SimplyScripts Discussion Board
Blog Home - Produced Movie Script Library - TV Scripts - Unproduced Scripts - Contact - Site Map
ScriptSearch
Welcome, Guest.
It is July 6th, 2020, 11:48am
Please login or register.
Was Portal Recent Posts Home Help Calendar Search Register Login
If you wish to join this discussion board, please send me a message. Please do read the guidelines that govern behavior on the discussion board. It will make for a much more pleasant experience for everyone. A word about SimplyScripts and Censorship


Scripts Studios are posting for 2019 - 2020 award consideration
The Writer's Tournament is on!

Submit your WT script to simplyscripts.com/owc

Short Script of the Day | Featured Script of the Month | Featured Short Scripts Available for Production | Submit Your Script

How do I get my film's link and banner here?
All screenplays on the simplyscripts.com and simplyscripts.net domain are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. This screenplaymay not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
Forum Login
Username: Create a new Account
Password:     Forgot Password

SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Horror Scripts  ›  Step Seven Moderators: bert
Users Browsing Forum
No Members and 1 Guests

 Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 » : All
Recommend Print
  Author    Step Seven  (currently 1443 views)
Don
Posted: April 6th, 2020, 5:25pm Report to Moderator
Administrator
Administrator


So, what are you writing?

Location
Virginia
Posts
13850
Posts Per Day
1.95
Step Seven by David C. Lambertson - Horror - A woman in an addiction recovery center must decide if the ghost that haunts her each night is a delusion or a spiritual warning of the fate that she is about to suffer.  111 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



Visit SimplyScripts.com for what is new on the site.


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

Revision History (4 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  June 19th, 2020, 11:59am
revised draft
Logged
Site Private Message
eldave1
Posted: April 6th, 2020, 5:33pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients



Location
Southern California
Posts
5809
Posts Per Day
2.68
Okay - so decided to try and stretch my genre experience and ended up with this. Not even sure if I got the genre right - kind of horror. Was trying to write a kind of mash-up between 28 days and Get Out.

Anyway - any and all thoughts appreciated.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 1 - 68
spesh2k
Posted: April 6th, 2020, 5:34pm Report to Moderator
Regular



Location
Harlem USA
Posts
747
Posts Per Day
0.17
Hey David,

Dig the log line. And I already know the writing's gonna be top notch, so it should be a breeze to read. And I'm bored as shit, probably been reading at least two features a day for the past week. Probably getcha a review at some point tonight.

-- Michael


MY FEATURE FILMS:

THE SUICIDE THEORY (79% Rotten Tomato Score, Available on Amazon Prime, Itunes, Google Play, Youtube, etc) - https://youtu.be/5eaXXOKJvtg

RAGE (coming late 2020/early 2021) - https://vimeo.com/402447622

Check out my latest horror script, HONEY MUSTARD - https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-horror/m-1585433547/
Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 2 - 68
eldave1
Posted: April 6th, 2020, 5:35pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients



Location
Southern California
Posts
5809
Posts Per Day
2.68

Quoted from spesh2k
Hey David,

Dig the log line. And I already know the writing's gonna be top notch, so it should be a breeze to read. And I'm bored as shit, probably been reading at least two features a day for the past week. Probably getcha a review at some point tonight.

-- Michael


Wow - you da man!


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 3 - 68
spesh2k
Posted: April 6th, 2020, 11:59pm Report to Moderator
Regular



Location
Harlem USA
Posts
747
Posts Per Day
0.17
All right, David, so I did like it... but not as much as I wanted to. It was a bit of slow burn, which I don't mind. I can appreciate a deliberate pace. Did take a while to get going, but you had a nice end to the 1st act with Maria's suicide. Things did take some interesting turns -- and it made me remember little hints from earlier. With Dr. Malcam touching Natalie's knee, being very touchy feely... all the girls looking the same... and then it got more interesting with the shared similarities between Natalie and Maria and the other girls who mysteriously died.

I'm just not really sure if the ghost angle works or not. It makes sense that there wouldn't be any paranormal stuff happening until after Maria kills herself, but in terms of the overall tone and feel we have with the story in the first 35-40 pages, seeing ghost stuff happening that deep into a film feels a little off. Up to that point, it kinda felt like just a drama pretty much about an addict... then I got a little bit of Girl Interrupted... a little bit of Shutter Island -- the burned groundskeeper who stares at people kinda gave it an uneasy vibe, like an omen of sorts -- but then we get a ghost film 34-40 minutes in. I don't mind plot turns that take us to unexpected places near the halfway point of the story, but, to me, the type of film it became was so much different then what came before it. It almost reminded of From Dusk Til Dawn a little bit -- which I liked. But it goes from a crime story and, at the halfway point, it becomes a bat-shit crazy vampire flick.

