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Don
Posted: January 8th, 2010, 8:23pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Complete by James McClung - Horror, Thriller, Drama - Nikki's romantic getaway turns into a nightmare when her boyfriend unveils a gruesome plot to bring them closer together. 95 pages - pdf, format


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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (7 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  February 9th, 2012, 7:29pm
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greg
Posted: January 8th, 2010, 11:52pm Report to Moderator
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Oh Hi

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Hey James,

Good to see you got this up.  I'll post my review to you from last week just to get things started for ya.  I know you already answered my questions, but maybe it'll generate some discussion.

Pretty quick read here and fast paced.  Remembering what I read from you back in the day, I expected some sort of gross gore-fest and you did not disappoint.  The story you've created I think is rockets.  It's got a sort of simplicity to it while also going into uncharted waters as far as modern day horror-gore is concerned.  I don't recall seeing or reading about many movies where the main character had some sort of really odd fetish outside of simply buthering people for the hell of it.  

So for a while in the beginning I slipped into the idea that maybe this is something romantic you're stirring up here, but then I keep in mind the very first gorey scene and I know that something brutal is gonna happen.  Good way to keep the audience in check. Story flowed fine for me from there.  The dating and growth of Sydney's and Nikki's relationship was efficient and realistic and there's only three main characters in here and three minor ones, so it's pretty easy to follow.  The short dream sequence of Sydney licking the stump during sex was...well, it was the whoa dude moment.  You mentioned that this was a weird script, hopefully not too weird, and to respond to that no, it isn't too weird.  It is weird, but you bring in a pretty new concept here that you don't see a lot of and I thought it was enjoyable.

The only part that didn't really work for me was when the cops got involved.  At that point it felt like a pretty routine slasher with people sneaking around corners, ducking, hiding, not knowing where the killer is, etc etc.  Another thing that was a little ehh was Donald's involvement. First let me say you did an awesome job of totally slashing him up and I chuckled when you had the description of I think it was Bell or Sydney going down the stairs to the basement and stepping on tissue and brain.  I couldn't help but laugh at that.  You pay such close attention to the bloody details haha.  But my beef with Donald's involvement is if this was perfectly consensual as Sydney claimed, why do they need to conduct this operation in a cottage in the middle of nowhere while it's snowing outside?  Wouldn't she need some pretty intense medical attention for a while following the procedure?  Maybe he agreed because Sydney convinced him that this was all part of their romantic vacation?

You should have Nikki say somewhere "I'd give an arm and a leg for you" in one of their romantic talks haha.

The reason I asked about the ending is that it seemed like you threw in a subtle twist there when Sydney said "You know you want this...You said it yourself."  So it made me think that maybe Nikki was helping to act out a fantasy of Sydney's but changed her mind when it turned too real.  I then connected the opening where it was learned that they met through a website and Sydney met other women on this amputee fetish site, so that was my thought process.

Ever consider titling it "Acrotomophilia" or maybe even "Apotemnophilia"? At the end that's what it seems like Sydney had all along.

So overall it was quick and enjoyable.  I think people will like the different motive behind Sydney's craziness rather than just him being a nutcase who wants to slice people up for some lameass reason.  Nikki was a doll and the very end was like whoa.  He realized he doesn't have a fetish for amputees...he has a fetish for BEING an amputee.  At least that's what I took away from it.  I think the new angle is fresh and people will respond favorably to it.  Nice work!

-Greg


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James McClung
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Thanks for posting this, Don!

Thanks again, Greg. I actually went back and changed the lines you mentioned before I submitted this so people wouldn't get the wrong idea. Sydney's line "You said it yourself" actually refers to Nikki's earlier line "If you have to ask..." which Sydney repeated in the draft you read. It was a means to avoid over-using the word "complete" (as of now, it only shows up four times in the whole script). Anyway, those lines definitely didn't need to be there so thanks for pointing them out.

BTW, I'm about halfway through your script. I've been finishing up Rob's The Bay simultaneously but I'll have a review for you soon enough.



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James McClung  -  January 10th, 2010, 4:26pm
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James McClung
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Seeing as this has been posted for about a week and is already at risk of being buried, I figure I'll take this moment to pimp it out some.

