Desperation
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FAQ for
Desperation (2006) (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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FAQ Contents


A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Desperation can be found here.

Yes. Desperation is based on the 1996 novel of the same name by American horror writer Stephen King, who also wrote the teleplay for the movie. Desperation is considered to be a companion book to another King novel, The Regulators (1996). The books feature many of the same characters but in different personalities and a different setting. People who have read both books say that it makes no difference in which order the books are read, as the stories are not meant to be sequels.

What is this movie about?

Collie Entragian (Ron Perlman), sheriff of Desperation, a former mining town in the Nevada desert, has suddenly gone crazy after 12 years of being a good policeman. After killing the town's residents, he now spends his time riding desolate Highway 50, arresting anyone driving through and hauling them off to jail. Some of them, he kills. Others don't get off so easily. The only hope that his current prisoners have is in young David Carver (Shane Haboucha), who seems to have the ability to talk with God in his prayers.

Tak is the name of an earth demon who lives in the Pirin Moh (aka "The Well of the Worlds"), a well that provides a link between another dimension and this one. About 150 years ago, Tak was released from this well when miners broke into a cavern while digging 200 feet down in what they called "the Chinese-American pit." Immediately upon Tak's release, the miners set upon each other with their pickaxes and guns. In their haste to escape, two Chinese miners set off a cave-in that resealed the mine, trapping Tak inside again. The mineshaft was then abandoned until about a month ago, when a local mining company uncovered it while shooting blast holes, which released Tak. Although Tak cannot leave his well, he is able to use all manner of beasts -- rattlesnakes, wolves, coyotes, pumas, spiders, vultures, crows, even humans--to act as his eyes and ears and to do his bidding. Unfortunately, when he inhabits a human body, the body wears out quickly.

What does "Tak" mean?

In Stephen King's lingo, Tak means "big", as in Can tak (big god). There are also Can tah (little god)s.

Entragian is saying, "Can de Lach! Tak ah Wan! Tak ah Lah!" There is no direct translation for the chant. However, you might get some idea of its meaning, as well as the meanings of other words used by Entragian, by consulting Stephen King's Language of the Dead.

Because Pie (Sammi Hanratty) wouldn't stop crying when she lost her doll.

Entragian takes David's mother Ellen (Sylva Kelegian) out to the mine but only Ellen returns. What the viewer is supposed to assume happened is that Entragian's body was rapidly deteriorating, so Tak transferred into Ellen's body. Entragian's body is shown again lying on the floor in the hut where Mary (Annabeth Gish) is trapped with the spiders and rattlesnakes.

That scene has been interpreted several ways. Some viewers think it was meant to show that Tak has been following John Marinville (Tom Skerritt) for the last 35 years and was able to reach out as far away as Saigon. Others think it means that God was following John for all those years and that his flashback represented a change in communication between God and David to God and John. David simply explains that the purpose for John's experience in Vietnam was so that he would recognize Tak again when he saw him.

How does the movie end?

Once John becomes convinced that he must help to either kill or, at least, reseal Tak in the mine, he and the other survivors drive there in Steve (Steven Weber)'s U-Haul truck. Once there, they break into a mining shack filled with ammonium nitrate, used by the mining company as an explosive. After a prayer, David leads them into the mine. Tak tries to stop them by sending a vulture to kill David's father (Matt Frewer). David screams, "He can't kill them all and leave me here alone!" "God is cruel," John replies. "Sometimes he makes us live." John then tells David and the others to get out of the mine, and John goes on alone. He makes his way into the exposed cavern, which is filled with evil-looking statues and carvings. In the center of the chamber is a large, deep well. Suddenly a voice issues from well. "Ohmigod, it's John Marinville!" it exclaims in Entragian's voice. Fumes snake up from the well and try to enter John's mouth, but John puts on his motorcycle helmet and pulls down his visor, preventing Tak from taking over his body. Angrily, Tak pulls John down into the well. At the bottom is the small portal that connects the two dimensions. While Tak attempts to talk John out of sealing the portal by first commanding him to stop and then making promises and threats, John empties a bag of ammonium nitrate around the portal. Meanwhile, as Steve drives the U-Haul away from the mine, Mary asks David how John is going to blow up the explosives. David realizes that John has somehow taken the shotgun shell from his pocket and replies that John knows a way. John places the shotgun shell in the hole, then points a gun at the shell, and fires. The entire mine explodes. In the final scene, the U-Haul is tooling down the highway. Mary sees her car and asks to stop so that she can fetch an overnight bag from the back seat. She is surprised to find, perched on top of her bag, David's school album, bearing John Marinville's handwriting. There is also a photo of John and Pie together and a Bible reference that David recognizes as "God is Love." "I guess God is everything," David says. "That's what makes him God." Mary retrieves her bag, they get back in the truck, and they drive on.

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