeup to make herself look elderly.
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