I wasn't so sure about a lot of the 3rd act -- Dr. Malcam goes from very calculating and manipulative to a James Bond villain when he's talking to Harley... then he just goes all Jack Torrance on us. And I didn't understand his motivations. I mean, I knew he was a rapist and his motivation was to rape. But going through all these steps to get there, just felt like it would be a lot of work for a rapist. I understand him getting off because of the power it gives him, the way it makes him feel like almost God like, a higher power so to speak... but it's a really specific method and fetish for a rapist to get off to.

Again, not sure if the ghost angle really works. I think maybe that paranormal element was introduced earlier in the story? Maybe with her mother? Instead of just one flashback of the car accident, maybe it plays through her mind or maybe her dreams, haunting her?

And then the conclusion of the story is presented through voice over, which really caught me off guard... I was waiting for the voice over to carry over to Natalie actually speaking to a person, continuing her dialogue. There wasn't any other voice over in the script. Not saying there has to be voice over throughout, but maybe start off with some voice over so that it can be a bookend? If not, maybe have her voice over at the end carry over to an actual conversation with maybe Sharon, telling her what happened to everybody? There is a scene where they talk about meeting up once Natalie got out -- and Sharon says it probably wouldn't happen.

The characters were fine, though I'm not sure if I liked Natalie. I definitely felt sympathy for her. But I didn't like her. And by "like", I mean I didn't find her very interesting. Travis Bickle wasn't very likable but he was super interesting. The strongest character here was Dr. Malcam. He was very powerful, manipulative and commanding and, once it's revealed how he beds these women, I can see these weak, vulnerable souls submitting to him. He got a little cartoonish at the end, which didn't really match the tone of the rest of the story. But it did make for an interesting arc.

The writing was very solid as usual, didn't really have to worry about that. Though sometimes the character descriptions get a little long and make me stop for a moment. But it's also a great way to simulate a beat without saying, "beat" in the description. So not big a deal. Descriptions were smooth, easy to read. And the dialogue was good -- though all the best lines were given to your villain, Dr. Malcam.

Overall, I'm still wondering if the ghost element can really work. I think it could. But I feel that element would have to appear earlier in the story so that it doesn't feel like we're going suddenly from Girl, Interrupted to Sixth Sense a half-hour/forty minutes in. Let's say the film gets made and they market it as a ghost story... but we don't see ghosts till 40 minutes in, that might displease the audience, if that makes any sense.

The subject matter is relevant, so I feel like it has purpose. And it has a pretty strong premise, a strong, very unlikable villain, and the makings of a decent protagonist in Natalie -- though she seemed just a tad one-note in the sense that I just felt bad for her... and that was pretty much it.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this and see where you plan on going with things.

Here's some notes I took as I went along:

PAGE 5 - When Natalie sees Harley's face, maybe her saying, "Jesus!" is a bit much. Maybe a flinch, or she's trying to hide her discomfort -- Harley knows that look and acknowledges it. Makes me not like Natalie a little bit, already. Unless that's what you wanted. We shall see...

PAGE 13 - Malcam replaces the rubber tip, then slides the cane on the desk towards Natalie. -- You repeated this action description.

PAGE 30 - Oh, shit. Reminds me of the scene from The Omen, kinda. But why do they have such easy access to a cliff? Seems like they're almost inviting their patients to jump.

PAGE 40 - I think the apparition can be better described to make it sound creepier, rather than just saying the apparition takes form. Even something like a shadow in the outline of a person... or something like that.

PAGE 41 - Nice little scare, here.

So, they're just allowed to roam free?

PAGE 43 -
NATALIE: It wasn't a dream.
DOCTOR MALCAM: Of course it was. The alternative is an impossibility.

Hmm... I feel like Doctor Malcam is up to something here. So, he's pretty much telling Natalie to submit to a higher power - but he doesn't believe Natalie's visions are possible? I'm guessing the higher power isn't something supernatural?

PAGE 45 - Aren't they worried about family members sneaking in drugs? Security doesn't seem very tight around here, doesn't quite match up to Dr. Malcam's no-nonsense approach.

PAGE 51 - I still don't really have a good idea of what this ghost looks like. Maybe I missed something.

Doctor Malcam feels like an extension of the Judge at the beginning at times... well, given screen time, the Judge is an extension of Doctor Malcam.

PAGE 60 - There's the ghost.

PAGE 69 - So, Harley feels a chill here. Guessing the ghost isn't just inside Natalie's head.

PAGE 73 - Malcam strokes his chin a lot.

RANDOM NOTE: I like how you have a countdown - it ends at step seven.

PAGE 80 - Ugh. What a creep.

PAGE 82 - Very interesting.

PAGE 90 - Geez, Malcam got all James-Bond villain on old Harley.

BOTTOM OF PAGE 90 - DOCTOR MALCAM: Just another addict who relapsed.
Probably could do without that dialogue, we get what's going on.

Meant to mention this earlier, but I really like your steps as on-screen text feels almost like chapters.

PAGE 97 - So, if you don't have sex with Malcam, he kills you? Is this like a ritualistic type thing going on? I understand he's psychotic, but this is such a specific thing to get off to... seems like a lot of work and patience on his part, as far as rapists go. Makes me wonder about his past.

