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Dan Kester

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Dankester

Dan Kester eating granola in The Giant Spider Invasion

Dan Kester is the protagonist villain in the movie The Giant Spider Invasion. He is portrayed by Robert Easton. He is a lazy, greedy, perverted, corrupt and disgusting farmer. Dan lives with Ev Kester, his wife, in a dysfunctional marriage. Ev is an alcoholic and frequently berates Dan for being an incompetent farmer and a jerk, both being well-deserved. It is fairly obvious throughout the film that they cannot stand each other. Terry, Ev's sister, is dating a man named Dave Perkins, the son of the editor of the local newspaper. Dan thinks Dave Perkins is a rotten scumbag and advises Terry not to date him, despite the fact that Dan frequently goes out for some good, old-fashioned trailer park adultery with Helga, the local barmaid. Dan and Ev live a trite, sordid, unpleasant existence with each other until a meteor lands in their farm.

Personality

Dan Kester is a farmer in rural Wisconsin. At the beginning of the film, he lives with his wife in a hate/hate relationship in a squalid farmhouse outside of a small town, which suggests that he starts out poor. He is generally regarded as a mediocre farmer by the rest of the townspeople and a 'strange man' by the sheriff. He has to wear a back brace and prefers to wear plaid shirts while working and stained, red long johns to bed. Dan likes to consume granola, fried chicken and liquor. He is revealed to be a two-timing, arrogant womanizer in the beginning of the movie, but as the movie progresses, the audience sees that Dan Kester's true nature is that of an abrasive, narcissistic, disgusting, dishonest individual with hardly any morals, and certainly without shame for any of his misdeeds. Dan does not think he is in the wrong, and that Ev has mistreated him over the past several years of their marriage. Apparently, their marriage was a happy one, until they had a baby that died, plunging them into a downward spiral, though it also has been suggested by Terry that Ev was driven to substance abuse because of things that Dan has done. Despite his seedy nature, Dan is shown to be a rather inept, foolish and unsophisticated character whose personal hygiene is so bad that it comes off as amusing to the audience. 

Story

At the beginning of the movie, Dan leaves home and goes out to to have an affair with Helga, the local barmaid, under the ruse that he is actually attending a revival. When he returns, he is questioned by Ev as to the true nature of his absence. After failing to give Ev a straight answer, the spiders (concealed in a meteor) land in his farm, creating a cataclysm that rocks the whole community, the the point where scientists involve themselves. After it occurs, Dan figures that it is of little importance and that further investigation can wait until morning. That evening, Ev's sister comes over to their house to duck from the violent winds and environmental disturbances that occured during the landing of the meteor. Thinking it is a burglar, Dan grabs his gun and yells "Don't move, or I'll shoot!". He turns on the light and it is revealed to be Terry. He drops the gun, Terry sits at his dining room table, and proceeds to grab cold fried chicken out of his pitiful refrigerator, where he sits down to eat while he trash talks Terry's boyfriend Dave Perkins, who ironically, is ostensibly the only resident in the small town who appears to have good hygiene and principles of any kind. Dan accuses Dave of luring her to the town junk yard to have sex, while Terry reveals to Dan that it was his idea. Dan then threatens to spank Terry for being such a 'naughty girl'. In this scene, the audience witnesses an even more repulsive facet of Dan; he is not just an abrasive, arrogant womanizer, he is also a sick pervert who used to get aroused when spanking Terry when she was a young girl. He chases her out of his home, complaining that he cannot "get any peace". 

The next day, Ev urges Dan to investigate but he has no desire. Ev is very worried about the farm and Dan does not care. Eventually he agrees to go out and as they investigate, Dan carries a gun and the problems of the Kester household are revealed in conversation. Ev and Dan find several dead cows in their farm. They are mortified at first, but Dan sees this as a minor nuisance. Ev is alarmed at how much revenue they are going to lose from the dead cows, but Dan has a plan. He tells Ev that he is going to butcher the deceased cows and sell it to Dutch's Cafe, which he has done before in the past. Ev protests, suggesting that he cannot sell the meat because it might be contaminated. Dan replies that it is Dutch's lookout (concern), and not his. 

