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|“||Can you say "anophthalmia?"||„|
Christopher "Chris" Cleek is the main antagonist of the novel The Woman, by Jack Ketchum, and its film adaptation.
He was portrayed by Sean Bridgers who played Old Nick in the film adaptation.
Cleek was a country lawyer who, while out hunting in the woods, encountered the titular feral woman, thus becoming smitten by her. He later returned to the woods that day, and he kidnaps and traps the Woman in his fruit cellar. When the Woman bit the tip of his ring finger off, he violently beat her, and decided that he would civilize her. He appoints his family to help him with his experiment, but in reality, Cleek really only wants to freely molest and dominate the Woman under the guise of civilizing her. The novel goes further by revealing that Cleek was actually a misogynist as well as a domestic abuser who took great pleasure in dominating his wife Belle, as well as in torturing the feral woman through such means such as dosing the Woman in boiling water, and using a high pressure power washer on her as a means of trying to reestablish his dominance over her. Not only this, but it's revealed that Peggy was pregnant with his baby, which resulted from him raping her each night. The film subtly alludes to this when Chris places a candle by Peggy in a similar fashion to the feral woman.
Miss Raton, Peggy's teacher, took notice of Peggy's frequent visits to the restroom, and she decides to consult her parents about the dilemma. Fearing that she might ruin his public image, Chris hits her over the head, ties her up, and takes her to the barn so that she could be fed to his dogs. It was also revealed that Cleek had another daughter (who suffered from anophthalmia) imprisoned in the barn, and she ate the woman as well. Eventually, Peggy releases the Woman from her bindings, and she slaughters Belle, Brian, and she draws out Cleek's suffering as he died. Peggy, Darleen, and their eyeless sister (who's dubbed Socket in the film) leave into the woods with the Woman.
Cleek portrays himself as an affable figure while in public, but that is all to hide how utterly evil he is. His most defining trait is his hatred for women citing that the only thing women were good at was sex, and that they should all be in a similar position as the feral woman. He thinks so highly of being a male, that he actually covers for his son, Brian, when Brian attempted to have his way with the Woman. He also believes that, since, he was a male, he was entitled to do whatever he wanted, consequences be damned.
- Belle Cleek (wife, deceased)
- Peggy "Peg" Cleek (daughter)
- Brian Cleek (son, deceased)
- Darleen "Darlin'" Cleek (daughter)
- Socket (daughter)
|“||You can't! You can't! I am so f--king sick of "You can't!" All the women in this family! Your mother, your idiot sister and now you.||„|
|~ Cleek to his daughter, Peggy, as he was about to feed her teacher to the dogs.|
|“||That is not civilized behavior!||„|
|~ Chris berating the Woman, after she had bitten off the tip of his ring finger.|
|“|| Belle: I never condoned what you did. Never. You just can't keep putting one thing on top of the other and expect to keep getting away with it forever. I've had it.
Chris: OK. So what are you gonna do, I mean what is your plan, what? I just would like to know, what the f--k you think you're going to do about it.
|~ Chris, about to hit his wife after she threatened to leave him.|
|“||Can't have people running around the woods thinkin' they're an animal... its not safe.||„|
|~ Chrius introducing his family to the Woman.|
- He is similar to Aunt Ruth Chandler, the antagonist of The Girl Next Door in several ways. Not only do they both express a misogynistic hatred for women, but they also take part in torturing the titular character (the Woman for Cleek, and Meg for Ruth). They each imprison the titular character in a dark, cramped room (the fruit cellar for the Woman, and a bomb shelter for Meg), and they both manipulate their children into helping them torture their victims. The key difference, however, is that Cleek was ultimately killed by the feral woman, whereas Ruth was murdered by David.