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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Horror Scripts  ›  TCM '97 (was The 1997 Texas Chain Saw Massacre) Moderators: bert
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  Author    TCM '97 (was The 1997 Texas Chain Saw Massacre)  (currently 3304 views)
Don
Posted: July 29th, 2021, 11:17am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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TCM '97 by Zack Akers - Horror - Whilst on a visit to a relative's old house, an innocent family encounters a strange and murderous clan from a neighboring property. 89 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work




PC: Sean Elwood


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-------------
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Revision History (8 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  February 3rd, 2022, 1:52pm
revised draft
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Zack
Posted: July 29th, 2021, 4:19pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks, Don.

This is something I've wanted to write for a very long time. If there are any hardcore Texas Chain Saw Massacre fans out there... This one is for you!


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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James McClung
Posted: July 29th, 2021, 5:24pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients



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Reading now. Back with comments when I finish.


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Zack
Posted: July 29th, 2021, 5:32pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from James McClung
Reading now. Back with comments when I finish.


Can't wait to hear your thoughts.  


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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Warren
Posted: July 29th, 2021, 5:52pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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I should get through it today as well...


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Zack
Posted: July 29th, 2021, 6:38pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Warren
I should get through it today as well...


You're awesome! Appreciate it, Dude.


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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Warren
Posted: July 29th, 2021, 11:07pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Hi Zack,

Edits as I read and thoughts at the end...

Pg 2


Quoted Text
sons forehead.


son's

Nice to see you using that em dash jump we talked about.

Pg 3


Quoted Text
Authorities say that the
randomness at


Maybe replace "randomness", just reads awkwardly coming from "Authorities".

Pg 8


Quoted Text
AMY
(sarcastic)
Yes sir.


Yes, sir.

I'm up to page 22 and I think you've done a great job already with the relationship between Amy and Brandon. It feels three dimensional.

Pg 26


Quoted Text
CHUCK
(singing)
It ain't no joke, When mama's
handkerchief is soaked, With her tears
because her baby's life has been
revoked, The bond is broke up, So
choke up and focus on the close up,
Mr. Wizard can't perform no god-like
hocus-pocus!


Generally use italics for singing.


Quoted Text
With one hand on the wheel, Chuch grips his


Chuck not Chuch

Pg 32


Quoted Text
BRANDON
(spits out phlegm)


Bile?


Quoted Text
INT. STATION WAGON - NOT MOVING


PARKED?

Pg 33


Quoted Text
A particular 1970's Hippie-van catches her eye.


Nice  

Pg 37


Quoted Text
A his body seizes up,


As his

Pg 40


Quoted Text
BRANDON
Yes sir.


Yes, sir.

I really don't like the way Celtx handles run on dialogue (from one page to the next), I know you cant help that but it can really take you out of the read.

Pg 45


Quoted Text
Leatherface saw Roger's


saws

Pg 45/46


Quoted Text
EXT. HARMON HOUSE - FRONT YARD - NIGHT
High above the house, a full moon peeks out from behind thick
clouds in the sky.
The station wagon is still parked out in front of the house.
46.
Created using Celtx
Both Amy and Lisa sit on the hood of the vehicle.
Amy looks nervous, her eyes constantly scanning the
surrounding area.
Nothing but dark shadows.
LISA
You still nervous about that
Hitchhiker following us?
AMY
(focused on the woods)
No.
Lisa leans her head back and stares up at the moon.
She smiles, admires the peacefulness of the calm night sky.
LISA
You know, besides the heat, it's
actually pretty nice out here. It's
kind of... Peaceful.


This feels really out of place and too big a tone shift. We have gone from day to night so some significant time has passed, I think these two need to be more distressed about how long the guys have been gone.

Pg 48


Quoted Text
AMY
I'm serious, Mom. Maybe we should head
back and-


Em dash not a dash.

Pg 49


Quoted Text
she turns and sees-


Em dash.

Pg 50


Quoted Text
chainsaw IDLES as he declines.


decends?

Pg 55


Quoted Text
The hulking man GRUNTS as he steps beside the old Mustang.
INT. OLD MUSTANG - TRUNK - NOT TRAVELING


I don't think NOT TRAVELLING is necessary and looks quite awkward considering we have the context.

Pg 56


Quoted Text
BRANDON
This is for killing our parents you
sick fuck!


our parents, you sick fuck!

Pg 60


Quoted Text
For a few seconds, she remains still. Then---


Em dash.

