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Very poetic in your action and descriptions. It sort of fit, but a tad too much at times.
I was following the story, but I wasn't all that interested until the old lady made the boy sit in the river. Very good ending; creepy. Somehow if you could build the tension a little more leading up to your ending, this would be very strong. Nice effort.
Good to see people still reading and critiquing. I want to come back and look at this one again. I completely agree that the ending was so very strong. It really is the defining moment in the piece.
I will be really interested in knowing if the author had the ending planned out from the beginning, or if this just came as a kind of inspiration, albeit a sickening one.
The remembrance of Scottish Lullaby stuck with me through all of the reads. It's in my top three.
For people that took the time to give feedback, thanks!
This was my first short. It was designed to be cryptic. As Pia pointed out to me, a cryptic story not only has to have enough clues, you have to make people WANT to figure things out. I probably need to work on both of those things. Let me try to explain the story in case anyone is interested.
Mrs Crockett, as a younger women, had a dream to become a professional singer. She didnít have the talent. Meanwhile, the Celtic gods of her ancestors are jealous and neglected in todayís world. Through the old woman, a kind of druid witch, they make a deal with young Mrs Crockett. For some small act of evil in their name, she is given a singing voice.
Great acts of evil begin in this way. The gods know this. She is on the path to destruction of her own soul. Thatís why SHE is the sacrifice.
The family moves to the city. Her dream remains unsatisfied by working a seedy nightclub. She wants more. Having begun the process of the destruction of her soul, she is lost. The gods had anticipated this all along. A new deal is made.
In the killing of her beloved son, her destruction is complete. Kyle only dies, but she is destroyed, her soul lost. There is only a very small part of her left to suffer when Kyle dies. She is not the same woman.
A sub theme is that we cannot escape our past, as individuals or as a people. Gran Da, Dougal, and the train are connections to that past.
Dougal is the ghost of a past sacrifice, when the Celts would drown their victims in bogs. The sewer replaces the bogs here, its urban equivalent. Kyleís Otherworldly vision allows him to see him. Dougal is kind of an ambassador to Kyle to usher him to the Otherworld. In the kitchen scene, the parents are able to perceive Dougal, but as the witch said, it is with our minds that we see.
Gran Da is a prop just to add clues and a little spookiness. Iíve given him a couple new lines in the rewrite.
Dr Alastair: everyone is bothered by the poor doctor. Look, the doctorís role is very basic, just like Cab Driver, or Busboy, or Bar Tender, or Thug. I could call him Doctor from the School. Why does he have a name? Because he introduces himself to the father, so it would be confusing if he did not. He is used to introduce that there is a unique boy, Kyle, who has visions of what the Celts called the Otherworld. The doctor attributes this to imagination, but we come to know otherwise.
Is the doctor needed? Couldnít the parents just discuss this? If we need to save on paying that actor, yes. But having a doctor adds to the level of concern the parents have for the son. I really donít get what the big issue is with having him in the script.
The second scene, Kyle walking, shows him talking to invisible Dougal. In the rewrite, I have added a page here and tensioned it up. As it stands here, it might not be grabbing peopleís interest, but it is not useless as it is introducing needed information for the overall plot.
Final note: the Scottish lullaby is a real Gaelic song I found online. No idea what it sounds like, but should be familiar in UK.
Anyone who tried to grapple with this cryptic attempt, thank you! Rick teased me by bringing it to second on his list! But seriously, I anticipated Captive would win, and has all the elements needed for success. Congrats, I had fun playing!
Mystery is good. No one wants everything explained to them in a movie, it's just boring. It is however a fine wire to walk. Put some grease into it and I'm sure you make it sing. I'd be happy to check out your rewrite.
Well, as messy as this script actually looks, looks can be deceiving. There's a good story here.
Granted, it's not horror for even a second but it's still a good story. For some reason, both of my favorite parts are when Kyle is walking under the el. The imagery in those two scene is good stuff and this one is the best STORY so far.
It isn't the best script, though, and that's because the thing is a technical mess. I'm not a nit picker like some people but when you have your character dialogue cues and your character's name is misspelled every time, then we have a problem. I'm speaking of Mrs. Crockett.
I won't go into them all because A) you've already been told them, probably and B) you have the good story thing down. All you need now is to fixing the look of the script and that is the easy part.
Yes, thanks Mr B, I've been properly chastened. This was my first short, and only second script posted, so I am early on the learning curve. I fixed the things brought to my attention in my rewrite.
Your review is positive on the whole, I thank you.
