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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Horror Scripts  ›  Witch Hunt Moderators: bert
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  Author    Witch Hunt  (currently 916 views)
Don
Posted: June 27th, 2021, 8:01am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Witch Hunt by Zack Akers - Horror - After a horrific bus accident, a group of grieving parents band together to determine if two creepy siblings that miraculously survived the crash were responsible for the death of their children. 77 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Zack
Posted: June 28th, 2021, 6:58pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for getting this up, Don.

This script was originally meant to be an entry in the March 7-Week Challenge. Better late than never.

Really happy with what I was able to come up with here. Hope readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing. This is my attempt at writing an "original" horror script that doesn't lean heavily on tropes. I'd describe this story as an inverted take on the home-invasion genre.

I'll happily take a look at any horror/thriller in return for a look at this script. Anyone who is interested in reading... If the first 10 pages don't grab you, don't torture yourself by reading the entire script. That's my approach to reading features, and I won't ask any different from readers of my features.


WITCH HUNT - horror, 77 pgs

THE 1997 TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE - horror, 82 pgs

HERE COMES THE BOGEYMAN - horror, 24 pgs

Revision History (4 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Zack  -  June 29th, 2021, 1:10pm
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JEStaats
Posted: June 28th, 2021, 8:34pm Report to Moderator
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No sh*t, there I was....

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Hey Zack,
I just saw this posted and will get this read, for sure. I remember the early works and can't wait to see what you did with it.
~John
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Zack
Posted: June 29th, 2021, 10:36am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from JEStaats
Hey Zack,
I just saw this posted and will get this read, for sure. I remember the early works and can't wait to see what you did with it.
~John


It's changed quite a bit since you last looked at it. Looking forward to your thoughts.

Anything you'd like me to look at in return?


WITCH HUNT - horror, 77 pgs

THE 1997 TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE - horror, 82 pgs

HERE COMES THE BOGEYMAN - horror, 24 pgs
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Mr.Ripley
Posted: June 30th, 2021, 12:34pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Zack,

Congrats on finishing a feature. Writing features is no easy feat. They suck lol. Finished it all.

SPOILERS!

Notes:

I liked the short, slow burn opening till we reach the accident. Have you thought about adding a scene before the graveyard where Earl and his kid interact, and then Earl sends the kid off to school or something? Make it more emotional.  

In fact, since this is short of 90-100 pgs, have you thought about adding 20 more pgs to the beginning having the parents interact with the kids, the kids interacting with Griffin and Candice, Judy interacting with the townsfolk, etc. Have the reader build a connection with them, get to know the world better.  

Is Griffin a serial killer? Cause that’s the vibe I got lol. I mean, why would he glance back and grin risking getting caught.

What’s Griffin’s and Candice’s punishment for what they did? Lol. They gotta receive a punishment.

No one thought about lighting the house with Molotov’s, burning it from the outside.
  
What was the deal with the red sand around the house since I don’t recall anything happening when people passed over it unless the sand caused the ghosts to appear?

Overall, I like the idea but this needs a bit more character development in terms of seeing the kids before the accident lol.

Any questions, feel free to ask. Hope this helps,
Gabe


Just Murdered by Sean Elwood (Zombie Sean) and Gabriel Moronta (Mr. Ripley) - (Dark Comedy, Horror) All is fair in love and war. A hopeless romantic gay man resorts to bloodshed to win the coveted position of Bridesmaid. 99 pages.
https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-comedy/m-1624410571/
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Zack
Posted: June 30th, 2021, 1:38pm Report to Moderator
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Don't get it right. Get it written.

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"Congrats on finishing a feature. Writing features is no easy feat. They suck lol. Finished it all."

Thanks, Dude. This is my 5th feature. It's actually harder for me to write shorts now.

"Have you thought about adding a scene before the graveyard where Earl and his kid interact, and then Earl sends the kid off to school or something? Make it more emotional."

I've considered having an alternate opening about John's past with the Hamilton family, but I really love the idea of bookending this story with scenes of Earl talking to his wife at her grave. Also, I think introducing all the extra characters would only muddle the plot and ultimately hurt the pace.

"In fact, since this is short of 90-100 pgs, have you thought about adding 20 more pgs to the beginning having the parents interact with the kids, the kids interacting with Griffin and Candice, Judy interacting with the townsfolk, etc. Have the reader build a connection with them, get to know the world better. "

I'm sort of set on where my story starts. I did attempt to have Judy interact with some townsfolk, like Debbie and the Sheriff, but it doesn't make sense for her to leave her house at this point in the story. I do agree that I need to give a better indication of how Judy and her "children" fit into this world. I wanted to keep them and their "powers" vague and sorta in the dark for the first half of the story.

"Is Griffin a serial killer? Cause that�s the vibe I got lol. I mean, why would he glance back and grin risking getting caught."

You should know by now.

"What�s Griffin�s and Candice�s punishment for what they did? Lol. They gotta receive a punishment."

You mean Caroline? And do they have to receive punishment? Judy scolds them with a very aggressive warning. I think that's enough.

"No one thought about lighting the house with Molotov�s, burning it from the outside."

