The Soul Taker
Real Name: Johnny Charles Bartlett
Occupation: Serial Killer; formerly an orderly at an asylum
Affiliations: Patricia Ann Bradley (partner, lover)
Enemies: Frank Bannister; The Judge, Cyrus, Stuart (Bannister's ghostly partners); Dr.Lucy Lynskey
Known Relatives: None known
Aliases: Grim Reaper
Base of Operations: Fairweather, New England
First Appearance: The Frighteners (1996)
Powers/Abilities: Able to kill humans by putting his ghostly hands in their chests and squeezing their hearts. He usually marks them first with a glowing number visible to ghosts and psychics, counting his kill total. Uses his ectoplasmic scythe to cut ghosts apart.
History: In 1964 hospital orderly Johnny Bartlett and his underage girlfriend, Patricia Ann Bradley, engaged on a killing spree at the asylum where he worked. Trying to achieve the record for the most murders, Bartlett racked up twelve victims before the police arrived and ended his brief reign of terror. Bartlett took the rap for his girlfriend, leading the authorities to believe he coerced her into helping him. She still got several years in prison: he got the electric chair.
Decades later, Patricia was released into the custody of her widowed mother. Having been allowed to keep her dead boyfriend's ashes, in 1991 she tried to contact his spirit. She succeeded, and Bartlett returned as a ghost. With Patricia's help, he started to kill again. His first new victim was Debra Bannister, wife of architect Frank Bannister - he found them both after Frank had crashed the car while driving drunk, and slew Debra in front of her husband (an experience Frank blotted out for many years). Bartlett continued to add to his count, slowly at first, but gradually speeding up as his strength increased with each death. He altered his ectoplasmic appearance to take on the form of the Grim Reaper or Soul Taker (as other ghosts referred to it).
But he had created his own eventual downfall. Frank Bannister had gained the ability to see ghosts as a result of his experience. Encountering one of the Soul Taker's victims after they had been murdered, he was asked to help establish contact between the newly dead man and his widow, Lucy Lynskey. Taking her to dinner, Frank got to witness Johnny in action, claiming his next victim in the men's rest room. The local police, with no other suspects, placed the blame at Frank's door, and Frank had little choice except to try and stop the real killer.
Aided by Lucy, Frank stopped his own heart for a brief period, allowing him to temporarily "die" and so face the Soul Taker on more equal terms. He managed to strip away the facade, revealing Bartlett beneath it. Armed with this true identity, Lucy and Frank located Johnny's ashes, and tried to take them to the consecrated ground of the chapel in the abandoned asylum where the whole thing had began years earlier. They were pursued both by an insane FBI agent, Milton Dammers, and Johnny and his girlfriend Patricia. Dammers shot Frank and emptied the ashes out earlier, denying the ghost-busters their chance to exorcise the spirit. However Dammers then had his head shot off by Patricia. Frank, once more hovering between life and death, attacked Patricia in his ghostly form, ripping her soul from her body before the light from heaven started to pull him and his passenger away. Johnny, refusing to lose his lover, pursued, but somehow having the two murderers in the tunnel of light alerted the higher orders to them. The tunnel turned into a monstrous maw filled with tentacles, which snatched the two killers, and dragged them both down into hell. (For the record, Frank was left untouched, and got to visit Heaven briefly before being returned to Earth.
Comments: Created by Frances Walsh and Peter Jackson. Played by Jake Busey or CGI, depending on the point in the film.
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