The Dark Side: The Mostly True Story of the Making of Star Wars

INT. MOVIE THEATER – DAY

The rows are PACKED, the theater is SMOKY. The film “THX-1138″ is playing on the screen. People are DISTRACTED, CHATTING AND JOKING. In the back row, an aisle seat, is GEORGE LUCAS, 27, looking mildly frustrated.

SUPERIMPOSE: CANNES FILM FESTIVAL – 1971

George LEANS FORWARD and listens to two people speaking in French right in front of him. Someone TAPS George on the shoulder. George TURNS to see WALTER MURCH, 28.
WALTER George, we should go now. The usher let me in to come find you.
GEORGE Okay. Hey, what does ‘Ennuyeux’ mean?
Walter PUSHES open the door, the theater’s hallway is extremely CROWDED and LOUD.
EXT. STREET – DAY
Walter and George exit the theater.
WALTER What did you say in there?
GEORGE I asked you what ‘Ennuyeux’ meant?
WALTER Umm…boring.
GEORGE Hmm.
WALTER Listen, George, you know what you’re gonna say to Picker?
GEORGE Uh…I’m not too worried.
WALTER This is a real movie guy, okay? We’ve got to come across like we know what we’re talking about. We don’t wanna go in there and look like a couple of film school jerks.
GEORGE How do we pull that off?
WALTER This guy produced “A HARD DAY’S NIGHT”, he’s no lightweight.
GEORGE I know, I know.
WALTER Has he seen “THX-1138″?
GEORGE I don’t know. I hope not.
INT. CARLTON HOTEL – LOBBY – DAY
Walter and George are walking through the hotel lobby.
WALTER Maybe we should have a drink first.
GEORGE No, we should go in there clearheaded.
They come to an elevator, Walter IMPATIENTLY PRESSES the button for the top floor.
WALTER All right. George, we’re going all the way to the top.
George laughs politely.
WALTER (CONT’D) He’s staying in a suite. Wonder how much it is a night up there?
GEORGE More than we’ve got.
WALTER I just hope he’s got food. I’ve lost fifteen pounds in the last week.
GEORGE (sarcastic) Is it the fine European cuisine?
WALTER Yeah. I can’t afford to eat it. You know, I thought I was being smart, riding my bike across England. See the countryside, meet the people, eat simply. Actually thought I’d save money. Here I am broke and starved.
GEORGE I’m not doing any better, Walt. I couldn’t afford a ticket to see my own movie.
WALTER That’s the sort of thing we wanna play down, George.
GEORGE Don’t worry. I’ve got a good feeling about this.

INT. CARLTON HOTEL – SUITE – DAY

A KNOCK at the door of the LUXURIOUS suite, the door OPENS to Walter and George. DAVID PICKER, 40, wealthy but conservative, greets them.
DAVID Welcome! George, Walter, how do you do?
GEORGE Hi.
WALTER Hi.
David shakes their hands and pats George on the back.
DAVID You know, I just saw your movie, this afternoon. “THX-1138″.
GEORGE Oh good. I was hoping.
INT. CARLTON HOTEL – SUITE – BALCONY
The three of them are having cocktails.
DAVID You know, boys, a flop isn’t always a failure. I’ve made movies that I knew would never turn a profit. I didn’t make a dime off “Lenny”, and I never thought I would. But the impact of a film is not always at the box office. Someday, it will pay off, I believe, in its own way. It will find its place, it will reach somebody. In the meantime, I get to make movies.
George and Walter think this over.
DAVID (CONT’D) Of course, Dustin Hoffman got his paycheck.
David sips his drink and takes a DEEP BREATH, GAZING off into the distance. He turns back to them and RAISES HIS GLASS. They all do.
DAVID (CONT’D) To “American Graffiti”.
They CLINK glasses and drink.
DAVID (CONT’D) So, George, what do you have planned after Graffiti? I heard something, somewhere, about you trying to buy the rights to “Flash Gordon”.
George nods.
GEORGE I looked into it. I decided to go another way, though. Do something original.
DAVID Good for you.
GEORGE But it is going to be space movie. A space opera. Like those old serials that used to play back in the fifties. You know…
DAVID (melodramatically) “Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe!”
GEORGE Something like that.
DAVID Well, good luck, George. And don’t worry if it doesn’t make you any money. Just get it made, and it’ll find its place.

INT. CARLTON HOTEL – HALLWAY – DAY

George and Walter exit David’s suite and walk to the elevator. Walter waits until the suite’s door is shut and then he turns to George.
WALTER I don’t get it, George, why did you tell him you were gonna make the space movie? What about “Apocalypse Now”? You’ve been working on that for years.
GEORGE No one is gonna finance a movie about Vietnam. Not my movie, anyway. Not after “THX.”
WALTER So that’s it?
They run to catch the elevator, which is closing, and they just make it.
GEORGE No, that’s not it. I’ll still shop it around. When “Graffiti’s” a hit, I’ll be able to do whatever I want.
WALTER That’s a big if.
GEORGE It’ll be fine.
WALTER I don’t know. I mean, you don’t even have a script.
The elevator doors close.

EXT. PETALUMA – STREET – NIGHT

Two classic cars are riding side-by-side down the street. Driving the car are on the left is HARRISON FORD, 33, wearing a cowboy hat. The driver on the right is PAUL LE MAT, 28.
HARRISON (to Paul) Hey, I’ve been lookin’ for ya! Didn’t you hear I was lookin’ for ya?
PAUL (to Harrison) Naw! But you can bet if I had I woulda slowed down so’s you could find me!
Harrison laughs.
HARRISON That’s good! Oh, hey, is that your car? Shoot, I thought I saw a roller skate running loose down the street! My sister lost one, ’bout the same size as that!
PAUL Really? Judging by your car, I guess most race cars look like roller skates to you, seeing as they’re usually so far ahead o’ ya!
HARRISON Well, we must be on a hill, ’cause I never saw a dogcart movin’ without a horse! You must be a magician!
PAUL Well, I don’t know no magic, but you must be using some kinda voodoo to keep that heap runnin’.
HARRISON I keep her runnin’ with…darn it!
Harrison’s hat falls off his head and in between the two cars. He reaches for it.
GEORGE Cut!
The cars are revealed to be on the back of a moving trailer with fixed cameras pointed at each. George is sitting just ahead of them, looking on.
HARRISON Oughta staple this hat to my head. Hey, are we gonna actually do a second take?
PAUL First time for everything. How was it, George? Until the hat malfunction, I mean.
GEORGE (distracted) It was great! Terrific!
Paul and Harrison look at each, frustrated.
HARRISON That’s what he always says.
PAUL Maybe we’re that good.
HARRISON Aw hell, I’m just doing this movie thing to support my carpentry habit.
PAUL Yeah, I was gonna tell you, you should keep your day job.
HARRISON Well, acting with you is a lot like working with wood, anyway.
PAUL How drunk are you, Ford?
HARRISON Depends on how good your booze is, Paul.
PAUL It’s gone, is what it is.
George CLIMBS DOWN from the truck. HASKELL WEXLER, 50, walks up to him.
HASKELL I think that’s it for the night, George. We could give it one more pass, but it’ll be getting light pretty soon.
George LOOKS at his watch and YAWNS, EXHAUSTED.
GEORGE I’m heading back to the office, Wex.
HASKELL You need to sleep, George.
GEORGE I’m waiting to hear from Francis.

INT. OFFICE – NIGHT

George walks into his office, waiting there is GARY KURTZ, 33.
GEORGE Gary, did you talk to Francis?
GARY Yeah, George. I’ve got an idea of the offer he’s gonna make on “Apocalypse Now”. I doubt you’re gonna like it, though.
GEORGE Well, what is it?
GARY (reluctant) Coppola wants twenty-five percent of the profits.
George SHAKES his head and COLLAPSES in an office chair.
GEORGE (disbelief) He’s a millionaire. A millionaire. But I don’t think he’s truly happy unless I’m broke.
GARY You may be right. He sounded pretty happy.
GEORGE He’s got to do better than that. He owes me.
GARY I don’t think he sees it that way. He’s not the same guy, George. He’s the director of “The Godfather” for chrissake. You’re the director of…
GEORGE A piece of arty-fartsy trash?
GARY No one’s saying “THX” is trash, George. People are still talking about how amazing it was that a first time director pulled that off. But you don’t have a lot of clout, right now. Francis has got a lot of pull. He’s a gross player.
GEORGE “Apocalypse” is not his movie. It’s John’s and mine. I think he’s gonna try and take it over, and I don’t think I can work like that.
Gary shrugs. George is SILENT for a moment, PENSIVE.
GEORGE (CONT’D) If I give in, I think Francis is just gonna want more. He’s becoming a dictator.
GARY That’s just the way he is. He’s pushy, he’s unreasonable, that’s just Francis. We wouldn’t be here today if he wasn’t.
GEORGE I’m not sure I can trust him.
GARY He’s still your friend.
GEORGE I know that, but that doesn’t mean we ought to be making movies together.
GARY So?
GEORGE So nothing. I’m just not gonna do it. That’s that. I don’t think I can work with him. I love the guy, I admire him, but I think we’re just too different. I think I’m just gonna go ahead and work on the space movie.
GARY (nodding) You’re gonna go ahead with “The Star Wars”.
George nods, too.
GARY (CONT’D) Good. I’m glad.
GEORGE Yeah, and it’ll be my movie. That’s the most important thing.

INT. THE LUCAS HOME – OFFICE – DAY

George is sitting at his desk STARING BLANKLY at a notebook. He picks up a pencil and writes something, then LOOKS it over.
CLOSE UP – NOTEBOOK at the top of the page is written “Journal of the Whills.”
George LEANS FAR BACK in his chair and is QUIET. The clock on the wall TICKS LOUDER AND LOUDER.

CUT TO:
INT. EDITING ROOM – DAY

George is LEANING BACK in a chair, his notebook on his lap, while Walter is SITTING in front of a tape reel machine used for sound editing. He’s TRYING to talk to George while working.
WALTER So, where were we? Um, you’ve got this guy named Chewie Two Thorpe…
GEORGE Chewie, for short. He’s the son of a famous pilot named Han Dardell Thorpe.
WALTER Right. So, Chewie…I kind of like that, makes me wanna eat some caramels. So, Chewie’s 16 and going off to school to become a knight templar of the future, which are called Jedis, then.
GEORGE Jedi-Templer.
WALTER Templer. That’s interesting. You change it just enough so that’s it familiar, yet different. Words change over time, anyway.
GEORGE Right. You know, I’m kind of moving away from this being in the future, though.
WALTER Well, when’s it happening, George? It can’t be happening now, and there certainly weren’t any space cruisers before now.
GEORGE Yeah, I know. I just haven’t decided exactly what or where this whole thing takes place. I’m leaving that open, for now.
WALTER Okay. Well, anyway, you said this guy has some big adventure, right? Goes on a quest of some kind. What’s that all about? Is he searching for something, like in “The Lord of the Rings”? Some sort of macguffin?
GEORGE No. It hasn’t got a macguffin. He leaves the academy because his teacher, Mace Windy, is expelled. It’s thought that he’s become too strong, too powerful. The other Jedi fear him.
WALTER What happens after that?
GEORGE They sort of wander aimlessly. Eventually, they get work guarding a shipment of fusion portables to Yavin.
Walter PAUSES, LOOKS OVER at George, a bit perplexed. George is LOST IN THOUGHT.
WALTER I don’t know, George. Something’s definitely there, but…
GEORGE What?
WALTER There’s just no…story, you know.
GEORGE Well, I’m doing something completely original, Walt. It takes time to come up with something completely new.
WALTER Yeah, I get that, but…what’s new, George? To a guy who knows movies, nothing is new. I mean, if a guy wants to do a romance film, he’s got to remember that Shakespeare already did Romeo and Juliet. If he forgets that, he might end up just remaking it. You know what I mean? Someone’s already done it, no matter what you come up with.
GEORGE What are you saying? That you can’t be original? I don’t believe that.
WALTER Yeah, you can have new ideas, but…
Walter TURNS to George.
WALTER (CONT’D) It’s like Kurosawa. You love Kurosawa, right? He didn’t do anything new. He redid Macbeth, Dostoevsky, even John Ford. You know, he loved John Ford movies the way you love his. Nobody cares that he took the stories. Do you?
GEORGE Hmm.
WALTER It wasn’t stealing, really, it was just…Kurosawa’s turn to tell them. Now people are redoing his movies!
George nods.
GEORGE That’s interesting.
WALTER Seems to me, you’ve got to go with your gut. I mean, what do you really wanna see up there on the screen, George? The kind of story that just forces you to tell it, that won’t leave you alone until you do. That’s the story you’ve got to tell!
Walter YAWNS, RUBS his eyes, and POINTS to a shelf of reels near George.
WALTER (CONT’D) Do me a favor, George. I need Reel two, Dialogue two. It’s labeled “R2-D2.”
George is PIQUED.
GEORGE What did you say?
WALTER I said “R2-D2.”
George picks up his NOTEBOOK.
CLOSE UP – NOTEBOOK
George JOTS down R2-D2 and UNDERLINES it.

INT. DAVID PICKER’S OFFICE – DAY

Picker’s secretary GAYLE, 20s, OPENS his door and WALKS in, she HANDS David a package.
GAYLE Mr. Picker, a package from “Lucasfilm.”
DAVID Oh good! Thank you, Gayle.
David OPENS the package and finds a bundle of TYPE-WRITTEN PAGES and PICTURES. He FLIPS through them suspiciously, as if not knowing what to make of it. He STOPS on a page, READS a little, and POINTS to something.
DAVID (CONT’D) Um, Gayle, do you know this word? Is this a misspelling?
Gayle, who was leaving, TURNS BACK.
GAYLE Let me see.
Gayle BENDS OVER and reads.
GAYLE (CONT’D) (pleasantly) Opuchi.
DAVID Oh-poo-chee?
GAYLE Mm-hmm. Opuchi.
David FLIPS through the package again. Mixed in are PHOTOGRAPHS from NASA missions and professional DRAWINGS of sci-fi CREATURES and SPACESHIPS.
DAVID (shocked) My god. This movie would cost a hundred million dollars. There’s not enough money in Hollywood to shoot this picture.
GAYLE Wow. What is that thing?
DAVID I don’t know. It’s all a bunch of spaceships and monsters.

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – AUDITION ROOM – DAY
POV – CAMERA

Sitting across from one another are SYLVESTER STALLONE, 20s, and an unidentified Japanese ACTOR, 50s. George is standing in front of them with a clapper.
GEORGE Action!
SYLVESTER Han Solo. I’m captain of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie here tells me you’re looking for passage to the Alderaan system.
JAPANESE ACTOR (thick Japanese accent) Yes, indeed. If it’s a fast ship.
SYLVESTER Fast ship? You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?
JAPANESE ACTOR Should I have?
SYLVESTER It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs! I’ve outrun Imperial starships, not the local bulk-cruisers, mind you. I’m talking about the big Corellian ships now. She’s fast enough for you, old man. What’s the cargo?
GEORGE Cut! I wanna try the dialogue between Han and Luke. I’m gonna bring in someone to read for Luke.
The Japanese Actor NODS and gets up.
SYLVESTER I’ve got a couple of questions about Han.
GEORGE I think what you’re doing is pretty good.
The actor reading for Luke sits down.
SYLVESTER Okay. It’s just that I’m thinking I could play him more like a thug, you know, a criminal. Not a bad guy, exactly, but someone who’ll do what needs to be done to survive. You know, he can be cold, calculating, but underneath it all is some kind of…light, you know?
GEORGE (disinterested) Uh, yeah, okay. That’ll work.
Sylvester frowns.

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – AUDITION ROOM – DAY
POV – CAMERA

Now, reading for Han and Luke, respectively, are CHRISTOPHER WALKEN, 30s and ROBBY BENSON, 19.
CHRISTOPHER What the…? Aw, we’ve come out of hyperspace into a meteor shower. Some kind of asteroid collision. It’s not on any of the charts.
ROBBY What’s going on?
CHRISTOPHER Our position is correct, except…no, Alderaan!
ROBBY What do you mean? Where is it?
CHRISTOPHER Thats what I’m trying to tell you, kid. It ain’t there. It’s been totally blown away.
ROBBY Destroyed…by the Empire!
CHRISTOPHER The entire starfleet couldn’t destroy the whole planet. It’d take a thousand ships with more fire power than I’ve ever seen! There’s another ship coming in.
ROBBY Maybe they know what happened.
CHRISTOPHER It’s an Imperial fighter.
ROBBY It followed us!
CHRISTOPHER There aren’t any bases around here. Where did it come from?
ROBBY It sure is leaving in a big hurry. If they identify us, we’re in big trouble.
CHRISTOPHER Not if I can help it. Chewie…jam it’s transmissions.
GEORGE Cut! Good.
CHRISTOPHER (pleasantly) Yeah? I’ll have to take your word for it. I’m utterly confused.
ROBBY I think you nailed it.
CHRISTOPHER Yeah? To be honest, I’m not certain what’s going on in this picture. I haven’t read the script, yet. I like this guy, Han, though. I like his name. Solo. Sooolooooo. How SO low can you SO go?
ROBBY Luke Starkiller’s a pretty cool name, too.
CHRISTOPHER Yeah? Who’s that?

