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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Horror  ›  Bastard Saint - May3
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  Author    Bastard Saint - May3  (currently 853 views)
Posted: May 28th, 2021, 5:08pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Bastard Saint by Michael J Kospiah (spesh2k) writing as Father Christmas - Short, Horror - A mall Santa revisits his tragic past after a child makes a strange request: for Santa to murder his abusive father. 7 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

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

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  June 17th, 2021, 4:06pm
revised draft
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Posted: May 29th, 2021, 5:21am Report to Moderator
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I get to page 4 and, well that escalated quickly! Wow!

The VO doesn't really add to this. At the moment it is there simply to explain things to the audience rather than enrich the story. I'd suggest having a think how you could visually get everything across or if you removed the VO is there enough for the audience to figure out the story themselves? If not, what could you add?

My suspension of disbelief just snapped on this one. I found it hard to believe someone who was institutionalised for 23 years for severing a boy's head could live a normal life, never mind get a job as a mall Santa. And why was dad imprisoned for 25 years? He was a dick for sure and deserved something for beating up his son, but he didn't kill anyone and he didn't tell his son to murder anyone, just to stand up to bullies.

I'm sure some will love this as in the end, it's just what each reader buys into. I couldn't quite buy into this but I certainly appreciate the effort and found it an entertaining read.  

For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Posted: May 29th, 2021, 10:56am Report to Moderator
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Southern California
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Nitty issue = Malcam is thin and young – odd that he would be hired to play a Santa in the first place.  No need to describe hm as thin.

Nitty issue # 2 =

Quoted Text
MALCOLM (V.O.) They placed most of the blame on my father. He did 25 years hard time. As if he didn’t already resent me.

25 years for what he did – i.e., told boy to kick his ass – seems unlikely – I know that you need this for a plot point. Maybe there is a better way to get there.

Parameters met = yep - nailed it.

Writing = really solid craftsmanship. Read very smoothly.


Story: Okay, I loved the general premise. There were a couple of hiccups. Couldn't quite figure out how are hero would know where the boy's Dad would be.  

And for me (note - this may JUST for me as others may love it) - I hated the severed head. Yes. I know that it is circular to the boy's origin story - but for Santa to add terror to the boy's life by plopping that head in a Xmas box was just a bridge too far to me.  And again  it might just be me as I am less enamored with this stuff then most - but it would have landed so much better for me if:

-If the boy asked where's Dad. Mom answers's he'll come home later
- Boy opens box - see's the letter he wrote Santa with a handwritten note on it - I grant you your gift - or something like that
- Boy says to Mom with a smile - Dad ain't coming home no more.

Then you can cut to the body in Santa's car and I don't care how the dude killed him. Because now the 10 year old boy doesn't see it.

Hope that makes sense. I'm still marking this high as I think the objection to the severed head is probably going to be just my personal taste - Good effort here.

Okay, I really dugges the

My Scripts can all be seen here:
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Posted: May 29th, 2021, 4:12pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Vancouver, BC
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Wow. I was taken aback by the ending, but you did set the stage for it. This is someone who takes things too far, and that ending is perfectly in character.

It's a great premise, one that could be made into a feature if he's smarter about it. The writing is quite good, with a few missteps along the way but nothing that tripped me up. The tone fits the material, and I like the stylistic choices.

Great entry, well done.

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Posted: May 30th, 2021, 6:44am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Really great opening scene with that last line veering into much darker territory. Love the style. I'm fine with the decapitated head, but the backstory didn't quite make it as darkly satisfying as I hoped.

We go from dad being abusive - to kid's a murdering pyscho - tries to reform - then father gets revenge.

It's sad and strange, not in a bad way. But something about him decapitating a stranger over this convoluted past, I dunno, it just wasn't satisfying enough.

Very entertaining read. With some tweaks, this could be great.

That rug really tied the room together.
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Posted: May 30th, 2021, 6:56am Report to Moderator
Been Around

At my desk
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A sad and convoluted tale told in an entertaining manner. The writing was good except for the VOs. They felt ineffective and just exposition. They could be replaced with visuals. Yes, there are moments of disbelief here but considering only 6 pages to land your story, it worked for me.

Good luck.  

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Posted: May 31st, 2021, 7:06pm Report to Moderator
Been Around

Some travelling Circus...
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Ho Ho Holy shit that was dark. Quite the tale of woe that painted a never-ending cycle of psychosis. So, Malcom’s father does 25 years hard time and comes out with one intent from all his rehabilitation; murder my child’s family.

There’s an old saying: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha ...

25 years of tormenting yourself with revenge would drive a wooden stake through anyone’s heart, leaving a black hole that only revenge could fill, but it would appear Malcom’s father had no heart to begin with, so his eternal quest would be he needs to fill a void that’s always been there, and after he found it by killing that which Malcom created, he realized there’s nothing left to live for… his void collapsed and he’s an empty hollow enigma of his hatred.

