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Bump in the Night by Anthony Cawood - Short, Horror - A foul mouthed drug addict decides that burglary can get him his next fix, but boy does he pick the wrong house and the wrong couple to mess with. 10 pages - pdf, format
Not something I haven't seen before but quite liked it. The old man says "watch your language" - that's an excellent way to mislead your reader. I think you could add more here - let the old man be appalled at Baz, Baz being a drug addict and all.
I think you could make it even better. Maybe you could let the old couple wanting to let him go. Then their habbit and hunger takes over... or somthing. It was good to see the other old man as the woman's dad - I quite liked it. But I do think that you could add some depth to this, otherwise it just dwells on the same old twist - little Red Riding Hood is a werewolf, a little girl is a serial killer, an old woman is a killer etc.
I haven't read this yet... but the logline reminds me of a short story I wrote a long time ago entitled, The Welcome Burglar. Actually, the story completely changed when I tried to turn it into a screenplay and became my first feature script, Repercussions.
I read this last night but had no urgent criticisms to offer. Overall, it was an enjoyable little read. It seems we both have a taste for the macabre.
My only possible concerns would be:
1. The opening. Don't get me wrong, I like the mechanics of it, it's a nice little twist when it pays off at the end. I just think you could do with sprucing up the dialogue at the start. If you're anything like me then the dialogue, especially at the start of a script, will tend to be more functional than anything else, as you try and race through and get the opening set up. I think you could go back and add to it now. Make it slyly foreshadow what's to come.
2. I wonder if the mechanics of getting the fridge door open is a bit too convenient? I know that you don't have a stack of options within that situation, but I just thought I'd mention it.
Thanks for the read Greg, appreciated, and yes we do seem to ave similar taste - the right ones of course
Opening, yep I hear you, my concern was utting to much emphasis on this and therefore lessening the twist end... will re-look at.
Fridge door, possibly, if it gets to filming (script was requested last night) then they'll need right height fridge and decent editing - but this seemed the most natural way of getting it opened and bening able to use it as a weapon.
I roamed your website, so congrats on your accomplishments so far.
This bugged me. Alexander and Agnus.
AGNES, 60s, wiry and oddly excited, nods at her husband from the other single bed.
I read that whole scene twice. Unless I've missed something -- same room. Yet they're sleeping in separate beds. I mean, they are husband and wife, right? I guess the question - why? In the grand scheme of things, to be honest, it's not important, but... just curious.
'Torch" I assume you're talking about a flashlight, right?
There is a comic element to this - nothing made me laugh out loud, but you had a couple of good oneliners.
The ending. I was looking for a twist I wasn't expecting, but didn't get it. Nevertheless it was a good read.
Good Luck with this, looks like it might get filmed, too.
BAZ Yeah, but need the paper now... bones’re fucking aching.
- Missing the “I” before “the”
“grubby in appearance and deed,”
- I liked this phrase.
Might be no harm to specify the genders of VOICE 1 and 2 as it’s something we will be able to ascertain while watching.
- Unnecessary comma after “beds”
“nods at her husband from the other single bed.”
- Nice visual nod to suggest all is not well between this couple…or else I’m misreading it.
Interesting dialogue which hints that they've been broken into before and are (for some reason) welcoming it. Gets us engaged and thinking while partially explaining the “oddly excited” description of Agnes above.
However, working of this presumption, why would Alexander turn on the bedside lamp as it could scare away the intruder?
“A small light flashes around the hallway, darting here and there like a firefly.”
- I appreciate you’re trying to convey a visual but it must be one tiny torch if it resembles a firefly. Go bigger!
“Behind him is a door with a single pane of broken glass, a few shards scattered on the floor.”
- This is the door through which he entered the house, right? If so, why are you showing it to us again? We seen it in the prior scene outside the house.
“Nothing at all in the hall, walls are bare, functional room, but no more.”
- Ok, I’m getting the impression now that Geoff has set Baz up and led him Agnes and Alexander for their perverse pleasure of some kind...
“Agnes brings the bat round again, looks practiced, head height.”
- Given her no-nonsense, wordless efficiency with the bat she should be the first line of defence from now on. Let complacent, motor mouth Alexander play back-up.
“Alexander sits at the kitchen table, a thick cut of steak pressed to his head.”
- Great visual transition, funny too but it should be specified as “frozen”
Ya, I was expecting Geoff to make a re-appearance. Ok job here, if a little predictable. There wasn’t a whole lot to it other than creating a shocking revelation wrapped in a twist on the usual home invasion scenario. Which is fine I guess for something this brief.
