- "You know what, Michelle? I'm going to tell you, what I told him... You need to eat, you need to sleep, and you need to start showing me a little bit of appreciation... My name is Howard, by the way."
- —Howard to Michelle
Howard Stambler is the main antagonist of 10 Cloverfield Lane. He was a former US Marine who worked with satelites, but he discoverd alongside his teamamates a terrible secret. After that he became an insane and paranoid man and began to prepare himself for an unknown threath of some kind.
- "Little trick I taught myself as young man stationed on a ship with way too much free time.Every now and again,if the C.O. was working us too hard,we'd freeze and snap the knob off the bathroom door while he was still inside.It usually took him an hour or two to get out."
- —Howard tells Michelle about his days in the Navy.
Howard served in the Navy for 14 years and he was working on satellites. Once he was on a mission called "SEASAT" which was supposed to be tracking Soviet Spy satellites, but he found something "much bigger" than he expected. Then Howard and his Co-worker reported what they've found and asked what it was, but the commanders refused to answer to that. They shut them down the mission, and sent Howard's co-worker to jail forever, also threatening to do the same to him if he didn't stop asking about what they have found. So he left the navy after that, but he refused stop looking.
- "THERE WAS THIS MISSION CALLED SEASAT. WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE TRACKING SOVIET SPY SATELLITES BUT WHAT WE FOUND UP THERE WAS MUCH MUCH BIGGER. SO THEY CANCELLED THE PROJETC AND MADE UP A STORY TO EXPLAIN WHY. BUT ONE GUY I SERVED WITH, HE UNDERSTOOD THE IMPORTANCE OF WHAT WE WERE SEEING. HE WAS KIND OF A MENTOR FOR ME AND THE FEW OTHERS WHO DIDN’T WANT TO LET IT GO. SO WE BEGAN COMPILING ALL OF THIS EVIDENCE. AND ONCE WE STARTED LOOKING FOR IT, WE SAW THE SIGNS EVERYWHERE. WE ASSEMBLD SO MUCH EVIDENCE AND TRIED TO GET THE COMMANDERS TO LISTEN. BUT THEY DIDN’T WANT TO HEAR ANY OF IT. THEY SHUT US DOWN. AND THEY ACCUSED MY MENTOR OF SPYING FOR THE SOVIETS. THEY SENT HIM TO JAIL FOR 365 YEARS AND THEY MADE IT CLEAR THAT THEY WOULDNOT HESITATE TO DO THE SAME TO ME IF I DIDN’T STOP ASKIGN QUESTIONS THEY DIDN’T WANT TO ANSWER. I LEFT THE NAVY NOT TOO LONG AFTER THAT. BUT I NEVER STOPPED LOOKING."
- —Howard's message to his daughter,Megan
- "DO YOU REMEMBER HOW EVERYBODY THOUGHT THE WHOLE WORLD WAS GOING TO END WHEN IT TURNED 2000, AND I BUILT US THAT LITTLE BOMB SHELTER OUT BACK? I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WAS THINKING – THAT TINY PLACE WOULD HAVE LASTED US ABOUT A WEEK, ESPECIALLY WITH HOW MUCH YOUR MOTHER COMPLAINED ABOUT IT, NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I TRIED TO MAKE HER HAPPY."
- —Howard on one of his messages
After he retired, he married with a woman named Denise, and had a dughter named Megan. However, Howard was still traumatized by the things he saw on the SEASAT project, and he tried to everything he could to protect his family, even building a bomb shelter on their backyard to protect themself from the apocalypse, despite his wife's complains. As time passed Howard become more aggresive with his family, as he went bad at Megan after she misplace a medal that he gave her. Fed up of her husband paranoia, Denise decided to move to Chicago and took Megan with her.
Building the Bunkers
- "He bought this property a whle back. I never paid much attention, until he hired me to help him get this place set up."
- —Emmett to Michelle
At some point after getting divorced of his wife, Howard moved to a small farm near Houston in were he hired a young man named Emmett DeWitt to help in the construction of his bunker, which took several years. He also built a separated bunker near Megan's grandmother house in case she wouldn't be able to reach him.
Working for Tagruato
- "Howard will celebrate his 7-year anniversary with Bold Futura in the fall.This month, Howard's drive,commitment and refusal to accept easy answers resulted in a significant breakthrough diagnosing transmission complications with two of our governmental clients' orbiting satellites."
