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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  October, 2010 One Week Challenge  /  Satan's Secret Surprise - OWC
Posted by: Don, October 19th, 2010, 5:41pm
Satan's Secret Surprise by Greg Baldwin (greg) - Short, Horror - A young possessed couple turns to sacrificial Satanism to rid themselves of their inner demons. - pdf, format 8)
Posted by: mcornetto (Guest), October 19th, 2010, 6:40pm; Reply: 1

You have a great premise here and some interesting characters.  I thought the writing here was pretty good.

However, I'm not really certain I got the ending.  The old man was the big guy, right?  If that's the case you need more setup in order for the ending the work.

Good job but needs more setup.
Posted by: screenrider (Guest), October 19th, 2010, 6:52pm; Reply: 2
I dunno, Greg, it came off as kinda preachy.  I get so fed up with you Satan worshippers trying to force you're ideas on me.   Aside from that, the story flowed well.  No complaints.

Good job!
Posted by: stevie, October 19th, 2010, 7:20pm; Reply: 3
Hi Greg. this was really good, in the top 3 for me!  it could've easily fizzled away into nothing but you kept up the tension well. nice writing, just the right amount of description.

Like MC, the ending could be perhaps changed to be more sort of evil i dunno...

Oh, and I didn't like the use of 'jettison' to stab the old guy - sounds like they threw the knife overboard into his guts!!!!!

Good stuff

Posted by: Ryan1, October 19th, 2010, 7:38pm; Reply: 4
Your logline pulled me in because I have a somewhat similar theme in my script.  Pretty good setup, but I wish you would have delved deeper into Graham and what happened to him as far as his physical condition.  Is he dying of a natural disease and thinks God has forsaken him?  Wish you would have clarified that.  You had room for three extra pages, so you did have plenty of space to get into Graham and Mara's decision to fall into Satanism.

The Satanic chants were well done.  Make them up yourself or was that research?  

Like Stevie, thought the use of "jettison" was an odd choice in that sentence.

The ending was disappointing, IMO.  The old man is Satan or some kind of demon?  Why is he 55 years younger and why does he love that particular verse so much?  Also, did Graham and Mara disappear or something at the end?  After they finish the chant and the lightning strikes, all you describe is their screams in the fire.  Are they actually gone from the room or just lying dead there?

So...intriguing setup, but I was disappointed by the payoff.  However, good job cranking this out in a week.

Posted by: greg, October 19th, 2010, 8:36pm; Reply: 5
Hi guys,

Thanks for the reads.  I'm disappointed the ending came out crooked, so here's what I was going for:

The idea is that the verse they're reading will release them of their demonic possession with a human sacrifice - but the twist I was going for is that Satanic verses may be a little dishonest, so this one actually allows Satan to take control of the sacrificial body and in turn the people reading the verse are actually sent to Hell.  The ole' switcher-oo.  That's why he loves it so much; releases him from Hell for a bit so he can chill and kill people or something.

I was playing with that for a few days trying to get it right but looks like it needs to be a bit clearer.  Glad it was an okay read though.  

Ryan - the first chant I researched, then wrote the others in a similar fashion.  Glad you liked them!

Thanks again!

Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, October 19th, 2010, 9:51pm; Reply: 6
I'm going to have disagree with the crowd thus far. It is not the (stereotypical) Satanism that bothers me so much but rather The Old Man himself. Consider this: when Graham gives the textbook quote to The Old Man of Why I Hate Religion speech, listen to how you write the old man. I'm not a devil-worshipper. I'm not a killer. But I damn well would assist in putting the gag over his potty mouth! That's pretty much all he has to say. I can understand a protest. I can understand if he pleaded for his life and begged like a dog - which he didn't. All he did was drop F bombs and call  Mara a c**t. Not a bitch (or a witch) A c**t.

And Graham gives a lecture?

Look, I'm not taking a high moral road here or anything; I don't qualify for sainthood as much as I try. As far as the OWC req'd goes you, um, (forgive me) "nailed it". But I also call it like i see it. Good straight ahead horror, but The Old Man is set up as no big loss. I didn't have pity on him and Graham's speech thus falls flat. When that happens, the rest of the script as far as character goes didn't work.

However, I'm not opposed to The Devil's Trick - the lying backstabber has the last laugh. Oh- keep an eagle eye out for 'alter' and 'altar'. I noticed that in a bit of dialog.