PAGE 99 - Well, he's just gone bat shit crazy at this point.

PAGE 100 - Not sure about this ending.

PAGE 101 - Hmm, would Natalie really get a job again as a nurse? Really, really doubt that. I wouldn't trust her.

THE ENDING - Not sure if ending this with Natalie's voice-over, telling us everything that happened all the rest of the characters. Not saying the whole narrative has to be pushed by voice over, but it just kinda seems out of nowhere.  Maybe if the story began with a voice over, as kind of a bookend? If not, maybe start the ending with the voice over and have it take us to her actual dialogue, perhaps speaking to somebody? Maybe Sharon? After all, they do have a conversation about seeing each other once Natalie got out. And Sharon says she probably wouldn't.

-- Michael


MY FEATURE FILMS:

THE SUICIDE THEORY (79% Rotten Tomato Score, Available on Amazon Prime, Itunes, Google Play, Youtube, etc) - https://youtu.be/5eaXXOKJvtg

RAGE (coming late 2020/early 2021) - https://vimeo.com/402447622

Check out my latest horror script, HONEY MUSTARD - https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-horror/m-1585433547/

Revision History (1 edits)
spesh2k  -  April 7th, 2020, 12:26am
Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 4 - 68
Fais85
Posted: April 7th, 2020, 12:58pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while



Posts
115
Posts Per Day
0.24
Dave,

Just finished this.

The writing was top-notch as always. I liked how you wrote each scene by squeezing every moment to create more and more drama.

I found two typos...

Page 13 - Malcam replaces the rubber tip... (The sentence is written twice)

Page 67 - "swirls if in his mouth a bit." - Did you mean "swirls it in his mouth a bit"


*SPOILERS AHEAD*


We've seen Malcam watching CCTV footage of Natalie. It means there are CCTVs. When Harley sneaks into Natalie's cottage, it must have been caught on CCTV. As Natalie is the next target for Malcam and he is so much interested in her, he'll definitely spy upon her activities.

It'll be good to remove the scene where Specter and Malcam talk over the phone on Page 33. Let the fact that Specter is also with Malcam in this scandal, revealed layer by layer as it is already getting revealed.

I wasn't a big fan of the climax. Why Malcam was attracted to a ghost? He knows Maria is dead. He would freak out. Of course, you can justify this by adding more drama. Right now, I am not sure how?

Not sure about others, but from the beginning, I had a feeling that Malcam is the villain. It was very clear from his behavior. To create more twists or drama, you may reconsider that by making Malcam a very good guy and shifting all our hate and suspicion towards some other person. i.e. Harley

I wouldn't call this script horror though. It has some horror elements. Sure. But they come too late in the script.

I've read somewhere that whatever genre you are aiming for, you should clearly establish that in the beginning. I always follow this rule for each and every script I write. I know rules are meant to be broken. But, by doing that sometimes the audience feels confused when the movie suddenly shifts the gear and turns into something else.

Overall, it was a nice fluid read. Great job.
Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 5 - 68
eldave1
Posted: April 7th, 2020, 3:33pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients



Location
Southern California
Posts
5809
Posts Per Day
2.68

Quoted from spesh2k
All right, David, so I did like it... but not as much as I wanted to. It was a bit of slow burn, which I don't mind.l


First, Michael – thanks for the read and the detailed comments – much appreciated.

Just a bit of background  - so, my chosen genres have been Rom/Com, Comedy, Dramedy and straight drama.  Never attempted anything in the horror/supernatural area and thought it was time to stretch a l little bit – hence this effort.

When I started in my mind – this was going to be 28 Days meets Get Out and using the steps of the AA program as a pacing technique. The first go at this was straight psychological horror. Malcam was actually the human incarnation of a demon named “Semyaza” (from the  Book of Enoch, Semyaza is the leader of a band of rebellious 'holy ones' or renegade 'sons of God' called the Watchers, who, because they became consumed with lust for mortal women and entered into machinations against heaven in order to consummate their sinful desires with human females). Plus – he is really creepy looking. There were no ghosts – Natalie was being visited and mentally tortured by that demon during her stay at the center. And again – that demon was Malcam – Malcam during the day – Semyaza after nightfall.  Anyway – wrote that – hated it – shit canned it.

Then I morphed to the ghost. Very long winded way of saying the issue you raise in terms of how haphazard the genre/story for his one is had its genesis in that and I think ergo the problem I need to solve.

After reading your comments, I agree that problem starts  here:  

I'm just not really sure if the ghost angle works or not. It makes sense that there wouldn't be any paranormal stuff happening until after Maria kills herself, but in terms of the overall tone and feel we have with the story in the first 35-40 pages, seeing ghost stuff happening that deep into a film feels a little off. Up to that point, it kinda felt like just a drama pretty much about an addict... then I got a little bit of Girl Interrupted... a little bit of Shutter Island -- the burned groundskeeper who stares at people kinda gave it an uneasy vibe, like an omen of sorts.