This is a script I've been trying to write for a long time. That is, a brutal, serious horror movie that felt like mine and mine alone and brought something completely new to the table. David Cronenberg and Pascal Laugier (Martyrs) were among the influences I had while writing this but it was their approach that influenced me more than their actual work. The characters, story and iconography are mine. I also tried to rethink a lot of the ways horror as a genre is expected to function and I think I succeeded. As gory as it gets, I don't think it ever feels like a slasher/torture script. The elements that drive the story are completely different.

This is the third draft of the script. It's changed considerably since the first but those changes were definitely for the best. At this point, I think it's the best horror script I've written thus far and part of me thinks it's the best I will ever write. It's definitely the closest I've ever come to what I set out to accomplish.

Any reviews would be much appreciated.


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sniper
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Hey, James.

You beat me to the bump. Just finished Complete and overall I really liked it. There were parts that I liked less than others – will get to them later – but I think you pretty much nailed it with this one.

Let’s start off with the ass-kissing (there will be spoilers):

First, the script itself looked fantastic. When I first sat down with it, I just briefly leafed through it and what immediately caught my eyes was all the whiteness. It just looked inviting. One thing I didn’t understand though is the quite a number of times, the dialogue ran to the next page without any character name before it. It looks weird to me, but if that’s how you like it, then that’s how you like it.

Second, the mood. Very very creepy. Obviously I knew something horrible was gonna happen and the slow build of this story really raised the tension the more it progressed. What really impressed me was how well Sydney worked. The man is a complete (no pun intended) psychopath – he really doesn’t get that what he’s doing is wrong. He’s not the stereotypical “Bad Guy”, neither is he evil – in a traditional horror movie sense. Even the killings of the cops, those were done out of necesity – not because he wanted to. He’s simply…sick – but in such a subtle way.

The only downside to this is the fact that he doesn’t come off as freightening or scary until late in the script because he seems almost a little too appologetic at first.

Even though there’s not that much gore in the script (other than the Donald-situation and the end), it actually came off gorier because of the implied nature of his fetish – that, in my book, made it much more scarier without you having to go the torture porn route. Sydney’s fetish…well, that was new. When he first revealed it, I was like WTF? I really couldn’t buy it at first but it grew on me, I came to understand it – and in the end, accept it. I’ve never seen a “motive” like that before, so kudos for bringing something new to the table.

I simply love this piece of dialogue --

Quoted from Complete
                  SYDNEY
I’m no monster. You don’t want me to do this so
I won’t. We’ll get a professional instead.

-- it’s perfectly structured. First, Sydney, puts Nikki (and us) at ease, then he hits it out of the park with the last line. Beautiful, James.

All right, enough with the ass-kissing already.

I felt the first 25-30 pages could be a lot tighter. There’s too much exposition through dialogue in my opinion, especially in the bar-scene with Nikki and Denise. That could have been done better I think, you could have shown Nikki home alone worrying about Sydney instead. In fact, you could cut Denise out of the story entirely as she doesn’t really matter. She’s only there for Nikki to get some exposition across. Granted, exposition is needed now and again – but this was just too much in my book.

While I loved the scene in the cottage with the cops – when they arrive and search the place (high tension scenes, man) – I just couldn’t buy that they would contaminate a crime scene like they do, picking up the saw, breaking the knife. No, that just seems unrealistic.

Nikki was a little flat as a character (probably because Sydney stood out as much as he does). For the most part of the script (after they get to the cottage), she seems a bit too passive since she’s mostly hiding (or unconscious). I’m not saying it’s the wrong thing to do for a person in that situation but I would have liked to have seen her play a more active role. It would be great if you could give her a weakness or a fear that she has to overcome to make it out of this horrible situation.

I’m sorta 50/50 about Donald. On one hand he’s willing to accept money to perform the operation – even though it goes against hippocratic oath (regardless of whether Nikki has agreed or not), on the other hand he backs out when it’s time to get down to business. Both believable traits but it just seemed too convenient (from a story telling persceptive) to have him back out when his does – he’s basically just a mean to get the crisis rolling.

The end…hmmm. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, I just didn’t feel we got there. It was not out of the blue, not at all, but there could have been a better lead-up to it. Don’t know how you would do that though.

Anyway, when all is said and done, I really liked this one, James.

Look forward to your Nazi-Robot (though it’s not a robot) script. Oh, and your romantic comedy

Keep up the good work.

Cheers
Rob


Down in the hole / Jesus tries to crack a smile / Beneath another shovel load
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grademan
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Hey James!

I liked Red Storm so I thought I’d read your latest. Here are my comments.

