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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tales from the Script: Hospitality!

An excerpt from my scary screenplay Hospitality...



The story opens with a convenience store robbery perpetrated by a trio of ne'er-do-wells, Cory, Annie, and Vern. Things do not go as planned, and people die. This sequence is crosscut with the average morning of a man named Henry. Henry rises from bed, paints while the morning light is good, then gets breakfast for his aged father and himself. Everything sounds normal in Henry's house, doesn't it? Except it isn't. And in the early scenes it's nothing you can put your finger on. But something is "off."
 
 
The escape in the car is derailed by a flat tire, and the kids stop off in an empty field outside of town. Eventually, they decide to steal a car from a passing motorist. To accomplish this, Cory has Annie get all dolled up in a fairly trashy outfit, the better to lure middle aged men to a meeting with their insurance adjuster.
 
 
Of course, the person they stop is Henry, on his way back from town with some groceries. Annie plays her part well, and gets Henry to stop. But Vern is off sinking their car in the river, and Cory won't jump Henry alone.
 
 
EXT. ROAD - MORNING

Annie glances up at Henry as she continues to massage her ankle.



HENRY
Are you all right?

ANNIE
Not really.

HENRY
What seems to be the problem?


ANNIE
Out late. Party. Met a guy, seemed all right.
He brought me out here. You know. When I
said no, he kicked me out of the car
and left me out here in the middle of nowhere!


The last few words she directs to the departed “guy.”


ANNIE (CONT’D)
I fell asleep over there by the river. I heard a car go
by a little while ago, as I was waking up, but I
couldn’t get out here in time.

 HENRY
I guess that must have been me.
Not many cars out this way.
 ANNIE
Well, I’m glad you came back. My ankle
is really hurting. Can you help me?
 

HENRY
I live close by, just got a few things in town.
Why don’t you get in? You could call someone
from my house?

Henry opens the side door. This is not going as planned. Annie looks off as though she is thinking this over. She is actually looking at Cory.
 
 
Cory mimes that he doesn’t know, looking around to indicate he has no idea where Vern is. Annie looks back at Henry.


ANNIE
How close by?
 
HENRY
You can almost see it from here. Come on.
Let me offer you some hospitality.


ANNIE
You’re not one of those crazies? You’re not
going to turn out to be an axe murderer?
 
 
HENRY
Absolutely not. I don’t even own an axe.
Scouts’ honor. I’m Henry.


Not knowing what else to do, Annie pretends to hobble to the car.


ANNIE
Uh, my name is An...gelina. I hope my
friends can find your place.


HENRY
Won’t be a problem. Angelina.
Such a pretty name.


Annie climbs into the car. Henry smiles as she closes the door. He rolls the window up, closing Annie in with him. She watches the window slide into place almost nervously.


[As the car drives off, Vern returns. Cory berates him with much profanity and they start walking, hoping to find Annie quickly.]



EXT. HENRY’S HOUSE - MORNING


Henry’s car pulls in along the driveway. The house is set back a good distance from the road. The car stops near the house, and Henry climbs out. Annie does the same, but slower, very on edge.


She looks back down the road.


HENRY
See, I told you it was close.


ANNIE
Yeah, but my friends still might have
a tough time finding the place.



Henry waves this off and opens the back door of the car. He reaches in and pulls out the two brown paper bags of groceries. With keys in hand, he turns and walks to the house, expecting Annie to follow him.


She doesn’t. He turns back and sees her still looking down the driveway.


HENRY
Aren’t you coming inside? You
still need to call your friends.


Annie casts one more look down the driveway, then turns and walks nervously to where Henry stands by the door. Henry maybe starts to realize something is hinky here. However, the curtain has risen, the play must go on. But Henry can’t resist one little prod.


HENRY (CONT’D)
Your ankle seems to be much better.



Annie realizes she forgot her limp.


ANNIE
Yeah, I guess it is better. Guess being off
it for a few minutes did the trick.

 
HENRY
I guess so.