- —Description about his work and accomplishment
Around 2009 (One year after the events of Cloverfield), after his retirement, he somehow got hired and worked at Tagruato, most likely to continue his reserch (and probably because of the connection betwen Tagruato and the Incident of New York). In the movie, the letter from Bold Futura to Howard can be seen. After many years working, he was awarded for the Employee of the Month of 2016 February, a month before the events of the movie.
Sometime after finishing his bunker he kidnapped a young girl named Brittany to live with him on the bunker and assume the role of his daughter Megan, however after she tried to escape, Howard killed her. According to Emmett everyone though that Brittany had just runned away from home.
Trying to Contact Megan
- "I HOPE THAT YOU CAN SEE THIS NOW. IVE BEEN TRYING TO EMAIL YOU AND CALL YOU, BUT YOU HAVEN’T ANSWERED. IT’S OK, I FIGURED OUT WHY – YOUR MOTHER IS BLOCKING MY EMAIL, AND SHE MADE YOU CHANGE YOUR NUMBER. I FORGIVE YOU, IT’S NOT YORU FAULT. "
- —A message from Howard addresed to Megan
In order to save his daughter for an incoming threat, he created, around February 2016, a website called FunAndPrettyThings.com so he and Megan could talk in private, and discuss about the inminent attack and how could she be prepared for it. However Megan never answered, but Howard's ex-wife Denise,with the help from an unknow source, found out about the site and confronted Howard and told him to leave her alone and to get profesional help.
In 10 Cloverfield Lane
- "You're lucky to be here at all.
What do you mean?
I found you, and I saved your life, by bringing you here.
I don't understand.
There's been an attack.
An attack. A big one. I'm not sure yet if it's chemical, or nuclear, but down here we're safe."
- —Howard and Michelle
After Michelle woke up, Howard enters the room bringing her a crutch. Michelle, desperately begs for him to let her go, stating that her family must be looking for her, but Stambler tells her that "no one is looking for [her]". After he leaves, Michelle burns her blanket in order to lure and attack Howard, but she fails to he Howard sedates her. When she wakes up again, he tells her that she has "fight" in her, and that he respects that, Michelle, however still begs him to let her go, but he states that there is nowhere to go, informing her about the attack and stating that they are safe in the bunker.
He also tells her that he brought her, after her accident, remarking that he saved her life. Michelle thanks him and tells him that she should go to an hospital, but Howard insist that they can't leave as the air of the surface is contaminated. Then Emmett accindentaly knocks over a shelve, to which Howard begans to yell at him. He then tells Michelle what he told Emmett: that she needs to eat, sleep, and to show him "a little bit of appreciation". He then leaves the room telling her that his name is Howard.
On the bunker
- "Shouldn't we at least try... to call the police? Someone to find out what actually happened?
There's no one left to call."
- —Michelle and Howard
After hearing noises from above Michelle belives that it could be a car, but Howard denies this, insisting that the surface is contaminated. She tells him that they should at least try to contact someone, but Howard states that is useless. He then decides to take Michelle to "know" his pigs Frank and Mildred, who are burned as Howard states that thats what happens when someone is exposed to the air.
- "Do not let her in!"
- —Howard to Michelle
At night, Howard invited Michelle and Emmett for dinner which he cooked. During dinner, Emmett kept talking about he regreting not being able to get a tattoo, and then comments that they could spent their time in the bunker playing board games, which makes Howard uncomfortable and tells him to let him and Michelle eat. Michelle tells Emmett about the board games she used to play as a child and in the process inadvertently flirts with him, but Howard, enraged, sees this as an insult and demands her to tell him what she’s up to. Emmett tries to calm Howard, but he tells him to shut up, then while he was not looking Michelle steals Howard his keys. He makes Michelle apologize and promise that she will behave.Then, just when Howard realises that he has lost his keys, the group hears a car above. Michelle grabs a glass bottle a breaks it on Howard's head and tries to escape. Howard goes after her, and, when Michelle was going to open the second door, a woman appears, with her face blistered and scarred, and begs Michelle to let her in, but Howard tells her to not do it as she was exposed. Then, with a more agressive tone the woman demmands her to open the door, but tells her that she can't help her. The woman then begins to smash her head against the window until she colapses.
