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Genre: Contained Horror Thriller
Premise (from writer): A woman fights to escape an isolated home controlled by an Incubus, a demonic force that feeds on sexual energy. A task made more difficult by her co-hostages, who are content to remain under the creatures spell.
Why You Should Read (from writer): Something interesting about me: Watch the pilot episode of “The Wire” and you will see my elementary school in the background behind the young Barksdale dealers. I went from playing marbles to shooting craps on the same corners where many of the show’s stories were ripped. I’ve loved movies and writing since childhood. They provided a 90 minute respite from an oft times less than ideal environment. I’ve had many people tell me that a career as a writer was a dream beyond my reach. Admittedly, I believed them. But even without the hope of making a dime let alone a living, I kept writing, reading scripts, and consuming all I could to learn about the craft from sites like Scriptshadow. I can’t stop writing. I’ve tried. It is a part of me. A part I want to make better. A goal I work on daily. “In the Flesh” is a sample of that effort. I believe a good one. One that people will one day read and enjoy. If I’m wrong, I’ll write something better tomorrow.
Writer: Ken Alston
Details: 91 pages

ilovetheincubus1

note: I read this without knowing the logline (Miss SS picked the loglines for Amateur Week) which I think really helped my enjoyment of it.  

Whoa, the last Amateur Offering Post was a dead heat. 172 comments long and at the end, I still didn’t know which script had come out on top. A little backstory might help explain why I went with In the Flesh. If you received the last newsletter (the new one JUST WENT OUT – if you didn’t get it, check your SPAM now!), you know I touted a big surprise in those offerings. Well, that surprise was that none other than Grendl had written one of the scripts (Tall, Dark and Handsome). I figured it might be interesting to put one of his screenplays in there under an alias. As we all know, the cave-dwelling commenter can be a bit antagonistic, and that makes it hard to read his stuff objectively.  Without anything cluttering our judgment, I anticipated a fair contest.  It seemed to work for awhile until a couple of long-time readers sniffed out the surprise, recognizing his style from previous posts.

The thing was, Tall, Dark and Handsome did well, going neck and neck with In The Flesh, but when it was all said and done, I decided to give the review to the writer who hadn’t had a review on the site before. And I mean, how can you not love Ken after that “Why You Should Read” section? His comments convey hard work, overcoming adversity, a love of screenwriting, humility, and a great attitude. A little more heartwarming than, “Because I wrote it.” That’s not to say I’ll never review Grendl’s script. I probably will at some point. Just not this week.

Weak heroines not apply in “In The Flesh.” Alison, 28, is the kind of girl who goes after what she wants. And tonight, after a couple of drinks, she wants Cole, the one guy in the bar sexy enough to make her forget about morals.

The two spend a wild night in the throes of drunken passion, and upon waking up, Alison isn’t ashamed. This isn’t the kind of guy you wince at come morning wondering how you’re going to spin it to your friends (“Well, he was wearing nice… shoes?”).   Cole’s the real deal.

The thing is, the real deal isn’t around (they never seem to be once the morning comes).  But he was forward-thinking enough to leave her some brand new undergarments. Which begs a few questions Alison doesn’t want to ask. Weird clue #2 is when she goes downstairs and tries to leave, there’s no doorknob on the front door.

It’s here where she runs into Breeze, an airhead-ish hippy who’s as sweet as a bowl of cookie batter. Alison assumes Breeze will have answers, but she seems just as clueless as Alison is. In fact, Breeze assumed that Alison lives here. Hmmm, now things are getting really strange.

Alison quickly realizes that if they don’t get out fast, they’re going to be decorating the wormy underground of the backyard. So she tries to break out the window. Unfortunately, she’s met with electrified bars! Eventually, Alison meets a third tenant, Doyle, a proper British gentleman who seems to have been here for awhile. Doyle informs Alison that she should stop trying to get out because… no one gets out.