Henry unlocks the door and gestures for Annie to precede him inside. She smiles anxiously, and goes in. Henry follows, and the door closes with an ominous click. Once again, we stay on the door just long enough to expect something else to happen. Finally, it doesn’t.




INT. HENRY’S KITCHEN - MORNING


Henry has taken the lead and walks in to the kitchen. He sets down the grocery bags. Annie looks the place over as she eases into the kitchen. There is a sign posted: “Enjoy our hospitality. We’re glad you came to see us!” There are also small paintings here, the lightest in tone of any we’ve seen so far.


ANNIE
This is a nice place. You have a lot
of paintings.


HENRY
They’re mine.


Annie looks at him.

ANNIE
Well, sure they are. It’s your
house...


Henry grins.



HENRY
No, I mean I painted them.


ANNIE
Really? Wow. You’re really talented. I like
your sign too. Hospitality. You said that out
on the road.


HENRY
Thank you, Angelina. Yes, my father always
encouraged having guests, and treating them well.


ANNIE
Do you live here alone?


HENRY
No, my father lives here with me.


Annie starts slightly at the change in tense. This day started off bad, and just keeps adding more complications.


ANNIE
Uh, you can make that Annie, I guess.
Where is your father?
 
 
HENRY
Annie it is then. I’m afraid Father is not well. He
sleeps most of the time. Actually, I need to check
on him, and put these groceries away. Do you
need to freshen up?


ANNIE
Uh, sure. Yeah, that would be good.

 
HENRY
Bathroom’s first on the left down the hall.
But first, let me show you this.


Annie is not sure what he means as Henry steps over to a small fusebox looking box on the wall. He opens it and flips the switch inside.


We flash to the front door, the back door, and a shot of the windows. Each time, there is a soft CLUNK that sounds like a lock being thrown followed by a soft and steady electrical HUM.


None of this can be heard in the kitchen.


HENRY (CONT’D)
There. I just turned on the light over my mailbox.
Now your friends will have no problem finding this place.
And you can make your call as soon as I check on
Father. First door on the left in the meantime.


Annie smiles and walks down the hall. Henry smiles back, but the smile fades after Annie disappears and he starts to put away the groceries.


 
EXT. ROAD - MORNING


Cory and Vern walk along, scanning each side looking for some sign of Annie or Henry’s car. They come upon Henry’s driveway.


As they stop to look at it for a moment, the sharp eyed will see the mailbox, which is brightly painted to look like a rather strange fish, the first dimensional representation of Henry’s art that we’ve seen.


And no, there is no light over it at all.


VERN
Is this it?
 
 
CORY
Hell if I know. I don’t want to go to the
wrong place and get some nervous nellie
farmer calling the cops.


Vern calmly pulls out his pistol. Cory sighs and shakes his head.


CORY (CONT’D)
And I don’t want to leave a string of bodies
across the county. Let’s go further down,
see if we see the car.


Vern reluctantly agrees, puts his gun away, and they walk on.






INT. HENRY’S HALLWAY - MORNING


The door to the bathroom opens quietly. Annie peeks out, then slips out into the dimly lit hallway, trying not to let her heels clatter on the floor. The walls here are also covered with several framed pieces.


Down the hall, Henry putters and puts away groceries, humming to himself. Annie turns and walks down the hall the other way.


She comes to a closed door, and puts her hand on the knob. She watches back down the hall, but Henry continues to make noise in the kitchen. She debates opening this door, which could creak, or walking down to the last door, which is open.


She lets go of the doorknob and creeps on down the hall. She peeks carefully around the door frame.


Inside the room, there is a figure lying in the bed. It is very still, and does not show any signs of life. With another peek back to the kitchen, Annie slides into the room.



INT. HENRY’S SECOND BEDROOM - MORNING


Surrounded by Henry’s art, Annie’s eyes adjust to the even more dim light here, and Annie can see that the figure appears to be a very old man, with gray hair and an ample gray beard. There is still no sign of obvious life.
 