PREMISE

I never heard of this fascination for amputees before. I had to look it up. Excellent idea. I can see this topic being treated a number of ways with titles like AMPUTEE LOVE, STUMP or HACK if it was done like the SAW series. Glad you took the slow burn approach.

** SPOILER **

GORE

The opening was gory and a complete misdirect.  Well done. But we have to wait until we are significantly into the story before we see gore again. The gore hounds will be howling for it sooner. For me, it was okay to hold back for a while. Also, the visuals were very good. I could see and feel the saw going thru the leg.

CHARACTERS

Sydney was definitely interesting (I kept hearing Liam Neeson’s voice for Sydney. Cool.) A bad guy who doesn’t get what he is doing is bad (but he hides evidence as well as anyone).

Nikki came off a little needy and weak which explains why she didn’t transform into a heroine at the end, merely a survivor.  I saw Nikki as the catalyst character rather than the protag to Sydney’s antag.

The cops were likable even though their opportunity for interaction was limited.

Denise was mildly annoying as exposition girl, giving all the right advice.  Right down to her last line “Take care of yourself girl.”

Donald came across as a guy with reluctant conscience.

That’s it: 2 main characters and 2 supporting roles and 2 cops for gore. And a 911 operator in a VO role.

FORMAT

Only noted one typo: p. 59 wraps s/b raps. Dialog continued on the next page without indicating who was speaking. I could follow it but odd. Your fav action word is “proceeds.” Looked good from a white space perspective.

STORY

Internet dating always ends badly in the scriptwriter’s world.

Donald could have been a darker character who is as sick as Sydney, maybe sicker. But this would make Nikki more of a heroine in overcoming his character. Not sure how that would work.

Sydney could have some interaction with Denise in an effort to find out more about Nikki to up the tension. Also, Sydney could have been seen interacting with his stump buddies if you felt the need to add to the story.

Fine job of introducing Sydney’s obsession with the dream sequence. However, when Sydney says “How about it? Do you feel complete?” seemed forced to me. Who says that after a proposal? Even if you are Sydney. I don’t know. This was the only piece of dialog that stood out as unnatural.

Why does Sydney have this sick need? I guess the three legs in the basement have a story in the prequel to this.

That anesthesia is tricky stuff. I am not sure you can reliably uses that stuff on yourself so that you don’t pass out.

IN SUMMARY, I liked this. Excellent premise, strong antag in Sydney. The opening and ending scenes were top notch. We could get to the meat of the story sooner or make it a little more interesting along the way but that might detract from the slow burn feel you’re going for.

Gary




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James McClung
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Quoted from sniper
One thing I didn’t understand though is the quite a number of times, the dialogue ran to the next page without any character name before it. It looks weird to me, but if that’s how you like it, then that’s how you like it.


I occasionally get complaints about this sorta stuff. I guess it just doesn't bother me. I don't like to use CONT'D or anything like that. I use Word to write so anytime I do an edit, it changes the layout of the whole script so no CONT'D is ever going to stay in the same place.


Quoted from sniper
Second, the mood. Very very creepy. Obviously I knew something horrible was gonna happen and the slow build of this story really raised the tension the more it progressed. What really impressed me was how well Sydney worked. The man is a complete (no pun intended) psychopath – he really doesn’t get that what he’s doing is wrong. He’s not the stereotypical “Bad Guy”, neither is he evil – in a traditional horror movie sense. Even the killings of the cops, those were done out of necesity – not because he wanted to. He’s simply…sick – but in such a subtle way.

The only downside to this is the fact that he doesn’t come off as freightening or scary until late in the script because he seems almost a little too appologetic at first.


Thanks, dude. I definitely tried to make Sydney a different kind of antagonist. Everything he says, he believes or at least thinks he believes and there's only a few moments where he acts with the intent to hurt someone. I understand he comes off as apologetic earlier on. One thing I tried to do throughout, which was actually really hard, was to have him drift further and further from reality each time he huffs the gas. I figured after losing control of the situation, he would fall back on his drug habits to cope.


Quoted from sniper
I felt the first 25-30 pages could be a lot tighter. There’s too much exposition through dialogue in my opinion, especially in the bar-scene with Nikki and Denise. That could have been done better I think, you could have shown Nikki home alone worrying about Sydney instead. In fact, you could cut Denise out of the story entirely as she doesn’t really matter. She’s only there for Nikki to get some exposition across. Granted, exposition is needed now and again – but this was just too much in my book.