I am curious as to the defintion of horror. Others have mentioned it, and I discussed in a post in here somewhere. It seems to me a wide range of things fall under horror. I would like to hear your thoughts on that.
In the case of this story, we have the supernatural on two fronts. One, Dougal is a ghostly apparition from what the Celts call the Otherworld. He was a former bog sacrifice.
And two, the gods have given their supernatural help to Mrs Crockett, giving her singing a boost, in exchange ultimately for her soul.
We also have the "spooky" aspect in the scenes under the bridge, in the apartment when Dougal visits, and in the sewer. And of course the druidess witch.
Finally you have a horrific murder of s boy by his mother, in the presence of the witch and the ghosts.
While there is no blood and gore, or crazy special effects, is it fair to say this is "not horror for even a second"?
To me, horror should scare you or spook you. For example the Sixth Sense; more spook than scare. I would love to hear more from you. Thanks!
As I said in previous post, there is scary horror, and spooky horror. My intent was for this to be spooky and hopefully stir some thought. I probably did not succeed in the latter. The former, it worked for some. But it was never intended to make anyone flinch.
The definition of horror has been kind of an ongoing debate I have been trying to encourage. Thanks for your input, it is welcome and appreciated.
You know I said the same thing, Kev...I didn't see this as horror at all, but I won't go quite as far as Mr. B in saying there is no horror for even a second.
IMO, horror is rather tough to clarify when it comes right down to it. To me, it's the feel, or tone of the product, as well as the feeling it gives off.
There are lots of examples of non horror movies that have a horror feel to them. Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal are great examples. Many classify these as horror movies, but IMO, they're really not...but they work like horror movies do, so...
You have horror elements in your script as well as a horrific ending image, but for me, at least, I never felt real horror, maybe becuase I really didn't know what was going on throughout much of the script, and the tone and imagery up till the end, was very non horrific for me.
Does that make sense?
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Absolutely Jeff. And it depends on how the director shoots and produces it. Music, lighting, sound effects; these all have a big impact on whether something is horror.
I would consider Silence and Hannibal horror myself. It's kind of a psychological horror, with some gruesome stuff to boot. There is drama in every movie, but I wouldn't call these dramas. Same with Sixth Sense. It's not a scare the crap out of you movie at all. They try to do that with a few scenes, like when the kids lock him in the tower, but those aren't the scenes you remember the most. Sixth is a complicated movie, but to me it qualifies as horror.
When I was a kid, there was a show on Sat afternoons called Chillerama. It played old "horror" movies, many black and white. To me, that is one thing horror can do to you; "chill" you.
You could almost say 'slash em' movies are more suspense than horror. Why? Because you don't really relate to them. Does one really expect to ever encounter a zombie?
Don't get me wrong. I consider these horror too. Just a different kind.
I think my script, as Phil pointed out, lacked enough tension building. I hopefully addressed that in the rewrite. But in the end, the effect I was looking for was more spooky and cryptic. I figured on a limited budget, try to let imagination carry a heavier load.
It's interesting too. Rick perceived the mood of what I was trying to capture, but missed a large part of what was happening, as did most. It may even be that Rick saw something in it that I did not consciously intend. And like art, that's how it works. Which is kind of cool. Even though the writer invents the story, in the end, it really is the director that is the creator. It will be his vision. As I said, I find that really interesting and cool.
Rewrite posted, thank you Don. In case anyone checks out, and before they say anything, there's nothing I can do about the Fade In location, or the stupid looking number 1. It's the software, which seems to be very stubborn. The only alternative seems to be to skip Fade and not number pages. If I put the Fade In without a colon, that works, but that will bother some people too.
The software is Movie Outline 3. I don't recommend it at all. Full of bugs.
For those that liked this story, and that's probably just Rick and Sandra, I added a page, mostly to the second scene where Kyle walks with Dougal. The goal was to add some suspense. What I did might seem a little cheap, but it actually fit right into the plot and helped me highlight what the crux of the story is.
Gran Da got a couple new lines too. The old geezer was bugging me for more to do! The story is meant to be cryptic, but it's a little too much so, so I used Gran Da to drop some more clues.
Other than the second scene, the story is essentially unchanged. With the Challenge over, it's time for this story, like Kyle, to move on to the Otherworld.
Ok I read it. I have to say good job! Reads pretty fast which from my understanding is good. To me it has a little six sense vib to it in parts. But it stands on its own. The sacrifice was a nice touch at the end. To me it had the intended effect without being overly cliche.
You also might be able to expand it into a feature IMO, I could easily see that as a possibility. I will give it another read later to see if theres anything else I can dig up. But I can see why this got pretty good feedback. Well done!