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Candy: Inspired by the Houston Mass Murders by Tanner Murray (directoboy12) - Horror, Drama - 15 year old drunkard Wayne Henley gets caught up in procuring his teenage friends for a serial killing psychopath. 117 pages - pdf, format
First off this was a pretty unsettling script, creepy stuff you're working with. I like the way you introduce your characters, you make it clear who's central and you do a really good job of developing them each with their own little problems and relationships with each other, this helps the story move along a lot.
Dean's a really creepy character, from the beginning before even becoming aware of who he is in the opening scenes, he just rubs you the wrong way. The first act is really eerie, you really have no idea who is safe from Dean or not, because of the opening scene where he goes against Wayne, Dean becomes the creepiest in his unpredictability.
The fact that this is based off true events definitely adds effect to the script, I'm really curious to know how much of the story is true?
You've set up Wayne pretty well, how he's so young and clearly going through a rough time with his family situation to the point where it is believable that he's so naive to do what he is doing for Dean. However, the first kill with Mikey I feel should have hit Wayne a lot harder than that, regardless of how badly Wayne needs money, there was still the impression that Wayne and Mikey had some sort of relationship and you would really think that he'd be somewhat emotionally impacted. I understand that throughout the series of murders he'd become desensitized to it but I can't see the money winning over his moral value to this extent so early on, especially when he's helping bury the body. This kind of makes Wayne a lot more of a less likable character and I just think that more regret, hesitation or if he was really shaken up after wards would be better for the story and also give more range to his character.
It feels that while it comes off that Wayne and David are really comfortable with Dean and how he's been like a cool older brother to them at first, why they trust him so much, it's clear of what his intentions are with guys their ages, so I don't understand what makes them think they are out of the equation, I think it could work for the script if their safety became questioned earlier on to add more intensity to the scenes because sometimes it felt a little off key how ballsy Wayne got with Dean, for example when he's demanding more money.
I'm not sure if I think the scene with David and Wayne having intercourse is really necessary, it sort of makes sense for David as he's come off to have had past relations with Dean but for Wayne it comes off rather abrupt, especially after he was just coming on to Tanya. On page 72, when Tanya and Blake are leaving I think you have an error where it says Tanya (Cont'd) (To Frank), I'm pretty sure you mean Blake.
It's really disturbing how Dean manipulates Wayne and David to the point where after when the reporters are questioning him, he's almost a zombie, has no emotion at all anymore, almost becoming a Dean. When I saw how many pages were left after Dean was killed I thought it might drag on a little too much, but I found everything with the police really interesting in respect to Wayne's character, again here's where I think his current state would be a lot more effective had he started off more sympathetic so there's a greater downfall. I'm not sure if the ending interview with Mary was necessary, I think that ending it at Wayne's expression would have been a lot more effective.
Overall, this was a really creepy script, it came off as more of a drama crime just because it lacked horror elements. I feel you could really amplify the intensity and scariness of the script with maybe a boy who almost escapes. But all in all it was really well written, the dialogue was good and the formatting was great as well, nothing I'd change there. It's a haunting idea with that last title card that these are real people and though Wayne's obviously not too likable the script kind of lacks of characters to root for but I guess it's kind of hard especially since this is based off the actual crimes. This works really well as a crime/drama and it's got a lot of potential for some horror/thriller elements. Good Work, original story!
Hey thanks for checking this out Kev. I'll my review for your script up soon. I'm glad you enjoyed this, the basic premise of this and the true story are the same I did take plenty of creative liberties though.
Dishabelle? Is that really a word? You mean dishevelled? Commas after "well" at the beginning of sentences Bottom of page six "you're dad still hollaring at you" should be your Dean tying and subsequently releasing wayne seems a tad too pat. Also commas before names in dialogue. period missing after mom telling bobby to be quiet, p 18 You could space out your slugs a little more. not sure the exact format, but some are pretty lumped up, like on p19 p36 too the curb, should be to The thing with the cuffs is pretty creepy, how the audience knows exactly where its going even as mikey is just oblivious. well done. You say the body of mikey is wrapped head to toe in garbage bags. Obviously we'd be able to tell from its shape and everything that its a body, but is part of it visible? Maybe white trash bags so they're slightly see through? Just needs clarifying, if it's totally covered, I would specify. p41 wayne 'admittedly' shovels dirt onto the body. Not sure thats the right word. p43 I'm not to keen on this montage, not sure why. Maybe seems a little quick to have a montage, or just the matters too serious to be handled this way. Not sure. But there might be a better way to show the passage of some time. p54 you're should be your, and some other small editing errors... p69 whom sit a reasonable distance away, should be who.