 
Annie steps closer, and finally, unable to resist, reaches out a hand to the figure’s foot and gives it a gentle shake.
 
 
Instantly the figure’s eyes snap open, startling the hell out of Annie, who reels back. The figure flops and writhes, absolute stark terror in the eyes. No speech, but a muffled mumbling can be heard. Now it can be seen that the figure is restrained in the bed. Annie turns to run away...
 
 
...and finds Henry standing right behind her, rage in his eyes. He grabs Annie and hustles her out into the hallway.


HENRY
What are you doing?
Why did you do that?


ANNIE
What’s wrong with him? Why is he
so scared? And why is he tied
up like that?


HENRY
He is a very old, very sick man. He is terrified
of just about everything these days, especially strangers.
And in his confusion he cannot be left to fall out of
bed, or wander around the house and hurt himself.


This explanation calms Annie somewhat. Henry also relaxes a bit.


ANNIE
I’m sorry, Henry, I heard a noise...


HENRY
It’s all right. I’m sorry I snapped. I need to
get him calmed down, and seeing you again
won’t help. Will you wait in the kitchen for me?


ANNIE
Yes, of course.


Annie walks back down the hall to the kitchen. Henry watches her until she disappears around the corner, then he walks into the bedroom. The figure reacts again, still terrified.


HENRY
I’m sorry, Father.


He walks over to the dresser and picks up a small case. From inside he draws out a hypodermic needle, which is already filled. He squirts the air out as he approaches the bed. The figure on the bed mumbles incoherently again in the same muffled way.


HENRY (CONT’D)
But it’s for your own good.


The figure on the bed tries to jerk away, but cannot escape.



INT. HENRY’S KITCHEN - MORNING


Annie waits nervously. She eyes a butcher block full of knives, even slides the largest partially out, then decides against it and lets it fall back.


After a moment, Henry walks back into the room. He seems to have regained his composure, though maybe it is now a bit brittle.


HENRY
There, he’s settled down now.

ANNIE
God, I am so sorry, Henry.


HENRY
It’s all right. So much upsets him these
days. Now, how about that phone call?


Annie has no desire to make a phone call, but still doesn’t what to do.


ANNIE
Uh, sure.

HENRY
Phone’s right over here.


He gestures to an old cordless phone mounted on the wall. He takes the handset off and gives it to Annie.


It feels strange, and she hefts it as though the weight is off.


ANNIE
Henry, I don’t think there are
any batteries in this phone.


Henry slides closer as though to take a look.


HENRY
No, there aren’t. Oh, and Annie?
I was never a scout.

Annie tries to move but she’s let Henry get too close as he pulls the same hypodermic up from where he’s been palming it and slams it into Annie’s upper arm.


Annie turns and grabs for the knives, but only manages to get the largest back out and turn before crumpling. The knife clatters harmlessly onto the floor beside her.





Not to spoil anything - but things go downhill from there. That's a few pages out of a 98 page screenplay - if you have six figures lying around that you're not using - this has an executive producer credit just waiting for you...



Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Buddha Man Meets Vincent Price!








The Fly (1958) In a novel opening to a 50’s sci fi flick – we start off as Andre DeLambre (David Hedison) lies dead, his head and arm crushed to paste in a hydraulic press at the factory owned by his family for generations. The police quickly realize this particular press cannot be set automatically, but must have someone at the controls – so this wasn’t suicide – it’s MURDER. Who could be responsible? Well, there are no flies on the police – they see Mrs. DeLambre (Patricia Owens) standing right beside the controls in question and they waste no time putting the blame squarely on her. Her brother-in-law Francoise (Vincent Price) cannot believe Helene capable of such an act and tries to find out why she did it – but the stoic woman refuses to answer – and her quiet calm does not endear her to the authorities, as they begin to believe she is cold and calculating. Making matters worse – they discover evidence that as the press first came down on Andre – his arm slipped out – and that Helene lifted the press, put his arm back in, and sent the press down a second time. What kind of a monster could crush her husband to death – twice?

Herbert Marshall and Vincent Price in the lab.