I've gotten a little flack about Denise's character but the exposition she builds for Nikki I think is important. I wanted to show the effects Nikki's neediness had on her other relationships and also, I wanted someone normal in the script at least in the beginning. I might try to cut the scenes down some though as I don't think it'd be a good idea to cut them.


Quoted from sniper
While I loved the scene in the cottage with the cops – when they arrive and search the place (high tension scenes, man) – I just couldn’t buy that they would contaminate a crime scene like they do, picking up the saw, breaking the knife. No, that just seems unrealistic.


Note taken. I tried really hard to keep the cop's behavior realistic. I never thought about them contaminating the place. I'll fix this for sure.


Quoted from sniper
Nikki was a little flat as a character (probably because Sydney stood out as much as he does). For the most part of the script (after they get to the cottage), she seems a bit too passive since she’s mostly hiding (or unconscious). I’m not saying it’s the wrong thing to do for a person in that situation but I would have liked to have seen her play a more active role. It would be great if you could give her a weakness or a fear that she has to overcome to make it out of this horrible situation.


I suppose that's a fair point although I wanted to avoid having too many struggles or fights break out between her and Sydney. Frankly, I've written too many horror scripts thus far with girls fighting baddies, at least in this style of horror. I wanted to write a more vulnerable character this time around.


Quoted from sniper
The end…hmmm. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, I just didn’t feel we got there. It was not out of the blue, not at all, but there could have been a better lead-up to it. Don’t know how you would do that though.


I gotcha. I didn't want to give too many clues though. I really wanted the ending to be unexpected. That said, there are some. There's a line where Sydney mentions not being able to connect with amputees. This is why. Also, both him and Nikki end up getting wounded on the same legs that are meant to come off. I figured from the getgo, it'd be obvious someone's leg is going to come off in this script. Once they're both wounded, it's a little harder to say who's.


Quoted from sniper
Look forward to your Nazi-Robot (though it’s not a robot) script. Oh, and your romantic comedy


Thanks, dude! The Nazi script isn't gonna get posted on SS but hopefully, people will get to see it onscreen, ideally in 3D. The romantic comedy is almost good to go. I'm gonna rewrite an old crusty script first then the rom-com.


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James McClung
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Quoted from grademan
I never heard of this fascination for amputees before. I had to look it up. Excellent idea. I can see this topic being treated a number of ways with titles like AMPUTEE LOVE, STUMP or HACK if it was done like the SAW series. Glad you took the slow burn approach.


Thanks dude! I was set from the getgo to write a real story about real people without worrying about being PC or going too far. If I just wanted to take shots at fetishes for the sake of shocking people, this wouldn't been trash.


Quoted from grademan
Nikki came off a little needy and weak which explains why she didn’t transform into a heroine at the end, merely a survivor.  I saw Nikki as the catalyst character rather than the protag to Sydney’s antag.


Nikki IS needy and weak. So is Sydney for that matter. On a metaphorical level, the script's about people depending on each other to be happy and how that never works out. First and foremost, the script is about Sydney's plan but I did write Nikki the way she is for a reason. I also wanted to take a break from writing "ass-kicking bitches" just like I wanted to take a break from writing "psycho-killers." It just didn't fit for this story.

Also, in a way, Sydney is the main character. He gets much more screen time and goes through a full character arc. At the same time, he and Nikki mirror each other in a lot of ways and in some ways, they go through the same arc. There's definitely a moment there, if only a second, where Nikki considers smashing her leg but she chooses not to.


Quoted from grademan
Denise was mildly annoying as exposition girl, giving all the right advice.  Right down to her last line “Take care of yourself girl.”


Fair enough. I think she's important for Nikki's character though. I also wanted at least one normal person in the beginning.


Quoted from grademan
However, when Sydney says “How about it? Do you feel complete?” seemed forced to me. Who says that after a proposal? Even if you are Sydney. I don’t know. This was the only piece of dialog that stood out as unnatural.


Fair enough. I'll think about cutting it.


Quoted from grademan
IN SUMMARY, I liked this. Excellent premise, strong antag in Sydney. The opening and ending scenes were top notch. We could get to the meat of the story sooner or make it a little more interesting along the way but that might detract from the slow burn feel you’re going for.


I think I'll stick to the slow burn. It's what I was going for and I think it makes everything that happens later feel much more harsh and intimate. Glad you liked it, dude!