That's all I have time for at the moment, definitely creepy so far. A tad tough since there are no sympathetic characters, but wayne is still pretty compelling so I think it can work. Waynes accidental shooting was maybe a tad too small an event. Assuming that was really the first one that he had personally killed Id think it would be a bigger deal to him, maybe a real catalyst in his transformation.
The montage in the middle doesnt really fit with the style of the story, I think. Maybe if you mixed it with drinking and drugs, so its kinda blacking in and out of his life, if you know what I mean. I do like the scene with Mikeys mom right after though. Since you're hinting at all the hardcore stuff, then just cut to him being a gentleman, even though we know the background.
I'll finish later, definitely a compelling read, if a pretty disgusting and creepy one.
Mine: HARD CASE ††††††††††† (65 Pages) Stealing the case is just the beginning...
APU ††††††††††† (80 pages) A city where superheroes are murderers and villains walk through walls...
p71 tanya says (to Frank) what has gotten into you?" not sure if its a first name/last name issue, but id put blake instead of frank. Tanyas dialog about wishing fo money is a little on the nose. you could leave it a little vaguer and more realistic and wed still get the point. The abrupt addition of sarah as an important character is a little out of place. before this she was just randomly mentioned, no suddenly shes taking up scenes? need to even her out a bit. Lotsa editing missups in the last bits. p104 "whats you name?" should be your, missing question marks for some of the reporters questions. Story definitely drags on once the cops are involved. That should be the big climax, all the dicking around in interview rooms and crying to mommies kinda softens the ending. Though finishing with talking to Deans mom was excellent, you kinda saw a bit of the craziness in her, though it was all sweet and everything. nicely done...
Overall, impressive read. I think you managed the subject without slipping into torture porn too much, and the characters were pretty believable. The ending definitely needs to be tightened, you need to really clarify that him setting tanya free and calling the cops is the climax, then the rest is just kinda epilogue. Seemed like there was a fair number of typos in the second half, would be worth going over since I'm sure I didn't catch them all.
I'd say you could afford to lose the bit with Sarah, she doesn't add much to the story. Unless you expanded her bit into being a little more of a presence throughout, but at the length you have not sure its worth it.
Also lose some of the redundant stuff at the end, wayne talking to his momma was kinda useless, she wasnt much of a force throughout the story. maybe just him revealing the bodies, then ratting out david, and david doing the same stuff. then end with deans mom.
Well done though, creepy stuff.
Mine: HARD CASE ††††††††††† (65 Pages) Stealing the case is just the beginning...
APU ††††††††††† (80 pages) A city where superheroes are murderers and villains walk through walls...
The opening with the ominous voice certainly sets the tone for how this script is going to run, however I didnít really understand the Ominous Voiceís reaction to Wayne. The first couple of lines I was thinking, Ok so this ominous voice could be a bit of a nut case, not easily disturbed, doesnít really respect live or death, and he is trying to get his message across to a young apprentice who clearly is having trouble adjusting (the opening line; Whatís so hard to understand?)
So then to hear him suddenly change when he realises a gun is on him confused me a bit. I would expect him to say, ďStop muckiní around Wayne and pick up that other spadeĒ or something similar. I can see what you are going for, I think it needs to be clearer if the ominous voice sees Wayne as a total bad ass or a pussy who needs to learn the ways of a murderer.
After this I really liked the introduction of the characters, the teens in the diner seems smooth (perhaps the Wayne/Tanya relationship is a little forced?) Dean comes across excellently and I think you have done a really good job to make him interesting, Pg 8 you say his voice is obscure, obscure in what way?
I was a little confused about the time of this, itís 1971, is it that hard to own two beaten up TVs? (pg26). And motown being old school? (pg2 I thought it was still popular in the 70ís and people like Marvin Gaye were in the height of their career? Itís not something Iím that clued up on so ignore me if Iím wrong.
Pg 30, Wayne is excited about introducing Mikey to Dean, Dean turns up in his van, so Wayne ends the conversation and gets into the van. Why didnít Wayne introduce him right there and then? Seemed like the perfect opportunity to me?
