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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Horror Scripts  ›  Surge Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: June 28th, 2006, 9:48pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Surge by Gary Benjamin Holt Jr. (yeaster) - Horror - A group of High School graduates venture out to celebrate their graduation. All goes wrong when a wreckage is found, leading the teens into a freak-house where the softness and texture of one's skin is fatally valued… 90 pages - doc, format


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Balt
Posted: June 29th, 2006, 12:07pm Report to Moderator
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I read this on the pretense that it seemed to borrow heavily "I'm sure unknowingly" from my script "MANOR MORGUE MOTEL" however, when I did start to read it I realized it wasn't anything like my script and was actually pretty basic and typical.

It seemed just like the HAE remake and a little bit of Texas Chainsaw massacre remake and hell, let's throw in some House of Wax remake in there too. You really just took an amalgamation of different ideas and threw them together here.

You're writing is sharp as a thumb tac, though... Well, aside from some of the appalling and cheese smack ass dialogue. So it made it a little more tolerable in trudging thru it. However, at only 90 pages long... it still seemed too long to me. I believe you could cut away much of the 1st 30 pages. I didn't need the lake scene or some of that filler shit with the dismembered body in the Jeep.

It just seemed like filler to me.

Sort of like "and I'm sure you'll know what I'm talking about since your script is reminiscent of it anyways" The scene in the remake of Hills have eyes when the SLOP DONG gets captured "for the 15th time" and they put him in that cooler. The only reason that scene was in there was for more blood. That's it. It didn't add to the movie. It was pointless, much like the movie as a whole.

He would get caught. Escape. Get caught. Escape. Get caught. Escape.

This script was no different. It kept going over the same old ground and offering very little new.

So, in closing... I like the way you write. I really do. I just wish what you wrote was more original and varied.
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James McClung
Posted: June 29th, 2006, 2:47pm Report to Moderator
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First off...

- Lose the a.k.a. If that's not your real name, why would you use it in your script? Also, lose the Rated R. It's cheesy and ratings are the responsibility of the MPAA in any case.

- Lose the italics in the dialogue. It's telling the actor which words to emphasize. This is no good.

- Lose the parentheticals in the dialogue. It's telling the actor how to act once again.

pg. 8 - Blaring, not "blarring."

- I think you can lose this navigating scene. It?s just chitchat. No character or plot development at all.

pg. 16 - This split dialogue at the end of the diner scene is bizarre and distracting. I think it would work better if you compiled the character names into one or simply put slashes between them.

pg. 19 - "The car conveniently stopped working." My thoughts exactly. You need a more plausible reason for the characters to stop at the wreck site. Something better than ?stop!? or ?just do it.? I wouldn?t have the car break down either. It's too cliche.

- I'd lose the corpse all together. Its presence negates any logical reason for the characters to stick around. If I saw a decapitated corpse in the back of a dilapidated truck, I'd be out of there before anyone had the chance to say anything.

- Trish and Jesse are walking around an amusement park full of mutilated cadavers and they're stilling not running. Sorry buddy. You lost me with these guys.

- Why does Trish keep running off, especially after all these guys have seen? She's an idiot.

pg. 25 - You say the deformed girl begins to talk to Trish but there's no dialogue.

pg. 28 - Dan says there isn't a gas station for miles. Didn't a character say the restaurant wasn't far earlier on?

- Amy's flirtatiousness is completely unrealistic. These characters are at an abandoned amusement park. They have just seen a decapitated corpse in the back of a truck. Their lives are in immediate danger. Why would they be thinking about anything else other than, literally, saving their own skin?

- Why would these "freaks" leave Trish in the underground chamber unbound? She could essentially escape at any moment she chooses?

pg. 41 - Again, "conveniently got a flat." This is ludicrous. It's almost like you're spoofing a slasher here.

pg. 43 - "Mutated corpse?" I think you mean mutilated.

- The blaming of Trish is starting to get repetitive. It's already of obvious that she's responsible for this mess and it's been mentioned by other characters already as well.

pg. 63 - "The chainsaw apparently stopped working." This kind of stuff, in general, is no good. Things "conveniently" happening are poor ways of moving the story forward.

pg. 73 - One minute, Alana is saying she doesn't care if what she's doing in wrong. Now she says it's playing God. There's no reason for her character to change so abruptly like this. Fix this.

pg. 83 - This "tender moment" must go. No way are these two going to stop when their lives are in immediate danger.