That night, Alison’s introduced to another piece of the puzzle in the form of a beast-like growl coming from the basement. Are they all food? A constant influx of main courses accompanied here for late-night consumption? We certainly think so. But the great thing about In The Flesh is that it never quite goes where you think it will. Things keep changing, and with every change, we become more unsure of our heroines’ fate.

One of the marks of a good script is if you don’t typically like the genre that you’re reading, yet you’re still into it. Actually, the setup for In The Flesh was right up my alley. A woman waking up in a strange house with a bunch of locked doors, each with their own mysterious tenant? I was in.

But then later (spoilers) we learn that there’s a monster in the basement. And usually that’s where I go “Ehhhhh, no thanks.” But the characters were all so well-drawn and expectation-defying, and the script kept tripping me up as far as where it was going, that I wanted to find out what would happen.

So when we do find out what’s in the basement (a person) and see how it acts towards our protagonists (tries to bite them), we assume it’s a vampire. But again, the great thing about In The Flesh is that it’s constantly going against convention. It’s not a vampire at all, but a Succubus (or Incubus?). Now I’ve never seen a Succubus used as a monster in a script before, so I thought that was a nice twist.

The monster fit the tone and theme of the script well. This was about flesh, about sex, about want. A Succubus (or at least this succubus) survives by sucking all the life out of you through sex. We see this nicely handled not only with Alison and Breeze, but with the mysterious frail girl living in one of the rooms who’s only a shell of her former self (she’s been sucked dry) as well as the overtly subordinate Doyle.

Which makes Alison stand out all the more, because she’s the only one here who wants to get out and will do anything to do so. In other words, she’s ACTIVE, which is exactly what we want our main character to be. I mean this is easily one of the strongest female leads I’ve read in awhile.

Also, this horror script succeeded where so many others fail in the emotional component. We need a relationship to latch onto, something to play with, something that changes over time. That’s what gets us through the second act. Here it’s Alison’s relationship with Breeze. At first she’s disgusted by Breeze, calling her a moron, a retard. She even offers her up to the Succubus in a deal for a better room! But after awhile, she becomes attached to Breeze, and she wants to save her just as much as she wants to save herself.

I did have a few problems with the script. It was a little too bloody for me. I prefer the “cutaway” approach, cutting away before the blood starts gushing. And to Ken’s credit, he does that sometimes (the scene where the Succubus attacks Breeze in her room for example). But at the end, there’s so much blood, it almost becomes comical, and I think it undermines how clever the script has been up to that point.

I also thought some of the rules in this universe were unclear. I never fully understood why the Succubus slept during the day. I thought it lived by similar rules to the vampire in that it had to avoid sunlight. But this seemed to be true sometimes and not true others? I don’t now. It was confusing. A minor problem to clear up though.

Oh, and let me say this. This may be the first sex scene I’ve ever read in a script that I’d consider “hot.” Usually sex scenes are boringly or awkwardly written, but when Breeze makes a move on Alison, I am not going to lie, I forgot I was reading a screenplay. Yeah yeah, I know everyone will be saying, “Girl on girl. What guy isn’t going to like that??” I’m telling you, I don’t care what the sex scene is – I’m always aware I’m reading it.  This was the first time in forever that I got lost in one.  Kudos to Ken for pulling that off.

So the verdict is, this was a darn good script. It’s great to find and celebrate another talent here on Scriptshadow. ☺

Script link: In The Flesh (note: this is a newer draft of the script that Ken wrote after the comments he got on Scriptshadow.  So it’s probably even better than the draft I read)

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[xx] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: Try to store something in the freezer for your readers. One of the issues I see with amateur writers is they lay everything out right away. If a character shows up, they explain him. If something weird occurs, we’ll get three minutes of dialogue telling us why. Good writers give you a glimpse of something, then store it in the freezer for later consumption. I love how Ken introduced the Frail Girl, but before we could figure out anything about her, she was tucked back in her room, not to be seen for another 20 pages. We want to know what’s up with that girl, but we only get to find out when the writer takes her out of the freezer.