Pg 69


Quoted Text
HITCHHIKER
Yes sir.


Yes, sir.

Pg 78


Quoted Text
INT. SUV - NOT MOVING


I think stick to PARKED and TRAVELLING, NOT MOVING is really awkward IMO.

And done!!

Really, really well written, this thing flows very nicely. This would fit perfectly in the franchise and is a damn sight better than some of the other entries.

Lots of cliches, but I assumed that would be the case going in, not a bad thing considering the subject matter.

I think the Hitchhiker needs to be a bit older, at least 16. Some of the dialogue and actions just aren't believable for a 14-year old.

Very nice final girl arc. The family dynamics were really well drawn as well.

Some great kill scenes and loved that over end credits scene.

I think you have a great script here and your writing is top notch, it's too bad it will remain fan fiction.

Not much else to add really, needs a small clean up, but story wise I think it's solid.

Nice one!



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Zack
Posted: July 30th, 2021, 4:10pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Warren. Thanks a ton for giving this one a read. Stoked to hear that you enjoyed it! And thanks for the marking the pages of those typos/errors. That's super helpful!

"I'm up to page 22 and I think you've done a great job already with the relationship between Amy and Brandon. It feels three dimensional."

Thanks, man! That means a lot. I've been trying very hard to improve my character work. Happy to hear that I'm finally making some progress.

"This feels really out of place and too big a tone shift. We have gone from day to night so some significant time has passed, I think these two need to be more distressed about how long the guys have been gone."

I agree. I'll be fixing this in the next draft. Thanks for the heads up.

"I think stick to PARKED and TRAVELLING, NOT MOVING is really awkward IMO."

I think you're right. Your way is much easier on the eyes.

"Really, really well written, this thing flows very nicely. This would fit perfectly in the franchise and is a damn sight better than some of the other entries."

That means so much to me! Thank you for the praise. Makes writing a fan-fiction all worth it.

"I think the Hitchhiker needs to be a bit older, at least 16. Some of the dialogue and actions just aren't believable for a 14-year old."

I think you are right here, as well. Will fix with the rewrite.

"Very nice final girl arc. The family dynamics were really well drawn as well."

Happy to hear my character work has improved. It's been tough trying to figure that stuff out. Still got a lot to learn, but I believe that I'm on the right track.

"Some great kill scenes and loved that over end credits scene."

Thanks. I wanted this to be the "meanest" chainsaw flick yet. Lol. Also wanted to deliver on the "chainsaw massacre" aspect of it. Lol. As for the end credits sequence, that was totally inspired by the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake.

"I think you have a great script here and your writing is top notch, it's too bad it will remain fan fiction."

I held off on writing this for so long, because I know that fan-fiction is generallu frowned upon. But I just felt like I had to tell my version of this classic story. I know nothing will likely ever come from it, but I don't view it as a waste of time. If even just a few TCM fans read and enjoy it, then I'll be satisfied. And who knows, maybe this could serve as an example of my writing?

Thanks again for the read and the review.


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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Warren
Posted: July 31st, 2021, 5:50pm Report to Moderator
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No problem, was a fun read


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RodriguezFruitbat
Posted: August 7th, 2021, 4:43pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Zach,

Agreed with Warren, this was a fun and fast read, and seems to fit well in the franchise. I thought about suggesting removing the TCM elements to make it a standalone script, but after reading the full script it's quite tied to the franchise elements, so maybe it will remain fan fiction. I made a few nitpicky notes in the first act, but then just focussed on reading.

Overall, I think it has a great pace, though I think the tension of a few of the kills could use some more build-up to increase the tension. I like that she survives, but I think it's kind of disappointing that she was unable to save the boy. Right now he's just another kill, and not a super impactful one. If he survives I think her accomplishment would be much greater and her whole ordeal would have some value.

Here are my nitpicky opinions on very minor things:

Page 3 – Maybe avoid starting two sentences in a row with “Authorities”

Page 3 – The DJ says the bodies were taken, but then talks about how they were positioned. If it’s a mix, maybe something along the lines of “the bodies that were left”

Page 3 – Is this a professional new DJ or a regular music DJ? I imagine a pro might say “Puzzling” and “exhumed” while a regular DJ might say “weirder” and “dug up” (Obviously I’m making super tiny notes, but this is more about setting a tone and a character for the audience who doesn’t have it pictured like you do)

Page 3 - Character intros are super tough and I suck at them. Many writers use it as a rare chance to sneak in a non-visual description of the character. Really great intros somehow manage to describe the appearance of the character in a way that also tells us about their personality. So far, yours have been brunette, raven-haired, petite, tall, overweight, athletic… That’s okay, but it would be great to hint at their personality a bit more. Like your “with a permanent scowl on her face” which really gives us an image that tells us more about the character.