This is actually a valid point and something I will address in the rewrite. Thanks for pointing that out.

"What was the deal with the red sand around the house since I don�t recall anything happening when people passed over it unless the sand caused the ghosts to appear?"

This was a step taken by Judy to curse the property, which is why the characters start seeing ghosts from their pasts. I purposefully kept the curse (and the other "powers" the witches) as vague as possible. Perhaps I was a bit too vague, though. I want to add another scene with Judy and her "children" preparing for the mob. Feel like this would be a good place for exposition.

"Overall, I like the idea but this needs a bit more character development in terms of seeing the kids before the accident lol."

I totally agree I need to develop my characters more, particularly Earl and the Hamiltons. But I disagree about meeting all the kids before the accident.

Thanks for reading through the script. Sorry, it didn't seem to resonate much with you. But I appreciate you still powering through and finishing it.

Gonna get back to reading "Just Murdered" now. Really enjoying it so far.





WITCH HUNT - horror, 77 pgs

THE 1997 TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE - horror, 82 pgs

HERE COMES THE BOGEYMAN - horror, 24 pgs
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Artzhorror
Posted: June 30th, 2021, 11:38pm Report to Moderator
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Cool story, just needs needs a more character development . not bad for 77 pages zack
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Zack
Posted: June 30th, 2021, 11:51pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Artzhorror
Cool story, just needs needs a more character development . not bad for 77 pages zack


Thanks for reading, Arthur. Happy you liked the story. And I agree about the character development. Thanks again.


WITCH HUNT - horror, 77 pgs

THE 1997 TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE - horror, 82 pgs

HERE COMES THE BOGEYMAN - horror, 24 pgs
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ChrisBodily
Posted: July 1st, 2021, 12:20am Report to Moderator
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I just wanted everyone to know that, for the record, Zack and I collaborated on one or two early drafts under the title From Bad to Worse. The last draft I read didn't really resemble anything I wrote, but it's no biggie.   But I had fun writing it and brainstorming with Zack. That said, it was always his story and I'm glad he's finally able to share it.


FADE IN:
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Zack
Posted: July 1st, 2021, 12:29am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from ChrisBodily
I just wanted everyone to know that, for the record, Zack and I collaborated on one or two early drafts under the title From Bad to Worse. The last draft I read didn't really resemble anything I wrote, but it's no biggie.   But I had fun writing it and brainstorming with Zack. That said, it was always his story and I'm glad he's finally able to share it.


I'm very thankful for your help with those early drafts. They were a huge help in getting this script to where it is now. Ultimately I decided it was best for me to take a different approach to the story. I've still got some work to do with this, but I believe the script is finally at a point where I'm comfortable sharing it.


WITCH HUNT - horror, 77 pgs

THE 1997 TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE - horror, 82 pgs

HERE COMES THE BOGEYMAN - horror, 24 pgs
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SteveClark
Posted: July 1st, 2021, 6:29am Report to Moderator
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Hey Zack,

Finally gave this a read, and I have a few notes for you.

I think in the first ten pages we should see more grief from Earl. Just him lighting his kids treehouse on fire doesn't quite do it for me. I mean, I kind of get why he did that, but a part of me thinks that he's burning away a last memory he has of something beautiful he made for his children. Almost counter productive to the grief process, yet shows his anger. Personally, I'd go more with grief than anger here.

Another person here commented on character development, and I agree. Earl, John, Sam (a new character since I last read, I think). I'd really like to get a better feel for these people, especially Jon and Sam.

So, here's a question -- Why did Griffin and Caroline actually kill all these children, both here and in the school? Judy alluded to it later on, saying they were both mischievous, but that does not cut it for me. And if you are going to use that angle, then it seems to me that Judy would be WAY more upset at her kids for doing this and heaping the attention of an entire town down upon them.

Forgot where, but the scene where Griffin snaps his fingers. I think he should actually do a Temple of Doom witch doctor thing on him. Snapping of the fingers just feels a little lazy.

Again, more character development for Father Davis. Man of God, voice of reason, but why exactly is he going with the lynch mob? Why? And who is the Handsome Man?

Dual full moons? What does that mean?

The Butcher. I like this character, but he just pops up out of nowhere. I think he should be alluded to way earlier, that way when he appears it's like -- Oh Shit. Also, this alternate universe where he exists should be made clearer as well.

Also, you should make it clear that Debbie and Guerra's husks somehow BELONG to Griffin, that way when Earl shoots Griffin (I was hoping he would!) it gives a reason that the husks die along with him.

Didn't Jon say not to go into the house? Yet, they do. I feel you need a reason for them to change their minds. Also, it seems that John, who after all is The Witch Hunter, disappears for a little while, and I'm not quite sure were he went.

Late in the story, Earl says -- "we're gonna find em and make em talk." I would think, at this point, that talking time is through, what with all the husks and shit. I'd think John would respond more with -- "We're gonna fuckin kill em all!"

Overall, I like the story but feel it could benefit from some backstory and logic behind some of the decisions being made here, which should pad your story and add some pages.