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Scoob
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Hey James,

Really liked this one.

Love the opening page. Gory and descriptive. Nice start

Sydney meets Nikki on a net date meet. Nikki seems a little low on confidence. She seems pleased he calls her back when she is round her friend Denise's place. I take it the time Nikki lets Sydney round they have met previously because this seems awkward if its only their second meeting. Perhaps both are just very open and lonely though, so all depends how they develop later on. * This comment is a little redundant as you have the one year later superimposed in the next line!

Sydney might have a little fascination with violent/reality type TV programmes. Interesting.

Nikki seems regretful she has not made more of herself. Sydney is supportive of her and says he is proud. Nikki wants commitment and babies. Sydney is not so keen. Sydney looks for an engagement ring. Cant find one and lies to Nikki about postponing a weekend together as he has to work. Sydney shops for housing supplies. Calls a pal , Donald, to help him with the favour. Nikki visits her friend Denise at the bar whom she hasn't seen for a long time. Denise seems to know Sydney isn't the cheating type.

At the cottage, Sydney enters into the Shrine area where there are three large covered recatangular objects - my first thought was they were possibly freezers.  *Tells me I shouldn't try and second guess!

27 - and the two are about to set off to the cottage. Interesting to see what could happen next.

So by page 34, I'm still intrigued. Thanks to the opening page, we still know something horrible is going to happen and interrupt this romance - which I have to say I think you have put together very well.
35 - Dream sequence - seems like one of the two might have a freakish amputation fantasy? Definitely comes out of the blue.
39 - Things are definitely taking a turn to the sinister with Donald's arrival.
40 - Seems Nikki is under some kind of "hypnosis"? Or just severely drugged and open for suggestion.
42 - Relentless stuff here that seems to have come out from nowhere! Good stuff!
48 - So something is either wrong with Nikki's leg and she is in denial or Sydney is plain crazy. ( Not long after, it is clear Sydney is nuts )Cant stop reading, it's good stuff.

Nice bits of tension with Nikki trapped in the shrine.

59 - I think Sydney is using the anesthetics as pain relief from his stab wound but perhaps also as a high?

Much credit for the tension you have built up and kept it going.

66 - "I don't KNOW where he went" - think that's the only typo I have spotted so thought I'd point it out.

Staying with page 66 and my first small gripe. I'm not sure about the police leaving Nikki in the car. I know they believe that she's probably just doped up as they were suggesting en route and I'm willing to buy it because everything has been so good. But, I'd have thought one of the cops would stay with her and atleast have taken her into their police car just in case.However, it is a horror film and since when do the police ever do the right thing, haha..

69 - Ooh, nice kill.
73 - Like the small details such as Sydney removing pieces of wood from his arm, Bell's laboured breathing.
78 - Gotta love that Sydney is somehow trying to blame it on Nikki!
85 - Not too keen on Sydney's " It still burns!" line - I don't think you need it.
What follows is leg twitchingly grisly and I didn't see the end coming, that's for sure.


Really enjoyed this one, James. As usual, I found it easy to follow thanks to your great writing and structure that you used. Loved the story and found myself really getting into the two main characters - probably because everything was centered on them, but I still felt sorry for Nikki.

Really good story. Simple and effective. More of a character driven piece than anything - atleast up until the latter stages, and I really enjoyed that. The first page sounds like this is going to be a blood soaked ride from the off, ( it becomes that later! ) but I really found the character development in the first 30-35 pages is what made the horror in the last parts stand out much more.

I like the slow build and when you introduce the horror aspect, you really bring it in with force! It was kind of a head spinner but I loved that.
Loved the setting. Cottage in middle of nowhere is always creepy and the snow was a great touch. Gave it that extra chill (pun intended).
I like Sydney's "motive". It really wouldn't surprise me in the least if the fetish he had was real, in fact, I don't doubt it at all. When you read or hear, or see, what some people do or what ends they go to just to satisfy their needs, I think it makes Sydney more realistic in a sense. The guy wasn't just killing or amputating for the sake of a cheap thrill, but it had become so much of an obsession he actually had to have it in order to settle down with a girl. Guy was a loon, but a loon with a well thought out motive.

The ending was a surprise because after all he'd gone through, I didn't expect Sydney to call it quits but it did make sense. I was dreading you might actually end up killing off Nikki so I was atleast pleased you let her live.