Page 4-5 Celtxs split your action blocks and dialogue across pages. Is that an adjustable setting?

Page 7 – uncapitalize “step”

Page 11 – “There goes my tan.” I don’t get the joke

Page 15 – Nice scene with picking up the hitchhiker. She adds great tension

Page 15 – After the camera flash, I realized I have no idea if it’s day or night. I noticed you don’t use Day/night in your headers and had to scroll back 5 pages. I get not doing it for every header since it all takes place over one day/night, but what threw me off was that if it is still day, why did the camera flash blind everyone in the car so badly?

Warren mentioned some cliches, but I thought it was worth pointing out one particular series of lines that I think you could make more interesting:

- "Let me go and... And I promise I won't say anything about any of this!"
- "You'll never get away with this..."
- "So what are you waiting for then, huh? You're gonna kill me, right? So stop fucking with me and just do it!"

All of Amy's lines in this scene are very expected and overused. It's a great opportunity to give her a little more personality and creativity. Can you make her beg for her life in a way we haven't seen before?

Again, very nicely written, and I think if you wrote a similar limited cast & location horror script not tied to an existing franchise, you'd have a great chance of getting it produced. Thanks for sharing.
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Zack
Posted: August 10th, 2021, 10:35am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read and review, Rodriguez! I really appreciate it. And thank you a ton for all the awesome notes and suggestions you gave me. Gonna help a ton with the next draft.

I've gone back and forth on whether or not Ollie should survive. I was going for the ultimate gut punch, but you're not the first to tell me that Ollie's death rubbed them wrong. I'll think hard about this point before I start my next draft.

Agree with pretty much all your other points/notes and will be applying them with my next draft.

Thanks again for reading. I'll hopefully be getting to your script later this week.


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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RodriguezFruitbat
Posted: August 11th, 2021, 6:14pm Report to Moderator
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I'm glad you found the notes helpful, I'm not always confident I'm giving good advice. But like any notes, writers should take from them only what is useful.

For Ollie, I don't know if we knew him enough through the script for it to be a gut punch, so that's why I was thinking he's more an opportunity to show growth and some accomplishment from our protag.

Can't wait to hear your thoughts on B.O.O.H
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James McClung
Posted: August 28th, 2021, 12:14pm Report to Moderator
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Hey man,

At long last, I've finished. Some notes to kick things off:

pg. 4 - "I mean, I kinda care. They were my grandparents, so... Yeah." - Not sure the humor works here given the circumstances. Why not have Chuck react honestly? This situation has gotta be pretty fucked up for him personally. Then Amy would actually have to think about what she said (one way or another), which could start to build her character.

- Maybe extrapolate on the Marilyn Manson convo. Give some details so the exchange has some texture -- reveal some things about Amy and Lisa's personalities, perhaps. It doesn't have to be much. Even something he did on stage way back when -- something to get the characters engaged a bit more.

pg. 17 - "It's total chaos." - I'm not exactly sure what this means. Scuffle? Blood everywhere? I think you could afford to be a little more clear.

pg. 18 - "And that is why you never pick up hitchhikers." - I'd put this later. It's ill-timed, both character-wise and emotionally for the audience. It kinda hurts the horror of the scene that just took place.

pg. 19 - "He's absolutely livid, his face beat red." - Should be "beet red." And this reads awkward since "livid" can actually mean pale.

pg. 21 - "I'd cut the initial dialogue for the new scene. It's basically a repeat of the last lines of the previous exchange.

pg. 23 - “Gas should be along shortly.” Didn’t he just say, “a couple hours’ time?” He hasn’t even made the BBQ yet either, so it’s not like we can infer a jump in time or anything.