After the incidnet Howard confesses to Michelle that he crashed into her car, saying that he was in a rush after he found out about the attack. After a shower Howard tells Michelle to help him stitch his injury up, as she caused it. However Michelle states that she is not qualified, but Howard tells her that he will guide her. Later Howard gives her some clothes of Megan, to which Michelle ask if she was her daughter. Then he shows Michelle a picture of "Megan" telling her that she moved to Chicago with her mother after she "turned her against him". He then comments that people are "strange creatures" as one can't always convice them that "safety is in their own best interest".
A little Peace
- " My guess? Those flashes that kicked this all off? The was phase one. Take out your opponent's population centers with big hits, all at once,fast. And then for round two. Ground Sweep. A satellite log showed an increase in coded traffic recently. Possibly extraterrestrial signals. I bet what we've just heard were airborne patrols sent to hunt down the remaining signs of life."
- —Howard to Michelle and Emmett
As time passes, the trio began to adapt to a life in the bunker, becoming friendly like a family. But in a few days, they hear some strange noises coming from above. Although Emmett belives it could be a helicopter, Howard states that it might be an extra-terrestrial ship. However, this caused the air filtration system's fail, and he states that if they don't fix it they will run out of air. To wich Howard tells Michelle that she must go to go fix it, as she is the only one small enough to reach it. By being guided though the vents by Howard, Michelle manages to reach, and fix the air system.
Thanks to the Michelle's work, air filtration system started working again, however, unbeknown to him Michelle and Emmett discoverd a messaged writen in the hatch of the air filtration system's room that said Help, alongside a bloodstained earring, which Michelle remembered seeing on the picture that Howard showed her. However Emmett, recognised the girl, stating that her name is Brittany and that she had dissapeared two years ago, which they realize that he had kidnapped and killed her. They are briefly interrupted by Howard who congratulates them stating that that is a great example of teamwork, and starts dancing to some music, telling Michelle that she should take a shower.
- "I accept your apology."
- —Howard right before killing Emmett
After a while, Howard discovers that some of his tools have gone missing and susspected about Michelle and Emmett, who where secretly making a makeshift bio-hazard suit to escape the bunker and get help. While she was working on the suit Howards tells Michelle and Emmett to help him to move a barrel to his bedroom. Once Howard reveals that the barrel contains perchloric acid, he threatened to kill them if they didn't confess what they where doing.
Emmett decides to cover Michelle by taking all responsibility, claiming that he was using the tools to get his gun, and that he feels sorry for it. Though Howard said that he accepted his apologize, shoots him on the head, killing Dewitt. He comforts a devasted Michelle stating that "that was the way it was always supposed to be". He then proceds to burn Emmetts remains with the acid.
- "You're going to walk out on me? After I saved you? And kept you safe? This is how you re-pay me?"
- —Howard to Michelle
Some hours after killing Emmett, Howard, now shaved off, visits Michelle in her room, bringing her ice cream, saying that they can now they can now be a "happy family". After she finishes the suit, Howard reappears telling her that dinner is ready, but he finds the Bio-suit. Michelle locks him in her room and proceeds to escape the bunker, but Howard gets free and corners her in his room, but she kicks the acid barrel over and he fells into the liquid, burning his face and igniting an electoral fire.
Michelle goes back to her room to recover the suit, but she is cornered by Stambler again and she knocks over a shelf, which briefly knocked him out. Even after those fatal damage, he stood up again and tried to take her back with a knife while she was crawling through the air ducts. He grabs her leg and in desperated effort he pleads her to stay as he claims that she can't run away from "them". A few minutes later, after Michelle escapes, the bunker exploded from the fire, killing Howard in the process.
Personality and traits
- "You think I sound crazy. It's amazing, you people...You wear helmets when you ride your bikes, you have seat-belts, when you're in your cars, you have alarm systems to protect your homes. But what do you do when those alarms go off? Crazy, is building your ark after the flood is already come."