Pg 39 onwards. Awesome. The whole bit with the handcuffs I really enjoyed reading. Itís obvious to us whatís going to happen, and thatís what makes it so good. When Mikey agrees to try them on, I could feel the suspense, knowing that he had just made a huge mistake was exciting to read.
After this, there is a montage which I didnít really understand (pg 43) I mean I get you wanted to show he is getting less money each time but it just didnít feel right with how the movie has gone so far.
Next you go onto explain that letters turn up from the missing children stating that they are ok, a good idea, considering you donít want to spend to much time covering how they evade the law, but learning that itís been four months since Mikeyís disappearance didnít really feel right, surely his parents would have got the police involved way before this point and there would have been an investigation? why not send them 3 letters? One saying Iíve moved, donít worry, another saying Iíve got a job, and the last saying Iím doing really well out here, you will never see me again. I think this will cover your bases a lot more effectively.
Next are the deaths of James and Eric. Quite a funny scene and one I enjoyed reading, I would say it warns kids off of playing with guns, however I think in this case james took and easy way out with a bullet to the face. He got off lightly!
This is where I am up to at the moment, hoping to get more done of it soon!
Hello, directoboy12, I've just read your scripts and here are my thoughts.
Overall, I felt the story was quite compelling and the script flowed rather easily. That being said, there are a few things you may want to reconsider.
Although the opening sequence was well-written and quite the page-turner, it has the unfortunate effect of undercutting some of the later suspense. The first half of the story proper was handled quite well, especially the sly and oblique way Dean recruits Wayne into his scheme without letting the audience in on his plans.
This buildup would have made Mikey's sudden and quick death a big surprise... if the opening sequence hadn't let us in on Dean and Wayne's murderous ways beforehand. This also left me in a holding pattern as I kept waiting for the story to catch up with the events shown in the opening sequence.
You may want to consider substantially rewriting the flash forward, such as not making it clear who we are seeing and what is actually happening, if not removing it entirely. You may also want to remove the mention of Wayne's name during the opening title card sequence to once again maintain suspense throughout the first half of the story.
This may have been an accurate representation of events, but the sequence with Wayne interrogated by the gaggle of reporters didn't work for me. Not only are these scenes overly long but they largely repeated information we already know. If you want to keep this scene, I would shorten it considerably and focus more on the questions about Wayne's mental state as well as his attempts to spin blame away from himself and his reveling in the limelight.
I also wonder if David's interrogation scene would work better if his statements were used as narration for a flashback sequence. I think David's story involving Dean and the two small boys, for example, may have more punch if it was shown to the audience instead of merely told second-hand.
When you prepare your next draft, you should take greater care during the proofreading process. Your FADE IN transitions should be on the left, and there were several instances of missing or misused punctuation. You also had a tendency to use sound-alike words and phrases instead of the ones you meant to use, such as "on to" instead of "onto," "in to" instead of "into", and "too" instead of "to."
You should use new sluglines when you move from one setting to another as there were several scenes which encompassed multiple areas, especially the scenes in Deans' house. This would both clarify where scenes take place and also make it easier for you to organize and sort through your script in the future.
Here are the things I noticed as I went through the script
Page 1: There are two spaces between the words in the phrase "The piercing." Wayne's first line has a CONT'D parenthetical even though he hasn't spoken before.
Page 2: The first action line has many unnecessary commas. The line could be written as "A longhaired stocky boy named TOM speaks." The word "bout'" should be "'bout."
Page 4: The phrase "like we use too" should read "like we use to."
Page 5: The phrase "like we use too" should read "like we use to." I don't think the quotes around the phrase "grown up" are necessary.
Page 8: The word "em'" should be "'em."
Page 9: The line "You want too?" should read "You want to?" The phrase "Its a party" should be "It's a party." The line "Woah there" should read "Whoa there." The phrase "drips out fluid on to a crumbled" should read "drips out fluid onto a crumbled." The phrase "reaches in to his shirt pocket" should be "reaches into his shirt pocket."
Page 13: The line "Owe, dammit" should read "Ow, dammit." The phrase "over sized" should read "oversized."
Page 18: Wayne's mother's first line is missing an exclamation point at the end.
Page 23: The phrase "some creeps ass" should be "some creep's ass."
Page 24: There is an extra space between the word "cards" and the period at the end of the sentence.