- Chuck is crazy. Does he really want to check this place out after the exchange with the hitchhiker? Hurts the character, I think. Maybe it's just the way I'm reading it. It seems like Chuck just wants to go on some stupid, impulsive adventure, maybe out of sheer curiosity. I'd consider a more compelling reason for Chuck to want to do this. I'd buy into it more if he felt like he had to somehow, especially if it related to the crimes that have just occurred.

pg. 31 - I love the dead horse.

pg. 51 - How the fuck is Brandon still alive? How did he even get off the hook? I mean, he's in a pretty sorry state, so I can tell this wasn't lost on you. But I don't buy it. I'm not entirely against the idea, per se, but I'm at a loss right now how it could actually make sense. I think you might need to rethink this whole section (or come up with something better that didn't occur to me, which is also entirely possible ).

- I do love all the chasing in the middle. And it makes sense why it has to pan out the way it does. But it did start to get a bit redundant after a while, as if they were just running in circles (which they kinda are).

pg. 58 - "...nicks her shoulder." - Not "grazes?" Maybe a little more brutal, no?

- Your Leatherface seems pretty formidable. I know you wanna stay true to the original, but maybe he still caves a little too quickly to the Cook. Maybe the Cook actually lays a hand on Leatherface and shows him (and us) why he's the boss?

pg. 70 - "Texas... is Hell." - This was corny... but cool.

pg. 73 - "BANG! Another missed swing... Yet another miss..." - Obviously, I've seen the original, so I know what's going on. But as written, I'm not sure if this is as clear as it should be. Might need to double down on the "BANG!" being the hammer falling in the bucket.

pg. 74 - Has Amy ever shot a gun before? Maybe her takedown of Leatherface was too clean.

- Why give Sean Rivers a name? He's just some rando, and he's minced meat in barely a few minutes.

- I like the post-credits sequence. Usually not a fan.

--

So my feelings are mixed overall.

I'll start with the negative, but nothing was all that bad. I don't think you earned the '97 angle. There're a few references in the beginning, but for the most part, this is essentially a retread of the original film. If you want to stand out, I think you need to bring more of a 90s style to this, if you can pull it off. To do it right, I think you'd really want to do more than simply throwing more references in (although nostalgia is hot right now).

Your writing's definitely improved over time. And I've always appreciated your commitment to simple, old school ideas that always work. At the same time, I think you do need to step up your character game. These characters never really seemed like characters, really; more like types. They're recognizable types, so it's not for nothing, but none of them really do anything out of their basic functions.

Amy's the "too cool" teen who scoffs and rolls her eyes at everything. Lisa is constantly triggered and browbeating her kids. Chuck is the goofy dad who embarrasses himself and is always the first to do stupid, dangerous shit. Brandon's the wholesome "good kid" that the parents like better (I guess). I mean, all good, but at least flesh them out so they seem like real people and not just stereotypes that have to be there cuz it's a horror movie.

Some of the characters got changed around in superficial (not a criticism) ways. The hitchhiker's female now. This could be interesting, but I think you could take it a little further. The context should feel different, but most of her scenes play out the same as the original... except when she gets the chainsaw at the end, which I thought was a great twist.

Ollie was a little more far out. His inclusion definitely made things creepier and more intense. But it's all short-lived. I think you could build on this subplot, which is really the kernel of a subplot at this point more than anything.

For the positives, I loved the pacing and "atmospheric parts." Exploring the house was one of my favorite sequences. Obviously, it conjures up the original but with a little more texture and visceral appeal. It also reminded me of less obvious things like Resident Evil. You know I appreciate old, decrepit houses; wrecked, perilous environments; and what have you. I especially loved the little details, like the chicken shit and the buckets under the meat hooks. They're not "essential," screenwriting-wise, but definitely give you a better sense of where you're at and immerses you in the setting, which should be essential.

Because of this stuff, the brutal shit hits harder. I also appreciated your use of simple gore setpieces. They weren't all the same as the original, but it was true to the spirit of that film. I think you struck the right tone as far as the violence and totally capitalized on what this is supposed to be.

The script definitely finishes off on a high note. I think that's where you made your most uniquely Zack choices and diverged from the original. It especially worked for me, cuz I figured this was basically going to be a shot-for-shot remake going forward. But not the case.

This is definitely a fanfic. I'm not sure how much more time you want to spend on it. But it mostly worked for what it is, and it seems to have been a good exercise, because I think you've clearly improved as a writer. It's honestly a little weird to see you writing features now after years of reading your shorts, but clearly you've got the gist and should be able to improve if you keep trying different things and testing what you're capable of.

Cheers. Hope this helps.


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Zack
Posted: October 16th, 2021, 11:17am Report to Moderator
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Hey, James.