I didn’t see the cannibal angle coming but I figured pretty early on that Agnes and Alexander weren’t your average elderly couple tackling your average desperate burglar. It was clear that the hapless Baz had been lured into a trap.
I understand you want to keep it short but I would’ve liked to have known more about Geoff. Is he connected to the drug trade in some way…at his age? I mean, how well did he know Baz? Was it a regular thing for him to just cruise around dive bars looking for addicts to lure back to his daughter’s house. Pretty random.
Plus, why didn’t he notify Agnes and Alexander that Baz was going to try to break in? They seemed surprised when first awoken. A quick text or call to give them the heads up was surely due from Geoff.
Also, if Agnes and Alexander are looking to subdue robbers they should probably invest in something a bit more effective than a couple of baseball bats. They’ve clearly got a big appetite so tool up, folks! Of course then it would be harder to create the “will he” or “won’t he” tension of Baz’s escape attempt.
Oh, and why were Agnes and Alexander sleeping in separate beds?
Hi Col and thanks as always for the great notes and feedback.
Seperate beds, was just meant to imply that they are an older couple who don't want to wake each other up in the middle of the night and no longer 'need' to be in the same bed anymore... you arent the first to mention this so I am gonna amend it.
Repeat description of the door, just making sure that it is crystal that the two scenes are connected.
Geoff - you spotted it, but not everyone has, and no he's not a drug dealer, just an old bloke at a pub who know's how Baz can resolve his financial difficulty... the suggestion being that this isn't the first desperate addict that he's guided to his daughter.
Agnes being better with a bat, good point and funny too, may add this to the dialogue at the end.
Steak is for black eyes in general, doesn't need to be frozen (that's normally frozen peas) and all the other meat is in the fridge, so chilled at most.
As I see it there's three twists 1) That they are happy to be broken into and see it as an opportunity 2) That they are cannibals. 3) That Geoff is more than just a bloke in the pub.
Cannibals - there is a VERY subtle clue... Alexander and Agnes are the first names of Sawney Bean and his 'wife' and that why the script has the him looking through her bus pass etc... 'Agnes Bean'... obscure I know but a nod to cannibal history
Geoff not notifying them... got me! Geoff wasn't in the first few drafts at all, he's altered the logic slightly and I missed it's impact on the intro... great spot - fixing now
They're old school, hence the bats, and of course you are right, kinda needs to be implements of this nature to make the fight work... though I'm tempted to see if I could make it work with a tazer
Thanks again, time for a slight re-draft.
Dustin, look forward to seeing it in the future then!
Read this on Thanksgiving. Perfect! We haven't eaten yet, either.
I liked this very much. I didn't see the cannibal part coming. I really wouldn't change anything (except for whatever little things others noted; I saw one or two "its" that needed to lose their apostrophes.)
I thought the single bed detail was a nice touch that needed no explanation.
By the time I got to the end I'd forgotten about old Geoff, so it was fun to see him show up again. ( I guess he steered poor Baz to the house because he looked like a hearty meal?)
Hi Anthony. I enjoyed this as is, but think you could add a lot more to it.
The break in stuff felt very familiar. I watched a film recently called 'Borrowed Time'. There's a burglary in it that's practically identical, so it was refreshing when the cannibal stuff kicked in.
I have a few suggestions. Feel free to use them, laugh at them, or tear into them if you think they're terrible.
I think you could extend the beginning scene with Baz and Geoff at the pub. Not enough to ruin the twist but just enough to add a little more depth.
When Geoff turned up at the end I wasn't expecting it but didn't really care either. I feel it would be better if Geoff gave him a chance before setting him up, to make his motives a bit more understandable. Maybe something like -
GEOFF You could get a job. I heard they’re taking people on down at the factory.
BAZ Fuck that. I ain't workin' a 9 ta 5. Besides, I need it now... bones're fuckin' aching.
GEOFF Well, lad, there is this house...
On page three you use the word 'moves' or 'moving' six times within five bits of action. Not a problem but it's something that stood out while reading. Maybe change it up a bit 'heads towards the kitchen' ect.
With the fridge I think there's a good opportunity to tease the audience. You could have Baz open it before he meets Alexander and not notice a jar of pickled eyes in the door compartment. He could snatch a wine bottle from the shelf, take a swig, screw his face up and spit out a thick red substance on the floor (blood) and put it back, disgusted. You could still have the reveal with the body parts a bit later, just have them in the freezer instead or make it a two door fridge.
I liked Alexander’s weapon of choice but Agnes's felt too familiar. We've seen baseball bats used countless times, maybe change it to something an old person might have laying about the house like a croquet mallet, instead.
Good luck with this. It would work well as a comedy/horror if filmed.