  • http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/audiblescripts/audiblescripts-variety-pack-2 DontStealMyScript

    Great review. Congrats Ken on getting selected and earning a double ‘worth the read’. I read the first 5 pages of this last month and fully intended to go back and finish it, but work and other stuff got in the way.

    What I remember the most about those first 5 pages is that the writing didn’t get in the way of the story. I wasn’t aware of the words on the page, just the events happening in the scene in the theater of my mind. That it what good writing feels like.

    Even though I read Carson’s review, I’m going to go back and finish this one. Sounds like a real treat.

    -Will
    Audiblescripts – changing the way people enjoy movies.

  • HelTek

    Yep, this was a good one. Looking forward to reading the rewrite. And eventually seeing the film. ;)

  • shewrites

    I’m not much of a horror genre lover but this concept sounds great. Kudos to Ken for having come up with it.

  • Poe_Serling

    The first AF of 2014… and the project scores a [xx] worth the read. What a great way to start off the new year at SS!

    A double high-five for the writer.

    • davejc

      Interesting, because this script reminded me very much of an early episode of the Outer Limits where a group of strangers were held captive in an old mansion by a monster.

      BTW congrats to the author. This was better than anything I’ve read from the Black List. I hope it gets some traction.

      • Poe_Serling

        “… this script reminded me very much of an early episode of the Outer
        Limits where a group of strangers were held captive in an old mansion by
        a monster.”

        That is interesting. Perhaps the writer will chime in and tell us what inspired him to write In The Flesh.

        • davejc

          The episode was “The Guests” (1964)

          • Poe_Serling

            Thanks for the info. I’ve watched most of the original Outer Limits over the years, but I don’t recall that particular episode. I’ll definitely have to check out and see if it rings a few bells for me.

            My favorite episode from the series – The Premonition

            ‘When a test pilot crashes in his experimental X-15 plane, he and his
            wife discover they are in a reality where time has slowed down almost to a standstill. Returning to the airbase, they are horrified to see their
            daughter standing in the path of a moving truck and they seem to be
            unable to prevent her death.’

            Heady stuff when I saw it as a kid in reruns. ;-)

          • davejc

            I remember that one. There was a guy trying to get in his cockpit and steal his body before time caught back up with them.

            My favorite episode was O.B.I.T.

            The scene at the end was so powerful: When the director of the NSA style project loses his temper at the Congressional Hearing and tosses all the papers, and in the foreground on the monitor there is a monster doing the exact same thing.

            That scene left a big impression on me. Like the monster inside all of us. lol

          • Poe_Serling

            O.B.I.T is a great episode!

  • hickeyyy

    I remember enjoying what I read, but I thought that Alison would be too unlikable as she is rude to everyone and beats people bloody when meeting them. It seems I am the only one who thought so!

    She is definitely a strong lead. I only got 30 pages in, but I definitely didn’t see too much depth. She was just a badass (which definitely works in male-dominated action movies, so I could see it working here).

    Will need to finish this. Congrats to the writer for a worth the read!

  • Kosta K

    Congrats on the review, Ken. I had a really good time with this script. I even liked it a lot better than FAULTS which was reviewed in this week’s newsletter and was on The Black List.

    Both scripts had some issues with their tone, but as far as confined thrillers go, my money would go to IN THE FLESH (If I had any money).

    Faults had a great beginning, but quickly fell apart for me. The dialogue got really boring in the room and the situation didn’t feel believable at all.

    In The Flesh had an awkward beginning, but delivered all the way to the end with the dialogue and action. It had a few hiccups, but nothing some sex and a few gallons of blood couldn’t fix :)

    • Matthew Garry

      I was waiting for the newsletter. Now upon reading it’s already been sent I found my email made a mistake. If someone would be so kind to forward the latest one to
      matt at courier12 dot org I’d appreciate it.

  • Eddie Panta

    Awesome Script. Great Review. So glad it was chosen. Look forward to reading a review of Tall, Dark, and Handsome in the future.