- Why would Earl stop to pick up these guys after his last encounter with Brian involved a racist joke? Also, he comes completely out of nowhere. If his character were expanded, this scene might has some resonance but this way, it doesn't work. I suggest you change it.

So as not to deliver an entirely negative and critical review, I will say that there were some things I liked about this one. I liked the amusement park setting and I liked the whole idea of it being a cover-up for a laboratory. Some of the "freaks" were pretty cool looking and I loved the gore. It was just so over-the-top, gratuitous, and shameless about being both, but also messy and brutal. Usually, for me anyway, gore doesn't save a story from crashing and burning, but here, it did offer something that made reading this worth while. At the very least, it was entertaining.

You also have a relatively good writing style. Solid, detailed descriptions without going over the top and a mastery of format. Clearly you've done your homework as far as the technical aspects of screenwriting are concerned.

My main problem with your story was your use of tired slasher conventions. The worst of these were your characters. They were utter morons. They made terrible decisions, completely devoid of common sense, and then cried about them later. There was some character development between Brian and Trish earlier on but the rest of the characters lacked any. How is the audience supposed to care about these characters if they don't know anything about them? The fact that all of them are stupid beyond belief doesn't help.

I also had a problem with things happening "conveniently" as you said. A decent story cannot run on coincidence. You need to have solid reasons for the things that happen in your script. The whole "car-breaking-down" scenario not only falls into the "coincidence catagory" but is also an overused horror movie convention. If you're trying to write your own story here, I suggest you distance yourself from this kind of stuff.

Finally, your dialogue was a bit shaky. At some points, the dialogue was good and natural-sounding and you did have a few good jokes scattered throughout. At other times, the dialogue seemed to be intentionally comical in situations where it shouldn't be, then sometimes it was unintentionally comical, and others, just plain bad. Not all of it is this way. There seems to be a clash between good and bad dialogue throughout your script. I suggest you try and fix that.

All in all, your writing style is good and you do have some good story elements but also a lot of problems, namely with the characters. I think if you address some of these problems, you'll be on your way to having a decent script. Good luck.



Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
James McClung  -  June 29th, 2006, 4:44pm
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Cartmanator
Posted: June 29th, 2006, 6:41pm Report to Moderator
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I didnt find this draft of MY concept all to enjoyable either....didnt stop em from posting it though......of course with my name NO WHERE on the script.
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bert
Posted: June 29th, 2006, 6:50pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Cartmanator
...MY concept...


Gee...and I was wondering who invented the "slasher film".

And with high-school students yet.  Quite visionary, indeed.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Yeaster
Posted: June 29th, 2006, 8:18pm Report to Moderator
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Yeah, see, the guy read TAROT CARDS and asked me to write this for him. I was reluctant to at first because like you all said, this storyline has been done countless times before.

Then I write it, and send it to him, he didn't like it, so I wasted my time. I would have been okay with it, because it happens, but I got virtually no explanation as to why, so I uploaded it here to find criticism(so my next script wouldn't suck).

Personally, I think TAROT CARDS is a lot better because I felt I was able to do more. This one, "SURGE", was too cliche, even for me, and I told him that, but I thought I could pull it off. Apparently I was overestimating myself.

And I LOVED reading these comments! I will take everything said here and apply them to my next script.

And as for Amy's behavior...it was too extreme and forced, but that's only because she and several others had virtually no personality when I was given the "concept", so I tried to do the best I could with the little I was given.

I didn't start writing until page 17 onward. I wish I could've given credit to the guy who wrote the first 16 pages, but I wasn't given any info on who he is/was.


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Revision History (1 edits)
Yeaster  -  June 29th, 2006, 8:56pm
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Lon
Posted: June 29th, 2006, 8:34pm Report to Moderator
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I've just edited everything out of this post after reading the background info Yeaster provided above.

One thing I referred to before editing that I'll include now is that some of the replies above are far more spiteful than they need to be.  You guys ever hear of the saying, "You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar"?  

Brutal honesty is one thing...maliciously spitting at someone for trying to write a script is something else entirely.  I thought we were here to help one another?
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Yeaster
Posted: June 29th, 2006, 8:53pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks Lon, I appreciate what you said, but honestly, I didn't find anything wrong with the criticisms I was given here. The idea was, to be blunt garbage, but since it wasn't my idea, I wasn't offended, and even it was my original idea, I still wouldn't have been offended.

And despite Baltis saying how blunt he is...his review, in all honesty, wasn't that bad. Saying I have talent is hardly negative. :p

But yeah...all of these reviews are much nicer than what I expected.


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