- "Calm yourself. My name is Malcolm Vanhorn. I was a great friend of your father's."
- - Malcolm meeting Ethan
Malcolm Vanhorn is a character appearing in Condemned: Criminal Origins and in Condemned 2: Bloodshot. He is the uncle of Leland Vanhorn and a friend of Ethan Thomas who provides assistance in both games. He is voiced by John Armstrong in the first game and Paul Eiding in the second.
Malcolm Vanhorn introduces himself to Ethan Thomas shortly after the latter awakens in his apartment following the events at the Weisman Office Building. Vanhorn claims to have been a "great friend" of Ethan's father to which Ethan recalls to be true. Malcolm explains to Ethan that he happened to be near the office building when Serial Killer X shot and killed the two Metro City Police Officers. He sympathizes with Ethan's efforts to track down the serial killer but admits to the hopelessness of the situation. Malcolm confirms to Ethan that the two officers were in fact shot dead by the assailant with Ethan's own SCU pistol and states that Ethan will be blamed for their deaths. Vanhorn manipulates Ethan into believing his only option to prove his innocence is to flee from the police and informally leave his position at the Serial Crime Unit. He then convinces Ethan to join him in the hunt for SKX, who is behind the murders, to prove Ethan's innocence. Upon realizing the police have arrived at Ethan's apartment with the warrant for his arrest, Malcolm urges Ethan to take his backpack of forensic tools and use his apartment window to escape the apartment to the Central Metro Station across the street. Before Ethan leaves, Vanhorn reassures him of intent to help him. Vanhorn then proceeds to distract the two police officers by introducing himself as a friend whom Ethan had invited to stay in the apartment but claims Ethan himself never showed up to meet him. He complies with the officers' orders to allow them in the apartment to search for Ethan, despite Vanhorn's story.
Vanhorn later places a call to Ethan in the middle of his search of the Metro Station claiming he cannot speak to Ethan for too long as the two police officers continue their search of the apartment. He explains to Ethan that their thourough search of his apartment is a testament to how little faith anyone has of his innocence. At the end of the call, Malcolm informs Ethan that he has a "special talent" possessed by very few. His last piece of advice to Ethan is for him to trust in his instincts.
Malcolm is left unheard from until Ethan's arrival at Bart's Department Store where he searches for The Match Maker. Initially, Ethan mistakes Vanhorn for Director Farrel of the SCU who had been previously urging Ethan to turn himself over to the police. Vanhorn orders Ethan to disregard and to ignore Farrel in favor of continuing the investigation. Malcolm goes on to claim that Ethan will be "tested" but ends the call before explaining the "test" to Ethan.
Vanhorn reappears to Ethan shortly before Ethan enters St. Joseph's Secondary School in the race to find The Torturer. It becomes clear to Ethan that Vanhorn is stalking him. Vanhorn later gives Ethan a ride to Apple Seed Orchard to aid Ethan in his search for SKX.
During the brief car ride out of the city, Malcolm claims he is helping Ethan with his investigation because he has "a sense of responsibility." Malcolm appears unhappy at hearing Ethan has seen his redacted chest x-rays and classified SCU file claiming it "might not be helpful." It becomes apparent that Vanhorn knows more about the situation than he is letting on to Ethan. Before Ethan can push the issue further, however, the two arrive at the orchard.
During Ethan's confrontation with SKX in the farmhouse, Malcolm appears behind Ethan knocking him out during the fight. In the moments before blacking out, Ethan witnesses Malcolm conversing with SKX whom he reveals to be his nephew, Leland. Vanhorn reassures Leland that he only wants to help him since he is not in his "right of mind." Leland, however, ignores his uncle and proceeds to attack him while Ethan finally blacks out.
While Ethan is held captive by Leland in the barn, Malcolm reveals himself to still be alive and jumps his nephew to stop him from killing Ethan. Malcolm yells to Ethan that he must hurry out of the barn and destroy the Oro Dark Primary, who he believes caused his nephew to go insane.
