The Kurgan (Movie)
Kurgan 002.jpg
Name The Kurgan
Aliases Victor Kruger
Born 1015 B.C.
First Death ~970 B.C. Head crushed by his drunken father.
Teachers The Bedouin
Pupils None
Origin Russian
Status Deceased, Beheaded by Connor MacLeod 1985 A.D.
Occupation Headhunter,Former French Naval Soldier,Barbarian
Portrayed by  Clancy Brown

For the TV Series Universe counterpart, please see The Kurgan (TV Series)

The Kurgan was a powerful and evil Immortal who was considred to be one of the strongest Immortals known on the planet. He took the heads of many Immortals throughout his three-thousand years of life, until his death at the hands of Connor MacLeod in 1985.

Early Life and First Death[edit | edit source]

Vitor facing a starving dog.

The Kurgan, born under the name of Vitor, was born in the land that would eventually be called Russia, on the border of the Caspian Sea. When he was a child, Vitor was swept away from his family in a powerful flood. He awoke some time afterwards and was taken under the care of the Kurgan people, Grig and his wife Ura. Despite his wife's protests, Grig worked Vitor very hard but still didn't accept him into his family. Grig, sick of Vitor's existence, tossed Vitor into a pit filled with a starved dog. Vitor was able to kill the dog.[1]

Travels and Quickenings[edit | edit source]

The Kurgan's first death occurred in 970 BC, when his drunken father crushed his head with a rock. Upon returning to life, the Kurgan proceeded to force his father to swallow a searing hot stone, killing him. He later joined a group of bandits that raided caravans between India and the Mediterranean. Eventually, he encountered another Immortal known as The Bedouin, who revealed to him his true nature as an Immortal. The Bedouin became his master and his only friend, teaching him the ways of The Game. The Kurgan eventually took his mentor's head and claimed his scimitar as his own.[2]

The Kurgan during the Battle of Plataea.

In 479 BC, allying himself with the Persians as part of a special fighting unit, the Kurgan took part in the Battle of Plataea in ancient Greece. During the battle, he faced off with an Immortal Spartan warrior who wielded a one of a kind katana made by the legendary master sword-smith Masamune. The blade, being centuries ahead of its time, was strong enough to shatter the Kurgan's blade. He escaped by falling down a cliff, and was borne away by the flow of the battle. From this experience, the Kurgan learnt the value of steel and a well-crafted blade. He later learned the Spartan warrior's name, Tak Ne.[3]

Around A.D. 410, the Kurgan joined the Vandals, Goths, and Visigoths in attacking Rome and other Roman settlements, also fighting with the Goths against the Huns. He would then later ally himself with the Huns directly, fighting along Attila, around the year 453. From the fifth to thirteenth centuries, the Kurgan would spread terror alongside the Tartars of the Gobi and ancient Turkey, as well as with Viking raiders and the Mongol horde of Genghis Khan.[2]

Encounter with MacLeod[edit | edit source]

The Kurgan in Scotland

In 1536, the Kurgan faced off with the Mongol after a battle in which they were the only two men standing. The Kurgan defeated the Mongal and took his head.[2] In search of further victims, he traveled to Scotland and became aware of pre-immortal Connor MacLeod. He allied with Clan Fraser, an enemy of the MacLeods, on the condition that no one was to go after Connor, save for him. During a battle between the MacLeods and Frasers, the Kurgan charged towards Connor. Before Connor could even strike, he was run through by the Kurgan's broadsword. However, Connor's cousins Angus and Dougal (along with other members of his clan) beat back the Kurgan, rescuing Connor from certain beheading.[4]

The Kurgan and Ramirez.

