|“||It's amazing what you can do when you don't have to look at yourself in the mirror any more.||„|
|~ Sebastian Caine|
Sebastian Caine is the villain protagonist of the 2000 film Hollow Man. A brilliant but narcissistic scientist, Caine has been tasked with finding a means of conferring invisibility on living beings and eventually returning them to visibility. Though initial tests are successful with animal subjects, Caine's hunger for fame and power leads him to test the invisibility serum on himself; this newfound power allows him the freedom to indulge his criminal fantasies, eventually drawing him steadily closer to insanity as his tolerance for violence grows.
|“||You don't make history by following the rules; you make it by seizing the moment.||„|
|~ Caine, justifying his lie to the Pentagon|
The film begins with Caine running another serum test in his apartment, clearly not expecting any positive feedback. However, in between spying on a female neighbor and grouching over his breakup with Linda McKay (who is now in a relationship with Matt Kensington, unknown to Caine), he manages to develop a working reversion serum: the following morning, the team tests the new batch on their current invisible gorilla, and though the process almost results in her flatlining over the course of her exertions, the test subject is successfully returned to visibility. However, Caine feels curiously disappointed by his victory, believing that this is the last big breakthrough before the experiment is finally taken out of his hands.
When the time comes to report his findings to the Pentagon, Caine inexplicably lies to the oversight committee and his mentor Dr. Howard Kramer, claiming that he has not yet cracked the reversion process and pleading for more time. After the disappointed committee reluctantly permit him an extension, Linda and Matt naturally confront Caine, who insists that this is the only way to keep the higher-ups from seizing control of the program and putting another team in charge for the next phase; determined to claim all the glory of the experiment's success for himself, Caine talks the two of them into proceeding to human trials without oversight from the Pentagon - the chosen test subject being Caine himself. Though the rest of the team are a little suspicious at this development, Linda reluctantly convinces them to agree, deciding to keep their project leader's recklessness a secret for the time being.
Over the course of an extremely painful transformation process, Caine is made invisible - though he almost immediately passes out from shock. After getting used to the fact that his eyelids are translucent and the laboratory lights have to be lowered accordingly, he soon gets into the habit of abusing his powers for his own amusement, either spying on his fellow team-members or playing childish pranks on them; this quickly comes to a head when he goes so far as to inappropriately fondle Sarah in her sleep, and only stops when Sarah unexpectedly wakes up. After three days of tests and protracted immaturity, the time comes for Caine to return to visibility: unfortunately, the reversion serum fails, nearly killing him. For the time being, he is left invisible while he and the rest of the team struggle to find an alternate means of restoring him to normality; in order to make him easier to interact with, they also improvise a latex mask for him to wear around the lab, granting him hands and a visible but disturbing-looking face at long last.
Descent Into Madness
|“||...who's going to know?||„|
|~ Caine, just before raping his neighbor|
After another week of extensive testing, the project commander is beginning to crack under the strain: ten straight days of cabin fever, nausea-inducing radiation tests and the practical failure of his own reversion serum have left Caine almost explosive with rage, and the fact that he can't sleep easily due to the transparency of his eyelids only worsens his mood. As a result, his relationship with the rest of the team deteriorates, and he often resorts to taking out his frustrations on the furniture. One night, unable to stand another minute underground, Caine leaves the facility in direct contravention of laboratory protocols and returns to his apartment, pausing only to frighten a carload of small children along the way; once there, he quickly returns to his old habit of spying on his neighbor as she undresses - but this time realizes that he has the power and the freedom to take his voyeurism to the next step. Stripping naked, he sneaks into the neighbor's apartment and rapes her, trusting that his invisibility will make any testimony on her part unbelievable.
Though Caine eventually returns to the lab of his own free will, Linda warns him that she'll have no choice but to reveal everything to Dr Kramer if he tries to leave again. Over the course of the days that follow, Matt concocts a promising means of returning Caine to visibility, but the computer simulation of the cure fails, resulting in an explosive temper-tantrum from the increasingly-demented project leader.
By now obsessed with discovering the identity of Linda's boyfriend, Caine sabotages the thermal camera in his cell by fitting it with a device replaces the current video feed with a looped recording of himself asleep; with this in place, he is free to sneak out of the compound and follow Linda to her apartment, where he observes her engaging in sex with Matt. In a rage, the invisible man smashes their bedroom window, and though the two lovers almost immediately suspect Caine as the culprit, the looped video feed immediately diverts any suspicion from him. Meanwhile, Caine returns to the lab and throws another temper tantrum over the betrayal he believes this incident represents, eventually losing all composure at the sound of a barking invisible dog and killing the animal by brutally smashing it against the cage wall.
Eventually, the team soon discover that the security feed has been a recording, and that Caine has been leaving the facility on an almost nightly basis. Realizing that the experiment has officially spiraled out of control, Linda and Matt go to Dr Kramer's house and confess their deception and illegal experiments; an immensely disappointed Kramer fires them, and attempts to warn the rest of the committee, which presumably includes a couple of generals. Unfortunately, Caine has followed the two scientists, and as soon as they leave the area, he cuts of Kramer's phone connection and drowns him in his own swimming pool.
