Van Pelt is the main antagonist in Jumanji. He is a hunter that resides within the cursed board game, known to be a merciless man who hunts men and animals to display them on his wall. He wears a Hunter's uniform with a Pith Helmet. He was portrayed by Jonathan Hyde in the movie, and voiced by Sherman Howard in the animated series.
Van Pelt is first introduced after one of Alan's turns on Jumanji, which releases the hunter, who immediately begins chasing him. It can be noted that part of the reason why Van Pelt is hunting him down because Alan is not man enough to face him, since Alan is always running away from him like a coward. After noticing his weapon is delaying his progress, he switches it at a gun shop by a sniper. He tries to shoot Alan from a distance when he is taken in by a police officer (his childhood friend), then chases after Sarah and the kids to steal the game so Alan will come to him for it, but his plan is once again foiled by Peter. His next appearance is at the climax, when he holds both Alan and Sarah at gunpoint when he is about to throw the dices. When Van Pelt tells him to drop the dice, he orders Alan to start running again so that he can chase him. However, Alan refuses to run off this time, admitting that even though he's still scared, he no longer finds in his heart to run away from what's he afraid of and instead face it to get it over with. Amazed, Van Pelt acknowledges Alan of acting like a real man, and ask for any last words before he pulls the trigger. It was then the dice gave in the right number that allows Alan to win the game, and once he says "Jumanji", all of the animals and dangers of the game are sucked back to it, including Van Pelt himself, much to his dismay.
Van Pelt returns as a recurring villain in the animated series based on the movie. He is revealed to be a part of the game, and when he actually dies in an episode, Peter starts to become him little by little, but is saved by Sarah and Alex. His later appearances are usually about hunting the heroes and failing constantly. –
Van Pelt is merciless and cruel, trying at all costs to hunt his prey to the very end. His constant attempts of hunting Alex might be associated to Alex's cowardice, or Van Pelt's tastes for human hunting. In the series, as he is part of the game and, unlike the movie, never leaves the jungle, his moral and role are even more twisted. As he is a vital part of the game's mechanic, if he somehow dies (he can, indeed, die in the animated series, although it is very difficult to do so), the victor will immediately take his role (which almost happened to Peter). Also, later in the series, and not much unlike the movie, he begins to learn the game's mechanics. Although, in this case, since he never left the jungle, he understands it a little more, knowing exactly how to act according to the rules and even use it to his advantage. His most commonly used word is "Blast!", particularly when something goes wrong.