Over the next six years, the Kurgan tried to track down MacLeod once more. In 1542, the Kurgan was able to track down MacLeod's location in Glencoe. When striking down the door of MacLeod's home, he instead found Ramirez inside, not knowing that MacLeod had been gone that day. The Kurgan charged at Ramirez, but made a near-fatal miscalculation when he raised his sword for a savage overhead strike. Ramírez responded with a counter-attack that sliced The Kurgan's throat wide open, leaving him scarred and permanently damaging his voice. The Kurgan began pummeling Ramírez and within seconds, the entire building began to crumble apart around the two combatants. In the chaos, the Kurgan finally cornered his enemy, forcing Ramírez up a broken flight of stairs. After stabbing him in the back, the Kurgan asked Ramirez if he had any final words. After getting spat in the face, the Kurgan took Ramirez's head. In the ensuing chaos, MacLeod's wife, Heather, watched on. As a final act of spite, the Kurgan, thinking her to be Ramirez's woman, raped her and then departed.[4] The Kurgan would remain in the Scottish Highlands until finally leaving in 1610.[5]

More Travels and Quickenings[edit | edit source]

The Kurgan in 1804

In 1686, the Kurgan had a custom made broadsword constructed for him. The blade could be easily disassembled and hidden in a case.[6] From 1700 to 1755 the Kurgan was in Northern Africa. In 1750, he encountered Immortal Sunda Kastagir, who was also a good friend of Connor MacLeod.[5]

In 1804, The Kurgan joined the naval forces of Napoleon Bonaparte of France. While serving aboard one ship, he ran into Connor MacLeod, who was serving aboard the H.M.S. Victory under Admiral Nelson. MacLeod was able to fatally stab the Kurgan, lodging the Masamune into the Kurgan's body. Before MacLeod could behead him, a mainmast fell, and the two were separated. The ship sank, taking the Kurgan to the sea's bottom, where he revived and claimed the Masamune as his own.[7]

The Kurgan during World War I.

After these events, the Kurgan would return to his native Russia, pillaging alongside the Cossacks near the end of the nineteenth century.[Source Needed]

In 1918, during World War I, the Kurgan was in Galluzo, Italy when he hired two gypsy women, Natasha and Stasya. The two lured Francesco, an Immortal monk, off of holy ground with the promise of sexual favors. Once the monk was off holy ground, the Kurgan challenged him, and quickly took the unarmed man's head. Afterwards, he had his way with the two women. While the Kurgan slept, Stasya managed to steal the Masamune in payment for services rendered, but left the Kurgan his broadsword.[8]

The Gathering[edit | edit source]

The Kurgan in 1985.

In 1985, the Kurgan, now going by the alias of Victor Kruger, went to New Jersey to track down Immortal Osta Vazilek and take his head. Two days later, he heard the news of Iman Fasil's death in Madison Square Garden over his car radio. Suspecting it to be the work of MacLeod, the Kurgan proceeded immediately to Manhattan, checking into the first fleabag motel he found.[4] He then fought and took the head of Korean Immortal Yung Dol Kim.[9] The Kurgan then met up with Connor, who did not have his sword on him, and proceeded to fight him. The battle was interrupted when a police helicopter caught them, forcing the Kurgan to run down. After tracking down Kastagir, he fought him in an alleyway and took his head. As they fought, a vigilante spectator witnessed the fight and the ensuing Quickening. The spectator soon gave a description of the Kurgan to the police. The Kurgan was forced to run away from the scene, stealing a nearby car.[4]

The Kurgan preparing to take Conner's head.

As a disguise, the Kurgan shaved his head except for a warriors' braid. He then adorned the scar on his neck with safety pins, making him look like a stereotypical street punk or gang member. He appeared before Connor on Holy Ground, taunting the Highlander mercilessly. When the revelation that he had raped Heather came to light, Connor became outraged and came close to attacking him on the spot. Before leaving, Connor made it clear that the next time they'd meet would be their last.[4]

The Kurgan battles Connor.