I believe this criticism is dead on. I am considering a draft of where Maria is someone who was in the program years before my story starts with Natalie, was a patient staying in the same cottage that Natalie is staying in present day, and who killed herself because of Malcam’s abuse.  That would allow be to move the first haunting to the first night Natalie is there. I think that would better shift the story premise from recovery drama/ghost story to ghost story set in a recovery center.

I may also go back to that original Semyaza horror and try to fix that.

I wasn't so sure about a lot of the 3rd act -- Dr. Malcam goes from very calculating and manipulative to a James Bond villain when he's talking to Harley... then he just goes all Jack Torrance on us. And I didn't understand his motivations. I mean, I knew he was a rapist and his motivation was to rape. But going through all these steps to get there, just felt like it would be a lot of work for a rapist. I understand him getting off because of the power it gives him, the way it makes him feel like almost God like, a higher power so to speak... but it's a really specific method and fetish for a rapist to get off to.



Fair point. This is where it is one of those areas where I am torn between foreshadowing and surprising. In my mind, Yes, I agree, if I show Malcam devolving (maybe he’s becoming a bit of an addict himself, maybe he’s going into town and picking up hookers – whatever) that would better explain how he ends up a lunatic at the end. Conversely, it also ruins any sense of WTF. Always torn on these things. Going to mull this over.

Again, not sure if the ghost angle really works. I think maybe that paranormal element was introduced earlier in the story? Maybe with her mother? Instead of just one flashback of the car accident, maybe it plays through her mind or maybe her dreams, haunting her?


See prior note – yeah, I think your right and if I stay with this story the Ghosting is going to be moved up to around page 12.

And then the conclusion of the story is presented through voice over, which really caught me off guard... I was waiting for the voice over to carry over to Natalie actually speaking to a person, continuing her dialogue. There wasn't any other voice over in the script. Not saying there has to be voice over throughout, but maybe start off with some voice over so that it can be a bookend? If not, maybe have her voice over at the end carry over to an actual conversation with maybe Sharon, telling her what happened to everybody? There is a scene where they talk about meeting up once Natalie got out -- and Sharon says it probably wouldn't happen.

I like this suggestion a lot – thanks.

The characters were fine, though I'm not sure if I liked Natalie. I definitely felt sympathy for her. But I didn't like her. And by "like", I mean I didn't find her very interesting. Travis Bickle wasn't very likable but he was super interesting. The strongest character here was Dr. Malcam. He was very powerful, manipulative and commanding and, once it's revealed how he beds these women, I can see these weak, vulnerable souls submitting to him. He got a little cartoonish at the end, which didn't really match the tone of the rest of the story. But it did make for an interesting arc.

I appreciate the comment about Natalie’s likeability – another tough one. The goal was to have her unlikable to start with (i.e., the selfish addict) and have her slowly become a better person. But if you didn’t find her interesting either – that’s an issue. Going to re-examine her character arc/characteristic to see if I can’t develop a greater rooting element.

PAGE 5 - When Natalie sees Harley's face, maybe her saying, "Jesus!" is a bit much. Maybe a flinch, or she's trying to hide her discomfort -- Harley knows that look and acknowledges it. Makes me not like Natalie a little bit, already. Unless that's what you wanted. We shall see...


Agree – good suggestion

PAGE 13 - Malcam replaces the rubber tip, then slides the cane on the desk towards Natalie. -- You repeated this action description.

Fixed - thanks

PAGE 30 - Oh, shit. Reminds me of the scene from The Omen, kinda. But why do they have such easy access to a cliff? Seems like they're almost inviting their patients to jump.

Movie logic? Yeah, I know – had the same thought but thought I could get away with it   Need a solution

PAGE 40 - I think the apparition can be better described to make it sound creepier, rather than just saying the apparition takes form. Even something like a shadow in the outline of a person... or something like that.


Like that.

PAGE 41 - Nice little scare, here.
So, they're just allowed to roam free?

Within the compound – yes. Most centers are like that

PAGE 43 -
NATALIE: It wasn't a dream.
DOCTOR MALCAM: Of course it was. The alternative is an impossibility.

Hmm... I feel like Doctor Malcam is up to something here. So, he's pretty much telling Natalie to submit to a higher power - but he doesn't believe Natalie's visions are possible? I'm guessing the higher power isn't something supernatural?


Confused by your point here

PAGE 45 - Aren't they worried about family members sneaking in drugs? Security doesn't seem very tight around here, doesn't quite match up to Dr. Malcam's no-nonsense approach.

As it turns out they are not. Two of my sisters were in centers like this and they pretty much trusted the families since they were paying big $$$ to cure their relatives so never really suspected of undermining that effort. Converesely, whenever addicts were allowed to go home for visits – they were thoroughly searched u[on re-entering.