Eventually it becomes obvious that she is not attempting to flee – or fly – away in escape – but her refusal to explain her actions simply isn’t going to fly. She tells Francoise her story – a few weeks before, scientist Andre had made an amazing breakthrough in his research – he created a machine that could teleport solid matter across a room! Eventually Andre hoped his teleportation system would allow cheap and fast movement of food, goods, and people anywhere in the world – but that would come after perfection of the process – currently it’s just moving something from one cabinet to the other in his laboratory. However, the scientist’s adventurous side kicks in and he decides to take a trip through himself to test the effects of teleportation on living matter. (Seems a little risky, considering…) The first time through goes fine. But the second time is another matter, as Andre is unwittingly joined by a second passenger, and you’re not winging it if you remember the title of the movie at this point.

Charles Herbert and Vincent Price revel in their arachnophobia together.


After that second teleportation, Andre locks himself in his lab and won’t let anyone see him. Eventually he allows Helene to bring him food – but only soups and liquids – and he now wears a cover over his head and keeps one hand out of sight in a pocket. He also enlists her help in a feverish search for a fly – but not just any fly – this fly sports a tiny white head…without it he might not have a wing or a prayer…

David keeps his Hedison out of sight, while Patricia thinks he Owens her an explanation...


This is one of the most fondly remembered monster movies from the 50's - and with good reason. It's a well made thriller - even if the science is beyond goofy. A very solid cast is well orchestrated through the story by director Kurt Neumann - who sadly died right after the movie was released and never got to see it become his biggest hit. Like pretty much all movies like this from the time - the movie makes you wait a while to see the creature in the feature - but it's worth the wait - a cool makeup design by Ben Nye.

Don't harsh his buzz... 


I'm glad Vincent Price is playing Hedison's brother here - because that means we get Price throughout the movie - if he'd been the fly guy we'd have much less of him in the movie. Hedison - still sporting the first name Al before settling on David as a better choice a few years later - is a good choice for the doomed scientist. Patricia Owens handles the various sides of her character (loving wife, cool widow, hysterical screamer) very well - which leads me to wonder why she's not more well known than she is? Charles Herbert has been discussed in this blog before. A good child actor - with agents and managers canny enough to get him top billing in films he did a couple of years after this. And we must mention Herbert Marshall - a veteran actor who found the film silly - he and Price legendarily broke up at some of their scripted lines and actions - but who keeps his performance properly somber and serious.


I don't think you can mention this movie and not touch on the highly recommended 1986 remake from David Cronenberg - that version shores up the science by bringing in DNA and a transformation at the molecular level - which is still fantasy but a tiny bit more grounded in reality than switching heads and hands with an insect.


But we're still back in 1958 - and this original movie is highly recommended as well. In fact, why not watch the two versions back to back?











House of the Long Shadows  (1983)  A thrill collectively went through all classic horror fans when this movie was announced. The four reigning Kings of Horror (at the time) - Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and John Carradine - all together in one film for the first time. Add in more cool British actors like Richard Todd, Sheila Walker, and Louise English (one of Benny Hill's Angels a few years previously) to make the movie even better. That the cast list ended with Desi Arnaz, Jr. didn't have us worried one bit. Then we saw the movie. We should have worried. In the midst of all those veteran actors, Desi stands out like a sore thumb and really mars the movie.


Christopher Lee, John Carradine, Peter Cushing, and Vincent Price.

It also works against that incredible quartet that the script - the zillionth adaptation of the hoary old chestnut Seven Keys to Baldpate - is pretty slow and doesn't really showcase any of the four that well. I don't mind it being another version of an old story - I just wish this adaptation had a little more pep. It's also a visually dark movie - at least it was in the old VHS and in the streaming version I watched not long ago - and it's sometimes hard to see what's going on - which is ironic considering how many times the story was used for radio shows. A big remaster to Blu-Ray might take care of the illumination issues, but until then good luck seeing parts of this. In the end, it's not that great - but what true horror fan could resist checking this out?









