Sunday, July 24, 2005

Project Phoenix 2

Intro: This is the opening sequence to a script I wrote many years ago, a sequel to a film I made in college. Your standard funny/cheesy/goofy/intentionally bad horror flick. I never got to make the sequel, which is too bad, because it would have been fun.

Project Phoenix 2: Dead Night

Low shot across a floor in a shadowy room. Suddenly a man falls into frame, screams and rolls out of the way, narrowly missing a swinging bat which slams against the floor where he was. The man screaming is LISKEN.
Camera pulls back. Room is academic, clearly unused for some time. Lisken throws himself against a wall, confronting his attacker. The man, DEREK, is drowned in a trenchcoat and hat, and is holding the bat in front of himself flatly.

LISKEN: What the hell? Don't you know who I am?

DEREK: Of course I do, Mister Lisken. You're the dean of students here at Renfield college, and you're expecting to meet up with a reporter tonight. I assure you, he will not be joining us.

LISKEN: (terrified): Who are you?

DEREK: Who I am is unimportant. To you, I mean. In the cosmic sense the importance of who I am really depends on, wow, a lot of things. Spirituality, and so forth. But, of you feel you must refer to me by name, you may call me... um... hmmm... how about... no, ummmm... umm... uhhh... Roger. You may call me Roger.

LISKEN: What do you want from me?

DEREK: No wait! Derek! Call me Derek!

LISKEN: What do you want from me?

DEREK: "What do you want from me, Derek."

LISKEN: What do you want from me, Derek!!?

DEREK: We want you to cease your tireless probing into the mystery of what happened to those seven students here last January.

LISKEN: The only mystery is what happened here to those seven students last January. Renfield's official explanation is so implausible it's laughable. Laughable! Ha! Ha ha, ha ha! This college can't hide the truth about Raimi Hall forever, I'm going to make sure of that. Because this is America, and here in America we got a little piece of pie called the first amendment! And you may be able to fool the occasional person a lot, or quite a few people from time to time, or certain, uh, certain --

Derek takes a swing at Lisken with the bat.

LISKEN : (Cont)Whoa!

Lisken ducks and weaves Derek, finally rushing out the door, and slamming it behind him. He braces the door shut with his body.

CAMERA SWEEPS IN on Lisken as he speaks.

LISKEN : (cont)So it's some kind of sick game of cat and mouse you want, eh? Well, bring on da funk, baby! Because this time the truth is gunning for you!!



As credits roll, someone O.S. is singing "Back in Black." He is singing both the vocals and the guitar part. When credits are complete we FADE IN to a small apartment, very messy.

PETER is sitting at a kitchen table reading a large textbook, listening to a walkman and singing "Back in Black." We begin to hear noise of people laughing and talking in the background.

MARY, a young woman in fairly conservative attire, steps up to Peter. Peter does not notice her.

MARY: Peter. Peter. Peter!(she nudges his shoulder)You were singing again.

PETER: Oh, sorry, Mary. I'd turn off the walkman, but I can't study with that noise next door.

MARY: It is pretty bad. I mean, don't they have finals tomorrow like the rest of us? Don't they know tonight is dead night? No parties allowed. Well, try not to sing, at least. We're trying to study too.

Mary goes back to the main room where the two other people, PAUL and PUFF, are studying together. Paul is dressed conservatively like Mary, but Puff has a certain hippie-chic about her. Paul is buried in a textbook but Puff has her book on her lap while she stares at a television and smokes.

PUFF: No, Paul, Nietzche's whole point was not that we should wear synthetic fibers. Concentrate!

PAUL: I can't, with all that gosh darn noise! Puff, honey, I don't know how you can handle it, I'm about to lose my mind here! And you're even staring at the television!

PUFF: It's educational. I'm learning from the books and the TV. Soon I'll be so smart I'll just explode in a blast of pure academic synergy.

PAUL: Not me, I can't study with this noise. There isn't a quiet spot left on campus. They've even got two kegs and a hooka going over at the library. Don't these people care about their academic careers? I'd do just about anything to find a nice quiet place to study.

MARY: Wait a minute, you guys! What about Raimi Hall?

PUFF: But Raimi Hall was closed down suddenly last January and condemned by the CIA.
MARY: Exactly! No one would be in there, and come on, you don't really believe it's unsafe do you? The only reason they closed it is because of that night in January when Peter's seven closest friends all died horribly in there of unknown causes, and Peter went berserk.