Could have sworn I responded to this. Thanks a ton for the awesome review. I know you and I already chatted about all this on the phone, but I still wanted to respond to your review and tell you how much it means to me that you didn't hate this. Thank you for all the awesome advice you've been giving me, Dude. Only helping me grow as a writer.



An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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Kirsten
Posted: October 18th, 2021, 5:21am Report to Moderator
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Hey Zack, I'll definitely give this a read tonight... I don't know if this will make you jealous, a modified version of my short The Camper is being used in the horror Anthology 'The Macabre' that has Grandpa from the original TCM in it. He isn't in my short but one of the other stories lol..... heck if I never sell a screenplay I can always have bragging rights with that.... maybe lol..... The original toxic avenger Mark Torgi is in my one lol.


"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: October 20th, 2021, 11:12am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Kirsten
Hey Zack, I'll definitely give this a read tonight... I don't know if this will make you jealous, a modified version of my short The Camper is being used in the horror Anthology 'The Macabre' that has Grandpa from the original TCM in it. He isn't in my short but one of the other stories lol..... heck if I never sell a screenplay I can always have bragging rights with that.... maybe lol..... The original toxic avenger Mark Torgi is in my one lol.


That's so awesome, Kirsten! Congrats! I'm super jelly. lol Can't wait to hear more about that project. Also, how is your feature coming along? Last we talked, you were still hard at work on it. Hope I get to read it soon.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this script. I believe I've come up with a fun and nasty chainsaw flick.


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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Zombie Sean
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Page 1:

Breathes should be “breaths”

Page 2:

Like the image of a flash of the camera bulb revealing a decomposed corpse.

Page 3:

Good imagery of the corpse. Disturbing stuff.

I think the FADE TO: transition should be DISSOLVE TO:? Not sure. Never seen FADE TO: be used to as a transition before, but what do I know!

“Scenic countryside”? Oh please, Texas is NOT scenic in the least bit. Flat and boring! ;P

Page 4:

I think you should introduce the MAN as Chuck right away.

Page 5:

Chuck mouthing the words “It’s okay” I think should be written in the action lines versus making it dialogue since he doesn’t actually say it. It’s an action that he’s doing instead of literally saying it.

Page 6:

What’s this twitch that Chuck does but plays it off by scratching his neck? I’m curious.

Page 10:

Amy’s response to Chuck’s color game had me chuckling.

Page 12:

I think you should mention that there’s a kid in the road, before Chuck points it out in his dialogue.

Page 16:

I don’t know if the flash of the bulb would cause too much ruckus during the day time. If it were nighttime outside and she did that, that would probably be more logical. Kind of like driving at night with the interior lights on, it makes it hard to see. So when their eyes are adjusted to the nighttime, and she takes the photo with the flash, THEN they could freak out.

Page 17:

otherside should be “other side”

Page 19:

outragous should be “outrageous”

Page 23:

Cook’s dialogue, “An they” should be “and* they”

Page 25:

I’ve got a bad feeling about this BBQ…

Page 29:

Amy’s concern about the hitchhiker following them might be a stretch. She’s a young girl whom they kicked out of the car miles away from where they are now. I would think, a couple miles at least. Also, how does the hitchhiker know where they are?

Page 39:

Chuck is officially an idiot. Picking up hitchhikers and investigating an old farmhouse after his daughter clearly said that there was blood and bad things happening. How has he made it this far in life!? AND he takes his son with him!?

Page 46:

It’s nighttime. Why aren’t Lisa and Amy worried about where Chuck and Brandon are if it’s been this long?

Page 47:

Now Lisa is going to investigate!? Sorry dude, but these characters are dumber than a sack of rocks! Amy seems to be the only level-headed person of this family. Survival of the fittest, amirite?

Page 51:

I would have sincerely hoped Amy would’ve ran to the station wagon rather than the old farmhouse, but alas.

Page 52:

Breath should be Breathe

Page 56:

Wait, Brandon just said his legs can barely move yet he charges Leatherface. We need a little consistency here.

Page 58:

Pretty fucked that Amy has to dig through her mother’s mutilated corpse to find the keys.

Page 60:

Damn! Amy just jumped out the second story window and she’s still able to move like that?? Maybe have her roll down the roof before dropping to the ground to kind of help break her fall?

Page 68:

Haha, I’m sorry, but I laughed when the Cook just spins the hitchhiker around and backhands her too after doing the same thing to Amy.