PAGE 51 - I still don't really have a good idea of what this ghost looks like. Maybe I missed something.

Yeah,  in the redraft this will be much, much earlier.

Doctor Malcam feels like an extension of the Judge at the beginning at times... well, given screen time, the Judge is an extension of Doctor Malcam.

Didn’t mean for that to happen – they are both people in charge of other people – maybe their voices blended.

PAGE 73 - Malcam strokes his chin a lot.

Fair point 

BOTTOM OF PAGE 90 - DOCTOR MALCAM: Just another addict who relapsed.
Probably could do without that dialogue, we get what's going on.

Agree

PAGE 97 - So, if you don't have sex with Malcam, he kills you? Is this like a ritualistic type thing going on? I understand he's psychotic, but this is such a specific thing to get off to... seems like a lot of work and patience on his part, as far as rapists go. Makes me wonder about his past.

No. Guess this needs work. Up to Maria, Malcam was able to successfully manipulate these women through his exploitation of his role as the healer and the 12-step program – sort of a Stockholm syndrome type of thing. Maria is the first real roadblock followed by Natalie based on the warnings she got from Maria. He is going to kill Natalie anyway because she now knows about his evil past – same reason he killed Harley – but yeah, you’re right – it does get muddled here.

PAGE 100 - Not sure about this ending.

Noted

PAGE 101 - Hmm, would Natalie really get a job again as a nurse? Really, really doubt that. I wouldn't trust her.

Implication was that it was in a new rural small town – i.e, they wouldn’t know about her past

THE ENDING - Not sure if ending this with Natalie's voice-over, telling us everything that happened all the rest of the characters. Not saying the whole narrative has to be pushed by voice over, but it just kinda seems out of nowhere.  Maybe if the story began with a voice over, as kind of a bookend? If not, maybe start the ending with the voice over and have it take us to her actual dialogue, perhaps speaking to somebody? Maybe Sharon? After all, they do have a conversation about seeing each other once Natalie got out. And Sharon says she probably wouldn't.

Like the suggestion here.

Thanks again, Michael – very helpful suggestions.  Much appreciated


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 6 - 68
eldave1
Posted: April 7th, 2020, 3:35pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients



Location
Southern California
Posts
5809
Posts Per Day
2.68

Quoted from Fais85
Dave,

Just finished this.

The writing was top-notch as always. I liked how you wrote each scene by squeezing every moment to create more and more drama.

I found two typos...

Page 13 - Malcam replaces the rubber tip... (The sentence is written twice)

Page 67 - "swirls if in his mouth a bit." - Did you mean "swirls it in his mouth a bit"


*SPOILERS AHEAD*


We've seen Malcam watching CCTV footage of Natalie. It means there are CCTVs. When Harley sneaks into Natalie's cottage, it must have been caught on CCTV. As Natalie is the next target for Malcam and he is so much interested in her, he'll definitely spy upon her activities.

It'll be good to remove the scene where Specter and Malcam talk over the phone on Page 33. Let the fact that Specter is also with Malcam in this scandal, revealed layer by layer as it is already getting revealed.

I wasn't a big fan of the climax. Why Malcam was attracted to a ghost? He knows Maria is dead. He would freak out. Of course, you can justify this by adding more drama. Right now, I am not sure how?

Not sure about others, but from the beginning, I had a feeling that Malcam is the villain. It was very clear from his behavior. To create more twists or drama, you may reconsider that by making Malcam a very good guy and shifting all our hate and suspicion towards some other person. i.e. Harley

I wouldn't call this script horror though. It has some horror elements. Sure. But they come too late in the script.

I've read somewhere that whatever genre you are aiming for, you should clearly establish that in the beginning. I always follow this rule for each and every script I write. I know rules are meant to be broken. But, by doing that sometimes the audience feels confused when the movie suddenly shifts the gear and turns into something else.

Overall, it was a nice fluid read. Great job.


Thanks, mate - much appreciated.

I think you make some solid points - I am going to use them all in the next draft. Thanks!


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 7 - 68
spesh2k
Posted: April 7th, 2020, 4:36pm Report to Moderator
Regular



Location
Harlem USA
Posts
747
Posts Per Day
0.17

Quoted Text
I believe this criticism is dead on. I am considering a draft of where Maria is someone who was in the program years before my story starts with Natalie, was a patient staying in the same cottage that Natalie is staying in present day, and who killed herself because of Malcam’s abuse.  That would allow be to move the first haunting to the first night Natalie is there. I think that would better shift the story premise from recovery drama/ghost story to ghost story set in a recovery center.


That's something I can see working pretty well, actually. But I still think there should be something at the beginning -- not necessarily a haunting, but maybe an intense opening scene, perhaps even the actual car accident she was in -- not revealing everything that happens right away, but maybe showing a portion of the car accident -- maybe just the impact, watching her mother fly through the windshield or whatever happens. Then maybe before she is picked up for her trip to the treatment center, she has a nightmare of her mom in the wreckage and maybe she sits up with a grotesque grin. I don't know, just something to set the tone for what's coming, it doesn't have to be a full out apparition. But just a frightening visual.


