- “Yeah. I don't want to cure anybody here. They all deserve to have whatever they have.”
- ―Dr. Terminus.
Dr. Terminus is the main antagonist of the 1977 film Pete's Dragon. He is a con artist who specialized in selling "miracle cures" to unwary individuals but became obsessed with capturing Elliott after reading up on the legends of how dragon body parts are said to be infused with many useful properties.
Role in the film
Dr. Terminus first appears with his assistant, Hoagy, by driving his sail-powered traveling wagon into Passamaquoddy, having escaped from what is either a police force or a lynch mob. The townspeople are initially angered by his return, as they still recall what happened to them on his last visit, in which his phony medicines had given them terrible effects rather than solve their problems. However, he manages to win them over by performing "miracles" on some volunteer patients (actually Hoagy in disguises), all the while mispronouncing the town's name as he sings "Passamaquoddy"; much to their dismay. It is later revealed that the reason of his joke medicine business was that he was a poorly educated medical student, and that his wagon was initially pulled by horses, which he had to give up to settle a malpractice lawsuit.
Dr. Terminus is initially skeptical of the existence of Elliott when Lampie tells him and Hoagy at the local tavern, despite the latter later seeing Elliott in his cave along with Lampie. However, he is finally convinced after seeing the schoolhouse being wrecked as a result of Elliott's work the next day. He later looks at some medical books and realizes that dragon anatomy has many uses in medicine and decides to capture Elliott so as to dismember him and use his body parts to create new "miracle cures" to make himself rich.
Dr. Terminus initially tries to offer Pete, an orphaned boy whom Elliott saved from trouble before, a reward for Elliott, but is refused after he says he doesn't own him. Not wanting to give up, he then allies with the gruesome Gogans, who wish to get rid of Elliott so that they can force Pete back into a miserable life of child labor and cruelty, as well as the townspeople, playing on their superstition about Elliott being the reason for their lack of fish.
That night, Dr. Terminus lures Pete to the boathouse while he sends Hoagy to Elliott's cave to lure him over. Once Elliott arrives, the townspeople drop a large fishing net onto him and try to restrain him while Dr. Terminus attempts to kill him with a harpoon. After a fierce struggle, he breaks free, scatters the townspeople, and then rescues Pete from the Gogans.
In the end, Dr. Terminus meets his defeat when, in an effort to harpoon Elliott, his leg is caught in the rope and he is sent catapulting through the ceiling while screaming a "Goofy holler" as he goes through the roof, ending up dangling upside down near a telegraph pole. In a last-ditch effort, the helpless Dr. Terminus tries to offer buying Elliott's "spare parts" (i.e. loose skin and hair), to which he declines and proceeds to destroy Dr. Terminus' traveling wagon, thus ending his scamming business for good. It is unknown what happened to him and Hoagy after that, though it is most likely they were arrested.
A medicine wagon for Dr. Terminus can be found at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground as a theming element near the Meadow Trading Post.