You miserable coward! Come back and face me like a man!
~ Van Pelt
Van Pelt is the main antagonist of the 1995 live action fantasy film, Jumanji. He is a cunning, murderous, destructive, and traitorous hunter who resides within the cursed board game, Jumanji. As a game hunter, he wears a hunter's uniform with a cape and pith helmet. He is also one of the game's main dangers which explains why his face is carved on the top left corner of one of the lids of the game box.
In the film, he was portrayed by the Australian-English actor, Jonathan Hyde (who also played Alan's father, Sam Parrish in the film). In the animated series, he was voiced by Sherman Howard.
Van Pelt is first introduced after one of Alan's turns on Jumanji, which releases the hunter, who immediately begins chasing him. He tells Sarah that he did not shoot her because "You didn't roll the dice. Alan did" implying he is hunting down Alan because Alan released him from the game (as part of the rules). It can also be noted that part of the reason why Van Pelt is hunting him down because Alan is not man enough to face him, since Alan is always running away from him like a coward.
After he runs out of bullets, he switches his weapon at a gun shop with a sniper and silencer because his previous weapon's bullets had stopped being produced in 1903. He tries to shoot Alan from a distance when he is taken in by a police officer (his childhood friend), then chases after Sarah and the kids to steal the game so Alan will come to him for it, but his plan is once again foiled by Peter and later Alan. His next appearance is at the climax, when he holds both Alan and Sarah at gunpoint when he is about to throw the dice.
When Van Pelt tells him to drop the dice, he orders Alan to start running again so that he can chase him. However, Alan refuses to run off this time, admitting that even though he is still scared, he no longer finds in his heart to run away from what he's afraid of and instead face it to get it over with. Impressed, Van Pelt acknowledges Alan of acting like a real man, and ask for any last words before he pulls the trigger. Before his death, it was then the dice gave in the right number that allows Alan to win the game, and once he says "Jumanji", all of the animals and dangers of the game are sucked back into it by tornado-force winds, including Van Pelt himself, much to his dismay.
Van Pelt returns as a recurring antagonist in the animated series based on the movie. He is revealed to be a part of the game, and when he actually dies in an episode, Peter starts to become him little by little, but is saved by Alan and Judy. His later appearances are usually about hunting the heroes and failing constantly. Unlike his movie version, who is trustworthy and honorable, despite his ruthlessness, this version of the character is noticeably more certifiable, deranged, and cruel.
Van Pelt is truly merciless, traitorous, destructive, bloodthirsty, uncaring, and cruel, trying at all costs to hunt his prey to the very end. He is very murderous, sanguinary, treacherous, and manipulative, so he loves to hunts men and animals to display them on his wall. His constant attempts of hunting Alan might be associated to Alan's cowardice, or Van Pelt's tastes for human hunting. In the series, as he is part of the game and, unlike the movie, never leaves the jungle, his moral and role are even more twisted.
As he is a vital part of the game's mechanic, if he somehow dies (he can, indeed, die in the animated series, although it is very difficult to do so), the victor will immediately take his role (which almost happened to Peter). Also, later in the series, and not much unlike the movie, he begins to learn the game's mechanics. Although, in this case, since he never left the jungle, he understands it a little more, knowing exactly how to act according to the rules and even use it to his advantage. His most commonly used word is "Blast!", particularly when something goes wrong.