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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Horror  ›  Horrific Tales of the Wickedly Macabre
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  Author    Horrific Tales of the Wickedly Macabre  (currently 891 views)
Zack
Posted: April 7th, 2019, 6:47pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading through this, Robbie. Glad you were able to enjoy it.

Stalked will be getting a lot of attention with the next draft I write. I've actually got quite a bit of lore and background information written out for it.

Appreciate you bringing those typos to my attention. Thanks, dude.

Let me know if you'd like me to read anything else of yours.



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Zack  -  April 7th, 2019, 8:19pm
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RobbieD
Posted: May 3rd, 2019, 8:05am Report to Moderator
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Hi Zack,

OK then - I wondered if you'd be interested in reading this one of mine and giving any feedback you have?

MADAME DORA:
https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-shorthr/m-1556677727/

Cheers
Rob


ē MADAME DORA, CLAIRVOYANT (Horror, Short)
ē MALLORY GOODE††(Horror, Short)
ē DIRTY GRANDAD DOT COM (Comedy, Short)
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Zack
Posted: May 3rd, 2019, 1:50pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RobbieD
Hi Zack,

OK then - I wondered if you'd be interested in reading this one of mine and giving any feedback you have?

MADAME DORA:
https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-shorthr/m-1556677727/

Cheers
Rob


I'll check it out for ya. Gotta catch up on the OWC and a few other scripts, then I'll read your new script.



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Colkurtz8
Posted: May 23rd, 2019, 4:37am Report to Moderator
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Zack

Scared Yet

Between the grieving husband (complete with photo of happier times) and the pale, white nightgown'd ghostly figure against a nocturnal backdrop of thunder and lightning, it feels a little like we're checking off items from the horror trope handbook

Which isn't really a bad thing, pastiche can be fun when knowingly paying homage to those horror signifiers. I'm curious to see what you'll do with them...reading on...

Nice little switch here at the end, flipping from supernatural to the real. A visceral image to leave us with and the disturbing notion of a vengeful father killing his two sons in this manner.

I want to give you the benefit of the doubt now and say you intentionally littered the build up with clichťs. Firstly, because it was a remorseful kid's dream and secondly, to hit us with that abrupt return to reality at the end. A reality far more horrific than any dream.

Itís suitably shocking, well played.


Christmas Exorcist

Hmm. I'm not sure how this one finishes up. Youíve left us with many questions (which may be your intention).

I sensed there was a shift when Mark suddenly acquiesced and put his hands up. My suspicions fell onto Winston and that perhaps there was some alter ego type stuff at play. Given the seemingly distorted perspective of Winston compared to what the others see, that would seem to be the case.

So, did we just witness Winston's mental breakdown? If so, then how do you account for Davis? Alternatively, did the devil mess with their minds and have them both other its spell?

I don't know, I can only speculate because itís left totally unresolved (as far as I can see, please correct me if not) and thus somewhat unsatisfactory.

I should say that I'm not a someone who needs everything explained, I usually welcome a degree of ambiguity but here we are given very little. Nothing at all really.

I mean, did Winston actual commit these murders or did the devil orchestrate it all? In that, everything did happen as we saw it unfold during the script before it escaped Mark's body and left an apparently defenceless man in a Santa costume with a slain family.

However, Winston can see the devil right up to the end while the others can't, so again, this suggests some kind of psychotic break on Winston's part, it looks bad for him when back-up arrives...but then you would have to consider his motive. Why would Winston kill Mark's family and the priest?

Thus, in the end, itís basically the devil playing games, killing this random family and priest, only appearing to a couple of cops, taking one out while making the other look crazy (and possibly the perpetrator)

In other words, the devil is all powerful, itís merely toying with these hapless mortals and that just isn't very interesting to me. It lacks any real tension or sense of jeopardy if you have the antagonist (which, at least, to your credit, makes a change from the infallible protagonist. That's even more uninteresting) who can do whatever it wants.

I think it needs more than that, another twist or turn. Because right now, it just feels too easy, convenient.


Ding Dong Ditch

This was very short. I was expecting more. There is a distinct Halloween feel to it (tilted stare included) and you craft an escalating tone of dread and suspense as we know there are more than just a few unruly kids banging on Lou's door.