    So, we’ve had two contained thrillers get a “worth the read”. This one is definitely worth the read.

    I was impressed by the write’s fluid style. I thought the concepts were more exciting than the action sequences. Which is actually a strong point. Fight scenes usually captivate the reader more. So, for me, it was reversed here. I wasn’t as thrilled with the fight scenes. Case in point – Electrocution via Microwave. I don’t want to get all “myth-busters” here but not only would that not work, it’s just came off as a bit too hocky.

    The writer’s strength was in the creepy moments, the parts when the tension was building. The ruff patch comes about page 60, same with the other AOW contained thriller script – RV. It’s probably a difficult juncture for most contained thrillers.

    At about the mid-point is where we expect the reveal, the part where we get to see the evil monster/villain. In this case the INCUBUS. The problem I had is that couldn’t really visualize it. Nor could I understand the logistics of it attacking the characters that were trying to get away from. I didn’t really understand how it moved, or how fast. For me, in order to get from script to screen, I want to know, what this thing looks like. You can’t copyright an incubus, Not until you render your own idea of what it is on paper. Horror franchises are built around the character of the evil monster… Chucky, Kruger, Pin-Head ( hellraiser), etc… SPOILER – This one does set up a sequel in the end, so I would suspect it would be really important to a producer to know he could get this off the ground just based on the EVIL CREATURE’s visual aesthetics.

    For the writer to really own this idea, to really profit from all the work on the script, they should specifically render the monster visually…

    I wished that the review dealt with the ending more. It’s my only other problem with the script. But I guess Carson wanted to steer clear of spoilers. I hope to read more comments about what people thought of the ending, once they’ve read the new draft, which I will read as well… once I figure out how to avoid all the malware on sendspace, where the pdf is posted.

    • Kosta K

      I agree. Once you start describing specific character traits for your monster, you definitely have to anchor them to the thing in a way that makes sense. Setup some rules for it. I didn’t know whether the thing was a vampire or something from a creature feature. Did it have super strength? Why does it follow vampire etiquette when it comes to doors?

  • Eddie Panta

    Here’s a link to a clip from Slavo’s PERVERT’S GUIDE TO CINEMA

    In it he explains the three levels of Norman Bates’s “psycho”: house in regards to the three levels of the Freudian human psyche – The Super Ego, Ego, and the ID
    This is how those same three levels pertain to the Mansion in – In The Flesh.

    In both stories there are three levels:
    Basement, Ground Floor, and Upstairs. The characters are literally in a war with these three levels, both physically and internally.

    On the ground floor, the main level, in the realm of the EGO – both the Incubus and Alison act like they way they want to be represented in the “real world”. The world of the Ego.

    Upstairs, they are involved in fantasy, the realm of the Super Ego. On the ground floor, Alison in the person she was prior to capture, the person she wants to return to.

    Upstairs, in the bedrooms, they act out their fantasies,The Incubus is able to change, be whatever it wants to be. The other characters, are in denial and live in a world made of fantasy, in a sort of reverse shangri-La. Where everything will be okay… Just don’t go down in the basement. Alison, our hero, rejects these ideas, she is grounded in her own reality. She won’t sucumb to the sucubus’s fantasy. Even though she was seduced by it, upstairs the first night.

    In Psycho, the upstairs is where Bates acts out his fantasies, dresses up and plays the role of his mother, even adopting her voice.

    On the ground floor, in the realm of the EGO – Bates acts like a normal person, the way he hopes others will perceive him – Just a normal sweet guy.

    In the basement, the reality of the horror is hidden. The truth of the psyche – the ID.
    Here, Bates’s mother is mummified and hidden. The truth is she’s really dead. A truth, Bates is not willing to accept.

