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The Morgue Museum by Chris Bodily - Horror, Slasher, Sci-Fi, Conspiracy, Thriller, Anthology - A museum curator introduces three vignettes: A babysitter receives disturbing phone calls; a deaf audiophile cuts off people's ears to use as his own; the discovery of a lost film unravels a conspiracy. - pdf format
Shocked no one has read any of these. So, I decided to give yours a shot.
I actually read the entire 1st story, up to page 22. I did not take notes and will not be pointing out mistakes.
Maybe I'm missing something here, but this is literally a retelling of, "When a Stranger Calls"...which has been made twice. It's obviously alot shorter, but there is absolutely nothing remotely new or interesting here.
It's also way too long for what takes place. Dialogue isn't remotely realistic or entertaining.
Much of this doesn't make any sense, even. $5.00 for 2 pizzas, bread sticks, and 4 dipping sauces? Really? a 17 year old girl and 8 and 10 year old kids watching Nosferatu in its entirety? A silent movie from 1922? Really? Why are the kids doing homework on a Friday night? Why is a 17 year old so tired she has to sleep on the sofa on a Friday night before 10:30?
I'm sorry, but this doesn't ring remotely true and it's a blatant ripoff/copy of a somewhat "classic" movie, with no twists or turns whatsoever.
Regarding the actual "Morgue Museum", I'm afraid it doesn't work, either, as it appears to be yet again, an exact copy of Night Gallery.
Congrats on completing this, but I don't understand why you woldn't create something of your own, as opposed to copying other movies/shows.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
I read through The Morgue Museum and figured this would have comedy elements as soon as I saw the name M. T. Graves attached to a parody of Robin Leach.
The titles of the paintings are unfilmables, though that's easy enough to fix with nameplates.
There are also a number of places where things take way too long for a medium like film. For example, Neil's lavage takes forever while Iggy watches long stretches of video.
There's also a lot of very specific copyrighted material included, which would lead to issues with licensing. Good luck getting a rebroadcast license for that Shazaam clip
The first vignette has classic suspense elements in it, but there are some unnecessary details that take me out of the story. For example, there's no need to specify how much money was on the table, or how much Amy was paid. The amounts given don't come close to covering the expenses mentioned. There's also no need to put the kids to bed early, everything could proceed exactly the same if they were adamantly planted on the couch at 10:29.
The dialogue here is a bit on-the-nose, and a lot of characters sound the same, which is all par for the course in a first draft. Just something to be aware of.
The killer has no apparent connection to Amy or the O'Briens. Choosing random victims can terrify a community, but it doesn't work telling the story of a one-off killing.
The second vignette seems better suited to a written format than the screen. First, there's no way to deliver analog bliss in a modern theater, and second, you can't expect a general audience to notice subtle differences in sound quality.
I think the way to fix both problems is to give Neil synesthesia. This lets you put a visual representation of the sound onto the screen, where you can make the shapes more fluid over a wider range of colors when the sound is better. Having Neil claim that he can "see the sound" is less fantastic than claiming he can hear 50kHz while simultaneously sounding more crazy. (Roy will probably have to use the word synesthesia in dialogue to make this clear to the audience.)
Three things about the encounter in the ER:
1. He needs to take more precautions about how loud the crime is.
2. Getting your ears washed out is very disorienting. The inner-ear structures that give us a sense of balance are temperature sensitive, and during the lavage with room-temperature peroxide, one side is chilled while the other is not.
3. Obviously, the outer ear that Niel took has bubkus to do with tonal sensitivity, but it's fine for a movie to have a premise so long as it sticks to it.
The third vignette reads much more like a comedy to me than a horror piece. As such, referencing the JFK assassination seems wrong. The reference to the 2016 election is also unfilmable, though that could be fixed.
INT. CAMPAIGN RALLY - NIGHT
JILL STEIN This year the Democrats put up an unelectable crook!
JILL STEIN And the Republicans put up an unelectable sex offender!
JILL STEIN And the Libertarians put up an unelectable moron!
JILL STEIN THIS IS OUR YEAR!
INT. CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT
Vote tallies accumulate on a scoreboard. FOCUS on the tally for Jill Stein at 1.07% of the popular vote and zero electoral votes.
On a separate note, most people have a signature that is distinct from their normal handwriting. Graphologists (handwriting experts) say that the signature reflects the face you show to the world while the normal handwriting more accurately reflects your actual priorities and behavior.
The whole vignette also hinges on Sinbad being willing to participate.
In all, The Morgue Museum hews pretty close to Night Gallery in structure, which is to say that the vignettes don't form a cohesive whole. Tying the stories together in a shared world wasn't part of the parameters, but it might help it feel more like a single movie. My own entry suffered in that regard as well.
Congratulations on getting this over the finish line.
Thought I'd follow in your footsteps, start your script while finishing Franks. Not at the same time I mean. So, read the first 22 of the Morgue Museum.
I liked it, was an easy read. Especially liked the picture and the ending - they are speechless and that's how it is in the picture.
I don't know why you say O'Briend payed the girl that much (that's after the short ended)
Here's what I have for that short: You start with Johnny and Amy and Johhny disappears. Which means you don't really need Johnny at all unless he's a killer or arranges the killing or participates in some way. Maybe he's some source for the killer to learn where Amy is going that evening or something. But right now I don't see the need to keep Johnny in.