Quoted Text
Fair point. This is where it is one of those areas where I am torn between foreshadowing and surprising. In my mind, Yes, I agree, if I show Malcam devolving (maybe he’s becoming a bit of an addict himself, maybe he’s going into town and picking up hookers – whatever) that would better explain how he ends up a lunatic at the end. Conversely, it also ruins any sense of WTF. Always torn on these things. Going to mull this over.


There is some foreshadowing there -- with the awkward touching, with his controlling, commanding manner of speaking to Natalie, telling her not to interrupt, etc. Picking up hookers might be a bit much. I'm more so talking about how he's practically frothing at the mouth at the end, swinging axes like he's Jack Torrance. He just seems so calculated -- and his whole method of getting these women to submit to him is so calculated. Him becoming a rapid animal pretty much seems out of character for him. Maybe leave some kind of hint earlier that he could be totally batshit crazy. Maybe he's a neat freak and he has a panicked outburst when something is out of place or something like that. I dunno, just something small as to not completely give away his reveal.


Quoted Text
I appreciate the comment about Natalie’s likeability – another tough one. The goal was to have her unlikable to start with (i.e., the selfish addict) and have her slowly become a better person. But if you didn’t find her interesting either – that’s an issue. Going to re-examine her character arc/characteristic to see if I can’t develop a greater rooting element.


Well, I actually did feel sorry for her, even in the first scene when the Judge is being a complete dick to her. And she could still be unlikable, but I feel like her whole personality is defined by her drug addiction. It could just be something the right actress might be able make work. I was watching "Foot Fist Way" the other day and the main character is such a piece of shit... but he's played by Danny McBride and he's hilarious. So it worked. I don't know.


Quoted Text
No. Guess this needs work. Up to Maria, Malcam was able to successfully manipulate these women through his exploitation of his role as the healer and the 12-step program – sort of a Stockholm syndrome type of thing. Maria is the first real roadblock followed by Natalie based on the warnings she got from Maria. He is going to kill Natalie anyway because she now knows about his evil past – same reason he killed Harley – but yeah, you’re right – it does get muddled here.


I'm sure rapists, like serial killers, have repeated patterns, so it's not that far off. Actually thinking about it since I last commented on it, I've kinda changed my position on this a little bit. He gets a thrill out of the process, similar to the way a serial killer gets a thrill out of the hunt.


MY FEATURE FILMS:

THE SUICIDE THEORY (79% Rotten Tomato Score, Available on Amazon Prime, Itunes, Google Play, Youtube, etc) - https://youtu.be/5eaXXOKJvtg

RAGE (coming late 2020/early 2021) - https://vimeo.com/402447622

Check out my latest horror script, HONEY MUSTARD - https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-horror/m-1585433547/
Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 8 - 68
eldave1
Posted: April 7th, 2020, 5:13pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients



Location
Southern California
Posts
5809
Posts Per Day
2.68

Quoted from spesh2k


That's something I can see working pretty well, actually. But I still think there should be something at the beginning -- not necessarily a haunting, but maybe an intense opening scene, perhaps even the actual car accident she was in -- not revealing everything that happens right away, but maybe showing a portion of the car accident -- maybe just the impact, watching her mother fly through the windshield or whatever happens. Then maybe before she is picked up for her trip to the treatment center, she has a nightmare of her mom in the wreckage and maybe she sits up with a grotesque grin. I don't know, just something to set the tone for what's coming, it doesn't have to be a full out apparition. But just a frightening visual.

Thanks, mate

Going to let this percolate in my head during this week and start something next week -  mess around with the variables with the key of moving ghost to the forefront, recovery to the background - we'll see

There is some foreshadowing there -- with the awkward touching, with his controlling, commanding manner of speaking to Natalie, telling her not to interrupt, etc. Picking up hookers might be a bit much. I'm more so talking about how he's practically frothing at the mouth at the end, swinging axes like he's Jack Torrance. He just seems so calculated -- and his whole method of getting these women to submit to him is so calculated. Him becoming a rapid animal pretty much seems out of character for him. Maybe leave some kind of hint earlier that he could be totally batshit crazy. Maybe he's a neat freak and he has a panicked outburst when something is out of place or something like that. I dunno, just something small as to not completely give away his reveal.



Well, I actually did feel sorry for her, even in the first scene when the Judge is being a complete dick to her. And she could still be unlikable, but I feel like her whole personality is defined by her drug addiction. It could just be something the right actress might be able make work. I was watching "Foot Fist Way" the other day and the main character is such a piece of shit... but he's played by Danny McBride and he's hilarious. So it worked. I don't know.



I'm sure rapists, like serial killers, have repeated patterns, so it's not that far off. Actually thinking about it since I last commented on it, I've kinda changed my position on this a little bit. He gets a thrill out of the process, similar to the way a serial killer gets a thrill out of the hunt.