    With In the Flesh, the basement or the ID, is where the truth about the Incubus,, succubus physically lies. It is a physical realm,, a place where fantasies won’t work. And also the only true means of escape. This is the passageway, the place where the characters must face reality in order to escape, out the door, past the threshold, and off into the real world, where they could be who they are again. Alison helps Breeze get back to this point. But in order to help Alison, Breeze succumbs to the upstairs, super-ego, fantasy world again.
    The place of dreams, where the girl-on-girl scene takes place. Alison struggles to maintain her sanity, or her ego, her will to fight.

    This script, In the Flesh, was a great cerebral story.. I wished, in the end, it had kept more with that type of plot, instead of becoming to physical and succoming to standard shock horror endings. I think this is a great script, it deserves a better ending.

    Another film that is also contained thriller with these same three levels is: The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane – An early 70’s Thriller starring Jodie Foster.

    • Poe_Serling

      Thanks for the clip. Fascinating stuff regarding the three levels of Norman Bates’s “psycho”…

      The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane with Jodie Foster used to be another staple of late-night TV. Martin Sheen was one creepy dude in that one.

      • Eddie Panta

        Yeah… Sheen was awesome.. He should of played more bad guys.
        I’ve always been on the lookout for that novel it was based on but never got a hold of it.

        In the movie, Foster’s character creates an upstairs, super-ego, fantasy world in which her father is still alive.

        When she develops a relationship with the boy, he choses to become part of her fantasy, acting out the role of her father, in order to convince others that her father is still alive.And that she is not living alone as a pre-teen.

        It’s not quite the same as Psycho because her character is more self-aware of the fantasy.

        Still, there is a basement, that we never see. The place where the truth is hidden. I loved the fact that we never went into the basement, it’s all left up to the imagination.

        In the end, the story is actually rather sad, when we realize how far the Girl will go to protect herself from dealing with what is really in the basement, the ID.

        Slavo Zizek’s Doc. is a must see.

  • ximan

    CONGRATS KEN ALSTON!! :) What an awesome way for you to start out your New Year! I love the new polish of the script too. It’s pretty much a turn-key B-movie now, so here’s to hoping it sells!

    -Cheers!

  • C.K.

    So far I’m on page 20. It’s a lean read and I can definitely SEE it — very visual. I will keep reading, but on page 20 there’s a gap in logic for me — perhaps a question that will be answered in the read, hopefully. Here it is: Breeze and Alison run into Alison’s room to get away from “Cole”. They fumble with the deadbolt…so…they are in a house they can’t escape from because “Cole”/the creature has made sure there are electrified bars on the windows, no doorknobs, etc. BUT he/it has allowed his “guests” to be in rooms that they can LOCK FROM THE INSIDE to get away from him??? Wouldn’t it make more sense if the locks were on the outside so he/it could lock them in the rooms??? I know that would be difficult because the movie would be OVER if they were locked in a house and couldn’t even lock themselves in somewhere to get away — but it didn’t make much sense in an otherwise well thought through script (so far)…

    • C.K.

      Okay, so I read further and got to around 50ish where the question is answered. “You have to want to let it in.” Okay. Good answer. Makes sense. Unfortuntely it still kept me distracted (not in a good way) for the 30 odd pages it took me to get there.

  • kenglo

    Wow, awesome script, well written, edge of your seat stuff. Hope Carson runs with it. Good luck!!

  • D.C. Purk

    I didn’t get to finish the script. I think I made it to about page 25 or 30? It started off promising, with one impressive dialogue exchange and some nice breezy description with voice. But now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t really have a desire to go back and finish it.

    Ironically, at page 25 I couldn’t remember why I was reading, like I was haphazardly swooned into the script the same way that the character was swooned into a creepy house of horrors. Except I wasn’t locked inside, so I could just stop reading.

    Your crafty lines might work on Carson, but they don’t work on me.

    (sorry Carson, I wasn’t implying that you’re a slut)

    I just felt like the writer didn’t give his characters much credit. The script definitely had “male writer completely misjudging and marginalizing his female characters” syndrome. Name me one female who feels a shutter of lust when she realizes she’s LOCKED IN A CREEPY HOUSE. I just think the forced “sexiness” of the whole thing made me not care about Alison. Like at all.

