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Carl Rudolph Stargher

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Carl Rudolph Stargher

Carl Rudolph Stargher

And what world do you lived in?
~ Carl Rudolph Stargher

Carl Rudolph Stargher is a serial killer who kidnaps his victims and traps them in cell in the form of a glass enclosure that is slowly filling with water by means of an automatic timer bfore he performs a ritual washing with bleach and water on their corpses (a "cleansing") and turns their bodies into some sort of dolls with chain-like crimson red neckbraces which in his mind, means he owns them. He is the main antagonist of the 2000 psychological sci-fi thriller The Cell.

He was portrayed by Vincent D'Onofrio, who also portrayed Edgar the Bug and Kingpin

Role in Film

Child psychologist Dr. Catherine Deane is an expert in an experimental treatment for coma patients: a virtual reality device that allows her to enter into the minds of her patients and attempt to coax them into consciousness. When a serial killer by the name of Carl Rudolph Stargher, falls into a coma under FBI surveillance before the FBI themselves can locate his final victim, Special Agent Peter Novak, a former prosecutor attorney who joined the FBI after his ill-fated last case of a child molester who commited murder one last time, persuades Dr. Deane to enter Stargher's mind and discover the location of his final victim named Julia Hickson. Julia herself is imprisoned in a cell in the form of a glass enclosure that is slowly filling with water by means of an automatic timer.

Dr. Deane enters Stargher's twisted mind, where she is confronted by both the violent and innocent parts of the killer's psyche. The innocent half in the form of the young Carl Stargher as a little boy, shows her the abuse he suffered at his worthless and abusive father's hands since his baptism at the age of 6 before his father broke 3 of his ribs and fractured his jaw that night after the baptism, and the birth of his pathology when he drowned an injured bird as a mercy killing. Deane attempts to nurture the innocent side of Stargher's mind, but his murderous half in the form of not only himself currently as an adult, but also in various idealized and darker versions of himself, thwarts her at every turn.

Despite Deane's best efforts, she becomes trapped in Stargher's dark dreamscape. Novak volunteers to enter Stargher's mind and attempts to rescue her. After Stragher's attack and torture inflicted on Novak, he breaks Deane from Stargher's hold and discovers clues to the whereabouts of Julia, Novak relates his revelations to his team and they are able to track down the location of Stargher's victim (Stargher had been entrusted by a company in Bakersville, California to take care of an advanced water pump, which he used to fill the cell with water). Novak discovers Stargher's secret underground room and saves Stargher's victim just in time. Meanwhile, Deane decides to reverse the process and pull Stargher's mind into her own. She in the form of a beautiful robed saint, presents Stargher's innocent side with a paradise inside her serene dreamscape, but his murderous side is always present, and manifests as a serpent-like humanoid. This time, however, Deane has all the power; she  in another form as a warrior maiden armed with a sword and a crossbow, attacks the serpentine Stargher, but discovers that she cannot destroy one half without killing the other. Stargher's innocent side reminds her of the bird he drowned, and she kills him to put him out of his misery. Catherine Deane adopts Stargher's dog Valentine and bids farewell to Agent Novak, and successfully uses her new technique on her other, yet previous coma patient, a young and inncoent wealthy heir named Edward Baines.

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