They all look cautiously over at Peter to make sure he's not listening.

PAUL: Mary, I think you may be on to something there. What better place to find a little peace and quiet than the condemned scene of a massacre!

PUFF: Say, Paul, a condemned building in the middle of the night would be pretty romantic.

PAUL: Oh, Puff, you nut. Tonight's about thinkin', not lovin'. So do you all think we should try to ditch Peter? I mean, you know, the whole massacre/ berserk thing.

MARY: Absolutely not. Peter's doing much better now. He was in therapy for five whole weeks until his HMO said he couldn't go anymore. Besides, now that his seven best friends are dead, I think we owe it to him, as his three next best friends, to stick by him and make him feel part of things.

PAUL: You're right, Mary. Of course. But if he freaks out, I'm bashing his skull in.

They all laugh. Mary goes and taps Peter on the shoulder again.

MARY: Peter? We were thinking about sneaking in to Raimi Hall to do some studying in peace. Want to come?

PETER: (face twitching wildly) Raimi hall? Where I had my hallucination last January? Sure. That'd be super.

MARY: Great!

They gather their things together.

CUT TO: EXT RAIMI HALL Establishing shot

Lisken is fleeing down the hall. Derek is following. Lisken does something clever to get away, like climb the side of a staircase or something.

DEREK: Oh just give up, Lisken, would you? I mean, really!

LISKEN: Never! Never, you beast!

DEREK: Never Derek.

ENTRYWAY -- RAIMI HALLA heavy door opens in to a hallway, and our four heroes enter.

PUFF: Wow, the door wasn't even locked. That's extremely strange. You know, in a good way.

PAUL: So, Peter, you okay with this?

PETER: It'll probably be good for me. Revisit the scene now that I'm over my hallucinations.

MARY: Speaking of which, when all your friends died? Remember? Suddenly? In this building last January? Well, I seem to recall hearing that you had gone bonko then died in a pool of your own blood and vomit along side the rest of them.

PAUL: Yeah, that's right, Peter? What up?

PETER: Oh, yeah, it did seem that way at the time, but it turned out I was just really ill. I'll tell you this though : from now on when I eat pork I'm cooking it first.

PAUL: Amen to that, brother. Reminds me of the time in high school when me and a bunch of friends were into sushi and we thought, hey, if fish, why not hamburgers? So we go on over to Burger King and say, okay we want five whoppers, and we want them our way, right? So. . .

Paul's story fades into silence as they disappear down the halls. The halls are gloomy and hollow feeling.
CAMERA follows several empty halls, just soaking in the ambiance.

Finally camera rests on a shadowy spot where Lisken is hiding. He leans out and seeing no one starts running down the hall. Derek appears out of nowhere, forcing Lisken to turn around and a chase ensues.

Lisken, running with fear for his life, races through several halls, stopping suddenly when he comes to a stretch of hall blocked by a "Caution: Floor Slippery" sign.

LISKEN: Oh no!

Lisken turns around to run the other way, and of course Derek is right there -- that being the direction he was just coming from.

LISKEN : (cont)Oh right. Crap.

Derek thocks Lisken on the head with the bat. Lisken drops.

DEREK: For the final time. That's 'oh crap, Derek.'

INSERT: The foursome is walking towards the stretch where Derek and Lisken are. Paul is still telling his story.
Derek is about to carve up Lisken with something horrible, when he looks up, hearing the voices.

PAUL: (O.S.)So I mean my friends and I are all farting like it's for money, right? I'm talking, when I'd wake up in the mornings my sheets would be billowing a foot and a half off the bed. And I'm thinking, well, at least this is better than all the vomiting and speaking in tongues. So --

PUFF : (O.S.)Paul? Shut up?

PAUL : (O.S.)Okay, right. My point is, for Gods sake, cook your food. Remember what the health department says. "If it isn't burned to gristle, you'll be spewing like a whistle."

DEREK: What the -- ? What are those kids doing in here? Don't they know this building is closed? Have they no respect for boundaries or rules? I weep for the future. Oh, I'd better dismember this guy later.

Derek drags Lisken out of the hallway, barely making it before the foursome comes on screen.
Derek has dragged Lisken into a sterile, windowless CLASSROOM, and is just about to drop him on the floor when Peter says:

PETER: How about this room over here for studying?