I think you're becoming the Master of Medical Horror, James. It's not the first script you've written where it's clear you know your medical instruments and the damage they can inflict. Always like the little details and you came up with the goods again here. Not just the violence, but the after effects aswell which I thought was well written.


The dialogue for the most part was good. It worked really well in most places. To be harsh, I thought some of the lines were not needed - especially the one I pointed out above - and at times it just feels a little too specific? I don't want to say that because Sydney is an oddball character and if he's speaking that way because that's his character, it actually works OK.


Loved Nikki, really found her a character that was vulnerable and therefore I cared about her. Lacking in self confidence, thinking her time has past and then meeting Mr. Right to the romantic setting at the cottage was all really well put together writing. So when she was in jeopardy, I did want her to get out of it.
Sydney always came across as a bit odd, but he seemed to believe what he was doing was right so he didn't just morph into some nut case overnight. I like his character and motivation.

Things I didn't like are few and far between. The cops might have overstayed their welcome in the story and they seemed a bit like tweedledum and tweedledee. Donald was a decent character but him yelling out "pervert!" when he accidently stabbed the wrong person just sounded a bit - unintentionally amusing. Sydney's use of anaesthetic was regular and I'm amazed the guy was able to function so well at times. It does help how the attacks on him were minimized in causing him pain though. I think the fight between Donald and Sydney was good, but involving the leg made it sound slightly comedic.

Your writing was great, structure was perfect and I really enjoyed the story.



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Quoted from Scoob
Sydney meets Nikki on a net date meet. Nikki seems a little low on confidence. She seems pleased he calls her back when she is round her friend Denise's place. I take it the time Nikki lets Sydney round they have met previously because this seems awkward if its only their second meeting. Perhaps both are just very open and lonely though, so all depends how they develop later on. * This comment is a little redundant as you have the one year later superimposed in the next line!


Originally, I had a line saying they'd been out a couple times already. I removed it because it was very poorly placed. I've reinserted it in a different place as the scene does come off as awkward right now.


Quoted from Scoob
40 - Seems Nikki is under some kind of "hypnosis"? Or just severely drugged and open for suggestion.


Indeed, she is severely drugged. The way I see it, Sydney either gave it to her while she was sleeping or she took them willingly from him earlier because she wasn't feeling well. I didn't want to show the scene this time. I didn't want to spell it out just yet and frankly, I've written too many scenes of people getting drugged. They are a great plot device though, aren't they?


Quoted from Scoob
59 - I think Sydney is using the anesthetics as pain relief from his stab wound but perhaps also as a high?


Sydney's an ex-drug addict. I figure after losing complete control of a situation he's been planning for months, he'd fall back on his drug habits. I also tried to make him increasingly spacy the more he hit the stuff which is trickier than it seems.


Quoted from Scoob
Staying with page 66 and my first small gripe. I'm not sure about the police leaving Nikki in the car. I know they believe that she's probably just doped up as they were suggesting en route and I'm willing to buy it because everything has been so good. But, I'd have thought one of the cops would stay with her and atleast have taken her into their police car just in case.However, it is a horror film and since when do the police ever do the right thing, haha.


No worries. This is totally valid and I'm going to go back and fix the scene. I think I could have the one cop go in then try to radio his partner after getting his throat cut. I did my best not to use the "it's a movie" excuse this time around. Honestly, I do tend to give myself at least some leeway in that regard but I felt this script was different.


Quoted from Scoob
85 - Not too keen on Sydney's " It still burns!" line - I don't think you need it.


You're right. It's gone. I just wanted to point out that water doesn't help with mace but I suppose that's neither here nor there.


Quoted from Scoob
I like Sydney's "motive". It really wouldn't surprise me in the least if the fetish he had was real, in fact, I don't doubt it at all.


The fetish is totally real (technically it's two different fetishes which serve as counterparts to each other). In fact, a lot of what Sydney does it based on fact. I doubt any of these guys ever tried to cut off their partner's leg against their will but some of them take extremely drastic measures to rid themselves of unwanted limbs. It's really fascinating actually. As much as sexual attraction plays a factor in the fetish, body image can do so just as much. I won't go much more into it as I don't want to ruin the mystery of it all but I did try to dive into all of it as the territory is so unexplored.


Quoted from Scoob
The ending was a surprise because after all he'd gone through, I didn't expect Sydney to call it quits but it did make sense. I was dreading you might actually end up killing off Nikki so I was atleast pleased you let her live.