Page 72:

“Texas IS Hell” You’ve got that right! Hahaha

Page 80:

Officer #1 PEEKS (not peak). Same with page 81.

Page 82:

As he FALLS to his knees (missing word)

Love the Dawn of the Dead 2004-esque ending credits sequence. Good stuff.

———

This was a wild ride. Tons of fun, gore, and violence. Definitely was not disappointed by this, coming from you, Zack.

Whilst there were some really stupid decisions made by our characters, in the end they get their comeuppance (and what’s a horror movie without stupid decisions that leads characters to their deaths?). It moved the story forward and without those decisions, there would be no movie.

I like the homage to the original TCM—the old hippie van in the car graveyard, the dinner table scene. This is a good reimagining (if you want to call it that) of the original TCM. Really scary stuff, really brutal and violent scenes.

It’s a shame Ollie died, but I wouldn’t expect anything else from you. That part was a shock, I actually said aloud, “Oh shit!” When they got hit by the SUV. And poor Sean! ;P

While this script could use a bit of cleaning up, I can tell you worked real hard on all of this. Great chase scenes too, really dragged them out and I was getting tired while reading (in a good way), as if I were getting tired with Amy as she just kept running and running and running. Damn, she’s got the adrenaline of all humans combined together!

Let me know if I need to touch on anything else, Zack. This is a great fan script and I can totally see it being added to the TCM franchise if it were ever picked up. Though, the song usages in the script would set your budget way high, however this would be fun to watch on the big screen.

Best of luck.

Sean


MY WEBSITE

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Kirsten
Posted: October 24th, 2021, 4:31am Report to Moderator
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Hey Zack, yep I'm chipping away at that feature ....I'm up to page 22 on your script and i've really enjoyed what I've read so far. Organic, great atmosphere and characterization. Looking forward to reading the rest.


"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
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Quoted from Kirsten
Hey Zack, yep I'm chipping away at that feature ....I'm up to page 22 on your script and i've really enjoyed what I've read so far. Organic, great atmosphere and characterization. Looking forward to reading the rest.


Looking forward to hearing what you think about the nastier parts of the script.  


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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Zack
Posted: January 29th, 2022, 10:32pm Report to Moderator
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Putting the finishing touches on a revised draft. Made some pretty big changes, hopefully for the better. Lol.

I've also got a new poster to share. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to post it here.


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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Don
Posted: January 31st, 2022, 4:19pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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New draft posted.

- Don


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

-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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Zack
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Thanks, Don. There's a typo in the title on the thread page. No big deal.

With this new draft, I put a lot of focus on improving each of the characters and really trying to make them each feel like real people. Made some minor and a few major changes throughout. Figure I might as well admit that I'm also planning a sequel to this one. So look forward to reading that in the future.

All you hardcore chainsaw fans out there... This one is for you!


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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LC
Posted: January 31st, 2022, 8:41pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Zack
Thanks, Don. There's a typo in the title on the thread page. No big deal. ...

Was it just the TCM, Zack?
Fixed.


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Zack
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Quoted from LC

Was it just the TCM, Zack?
Fixed.


All good now. TCM'97 is the correct title. Thank you, Libby.


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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ericdickson
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First off, I don't think I've reviewed a feature for eight or nine years.  Not since the early days of Amazon Studios and the great script exchange era with all eyes on the $20,000 monthly contest prize.  Back in the day I was doing three to four script swags a week, and taking them seriously, expressing my thoughts with other like-minded writers.  But it's been a while since I've been an active member here on the boards.  Apologies if I ramble on.  

Before reading the first page of TCM 97, I wonder if people are as tired of Leatherface (and the countless sequels) as most are of Michael Myers.  This didn't stop me, however, from attempting two fan pics of my own.  Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends.  I guess what it all boils down to is...does this script honor the legacy of the original?  Does this script respect the simplicity and slow burn terror from the 1974 film?  Does it fully understand and embrace the mounting sense of dread and deliberate pace that make it a classic?

Writing a successful TCM movie is a tall task to ask anyone, as everything that made the original so great was mainly due to slick camera work, Daniel Pearl's lighting, Hooper's camera direction.  What I'd really like to see with your script is a strong sense of visuals. As opposed to the Halloween or Elm Street franchise, I'm not terribly interested in the Sawyer family history or Leatherface's upbringing.  