Thank you as always, my golden friend. Until next post - you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Random Stew 10/28/14!


It's the season, and these ads are part of the reason...








Everyone I ever trick or treated is so lucky they didn't give me a packet of Kool-Aid. Soooooo lucky....









Cheap parenting at its best...














Jack Frost O'Lantern!










Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #187!











The Atomic Monster  (aka Man-Made Monster)   (Universal Studios, 1941)
Realart re-released this Universal Studios flick - and apparently it was in the 1950's if that retitle is any indication. This is a fun movie, but it's kind of sad - as lovable lummox Chaney is made into a murderous monster by good ol' Lionel Atwill.











They  (Dimension Films, 2002)


I really didn't care for this toothless PG-13 horror flick in the theater. But, here's the poster anyway.














The Brotherhood of Satan  (Columbia Pictures, 1971)

I finally got to check this flick out a week or so ago - not a great movie, but interesting - and I think one that would lend itself to a rewatch.









Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Crazy Movie Weekend: Halloween Horrorfest 4!

October 24-26 marked the fourth edition of my weekend long horror movie marathon (itself within an all month long horror marathon)!



I took the whole day off this year - cleaned the house and trekked out for snacks and supplies - and of course the now truly traditional Friday night meal to kick off the movies:




Papa Murphy's Take-n-Bake Jack O'Lantern Pepperoni Pizza!



And then - just after 7pm - the films began! (SPOILER ALERT - the following images may present spoilers, plus there is an ongoing body count for each movie - if you haven't seen all of these movies beware...)



Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers



My buddy Ray and his girlfriend Melinda joined me and my wife Suze for this one. I always snap pictures right off the screen - trying to get a good one to use in social media - to let everyone know what we're up to - and it's always in the hopes someone extra will join us - though that's not yet happened.



Donald Pleasence








This was the shot used on social media.








URK!
















Don't worry, the cat is not part of the body count.



Terror Train



Ray, Melinda, Suze, and me.





The conductors don't appreciate practical jokes - and no one knows who's really in that snake costume...








Michy's legs were a draw to take this shot.








This is the social media shot.








Ray's carved buddy Jack is the mascot for the second Body Count shot.






Night of the Demons  (1988)



Ray, Melinda, Suze, and me - and James joined us near the end.





Linnea Quigley looking pretty damned demonic...when there's only one picture from the movie of course
it is the shot used in social media...








Snacks and an adult beverage flank our ever growing BC.






Laid to Rest



Ray, Melinda, Suze, James, and me. The biggest attendance for the weekend. *sigh*






Sean Whalen buys it. Doesn't he kind of look like Mrs. Bates from the end of Psycho here?








My door decoration holds up the next BC - with a little help if you look down his arm...





And that wrapped us up for Friday night - it was after 2am...





Saturday morning - shortly after 9am - and now it's just James and me for the rest of the fest!





George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead








A group shot.








As the credits roll and we hit a nice round number, my cat Eva Gabor photobombs the BC pic...





Wolf Creek





Trying to catch a good shot of Mick...








There it is! And this is the social media shot.








My Canadian buddy Elaine's Halloween card spruces up the next BC shot.





The Invisible Man Returns 


Though old movies are not James's thing - I mandated an old school scary movie to honor my start as a kid in watching horror. I gave him two choices. First - Boris Karloff or Vincent Price. He chose Price. Second - The Invisible Man Returns or House of Wax? He chose the one not to see.




Not a great shot of Mr. Unseen (Vincent Price) but I'm always a sucker for a leg shot.








Here's the social media picture.








But I kept shooting - isn't she a babe?








Almost got used for social media.









Same here.








More of our snacks appear - and The Invisible Man barely makes the Body Count rise at all.




 
I Spit On Your Grave  (1978)





A nice try at a shot, but ends up a little busy.








In trying to keep the photos PG-13 at most - but still present something creepy -
this guy and his knife was about my only option. This is the social media winner.
























This was voted on for the social media shot - but I went with the other one because the knife has
gone invisible here.