My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 9 - 68
_ghostwriters
Posted: April 8th, 2020, 8:46pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer



Location
A helluva long way from LA
Posts
1021
Posts Per Day
0.25
Ahoy Dave,

So I read this at 2 am thanks to my screwed up sleep schedule.

Hmm...I'm certainly not an expert in the business, but I'm part of the public so I'll give my view on it as an audience member.  Vividly written. Nice pacing, some interesting characters, and strong descriptions.  It was an easy read and enjoyable.


Quoted Text
I am considering a draft of where Maria is someone who was in the program years before my story starts with Natalie, was a patient staying in the same cottage that Natalie is staying in present day, and who killed herself because of Malcam’s abuse.  That would allow be to move the first haunting to the first night Natalie is there. I think that would better shift the story premise from recovery drama/ghost story to ghost story set in a recovery center.


Interesting you should bring this up.  

Coincidentally, this too jumped out at me after reading, so I 100% agree!  It adds a bit of mystery, and we (the audience) can watch it unfold with the rest of the story.

And this is going to be howwible nitpicky, and I'll admit, it's more of a personal preference, but it feels like something needs to happen up front.  That doesn't necessarily mean a shocker opening. If the reader doesn't **** his/her pants/panties by page 2 we're lost!  By any means.  

That aside, there's nothing inherently wrong with starting the script where you did, clearly the slower buildup was your aim.  I mean, IMO, horror is in the reaction of the victims, the dread of what's coming next. It's not just about blood and gore and how grossed out you can make the viewer. If you take away the shock factor, is it still frightening?

Do you like chocolate ice cream or strawberry?  I like both!  What a suck a$$ analogy.

So I'm down with your sequence of events/story roll out. But I think there's room to infuse more suspense in the first act (which is where I'd focus if it were my material), at its core something billed as horror must be scary.

So, consider having more of a creepy vibe rippling beneath the surface of almost every scene throughout your first act, like something isn't quite right but you're not sure what it is.   Sure, Natalie’s initial encounter with Harley is creepy.  Also, same goes for her first meeting with Malcam.  But outside that, most of the scenes were too on-the-surface for me.  Now, you did a much better job during the second/third acts.  

Like the real first scared the **** out of me moments when Natalie hurls there remote against the wall and the cottage goes dark - and the ghost made its presence known.

Loved the dialog throughout. Especially Natalie and Malcam.  You create character through dialog very well.

Oh yea, the knife just happens to be under the mattress? How convenient. Does it work, yes, but... you made it waaaay too easy. Just say'n...

Spesh2K made some good points about the ending.  

But alas, on a deep and personal level: I'll skip the details - I think your character work is good and I "got" Natalie entirely. Struggling with her inner demons. I felt all of Natalie's actions felt human - flawed - yet very human.  And since I'm a woman, too, I totally understood her reactions.

Anywayz - thems some thoughts.  Dug the read - not much I can add at the moment. Hope it helps in some way, good luck with it. -A



"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."

Logged
Private Message Reply: 10 - 68
eldave1
Posted: April 8th, 2020, 9:22pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients



Location
Southern California
Posts
5809
Posts Per Day
2.68

Quoted from _ghostwriters
Ahoy Dave,

So I read this at 2 am thanks to my screwed up sleep schedule.

Hmm...I'm certainly not an expert in the business, but I'm part of the public so I'll give my view on it as an audience member.  Vividly written. Nice pacing, some interesting characters, and strong descriptions.  It was an easy read and enjoyable.



Interesting you should bring this up.  

Coincidentally, this too jumped out at me after reading, so I 100% agree!  It adds a bit of mystery, and we (the audience) can watch it unfold with the rest of the story.

And this is going to be howwible nitpicky, and I'll admit, it's more of a personal preference, but it feels like something needs to happen up front.  That doesn't necessarily mean a shocker opening. If the reader doesn't **** his/her pants/panties by page 2 we're lost!  By any means.  

That aside, there's nothing inherently wrong with starting the script where you did, clearly the slower buildup was your aim.  I mean, IMO, horror is in the reaction of the victims, the dread of what's coming next. It's not just about blood and gore and how grossed out you can make the viewer. If you take away the shock factor, is it still frightening?

Do you like chocolate ice cream or strawberry?  I like both!  What a suck a$$ analogy.

So I'm down with your sequence of events/story roll out. But I think there's room to infuse more suspense in the first act (which is where I'd focus if it were my material), at its core something billed as horror must be scary.

So, consider having more of a creepy vibe rippling beneath the surface of almost every scene throughout your first act, like something isn't quite right but you're not sure what it is.   Sure, Natalie’s initial encounter with Harley is creepy.  Also, same goes for her first meeting with Malcam.  But outside that, most of the scenes were too on-the-surface for me.  Now, you did a much better job during the second/third acts.  