Derek frantically looks around and drags Lisken into a small SIDE ROOM. It is full of junk and cupboards. He drops Lisken on the ground and locks the door, then steps back away, pulling a pistol from his jacket.

The foursome begins setting their things down.

MARY: Sure, this seems like a good room for studying. I mean I suppose it doesn't matter which room we're in, could be any of them. But let's stay right here in this one.

DEREK (O.S.)D'oh!

PUFF: I've got to hand it to you, Mary. This was a great idea. This building is so quiet and isolated, it's hard to believe we're still on campus. Why, there could be running. laughing, yelling, cries for help or deathly screams of agony and no one would ever hear a thing!

They all begin studying. CLOSE UP of somebody's text book -- it is very close to page one.

EXT -- CAMPUS AT NIGHT Establishing shot.

Another establishing shot. Somewhere in the shadows are a couple people hunched over by a tree.

DRUNK STUDENT #1: (laughing)Oh man! I just puked out my nose!
DRUNK STUDENT #2: Here, snort some of this olive oil, it'll make it go easier.

A car drives by, or whatever. Just things to indicate the passing of time.

CLOSE UP of the textbook, it is almost to the end now. See how I brought that full circle?

Derek is crouched next to unconscious Lisken. He's spinning the pistol, bored out of his mind. He's quietly singing something, like "Girl From Ipanema" or maybe "Witchcraft."

Lisken suddenly wakes up.

LISKEN: Wha-- What's going on?

Without even looking over, Derek bops Lisken on the head with the pistol, and Lisken is out again. Derek gets up and begins going through the cupboards looking for something to kill time.

DEREK: Jesus Christ, I'm so fucking bored. What is it with these geeks? Don't they have anywhere better to be? There's got to be something interesting in these cupboards. Hey, old newspapers!

INT CLASSROOM More studying.

Derek is reading one of the papers.

DEREK: "Feed me."(laughs)Oh, Garfield! Will you never learn temperance, you nutty cat? Well, shoot. Now what?

Sets down paper and begins rooting through cupboards. He opens one and finds A SMALL, UNASSUMING, YET STRANGELY TERRIFYING CRATE!!

DEREK : (Cont)Hello, what's this?

Paul closes his book and stretches back.

PAUL: I don't know about you guys, but I could use a break.

They all close their books, agreeing.

PUFF: Anyone know any jokes?

No one does.

PAUL: I know! Peter, why don't you tell us about your debilitating psychosis. You know, last January when all your friends died!

PETER : (thinks for a second)Sure, okay. Of course, I now know everything was in my mind, but gather round and I'll tell you what I remember. It was a night just like this...

There is a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning. They all look around, trying to figure out where it came from.

PETER : (cont)Hm. That was odd considering there's no windows. Anyway, Professor Holbrook had just come back from his sabbatical to South America where he'd been examing the ancient ruins of the Chuletas de Puerco people.

MARY: Professor Holbrook? Wasn't he the professor who insisted something unearthly had happened in Raimi Hall, who was soon fired after the CIA found seven hundred pounds of heroin in his office, and who was then discredited, lobotomized and executed?

PETER: Yeah that's the guy. Well, he told my friend Marsha about this crate he'd brought back that was supposed to contain the heart of the ancient leader.

PAUL: Marsha? Wasn't she the student who was accused of cheating on a biology test by the CIA, who was then expelled, lobotomized and executed?

PETER: Yeah, that's her. Anyway, apparently if this crate was opened this ancient spirit would take over the body of the nearest person and destroy everything around.

Derek is examining the crate, looking at the markings. He begins banging on the small lock keeping it shut.


PETER: Well, we were all bored that night so my friends and I -- Marsha, Greg, Cindy, Bobby, Jan, and Dolly and Jeffy, the freaks -- came over and broke into Raimi Hall to get drunk and check out the crate thing. I don't know, it seemed like a good idea at the time. So some CIA guy who was supposed to guard the crate opened it and the thing got loose, and then there was just a whole lot of possessing and killing going on.

PUFF: Gosh, Peter, that was a well-spoken, succinct summary of the previous event. I feel I have a clear understanding of the important key points.

PETER: If anything out of the ordinary did go on here, the CIA and Renfield college sure covered their tracks. I mean that crate just vanished.

