John Shooter

John Shooter

...I will burn your life and every person in it like a cane field in a high wind.
~ John Shooter

John Shooter is the main antagonist of the novel Secret Window, Secret Garden and the movie adaptation Secret Window.

He was portrayed by John Turturro and Johnny Depp.


Shooter is an enigmatic and deranged aspiring writer and dairy farmer from Mississippi who accuses author Mort Rainey of stealing his story "Sowing Season" and threatens his life and the lives of those around him if he does not admit to the theft of his story. Mort dismisses him as a lunatic, but Shooter was never about to give up. Shooter then becomes more violent and even kills Mort's cat (a dog in the film) with a screwdriver. Shooter shows up again, this time demanding Mort fix the story's ending, and Mort feigns agreement. So Shooter burns down his former house. Back at the cabin, Mort receives a call from Shooter requesting a private meeting in the woods and when he arrives he finds his PI ,Ken, and Tom Greenleaf, the man who saw him and Shooter talking at one point, dead in Tom's truck. Shooter indicates he has implicated Mort in the murders, requiring Mort to cover up the crime by running the truck into a water-filled stone quarry, losing his watch in the process. Mort's literary agent sends a copy of the magazine with his published story via UPS and Mort picks it up at the post office.

Mort in Shooter's personality

Mort in Shooter's personality.

When he arrives home with the magazine he opens it to find that the specific pages containing the story have been cut out. Mort realizes since the magazine was in a sealed package, Shooter could not have tampered with it. This leads Mort to realize that Shooter is merely a figment of his imagination; brought to life through Mort's multiple personality disorder which began after discovering his wife was having an affair. Mort realizes that he created Shooter to carry out the acts of killing Chico, Tom, Ken and burning down his home. By now, the cabin is completely disheveled, with the word "shooter" carved throughout. Mort suddenly appears and Amy is struck by fear when she realizes the word is Mort's desire to "shoot her." Mort, now wearing Shooter's hat and speaking with a southern accent, chases Amy outside to her car and stabs her in the ankle to prevent her from leaving. 

Differences Between Film and Book

Shooter/Rainey's fate differs in the film and original novella. In the film, Ted arrives shortly afterwards and Amy watches helplessly as Mort ambushes and beheads him with a shovel while Amy screams vainly. Mort then recites the ending of "Sowing Season" as he beats Amy to death off-screen.

In the original novella, Shooter is ultimately killed when Amy flees and the insurance agent shoots him to defend her. At the conclusion, a final note from Shooter appears in his hat, stating he has returned home and apologizing for his actions committed in the novella. Amy notes that Shooter had been such a vivid character created by Mort.