Like the real first scared the **** out of me moments when Natalie hurls there remote against the wall and the cottage goes dark - and the ghost made its presence known.

Loved the dialog throughout. Especially Natalie and Malcam.  You create character through dialog very well.

Oh yea, the knife just happens to be under the mattress? How convenient. Does it work, yes, but... you made it waaaay too easy. Just say'n...

Spesh2K made some good points about the ending.  

But alas, on a deep and personal level: I'll skip the details - I think your character work is good and I "got" Natalie entirely. Struggling with her inner demons. I felt all of Natalie's actions felt human - flawed - yet very human.  And since I'm a woman, too, I totally understood her reactions.

Anywayz - thems some thoughts.  Dug the read - not much I can add at the moment. Hope it helps in some way, good luck with it. -A



Thank you so much for your read and comments - truly appreciated, I am very much in alignment with your thoughts.

I started re-structuring the first act outline yesterday. I am going to:

Open with Maria's crumple body on the road at the bottom of the cliff - police presence, coroner et al.

Then - flash forward 4 years to Natalie in Court

Then have her see the ghost of Maria on her first night.

So, yes - definitely need to pop the opening.

Again - all your thoughts are dead on - thanks and be sure to let me know if you ever need a read.  


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 11 - 68
_ghostwriters
Posted: April 9th, 2020, 12:57am Report to Moderator
Old Timer



Location
A helluva long way from LA
Posts
1021
Posts Per Day
0.25
Y'know, I quite dig your idea.  Secondly, it will help you nail the horror genre quicker.  Methinks it's a must.  Badda Bing Badda Boom. -Andrea


"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."


Revision History (1 edits)
_ghostwriters  -  April 9th, 2020, 5:34am
Logged
Private Message Reply: 12 - 68
eldave1
Posted: April 9th, 2020, 11:23am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients



Location
Southern California
Posts
5809
Posts Per Day
2.68

Quoted from _ghostwriters
Y'know, I quite dig your idea.  Secondly, it will help you nail the horror genre quicker.  Methinks it's a must.  Badda Bing Badda Boom. -Andrea


Thanks, Andrea


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 13 - 68
Yuvraj
Posted: April 11th, 2020, 2:08pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while


COUP DE GRACE

Location
Down the lane
Posts
196
Posts Per Day
1.05
Hi Dave,

I have read your short scripts earlier and they were really helpful to me, as I learned a lot. So thank you for that.

This is the first feature of yours I read. It was pretty easy to read and I finished it in a single sitting.

Since I'm relatively new to this craft, maybe my opinion wouldn't matter much but still these are my thoughts that crossed my mind when I finished the script:

1) I don't feel this to be a horror script. I understand that there is a apparition in your story but that doesn't make it fit to be deemed as a horror script. There has to be some really creepy background and a set-up that gives you shivers, some graphic imagery and maybe some jump scares( not much though).

I think this script tilts more towards the drama/crime genre.

2) The thing that got me a bit confused was the character of Harley. Throughout the 1st act he had little to no conversation with Natalie and in the 2nd act he agrees to help her right away. I know that he uncovers the truth about Malcam but then also the resolution between Natalie and Harley seemed a tad to fast. Plus we have almost no background information about Harley besides him once been in the military.

3) The character that bugged me was Adena. All we are given about her is that she is just a blind follower of Malcam and nothing else. There is only one dialog that informs us that she was the first victim of Malcam and that's it. We are never told why she blindly follows Malcam which I suppose she knows is the bad guy. Seriously how couldn't she, she's with him for fifteen years.

4) Malcam came off as kinda odd criminal to me. The fact that he conducts the whole program with his victims to get them to step seven where he manipulates them and then goes to give them a choice. If they don't choose what he wants, he just kills them. He is indeed a very patient criminal.          

5) The main character, Natalie, what I felt was, had a very derivative persona. There were no surprises in her arc and she just came off as a predictable one. I know that she was a selfish and a mean lady at the beginning who goes onto become a better person but that's what every character in a rehab facility written as. There was no uniqueness in her that made her interesting.

Also it is the events/incidents that push forward Natalie in the story not her herself making some mistakes/events/incidents that progresses the story. Like, take the part where Harley involuntarily inspects Maria's Diary and tells about it to Natalie. If it weren't there, Natalie wouldn't have known the truth about Malcam ignoring that Maria's apparition warns her about him( no one believes though). My point is that it is the events that drive our main character forward not the opposite.

6) The twist about Judge Specter been also involved in the crime was interesting one. It took me by surprise.  

Well that is it.  

Maybe my opinion matters to you or maybe not. Who knows......      





  


Logged Offline
Private Message Reply: 14 - 68
 Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 » : All
Recommend Print

Locked Board Board Index    Horror Scripts  [ previous | next ] Switch to:
Was Portal Recent Posts Home Help Calendar Search Register Login

Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post polls
You may not post attachments
HTML is on
Blah Code is on
Smilies are on


Powered by E-Blah Platinum 9.71B © 2001-2006