Friday the 13th dominates this BC pic.






The Howling 






Not the greatest picture, as the double exposure of the next shot is already dissolving in,
but I love these stop motion werewolves you get the briefest glimpse of...








There's the machine itself, in all its glory! My combo VHS/Blu-Ray player! And that's The Howling disc
about to come out for the next feature...





The Collection





An interesting mid-dissolve shot - kind of cool, but not what I'm looking to post ...








Trying to catch the doom trap and the guy in the same shot - fail.








Trying to catch a good shot of Our Hero...not that great.








Trying for the guy and the trap again - more fail.








Let's try catching the killer then. The lighter looks good - but he's still in motion and soft focus as a result...








Not a perfect shot - but a good one - and this is the one I used.








Jason V is almost knocked over by a single film body count that rivals his across eleven movies!



Another choice for James - a sequel to one of the movies we had watched, or a remake of one of the movies we had watched? He couldn't decide at first - eventually saying whichever was newer. 2010's I Spit On Your Grave gets pushed to next year by 2014's:


 
Wolf Creek 2








James couldn't make out John Jarratt's Australian accent very well, so the captions were on for the
whole movie. It was near impossible to get a good shot of Mick when there weren't words at the
bottom, and I didn't want to stop the movie, turn them off, start the movie, take the pic, stop the
movie...etc. So this pic won.








I did get this pic - which makes Mick look really creepy eyed - until you realize those are his
fingertips and not crazy eyeballs.








Our dinner - wings - and James's drink of choice - Rum-n-Pepsi - are shown off for the next BC picture.






Contracted







We had made good time watching Saturday and had time for two more movies. I knew what I wanted to finish
Saturday with, so James got the choice of what was next to last - one of the choices became Sunday's first
movie, and Splinter and Shredder moved to next year. We chose this body horror flick so we could get
thoroughly grossed out. During this movie - in all seriousness - a weird light floated around in the distance
behind my house. No sounds, too slow for a remote drone or toy, and it went straight up at one point, so
not a plane. We got creeped out and ran back to the movie after locking up the back patio and
closing the curtains.








Trying to catch her horrifically changed eyes. Fail.








URK!








Trying to catch the full effect again. Fail.








Better, but still not quite what I was looking for.








GURGLE!








Bam! Putting on makeup with the messed up eyes and mouth? Winner winner chicken dinner! Sent this one out.








Another gruesome eye shot.








Jack returns for the next BC shot. Not a huge number of bodies - but we were good and creeped out!





You're Next





James said "there's your shot right there." He was right - the movie title and some gore? Perfect!








James always does a "dead guy" shot for the HHs.




That wrapped us up for Saturday night - nine movies - a good day well spent. We were all done shortly after 2am again.


Sunday morning - back at it around 9:30am....



Trailer Park of Terror






Hard to catch a good shot in this movie as there's lots of fast moving people and camera shots.








And then you get a shot like this. No, it's not what it looks like. She is taking his belt off with her hands.
I just caught it at the exact perfect moment to make it appear this movie is raunchier than it really is.
Sorry if that offends you - but it was too funny not to include.








A prop from my favorite horror convention!






Feast III: The Happy Finish




The previous two CMW: HHs had ended with the previous two Feast movies - so we closed out the trilogy this year.




This was actually a bathroom break pause - but this movie has so much fast moving stuff to challenge me
taking a pic that I just went ahead with it.




And as has become another tradition - I jump on camera for the Body Count Final Total.



FIVE HUNDRED AND TWO! Can you believe it?







So, the second poorest turnout for any Crazy Movie Weekend - only the very first one had lower attendance with just three people - and a bunch of entertaining movies with an incredible body count. Too bad for those invited - Sandra, David, April, Natalie, Brett, Rebecca, and Jeff - who didn't make it. Maybe next year. James and I had a blast, and I was happy Ray, Melinda, and Suze made it for Friday night's movies.






Until next post, you Can Poke Me With Several Movies, Cause I Am Outta Here!