It's not too bad, this short. I'll give you this: Hard Core.
All that's missing is a Goat's Head Baphomet!

Posted by: Baltis. (Guest), October 19th, 2010, 11:55pm; Reply: 7
That mother@(*%*$ FADE IN: on the right is really bothering me in this challenge.  It's almost as if everyone ran out and got Final Draft and didn't care to fix the one fatal flaw it houses.  

You need to change FADE IN: from a transition to a "GENERAL" in the options.  It will correct this problem for you.  I use final draft at times, and even love the latest build.  One of my favorites, but there are some quarks, as the one stated above.

Anyways, that aside... I actually like this one.  It's different from everything else on the menu and comes to a satisfying conclusion.  It's written good.  It's clean and flows like a river.  No problems there.  You even use a ";" in there.  Strange...

But, yeah, I liked it. Some say it's preachy and it is a bit.  There are some bouts of wavering in there and the typical Tales From The Crypt switch is present.  But it all works.  I just hate that damn Final Draft FADE IN: junk.  
Posted by: grademan, October 20th, 2010, 11:25am; Reply: 8

I liked it.

> Muddled ending. After reading your explanation above, I got it.

> Jettison "jettison"

> How can we tell the guy is 55 years younger?

> The incantations were good but too long.

> I've often wondered why the devil is portrayed as so active in human affairs and the opposite is portrayed for God? Mmmm.  

Good to see your work again.


Posted by: khamanna, October 20th, 2010, 11:54am; Reply: 9

It started off very well and I couldn't wait to read what it's all about. Great set up.

The ending is a bit predictable for me - they went to hell instead of him - a bit easy. Maybe if they read the verse in a wrong way (I know the verse reversed itself somehow but this is different, I want to see them slip...)... - somehow this way it comes off as no mystery ending. And somehow fast, almost rushed.

So this is my only gripe - the ending - which is not a small thing actually. But the only thing.

Few notes (I decided to start giving notes cus you guys do and I feel like I'm slacking and I also wish you all do it for my script some day too:) )

p1 - First you described the broken floorboards. Then you show them walk in but moving across the floor won't be easy (due to all the floorboards) - why not combine --show them walk in, note the floor... - just a suggestion.

p3 "The old man is in traumatic pain" - slows the pacing.

p6 - "grind it deep into his organs" - "his heart" would be so much better, I think.

p7 - "Screams of agony and torture echo off the walls" - at first I though that it's the old man screaming. But apparently not. What do we see on screen when we hear the screams. Maybe you could divert our attention to some object, spinning wheel in the room or something... "Torture" - makes me think they started torturing him. --not my favorite page.

But great idea and set up. I'd read the rewrite.

Posted by: screenrider (Guest), October 20th, 2010, 12:19pm; Reply: 10

Quoted from Baltis.
Some say it's preachy and it is a bit.  

Just let the records show I was kidding when I said it was preachy.   Sorry, Greg, I was in a weird mood when I left my review.

Posted by: Murphy (Guest), October 20th, 2010, 2:39pm; Reply: 11
It was written well, I will give you that. I liked the introduction to the house and characters, it did set things up nicely. The story was okay, the twist at the end better. As others have mentioned the characters could have done with a little more backstory for me to really care about them.

I think this is one of the more well written entries in the OWC, I will be keeping an eye out on what you write next.

Nice one.  
Posted by: CindyLKeller, October 20th, 2010, 3:05pm; Reply: 12
Hey Greg,

Congrats on completing the OWC.  :)

I thought this was pretty neat. It was creepy, and held my interest up until the end.

I wasn't sure what to make of the end though until I read your comment about what you were trying to do. I thought the old man set them up to make him younger.

Now that I know what you were going for maybe you could show his shadow as what the devil would look like, horns, tail. You could always explain a little in dialogue, too. Something like Nice body this time. The old man was pretty fit for... (whatever age) Something like that. Or not.  :)

It was a nice read though.

Posted by: Electric Dreamer, October 21st, 2010, 12:46pm; Reply: 13

Congrats on completing the one week challenge!
This read pretty well, despite getting a bit speechy in lieu of adding tension.
Its a straight ahead story and its written pretty clean.
I would have liked to know more about the doomed couple and how things happened.
The ending felt a bit undefined, subtlety is not the word of the day for this OWC.
Thanks for the read, I look forward to new material from you.

Posted by: Abe from LA, October 21st, 2010, 5:09pm; Reply: 14
Nice one, Greg.