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – AUDITION ROOM – DAY
POV – CAMERA

Reading for Han and Luke, respectively, are NICK NOLTE and WILLIAM KATT.
NICK Well, it checks out again, there’s no mistake.
WILLIAM You mean, you can’t find organa major?
NICK Oh, I’ve found it, it’s just not there!
WILLIAM Organa major’s been destroyed?
NICK What’s left’s been contaminated. That’s it right there. Look at those radiation readouts. It’s impossible, I’ve never seen anything like it!
WILLIAM The empire must have gotten here first.
NICK The planet’s been completely blown away. Why, this would have taken a thousand ships with more fire power than I’ve ever seen! If the Empire had some new kind of weapon that could do this, I’d have heard something, I would have known about it.
GEORGE Cut!
Nick Nolte takes a DEEP BREATH and LEANS OVER, his FACE in his HANDS. He’s hungover.
NICK (to William) I tell ya, Luke, I feel like the Empire blew up my brain.
Everyone laughs, all around.
WILLIAM (laughing) Don’t know what hit ya?
NICK Hell, yeah, I know!

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – DAY

George and FRED ROOS, 40s, are discussing the auditions while walking through the hall. CARPENTERS are at work, sounds of HAMMERING and SAWING surround them.
GEORGE (exhausted) My god, Fred, I’m glad to be getting a break from this.
FRED What did you think of Walken?
GEORGE Hmm. Yeah. Yeah, I can see him as Han. He’s got a coldness about him, kind of feline, predatory.
FRED What about Glynn Turman?
GEORGE (disapproving) I did like him, but I’m second-guessing the idea of Han Solo as possibly being black.
FRED Yeah?
GEORGE I think people will think it’s too deliberate. Han’s too important a character, I don’t want people talking about Han just because they haven’t seen a black actor in a sci-fi flick before. I think that would weaken the impact of the film. Maybe in the sequel.
FRED Okay. When we start up again on the twelfth, let’s have Harrison Ford read the part of Han. I think it would be good to concentrate on Luke and Leia, and it would be less confusing if Han just stayed put.
George stops just before passing through a doorway being built and TURNS to Fred. There’s a carpenter in a mask working down on his knees, DRILLING the inside of the frame.
GEORGE (reluctant) I don’t know, Fred. That might get him thinking he’s a shoo-in for the part. I’m willing to let him read, but I still don’t think I want anyone who was in “Graffiti” in this. I don’t want the audience thinking about cars and pop songs when they see Star Wars.
FRED Reconsider that George. Still, I’ll let him know that he’s not up for the part, we just need to him to read.
GEORGE Okay, then. Are you sure he’s available? I mean, it’s just a couple days from now.
The carpenter working at their feet STANDS UP and PULLS OFF his mask. It’s a TIRED, SWEATY Harrison Ford.
HARRISON I can make it.

INT. CHINESE RESTAURANT – DAY

George, Carrie, Harrison and Mark are all SITTING QUIETLY, waiting for their dinner to arrive. No one is speaking. The actors are all STARING at George, waiting for him to say something, ANYTHING. He seems thoroughly NONPLUSSED, COMFORTABLE. George PUSHES back his chair and STANDS.
GEORGE Excuse me, I’ll be right back.
CARRIE/MARK/HARRISON Okay.
George WALKS off, the three actors LOOSEN UP immediately.
MARK God, I hope the food comes before he gets back.
CARRIE This feels just like the audition!
HARRISON (teasing) Don’t worry, you’ve got the part.
CARRIE (laughs) Are you sure?
HARRISON He flew you to England, didn’t he?
MARK I don’t think he likes me. Actually, I’m sure he doesn’t.
HARRISON He likes us. He likes all of us. Believe me, when he doesn’t like you, you know it.
MARK How?
HARRISON (insisting) Because he’s a different kind of quiet when he doesn’t like you!
MARK You know, I think he based Luke Starkiller on himself. I’m trying to incorporate some George into the character, but I don’t think it’s gonna be easy acting passive-aggressive opposite an alien.
HARRISON George IS an alien. Haven’t you figured that out yet? This movie’s his life story.
CARRIE Why did he bring us out here, though? He seems a sweet guy, but…isn’t this dinner about him getting to know us? How do you do that without speaking?
HARRISON He’s reading our minds.
MARK Then I’ve got some apologizing to do.
Carrie LAUGHS.
HARRISON Don’t worry about it, though. Shooting Graffiti was a breeze. He lets you do what you want. In fact, he pays more attention to the lights than he does his actors.
CARRIE He’s probably calling the lights right now, telling them he misses them.
LAUGHS all around.
HARRISON It’s real simple: He says action, you say your lines the way you want to say’em, and unless your nose starts spewing blood, he yells cut and tells you you’re great!
Mark RAISES a glass of water.
MARK To “Star Wars.”
Carries RAISES her’s, too.
CARRIE To “Star Wars.”
Harrison DISMISSES them.
HARRISON I don’t drink water.

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – STUDIO – DAY

George, Gary, and JOHN DYKSTRA, 30s, are going through HUNDREDS of color storyboards depicting SPACESHIP BATTLES, SQUADRON FORMATIONS, etc. Joe is SHAKING his head, both IMPRESSED and DAUNTED.
JOHN Wow. I don’t know what to say. It’s incredible on so many levels. It’s so far beyond what anyone has done before. Cramming some three-hundred fifty plus special effects shots in one film, it’s just…that’s five or six times more than any movie I’ve ever heard of.
GEORGE But not impossible, right?
JOHN Yes, it is. It is impossible. This is impossible.
GEORGE Why do you say that?
JOHN You want to shoot dogfights with spaceships, like in those old world war two films, but the old fixed camera approach won’t work. You’ll never get those fluid movements with a stationary camera. Add to it the complicated optical effects and…I can’t give you what you want. No one can.
GEORGE No one, huh?
JOHN Truth is, the technology doesn’t exist that can give you what you want. This is new territory, to say the least. We’re gonna have to rewrite the manual to make “Star Wars”. It’s gonna take new technology, technology designed specifically for this film. A monumental task. The cost will be…phew!
GEORGE Hypothetically?
JOHN (shaking his head) I don’t even know where to start. Giving a cost estimate is practically impossible. It’s gonna take a lot of money, a lot of people, and a lot of time. And seriously, money, people and time are virtually the same commodity when many the people involved have to be specialists, who aren’t free.
GEORGE Hmm.
JOHN We’re talking about creating a new Los Alamos here. A company with several different branches.
GARY What is the basic premise of this new technology?
JOHN The cameras are going to have to be computer-guided. That way we can program the camera directions and save it to cassette tape, that way we can duplicate shots exactly. It’ll also save loads of time because it will eliminate the need to keep sets hot. But it adds a whole new element to this, one that will be, possibly, more costly than everything else involved, combined. Models, lights, mattes, everything.
George PONDERS this quietly.
GEORGE How long do you think it will take to put together an estimate?
JOHN I’ll get to work on it, immediately. Although, it’s unlikely, it’s possible that on a budget of eight and a half million, this could cost…half.
GARY Half a million?
JOHN Half your budget.

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – STUDIO – DAY

Gary and George are BROODING after John’s departure.
GEORGE (frustrated) 50 to 100 people.
GARY (shrugs) It’s gonna take what it’s gonna take, George. And there will be lots of students willing to work for free.
GEORGE Well, we need to get started. We can’t wait around for Fox’s green light, it might take months longer.
GARY Careful, George. That old adage about investing your own money exists for a reason. It’s so you don’t find yourself a million dollars in the red on a movie that’s not gonna get made.
GEORGE I’m just going to go forward, as if it’s a go. If I just stand back and wait to see what happens next I’ll be behind when things start up. After all this, do you think they could still pull the plug?
GARY It’s possible, but I think we’ve got a friend or two among the suits.
George EXHALES, his mind BURDENED.
GEORGE I just wish I felt good about the script.
GARY George, I can’t imagine you feeling good about anything.

INT. LONDON OFFICE – DAY

George and Gary are PORING over two copies of the movie script. They are FRUSTRATED and EXHAUSTED.
GARY George, you’re just going to have to face the fact that we can’t keep nipping off little pieces here and there and eliminate $600,000! It’s not gonna work like this.
GEORGE We’ve already made fundamental changes to the film. A big cut now, on top of it all…
GARY It’s not as if they’re giving us a choice. There’s no green light until we do this. So let’s do this.
George takes a DEEP BREATH and SITS DOWN.
GEORGE So…draft number four.
GARY You’ve been wanting to tighten it up.
GEORGE While it’s true I’m not totally satisfied with it, I don’t know where to begin. I’ve been wracking my brain.
GARY Well, let’s start with what you don’t like. Where are you most dissatisfied? What’s the real problem area?
GEORGE Hm. The first thing that comes to mind, is the Kyber Crystal.
GARY Cutting that out won’t really save us much money.
GEORGE No, but it’s a problem.
GARY You don’t like the design, or you don’t like the very idea of it?
GEORGE Well, Luke Starkiller is supposed to be strong with the force, so why does he need a crystal to connect with it?
GARY He’s new to it. He’s young.
GEORGE Yeah, but it also seems kind of convenient that the crystal and the princess are both in the same installation on Alderaan.
GARY We already discussed that, didn’t we? You said since it was so precious it’s sensible that it would be kept in the most well guarded fortress, the same place they would keep the most important political prisoners.
GEORGE I was thinking along those lines, before, but I’m not so sure now.
GARY Well, we can’t afford to have them sneak into two different fortresses. We can barely afford the one. You know how expensive the interior Alderaan sets were. And John’s not looking forward to shooting the ground scenery, either. He says it’s the hardest, most expensive thing he’s got left to do.
GEORGE All I know is that I think the Force is more internal for Luke. He shouldn’t need an artifact.
GARY Okay, let’s say he doesn’t need it, he still has to tangle with Darth Vader in the dogfight scene. Is he so powerful that he can defeat Vader without any sort of help? I mean, he’s just starting to learn about it.
GEORGE Maybe Obi-Wan is there with him somehow, guiding him when he’s in the cockpit. Not literally in the ship, but there in spirit form?
GARY Like they have some kind of telepathic connection?
GEORGE Maybe.
GARY We should try to establish that earlier, though. Maybe Obi-Wan feels Luke’s presence in the desert when he saves him from the Sand People. He hears him in the same way Luke hears him in the X-wing.
GEORGE Hm. I don’t know.
GARY It makes sense.
GEORGE Yeah.
GARY But? Sounds like there’s a ‘but’ there.
GEORGE It’s just…maybe when Obi-Wan guides Luke in the dogfight, he’s more of a spirit. It’s not telepathic, maybe he’s dead and contacting Luke from the beyond. Maybe when he dies he joins the Force, in a way. Becomes part of it.
GARY I don’t know. Alec’s not gonna like you killing him off.
GEORGE (getting excited) But it’s better this way. He’ll understand that. Another thing I don’t like is how they have to drag Ben with them when they escape Alderaan. Ben’s really just slowing them down. Maybe he dies on Alderaan. Maybe Vader kills him during the sword fight. I think it would definitely strengthen the dramatic aspect of the whole rescue episode.
GARY Hm. I’m still not seeing how this is going to save us over half a million dollars.
GEORGE You said Alderaan’s going to be expensive right?
GARY Yes. Very expensive.
GEORGE What if those sets we built we for the Death Star?
GARY Okay. I guess so. So…what? We cut Alderaan altogether?
GEORGE Yeah. The princess is on the Death Star, not Alderaan. It makes more sense this way.
GARY We have spent some money on Alderaan, though. We have a model of the planet. It would be a waste of money if we don’t use it.
GEORGE We blow it up. Alderaan’s the planet that they blow up. Before, all we did was suggest the power of the Death Star, but we never show it. They head to Organa Major, but it’s gone. We make it Alderaan. We have the model already!
GARY I suppose rigging up an explosion will be a small expense compared to what we were planning to do.
GEORGE Exactly.
GARY But, George, this doesn’t solve our problem. There’s still a lot we have to cut.
GEORGE It’s a good start. I have to talk to Dykstra, right away.
A pause.
GARY Still, Alec’s not gonna like his part being reduced.
GEORGE I know, but he’s a professional. He’s been through this sort of thing before.

CUT TO:
INT. SIR ALEC GUINNESS’ HOME – DAY

Sir Alec has a PHONE RECEIVER to his ear. His face SCREWS UP with anger.
ALEC Bloody hell!
He SLAMS the PHONE down in its cradle. His wife MERULA, 60s, is STARTLED.
MERULA Alec! What is it?
ALEC (livid) Cut my role in half, will he? Putting my career on the line for this bloody George Lucas and his bloody rubbish Martian film! No, sir! I’m through with him! Through!

INT. ELSTREE STUDIOS – REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER SET – DAY

SINISTER MUSIC RUMBLES, but the hallway of the blockade runner, where Darth Vader makes his first appearance, is empty. The MUSIC CUTS OUT and George enters the hallway rather than Vader, STROKING his beard and looking PENSIVE.
GEORGE Mm-hmm.

Screenplay for a TV Pilot – Tell me what you think

SPARKLE – PILOT EPISODE

FADE IN:

EXT. DIRT ROAD – DAY

A lonely dirt road leading uphill into a forest. A HUGE ROCK sits off the right shoulder, five or ten feet from the road. A HAZEL HAIRED BOY comes walking along with a backpack over one shoulder. He’s 12 years old, skinny, diminutive and innocent looking. The kind of kid who gets bullied. This is DEREK WINDWARD.

A CLOSE UP of the boy climbing up on the huge rock and sitting with his legs dangling. He opens his back pack and removes something very old-looking, a VICTORIAN LEATHER PROFILE, all cracked and worn. He opens it up. A CLOSE UP THE PROFILE shows a WHITE CARD pasted to the cover. On it is written the name D.D. WINDWARD.

Derek opens the profile, inside are yellowing HAND-WRITTEN PAGES in an eccentric calligraphic style. As he leafs through it we see INK ILLUSTRATIONS, as well. Derek comes to a page and stops.

DEREK (V.O.)
I know not from whence it came, but
the Bunyine is the living form of greed,
of power, and of wanting. All the
useless things that little men scratch,
squabble and war over. If this beast
is not Satan himself, then it is the
awful force that inspires him. What
the elements of nature are to the
Earth – dirt and water and soil, so
is evil an element of men’s hearts.
Here is the font from which it flows.

Derek LIFTS UP HIS HEAD, and his EYES FOLLOW THE TRAIL leading up into the forest. He’s FRIGHTENED, but trying to hold it in. He LOOKS BACK at the BOOK.

DEREK (V.O.)
You must defeat the Bunyine. Face it
first. Take nothing with you.

Derek closes the book and sits perfectly still. BIRDS CHIRP, WIND BLOWS, the BRANCHES of TREES QUIVER all around him. Derek puts his book away and drops down to the grass and starts walking uphill.

EXT. FOREST – DAY

Derek is making his way through the DENSE FOLIAGE, INTRUDING BRANCHES and PRICKLY BUSHES crowd in on him. The forest is UNCANNILY DARK with BEAMS OF LIGHT INTERSPERSED and CRISS-CROSSING. As Derek forces his way through it starts to seem to us, PARANOIDLY, as if the forest is almost PUSHING BACK at him. Derek FORCES THROUGH a final threshold of fauna and POPS OUT into a CLEARING.

Right IN FRONT OF HIM is a ROCKY OUTCROPPING in a STEEP HILL, at the center of which is the MOUTH of a DARK CAVE. The darkness is so thick it seems PAINTED ON. Derek pauses, QUIVERING WITH FEAR. After a moment he takes a DEEP BREATH and EDGES FORWARD.

BUNYINE (O.S.)
(extremely deep)
Brave, are we?

Derek STOPS in his tracks. The TERRIFYING VOICE is coming from the mouth of it. The voice is so thick and deep, like an EARTH TREMOR, it almost seems like it is the voice of the cave itself.

BUNYINE (CONT’D)
Take another step, boy. What could happen?

Derek doesn’t.

A HUGE BLACK PAW slides out from the darkness. It has GIANT EBONY CLAWS. When Derek sees them his eyes WIDEN in TERROR. The paw starts TAPPING ONE CLAW PLAYFULLY, but it doesn’t seem playful to the terrified child. The claw stops. There is a LONG PAUSE.

BUNYINE (CONT’D)
I’d like to fill my belly with
your warm blood. That’s what I
do to children. I bite off their
arms and their legs and I watch
them roll around, thrashing
their heads side-to-side,
screaming for their mothers.

Derek is FROZEN with fear.

BUNYINE (CONT’D)
You know I’m telling the truth, don’t you, boy?

Derek says nothing.

BUNYINE (CONT’D)
You think I don’t know who you are…Derek?

Derek starts to SHAKE, his BREATHS coming so VIOLENTLY, they are almost CHOKING HIM. The HUGE PAW recedes back into the cave.

BUNYINE (CONT’D)
Now, why are you here, I wonder?
Is it just to see me? Would you
have a look at me, child?

Derek tries to talk, but only STUTTERS and MUMBLES come out.

BUNYINE (CONT’D)
Then take a look, boy!

THE BUNYINE instantly LUNGES OUT at Derek. It’s a GIANT CAT, like a panther, but a thousand times more vicious. Its legs and shoulders are THICK with KNOTTED MUSCLE that’s as solid as rock. Its GIGANTIC EYES and FANGS FILL UP THE SCREEN.

WHIP PAN away from the beast and

SMASH CUT TO:

EXT. FOREST – DAY

Derek SCREAMING and TEARING through the JAGGED FAUNA. The SHARP BRANCHES are CRACKING, BREAKING and SNAPPING BACK at him, CUTTING his ARMS, NECK and FACE to ribbons, as he flees for his very soul.

SMASH CUT TO:

EXT. DIRT ROAD – DAY

A WIDE SHOT of the road with the woods LOOMING in the background. We hear a distant scream. There’s an OLD WOODEN SIGN off to the left of the road. A CLOSE UP of the sign reveals the words BUNYINE WOODS.