    And it made me roll my eyes knowing there’s a man sitting behind a laptop who thinks his “tough” female lead would actually consider “oh that guy I know nothing about was so hot last night, lets ignore this creepy house and give it another go.” Or as the script said: “Hostage or no, she enjoyed the hell out of last night.” Or “Sexual tension fills the air.” Puh-leeze. I realize this is a horror story, but you can at least TRY with your characters. Sexual tension needs to be developed not only physically, but emotionally between the characters, especially when there’s a female character involved that you want to flesh out, especially one that appears to be in emotional distress at the beginning of the story.

    I think male writers need to date more. Because none of them seem to understand how a woman actually behaves. Just some harmless advice.

    Maybe I should finish the script, but I could really feel it tapering off, like there wasn’t going to be a character arc at all, and it was just gonna be this “tough” girl playing cat and mouse with some creature version of Christian Grey in a house, and then some forced sex scenes scattered in between it all. Again, I know it’s horror, but let’s try a little harder.

    No offense. The talent is there. I’m only being harsh because I know Ken can do better. The presentation is there, but the substance is lacking. And I don’t give a script a pass on all the things we usually criticize scripts for, just because it’s a horror script. Horror story or not, I just couldn’t get behind any character, so the script lost me.

    Am I wrong? Should I keep reading?

    • C.K.

      I hear you on the female motivation for the sexual aspect, BUT I think that’s the point of the premise — they are not responding in or to normal circumstances. It is the incubus (or sucubus?) that is causing it. When I read Alison’s next encounter with the Cole “thing” around page 20 I “got” that she was being “hypnotized” if you will by whatever sexual energy this thing manifests or causes its guests to manifest. P.S. I am NOT the writer though I am a guy.

  • Murphy

    A quick and enjoyable read, congratulations on getting it here and for getting such a glowing review by Carson.

    The genre is not really my usual cup of tea to be honest but I do enjoy a script that is easy and quick to read, for my money one of the best barometers of how well a script is written. Certainly the best Amateur Friday script I have read in quite a while.

    Characters stick out for me. Your characters were distinctive, had an individual voice and worked well when interacting with others. Each scene had conflict and you revealed your characters by the way they dealt with that conflict. Top marks for that and that alone was worth taking the time to read.

    Cheers, great effort.

    • Murphy

      P.S.

      If I had one quibble it would be the ending. I saw it coming a mile away. I know that this is usually par for the course for these kinds of movies but I would really like to have seen you do something different here, something unexpected.

      I think it would actually be good for the script, instead of ending as the vast majority of readers would expect it to end take the time to come up with something that pulls the rug from under them, finish with a flourish that would make this script absolutely unforgettable.

      Anyway, just an afterthought. Cheers again.

      • lonestarr357

        If I could upvote this a thousand times, I would. The ending marred what was an otherwise enjoyable and fascinating read. Totally agree that an ending like this is agonizingly cliched.

  • Trek

    Wow. Talk about a crazy, crazy screenplay. First off, these are my initial impressions. Due to time constraints I wasn’t able to finish the script in full, but I read about half of it; the first and the last quarters, to be exact.

    My initial impressions are that Ken knows character development. Especially the fast paced, “let’s be punctual about this” kind of development. I thought Breeze and the manifestation of Cole could have been developed a little further (and may have been in the middle half), but overall the work was good.

    (SPOILERS)

    Also, I did like the twist at the end, even if the whole scenario icked me out a bit (Sex scenes in movies do this to me, you see. I’ve never been a fan of them.). One thing I found after getting to the end was that I didn’t see that setup coming (a mark of good writing). However, in hindsight it’s going to be very obvious thing if this is ever put on film.