The title tipped me off to the ending, so I was expecting Lucifer to rear his ugly head.
I have some of the same issues as others, such as Graham and Mara's affliction.  Maybe you can clarify.

Had a good laugh as to the sacrifice: No young, virgin female here.  

I agree with khamanna regarding the early descriptions of the colonial-style home.  You have a lot of description up front and it gets to be a bit much.  But, it would work better if you could integrate description of the house with the actions of the characters.

Page 1, Mara “pulls with her an old man… “  Probably pushes the wheelchair.

The old man does cuss and swear a lot, and could use some pleading for his life.  A little pleading could help define his character.  Was Mara related to him, or his caregiver?  She said something about changing his diapers…  if there is a connection, maybe some of the old man’s rants can clue us in.
Maybe that was meant that he was in their care for a while. But s**t, I would have left his diaper loaded if that's the case, and speed up the sacrifice.

The ending didn’t come as a surprise to me, as mentioned above.  I would liked to have seen the old man/Satan interrupt Mara’s chants and then recite the verse he says he “loves.”  

Last and this is just something we should all think about when writing a script, watch for characters sounding alike.  Graham and Mara are kind of interchangeable.  Maybe you can give one of them more distinction in speech pattern or using certain phrases.

That’s my take.  Overall, very clean, smooth read.  You had pages to use. Nicely done for a OWC.

Posted by: greg, October 21st, 2010, 9:57pm; Reply: 15
Abe, Cindy, E.D., Murphy, Balt, Khamanna, Gary, Michael, Michael, Stevie, Ryan,

Thanks for the reads!  If I haven't yet read your OWC scripts I promise I will.  I think I've got about 10 left to go.  I'm glad it was largely enjoyable.

Quoted from Abe from LA

Last and this is just something we should all think about when writing a script, watch for characters sounding alike.  Graham and Mara are kind of interchangeable.  Maybe you can give one of them more distinction in speech pattern or using certain phrases.

Agreed.  One thing I considered while writing was trashing Graham altogether and if I revisit this that'll probably be the first thing I do.

Thanks again everyone.

Posted by: Scoob, October 21st, 2010, 10:14pm; Reply: 16
Hi Greg,

I liked this. I wasn't so sure until the ending but that was the big pay off and it worked for me. "Nice" to see an entry with Old Scratch involved in the mix.
The story flowed really well.
I also like that you didn't really delve into Graham and Mara's disease but did mention that Mara had been caring for him on some level at some point. That makes it all the more sinister and paints the picture the old man obviously knew what he was doing well in advance.

Good job!

Posted by: Mr. Blonde, October 22nd, 2010, 9:55am; Reply: 17
I thought this was all right. That mean, old bastard sure has a mouth on him, huh? Reminds me of a chapter for a story I wrote once where, on average, every three and a half words, "fuck" was said. It was ridiculous.

Anyway, despite the dialogue, the story was cute and yes, it was preachy. But, I'll accept that. I'll go along for the ride. The ending wasn't really surprising, but did they read the wrong verse of something? Unless the mean, old bastard was always Satan, in which case, why didn't he do whatever he was going to do sooner?

You kind of lost me, there, but it was still good enough for me. =)
Posted by: Coding Herman, October 22nd, 2010, 7:20pm; Reply: 18
Hi Greg, this was written well, the story was very visual, and the setting was atmospheric. But I had a hard time discerning the character's motivations.

I understood that Mara and Graham were worshiping Satan and used the Old Man as a sacrifice, but I didn't get why they were doing that and what they wanted to achieve. I mean, all these stabbing and flesh-cutting were horrific to see, but this felt like the characters were doing them for the sake of doing them, or the plot tells them to.

I also didn't get the ending. So the Old Man was reborn? Or he got possessed by Satan? And why were Mara and Graham's dialogue in V.O.? Where did they go? What went wrong that they were screaming No!?

I think a few more pages would flesh out these story points.

I enjoyed it still. Good job.

Posted by: greg, October 24th, 2010, 8:50pm; Reply: 19
Scoob, Blonde, Herman,

Thanks for the reads guys!

Quoted from Coding Herman

I also didn't get the ending. So the Old Man was reborn? Or he got possessed by Satan? And why were Mara and Graham's dialogue in V.O.? Where did they go? What went wrong that they were screaming No!?