END OF TEASER

ACT ONE

EXT. MOON WINDOW – DAY

A WIDE SHOT of a large old house sitting atop a hill. It’s almost a mansion. The house is called MOON WINDOW, and a CURVY ROAD leads up to it. The house is ODD-LOOKING, as if designed by an eccentric, but VERY ELEGANT, as well. The roof is mansard. Flat, with a squat isosceles triangle, the attic level, centered in the middle of it with a BEAUTIFUL BLUISH WINDOW displaying a MOON DESIGN, from which the house derives its name. The house has one tower, as well, inside it is a spiral staircase connecting a bedroom and the kitchen.

SUPERIMPOSE: THE DAY BEFORE

A minivan drives up the road, it’s PACKED to the ceiling with BOXES and SUITCASES. More is tied to the roof. The vehicle pulls up in front of the house and the driver’s side door POPS OPEN. Out comes PETER HUFFY, 29, on the skinny side, a nerdy guy who could be somewhat handsome if he tried to be. He’s wearing ‘geeks’, thickly-rimmed glassed.

PETER
(excited)
Unbelievable! There it is! Man, that’s wild.

Out of the passenger’s side steps ALYSSA HUFFY, late 20′s. She’s very pretty, dressed athletically, like a jogger, and WAY out of Peter’s league. Being jaded, we’re thinking “He must be rich.”

ALYSSA
It looks better than the pictures online.

PETER
Yeah. I guess the house was having a
bad hair day, or something, when they took those.

There’s a small, compact car sitting nearby. Peter POINTS at it.

PETER (CONT’D)
Is that what’s-her-name’s car?

ALYSSA
Velma. Probably. She said she might be here when we arrive.

Alyssa and Peter EMBRACE EXCITEDLY, and LOOK UP at the house.

ALYSSA (CONT’D)
Jeeze. Pictures just aren’t as good as real life.

PETER
That’s for sure.

A beat passes.

PETER (CONT’D)
Video games, though. Video games are as good as real life. Kinda better.

ALYSSA
(rolls eyes)
Would you stop? Your Xbox is gonna be here in three days.

PETER
(mildly upset)
Right. I’m sorry. Three days. Three days. Seventy-two hours…straight.

She SQUEEZES him HARDER, he SQUEEZES back.

ALYSSA
It’s amazing.

PETER
(sincere)
It really is. It’s like a story
book house, or something.

ALYSSA
Our first house.

PETER
Our first house.

A beat.

PETER (CONT’D)
Should I carry you across the threshold?

ALYSSA
(doubtful)
You’re gonna carry me up those porch steps?

PETER
Noooo, you’re gonna walk up the steps,
then I’m gonna carry you across the threshold.

She laughs.

ALYSSA
I weigh a hundred pounds. Can you lift a hundred pounds?

PETER
Whoops. Did you leave ten pounds in the car?

She LAUGHS HARDER, and BURIES her face in his neck.

ALYSSA
(laughing)
Stop it!

PETER
(teasing)
Maybe we should go look for the ten pounds?
Oh, wait, maybe you packed it with my Xbox?
That ten pounds is gonna get here in three days?

While they are both LAUGHING, the FRONT DOOR of the house OPENS and a SMALL WOMAN in QUAINT BUSINESS WEAR steps out and waves. This is their realtor, VELMA THRAWLEY, 50′S.

PETER (CONT’D)
(welcoming)
Hey! There she is!

VELMA
Hi! You’re here! Oh, how wonderful.

Velma comes down the stairs to meet them. She shakes Alyssa’s hand first.

VELMA (CONT’D)
So pleased to meet you, finally. I’m Velma Thrawley.

ALYSSA
Alyssa. Yes, how are you?

VELMA
Fine. Just great. Oh, I just can’t
wait to show you around. The house
is so beautiful. It’s the loveliest
house in Forest County. I’m telling
you, it is a legendary place in
these parts. You’re going to be
so happy here, you two. Peter.

She and Peter shake hands.

ALYSSA
I’ve been dying to see the inside.

VELMA
Well, come on in, it’s all yours.

ALYSSA
Wait, let me get a camera.

VELMA
Oh, okay.
(to Peter)
I’m very familiar with the house, so
you’re in good hands, Mr. Huffy.

PETER
Mmm-hmm. You give good ‘house’, huh?

VELMA
(perplexed)
I don’t understand.

PETER
(apologetically)
I say dumb things.

She nods, politely.

INT. MOON WINDOW – DAY

Velma and the young couple are standing in the foyer by the stairs, still holding each other. The front stairs are ABNORMALLY LARGE and WIDE.

PETER
Wow. I thought people were smaller back
in the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ days.

VELMA
There seems to be no rhyme or reason for
much of the design. The house was not built
off of any plan. It was just sort devised
in segments representing different styles,
some I don’t think even have a name,
really. The end result is just, as you
can see for yourself, simply stunning,
if eccentric.

PETER
So are we. Although the ‘stunning’
isn’t equally distributed between us.

VELMA
Oh, this must be so exciting! I’m so
jealous. You’ve never even seen it
in person. You must be so thrilled.

ALYSSA
Yeah. It’s just amazing.

VELMA
I’ve never sold a house online, site
unseen, before. It really does make
things simpler, but without coming
here in person, well…I’ve been so
worried I’d miss something. I guess
there’s a trade-off for things being
simpler. By the way, a contractor
determined that the house’s old
heating tanks are still buried
on the property.

ALYSSA
First we’ve heard. Peter?

PETER
Well, not knowing something is
definitely simpler than knowing.

INT. MOON WINDOW – SECOND FLOOR – DAY

Velma is showing them the bedrooms.

ALYSSA
We really don’t have much coming,
though. We lived in a ranch back
in California.

VELMA
Oh! Then I recommend visiting the
town as soon as you can! I suggest
visiting Rose Windward’s store.
Beautiful antique furniture.

ALYSSA
Okay. We’ll do that.

VELMA
It’ll be a good way to meet some of the locals.

PETER
Yeah, we’re locals, too, now, I guess.

VELMA
(rolls eyes)
Oh, well…not quite. I think you’ll find
the natives here will be calling your
grandchildren the ‘new people’. Don’t
get me wrong, they’ll welcome you with
open arms, but they take pride in
their heritage.

PETER
Natives, huh? I thought you had to
cross a land bridge to be a native.

VELMA
(wagging finger)
They call that kind of talk
‘smart-ass-tic’ around here.

PETER
(laughs)
I like that. I like that a lot. I
think I’m gonna get that put on a
T-shirt. Seriously, I get T-shirts
made all the time.
(admitting)
I’m a huge nerd. We’re working on it.

VELMA
Well, you can get that done in town.
Sparkle is renown for its arts and
crafts, that’s what’s kept it alive
all these years. The local economy
is absolutely dependent on it.

ALYSSA
Great. We’re gonna have a lot
of space to fill, it looks like.

VELMA
Honestly, I wouldn’t know where to
begin decorating a house like this.
There’s just so many different
ways you can take it.

ALYSSA
Peter’s gonna leave that up to me.

PETER
Yeah. The most decorating I’ve ever
done was the ‘booger wall’ I had
in college.

VELMA
(surprised)
Excuse me?

ALYSSA
(annoyed)
Peter.

PETER
Well, it turned into my poster wall,
eventually. I saved a lot of money
on thumb tacks.

INT. MOON WINDOW – ATTIC – DAY

The attic is CRAMPED, but the BLUE TINT from the window makes it very charming. Up close, the window is somewhat reminiscent of Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’.

ALYSSA
My god.

PETER
(moved)
Yeah. I’m not even gonna say something sarcastic.

VELMA
The window is very old. About two
decades ago it was taken apart and
repaired, the glass was polished
and the lead cames were replaced
with copper foil. I can’t be certain
how many times its been refurbished,
but it’s in excellent shape. It’s
why the house is called Moon
Window. Though, you probably
guessed that, already.

PETER
What is it for? Does it mean something?

VELMA
What does? Oh, the moon and stars?
I don’t know about the stars but
sometimes the moon rises up past
this very window, going right
through the center. The size of
the moon here is inaccurate,
but it was enlarged, I believe,
so as not to leave too much
empty space.

ALYSSA
I know it’s cramped, but maybe
we should make this a guest room.

VELMA
It’s very cold up here in the
winter, Alyssa. This kind of
window lets in the cold, almost,
as if there were no glass at
all! But it is very beautiful.

PETER
I’ll say.

Peter reaches out and GENTLY RUNS A FINGER down the GLASS MOON.

PETER (CONT’D)
I’ll say.

VELMA
Where will you two be staying
tonight? In the house?

ALYSSA
Yeah. We’ve got a couple sleeping
bags and air mattresses.

VELMA
And your furniture?

PETER
It’s coming in a U-pack. With my Xbox.

VELMA
Excellent! Oh, if you change your mind,
I suggest staying at the ‘Doss and Wick’,
a beautiful B and B not too far from
here. I’ll write down the directions
before I leave.

PETER
Thanks. I think we might just sleep
right here, though, right in front
of that big window.

VELMA
Oh, that will be so romantic.
(sobering)
For the first couple days, anyway.

Velma walks past them and out of the room. They watch her, but don’t respond.

INT. MOON WINDOW – ATTIC – NIGHT

Alyssa and Peter are CURLED UP in their sleeping bags on their air mattresses. They are STARING AT THE WINDOW, and everything is tinted in ROMANTIC BLUE LIGHT.

ALYSSA
I just can’t believe where I am.

PETER
I can’t believe we actually moved
to Pennsylvania without winter
outfits. Not even windbreakers.

ALYSSA
(exhausted)
Ugh. Peter. You have been
extra…’you’, today.

PETER
I know. I’m sorry.

ALYSSA
Normal ‘you’, I love. A little more
‘you’, I still find amusing. Frustrated,
in denial ‘you’…

PETER
I don’t like him, either. Okay?

ALYSSA
Just tell me you’re happy.

PETER
I’m happy.

ALYSSA
Oh. You are such a bastard.

PETER’
Lyssy, I’m happy.

ALYSSA
You wanted this. You wanted the
house, you picked the house,
you said you didn’t mind snow.

PETER
It’s not about any of that. It’s…

A beat passes.

ALYSSA
What?

PETER
(perplexed)
I don’t know, it’s just…

ALYSSA
Something you don’t like?

PETER
No. Something…

CLOSE UP – WINDOW

the FACE of the moon seems ALMOST MENACING, like it’s observing them.

CLOSE UP – PETER’S FACE

all TWISTED UP with UNCERTAINTY.

PETER (CONT’D)
Close.

END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO

INT. VAN – DAY
Peter and Alyssa are driving away from their house.

ALYSSA
Velma said the town is ‘renown’. Had
you honestly ever heard of Sparkle,
Pennsylvania before this?

PETER
A bit of sentimental embellishment?

ALYSSA
Maybe it’s regional. Maybe only
Pennsylvanians know about it.

PETER
That doesn’t sound like Pennsylvanians.

She SWIPES HIM ON THE ARM and LAUGHS.

PETER (CONT’D)
Watch it! You know how strong you are!

ALYSSA
Yeah, right. You’re the only man who’s
ever called me ‘strong’, tough guy.

PETER
Are you kidding? With those arms?

ALYSSA
Yeah.

PETER
All those gallons of two percent
milk I’ve seen you lift, one-handed.

ALYSSA
(laughing)
Pennsylvanians aren’t dumb. I’ve
never even heard that. That’s
not even a real stereotype.

PETER
I’m clever. I’m creative. Okay?
People like me are the reason
there are stereotypes, to begin with.

ALYSSA
Well, thank god for ‘you people’.

EXT. SPARKLE TOWN PROPER – APPOLINE WAY(MAIN STREET)- DAY

HIGHWAY BLACKTOP TURNS to COBBLESTONES as they enter the town. Appoline Way, the main street of the town, is parted down the center with WEEPING CHERRY and PURPLE SMOKE trees, a beautiful sight in themselves. Delicate looking, yet VIBRANT, they seem to BLUR TOGETHER like an impressionist watercolor. Wonderfully old street lamps line the WIDE SIDEWALKS, which seem to welcome pedestrians. The street is BUSTLING with people shopping, walking, chatting.

The stores look SNUG, like they are CARVED IN PLACE, their signs DANGLING by HOOK AND HOOP over their entrances. They look to be almost all craft shops. A glass maker; a seller of ceramic figurines and dolls; two flower shops; a store full of woven rugs and mats; a shop for new books; a shop for old books; antique lamps, furniture, toys, appliances. Everything is CHARMING and IDYLLIC.

There’s a STATUE at the far end of the street, centered in a market square.

There are no cars on the main street, so Peter and Alyssa park on a side street and walk, GAWKING at the sights. Peter’s T-shirt, worn under a loose flannel shirt, is one of his specially made ones, it bears the words SMARTASS PHENOMENON on the front.

ALYSSA
(awed)
I can’t believe we live here.

PETER
(pensive)
I wonder if I can get vinyl records
here. I always wanted to be the kind
of guy who collects vinyl records.
If I could just figure out how
to play them.

ALYSSA
There’s plenty of time to explore,
in the future. I want to get started
on the house, today.

PETER
Right. Furniture. Can’t wait. Let
me just put my manhood back in
the glove compartment.

ALYSSA
Your breast pocket will do the
job, Peter.

PETER
Let me be the funny one today,
would you, please?

INT. WINDWARD’S ANTIQUES – DAY

The inside of the store is very CROWDED with WOOD and BRASS. Furniture is stacked high up, but there is an understated elegance about the place.
A woman walks out of the back room. This is ROSE WINDWARD, late 30′s. Like the shop, she is also understated, yet elegant. Her hair is light-blond, and she’s wearing a flower print dress with a starched, button-down shirt. She’s vaguely reminiscent of a woman in an old Western.

ROSE
Hello. How do you do?

ALYSSA
Hi. We’re the Huffy’s, we’re new
to town. We just moved into the
Victorian out on…

ROSE
Ah, the old house on the hill!
That’s a lovely place. I was so
hoping someone would move in
there. The last owner was
practically a ghost when he
was around, and that was rare,
in itself. The house just sat
there, unused.

ALYSSA
So you know it? Maybe you have
some ideas about where to start?
We have some furniture coming,
but it will barely fill a corner
of that place.

The two ladies giggle.

ROSE
I know all about it. Is this your first house?

ALYSSA
Not exactly.

ROSE
Well, we don’t have a lot of
bedroom furniture at the moment,
but things are always coming in.

ALYSSA
That’s fine. I’d like to look
at some kitchen tables. We
have a bedroom set, but it
was his…

Alyssa indicates Peter, and Rose nods. Peter frowns and turns away.

ROSE
Oh my. Really, dear, you’re
starting all over again, with
nothing. It’s a blank slate.

ALYSSA
Yes, it is. It is.

ROSE
It’s a good idea to start with
the kitchen. It’s the heart of
the household. Come look at
this. It’s a plank table,
tiger maple…

The women walk away and leave Peter behind. He doesn’t follow them. He walks toward the entrance and sits on a CREAKY ROCKING CHAIR. He settles in. SIGHS. Relaxing. Rocking contentedly. He turns his head and stares out the window. He starts HUMMING the theme song for the old movie Flash Gordon, an 80′s geek culture staple.

PETER
Smartass…phenomenon. POW! He’s a miracle!

Outside, an angry looking girl stomps past the window. The shop’s bell TINKLES and she comes in and stands with ARMS CROSSED just a few feet away from Peter, who is DAYDREAMING, HALF-ASLEEP. This is MIRANDA-JULIA CAPPERN, twelve years old. She has light brown hair and the same vaguely old-fashioned style, with long pig-tails SPILLING over her shoulders and a cartoon character back pack. But her attire looks far more innocent than her face, which is INCENSED, ready for a fight.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Rose!

Peter JERKS awake at the sound of the girl’s LOUD voice. Rose comes walking toward them.

ROSE
Oh! Alyssa, come here! Meet my niece, Miranda-Julia.

Alyssa EXTENDS A HAND to the girl, who accepts it GRUDGINGLY.

ALYSSA
How do you do? I’m Alyssa Huffy.

The girl TURNS UP her nose, MOCKING PROPRIETY and MIMICKING ELIZA DOOLITTLE.

MIRANDA-JULIA
How do you do? Miranda-Julia Cappern.

Alyssa doesn’t notice the girl’s effrontery.

ALYSSA
Miranda-Julia. That is just the
most charming name I’ve ever heard.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Thank you. I like it very much.

Alyssa POINTS AT PETER, who is still sitting.

ALYSSA
This is my husband, Peter

Miranda TURNS and SHAKES his hand WITHOUT LOOKING AT HIM. Peter’s face shows that he finds it a bit peculiar.

ROSE
So, what can I do for you, Miranda?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Rose, I can’t find Derek.

ROSE
Oh, well, he left this morning pretty
early. He took his bag and left. My
guess is he’s over by the bridge.

Miranda-Julia nods, ANNOYED.

MIRANDA-JULIA
By the bridge? Really? I guess I’ll
have to walk all the way out there now.

ROSE
Why don’t you just wait until he comes
back? He’ll be home for lunch, I’m sure.
(to Alyssa)
He likes to eat around 1 o’clock. I
leave his lunch in the fridge.

Alyssa NODS, interested.

ALYSSA
Hmm.

Miranda-Julia SHAKES HER HEAD.

MIRANDA-JULIA
No. He’s probably in one of his
moods again. He’ll skip lunch
and he’ll just get skinnier
and sicker and smaller.

ROSE
Well, I don’t remember him being
in any kind of mood. But I’m sure
you’ll cheer him up when you see him.

MIRANDA-JULIA
He doesn’t get cheered up. He just gets beat up.

Miranda-Julia turns around to leave.

ROSE
Miranda, why don’t you show Peter
around the square, like you did
with my brother-in-law that one
time, remember?