Once again, I don't want to ruin the mystery of the script but Sydney doesn't exactly call it quits. It's actually kind of a happy ending for the two although based on your wording, I think you probably figured it out.


Quoted from Scoob
Loved Nikki, really found her a character that was vulnerable and therefore I cared about her. Lacking in self confidence, thinking her time has past and then meeting Mr. Right to the romantic setting at the cottage was all really well put together writing. So when she was in jeopardy, I did want her to get out of it.

Sydney always came across as a bit odd, but he seemed to believe what he was doing was right so he didn't just morph into some nut case overnight. I like his character and motivation.


This is basically what I was going for, on both counts. I'm glad you recognized it. In a weird way, Nikki and Sydney are the same character, just in different forms. Both are horribly insecure and look to others to make themselves feel complete.


Quoted from Scoob
Things I didn't like are few and far between. The cops might have overstayed their welcome in the story and they seemed a bit like tweedledum and tweedledee. Donald was a decent character but him yelling out "pervert!" when he accidently stabbed the wrong person just sounded a bit - unintentionally amusing. Sydney's use of anaesthetic was regular and I'm amazed the guy was able to function so well at times. It does help how the attacks on him were minimized in causing him pain though. I think the fight between Donald and Sydney was good, but involving the leg made it sound slightly comedic.


I'll see what I can do about some of this stuff. I figured Donald had to say something in order to indicate he thought he was attacking Sydney. Maybe he can say something else. The prosthetic, I added with the sex scene to up the amputee iconography. The sex scene is also meant to show Sydney genuinely wants Nikki to accept him. I guess the leg could come off as comical although I imagine getting whacked with one would hurt quite a bit.

Thanks for the read! Glad you liked it.


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dresseme
Posted: January 26th, 2010, 2:05pm Report to Moderator
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First off, kudos to you for thinking of something wholly original.  If you gave me the first 35 pages or so, sat me down and asked me to make a list of where I thought the film was going, I'm almost 100% I would never guess what you came up with.

I've skimmed through a few of the reviews here, and it looks like my thoughts towards the script basically echo what's already been said (with a few exceptions).

Some people commented on tightening up the first 30 pages or so, but I don't really think that's necessary.  After all, most of it's dialogue that'll probably be read pretty quickly.  And plus, it gives the audience ample time to try and figure out what's going on, only to be thrown for a loop later on.

The part I agree with people on are in reference to Donald, the cops, and Nikki.  First, I, like others, don't really buy Donald's involvement in this whole thing.  It just seems a little too convenient, and in the end, I don't really know what purpose he serves other than to up the gore.  He's dispatched with almost as soon as he's introduced.

The cops are probably my biggest problem with the script in that, like others have stated, I don't really buy any of their actions.  Also, when they arrive, a once refreshing look becomes kind of cookie-cutter.  Also, I really didn't like when you had Sydney imitate him over the radio.  I don't think cops, even back-woodsy type cops, would treat this so lightly.  There would be tons of cars showing up at that place to check up on them.

Finally, I agree that Nikki basically becomes kind of underused and useless as the script goes on.  I almost forgot for some time that she was even part of the story.  I feel like you might want to re-think having Donald and the cops (maybe have just one) there, and concentrate more on the horror element that comes from being stranded at a cabin with this weirdo.  Although, from your writing style, you seem to be a fan of the gore, so that might compromise what you want from this film.

Overall, I enjoyed the read but felt relatively underwhelmed by the second-half.  Like I said, for such an original idea, you tended to employ rather commonly used devices.
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James McClung
Posted: January 26th, 2010, 3:33pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading, Dressel!

I just submitted a new draft. I would've asked you to hold off on this one but considering your review, I don't think it would've done much more for you.

I wasn't trying to write a gore script. The first draft was much more of a gore script which is why I removed around forty pages and replaced them with entirely new plot. I do think gore is inherent in the nature of the plot though and even though I focused more on the psychological element than the gore, I think the severity of Sydney's plan would be lost without it. That's me though. I'm very particular about what I choose to hold back.

I can see where you're coming from with all the characters although I did have a purpose for all of them. Sydney would seek out a professional like Donald. Nikki would call the cops. I wanted to bypass the whole cell phone cliche as it's too much of an indicator of the slasher genre. You could argue that killing the cops is too but people pick up more on the cell phone convention. I tried to make the cops a little more realistic in the new draft but it still features Sydney's impersonation which you hated.