Page 27: Unless this was intentional, the phrase "should of" should be "should've." The phrase "Davids voice" should read "David's voice."
Page 35: The second action line and the last action line are both missing a period at the end.
Page 36: Unless this was intentional, the phrase "should of" should be "should've." The phrase "play pretend with though" should be "play pretend with, though."
Page 39: The phrase "Ole' Ricky" should be "Ol' Ricky."
Page 41: The phrase "Wayne admittedly begins to shovel" doesn't make sense in context.
Page 48: Dean's second line should end with a question mark.
Page 56: The phrase "dirt covered" should be "dirt-covered."
Page 59: There is an extra space in the phrase "elementary school."
Page 62: The phrase "Its just so f***ing hot" should read "It's just so f***ing hot."
Page 65: Deans' first line should end with a question mark.
Page 70: The phrase "quiet liked it" should be "quite liked it."
Page 71: Tanya's first line should end with a period. The phrase "toward the to of them" should be "toward the two of them."
Page 80: There is an errant equal sign in the last action line.
Page 91: The phrase "try to do you're best" should be "try to do your best."
Page 107 and 111: The word "em'" should be "'em."
Page 112: The phrase "It's were the highway bridge changes" should read "It's where the highway bridge changes."
Page 114: There is an extra space in the phrase "we're here."
Page 117: The phrase "99-years in person" should be "99 years in prison." The phrase "six 99 year sentences" should be "six 99-year sentences."
I hope this response helps you, directoboy12, and good luck with your script.
The next part that didnít really sit right with me was the part where Wayne and David have sexual intercourse. Up until this point I have not been under the impression that Wayne had any homosexual tendencies. David maybe, but not Wayne, especially considering his fixation on Tanya, perhaps it has to be hinted at more earlier in the script for that to really sell.
And speaking of Tanya, I didnít understand her motivation to want to run away? (pg76) Why is she so surprised to think that Blake might have took off, only for her to suggest that she might run away, and that she hates everything only 1 minute later?
To be honest I did start to lose interest in the second half of the screenplay. I thought it was good writing and you conveyed everything well, but the second half showed the emotional side of these characters and what personal turmoilís they have been through (particularly David), but by this point it was too late, I didnít have any reason to feel sympathetic towards them and I didnít believe there was any way they could redeem themselves from what they had done, or justify their actions.
If I could suggest an alternative path, it would be to switch focus onto the detectives, and how they uncover the investigation, be with them as the discover the bodies, and be with them when they finish their work, and watch them try and go back to family life each night after what they have seen in both the shape of the victims and how such young boys could have done something so evil. Or focus on the media parade, and how infamous the boys became as a result of being so young, doing something so sadistic/being brain washed into doing something they didn't understand?
Take what you need to from my suggestions and good luck with it! -K
Opening Image: pg1 Digging and ominous voices discuss what matters to them; murder Ė highly compelling *********************** Establish Theme: pg 5 Time to grow up, one way or the other Ė lots of strong narrative tug *********************** Set - up: 1-10 Huffing, bonding and the coming together of those who have nothing and maybe everything in commonóas they awakened prisoners of the older Dean character *********************** Inciting Incident: pg 12 Wayne murders his captor. 1971 flashback *********************** Debate - Half Commitment: Army 'Dean' and David are friends. Dean quickly dominates. No one really knows why. *********************** Turn to Act II: No obstacles Ė no narrative tug, no expository dialog or visual cues or actions which lure us forward nor alert us to the b line or any motives as to 'why we are here' nor do we care. Idle chatter. A good deal of silliness takes place and here the script dies. late 30's in terms of page.
Tanner was given those notes in confidence as the only notes I managed to get from Babz about her reading of the script. It isn't any kind of formal thing where she provided the notes for him - it is just her informal notes from reading the script that she jotted down while reading the script that she sent to me as an indication of why she didn't keep reading it.
They weren't intended for Tanner and they were only given to him out of my own concern that his script was not talked about. Why he decided to publish them is beyond me.
Babz lost interest in pursing this script mainly because Tanner did not have rights to the book he adapted. You won't see that in the notes either.
And there's actually more to this story as to why this script attracted Babz's attention in the first place but I'm sworn to secrecy about it so you'll have to perhaps get Babz or Tanner to tell you that one. She's actually logged in and looking at the forums now.