- —Howard to Michelle
Howard was an agressive, mentaly unstable, paranoid and violent man, caused by his time in the U.S. navy and the SEASAT mission. He refused to let things go, this is evident as even after he left the Navy he couldn't stop looking for information about what he and his collegues saw, and spent the rest of his life searching for answers and information, which slowly began to drive him mad and paranoid. He also took extreme measures so he and his family could be prepared for inminet threaths, but his paranoia was what ultimately destroyed his relasion with his family. He was also short-tempered and emotionally unstable, going from being calm to extremely agrevise, and was intolerant towards other peoples mistakes and wanted everything to be in perfect order, he also demanded for other people's respect, and appretiation. Howard was an extremely paranoid man firmly beliving that an attack could come from anywhere at anytime, and he was also know for his numerous conspiracy theories, with Emmett commenting that he was "a black belt in conspiracy theories". Howard also stated that he "know what a traitor looks like".
Howard seemed to care a lot about his daughter Megan as he wanted to her to be safe, going as far as to build two separate bunker, and creating a website in order to decivie her so he could communicate and help her to be prepare for the upcoming attack in secret. However acording to his ex-wife Denise, Howard was agressive towards her, stating that he went mad with her because she accidentally misplaced the medal he gave her. But it appears that Howard refused to recognize that it was his fault what caused him to get estranged from his family, choosing to blame Denise instead, who never belived in his comspiracy theories, stating that she put Megan against him.
It appears that some time after his ex-wife and daughter left him Howard tried to somehow remplace Megan, to which he kidnapped a local girl named Brittany and tried to make her assume the role of his daughter forcing her to live with him in the bunker. However Brittany tried to escape to which Howard killed her. With Megan not answering his messages, Howard tried to look for a new "daughter" to which he decided to kidnap Michelle and keep her as prisoner during their stay in the bunker, treating her like his daughter. However that did't mean that Howard would be soft with her as he threatened Michelle when he saw she was flirting with Emmett, to which Howard took as an insult.
Howard was also intolerant towards Emmett as he tried to enter on the bunker, however Howard reluctantly allows him to stay. Despite Emmett meaning no such disrespect to him, Howard still showed anger at his attitude, for trying to keep an optimistic and positive attitude about their stay in the bunker, which Howard was annoyed with and considered it as mocking their dismal situation. But this can be more likely due the fact that Emmet's precence ruined Howard's plan to being alone with Michelle. After accepting the blame for his and Michelle's actions, Howard made Emmett apologize only to execute him, claiming that that was the way it should be. With Emmett gone, Howard finally has the father-daughter dynamic with Michelle, and acted as if nothing serious had happened.
Alternate Reality Game
Howard was awarded as the employee of the month of february of Bold Futura, as it can be seen on the Tagruato website. On his picture, Howard can be seen wearing a T-shirt that says Radioman70. By entering Radioman70.com it will lead you to the website FunAndPrettyThings.com which was dessigned by Howard.
On that website, you can see several photos of Megan's hobbies, including a screenshot from the movie "Pretty in Pink".(which Howard mentioned as Megan's favorite movie and was seen watching it.) However this is the only picture you can click on and then it asks for a password which is "Do you want to talk?"(which is a phrase from this particular scene in "Pretty in Pink".) Then it takes you to a chat site. The chat features messages send by Howard (using the name Radioman 70) to his daughter Megan (reffered as Radiogirl). The messages shows an attempt from Howard trying to warn his daughter about an upcoming attack, with some messages containing links to real world websites and news. There is also another page known as "Live Preserving Information" which, as the name says, contains tips and information on how to survive the attack, it also has more links to real world websites and a simulator (also designed by Howard).
There has been no answer from Megan however, to which Howard assumes that her mother has prevented her from contacting him. However Denise, Howard's ex-wife, find out about the site confronts him, calling him sick and stating that it's a violation to his restriction order. She tells him to leave her alone and to forget about them, as he needs to accept that he "will never see Megan again". She states that she is "tired of being afraid of [him]" and acusses him of trying "to [Take] away everything that [she has] worked so hard to rebuild", and finish the message by telling Howard to get help and to let her move on.
The last message left on the chat is from an unknow person that identifies as "NL", who starts the message with apologizing for his intrusion and comments that he needed "somewhere away from prying eyes and ears". He also states that he and Howard have "danced along a fine line between enemies and friends", and that he has "always respected [him] as a colleague and taken [him] seriously ". He finishes the message by leaving an encrypted audio file that contains a messaged that can be decoded by using Slow Scan TV. Although the identity of the person that sended the message it's unknow, it is highly likely that i could be Nikolai Razo who, just like Howard, used to worked for the U.S. Navy, and, after retiring, he began to work for Bold Futura, being awarded as the employee of the month of march.