The girl STOPS in her tracks, turns around, a fake smile PLASTERED on her face.

MIRANDA-JULIA
(through clenched teeth)
Are you sure, Rose? Are you sure
Peter wants a tour of the square?

Peter looks awkward.

PETER
Oh, hey, that’s okay. I wasn’t
going anywhere. I was, um…

He QUICKLY rocks back and forth in demonstration.

PETER (CONT’D)
Just rockin’ out. I’m fine.

ROSE
Oh, come now, Miranda. Peter doesn’t
want to look at furniture, do you, Peter?

Peter SLOUCHES in his seat. He turns his head to find Miranda STARING DAGGERS at him. He’s startled, just a little. Miranda turns and STOMPS out the door, stops outside and spins around.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Come on!

Peter LEANS FORWARD in the rocking chair and MEEKLY PEEKS out the door at her.

EXT. SPARKLE – APPOLINE WAY – DAY

Peter is WALKING behind his DIMINUTIVE TOUR GUIDE, who’s pretending like he’s not there.

PETER
(awkward)
Hey, listen, you don’t have to stick
around. If you wanna go, it’s no big deal.

MIRANDA-JULIA
(mad)
She always sticks me with this crap.
This is the fifth time. But it makes
her look cool, I guess, giving
instructions like she’s some
mother hen.

PETER
Mother hen?

MIRANDA-JULIA
‘Like you did with my brother-in-law that one time.’

PETER
Like I said, if you need to go,
you’ve got something to do, you
know…anger management, boot
camp, whatever, you can just go.
No big deal.

Miranda STOPS and TURNS to him.

MIRANDA-JULIA
You want the speech?

PETER
Um…sure. Okay.

Miranda HOLDS UP her hands like a SPOKESMODEL.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Welcome to Sparkle. This, all around
you, is Sparkle. Sparkle is a town,
a place where people live and
congregate. These are stores, they
are a means by which goods are
distributed to consumers.

PETER
Okay. Okay, you can stop now. I
feel dumb, you did your job. That
was pretty good though, is that
written down somewhere?

Miranda RELAXES just a little bit.

MIRANDA-JULIA
I had to look up ‘congregate’.

PETER
It’s a good word. You should be glad
you have a place to use it. If I say
it, an engineer, I just sound like a dick.

Miranda STARTS WALKING again. Peter FOLLOWS, uncertainly.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Do you know who Rose is?

PETER
Uh, no, not really. She seems nice.

MIRANDA-JULIA
She’s very nice. She’s got her flaws,
but she’s very nice. What I mean is,
do you know who she is?

PETER
Is this a trick question? Is she
a ghost, or something?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Not exactly.

PETER
Okay, I give up. You win. Whatever
this is, you win, okay?

MIRANDA-JULIA
You’re the people who moved
into the old mansion, right?

PETER
Mansion? I guess. It’s a borderline
mansion, I suppose. Didn’t really
think of it as a mansion.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Do you know who built it?

PETER
Um, yeah. The guy who founded the
town, right? I forget the name,
I read it online a while ago. I’d
definitely know it if I heard
it, though.

Miranda STOPS and POINTS at the statue at the CENTER of the market square.

MIRANDA-JULIA
It was him.

Peter LOOKS at the PLACARD on the statue.

CLOSE UP – PLACARD

it reads DOUGLAS D. WINDWARD 1841-1901

PETER
(upset)
Oh no. You’re kidding me? Rose’s
great-great-whatever built my house!

MIRANDA-JULIA
(amused)
Kinda.

PETER
Is she gonna be, like, passive-aggressive
or something? Acting all nice, but plotting
our downfall?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Nah. She’s not blood related, or
anything. Her husband was a Windward.
He croaked, though.

PETER
Are there a lot of them around
here? Windwards? Angry male
Windwards, specifically?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Not too many. Derek has an uncle
named Warren. He lives in Sparkle. He’s
probably gonna come after you. You’d
better learn to defend yourself.

PETER
(shocked)
What? Oh my god, I can’t deal with
this! I’ve spent my whole life
avoiding confrontations! I’m
gonna have to buy a gun. No,
lots of guns. And dogs. Guns
and dogs and horses that bite
people. Attack horses.

Miranda GUFFAWS.

MIRANDA-JULIA
I’m just kidding, you big wuss.
Wow, are you a pansy. The Windwards
haven’t had that house for a hundred
years. They don’t care.

PETER
(embarrassed/angry)
You grew up in a war zone, didn’t you?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Nah. There is Derek Windward, my
cousin. He’s sort of a male, but
he’s kind of a wimp, too.

PETER
The kid you’re looking for.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Yeah. He’s got a few hidey-holes
he goes to read. I checked a couple
already. I’m pretty sure he’s out
near the bridge on Bunyine Road.
He’s goes there sometimes. Not that
much, though, but when he’s nowhere
else, that’s usually where he is.

PETER
Ah. Are you going there now?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Yeah, I guess. He’ll be sitting
there all depressed, reading a
history book, or something even
duller. You’re coming along.

She STARTS WALKING. Peter FOLLOWS without realizing it.

PETER
I am?

MIRANDA-JULIA
It’s far, and talking to you is better than doing nothing.

PETER
That’s true. Also, knowing me is better than not knowing anyone.

EXT. DIRT ROAD – DAY

Peter and Miranda are STROLLING ALONG. They are far from town WALKING A SINGULAR, THIN PATH.

PETER
When I told my friends I was gonna
get married they all said that
Alyssa was after my dough. Even
though the first two years we
dated I was dirt poor and it
looked like I was just some
crazy inventor, like Doc Brown,
who’d never amount to much.

MIRANDA-JULIA
I can see that.

PETER
For some reason, everyone just assumes
we started dating after I made my money.

MIRANDA-JULIA
(piqued)
So you’re rich?

PETER
I guess.

MIRANDA-JULIA
How’d you get rich?

PETER
I developed a couple of patents
with another engineer. Components
for bluetooth game controllers.
Pretty dull, actually. If I told
you what they did, you’d fall
asleep with your head on a rock.
Turned out to be worth a lot
more than we had initially
thought, though.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Wow. I never met a rich person, before.

PETER
Now you’re impressed with me? I
wasn’t rich a minute ago, as far
as you knew, and I was a total dud.

MIRANDA-JULIA
What are you worth?

Peter SHRUGS.

PETER
I’m not super rich, or anything.
More well-off, you could say.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Yeah, but how much?

PETER
About four million, give or take.
As long as we don’t go spend crazy,
we can just chill out, live off
the interest.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Not bad. What are you gonna do all day, out here?

PETER
I don’t know. Play games, read books,
watch movies. Write.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Write what? Like, the great American novel?

PETER
Neh. I’m not really gonna write. I just
threw that in, cuz that’s what people
say when they move out to the country.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Good. Cuz you’re already kind of…

PETER
What?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Girly.

PETER
Well, the gloves are off! Were you
born with an extra chromosome, or
something? One of those half-man/half
woman things? And your man half
is bigger than me?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Ha! I wondered the same thing about
you. You’re obviously half a man.

PETER
(mock hurt)
Hey now, I may not be very manly,
but I can be hell-on-wheels with
a turn of phrase. That’s what this
shirt is all about.

Peter STRETCHES OUT the front of his shirt with pride.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Oh, yeah. You’re a smartass
phenomenon. Pardon me, phenom.

PETER
SMARTASS PHENOMENON!

Peter POUNDS his chest.

PETER (CONT’D)
Don’t make me turn on the juice, okay?
You have never seen karate like my
karate. Unfortunately, there’s no
bragging rights for smiting a little girl.

MIRANDA-JULIA
So you don’t get to brag much?

PETER
(humbled)
Jeeze. You are the pride of your
generation, aren’t you? So where
are we going, again? Bunion Ave,
or something?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Bunyine Road. There’s a stream
and a bridge. That’s about as
far as I’ve gone.

PETER
What’s after that?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Woods. I guess.

PETER
Well, now, we don’t know everything, now do we?

MIRANDA-JULIA
We don’t care what’s up there.

PETER
There must be something, you don’t
just build a bridge for no reason.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Windward was a weird guy, he did
a lot of things that don’t make any sense.

PETER
Like what?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Like this whole town! He was supposed
to be really rich, so why come out here
and start all this? Go build a mansion
somewhere civilized where you can
throw parties and things, and act wealthy.

PETER
Well, I came out here.

MIRANDA-JULIA
(shrugs)
I figured you just do what your wife tells you.

PETER
You figured right. So what’s that mean,
anyway? Bunyine? Is that some kind of
herb, or root? Something you can
smoke, hopefully.

MIRANDA-JULIA
I don’t know.

PETER
What about up in those woods? You
don’t know anyone who’s gone up
there? There must be something.
Could be something cool like
a…pet cemetery.

MIRANDA-JULIA
A pet cemetery? You think pet
cemeteries are cool? Is that
a nerd thing?

PETER
Well…no. I just couldn’t think
of anything up there that might
be interesting. And I’m a geek,
not a nerd. Calling a geek a
nerd is like calling a Sicilian
an Italian.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Who cares?

PETER
Well, I care. Does that count?

MIRANDA-JULIA
There is a road, actually. Kind
of a path, up there, after the
bridge. I don’t know if it goes
anywhere.

PETER
You never thought to ask? I’ve
been here a matter of hours and
I’m asking. It’s basic curiosity.
You don’t starting asking questions
at your age, you’re gonna end
up an incomplete person. Like
a swing voter.

Miranda becomes QUIET and SULLEN.

PETER (CONT’D)
(careful)
Something wrong?

MIRANDA-JULIA
(spooked)
It’s weird. I just never thought about it.

PETER
(ameliorating)
That’s okay. No big deal. Wasn’t passing
any kind of judgement. I think you’re
lucky. It’s kinda cool, you know,
having a real life mystery to solve.
Feels a little like Scooby Doo.

Miranda is LOST IN THOUGHT.

MIRANDA-JULIA
You were right, though. I’ve been
up here a bunch of times, and I
never thought about what was up there.

PETER
I thought you didn’t care.

MIRANDA-JULIA
I’ll ask Derek. I bet Derek’s been up there.

EXT. BUNYINE ROAD – DAY

The two are walking QUIETLY. They walk past the BUNYINE ROAD sign. A GRASSY FIELD with a BRIDGE crossing a BUBBLING STREAM comes into view.

PETER
You know, this is a pretty long
walk. What’s the purpose of
coming all the way out here?

MIRANDA-JULIA
To find Derek.

PETER
For what?

MIRANDA-JULIA
He’s always doing something dumb.
He’s always getting beat up by
the other kids, or lost, or hurt.

PETER
Wow, he’s lucky to have you. No
one ever looked out for me when
I was getting beat up by the other
kids. That’s why I quit teaching,
actually.

Miranda STOPS. She shields her eyes with one hand and SQUINTS at something FAR OFF.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Do you see that?

PETER
What?

MIRANDA-JULIA
On the other side of that
bridge, that big rock?

PETER
That boulder?

MIRANDA-JULIA
Yeah.

PETER
Just barely. What is it?

MIRANDA-JULIA
(panicking)
I think I see his bag there.

Miranda TAKES OFF RUNNING.

PETER
Wait a minute! Miranda, what’s wrong?

EXT. BUNYINE ROAD – ROCK – DAY

Miranda RUSHES up to where Derek left his back pack earlier. The bag is still there, undisturbed. Peter is just behind her, he’s OUT OF BREATH.

MIRANDA-JULIA
There’s his back pack. Why
would he leave it?

PETER
He’s probably fine. He’s just
probably taking a whiz, or something.

Miranda DROPS her own bag. She’s UPSET.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Derek! Derek! Dereeeeeeeek!

PETER
Chill out! There’s no need to scream.

She SPINS AROUND, MAD AS HELL AT HIM.

MIRANDA-JULIA
(angry)
You…you just don’t get anything, do you?

PETER
Okay, okay. Let’s just have a look around.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Derek!

PETER
(reluctant)
Derek!

The two SPREAD OUT and continue calling. After a moment, Peter NOTICES SOMETHING and starts walking at it.

CLOSE UP – SHOE IN STREAM

PETER (CONT’D)
(calling to Miranda)
I think I see something.

MIRANDA-JULIA
What? Where?

Peter POINTS at the spot in the stream. Miranda GASPS and starts RUNNING, FRANTICALLY. Peter IMMEDIATELY follows her.
Miranda RUNS into the stream, her footsteps making BIG SPLASHES. She PICKS UP THE SHOE.

MIRANDA-JULIA (CONT’D)
(shocked)
There’s some blood. Oh my god.
There’s blood spots.

PETER
Oh, jeeze. We…

Peter SEES SOME MOVEMENT in the side of his eye and TURNS. He then starts RUNNING at the bridge.

PETER (CONT’D)
Miranda! There!

Without looking, Miranda TEARS UP THE STREAM.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Derek!

In the DARKNESS UNDER THE BRIDGE a PALE FORM is resting. It’s Derek. Miranda GRABS HIM by the SHOULDERS and LOOKS CLOSELY at his face.

CLOSE UP – DEREK’s FACE

is BLOODY, FILTHY. He is SILENT, his EYES OPEN, STARING. He is DRENCHED and SHIVERING.

MIRANDA-JULIA (CONT’D)
(panicked)
Oh my god. You’ve got to do
something, Peter. You’ve got
to help him.

PETER
He looks like he’s in shock.
Derek, can you hear me?

Derek’s HEAD TURNS SLOWLY.

PETER (CONT’D)
You okay, kid? Huh? I need you
to say something, if you can.
Tell us how you are.

Derek is SHIVERING BADLY.

DEREK
Cold.

PETER
I’m gonna move him out in the
sun. Okay, Derek? I’m just gonna
pick you up. Don’t panic.

Derek doesn’t struggle as Peter LIFTS HIM UP out of the MUD and CARRIES HIM out of the stream to DRY GRASS and SETS HIM DOWN. Derek LIES BACK. Peter and Miranda CROWD HIM.

PETER (CONT’D)
That could’ve gone worse. I half
thought he might scratch my eyes
out, or something, when I touched
him. Throw a fit.

MIRANDA-JULIA
(crying)
Oh Derek. Be okay.

PETER
I’m gonna call the police. Get
an ambulance up here. Okay?

Miranda NODS, UNCERTAINLY.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Yeah. Yeah.

Peter takes out his PHONE and starts DIALING. A SHAKY HAND, DEREK’S, REACHES OUT and TOUCHES PETER’S HAND.

PETER
Derek? You okay?

Derek SHAKES HIS HEAD.

PETER (CONT’D)
I’m calling for help, right now. Someone’s coming.

Derek GRASPS PETER’S HAND.

DEREK
(weakly)
No.

PETER
What?

DEREK
No. Stop…Peter. Stop.

PETER
(concerned)
What is it?

DEREK
Don’t…call…anyone.

PETER
I have to call for help, Derek. You’re hurt.

DEREK
No.

MIRANDA-JULIA
He’s got to call, Derek.

DEREK
(desperate)
No!

END OF ACT TWO

ACT THREE

EXT. BUNYINE ROAD – FIELD – DAY

Peter and Miranda are SPEAKING QUIETLY fifteen or twenty yards from Derek.

PETER
He doesn’t want to say what
happened. That’s not good, Miranda.

Miranda-Julia is SO ANGRY, her eyes set in a DETERMINED SQUINT, that she can BARELY SPEAK.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Someone…did this?

PETER
I didn’t say that. But all those cuts?
He must have been in the woods, up there.
(nods toward woods)
He must have been running from something.
An animal? A person? I don’t know. But
there aren’t too many explanations
that make sense. When kids are
assaulted, they often don’t want to
tell anyone. Do you understand
what I’m saying?

Miranda LOOKS AT DEREK, then at Peter.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Uh-huh.

PETER
Are you sure? I don’t want to draw
any conclusions, yet. Let’s stay
on the same page here.

MIRANDA-JULIA
(simmering anger)
Someone hurt Derek. I’m gonna find them.

PETER
Could you please just act like a
little girl, for a second? Talk
to him. Get him to talk about it.
I wanna know more before we take
the next step. I’m still gonna
call an ambulance. Prepare him
for that.

Miranda SLOWLY TURNS and WALKS to Derek. She KNEELS DOWN next to the SHIVERING BOY.

MIRANDA-JULIA
(whispering)
Derek.

He looks at her.

MIRANDA-JULIA (CONT’D)
(whispering)
You don’t have to tell anyone else,
but you have to tell me. Who is
gonna die for this?

DEREK
There was nobody.

MIRANDA-JULIA
This is me, Derek. Tell me who.

DEREK
It was…the darkness in the cave.

MIRANDA-JULIA
What?

DEREK
I went inside a cave. I didn’t have a
flashlight. I heard something, I got
scared and I ran. I won’t do it again.
I promise, Miranda. I won’t ever do it again.

A moment PASSES. Miranda’s SIMMERING ANGER STARTS TO BOIL.

MIRANDA-JULIA
You did this to yourself?

Derek NODS.

MIRANDA-JULIA (CONT’D)
I believe you. I do.

Miranda BOLTS UPRIGHT.

MIRANDA-JULIA (CONT’D)
I can’t believe you! If that isn’t
the most irresponsible thing I’ve
ever heard! Do you know what I was
thinking? I can’t even look at you,
Derek!

DEREK
(frightened)
I’m sorry.

MIRANDA-JULIA
Don’t speak to me!

Miranda STOMPS OFF towards the road. Peter RUNS up to Derek.

PETER
Miranda! Miranda! Where are you going?
(to Derek)
What happened?

DEREK
(pleading)
I just wanna go home. Can I just go home?

PETER
Hold on, Derek. I’m gonna call an ambulance.

DEREK
Please don’t.

PETER
You’re hurt, and we’re miles away from town.