    The room that was covered in blood after the ritual didn’t set off any bells and whistles initially. But looking back, if that was portrayed on film I would have caught on quickly. I would suggest that the writer tone down the amount of blood in that scene, because otherwise it turns into a thrill for a script reader, and not one for a movie audience (in this case, less blood = less obvious setup)

    (END SPOILERS)

    Overall, I don’t have much else to say about the script. But to Ken, I send my congratulations to you on a job well done and for getting chosen on Amateur Friday.

  • Kane

    Ken here, thanks everyone for all the comments and well wishes on my script. I’m sure each of you realizes what a rush it is to be selected and have people read your work. I’m thrilled at the positive responses I’ve received so far.

    • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

      Yo!

      Only read until the dude tried to bite her neck and the lock themselves in the room. I felt like it got silly… But, that might just be because I didn’t read past that point.

      But I did understand her frustration. Who wouldn’t be pissed about being left naked with no way out? I might be yelling at someone, too. Maybe not right off the bat… but eventually. At least when I found out that the windows were barred and their were no handles on the doors. I wouldn’t date one, but I like a girl with attitude. A take no shit stance. Makes her fun to watch.

      Congrats on the double worth the read, though. Despite what some may think, Carson does have pull. Not sure what doors it will open for you, but I’m sure you’ll at least get someone to contact you. The rest of course, my friend, is up to you.

      I wish you the best in your endeavors.

  • John Bradley

    Congrats to Ken on a [xx}! Way cool! I read the first 10 of all 5 scripts and this was definitely my pick for AF! Grendl’s script came in a very close 2nd for me and I share Carson’s sentiments about wanting to see it get reviewed on here. I may even suggest an “All Grendl Week”, where Grendl can review Grendl’s scripts. (Just kidding, he gave himself maybe the best review I ever read for Real Monsters).

  • Film_Shark

    Anyone pay attention to the WGA nominated screenplays? It’s interesting to see what our peers find as the best “original” screenplays of the year. Here are their picks – ‘American Hustle’ by David O. Russell, ‘Blue Jasmine’ by Woody Allen, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, ‘Her’ by Spike Jonze and ‘Nebraska’ by Bob Nelson.

    These aren’t stories with any special effects, or gimmicky plot devices. As a matter of fact, ‘Gravity’ got snubbed because it’s a bare bones script with not much meat on it. Sure, the special effects and cinematography are visually stunning but what’s impressive of these WGA nominees is that they deal with basic human struggles that audiences can universally relate to. I can go on and on about what I like about Woody Allen or David O. Russell’s scripts in particular but one thing they both have in common is that they know how to write complex and interesting female characters. If you know how to tap into female archetypes, actresses will beat down the door to their agents after reading your script, to work in your film.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Can’t help thinking politics is involved.

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      Keep in mind the WGA nominations are always limited – it’s not like the Oscars or Independent Spirit Awards or anything. If it’s not an American film, it’s (almost always) out, like 12 Years a Slave. If it wasn’t written under the jurisdiction of the guild, it’s out. And other rules I don’t know much about.

      Definitely wasn’t surprised by any of those choices. I think we’ll see most of them at the Oscars. I would have liked to see The Spectacular Now in there instead of Lone Survivor (which was a pretty average film to me) in the adapted category, but what you can you do.

      • Film_Shark

        Well said. I liked ‘The Spectacular Now’ too. It was a very good year for film. It will be a competitive award season indeed.

      • Jake Gott

        Watched The Spectacular Now and then read the script the following day. Can’t say that about a lot of scripts. Great story well executed.

  • Joey

    Almost spit out my coffee when I read that after all these years grendl had actually written a THIRD screenplay. But, nope.

    Congrats to Ken for penning a solid, unpretentious little thriller that could actually be made into a movie.

    You clearly understand, Ken, that if you keep challenging yourself with new material, you keep getting better.

  • Montana Gillis

    read the whole script– It was hard not to. Entertaining! my only complaint is the ending. It leaves us with zero hope for the protag. I guess I’m like Charlie Sheen and the Hallmark Channel… (wait for it) … I like Happy Endings! Congrats to Ken for some fine writing and landing the sweet spot on AF!