Disappointingly though, it just ends. We have that release of horror and violence when the Masked Man confronts and dispatches Lou. The babbling rhyme works well too, very odd. However, there is something unsatisfying about that being all there is. Yes, you imply this madman is just going house-to-house picking of these suburbanites one by one but that's it. There is not much else going on. I know for a 4 pager I can't expect a whole lot I'm just not sure the point of it all, besides providing a couple of scares. It feels unfinished.


Stalked

Again, this is rather short and ends abruptly. You obviously know how to set a scene, establish an intriguing situation. There is an explosion of violence...but then it just ends. Done.

In regards these last two segments, they feel more like opening scenes (such as the ones before opening credits roll) rather than stand alone pieces. Maybe this is your intention but I can't help feeling like they are missed opportunities.


The Well

I know Iím sounding like a broken record now but this has similar underdevelopment issues present in the previous two segments. So much is suggested and intimated, many questions abound...and then it finishes.

However, this one is elevated above the others due to its innovative and genuinely weird and disturbing premise. I like how there is no protagonist here either, itís just evil turning against evil.

The initial jolt of dread when you realise Doug is not a family man, or a watchful parent. He is something altogether different and depraved. This is confirmed by his tossing of poor Cherry into the well, followed by masturbation into said well...which is (somehow) superseded by supernatural forces in the well! For that constant stepping up of horror/perversity, I have to applaud you, sir.

It then all culminates in that striking closing image of the bloated kids corpses rising up to exact revenge on their killer. Good work.


Connective theme/tie in

Iím not sure I see one right now. I thought of suburban horror, that darkness which lies just underneath the white picket fence, but only 2 of the segments relate to that. It could be 3 if you move the Carpenterís house to the suburbs but the seclusion of that abode adds to the suspense.

Another theme, broadly speaking, itís that there is a haunting presence, supernatural or otherwise, terrorizing these characters. Of course, haunting presences are the bread and butter of most horror but I wonder could you include a similarity/parallel between each entity; the mom, the devil, the prowler, Edgar Flynn, the well monster, some link that binds them together. This might involve some back-story though which will add pages and, on the basis of these stories, youíre not too keen on explaining things. These evil forces are here and thatís it, no more elaboration necessary. I donít mean this as a criticism by the way, horror can often work better when it goes unexplained (Us is a good example of the perils of over explaining I think) but maybe in this context, given its anthology structure, could there be some common element drawn between the evilness?

Alternatively, you could have a character, a police officer for example, who comes upon the scene in each scriptís coda. Since all segments end with a murder(s) we can imagine that there will be some police investigation into them (although, The Wellís victimís may go undiscovered) Perhaps, all these stories happen within the same district, the same police officer is witness to their aftermath. A 6th and final segment could follow this police officer as he tries to find out what is going on...yep, severe haunting and gory deaths ensue! Iíll leave that up to you.

Of course, this idea would only work if you take on board the previous suggestion regarding connecting the haunting presences.

Anyway, some interesting stuff in here. As I said, you have a knack for creating terrifying situations, Iím just not always sold on the follow through, or lack thereof.

Col.


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Zack
Posted: May 24th, 2019, 3:44pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks a ton for looking at this for me, Col. Really appreciate it.

Stoked you enjoyed "Scared Yet". I'm aware it's not very original, but I thought I could make up for that with a cool/dark twist ending.

I really struggled with writing the end of end of "A Christmas Exorcism". I had to of rewritten the last few pages at least fifty times. Even reading it now, it's just not clear. I need to dial it back a bit and simplify it. And I agree that this needs a little something extra.

"Ding Dong Ditch" seems to be striking out left and right. Lol. Everyone I've shown this particular segment has disliked it. I think it's a cool little story that would be super easy to film. But I suppose it can't hurt to expand on this a bit more. Maybe we follow the Prowler to the next house, and his next would-be victim isn't as helpless as the others. Hmm... Gonna think on it.

Funny you mention the start of "Stalked" seems like an opening scene to a feature. It basically is. I've got a ton of lore written for the Edgar Flynn character and would very much like to expand this to a feature one day. Same with "Christmas Exorcism".

Happy you were able to enjoy "The Well", despite it's grim content. I particularly proud of this short. Sick, I know.

