Be warned spoilers below if you haven't watched the movie.

The Killer in The Vanishing (1988, orig.: Spoorloos), his primary motivation as per my understanding was to gauge himself to see if he could perform an act so evil compared to his act of saving the person who was drowning and because of that he decided to kill the girl whom he kidnaps from the gas station in the beginning of the movie.

What intrigues me is why does he have to kill the girl's boyfriend 3 years later there was no evidence shown in the movie which gives the inkling that killer could be psychotic or a serial killer although it was shown he clearly was a sociopath.

He could've told the girl's boyfriend about the fate she suffered and let him leave because there was no evidence connecting the killer to the missing girl. I couldn't think of any reason why he has to make sure the boyfriend suffered the same fate as well.

My question is what is his primary motive in killing the girl's boyfriend?

  • To make sure, you mean the dutch one (which the 1988 suggests), right?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 5, 2014 at 15:28
  • good point updated the title and i think hollywood version's ending is a bit lame compared to the original.
    – Dredd
    Aug 5, 2014 at 15:29
  • @SonnyBurnett what happened to Napolean Wilson?
    – Dredd
    Aug 5, 2014 at 15:35
  • 1
    He made a simple test, not aware of the system's reluctance to let you change your name more than once a month.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 5, 2014 at 15:39
  • 1
    2 points - firstly does the Tim Krabbe novel 'the Golden Egg' from which the film is adapted shed any light. Secondly I I've always thought Rex and Ray were both studies in obsession and devotion. As much as Rex is consumed by his desire for knowledge, Ray is equally consumed by the potential of his crime/evil. This becomes a conflict of wills, each driving the other on.
    – queeg
    Aug 5, 2014 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


(Note: All a bit speculative and subjective, so this might not be a good fit)

In a sense, I saw the original film, Spoorloos, as having two antagonists, the killer, Lemorne, and fate itself.

True, the focus is on Lemorne and his self-obsession with the 'act of pure evil', but I also like to see his role as a facilitator in the over-all scheme. Without trying to get too spiritual about it, the universe has already decided Rex and Saskia's fates, and I see her dreams of them both trapped in golden eggs more as premonitions - a fate that cannot be escaped.

To this end, Sluizer made a film less about one man's motives, and more about the unavoidable and sudden twists of fate that await us all, even in the most mundane situations.

As for Lemorne's motive for killing Rex (other than fulfilling the bigger picture), he always struck me as a man obsessive and methodical enough to push the envelope even further. Could it be that this was part of his overall scheme? To take a loved one away from a person, allow them to suffer, move on, and then reveal all before snuffing them out too? In my opinion, this is infinitely more evil than an abduction and murder with closure, and would appeal to Lemorne's sensibilities.

  • I really like your thought of calling the fate as another antagonist.
    – Dredd
    Aug 5, 2014 at 22:07

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