The ending: The verse called for a human sacrifice (and all the ritual stuff) for Mara and Graham to be freed of their inner demons.  The twist I was going for is that instead it's Mara and Graham that are sent to Hell and Satan is allowed entry into the sacrifice's body.  So in essence, the complete opposite of the verse happens (so the screams from the fire and M&G burning, the "younger" old man is Satan reborn, he waves his hand and the fire goes out, etc).  

Thanks again for reading, guys.

Posted by: jwent6688, October 25th, 2010, 5:05pm; Reply: 20

Pretty good entry here. Gonna echo some comments, I didn't like that Graham and Mara were so grotesque. It won some sympathy from me. Not what you were trying to do, I don't think. Also, I think you should have used some extraq pages to explain what was wrong with them.

Maybe if they sacrfice the old man out of greed. For money. He pleads for his life offering them everything he has, yet they still decide to sacrifice him. Would make the ending a bit more satisfying.

Anyways, Probably wins my vote for most disturbing of the entries. I agree with Ryan that the chants were nicely written.

You seemed to have played inside all of the rules. Good job there. Few did. Nice OWC

Posted by: Dreamscale, October 25th, 2010, 5:57pm; Reply: 21
Hey Greg, congrats on completing an OWC script.  Looks like I missed a I'll get to tehm all now.

This was OK. The writing was awkward in many places and confusing in others.  You continually used lines that included references to "the guy's" whatever, which really sounded odd.

The chants sounded real, and that made it disturbing.

I can't say it worked, though, as the ending doesn't really tell us anything, and if I didn't read your comments, I'd be clueless as to what happened in the end.

Good effort though!
Posted by: rendevous, October 25th, 2010, 6:05pm; Reply: 22

This was good. I think it'll be the OWC I read as I'm burned and I gotta start writing again.

Anyways, read well, few errrors, always a fine sign.

I could see the ending coming, not sure I git it tho, er.

Rich coming from me I know, I try and be mr. wonder wut hppened myself.

Anywasy, I read again, it'll click. Personally, I blame the parents.

Good work fella. Keep it up.

R oxi
Posted by: RayW, October 27th, 2010, 10:16pm; Reply: 23
1 - Story: Pretty good witchcraft story.
2 - Filmable & Budget: Easily filmable on a light budget.
3 - Horror & Audience: Human sacrifice horror. R rating due to language (wouldn't have noticed it if others hadn't pointed it out in comments. I have a sailor's mouth myself. USNavy training.) and graphic violence. Pretty large B-movie audience for this material. I've been watching a lot of horror movies lately (not my usual fare) and devil/witchcraft/psychopath slasher all get <$2M mini-budgets and terrible actors. I dunno. Challenge criteria held to pretty darn well.
4 - Technicals & Format: Good and great.
5 - Title & Logline: Title is a bit silly. Logline states the couple is possessed which is never established in the story.
General Comments:
A -
The actual exchange terms or understanding is unclear despite the old man's suggestive warnings.
However, you risk exposition in attempting to clarify this in dialog.
B - I didn't have a problem with the language, but I'm a very vulgar person.
C - Shoulda made the old man a deacon at the church that "failed" making the couple whole.
Maybe not from a standardly respected church.
Maybe he could be the leader of some whacked-out, traveling tent evangelical church where five thousand dollars and a couple rattlesnake bites later Graham and Mara remain or have grown "disenchanted".
D - Just watched Raimi's Drag Me to H3ll the other night. I think you've created a kernel of that story's sub-structure. Gopherit!
Posted by: greg, October 28th, 2010, 12:41am; Reply: 24
James, Jeff, Ren, and Ray,

Thanks guys for your reads and your thoughts!  I'm glad it was mostly enjoyable.  

Again - if I missed anyone's OWC please let me know.

Posted by: leitskev, April 9th, 2011, 5:55am; Reply: 25
Got lost and found myself here...with a nice little script. Looks like maybe an old OWC. I liked it. The Old Trickster does it again! It could have been a little better if the killers were a little more torn about what they were doing. After all, they were former church goers, people down on their luck and desperate, who gave up and went to the dark side. But this was a very nice little script, glad I found it.
Posted by: greg, April 9th, 2011, 7:13pm; Reply: 26
Hey Kevin,

Jeez, this hasn't surfaced in a while.  Yeah this was an old OWC and I agree on the characters.  I think if I were to redo this I would get rid of Graham and put more development into Mara.  Plus it's only 6 pages so there's room to play with.  

Thanks again for the read and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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