DEREK
But…

PETER
No, Derek. I’m sorry.

Peter puts his phone to his head and then TAKES IT AWAY and LOOKS at it.

CLOSE UP – PHONE

is blinking “LOW BATTERY – SHUTTING DOWN”

PETER (CONT’D)
Damn it!

EXT. BUNYINE ROAD – DAY

Peter and Derek are walking back to town. Peter is carrying Derek’s bag and also Miranda’s discarded one.

PETER
She must have just stomped all
the way home. How angry was she?

Peter SHAKES Miranda’s bag.

PETER (CONT’D)
I mean, there’s a lot of stuff in here.
Probably a computer and a phone. Maybe a
telescoping baton. You know, something
light weight, but lethal.

Peter EXAMINES Derek’s bag.

PETER (CONT’D)
You’ve got an atlas, or something, in here?

DEREK
Yeah. A world atlas. Can I hold that?

PETER
I’m not gonna go through your stuff.
I promise. Just give those arms a
rest. Oh god, those look horrible.
Do you live far away? Those really
need cleaned up.

DEREK
Kinda. I’ll just go back to my mom’s
store. She’ll take me home when she’s
done freaking out.

PETER
Okay. Jeeze that looks bad. What about Miranda?

Derek looks MILDLY ASHAMED.

DEREK
She’ll be fine, I guess. I’ve seen her that
way before. Next time I see her she’ll act
like nothing happened, and it’ll be okay.
We just have to never, ever speak of it.

PETER
Well, she’s mad for a good reason, you know.
Really, really mad. I’m pretty sure I’ve never
been that mad.

DEREK
Yeah. Me neither.

PETER
(lightening up)
So there’s a cave up there, huh? What’s it like?”

Derek starts a little.

DEREK
Did I say that?

PETER
Yeah.

DEREK
I don’t know why I said that. There wasn’t a cave.

PETER
Really?

DEREK
Yeah. There’s nothing up there.

PETER
That’s weird. Why’d you say it?

DEREK
I don’t know.

PETER
But you went up in the woods. Why’d you go up there?

DEREK
I don’t remember.

PETER
You said you got scared and ran away from something.

DEREK
Don’t you believe me?

PETER
No, no! I believe you. I’m just putting
this all together in my mind. I just
don’t get what happened, is all.

DEREK
Oh.

PETER
I guess, maybe, you were confused
when you said that stuff.

DEREK
Yeah.

Peter SHUTS UP, by the look of him, though, he seems doubtful.

EXT. SPARKLE – APPOLINE WAY – DAY

WIDE SHOT – THE STREET

outside Windward’s Antiques. Peter and Derek enter the store.

ROSE (O.S.)
Oh my god! Derek! Baby! What happened!

DEREK (O.S.)
I’m okay, mom.

ROSE (O.S.)
Come here now! Alyssa! I have some
bandages and some iodine in the back
room! Peter? What happened?

PETER (O.S.)
I’m not sure, Rose. He was like
this when I found him.

ROSE (O.S.)
Alyssa! Get me some wet towels! I have some in…

INT. VAN – NIGHT

Peter and Alyssa are driving home. The back of the minivan is CRAMMED WITH FURNITURE.

PETER
Did you have trouble moving all this stuff?

ALYSSA
Oh, we somehow managed without you.

PETER
Thank god. I really didn’t want to help.

Alyssa laughs.

PETER (CONT’D)
How many rooms is all that gonna fill?
Like, the whole first floor?

ALYSSA
(disbelief)
Are you serious?

PETER
Huh?

ALYSSA
This is, maybe, half the kitchen. Maybe.

PETER
Oh jeeze. How many more trips do you figure it’s gonna take?

ALYSSA
For that whole house? Who knows?

PETER
Oh man. Honey, have you ever cheated on me?

ALYSSA
(shocked)
What? No!

PETER
Seriously? Not ever? Maybe with a
broad-shouldered guy? Someone who can
lift a kitchen table, by himself?
Someone who owns a pickup truck, perhaps,
that’s good for hauling furniture?

Alyssa laughs.

ALYSSA
No. No one comes to mind.

PETER
Well, what about around here? Are
there any big guys who caught your eye?
Guys who might be interested in starting
something up with you, short term? You
know, just until we have the second floor
furnished?

ALYSSA
(laughing)
No, but you’re making it sound like a good idea.

PETER
Seriously. No questions asked, as
long as he’s willing to work.

ALYSSA
All right, all right. Back to Earth,
okay? Do you think that boy’s going
to be all right?

Peter shrugs.

PETER
I guess. I mean, he walked all the way home?

ALYSSA
It’s a good thing you found him.

PETER
I really didn’t do much.

ALYSSA
Strange.

PETER
Yeah.

ALYSSA
Well, what did you think of Rose?

PETER
She seems nice. She kind of reminds
of Blythe Danner, you remember, that
actress? She played the mother in
that movie we wathced that took
place in the 40′s, and there’s
this whiny kid complaining about
his childhood.

ALYSSA
Brighton Beach Memoir.

PETER
Yes! That’s the one. Rose reminds me of her.

ALYSSA
Weird. I didn’t get a Blythian impression from her.

PETER
I think it’s there. You gotta look deeper.

ALYSSA
What about the kids? What was that like,
spending all that time with children?
You guys get along?

PETER
It was okay. Turned out to be kind
of a hassle in the end. All that walking.

ALYSSA
Do you like Miranda?

PETER
Let me tell you something. That girl
is special. I can’t wait ’til she’s
old enough to drink and we can start
going on benders together.

ALYSSA
(laughing)
What about Arthur? Did you like him?

Peter’s smile FADES A LITTLE.

PETER
Um…he’s okay, I guess. Kinda dark, you know.

ALYSSA
Listen, honey, I know this is going
to sound a bit weird, but I want
you to spend some time with him.

PETER
(shocked)
What? What the hell for?!

ALYSSA
Rose and I talked about him, a little.
He doesn’t have a father, Peter. He
needs some kind of a male influence.

PETER
And I’m the best you can come up
with? What makes me qualified? I
mean, how male am I, exactly? I
don’t watch sports, I can’t fix
stuff. I suck at everything. Heck,
I read that Jane Austen book last
year, you remember that? And I
really liked it, too.

ALYSSA
Well, that’s what makes you perfect
for this. He doesn’t need some kind
of alpha male role model. He needs
someone who’s sensitive, like he is.
Someone who’s smart.

PETER
This is not the voice of wisdom,
I am hearing. A role model? You
can’t be serious!

ALYSSA
Peter, I really want this. I
think it’s the right thing to do.

PETER
You barely know him, hon. He’s depressing!
He really is! Kids like that are why schools
have metal detectors, nowadays! You never
know when they’re gonna go BOOM!

ALYSSA
And you’re fun, Peter. He needs to have
some fun. Rose says he doesn’t have any
friends. All you have to do is take him
along when you go do things that you
already want to do. That’s all.

PETER
Lots of boys don’t have fathers. I barely
had one. Not during baseball season, anyway.
Boys without fathers…they buy acoustic
guitars and write boring, bitter songs
about abandonment. You like the band
Pearl Jam, honey? That band wouldn’t
exist if any of them had proper male
influences. What if Derek is the next
Eddie Vedder, and I’m gonna ruin that?

ALYSSA
Then get him an acoustic guitar.

There’s a MOMENT OF SILENCE, and Peter looks CONCERNED.

PETER
Wait. Wait a minute. Is that
the end of the conversation?

Alyssa doesn’t answer.

PETER (CONT’D)
Really? Lyssa? Honey? Really?

INT. MOON WINDOW – ATTIC – DAY

Peter and Alyssa are ASLEEP on their AIR MATTRESSES. Alyssa is PEACEFUL, but Peter is TOSSING and TURNING. He seems to be HAVING TROUBLE BREATHING, too. All at once, he STIFFENS UP and SUCKS IN HIS BREATHE.

CUT TO:

EXT. SPARKLE PROPER – DAY

Peter is STANDING OUT in the street in his underwear and socks, exactly what he was wearing in bed. The sudden jump to BRIGHT DAY hurts his eyes, and HE COVERS THEM with his hands. He turns around, taking in everything. The surroundings are odd, the COLOR OF THE SKY, CLOUDS and SUN are PRIMARY, like a COMIC STRIP. So are all the BUILDINGS and THE STREET. He RUBS HIS HANDS and looks at them, they are also HUED in the strange, simplified color scheme.

PETER
My God, what is this? Wow. Am I
awake? I can’t be.

DOUGLAS
Hmm…awake?

Peter turns to the speaker and sees a FIT YOUNG MAN in his mid-20s. This is DOUGLAS D. WINDWARD. Douglas is LOUNGING on the EMPTY PLINTH where the square’s statue of Windward normally stands. He’s got a SIMPLE LOOKING PIPE in his mouth that’s OOZING out a THIN TENDRIL of WHITE SMOKE. He’s wearing trousers, suspenders, and a thick white button-up shirt, clothes not worn for a hundred years. What most stands out about him, though, in this strange environment, is that his coloring – his clothes, skin and hair – are NATURAL, not in primary colors. His smile is WELCOMING and COMFORTING.

DOUGLAS (CONT’D)
No, I’d say not. But don’t
let that make you think
that you are dreaming.

Peter LOOKS DOUGLAS OVER, and places him.

PETER
Why, D.D. Windward, you ol’ curmudgeon,
you. Fancy meeting you here.

DOUGLAS
Douglas is fine.

PETER
Well, I’ll be! Thought you were dead.

DOUGLAS
Hmm. Yes, actually. And how are you?

PETER
How? I don’t know. Pretty sure I’m
not asleep, though. So…I guess
I’m insane, huh? ‘Cuz this all feels
very, very real. Dreams don’t
feel this real.

DOUGLAS
Quite right, dreams do not. But
you are, in fact, not dreaming,
Peter. This place is very much
real, but you, however, are not.
Here, you are the dream. But we
shall see what we can do about that.

PETER
Wow. Well put. Whatever you meant.

DOUGLAS
I do apologize. This all must
be very confusing for you.

PETER
It kinda is.

DOUGLAS
Your mind must be all-of-a-twist.

PETER
Yeah. I’ve had lucid dreams before,
though. It’s just that there’s usually
women in bikinis and stuff, or a
harem filled with girls I knew back
in High School.

DOUGLAS
Yes, I’m sure. Bikinis and all
that sort of thing.

PETER
Wow, again. You just make me feel
so stupid. Just the way you talk.

DOUGLAS
Hmm. Do tell.

PETER
I know you’re not doing it on
purpose. You probably make
everyone feel this way, just
being you. I’m usually pretty
smart, though.

Douglas SMILES and POINTS at Peter with his pipe.

DOUGLAS
You’re far more than just that, Peter.
You’re a good man. Thank God for that.
You and I are going to do something
momentous. Something that greater
men than we failed to do.

PETER
Wow. Sounds great.

Douglas CHUCKLES GOOD-NATUREDLY.

DOUGLAS
You won’t be thinking that way when
you wake up. In fact, you’ll wish you
were never born. But when the pain
is gone, and the change in your
cranium is complete
(jabs at Peter’s forehead)
you will find that you are different,
somehow. Derek found he was different,
and so shall you.

Peter’s brow CREASES in thought.

PETER
(slight frustration)
You know, Douglas, I come from a
time when people speak more plainly.

Peter starts to feel a bit DIZZY, he WAVERS a bit where he’s standing. Douglas RAISES A HAND as if to WAVE FAREWELL.

DOUGLAS
Fare thee well, my friend. And
don’t forget, there’s a reason for
pain. No one has ever learned
anything worth knowing, who has
not hurt for it.

Peter’s body DISSIPATES, as does EVERYTHING AROUND HIM.

CUT TO:

INT. MOON WINDOW – ATTIC – NIGHT

Peter wakes up from his strange state of unconsciousness. He’s DAZED for a moment, then his face REGISTERS ALARM. He then GRABS HIS HEAD as if it’s ON FIRE, within.

CUT TO:

EXT. MOON WINDOW – NIGHT

WIDE SHOT – BACKSIDE OF MOON WINDOW

A SCREAM pierces the night. The RAW AGONY heard in the scream EXPOUNDS VOLUMES on the subjects of DESPONDENCY, PAIN and UTTER HELPLESSNESS.

END OF ACT THREE

ACT FOUR

EXT. THE INSIDE/OUT – MOON WINDOW – DAY

It’s a day painted in simple, yet VIBRANT PRIMARY COLORS. Derek LIES PROSTRATE on the grass outside of the house called Moon Window. He STIRS and wakes up, GROGGY but not surprised to be here.

He WALKS to the house, as he does his feet LEAVE THE GROUND, and he DRIFTS like a bubble to the BACK WALL, where he SOFTLY LANDS against it. He CLAWS at the brick and SLOWLY ASCENDS, as if he were UNDERWATER up to the WRAP-AROUND PORCH, and he CRAWLS over the RAILING. Once he gets over he SLAMS TO

THE FLOOR BOARDS, suddenly CATCHING GRAVITY.

DEREK
Ooooowww!

Derek PULLS HIMSELF UP by the railing, and RUBS the back of his head. He then WALKS along the porch, TRYING THE LOCKS on each window as he passes. He GIVES UP, then LOOKS AROUND for a tool. He GRABS the TOP PLANK on the railing and RIPS IT OFF with his bare hands. Now he has a 2×4. He TURNS and SWINGS it at the window, the front half of the 2×4 EXPLODES in a SHOWER OF WOOD CHIPS and SAW DUST.

Derek COUGHS and WIPES HIS FACE. He then WALKS until he’s under the ATTIC WINDOW. He GAZES up at it curiously.

Derek CLIMBS up on the porch rail and LEAPS with all his might. He SHOOTS UP a few feet like a ROCKET, but then is STOPPED MIDAIR, as if by some INVISIBLE BARRIER. He KICKS his legs and SWINGS his arms, just as if he was SWIMMING, after a few seconds of INTENSE STRUGGLING, he BURSTS THROUGH the barrier, and DRIFTS toward the plate glass window and CATCHES THE ROOF, and is left DANGLING, facing the window.

Derek HANGS there, staring at BEAUTIFUL GLASS MOON for a moment. The he REACHES OUT to touch it.

ANGLE ON – PLATE GLASS WINDOW

LOOMING INSIDE is a SILHOUETTE with a HEAD shaped like a FOOTBALL attached to a BROOM HANDLE NECK. The SILHOUETTE leans forward and HORRIFYING, JAGGED, MANGLED FEATURES become apparent. The CROOKED MOUTH of the demon OPENS WIDE, as if to ROAR LIKE A LION.

CLOSE UP – DEREK’S FACE

TWISTS and his mouth SUCKS IN AIR as if to SCREAM…

SMASH CUT TO:

Derek STRUGGLING, then STUMBLING out of bed and CRASHING TO THE FLOOR face first.

Derek TURNS OVER on his back, WINCING with pain and OUT OF BREATH. He STARES at the ceiling for a moment, and then PUSHES himself up to his feet. He LIMPS to his room’s window and LOOKS OUT on the DARK NIGHT.

WIDE SHOT – DEREK’S HOUSE

Derek GAZES for a moment, then LEAVES the window. Underneath the window, on the ground, WE HEAR the sound of DANGER. GROWLING. It’s the BUNYINE.
THE BRANCHES OF A TREE standing beneath Derek’s window SHAKE as the creature SWIPES IT with a GIGANTIC CLAW. TREE BARK goes FLYING in every direction.

CLOSE UP – TREE

A large patch of TREE TRUNK is now BARE of any bark. The Bunyine’s PAW REACHES OUT and DRAGS ITS CLAWS down the NAKED WOOD.

INT./EXT. WINDWARD HOUSE – KITCHEN – DAY

Derek, showered and dressed, his arms bandaged, enters the kitchen where breakfast – a blueberry muffin and some apple slices – is waiting for him on the kitchen table. He fetches some orange juice from the refrigerator and sits down. As he begins eating, he notices his mother standing outside through a kitchen window. He GETS UP and walks to the SIDE DOOR and OPENS it.

She is standing by the HICKORY TREE that rests under Derek’s window. Strewn on the grass all around it are SHATTERED PIECES OF BARK. Rose looks WORRIED, her ARMS CROSSED and holding her sides.

ROSE
Derek, do you know anything about this?

Derek RELUCTANTLY shakes his head.

DEREK
No, mom.

ROSE
You didn’t hear anything last night?

DEREK
No.

Rose SHAKES HER HEAD.

ROSE
Why in the world would somebody
do this? Do you think Miranda
did this? Is she mad at me
because I made her show Peter
around? I shouldn’t have asked her…

DEREK
I don’t think so. Miranda wouldn’t do this.

Derek WALKS up to the tree to get a better look. On the bare spot are THREE VERTICAL SLASHES gouged into the wood. They are VERY DEEP and STRAIGHT.

ROSE
Yeah. I didn’t think so, either.

Rose REACHES OUT and picks at one of the gashes.

ROSE (CONT’D)
I just don’t know what to say.
Does it look like they did it
with a saw? I think it’s too
messy for that. It looks like
a…I don’t know, a sickle or something.

DEREK
(hiding fear)
Yeah, maybe.

ROSE
But all the bark…

She BENDS DOWN and picks up a chunk.

ROSE (CONT’D)
You know what? I guess it was a bear.
I don’t know what I was thinking.
What else could it be? A bear must
have come to eat the bark. We’re
lucky it didn’t tear up the fence.

DEREK
Yeah.

ROSE
I’m gonna call Gilly later, and
tell him about it. Maybe there’s
been some black bear sightings.

DEREK
Okay.

ROSE
You be careful, Derek. Stay out of the forest. Okay?

DEREK
Yeah.

ROSE
I mean it.