In my experience, a filmmaker would want more scenes so they could have the opportunity to choose what should and shouldn't go into the film. But regardless of all that, you have a good script here, but I, personally, want more!

Steve


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Zack
Posted: July 2nd, 2021, 4:54pm Report to Moderator
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"Hey Zack,

Finally gave this a read, and I have a few notes for you."

Thanks, Dude! Much appreciated.

"I think in the first ten pages we should see more grief from Earl. Just him lighting his kids treehouse on fire doesn't quite do it for me. I mean, I kind of get why he did that, but a part of me thinks that he's burning away a last memory he has of something beautiful he made for his children. Almost counter productive to the grief process, yet shows his anger. Personally, I'd go more with grief than anger here."

I definitely agree that Earl needs to show more sadness, and not just anger. I just don't think I wanna do it during the opening. I'm thinking, before the group goes to the house, I have another scene with Earl visiting his wife's grave, where Earl tells her what has happened and what he's gonna do about it. I don't know. Got a lot to think about. lol

"Another person here commented on character development, and I agree. Earl, John, Sam (a new character since I last read, I think). I'd really like to get a better feel for these people, especially Jon and Sam."

Agree 100%. I put so much effort into making my side characters distinguishable from one another, that I forgot to give my main characters much depth. Lol. Big error on my part. But a fixable error, I think.

"So, here's a question -- Why did Griffin and Caroline actually kill all these children, both here and in the school? Judy alluded to it later on, saying they were both mischievous, but that does not cut it for me. And if you are going to use that angle, then it seems to me that Judy would be WAY more upset at her kids for doing this and heaping the attention of an entire town down upon them."

I don't want explain everything in the actually script, but the gist of it is... Caroline and Griffin got greedy and got carried away. I see your point about Judy being angrier at them for their mistake.

"Didn't Jon say not to go into the house? Yet, they do. I feel you need a reason for them to change their minds. Also, it seems that John, who after all is The Witch Hunter, disappears for a little while, and I'm not quite sure were he went."

You are spot on here. This entire sequence needs to be reworked.

"Late in the story, Earl says -- "we're gonna find em and make em talk." I would think, at this point, that talking time is through, what with all the husks and shit. I'd think John would respond more with -- "We're gonna fuckin kill em all!""

Great point. I'll fix that.

"Overall, I like the story but feel it could benefit from some backstory and logic behind some of the decisions being made here, which should pad your story and add some pages."

Thanks again for reading and taking the time out of your day to share your notes. Happy to hear you enjoyed it, despite the flaws. Your notes are gonna help a tone with the rewrite.


WITCH HUNT - horror, 77 pgs

THE 1997 TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE - horror, 82 pgs

HERE COMES THE BOGEYMAN - horror, 24 pgs
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Kirsten
Posted: July 4th, 2021, 8:57am Report to Moderator
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Hey Zack, this was a quick easy read. I liked the witches, nice and creepy. there was a lot of entertaining action and gore at the end. I liked the beginning, and the end....creepy grave yard and crow... Grief, then more grief. so lots of good eliciting of emotion. I agree there needs to be more character development. it felt the story went from crash to who's to blame to revenge attack, too fast... I feel there needs to be more slow burn character development and emotion from the parents in regards to finally believing that the witches were responsible.

Cheers K...


"Turn that off, our friend has just been killed in a fatal sunlight accident!"....

'What we do in the Shadows.'
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Zack
Posted: July 5th, 2021, 11:25am Report to Moderator
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"Hey Zack, this was a quick easy read."

Hey, Kirsten! Happy to see you're still lurking around the boards. And thank you for reading Witch Hunt!

"I liked the witches, nice and creepy. there was a lot of entertaining action and gore at the end."

Thanks! I had a lot of fun coming up with the lore and all the different powers the witches have. Really tried to think outside of the box with this one.

"I liked the beginning, and the end....creepy grave yard and crow... Grief, then more grief. so lots of good eliciting of emotion."

Thanks, again. I think the scenes that bookend the story are probably my favorite scenes in the script.

"I agree there needs to be more character development. it felt the story went from crash to who's to blame to revenge attack, too fast... I feel there needs to be more slow burn character development and emotion from the parents in regards to finally believing that the witches were responsible."

Seems like everyone is in agreement on the character development. Definitely my biggest weakness. I feel like I did a good job with most of the side characters, but I totally agree that my main characters (Earl, John, and Sam) are all very weak. Any suggestions?

Thanks again for reading! Happy you enjoyed it despite the flaws.



WITCH HUNT - horror, 77 pgs

THE 1997 TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE - horror, 82 pgs

HERE COMES THE BOGEYMAN - horror, 24 pgs
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Mr.Ripley
Posted: July 5th, 2021, 12:00pm Report to Moderator
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I would probably suggest showing them 1 day before the accident. Doing their normal things, arguing, etc. And then, boom.

Gabe


Just Murdered by Sean Elwood (Zombie Sean) and Gabriel Moronta (Mr. Ripley) - (Dark Comedy, Horror) All is fair in love and war. A hopeless romantic gay man resorts to bloodshed to win the coveted position of Bridesmaid. 99 pages.
https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-comedy/m-1624410571/
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