With the only non-team member aware of his current status dead before he could alert the Pentagon, the invisible scientist plans to ensure that the rest of the team suffer a similar fate, guaranteeing a clean escape from government scrutiny. The next day, Caine waits until all the team members have assembled in the lab, then disables the phones and overrides the team's elevator codes - except for his own. With the team effectively trapped in the facility, he once again strips naked and begins to hunting them down: Janice ends up becoming his first victim after falling behind to retrieve her goggles, Caine strangling her with an IV line before dumping her body within a locker. Upon discovering Janice's corpse and the alterations made the the lab's security systems, the surviving members quickly realize Caine's plan, and attempt to counter as best as they can: while Linda, Sarah, and Frank hide in the lab, Matt and Carter take tranquilizer guns to hunt for Sebastian using their thermal imaging goggles. Unfortunately, the most prominent heat signature turns out to be from a steam vent, and the distraction is enough for Caine to ambush the two of them, rupturing Carter's carotid artery and almost killing Matt before Linda is able to open one of the security doors for him.
Splitting up in an ill-advised attempt to rescue Carter, Sarah leaves Frank to stand guard over the mortally-wounded team-member while she retrieves blood for an emergency transfusion. Unfortunately, this just leaves her open to a surprise attack from Caine: though she is able to make him temporarily visible by throwing a bag of blood in his face, Caine overpowers her and shoots the veterinarian in the chest with her own dart gun, before by snapping her neck. Simultaenously, Carter bleeds to death, forcing Linda, Matt and Frank to look for Sarah, using fire extinguishers in an attempt to reveal Caine: however, their target is able to lure them into the walk-in freezer with Sarah's body and then ambush them, fatally impaling Frank with a crowbar and mortally wounding Matt with the hook-end, before sealing the two survivors in the freezer.
|“||One last kiss, for old times' sake.||„|
|~ Sebastian Caine's last words.|
Now intent on leaving the building in style, Caine gets dressed, augmenting his mask with makeup and wig to make himself look more human; then, in order to destroy any evidence of the experiment or his survival, he mixes up nitroglycerin and places it in the centrifuge on a timer, guaranteeing a massive explosion when the timer finally stops. For good measure, he also smashes the keyboard so the centrifuge is practically unstoppable. However, Linda, a science geek herself, is able to improvise an electromagnet powerful enough to open the freezer door: after seeing to Matt's wounds and allowing him time to recover, she also hurriedly jerry-rigs a flamethrower and goes looking for Caine.
She soon finds him entering the elevator: before he can leave, Linda fries him with the hastily assembled but devastating flamethrower, destroying his clothes and his mask and burning a good deal of his upper body in the process. However, his invisibility adapts quickly to the burns, and he vanishes from sight as soon as he's able to extinguish himself; Linda is able to trigger the sprinklers, partially revealing him again, but Caine is able to overpower her before she can finish him off. Just when it appears Caine has the upper hand, Matt appears and knocks him out with the crowbar; recovering swiftly, the invisible man attacks the fleeing scientists with the crowbar, only for Matt to deflect the blow, throwing their attacker into a nearby circuit box. Penetrating the box with the crowbar, the soaking-wet Caine is immediately electrocuted, and though he is thrown clear before the voltage can kill him, the shock is enough to destabilize his invisibility - rendering his muscles, bones and internal organs visible, but leaving his skin and hair invisible.
Returning to the lab, Linda and Matt find the nitroglycerin bomb about to explode and quickly abandon the lab; however, since their codes don't work on the elevator anymore, they're forced to climb up the elevator shaft via the emergency ladder. They are barely able to reach a safe distance before the bomb detonates, reducing the laboratory to blazing wreckage and flinging the elevator car into the air - where it's immediately jammed in the shaft. Meanwhile, Linda and Matt are on the verge of escaping when Caine reappears, dragging Linda off the ladder and onto the elevator car: he is able to kiss Linda one last time "for old time's sake" before attempting to kill her; however, she grabs the elevator cable and knocks the car loose, sending Caine plummeting to his death in the inferno below.
Before achieving invisibility, Sebastian Caine was barely tolerable: arrogant, egotistical, self-righteous, condescending, and astonishingly vain, he constantly looked down on his coworkers and treated them with a mixture of smug superiority and barely-restrained irritation. Throughout the early chapters of the film, he regaled his exasperated team-members with pompous lectures, half-joking proclamations of omnipotence, and deeply inappropriate sexual jokes; also, he went out of his way to pointedly and deliberately aggravate veterinarian Sarah Kennedy by scheduling their newly-visible gorilla for dissection. However, to the continued annoyance of the team, he compensated for his unbearable personality by virtue of his abilities: as infuriating as his attitude was, their project leader was indeed a genius - a fact he liked to make known as often as possible. When bored, Caine liked to amuse himself by spying on his neighbor while she undressed, expressing frustration when she finally remembered to close the blinds; likewise, he took great delight in trying to find some traction in his ex-girlfriend's private life, his bloated ego unable to tolerate the prospect of someone enjoying a happy relationship with someone other than him.
As an invisible man, it wasn't long before Caine's personality went from unpleasantly narcissistic to downright monstrous: with the freedom to make his twisted fantasies a reality, he began committing pranks on his coworkers almost immediately after recovering; on his very first day of invisibility, he stopped just short of raping Sarah - only backing off at the last minute when it looked as though Sarah might wake up. As cabin fever set in, his attitude grew more and more violent as well, leading to furniture-throwing temper tantrums and the murder of at least one test-subject: however, it wasn't until Caine left the facility for his apartment that he took the final step into psychopathy, raping his neighbor without a shred of remorse.