After Ethan kills the monster, he proceeds to search the burning barn for Malcolm but believes him to have died in the fire. After walking out into the open, Ethan is cornered by a vehicle he initially believes to a police car, only to realize that it is actually Vanhorn. During the car ride, Vanhorn tells Ethan that he can never return to his old life before the events of his investigation, and goes off about the difficulty of facing the hatred in oneself.
After hearing a noise coming from the trunk, Ethan discovers Leland is still alive and steps out of the car to kill him. Malcolm argues that Leland still deserves a chance to redeem himself, regardless of his past crimes. As Ethan prepares to shoot Leland, Malcolm draws his own revolver to stop Ethan. Regardless of whether Ethan chooses to kill Leland or not, Malcolm is unable to prevent Ethan from shooting Leland or Leland from shooting himself.
It is unkown what happens to Malcolm afterwards, but it can be assumed that he first gave Ethan a ride into the city before departing with his nephew's corpse. In his report to SCU, Ethan does not write about Malcolm and even keeps him a secret from Rosa.
After Criminal OriginsEdit
In the 11 months between Criminal Origins and Bloodshot, Malcolm discovers that the shot his nephew sustained had proven to be non-fatal. Vanhorn brings Leland to his hideout in the Black Lake Lodge to treat his wounds and continue his attempts to "save" his nephew. Eventually, the two leave the lodge, though it is unclear why (It is possible that Leland had escaped and fled to the city or he drove his uncle out). Before leaving, however, Malcolm managed to create a digital recording on his computer pertaining to the Oro and Ethan's deceased parents that he had intended to show to Ethan.
11 months after the events of the first game Malcolm is seen fleeing from an unknown assailant attempting to kill him in the hallways of the Preston Hotel. Before finally being caught, Malcolm manages to call for help, first to Rosa at the SCU and finally to Ethan, who is drinking in a bar, although he simply ignores it. After recieving the call, Rosa downloads Malcolm's last words onto an audio recorder and plays the recording to Director Farrel of the SCU and Special Agent Dorland. Farrel asks Rosa if she knows who placed the call, to which she claims she doesn't. Farrel tasks Dorland and his team with tracking down Ethan and Vanhorn before either one dies.After Ethan is attacked by Inferi, he begins to hallucinate that a black tar-like substance is covering the city and tar creatures are attacking him. Ethan also witnesses a zombified Vanhorn being consumed by this substance. Ethan's Alcohol Demon makes it clear that he must find Vanhorn, and so Ethan continues to do so, only to discover that he was hallucinating the whole time. Ethan joins Dorland and LeRue in the search for Malcolm at the Preston Hotel. After the group become separated, Ethan eventually discovers Vanhorn's corpse in room 119, having been torn wide open. The crime scene contains several crudely drawn eyes plastered on the walls surrounding the body. The most prominent eye is the one drawn in blood surrounding the upper half of Malcolm's body. Around the body are several lit candles adorning the scene with an eerie persona. Finally, written on the wall in Vanhorn's blood is the message, "My eyes have seen the glory." Upon arriving at the room, Dorland and LeRue successfully extract the body from the scene and flee from the hotel, although Ethan becomes separated from the team during the chaos.
At the SCU forensics lab, Rosa informs Ethan that Vanhorn was killed by a fatal gunshot to the head, before the killer removed the entire sternum using a hunting knife. Rosa theorizes that the murderer only wanted to gain access Vanhorn's ribcage and, more speciffically, his vocal cords, which the killer removed for unknown reasons.
During the Black Lake Lodge level, Ethan views the recording left by Malcolm Vanhorn in his library. Vanhorn reveals that Ethan's parents were not actually killed in a car accident, but were instead killed by the Oro after they defected from the organization. To protect Ethan, Malcolm left Ethan in a foster home and promised never to reveal his parents' true fate. Malcolm goes on to reveal that his wife and child were also killed by the Oro and ever since then, has done all that could to combat the organization. Malcolm's recording is cut short, however, due to the arrival of several SCU agents.
- In the opening cutscene for Condemned 2: Bloodshot, it is revealed that the eye featured on the game container actually belongs to Malcolm in the moments before his death at the hands of Leland.