IMO, there are two strong films in this franchise.  The original and the 2003 remake.   At the time, the remake was the first of its kind.  A super, hyper kinetic Michael Bay style horror re imagining.  It started a new trend in horror and, at the time, was an original take and direction.  What followed was a slew of crappy remakes that attempted that same style: The Omen, Hills Have Eyes, Halloween, Last House, Friday 13th, etc.   The remake at least had that great performance by R. Lee Ermey, as well as Andrew Brynarski giving a fresh take on Leatherface.  This was quickly ruined just two years later with Ermey just screaming profanities and torturing people.  This worked once as it was the first decent sequel in thirty years but this one felt rushed.  Too soon after the remake and a mere imitation of that movie.  

So, for me, Texas Chainsaw is a franchise about visual storytelling, mounting dread and suspense.  I can see this as a difficult task as there's only so many ways to describe sun hitting the pavement or a mad man chasing a woman through the woods.  But bringing a fresh perspective isn't always a good thing.  Texas Chainsaw 2022.  Wtf was that???

So, did you embrace the strongest elements of this franchise and hone them into a somewhat original work?

Here are my thoughts as I read along...

"Sweltering heat in peace" made me lol.  Good line.  

Okay, so a couple pages in and this is truly a remake set in 1997.  Almost beat for beat, and in some cases, line for line.  Ernest is simply repeating Papa Sawyer's dialogue from the original.  The old man at the graveyard saying "I see things".  Chuck talking about the old slaughterhouse a la Franklin Hardesty.  Sort of getting a Gus Van Zant's Psycho vibe with this one.  

Brandon is sort of funny so far.  "I was just getting a good sweat going".  Great line.  "She's crazy.  And crazy never makes sense.  That's why it's crazy".  Good character.  I like some of the humor you have peppered in here in places.  I laughed out loud at some of the opening station wagon stuff.  I would personally like it if you kept that style consistent throughout and dropped the syrupy sweet sentiment between the family.  Some of it reads false.  At one point, Lisa is busting Chuck's balls, and the next, she's holding his hand and smiling.  Inconsistent.  It's hot and miserable.  Keep them at each other's throats.  

Brandon should be Amy's foil.  Keep Amy a hard nut to crack.  She's sort of rebellious.  Is she acting out?  She have a crappy home life?  She's our protagonist and we need to connect with her on a somewhat deeper level.  

As far as the story, we've seen this all in the original, beat for beat.  The flashing bulbs at the graveyard, the hitchhiker, the gas station.  Right now, we're going through the motions, and for me, the script works best when you bring clever dialogue to the table.  There's some great lines in here and would help if you kept that consistent.  It would help differentiate your script from the other garbage sequels.  

So far the Brandon/Amy dynamic should be the selling point of your movie.  They're on a road trip they don't wanna be on.  Their parents are lame.  They give each other shit.  Brandon should be her counterpoint here.  Keeping her in check, and vice versa.  I'd like more character moments between Brandon and Amy.  Or Amy and her mother.  Or Chuck and Lisa.  Something to suggest there are unresolved issues within this family that will make their deaths that much more impactful.  

Yet I also understand your need to keep this script around 90 pages or so.  Most of these type films wear out their welcome at about 100 minutes.  So you need to get the most out of that family dynamic early on.  It could be as simple as a few lines of dialogue.  A brief exchange that suggests a rift between them.  Why is Amy so difficult to deal with?  Maybe develop that further.  

Chuck going to the farmhouse instead of calling the police is a bit much.  I get that you explain later that he is the adventurous type, but he could be putting his family in danger, and Amy is clearly upset.  Roger could be a killer as far as he knows.  The fact that this is the second time Roger has interacted with the family should be their first clue.  

And speaking of Roger...

After seeing him at the farmhouse I started thinking how unique it would be if Roger were The Hitchhiker instead of Mary.  Why not a mysterious character who is quiet, doesn't speak much, doesn't let on why he is in town or where he's headed.  Imply early on that he may be a Hooper.  Then throw the audience a curve when they discover he is Heather's brother.  Instead, we get a carbon copy of the original.  We know Mary will show up later at the farmhouse to torture Amy, the sole survivor.  

Maybe Roger could pop up at the Harmon house like a looming presence Amy finds watching them from the woods.  Instead, Amy just coincidentally runs into him at the Hooper house.  We know that she will be sent to get help and Roger will get hung on a meat hook and cut to pieces.  No surprise there.  