Derek has broken the lock off. He examines the crate again, then begins slowly lifting the lid.


PETER : (cont)Pretty much anyone who was there is dead or disappeared, and that crate is gone. I would guess they've had to hide it somewhere where no one would ever ever think to look.

INSERT SIDEROOM - Derek lifts the lid a little and a light shines out from inside.

PETER : (cont)Like in a salt mine, maybe. Or at the South Pole. The bottom of the ocean.

INSERT SIDEROOM - Lifts a little more.

PETER : (cont)Or maybe even somewhere like deep in the recesses--

INSERT SIDEROOM - Still lifting!

PETER : (cont)--of an old--

INSERT SIDEROOM - Oh, the suspense!

PETER : (cont)--abandoned--

INSERT SIDEROOM - Almost open now. Derek's eyes go wide with terror. He gasps, as though about to scream.

PETER: (cont)--building.

DEREK : (O.S.)Aaaaaahh!!! Oh, horrible horrible demon, overtaking my soul!! The blinding light of the crate! Aaaahh!! God forgive me for the evil I have unleashed on the world!!! Aaaahh!!! AAAHHHH!!!

MARY: (startled)What was that?

PETER: I don't know. Probably just an old building settling in for the night.

PAUL: I need to stretch my legs. Anybody up for some exploring?

They all get up, grabbing their things and leave.

The lid of the crate is closed. Derek is convulsing on the floor. Lisken wakes up and looks around the room, trying to figure out what's happened.

LISKEN: Oh my God, that's the crate of King PescadoQueso's heart. Vindication! I knew the rumors were true! Legend says if this crate is opened the demon will possess the nearest living thing and go on a murderous rampage! Hm, I wonder why Derek is convulsing like that. Derek? Are you okay? Are you choking? Derek? Are you choking? (Very long pause.) Wait a minute. Demon possession. Crate. Guy in convulsions indicative of some sort of bodily invasion. Holy crappity crap! He must have opened the--!

Lisken runs for the door.


PETER: Oh, shoot. I forgot one of my books, I'll be right back.

Peter jogs back to the CLASSROOM. As he enters, Lisken runs out of the sideroom, slamming the door and blocking it with his body.

LISKEN: You won't get me you foul beast! I'll see you in Hell!!

PETER: Dean Lisken?

LISKEN: Oh, uh, hi, Peter. What are you doing here?

PETER: What are you doing here? Is there something behind that door?

LISKEN: No. What door?

The door swings open. Lisken's blocking it does no good, since the door opens in to the side room.

LISKEN : (cont)That's kind of funny if you think about it. The door opens that way. Care to join me screaming down the hall?


Peter and Lisken come screaming past the other three.

PUFF: Peter?! What's wrong?!

PETER: (not even slowing down)Not sure! Possibly more hallucinations!

PAUL: Wasn't that Dean Lisken?

Derek comes roaring down the hall toward them. They see him and take off screaming in Peter and Lisken's direction.

Extended chase through the halls.

LISKEN: Quick, down this hall!

MARY: Are you sure?

LISKEN: (pissy)Yeah, I'm sure. I do this a lot.


The five of them roar in and slam the door, gasping for breath.

LISKEN: I think we lost him. We should be safe here for the moment.

PAUL: What in the fuck is going on?

PETER: Wait a minute, you guys saw it? I'm not hallucinating? Are you serious? That can't be! My God, I've been being lied to all these months?

LISKEN: Oh, of course you've been being lied to, you moron. The CIA and Renfield college have spared no expense covering this thing up. The only reason you weren't executed like the rest of them is because you pay full tuition. You were just brainwashed into believing you'd imagined the whole thing. Fucking hell, weren't you the slightest bit suspicious that your psychologists name was Special Agent Wilson?

PETER: I don't know. I just figured it was a Norwegian name or something.

MARY: So that crate thing is real? The demon? Possession? The whole unholy massacre mis-en-scene of it all? No way.

LISKEN: Believe it, buster.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Selected story page

I'm still setting this page up, but it will feature periodically updated original short stories, scripts, etc.

For now, a limerick I will try and think up real quick-like, to soothe your soul.

As sweeps-month sadly abated,
I craved a new way to be sedated
Then I thought with a cheer,
Summer movies are here!
That'll keep me numb and placated!