In and effort to gain an edge and throw Connor's concentration off, the Kurgan kidnapped MacLeod's girlfriend, forensic expert Brenda Wyatt, and raced all the way to the abandoned Silvercup building. On the way, he drove down the wrong side of the highway, played chicken and ran over pedestrians, all the while gleefully singing the song "New York, New York." Connor would return to his loft to find a message left for him by the Kurgan. It was effectively a final challenge, with the added threat that if Connor didn't arrive soon, he would torture Brenda to keep himself amused.[4]

Connor and Kurgan battle

MacLeod followed them to the site, where he and the Kurgan faced each other in deadly combat, with Brenda's life at stake. Seemingly wild with excitement, the Kurgan destroyed everything in his path in a flurry of sparks and flame. Then, without warning, the two warriors crashed through a skylight and landed inside the derelict building. The Kurgan was the first to recover, batting MacLeod's sword away and readying his blade for the final strike. Brenda came up from behind, bashing the Kurgan over the head with a pipe. The distraction gave Connor the time needed to recover his sword and gather his composure. MacLeod's calmness, maturity, and skill all proved to be superior to the Kurgan's brute strength and rage. After one final strike and seemingly endless silence, the Kurgan's head finally fell from his neck. The Highlander was victorious, and the Prize was his.[4]

Personality and Traits[edit | edit source]

"It's better to burn out, than to fade away!"

The Kurgan was a savage in every sense of the word. Everything to him was something to be used or destroyed in order to reach his goals. His thuggery was matched only by the sadistic amusement he employed against his opponents. While Conner is described as being "afraid to live" and resents the isolation his immortality has brought him, the Kurgan loved every bit of his immortality. He constantly showed an insatiable passion for life and was hedonistic. He particularly enjoyed inciting fear and panic, as exhibited in the Quickening he took from Kastagir. He appeared to somehow suspend the quickening power while attracting a small crowd, then deliberately unleashing the destructive effect around the crowd like a bomb. While he respected the rules of Holy Ground, he was not above random acts of desecration. He would snuff out remembrance candles and taunt priests and nuns. He often disregarded the Immortal custom of keeping their battles secret, often attacking Immortals and their mortal friends simultaneously. Though determined to kill MacLeod and take the prize for himself, the Kurgan seemed to enjoy the battle rather than the victories. Even when defeated by Connor, he smiled before losing his head.

Fighting Style[edit | edit source]

The Kurgan fought with an emphasis on strength and brute striking power, usually attempting to end the fight before it began with a single surprise attack. He would stalk his opponents methodically until he was ready. Then he would attack without even so much as a challenge. He used a special two-handed broadsword, which he eventually replaced with a detailed replica that could be disassembled and packed away as needed.

While practicing with his sword in New York, he performed impressive flourishes with the sword as well as methodical slashes and strikes. This would imply that while the Kurgan was capable of much more skillful and graceful fighting, he intentionally chose a brute strength approach. He likely did it to draw amusement from the brutality and the fear and anguish of his victims.

Behind the Scenes[edit | edit source]

Clancy Brown in 2011

Scott Glenn and Nick Nolte were originally considered for the role of The Kurgan. Rutger Hauer was also considered for the role.

Clancy Brown nearly turned down the role of The Kurgan as he was concerned that the prothetics needed in the film would cause him to have an allergic reaction as he had previously on another part, but he accepted the role nevertheless.

In the final shooting draft of the Highlander II: The Quickening screenplay, it was revealed that the Kurgan was in fact originally sent from the planet Zeist to Earth by General Katana in order to hunt down Connor MacLeod and Ramirez before either of them could win "The Prize," and therefore return to Zeist. This would have explained why the Kurgan was after Conner in the film. The scene was scheduled for filming, and actor Clancy Brown contacted about reprising his role in the sequel, but Brown was not willing to abide the rather extensive pre-production requirements (makeup, costuming) a second time, and declined.

The Kurgan was originally called the Knight in the first draft of the original movie and was a more cold blooded killer than a savage.

The Kurgan in The Game[edit | edit source]

The Kurgan was one of the most powerful Immortals on the planet and killed his opponents like a savage. Here's the list of all of The Kurgan's known Quickenings:

References[edit | edit source]

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