The set up and the kills.  They are beat for beat EXACTLY like the original.  The metal sheet door.  Brandon slipping on the feathers.  Chuck's death.  Amy and Lisa cutting through the woods and hearing the snapping of twigs.  You know Lisa will be cut to pieces at any moment.  Anyone who has seen the original will know the exact moment these characters will die.  

What was a real pleasure to read was your clearly defined sense of visual storytelling as this was a story told in real time, and felt like it was unfolding in real time.  To pull this off, your lines of action and description need to be so sharp, they pull the reader along smoothly where pages fly by and you never lose a sense of time and place.  You do this about as strong as anyone I've ever read.   I'd much rather see these skills be put to use in an original work.  

Great descriptions.  Great visuals.  Strong use of sound effects add tension and suspense.  Some cute lines here and there.  Good sense of humor that should've been more consistent.  Underdeveloped characterizations and family dynamic.  And Roger being kept more of a mystery I believe is a missed opportunity in what most would agree is a very tired franchise out of steam.  

With all that aside, this is a strong piece of visual storytelling and should be studied as a template for writing gripping action in a horror film.  

Hope this helps!
Eric D.  

[face=Courier][/face]

    


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ericdickson
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PS

I was just thinking that Roger could be introduced to the audience as a character searching for his wife Heather.  Maybe he mentions this as he's picked up by The Harmons (if he were the hitchhiker) and he uses this angle to draw The Harmons back to the Hooper house later on in the story.  He's NOT Heather's brother but Ernest's oldest son.  This would be a very satisfying twist as you could set him up as a sympathetic character who, in a series of carefully plotted out events, slowly leads The Harmons down a dark path.  

So, apparently, I found Roger the most intriguing character.  But at the same time underutilized.  

Thoughts?    
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Zachary
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- I have to say the family dynamic is an interesting approach as opposed to how all the Texas Chainsaw movies just have a group of friends instead.

- Honestly, I feel like it retreads the original TCM too much, especially early on, down to nearly the same dialogue, and the same kills, excluding the quick opening sequence with Ollie/Heather

- I appreciate that time is taken to get to really know the characters, but some scenes/dialogue could be trimmed or removed entirely to make the script flow better, especially in the first 25 pages or so.

- The inclusion of a Smash Mouth song in the script is by far the scariest thing I've ever seen in any Texas Chainsaw media. I know it's 1997 but STILL...okay nevermind it doesn't really matter.

- I like the suspense building in the script, like how we don't even see Leatherface in the beginning, we only hear his chainsaw, and he doesn't appear until MANY pages later.

- Roger kind of feels pointless as a character. I feel like he could be removed entirely. He randomly appears midway through (besides a small appearance earlier on) explains his story, and then dies immediately afterwards. I think Leatherface killing someone should have been saved for one of the Harmon family members since it would be alot more impactful. Maybe instead of Roger telling Amy his story, Amy could see a glimpse of Leatherface doing something fucked up in the distance, but she can't really make it out. Like how in Jeepers Creepers they see the Creeper putting bodies into that pipe.

- I like the spin on the ending of the original TCM where Amy gets "saved" and is screaming hysterically while Leatherface does his chainsaw dance, only for it to be revealed she is far from saved.

- Leatherface doesn't strike me as the type of guy to listen to Depeche Mode. Strikes me more as a Jimmie Rodgers or Hank Williams guy. Well...this is a alternate universe 90s Leatherface so actually I suppose it fits.

- I do think you took a interesting approach with Leatherface and his family here. In the original, they were SOMEWHAT sympathetic. But in this version Leatherface is downright nefarious, squealing with delight as he chainsaws someone.

- As for the ending, I feel like the bit with the police officers is unnecessary. Just feels out of place with the rest of the script. The rest of the ending, I'm fine with.

Overall I'd rate the script 6.5/10. It's a nice read but not anything special. Leagues above Texas Chainsaw 3D and Next Generation, that's for sure. I can totally envision it as a direct-to-video 90s movie in a alternate universe where Dimension Films got the rights to TCM and sent it to direct to video hell like they did with Hellraiser and Children of the Corn...which could have happened since they were offered the rights before the 2003 remake was made but passed on it.
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Zack
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Thanks for the reads and reviews, Eric and Zachary. Happy to hear that, for the most part, you both enjoyed the read. Sorry for the late response. Life's been crazy lately.

Really appreciate you both reading this. I'll be back to touch on your notes in more detail soon.


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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