DEREK
Right. I know.

Rose walks around to the front of the house. When she’s out of sight, Derek suddenly TEARS back into the house.

INT. WINDWARD HOUSE – DEREK’S BEDROOM – DAY

Derek RUSHES into his room. It’s SPARELY FURNISHED, with little more than a BED, a BOOKCASE and a DRESSER. He GRABS a book off a shelf and SITS DOWN on his bed.

CLOSE UP – FARMER’S ALMANAC

Derek FLIPS THROUGH THE PAGES to a MOON CALENDAR. His FINGER DRAWS DOWN THE PAGE until he finds a date. He DROPS the book on his lap.

DEREK
(grim)
Full moon. Three days.

Derek STANDS and WALKS to his window and GAZES OUT once again.

DEREK (CONT’D)
(distant)
It’ll be a bright night. I’ll be there.

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb – Blade Runner Tribute

Okay people! I’ve heard your complaints! Yes, there have been no reviews for a few weeks. Can’t be helped. Here’s something, a video I made a while back to tide you over, just in case you need something I’ve done to get you through those awful lonely nights. One of the greatest movies, one of the greatest songs. Not entwined forever. Enjoy!

MOVIE REVIEW: THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD(1982)


Although my college dorm didn’t drip blood, the guy I shared a bathroom with did. Actually, it trickled, more than it dripped, and it wasn’t the right color for blood. The first time I saw the stuff, it looked little more than a puddle of some thin, cream-based soup. A chowder, perhaps a bisque, with little chives in it. When I asked my roommate about it, he said that all he really knew was that it tasted kind of salty and he was scooping about a spoonful of it out of his bellybutton every couple of hours.

From a way better 1982 film. Oh my god.

Though I didn’t like where the stuff came from(or who it came from, for that matter), I tried not to worry about it. Whatever it was, it seemed harmless enough. I just had to remember to wash the stuff away before I stepped in the shower every morning. Eventually, though, the bottoms of my feet began to peel and blister, and a crust formed around the drain that proved resistant to all store bought acids that were available (in Fort Collins, at least, a pretty soft city for Colorado).

A friend of mine, who was very much into all that organic, homeopathic butt-pluggery, advised me to make a poultice to protect my feet from a mixture of crushed mustard seeds, epsom salt and alum. I tried to remember all of the ingredients, but at about the sixtieth impossible-to-find-in-a-red-state herb, I started jotting the list down on my forearm with a green ink pen of mine that I used, mostly, to doodle naked chicks and dancing teddy bears in my notebook during class. I stopped writing, however, when we reached ‘blood of a baby dragon’.

Actress realizing she’ll have to go back to waitressing when people see how stupid her movie is.

My dorm was pretty interesting, really. It was the building where they stuck all of the foreign kids – about half of the immigrants were Chinese boys who were too timid to look you in the eye, while the other half was South American girls who weren’t afraid to put their tongue in places usually reserved for bowel evacuation. So, I could always get help with my math homework, although it was hard to pay attention when I knew Carmen Dominguez was all alone in her room(hopefully eating hot peppers). I was a freshman, who, for some reason, was thought to belong somewhere in between those two demographics(which one I was closer to being, I’m still not sure of). Though there were never any murders in my building, during Halloween week, the American half of the dorm’s population hung up pictures of famous serial killers in the hallway. I stuck up a photo of Vanilla Ice.

Me and some kids from my dorm.

Two major events threw the dorm into a buzz that year. The first was when some guy posted photocopies of his dick all over the place. It was pretty impressive, ten inches or so, and right underneath, written in sloppy magic marker, was his cell phone number. The Chinese kids, for obvious reasons, had no idea what it was. They simply had no frame of reference, although their minds probably swirled with theories. I think they, finally, decided it was some kind of eel, ready for chopping and woking. I wonder if it made their mouths water.

I did have a frame of reference, however. Back in high school, a guy of similar biological fortune(a football player, of course), used to enjoy swinging his thingy from side-to-side so it could take a peek all the way around his waist, while spraying us with piss like some circus trick shot, forcing everyone into the kneeling duck-and-cover position. It was less a penis, really, than some kind of gross animal sidekick you’d see on a Saturday morning cartoon.

Idiot mistaking pocket fisherman for flashlight

.

I’d like to think there was some kind of judicial force in the universe, one that took note of such behavior and made sure proper dues were paid him in the future. I find that unlikely, however. Such thoughts are dangerous, for they beguile us with their justness, and guys with a looser grasp on the reigns of their sanity find themselves compelled to be the avenging angels that god never sent forth. I’m sure you’ve heard about such guys in the news. No. The truth usually sucks Richard. That guy had it great, and probably still does.

Hard truths should be faced. That we were wrong about all those sweet, doe-eyed and creamy skinned girls we had our lame fantasies about, the ones who were popular, but never dressed slutty, who said hello to you in the hallway, even when surrounded by their also popular friends. In rare, frank discussions we had about love and our romantic futures, we imagined these girls were innocent and good, because their smiles stopped us in our tracks and their laughter made our hearts flutter. These were the kinds of girls we admitted to each other, with blushes and goofy grins, that we day dreamed about marrying someday and would worship for the rest of our lives, if they would just have us. As High School ground on, we found out, time and time again, that these girls did bubonic things on Megadick’s waterbed, a glimpse of which would have given us all nightmares of envy.

What those ‘nice’ girls were really up to.

This segues nicely into the second noteworthy incident, which occurred at the tail-end of the school year, which is known, nowadays, as The Columbine Massacre(See? There was a point to all of that. You just had to hang on). Littleton, Colorado was just a pleasant chitty-chitty-bang-bang away from our campus, and someone I knew made mention of a huge ruckus he’d witnessed as he passed through that neighboring town. He said that 50-60 kids were dead in Littleton, and the killers were these two nerdy types who wore all black and had remote control helicopters with real missiles built on them. One morbidly obese student, a guy who was just doused in denim, sporting a cowboy hat and leather boots, too(a sophomore in the agriculture department),said that he’d heard the killers were Jewish extremists, and that today was some kind of Yiddish holiday when the ‘Hebes’(his word)made symbolic sacrifices to their tentacled goat god. I think some of this stuff turned out to be untrue.

From a way more awesome 1982 film.

I quickly discovered that Colorado was no place to be a weirdo. Thank God that my soul-taint didn’t show in my choice of clothes or hairstyle. Woe to those people who, for some reason, expressed their self-avowed individuality by dressing up Goth-style(which, when you think about it for more than a second, precludes any notion of true individualism, anyway), for they would be on the receiving end of many a chicken-fried knuckle sammich, with a steel-toed boot to the belly and a ‘Yeeehah!’ for an appetizer. The campus was unsafe for the time being, but that just made it all the more adventurous. Particularly, those dark stacks in the library’s bottom floor, where anything could be waiting to thump you one.

I suppose the point is that I went to college, I did what I was supposed to do, and all of my dreams, the ones that did come true, are now just part of my everyday life. If I had known that the future, no matter where you ended up, would not be the glorious parallel dimension that it was made out to be in those obtuse valedictorian speeches at graduation. A place where all debts would be settled, all desires satisfied, and which we would miss out on if we didn’t buckle down.

If we had known it would pretty much be like it is now, and that we would actually miss those days(I don’t, but I bet most of you do), we would not have taken it all so seriously. Who can say for certain that, at that age, and that level of stress, they would not have snapped, too? And that’s kind of what THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD is about, more or less. Excepting for the fact that I’ve put more thought into my review, already, than ever went into this film.

Anyway, when a movie opens up showing a title card that contradicts the title written on the box and poster, you know that you are in for something very special. And I was not disappointed with the first scene, which features some stellar conversation between lead character Joanne and her boyfriend Tim. I’m not certain about every word, though. It opens with our protagonist and her beau seated on a couch, awaiting the director’s cue, smack dab in the heart of what must have passed for a party in 1982(but looks more like 1977).

DIRECTOR(O.S.)

Action!

JOANNE
Hey, why don’t we get up from this couch and walk
away, now.

TIM

Far out, man.

JOANNE
Okay, but you have to stop pestering
me, Tim. I can’t decide right now about
our future together, and I don’t want to
get caught up in another one of those
conversations that sums up our whole lives
in just a few minutes.

TIM
Okay, hun, but remind me, again,
why you are staying at school while
everyone else is leaving? I know
we’ve been discussing this for four
weeks now, but for some reason,
the night before vacation, I can’t
remember.

JOANNE
Jeeze! What’s with your memory, Tim?
Is it the quaaludes?

TIM
It’s possible. I mean, you could still
get quaaludes back now, in 1982.

JOANNE

Oh Tim! The school is closing down
this hall, silly, so me and a few other
students are going to be irresponsibly
left behind, without oversight, to clean
it out and sell off the furniture. It’s
pretty much the best idea, ever.

TIM
Oh, that’s right! Thanks. And let me
just reiterate that I’m disappointed
that you are being wishy-washy on the
prospect of us living together.

JOANNE
Are you worried, perhaps, that there
seems to be an undertone of reluctance
that could mean something more,
such as my dissatisfaction with our
relationship, in general, making
sexual shenanigans all the more likely
to occur when you are gone.

TIM

Nah! There’s no way I’d notice something
like that. Hey, I just know you’re gonna have
a great time. I’m gonna go hang out
now with my friend who looks like
he may be the second far less talented
younger brother of John Belushi.

JOANNE
Okay, and I’ll wander around and
have short conversations with
everybody who is involved, just
as if I were introducing them all
to an invisible spectator.

TIM

Would you just go, already! Jesus Christ,
you’re a fucking nightmare!

The motif of THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD is rather familiar. Isolated young people being smushed by a deviant who’s doing it for some reason that would leave Sigmund Freud scratching his noggin. One of the major differences between this and most slashers to come, is the lack of sex as a precursor to a victim’s demise. Fans of this will be sorely disappointed. There is one random pair of titties in this film, but you pay a penalty for it when you have to see her disgusting lover, who looks some white trashier half-brother of Kris Kristofferson, talking on the phone with his shirt off. But don’t worry, there’s plenty more to be disappointed about. In that alone, you will NOT be disappointed.

Why would you want to hurt her? She’s adorable! Are you a psycho or something?


We see the beautiful Daphne Zuniga, for the first time, I believe, in this film(I wish I could clone her, the only problem would be waiting 10 long years for her to grow up). I could look that up, I guess, it wouldn’t be hard, I’m sitting, right now, at my computer. If I do that, though, I’ll just end up watching STEP BROTHERS or EUROPEAN VACATION on Netflix or Crackle. Zuniga is the star of one of my favorite films THE SURE THING, not to mention a long list of girly tv shows I couldn’t watch all the way through if I were trapped under a boulder.

In a rather strange murder for a slasher film, Debbie(Daphne)faints after finding that her mom has been permanently Nyquilled by the killer, who then carefully backs over her with her parent’s car while she’s K.O.’ed on the cement. I found this a bit unrealistic, because if a 19-20 year old Daphne Zuniga is safely passed out in front of most college age guys, killing her is probably way down their list of things to do with her. On a busier week, some fraternity would’ve built a booth around her and sold tickets to ‘Debbiestock’. After all, there was no such term as ‘date rape’ back then. If anything occurred within that gray area that’s found between sexual battery and consensual sex, the girl was usually instructed to say the rosary and apologize to the boy’s parents. Man, was I born too late.

It lets you record your favorite programs and watch them later. I shit you not

I think if Debbie had not fainted and been murdered, she would have realized that with her parents out of her life, and their insurance money about to make her rich, things weren’t half bad. That next semester she could be living off campus in her own apartment with a Pac-man machine and one of those new-fangled VTR home entertainment devices.

The movie tries to distract you from figuring out who the murderer is by throwing a decoy killer at you, some creepy guy who’s hanging around the dorm, but isn’t a student. If you are well past potty training, you won’t fall for this. Just keep your eyes on the prize, my friend, and you’ll be okay. Keep them trained on one of the two ridiculously obvious suspects, one of which gets painted in blood early in the film.

Did you know Bruce Willis was dead before the end of the THE SIXTH SENSE? If so, you will probably figure this mystery out during the opening credits, which flashes the film title PRANKS. This is, really, just another clever ploy by the filmmaker. He thinks if you easily figure out who the killer of PRANKS is, you will be surprised when the killer of THE DORM THAT DRIPS BLOOD is revealed. Does that make sense to you? If it does, holy shit are you crazy.

The way most people died in 1982.

Although the film opens with a rather interesting shot of a hand being split lengthwise by a huge knife, don’t expect to see too much more of that, later on. Most of the good murders don’t happen on screen. When Debbie’s head gets crushed under the wheel of her dad’s car, it’s not shown, but implied by off-camera sounds of ‘daphne-splutter’. When Patty(did I mention her? who the fuck cares)is shoved in a pressure cooker by the killer(while another student is, actually, STILL THERE WITH HER, making it not such a leap of faith to pin him as the murderer), her death is, like Debbie’s, implied with foley sounds of steamed rice being prepared for someone’s General Tso’s Chicken dinner.

My favorite scene in the movie is the bathroom murder of a school handyman. It’s well worth a closer viewing, because it just gets funnier and funnier if you pay attention. Here’s a chronological breakdown:

1 – Handyman enters bathroom, takes off work shirt, stands there looking tired and late middle-aged(which look the same, anyway). Takes out transisitor radio and turns it on.

2 – Pair of ‘mystery hands’ plugs something in outside of bathroom.

3 – Plug is revealed to be attached to drill. Drill is picked up.

4 – Handyman washes face in sink.

5 – Camera creeps up behind Handyman, murderer’s POV.

6 – Handyman continues to wash face, suspense is simply maddening.

7 – Killer’s arm stretches out behind Handyman(more slowly than an anaconda that’s been struck with a shovel)and grabs him around the neck(with RIGHT HAND). Handyman screams like a puss.

8 – Handyman’s head is shoved, rudely, into empty sink(with LEFT HAND)and held there.

9 – Killer picks up drill off the floor(also with LEFT HAND, the other one, I guess).

10 – Drill is slowly swiveled(in RIGHT HAND)and carefully aimed, as if it were a pistol.

11 – Blood spatters on mirror in arcing pattern(evidence of severed artery, possibly ketchup squeeze-bottle). Bathroom door, shown in mirror, is clearly open.

12 – Handyman dies on the floor in, possibly, a different bathroom. Door is now open, but it’s a different door, in a different bathroom, anyway, so no problem there. He is longer bleeding. Nasty undershirt now covered in dried blood, and even nastier than it was with just him in it.

A much better way to die in 1982.

Okay, so you don’t get to see any gore, but you do get to see the terrible things that a baseball bat can do to a roasted Cornish hen. Believe me, it ain’t pretty. There is no trick photography evident when the killer beats the shit out of the group’s late supper. It’s shocking, and it’s REAL.

What have I learned from THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, you may ask? Well, to put it succinctly, without exaggeration, I learned how to love again. I think I understand now, the importance, and incalculable worth, of every human being on Earth not involved in the making of this film. It reawakened my appreciation for the whimsical, often comical, consequences of creating in a collaborative art form other than this film. When people come together, work together, respect each other, great things can happen.

Great things like World War 2 – probably the best war ever made; Football – a great way to ensure the streets are safe for a couple hours a week, while I go to the bookstore; Gang Bangs – something almost as fun to watch as it is to participate in(does anyone know where these things happen? Seriously, just give me one solid lead, and I’ll never bother you again, I swear).

Hand-splicing made it possible to flash eleven alternate variations of the ‘Heavy Metal’ sign at concerts.

Yes, I put DTDB in
the same category with all of these terrific things, and I offer no apologies for it. What stands this film apart from them, however, is that it’s simply impossible to improve upon. No matter how much better you can make the picture or sound quality, through computer enhancements, etc., I doubt you’ll ever notice any qualitative difference in the experience of viewing it. But if you are ever forced to choose between watching this and having your legs torn off by a giant, just remember how much you need your legs to get home.

I highly recommend this film, in much the same way that I used to highly recommend friends double-bag their penoids with Carmen Dominguez.

                               
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Led Zeppelin – The Battle of Evermore(Remix) – Tribute to Lord of the Rings

Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Real Genius Tribute

Everybody says ‘war is hell’. Bullshit! Hell is editing video in Windows!

Movie Review – The Weirdo a.k.a. Weirdo: The Beginning(1989)

Trying to explain WEIRDO: THE BEGINNING in a thousand words or so is no easy feat. It’s a lot like trying to explain what ‘nothing’ is to a child who’s never heard the word.

Q: Daddy, what is nothing?

A: It’s nothing.

Q: But what is it?

A: I just told you, it’s nothing.

Q: What’s it look like?

A: Um…it doesn’t look like anything.

Q: It doesn’t look like something?

A: No, something can look like anything, because anything other than something is just nothing. But nothing just looks like nothing.

Q: Where can I find some nothing?

A: Hmm, everywhere, I guess. I mean, most of the universe is nothing. Then again, you can’t really find it, because it’s not there. Nothing doesn’t need to be somewhere, cuz it’s nothing. So it’s nowhere, too.

Q: Why did mommy leave us?

A: Cuz you were bad.

Shot and released in 1989, the making of this ‘movie’ was possibly contemporaneous with a brief flirtation I had with the Boy Scouts, and that was present in my mind as I watched. Not too much later, my mother would start dating an ‘outdoorsy’ guy who would abuse me and destroy the childhood purity that had, up to that point, been tenderly guarded by those who loved me. The man did not hit me or molest me. No, camping was his chosen form of abuse.

Also known as ‘wooding’, camping can often feel, depending on the participant’s tolerance for frigid temperatures, bowel discomfort and perpetual emasculation, like a Pre-Renaissance form of punishment. Hard to imagine that this practice still exists in our time, when teens are said to describe, while trembling, the temporary loss of their iPhone’s texting function as ‘torture’. That’s NOT how I define torture, personally. Not as long as I can still get on the internet.

