"If you got to write, direct, cast your own film, what would be the style/mood/atmosphere of your finished product? Use comparisons if you'd like."
A few years ago, I wrote a screenplay, adapted from my horror novel THE TASTE. I was going for an atmosphere that was a cross between NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and ‘SALEM’S LOT. Without further comment, here are the first few pages (not sure how a screenplay translates to a blog post, but here goes!) :
EXT. RURAL STREET - EVENING
JAKE WHEELER, early 20s, sits in his parked rental car, wadding up the trash from his takeout dinner on the road: a mostly-uneaten Burger Barn Big Belly-Buster Burger and a red-smeared paper French fry boat.
Jake looks across the front lawn at a dilapidated house, then checks his phone. Looks at house again.
He opens a bottle of ADVIL, shakes a couple out, and swallows them. Rubs temples. Closes his eyes.
A loud CLANK on the passenger window. His eyes spring open to see a tall, gangly man with a large wrench in his hands.
He fumbles with the window controls, then rolls the window down.
(in a West Virginia twang)
You goin' to sit there all evenin’?
I... I'm visiting my aunt. She lives here.
Come on, come on. Get out of the car.
Jake pauses, evaluating the situation. He picks his cell up.
Maybe I should call her...
Don’t worry, now. She wanted me to greet you. So... greetings.
Jake starts to press a few buttons on his phone, but there’s no service.
Stop your foolishness and come on. She ain't home yet. Let's go, Jake, I got work to do before it gets dark. And you can relax. I don't bite.
The man turns, and heads up the driveway, then crouches over the carcass of a broken lawn mower. Parts are strewn everywhere. Jake follows.
Listen. I'm sorry for my squirrelly behavior. It's been a long trip and I haven't been feeling too well.
Yeah. How'd you know?
I've seen those grimaces before. You'll feel better soon, I reckon. Know anything about mowers?
Neither do I.
Jake sticks his hand out.
Jake Wheeler. Cora’s nephew.
You know who I am?
Didn't think so. My name's Hiram. Hiram Hart. I'm your uncle.
INT. CORA’S HOUSE, KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER
The house is decorated simply, almost Amish-style. Jake stares at HIRAM HART, 60s, across the table. Each has a plain glass of water before them. Neither is much of a talker.
Long. Tiring. I’m really not much of a traveler.
Your aunt ain’t either. Won’t even get on a plane. Terrified.
Didn’t even know about me, huh? Women and their secrets. Cora loves her secrets. Thinks people like getting surprised. Thing is, she hates getting surprised herself.
He perks his head up. A second later, the front door opens.
Well, there she is now.
Where’s my beautiful nephew?
AUNT CORA, 60s, sweeps into the kitchen and pulls Jake up from his chair. Engulfs him in a hug, then holds him at arm’s length.
My, my. Hard to believe you’re twenty-four years old already. And Thea told me you were handsome, but she didn’t say how handsome. The photographs don’t do you justice. Ain’t that right, Hiram?
Hiram drifts off.
I see you’ve met my surprise. I never told your mom because I didn’t want her to feel lonely. That's all. Pretty stupid reason, now that I think about it. Oh, where are my manners? Let's get you something to eat.
She glides over to the fridge and pulls out a plastic container.
I'll fix up some of my famous stew. You'll feel better in no time.
Jake watches as Cora dumps the contents into a saucepan, then heats it up on the stove. In the background, Hiram can be heard yelling letters at Pat Sajak on the TV.
It’ll be ready in just a sec.
More yelling from the background. A moment later, Cora brings a steaming BOWL to the table.
Thanks. Smells delicious.
He digs in with gusto.