I really like some of your ideas for how I could connect these stories more. Especially like the idea of bringing one of the cops from "A Christmas Exorcism" back for a sixth short that ties in with another of the shorts... maybe "Stalked".  Would love to talk to you more about this, if you're down to listen to my mindless babbling.

Thanks again for the read and all the awesome notes. Incredibly helpful stuff, dude.



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Zack  -  May 25th, 2019, 12:42pm
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Colkurtz8
Posted: May 26th, 2019, 4:57am Report to Moderator
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Zack


Quoted from Zack
Stoked you enjoyed "Scared Yet". I'm aware it's not very original, but I thought I could make up for that with a cool/dark twist ending.


Yeah, for me, the ending makes up for the trope filled set up. Especially since itís the boyís dream so all the movies heís probably seen would be feeding into his guilt ridden subconscious and manifesting itself in this nightmare.


Quoted from Zack
I really struggled with writing the end of end of "A Christmas Exorcism". I had to of rewritten the last few pages at least fifty times. Even reading it now, it's just not clear. I need to dial it back a bit and simplify it. And I agree that this needs a little something extra.


Yeah, this almost functions in the opposite way to Scared Yet in that the ending is the weakest part or perhaps there just isnít enough there in the bulk of the story to make it satisfying for the reasons I already mentioned. It needs more.


Quoted from Zack
"Ding Dong Ditch" seems to be striking out left and right. Lol. Everyone I've shown this particular segment has disliked it. I think it's a cool little story that would be super easy to film. But I suppose it can't to expand on this a bit more. Maybe we follow the Prowler to the next house, and his next would-be victim isn't as helpless as the others. Hmm... Gonna think on it.


It is the flimsiest of the 5 I feel. As I said, like Stalked, it seems more like an opening scene, not a complete script. Plus, conceptually, it is as generic as they come. Yeah, shifting point of view from Lou to the Prowler could work. Or how about make that a continuing device? For example, letís say the next neighbour disposes of the Prowler then you shift to their perspective and so on. Finish back at Lou's house with the boys perhaps, bring it full circle. Something like the Max OphŁls film ďLa RondeĒ


Quoted from Zack
Funny you mention the start of "Stalked" seems like an opening scene to a feature. It basically is. I've got a ton of lore written for the Edgar Flynn character and would very much like to expand this to a feature one day. Same with "Christmas Exorcism".

Cool. I love me some lore


Quoted from Zack
I really like some of your ideas for how I could connect these stories more. Especially like the idea of bringing one of the cops from "A Christmas Exorcism" back for a sixth short that ties in with another of the shorts... maybe "Stalked".  Would love to talk to you more about this, if you're down to listen to my mindless babbling.


Sure, tell me what ideas you have, Iíd be curious to hear them. Iíd try to find a character that links all of them to give it that connective tissue. I just suggested a cop as it would be the most plausible.

Col.


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Zack
Posted: May 26th, 2019, 9:32am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Colkurtz8



Sure, tell me what ideas you have, I'd be curious to hear them. I'd try to find a character that links all of them to give it that connective tissue. I just suggested a cop as it would be the most plausible.



Cool. Let me get my thoughts together and I'll get back to you shortly. BTW, I've already started reading your script and I'm breezing through it. I'm not nearly as good at reviews as you are, but I'll try to give you as many helpful notes as I can.



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Zack  -  May 26th, 2019, 10:19am
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Colkurtz8
Posted: May 26th, 2019, 8:13pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Zack
Cool. Let me get my thoughts together and I'll get back to you shortly.


Cool.


Quoted from Zack
BTW, I've already started reading your script and I'm breezing through it. I'm not nearly as good at reviews as you are, but I'll try to give you as many helpful notes as I can.


Don't worry about that, any thoughts are welcome. Cheers.



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Diane
Posted: June 29th, 2019, 9:16pm Report to Moderator
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hi
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LC
Posted: June 29th, 2019, 9:42pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Diane, welcome to SS.

I PM'd you a couple of links to help you navigate the site and a link if you'd like to introduce yourself, here:
https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-knowyou/

If you read Zack's script I'm sure he'd love to hear your feedback.