This ‘movie’ helped me remember why I hate the outdoors. In the very opening scene our hero, Donnie(aka Weirdo), a skinny, mongrelized version of a person, is accosted while wandering through the forest collecting trash in a sack. Being a nature despiser, I’ve never had the chance to observe a donny up close. And if this movie contains any amount of accuracy, I don’t want to. Here are a couple of pictures of one, to help you understand what we’re dealing with here.

Donny, out for a walk.

As should be plainly obvious, it’s hard to photograph donnies. Not only do they cower in the darker corners of the forest in daylight hours, but they are almost always being assaulted by bikers and personal trainers. It’s getting harder, too, as their native habitats slowly disappear beneath the cement foundations of urban sprawl. Though, not often, sometimes they can be seen wandering outside the perimeter of the gas stations and Dairy Queens that now occupy the spots where, once, the foul outhouses and sheds that used to be their homes stood.

Donny, shopping for groceries.

The tale of Donny is the tale of all donnies. Rejected by their mothers, they live with pious old women and collect dirty frisbees, old turnips, and wood to decorate their bedrooms with. Donnies seem so much like us, that it’s easy to forget that they are still animals. Their person-like gazes imitate, quite realistically, visages of thought and emotion that can seem so human. This is understandable because, as actual people, capable of empathy, we have a tendency to attribute intelligence where there is nothing but shameful stupidity. But this Donny gets closer than most to crossing over that fine line.

He can almost speak, he can play with himself(I assume so, anyway, since the scene in which he is secretly observing a young female bathing, thankfully, transitions to a fade out before he begins), and he understands the value of sixty cents(an amount of money incomprehensible today). I ask you, what else makes a man a man? Seriously, that’s it.  Also, due to his waif-like innocence and uselessness, people sympathize, befriend, and help him. Most dogs attract this sort of attention, too, but dogs have a reason to exist.

Donny, lookin' sharp.

Like most irritating, lower-phylum creatures, Donny is spurned by his biological mother and driven away from the family nest when he’s old enough to spawn. This having already occurred years before the movie takes place, we don’t get to see it. That’s unfortunate, for it’s one of the more fascinating trials to be found in nature.

Typically, this process begins when the mother detects the scent of the donny’s hormonal glands, usually found wafting through a hole in the posterior of his unlabeled jeans, and he begins to attract females. The mother confronts the donny, using her hard, sharpened teats to threaten physical harm, to which he responds with immediate intestinal evacuation of the field mice and Doritos he feeds on.  That’s usually the end of it. However, this one continually returns to be subjected to further abuse by her.

Though this ‘movie’ doesn’t exactly have a plot, every now and then something almost verifiable does occur.  If you really need a story, you can make up one up for yourself. And that’s one thing I really do like about this ‘movie’ – it lets you use your imagination. Donny gets pummeled, mocked, even stabbed so frequently, and so viciously, that it seems almost like a service he provides to the community, and it’s left up to the viewer to figure out why. It takes a refreshing detour around those niggling little details, and challenges the audience to fill them in for themselves. It’s a bold approach, a real gamble. One that pays off better, at least, than a penny slot machine I once saw that spit out dead bees with AIDS.

Donny and Jenny, discussing last night's 60 MINUTES.

You witness the first overtures of the donny mating ritual early on in the film, when a gimped female named Jenny wanderers into his creek-side bachelor hangout. Unless a great amount of time passes that the viewer of the film is unaware of, Donny and Jenny become instantly emotionally intertwined, even before they know very basic things about each other. This is, once again, another example of this ‘movie’s’ participatory approach to non-storytelling. Not unlike an ugly child with a dented head, abandoned in the back of a flatbed truck to raise itself on its own, WEIRDO: THE BEGINNING allows the viewer to create its own rules, ethics and morality.

Though Jenny, somehow, resists Donny’s romantic advances, at first, within one or two brief scenes she becomes fully dedicated to him. Defending him, yet keeping him at arm’s length. This is partly due to a violent experience in her past that has left her scarred, and partly because she must sense that Donny makes love with the gentle grace of a baboon fucking a coal-burning stove.

Though it touts itself as a love story, WEIRDO: THE BEGINNING is so much more than that. By using my imagination, I can create an entire universe within the vast empty spaces left in the narrative.

Donny and Jenny, discussing last night's 6 to 8 seconds.

Why, I can imagine that Jenny’s inexplicable love for Donny stems from a resemblance he bears to her father, an environmental scientist named Pierre Caduz, who was tragically lost on a dangerous expedition to Antarctica while cataloging the diminishing ice shelves. The ‘movie’ leaves this open for discussion, making it seem to the viewer like being an embarrassing cripple is enough to make you grateful that any man loves you, even a forest-dwelling imbecile.

Also, the reason the three-dude biker gang hates Donny so passionately is never really dealt with. I mean, they beat him close to death every time they encounter him. The ‘movie’ leaves explaining it up to me! Hot dog!

I can use the magic of imagination to figure out the reason as having it’s origins in the town’s founding. Yes!

You see, two-hundred years earlier, the first settlers of the town committed sacrilege when they broke ground on an ancient Indian burial site. They angered the ancient Indian demon spirits that haunt the soil, who had deemed this sacred dirt the future site of a Blackfoot casino. Since then, once every generation the community must select some shit-for-brains wild boy as a sacrificial lamb, and they must abuse him mercilessly to appease them. This doesn’t interfere with the director’s own explanation, which is, none at all.

Donny, doing his paper route.

Eventually, though, something happens to kick start the third act. You will know this is happening, because something will be happening. Don’t be alarmed, it’ll feel like when a friend spikes you in the shin, waking you up before the teacher notices you’ve fallen asleep with your face cemented to your textbook by snot. Donny visits his mother only to have her reveal to him that his father is also his uncle. Following that, you’d think, might be hard, but then she tells him that she’s sold him into slavery to a Texas oil thousandaire. For what purpose, you can only imagine. Well, you’ll have to, actually. What they do with donnies down South is left up to you to devise. Personally, I smell barbecue.

Donny murders her with a cleaver. It’s a miraculous, bloodless beheading and is depicted below in a glorious VHS still. And you’re lucky to even have that, asshole, because you won’t find WEIRDO: THE BEGINNING on DVD. In fact, it only ever made it to VHS by accident, when Rusty, the teenage stepson of a Beaverton, Alabama KKK local chapter president, mistakenly recorded it over his stepdad’s tape of 1978 Super Bowl Highlights. This chance occurrence happened during WEIRDO’S one and only appearance on cable tv, when it was broadcast over a Chinese military satellite on a bet between two techs named Dong, who were later hung for treason.

Donny, deciding whether he should freeze or salt his mom's head. We've all been there.

Donny continues his bloody rampage, murdering a new person in the next several subsequent scenes. Murder is too strong a word, though, for the whiny, sniveling way he goes about his business. It’s too pathetic for first-degree homocide, but definitely more illegal than just doing nothing at all.

Donny's pastor, still boring, even after being strangled with Christmas lights.

Eventually, he’s cornered in a wide open field and beaten to death by angry family members(the director’s family). Jenny leads the police to his body, but it’s gone! The policeman picks up the tattered jacket, covered in fresh blood, and says ‘Where’s the body?’. I suppose he’s never heard of the magic of imagination. Some people are hopeless.

Writer/Director Andy Milligan, maker of this, and many other, celluloidal tests of faith, has been dead these last twenty years. I’m not certain what killed him. Whatever it was – natural causes, disease, or an understandable suicide –  it happened, just in time, to prevent a sequel to WIERDO. So, I guess that is kind of a happy ending.

Donny, using the power of Christ to take out an old lady.

You will not enjoy WEIRDO: THE BEGINNING. Nor will you learn anything from it. If I have to pinpoint a moral in this tale, it’s that what doesn’t kill you, doesn’t necessarily make you stronger, but might leave you alive just enough to limp off back into the wilderness, leaving a trail no one, not even the local police force, is interested enough to follow. Really, when it comes down to it, WEIRDO is about how anybody can find love, just as long as they absolutely do not care who it’s with.

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Horror Movie Review – BRAINSCAN(1994)

EDDIE FURLONG: THEN AND NOW

         

If you’re a Terminator 2 fan, then you probably remember Eddie Furlong, the young girl who played the teenage John Connors. However, if you’re a fan of Eddie Furlong, himself, then you are not here reading this. You don’t read for pleasure, if at all. Also, like a goat, you probably swallow random things lying scattered about your neighbors’ lawns and garages. In fact, right now, you’re out squatting in your backyard waiting for your father’s car keys to emerge from your bowels in a hardened dinosaur egg of tar, plaster, paint chips, and newspaper. I pity your parents, who wanted a child, but instead were cursed by an angry God with progeny that uses the sink and toilet interchangeably.

Eddie’s destiny has led him from public celebrity to public drunkenness. There are worse fates, I suppose, since he did have a good time for a short while, and he really does get along with Christian Slater. However, since Corey Haim passed on to the great VHS clearance bin in the sky, those two have been without a third to make up their trio of Merry Junksters. This kind of life may work out fine for Furlie, but most of us don’t need tubes leading from penile catheters to our left cowboy boot. That sloshing sound Eddie makes when he walks is not his flask. Not just his flask, anyway. Most of us prefer experiencing life in the present tense, not later on in flashbacks. But Eddie has to live his dream, and we ours. And who knows? One day he might find a place in our hearts again, rather than fighting for his place in a row of derelict cardboard boxes lining the alley behind his ex-wife’s apartment. Listen, honey, restraining orders mean nothing to people without restraint.

When asked why he didn’t reprise his role as John Connors in the popular TERMINATOR 3, rather than the poorly casted, equally Testosterone-killing, Nick Stahl, his reply was something along the lines of ‘It just wasn’t the right time.’ I’m paraphrasing, of course, I suppose the ‘right time’ would have been just minutes after the casting director was blinded by a bucket of boiling sewage and fumbling about with a .38 caliber bullet embedded between his frontal lobes. Not a pretty picture, huh? Well, neither was T3, from what little I recall of it. However, I do remember seeing a very firm pair of buttocks in the film. I wasn’t certain which terminator they belonged to, but I liked them, nonetheless.

Look up the word Douchebag in the dictionary, sometime. I don’t mean the kind of Douchebag that Eddie grew up to be, I mean the actual feminine kind. You won’t find anything in there about Furlong(maybe if you check a thesaurus, I don’t know), only a mind-expanding description of a container used in the rinsing of orifices. I only mention this because Eddie currently makes his living selling them out of a burlap sack alongside Ventura Highway. He still doesn’t know what they’re used for, but he keeps one filled with a homemade gin that he distills with berries that grow out through the cracked tiles in his bathroom floor. Does this sound depressing to you? Of course it does. It would to Eddie, as well, if he was mentally present for more than the few precious seconds that occur, everyday, between waking up in the morning, stumbling to the kitchen, and dunking his head in a sink filled up with potato vodka.

To top it all off, Eddie also released an album. I haven’t heard any of the tracks, but Furlong’s voice shifts in and out of a higher register that, if you close your eyes and imagine tits, can sound quite feminine. No doubt, his stringy, underdeveloped, DiCaprio-esque physique has fooled many a lonely con in the dimly lit Los Angeles county drunk tank, as well. You can, at least, speak up a little when that happens, Ed.

BRAINSCAN was made in that brief period, after T2, that he was a recognizable film actor. A time that people snapped photos of him walking down red carpets with beautiful starlets, rather than face down on stained throw rugs, somewhere within the vicinity of Tara Reid. He’s not recognizable now, however, to even his mother, who often mistakes him for a hobo, and keeps a taser on her person at all times, just in case it IS him.

BRAINSCAN is not a horrible film, but it’s not one of those movies that are so bad that they’re good, nor is it one of those far rarer movies that are actually good. If you pay attention to the film, you’ll notice a couple startling similarities to the more recent DISTURBIA. Although, there’s no Shia LaBeuf(LaBeof or LaBufe, or however that guy’s ridiculous name is spelled), there’s plenty here to sicken and horrify you, without him. If, like Lot’s wife, you’re the type who simply must take a look, you can get a better epinephrine shot of Shia’s befuddled terrorism in Transformers.

BS features Furlie playing Michael Brower, your typical high school outcast, who is an outcast for no reason that is ever made clear in the film. He doesn’t carry weapons, wear chains or nose studs, dye his hair, or even bomb his nostrils with nitrous charged whipped cream cartridges for recreation. He doesn’t wear black, either(a la Columbine’s infamous Trench Coat Mafia), which, at least, when done right, can come off mildly threatening, even if underneath the apparel is just another noodle-armed geek(also, just like the Columbine’s Trench Coat Mafia). The movie seems to think it’s enough that he’s into horror films, and adorns his walls with old black and white movie posters. As if being a horror fan makes him more likely to slice up his Home Ec teacher into little cubic chunks and build a bloody, mini-igloo out of her. As far as the film is concerned, Michael Brower is the definition of misunderstood rebel, even though he may seem like the kind of kid who’s too afraid to enter a restroom he’s never been in.

Furlie’s character is also a voyeur who enjoys spying on his neighbor Kimberly(Amy Hargreaves), an angelic girl, his own age, whose room has more windows than the Titanic. We are supposed to find this odd and suspicious. However, I think I’ll cut him a little slack on this one.

He’s just doing what nine-out-of-ten teenage boys(and one-out-of-ten teenage girls), would do in his place. Anyway, Michael’s mother is dead, and his dad is an itinerant ‘businessman’ who’s always away on ‘business’. So, of course, Michael has zero supervision, and is left to his own devices almost all of the time. Essentially, he can come and go as he pleases, which is really, really good for the plot of this movie. Good for you, plot! I’m not certain of the legality of this arrangement, since Mikey is clearly not even old enough to drive yet, since he’s still chitty-chitty bang-banging around on a BMX. But, judging by his house, and Mike’s collection of expensive computers and gadgetry, his dad is doing awfully well. So why mess with a good thing?

It’s a sweet setup, an allegedly awkward teen’s wet dream of a situation, and contrived deliberately for the intended audience of this film. So what’s dad’s ‘business’, a bright fellow, such as you, may ask? Why, it’s being away for long periods of time. Wait, I know he’s got ‘business’, but what kind of ‘business’ is it? What’s he doing when he’s away? He’s being away. That’s his job. Don’t you get it? What’s the problem? Back the fuck off.

Furlie’s best friend is named Kyle. He’s your standard 90′s, grunge rock, flannel wearing, baggy-panted, long-haired, irreverent doofus. Seth Green played this role in every other stupid movie made that decade, and might have grounds for a lawsuit(so long as the case doesn’t coincide with Comic Con, and he can wear his Spidey costume). Kyle tells Michael about an ad for a new game he saw in the back of a magazine(Scouting for Girls)for a new horror video game called Brainscan, which claims to be the ultimate experience. Mikey, so jaded to the muted offerings of horror games, shrugs it off as hype, but orders one, anyway. He dials the number his friend gives him and receives a “insert title of film” that assesses his psyche, and decides what version of the game to send him. Despite the fact that “insert title of film”-ing over a phone line would take impossible, supernatural technology, Mikey is unperturbed.

You wanna get a copy of the game? The number they give in the movie is 1-800-555-FEAR. You could also try 1-800-555-DEAR or DEBS. I’m proud to say that I only had to consult the internet twice to figure that out.

Next, we see Furlie and his pal Kyle at school, watching a gore film in their horror flick fan club. The Principal bursts in and calls a halt to all proceedings. Back in his office, he lectures Mikey, in a subtle display of foreshadowing, on the degenerative influence of such filth as he’d just been viewing, stating firmly his belief that partaking of such movies and games could lead to murder and rudeness in real life. Mikey laughs this off, and rebuts his principal’s opinion with an argument that, influences aside, a person is responsible for their own actions, and that the modern cultural tendency to blame said influences, rather than the individual, needs to be reconsidered from an historical perspective, which demonstrates that staggering violence has always been a part of our collective heritage, while video games are just a recent phenomenon. The principal leaves him with a warning that he is headed for disaster, and that he should, forthwith, go fuck himself.

EDDIE FURLONG: THEN AND NOW

On his way home, Mikey comes across a crime scene swarming with police. A murder has occurred just a strong piss away from his own home. He is noticed by the lead detective, played by Frank Langella, and told to get lost. Langella plays the role of typified, bland authority figure with his usual flare, coming off as he always does: dependable, yet possibly a pedo-necrophiliac. When Mikey gets home, Brainscan is waiting for him in the mail. Mikey pops it into his Tandy 1000 and off he goes!

He finds himself in a murder simulation, in which, he’s a would-be serial killer breaking into some bald guy’s house(don’t serial killers ALWAYS murder in accordance to their sexual preferences?). Along with him on the ride is Trickster: at the moment, just a disembodied voice egging him on and providing helpful guidance, like when Mikey comes across a rack of kitchen implements, all of them useless in murder, but for the gigantic butcher knife, and the voice advises him to ‘choose one!’.

Trixter is so persistent, so irritating in his Lower Mortgage Rate/Refinancing commercial style voice, it’s a wonder this doesn’t end up a suicide simulation. Also, he laughs through the murder, his breathless cackle sounding much like the last sound most teen runaways ever hear being coughed onto the top of their head in a bathroom stall. Well, Mikey does the deed, quite messily, and saws off his victim’s foot for a souvenir. Why you’d want some frumpy, hairless guy’s foot, I can’t imagine. The best meat is on the thighs and cheeks.