Some matter-of-factly dialog for me you can get away with. Also some repetition. A good example of it - p5 Doug "if you need anything you can reach us here." Maggie " Plus, every emergency number you'll ever need' Leave Doug or Maggie. p5 Amy suddenly speaks about the movie they are about to see - break of flow here. They share a laugh and I go - what's funny. p20 "The killer sneaks up behind Amy and strangles her with the phone cord" I think you need to take your time here." A sharply dressed male figure sneaks up behind Amy. Then describe his hand reaching for the phone cord. Let Amy put up a struggle, otherwise, it should be easy for him to strangle her right away. Also, you keep calling him "killer". Better just give some description at first. Then he's a killer.
p20 Officer "Amy, are you alright?" - something here tripped me. Perhaps lack of urgency or something.
Again, this was an easy read and the first short made me follow intensely so nice job I say.
I see you took the Night Gallery challenge literally. Nothing wrong with that since it helped you complete it as oppose to me lol.
Read the 1st tale and Iím kind of disappointed since itís an exact retelling of the babysitter urban legend. Nothing new except for the beginning and the gore. I would advise giving it something fresh. But this is my opinion so you can take it with a grain of salt lol.
Hey again, Chris. You went above and beyond with mine, even if you read only first 30, but you gave me so deep in that it's getting hard to repay.
I read your next short (and am onto the third one)
The idea of a man who's in search of a pair of ears is a very creepy and good one. I was looking forward to it and I thoroughly liked Neil. But again, much like in the other short you introduce people that you don't engage later in the story. What happens is - you introduce people throughout without really making them part of the story. An essential part, I mean. They are just some tools, just talking parts that don't make much difference. It's either Neil's conversation partner or his victim. You could stage something around the girl that you introduced in the beginning. He talked to her right before he lost his hearing - maybe he should go back to her. Maybe he should start suspecting her in some way. She said something, she has an evil eye, she complimented his hearing and jinxed it or something... So, he goes back to revenge her. Also, the mute pages 27,28 - didn't work for me. Maybe you could rework them. I understand you were writing from his POV, but it didn't read like it was written from his POV from the very beginning. Also, his heading tests done by the doctor reads repetitively. The later pad communication - see if they can use any type of sign language or hearing aid. That's too much reading on screen. The part when it got to action is interesting, but you wasted a lot of time at the beginning, that brought down for me the last part of the short.
The third novel - I'm not a fan of the presentation here. Especially the beginning. I absolutely loved Graves going around the Shazaam slash Kazaam. There are some truly inspiring lines there such as "There's no trace of its existence. Therefore, it doesn't exist"
But then on p48 Iggy and Frank repeat those exact same thoughts. And it goes for two pages or so. Some of their dialogs are inspiring - like the Mandella effect part. Berenstein Bears - all clever. I'll keep it much shorter and avoid the repetitions.
And then, you almost killed me with the next part - the movie part. Iggy talks with himself. Then watches the clips. After that, I'm totally lost. I tried to make sense of it and couldn't. Probably I would if my attention would be in one place. But it keeps dispersing as soon as I reach that part. On screen it's going to be even tougher, it would be twice as hard to decipher the thought here. And then from page 52 to page 58 Iggy watches, understands, looks at different scenes...
Well, see what the others say first of course. And I would read the rewrite of this short to understand it. Just page me or something. I mean PM if you like.
The Shazam tale, Iím interested in the time traveling concept but why with that movie? Going to research it lol.
If there really are a bunch of people who believe this movie exists despite zero physical evidence, it would be good fodder for a goofy conspiracy story. My mind immediately went to the Shaq film, since I'd never even heard of the alternate version.
I'm glad you enjoyed my original entries. I loved the honor of retelling the classic "Babysitter and the Man Upstairs" urban legend and putting my own spin on it, but the other two vignettes allowed me to push myself creatively.
Yes, the Shazam (Shazaam?) Mandela is real. And on top of that, Aliens for Breakfast is a real movie that Sinbad did. It actually aired only once on the date in the script (my ninth birthday). It was sponsored by McDonald's as part of McDonald's Theater. Some McDonald's Saturday Night Movie of the Week-ish thingy.
The film/book(?) is so forgotten that it's possible someone mistook it for Shazaam. Plus, Sinbad guest starred on All That and played the father of Kenan's Ishboo character. Apparently, the whole Shazaam thing was from when Sinbad hosted a Sinbad the Sailor movie marathon on TBS.
I thought the Mandela stuff was cool/freaky/interesting enough to make a story out of, and Shazaam intrigued me the most.
How does the split dimension work? In real life, who the hell knows. Rod Serling never explained how the Twilight Zone worked. In my script, the Parallels learned from the Shazaam film how to alter the fabric of time. Like Serling, I never elaborate and just leave it to the audience's imagination. I was inspired by Halloween III, The Matrix, The X Files and the Illuminati, and of course The Twilight Zone itself.
As far as the ears, I wanted something to be "off" about the guy even before he chops off people's auditory systems. It was inspired by my real life ear troubles (wax/sinuses/colds) and I basically put my actual E.R. visit into the script while amplifying the dread, pardon the pun.