Now, I guess Malcom is trying to atone for his family’s fate by vicariously severing his father’s head by severing Cory’s fathers head… okay then, I feel his pain, but not his rage.

Being a Mall Santa is probably not the best choice of part-time gigs for this guy, to the extent that the mall would have most likely caught wind of Malcom’s past via a reference check, but then there’s Bad Santa with Billy Bob who seemingly gets away with it every year, so… anything is possible in today’s day and age. Works well as an ‘After Ghoul Special’, a horrific tale of family reunification, but I assume that’s where you were going with it, so well done. Best of luck.

My scripts and templates: Obfuscation
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Posted: June 1st, 2021, 12:32pm Report to Moderator

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Grim but very good. it's way over the top, but I understand it's up to the suits to tone it down once they buy it. However, Malcom could have done the classy thing and packed the head in dry ice.
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Posted: June 1st, 2021, 1:23pm Report to Moderator
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Well...i dug everything about this. Totally dark. Loved the characters. Definitely over the top but what psych/crime isn't? I don't feel this is a "horror". And I love severed heads! LOL. What's in the boooooox???

Great job here. Was an easy read and thoroughly entertaining!

ZERO tolerance for RUDE people.
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Posted: June 1st, 2021, 1:57pm Report to Moderator
Been Around

Southern California
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Apart from a few personal critiques, this was a great script.

Omitting the foul language in Malcolm's dialogue early on would have made me more sympathetic to his situation, but the cussing put him in the "jerk" category instead of the "guy struggling to get through life" category.

I'm also not a fan of the unique font for "25 YEARS EARLIER". But that's just a personal preference.

As far as the rest goes:
I could visualize everything perfectly without rereading anything.
I could feel the plight of the characters.
I wanted to know more the more I read.

And it ended on a happy note.

Well done.

Read my scripts here:
THE BRIDGE 8pg-Horror
SCHEISSE 6pg-Horror/Comedy
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Posted: June 1st, 2021, 2:09pm Report to Moderator
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Don't get it right. Get it written.

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Ha! This one is AWESOME! Loved everything about it. My kinda short.

Top marks from me. Can't wait to see who wrote this one. Excellent work.

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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Posted: June 1st, 2021, 11:32pm Report to Moderator

The Great Southern Land
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Blood y hell!

What a tale.

They placed most of the blame on my
father. He did 25 years hard time.
As if he didn’t already resent me.

I'm having trouble getting my head (no pun intended)   around his dad receiving this sentence, or any sentence, really.

And then he gets out and does that to Malcolm's family?  


I suppose it has to end full circle with poetic justice and another head in a box.  

Full on Horror this one.

I hope Malcolm cleaned up the scene of the crime well.
I'd kinda like him to get away with it.

Memorable and entertaining for sure.
Gloriously over the top, but you gotta love it.

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Matthew Taylor
Posted: June 2nd, 2021, 4:58am Report to Moderator
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Shakespeare's county
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Love the title font!

Quoted Text
his gut hanging out of his stained wife-beater.

What's a wife-beater? must be a slang term we don't use here (or I am slow) - in the U.K (Birmingham, at least) we refer to Stella Artois as a wife beaters drink.
EDIT: I googled it, I am being slow lol

Quoted Text
dark and menacing expression on his face...

I always find the "on his face" part in these sentences odd (I do it too), because where else do you show expression if not the face?

Quoted Text
I was institutionalized up until I
was around 23 years old.

And he was allowed to become a mall Santa? some recruiter dropped the ball there lol

Well, let me be the first to congratulate you on your round 3 victory lol That was bloody brilliant.
Expertly written, completely satisfying plot, great use of the non-linear which actually benefited the story, great characters and dialogue.
It all connected wonderfully.

Great work

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Posted: June 2nd, 2021, 3:33pm Report to Moderator
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Not my style in any way shape or form. That said... loved it.

Yes, there are HUGE logic problems. Didn't care.

And, yes, his final action is sure to scar that young Cory for life... but, setting my humanity aside... it was fun. (Don't you dare tell anyone I said that.)

A great example of how a script can be elevated just by going all-in, to the wall with your choices. When young Malcolm shows up with the head, you know you're in for a ride.

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Many shorts available for production: comedy, thriller, drama, light horror
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Posted: June 3rd, 2021, 1:46pm Report to Moderator
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Weirdly I wrote something very similar a few years ago for a producer, that unfortunately didn't get made ;-(*

So I already liked this from the off

It's well written, the setup works well...

Just a couple of things that didn't work for me... the Dad wouldn't get any jail time, he didn't do anything... and the end, Malcolm says he likes Christmas and certainly sees himself saving Cory... so doubt he'd traumatise him with the head.

BUT, they are just imho and I still really liked this script.

*I've never put mine up on here, might do after the challenge.

Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
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