As for Nikki, she's the one the audience is meant to care for but not necessarily the protagonist. I tried to give her a sufficient role but I focused a lot on Sydney as well. I think he had a lot of scenes that a "villain" isn't traditionally entitled to so the script becomes a little more about him. I don't know. I suppose it is a little disjointed the way the script jumps between the two characters but I like the looseness of it all. This wasn't meant to be a rollercoaster horror movie.

I'm sorry you felt I employed commonly used devices. With the exception of the cops, I actually thought the script was pretty unconventional. I could've made it even more bizarre but I didn't want to be exploitative. Too much fetish stuff would've made this into just another dumb slasher/torture story which I didn't want. The only way I can see it being completely bizarre and unconventional would be if Sydney actually cut off Nikki's leg but that would've been a whole other story.

Thanks again!


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screenplay_novice
Posted: January 27th, 2010, 8:17pm Report to Moderator
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Hey James, nice to see you have another screenplay up! Just finished it. Like Red Storm, this one had an excellent flow. You didn't disappoint in revealing what "Complete" actually meant, so kudos to you for that. I noticed in your formatting that at the end of certain dialogue at the end of a page, MORE was not there in perenthesis, and neither was CONT'D on the following page. I don't know if it's a software issue, but it can be corrected easily enough.
There are instances in dialogue where words are missing, but you can take care of that in your rewrite. I would suggest changing some of the dialogue, especially with the characters of Simpson and Bell. It might be a good idea to do a ride-a-long with an officer, just to hear how they speak on the radio. You'll get a good sense of the 10 codeas, and what they mean, and how an officer responds and approaches a particular situation. Before I went to work as a Correctional Officer for my counties jail, I went on a ride-a-long with my brother. It's eye opening, that's for sure!
I felt the ending was a bit of a let down. It was too abrupt. I could tell what Sydneys decision was going to be well before you wrapped things up, but I feel that dialogue could best reveal this fact between Sydney and Nikki, then the actual act of him doing so.
I would also like to see Sydney being thwarted in his attempt by officers who have arrived on the scene to check on Simpson and Bell. This would make for a great scene for the character to realize that he isn't going to be able to live out his greatest fantasy, and the regret he experiences pushes him completely over the edge! These are just my thoughts and opinions of course. Enjoyed reading it though.
Keep them coming     


If you can't beat 'em, then get yourself a bigger stick!
John Mavity
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screenplay_novice
Posted: January 27th, 2010, 8:21pm Report to Moderator
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One last thing that I forgot to mention, when the police arrive and Sydney turns out the lights, they would have entered with flashlights drawn with their weapons. If I remember correctly, they entered and only moonlight filtering in through the windows was the only light they had to see by. I would change that as well. Hope I've helped you out some.


If you can't beat 'em, then get yourself a bigger stick!
John Mavity
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Coleman
Posted: January 28th, 2010, 10:22pm Report to Moderator
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Hi, James, I'm reading your story now. I'm on page 24 now and I read something about too much exposition in your first 25 pages and I agree with that. Often times you have characters mention something that completely comes out of left field, like how can he possibly know "that" when "that" was not even shown or alluded to before. Case in point, the bar scene with Nikki and Denise. Denise says she's seen Nikki come through to bars whenever she's upset before, okay that information should be shown earlier in the story. like instead of Nikki coming home to her friend Denise in the beginning the two should have been at a bar instead.

you "say" alot of revealing information but don't show it. another thing I ran across is when Sydney proposes they get away for the weekend in West Virginia. How does Nikki know that cottage is Sydney's parents' place? Sydney never even mentioned the the cottage or the fact that it belongs to his parents before that scene. Shouldn't he have stated somewhere that that is where he went to work on something?

I think alot of information is in your mind and you know what's going to happen because you wrote it but the reader should know what's up before the characters in your piece do. It just feels like everything is a surprise to me the way you have written this story.

Oh and your dialogue lines are way too lengthy. When they are that long it's not very believable or encompassing of how people actually speak. Some length is okay every once in a while but every page I'm finding multiple 6, 7, and 8 lines or more blocks of dialogue. You have to be able to condense that into 4 sentences max.

That's my shtick. I'll have more when I finish.  


"After Dark"
"Lie Behind the Eye"
"In Came You"
"Insatiable"
"Bethany"
"The Heartbreaker"
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