Eventually, Dan and Ev find some rocks where the meteor landed. Dan attempts to open the rocks with a hack saw. He orders Ev to retrieve a hammer and chisel. After he attempts to open the rocks, Ev berates him for his incompetence with a tool. However, the rock falls on the floor and cracks open. A spider is seen emerging, but Dan and Ev do not see it. Dan and Ev instead focus on the interior of the rock which appears to be diamonds and crystals. He extracts them and attempts to hit them with a hammer, but Ev advises him not to, and tells him that if they are really diamonds that they will cut glass. He follows Ev's advice and when he scratches the diamonds on his window, they actually do scratch the glass.

Soon after, Dan finds many more diamonds and Ev exclaims in delight that they are finally going to be rich. Dan has no intention of sharing the profit earned with Ev, and tells her that the farm is all his. Ev decides to try to make up with Dan and asks him to forgive all the insults she called him. Ev really just wants the money and Dan knows it. Ev suggests that when they are wealthy, life for both of them will be good again before their baby died. Dan goes outside to find more rocks.

While Dan is gone, there are small spiders crawling all over their dining area. Ev tries to fend them off with a fly swatter. Dan returns and gives Ev a hard time about her alcohol abuse. Ev tells Dan to leave her alone, and that she feels terrible. Dan suggests that Ev is delusional, and the reason why she sees spiders is because of her drinking. He tells her to "lay off the booze and they'll go away". Dan then goes digging.

While digging, he discovers a dead body. He returns home mortified and speechless, which causes some alarm in the household. This scene is juxtaposed with Ev unwittingly grinding a spider to death in a blender. Ev suggests that Dan call the police, and as tries to get up and use the phone, Dan grabs her and throws her back down in her chair, telling her that he buried the body. He doesn't want to be accused of a murder he never commited, and he doesn't want the sheriff to find out about the diamonds or the regulations they have been violating over the years. 

Soon later, Dan goes out again to see Helga. While that is taking place, Ev gets ready to go to bed, but she hears some strange sounds in their shed, so she goes to investigate. The giant spider makes it's first appearance in this scene. The giant spider attacks and kills Ev. The next morning, unaware and indifferent that his wife has died overnight, Dan leaves Helga's, giving her a diamond as a tip.

Dan goes into town to see his Cousin Billy, a man that is equally as dishonest and repulsive. Cousin Billy is the local jeweler. Dan asks Cousin Billy to appraise the diamonds. After close inspection, and with great irony, Cousin Billy tells Dan that the diamonds are virtually worthless. He then asks Dan where he found it, making Dan suspicious of Cousin Billy's true motives. 

When Dan returns home, Terry is in the kitchen making herself a sandwich. Dan asks Terry where Ev is, and Terry says she does not know. Dan decides not to pursue the matter further and begins to proposition Terry for sex in exchange for a diamond. Terry resists, saying that Dan is just a 'big, fat, failure' and that his diamonds are fake. The sheriff shows up, investigating on a missing persons report, and asks Terry and Dan if they have seen a man on a motorcycle. Dan, fully aware that the person the sheriff is looking for is the one he buried in his yard, lies to the sherrif and claims that he has not seen him. The sheriff then asks Dan where Ev Kester is. Dan tells the sheriff that he does not know, nor does he care, showing that he is completely apathetic to the whereabouts or the condition of his wife. The sheriff instructs them 'to give him a jingle' if something turns up. 

Death

After mistreating and cheating on his wife, making advances on Terry, being deceptive, repulsive and mean, Dan finally receives his comeuppance in a scene in which he goes to look for more diamonds, but he is consumed by the giant spider, which finally reveals itself in daylight. His gruesome, well-deserved death is depicted, along with a  strange montage of audible quotes uttered by the preacher at the revival, which Dan told Ev he was going to, but was a ruse for him to cheat on Ev with Helga. This scene reveals the movie's attempt to use some macabre, sardonic humor. After Dan, Ev and Terry are killed by the giant spider, Dan's farmhouse is completely destroyed by it.

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