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Diane
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Hi Zack, just finished your script   Scared Yet? I thought the idea was very good. Good suspense too. My biggest problem with it was the Over-writing. I think I read somewhere you are new at this so more experience will hopefully improve the writing.  PS I am brand new too. So here goes:
Heavy? rain pours straight down Ö Torrential rain / straight down as opposed to straight up/ or sideways Rain generally rains down
you can not be surrounded on either side...either you are surrounded or you are bordered on either side surrounded implies all around.
lightening flashes for a brief moment .. that is what a flash is . a brief moment of light so just say lightening flashes
the darkness returns- it always does after a flash - get rid of the darkness returns
two small twin beds.  twin beds don't come in different sizes Ö they only come in "twin" size, "small" is unnecessary
no such word or expression as modernly furnished .. modern furnishings
He squints his eyes... rather than squinting his nose?  We know what someone means when they say he squinted - adding "his eyes" is unnecessary
the rain outside pounds Ö as opposed to the rain inside? Again adding necessary words. The rain pounds.
overwhelming, nearly pitchblack I think overwhelming IS pitch black - pick one
a thick thunder rumbles through the neighbourhood - thunder doesn't generally select neighbourhoods to rumble through - all you need to say is thunder rumbled
If you read any really good scripts Ö there is a great one on the Black List called King Richard, and GreenBook is available on Simply Scripts - the language used in these scripts is terse but perfect.  There are zero extraneous words. Because the writers only choose the best words, the scripts move along at a good pace, making the reader want more.  So, when you go to rewrite, make sure every word you use is necessary. If it isn't, get rid of it. I strongly urge you to read these scripts.
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Zack
Posted: June 29th, 2019, 10:20pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Diane
Hi Zack, just finished your script   Scared Yet? I thought the idea was very good. Good suspense too. My biggest problem with it was the Over-writing. I think I read somewhere you are new at this so more experience will hopefully improve the writing.  PS I am brand new too. So here goes:
Heavy? rain pours straight down Ö Torrential rain / straight down as opposed to straight up/ or sideways Rain generally rains down
you can not be surrounded on either side...either you are surrounded or you are bordered on either side surrounded implies all around.
lightening flashes for a brief moment .. that is what a flash is . a brief moment of light so just say lightening flashes
the darkness returns- it always does after a flash - get rid of the darkness returns
two small twin beds.  twin beds don't come in different sizes Ö they only come in "twin" size, "small" is unnecessary
no such word or expression as modernly furnished .. modern furnishings
He squints his eyes... rather than squinting his nose?  We know what someone means when they say he squinted - adding "his eyes" is unnecessary
the rain outside pounds Ö as opposed to the rain inside? Again adding necessary words. The rain pounds.
overwhelming, nearly pitchblack I think overwhelming IS pitch black - pick one
a thick thunder rumbles through the neighbourhood - thunder doesn't generally select neighbourhoods to rumble through - all you need to say is thunder rumbled
If you read any really good scripts Ö there is a great one on the Black List called King Richard, and GreenBook is available on Simply Scripts - the language used in these scripts is terse but perfect.  There are zero extraneous words. Because the writers only choose the best words, the scripts move along at a good pace, making the reader want more.  So, when you go to rewrite, make sure every word you use is necessary. If it isn't, get rid of it. I strongly urge you to read these scripts.


Hey Diane,

Thank you very much for taking a look at this. I really appreciate it.

I've been writing for over fifteen years now, but I'm still very much an amateur. Overwriting is still an issue I struggle with.

I appreciate you giving me clear examples on where exactly my mistakes were made. You've actually helped me understand a couple of things just a little better. Very helpful.

If you'd like for me to read something of yours in exchange, don't be afraid to ask.

Oh. And, welcome to Simplyscripts!



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Zack
Posted: July 23rd, 2019, 7:43pm Report to Moderator
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The first segment of this anthology, "Scared Yet?", has been picked up for production. It was previously produced as an audio play, which turned out fantastic IMO.

I can't thank this wonderful community enough. You guys are all awesome.

Link to the audio play here - https://player.fm/series/simpl.....lable-for-production


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LC
Posted: July 23rd, 2019, 7:55pm Report to Moderator
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Congrats, Zack! Terrific news.


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Kirsten
Posted: July 23rd, 2019, 8:28pm Report to Moderator
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Yay Zack! Nice one! 😉


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

'What we do in the Shadows.'
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