Well, with his murderous urges satisfied, and his demons exorcised in violent retribution to the frustrations of growing up almost, but not quite, wealthy, Mikey wakes the next morning with a clear head. However, he hears at school that, yet, another murder has occurred on his street. This one, to his dismay, sounding a bit too much like the shenanigans he’d gotten into last night. Surprise, Private Pyle! Mikey freaks out and, when he gets home, is confronted by Trickster in his terrifying true form: the ugliest, dumbest looking villain you will ever see outside of Japanese cinema. He looks like a cross between SCHINDLER’S LIST’s Ben Kingsley and a laughing hyena that’s cursed with the ultimate 80′s metal haircut. Not to mention his name is Trickster. Trickster? For godssake! Someone get the director a Budweiser! He’s been drinking Mimosas for far too long!

Trickster tells Mikey it’s all just part of the game, which, though violent, perverse, and actually happening, can’t be more sick than anything playing Friday night on ABC. A german shepherd steals the foot out of his bag when he’s out in the woods trying to bury it. This is a major setback, but it begs the question: why bury a foot?

About half the way through the movie I started paying attention to how often Furlie nervously scooped his hair with his fingers. At his peak, I think I counted five times in one minute. He does this more than Kristen Stewart pauses, more than Keanu Reeves gets confused, more than I use analogies. Considering the amount of torture it took to mount those early-90′s haircuts, which required computer guided lasers to burn the end of each prickly follicle to the width of a single atom, the palms of his hands must have been more calloused than a Kardashian girl’s tonsils.

At one point Trickster starts urging Mikey to kill himself. On this point, Trickster and myself see eye-to-eye. The sad fact is that movie Eddie has more to live for than the real one.

To sum up the rest, without giving everything away, people that Mikey knows continue to find their quietus in manners not consistent with natural causes, and Detective Langella, with the aid of basic problem solving skills, starts closing in on Furlie, the single, possible, most obviously guilty suspect in the case. In the film’s denouement, Mikey finds out that his gorgeous neighbor has been spying on him, as well, and she, despite having seen his penis, loves him. Then, Mikey and Trickster face off in the greatest battle since Bonaduce vs. Barry Williams.

All in all, the simplicity of BRAINSCAN really works in its favor.. There aren’t many plot twists in this movie, and fewer characters than most pornos. Even though it was intended for viewing by impressionable young people, it doesn’t try to be too preachy about morals, yet, it’s very straight forward, with little ambiguity as to who is naughty or nice. It was made to turn a quick buck selling and renting to teens, and I’m sure it did that. Don’t expect boatloads of gore, or for all of the pieces to fit together in a logical way. And don’t be surprised if you even start rooting for Eddie Furlong to succeed over the evil Trickster, in the end. Why? Believe it or not, he’s even less likeable, and awful looking, than the real Eddie is nowadays. Only time will tell if that remains true.

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Led Zeppelin – The Battle of Evermore – Tribute to Lord of the Rings

Talent in the funny can be trained on a different medium. The greatest tribute video of all time. Enjoy. Be inspired.

CAUTION: In honor the new year, I am posting my first ever movie review from a while back, and on another site(killerreviews.com). I’m doing this just to delineate my progress. Here is my review of EYES OF FIRE: shorter, less comprehensive, less funny than what I’m know for, but it shows the progress I’ve made, and how much closer I am to fulfilling all of our dreams.

If you juxtapose my posts on killerreviews.com, chronologically, alongside major news headlines across the world, as they concurrently went public, you would notice in the  headlines the rise of new social phenomena. Phenomena that can only be described, collectively, as a new force of nature come into being, so powerful it is. A unifying trend that swept across the globe like a glorious storm of brotherhood, penetrated us all to our very hearts, and connected us like a ribbon of righteous goodwill that has virtually defeated cynicism, restored hope to billions, and nearly ended worldwide hunger. This is no coincidence = it was me.

Though much work is left for you to do, I shall continue to do my part…

God Bless Me,

yours truly,

SecretAgent:SuperHero

In modern times, when religion is casual and most people’s personal beliefs are a mishmash of major religions, new age silliness, Chiropractory and Beatles lyrics, we find people who take their religion seriously a little odd. But back in the Colonial Era, when people were superstitious and most science books were called The Bible, lacking a central authority, inhabitants of communities had the autonomy to hang and burn whomever they wished. This might sound just like right-wing spectator fun to me and you, but people on the wrong end of it really got fucked.

Hence, the setting of our story.

A lazy, adulterous preacher named Will Smythe is living in sin with a trapper’s wife. The trapper, Marion Dalton: big, tough as nails, and not likely to take any guff about having a girl’s name, is conveniently absent. One day, having little else to do, Smythe’s neighbors finally get around to doing something they’ve been putting off, mainly, hanging Smythe by his neck until dead and soggy-breeched. As he is being hoisted into the air his noose suddenly snaps, thanks to a strange and dirty wild-girl named Leah who has magical powers, doesn’t speak and, for some reason, likes the guy. Smythe rubs his neck and comes to the conclusion he’s worn out his welcome.

He decides to head downriver with Marion’s way-too-attractive for the 1700′s wife Eloise, mute, magical Leah, and a handful of other people who have far too few lines to realistically expect to live to see next month, to find the ‘Promised Land’. The Promised Land, he promises, is a real and really promising, Promised Land, just filled with promise. Such is the premise of his promise.

Well, after ditching their raft to escape some very surly Indians, our hardy band of alternative lifestylers heads off into the woods and discovers a tiny abandoned community and moves right in. This, despite its appearance of having been evacuated more hastily than the bowels of a Mexico City tourist, and being, quite frankly, a shithole. Oh, and Marion catches up with them, saves them from a group of surprisingly good-natured Indians and Frenchman by dressing up like a platypus, then narrowly avoids his sworn duty, as an absentee, frontier husband, to gut Smythe like a dolphin in Japanese waters.


The promised land, however, ain’t tit. It’s got a witch who steals people’s souls and brings them back as exploding, white-washed lunatics who, for some reason, just can’t leave the good settlers alone and allow them to starve, freeze to death, or contract water-based diseases like they’d moved out here to do. WTF? Meanwhile, Suicide Girl Leah prances about the woods and communes with nature.

Anyway, despite my flippant attitude, I actually quite enjoyed Eyes Of Fire. It differs from the current generation of horror flicks in that it’s not dependent upon gore and repeated BOOs to scare the audience. There’s never the obligatory OH NO, IT’S QUIET AND YOU CAN HEAR ME BREATHING HEAVY moment that inevitably leads to a some computer effect leaping out with a screech. Also, its spare soundtrack isn’t constantly distracting you, reminding you that at some point, a bunch of classical musicians took a day off from being snotty and pretending they like Mahler, crowded into a sound studio and did take after take of jarring sequences of notes just to drown out the sounds of the forest, or of human activity, or of any naturalistic element that may add a sense of reality to a surreal situation.

The movie does what so few horror films do nowadays: it builds up tension. Rather than using the aforementioned NOW ITS QUIET/NOW ITS LOUD method of scares, which, I’m pretty certain is based on Nirvana’s SOFT VERSE/LOUD CHORUS song structure(prove me wrong asshole!) Eyes Of Fire lets the predicament of being hundreds of miles deep in the wilderness, as isolated and helpless as can possibly be, slowly work its way into you. It doesn’t take long for it to sink in that, even if you build a tall log wall around you and arm yourself, there is still nowhere to go, even if you make it through to next morning.

Anyway, I might give the movie a higher score, but the poor quality of the version I watched diluted the experience. It was a VHS transfer to .AVI that had a multitude of sound problems that made me nearly turn it off several times. I would just have enough to time to get into it before it got sloppy and mute, much like Leah, again.

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Movie Review – Class of 1984(1982)

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I am writing this in haste, so I apologize if you are underwhelmed. After losing volumes of literary work to a hard drive crash, numerous technical difficulties, followed by weeks of crying while clicking the hammer of my replica Civil War pistol, which doesn’t fire, I am finally back online, expounding my opinions of film. I am doing so based on the assumption that you care what I think. While we’re at it, assume that I care what you think, too.

This movie opens with an apocryphal warning about teen violence: “Last year there were over 280,000 incidents of violence by students against their teachers and classmates in our High Schools.”

I don’t know what classified as ‘violence’ in the 80’s, but being familiar with the popular music of the era, I have a suspicion that the bulk of it was keyboard-based. The popularity of the Casiotone line of keyboard instruments for kids provided an inexpensive, highly portable tool that made it possible for battered children to bring their abusive domestic situations to school with them. Tortured souls, by the hundreds of thousands, defensively clustered together in what were once called ‘garage bands’(now called ‘gangs’), armed with weapons that spat out primitive consonant sounds to plant the seeds of the shockingly violent culture that begat The Crips, The Bloods and MS-13(also called the Miami Sound Machine).

Released in 1982, Class of 1984 created a startlingly accurate, dystopian picture of what the future would be like. A world where an entire generation of poor, inner city ethnic minorities(later known as Wayans Brothers)were pushed around by white, permed, 25 year-old teenagers in multi-pocketed leather pants. It was a time when the very whiff of hairspray, or the low, thumping beat of a Human League album, would send terrifying waves of paranoia through the ghettos. Public Enemy’s little known first single, entitled
White Boyz, said it best:

“Prisoner in my own house,
I feel safer in jail.
Cuz there ain’t no Timothy Van Patten pickin’ up on my trail.”
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Picture this: It’s your typical all-white, Canadian, inner city, war-torn hell hole. It’s run by arch-criminal, and former haircut model, Peter Stegman(Timothy Van Patten), who controls the campus’ drug and prostitution rackets. Enter a new teacher, Mr. Norris(not THE Mr. Norris), into this 10th circle of hades. Aside from looking like Prince Valiant, Mr. Norris is quite unprepared for the trials he’ll face at…shit, I forget what the school’s called.

I could look it up on imdb.com, I guess, but I’ve been boycotting it ever since my screenwriting credit got taken down. Those were hard times, I tell ya: the film production collapsed under a massive failure of management and budget underestimations(fucking computer animation!). It was a lot like the fall of communism , really. It was slow, inevitable, and Ronald Reagan took all the credit(even though he had little more than a peripheral involvement). Actually, I’ll probably just never bring it up again. That’s for the best. Let’s do that.
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Class of 1984 paints the morbid picture of youth gone irrevocably out of control, which is what youth does when you overlook the telltale signs of hardened criminal influences, such as

- teen boys wearing blush

- hair that doesn’t move, even in high winds

- well-accessorized outfits with an abnormally high zipper-to-buckle ratio

- extremely angular facial features that hover somewhere between normal-
looking and Scott-Caan-looking

- being caught, on more than two occasions, physically abusing veteran ‘Planet of the Apes’ actor Roddy McDowall.

No doubt, you’ve seen examples of this sort of abhorrent behavior in your own world travels, and know what to look for. These are all signs of an obvious moral downward trend that, if ignored, could end up spawning Class of Nuke’em High movies, just like this movie did, and possibly even encourage the casting of more Van Pattens in future productions. Sound impossible? Check the statistics – 1 out of every 12 failed actors tests positive for Van Patten DNA(have you even been tested?) Luckily, I live in Pittsburgh, where hilly terrain and ancient glacial formations once prevented the migration of Van Patten tribes further eastward.

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Peter Stegman, the movie’s villain, is a snotty rich kid, in his mid-to-late 20’s, who’s supposedly some kind of genius, although, the movie doesn’t exactly go out of its way to back that up. In fact, neither does the Van Patten who plays him. I suppose that taking the time to prepare for a role like this by brushing up on his enunciation, reading a book to sharpen his mind or, at the very least, just learning to mimic the facial expressions smart people make, might’ve helped a little. But that is more from the ‘method’ school of acting, rather than the ‘daddy had a t.v. show’ school, he belongs to. This kid has got it coming from the very beginning. We know this from the over-confident way he walks, where each proud step displays the kind of self-assurance usually reserved for the likes of a Rocky Balboa approaching the boxing ring, where a black fighter twice as good, and three times as big, is waiting. He’s a boy blessed with the natural certitude of a retard recognizing a balloon animal as a dog, though, it clearly has horns. Mostly, we know he’s gonna bite it in the end because someone HAS to.

His gang is the typified gaggle of goons one expects from 80’s teen criminals. All sporting a punk-derived style, blank, vacuous expressions, a total disregard for human life, plus a tendency to deliver snarky lines followed by tongue-wagging. They are deviants, and they are AWESOME. Awesome in a way not even these actors can fuck up. When 14 year old ne’er-do-wells come seeking criminal employment, or late-teenage girl junkies want to hook for them, they conduct interviews just the way any well-established business would, and are extremely polite, patient, and professional. They tell them right away whether or not they are qualified for the position, which is a courtesy very few of the larger criminal corporations(I’m lookin’ at you U.S.P.S.)have the decency to bother providing.

Honestly, what is worse than waiting weeks, even months, just to find out you are STILL unemployed, unoccupied and unfuckable? I can’t get over how great this is. And if you have to toss a salad or two to get the job, they tell you right up front. You simply strip down to high heels and bush, right there, and they lead you to a creepy back room where a thin mattress set atop a creaky spring frame awaits you. I just can’t believe this sort of thing is outlawed, when it is so fair! What is with this new entrepreneur-hating economy!

And tongue-wagging(a.k.a. blowing the raspberry), by the way, is punk-classic to the core. Throughout this iffy music’s history, showing your tongue to any nearby camera was essential for conveying your society-bucking, rebellious intentions. It was an act of supreme individuality that absolutely everybody did, back then. I know it seems lame, but you had to be there. Which, I wasn’t.
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Like a lot of 80’s films…well, like ALL 80’s film, C-84 shows us that diplomacy and reason NEVER work. Don’t bother telling the principal, or calling the police, not when you’re dealing with punks. Punks have to be killed. End of story. Although, our hero doesn’t wise up to this age old axiom until the last act of the film, we see hints of his brutal vigilante style early on. How would I classify his particular form of ‘they pushed him too far’ vengeance? Well, it’s kind of a cross between 1950’s-style whitebread basketball, where you pass the ball 70-80 times a minute, and Junior High School shop class, where you saw off kids’ arms if they spill woodchips on the floor.

Now, was Mr. Norris actually pushed too far? Definitely. From the second he arrives at, uh, ‘____’ High School, Stegman and his cohorts are rude to him, they disrupt class, they make snarky remarks(followed with classic tongue-wagging), they shout ‘Not Here’ during roll call and they pound out entire Chopin impromptus, flawlessly, yet can’t remember what an amphibian is. Were they asking to be brutally cut down in the prime of their lives? No. They were begging to be. You simply DO NOT tempt a married man, who has to wear a Sears’ sport coat to work every single day of his life, into a blood feud. Such a man has already peeked into the abyss, and is ready to vent some spleen by booting a jar of Vlasic pickles up your ass, then breaking the glass.

Okay, so it starts out small like that, but the situation escalates when Mr. Norris finds them pushing drugs in the bathroom, but can’t prove it, which sets his blood aboil. After that, when a tripping student gets himself waxed pulling a numb-skullish stunt on a flagpole, something right out of a cautionary episode of ABC’s After School Playhouse starring Scott Baio and Maureen McCormick, the teacher appeals to the dead kid’s friend, Arthur, to testify against Stegman and his baddies for selling him the drugs . Unfortunately, Arthur(played by Michael Fox, now known as Michael J. Fox, a.k.a. the Canadian Quaker)is immediately slipped the shank in the cafeteria for being a rat. Let’s not forget Stegman’s beating himself up in the bathroom right in front of Mr. Norris and framing him for the assault(Yes, Fight Club did, in fact, rip this off. You can deny it all you want, I know you will, because you live in a dreamworld with gingerbread houses and pussy-flavored pancakes).
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On the very last night of many a student’s life, Stegman and his crew taunt Norris, relentlessly, while he is on his way to a High School band recital. Now, if you’re a grown man who has to spend his Friday nights doing things like watching Michael(J.)Fox playing the recorder, you have, most likely, already spent many hours plotting the savage murder of at least half a dozen people. Maybe you even have a couple under your belt, and have developed into an experienced killer with a matured, distinct Modus Operandi of your own. Even if you haven’t, just BEING an inner city music teacher makes you as ready to pop and gush as a frothy can of Milwaukee’s Best all over the tits of an Ohio State Cheerleader. Stegman gets right in his face and says “I AM THE FUTURE”. Okay, that’s hardly a death threat, but it is pretty gay.

Before Mr. Norris can actually be ‘pushed too far’, something has to be done to someone he loves. The act that, finally, pushes Mr. Norris just far enough to be ‘pushed too far’, is when they break into his home and spring some surprise sex on his pregnant wife. It’s hard to believe he doesn’t see this coming. He apparently has not seen even ONE Charles Bronson film, in his entire life. Can that really be called living? Not too long after that, Stegman’s senior class starts getting seriously reduced in headcount.

Maybe the title, Class of 1984, is supposed to be ironic, since he downright murders half the graduating class and assures that very few, in fact, will be left. The only students remaining after his bloody rampage are the ones that have never shot smack, teased their hair, hit their 30th birthday, or publicly admitted to having any blood connection to the cast of Eight is Enough. I SERIOUSLY recommend this film. It is just ridiculous enough, obtuse enough, and immature enough, for most adult audiences of today. It hammers home the still relevant message that all teenagers should, no MUST, be senselessly slaughtered. Furthermore, it shows us that if there is a future, that future is going to be good for the manufacturers of sleeveless shirts.

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http://www.amazon.com/Days-Yore-Arin-Lee-Kambitsis/dp/1935361147

After killing the marauding giant Oggmagog with a devious trick, a boy named Jack is brought before the dying King Arthur who sends him on a quest to Albion, land of the giants, to retrieve his sword Excalibur and save all of Britain.

 

 

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