  • Mike.H

    Readers of SS….little help? I read part of the script but misplaced it due to laptop change. Could you reveal to me what was the SPOILER plot line of the script. Thanks! Happy’ New year!

    • Citizen M

      The butler did it.

  • Citizen M

    For some reason I was expecting a sophisticated, sexy, battle of wits as our heroine tries to escape the devilishly charming Cole. But it’s actually a slasher/torture porn/supernatural shape-shifter monster mystery. Not my cup of tea.

    I guess I should have known what to expect when Alison bashes Doyal in the face four times with the canned beans simply because he can’t tell her how to get out of there. She had no good reason to assume he knew the answer. I lost sympathy with her.

    There were many puzzlements about the rules of the world. Bedroom doors can be bolted from the inside, yet clothes appear in the closets and messages on the mirrors. So presumably something can get in, although the only time its done forcibly is by humans.

    Alison says the succubus doesn’t want her, it wants Breeze. Then why did Cole pick up Alison and bring her to the mansion? This was apparently done the same night as Breeze arrived. I can’t figure out the logistics. Did the succubus split in two, or first pick up Breeze then Alison, or what?

    If the succubus likes sex why does it permit “guests” to bar their bedroom doors, denying it entry?

    Mrs Davenport was where the script jumped the shark for me. She’s described as “a distinguished old woman” and appears to be human but fights like a street hoodlum with a straight razor. I can see a character like this in a comedy but not in a serious movie.

    Later on it seems that Alison has made Breeze her bitch. I think we need a scene where we see a power struggle between Alison and Breeze and Breeze eventually submitting.

    Still later we learn the succubus does not only have its own human form in the shape of Cole and an unseen girl, it can assume the shape of any other human (clothing too, presumably). This is a power that should have been prefigured early, otherwise one thinks you are making the rules up as you go along, which is a no-no.

    Maybe I’m too negative because this is a genre I dislike, but this script wasn’t for me.

    The writing was economical and a fast read, but too many exclamation points, missing or misplaced apostrophes, and typos.

    Niggles: Allison/Alison; CREEEK/CREEAK; scarred/scared; Amittyville/Amityville; alter/altar.

    • Citizen M

      A couple of extra thoughts.

      I was disappointed because it wasn’t what I was expecting. A poster would have been helpful. I imagine the poster as a half-naked woman fleeing from some blobby creature with piranha-like teeth. Tagline: SHE THOUGHT IT WANTED SEX!

      If it’s a schlocky B-movie with a frisson of sex you want, this delivers.

      The problem is, the opening scenes don’t set the tone for what follows. They are too Mills & Boon: wealthy and devastatingly attractive man meets lonely woman in bar and takes her home to his mansion for a night of passion. Maybe Cole should pick up Alison as she’s working out her frustrations on the heavy bag in a kick-boxing gym. Maybe a bit of physical banter. “Let’s see how tough you are.” Some play-play punches. Then it primes us for the rough stuff to follow.

      Given the amount of sex this will probably be age-restricted. But the audience for this genre is teenage boys. I wonder if there is a mismatch here.. Either reduce the sex for a younger audience, or reduce the gory action for an older audience.

      The one thing that makes this a bit different from your average “trapped in a house with a psycho” movie is the succubus angle. It is not just a mindless killing machine. It has rules, and those rules can be used against it. Alison needs to use sexuality and guile as well as brute force to escape. I know she does, to an extent, but it wasn’t in a way I found satisfying.

    • august4

      I agree Citizen M…. I also wondered why the creature would need to skin Breeze and wear ‘her’ if it could change into Doyal’s wife?? That doesn’t make sense. Why not just change into Breeze?? I’m a fan of any genre as long as it’s a well written script, this isn’t poorly written, but like others have said, is more like a B movie. To me, this one didn’t add a different twist to this type of movie, except an Incubus/Succubus. Note to the writer (good effort, btw) there are at least 5 mistakes that you should correct… “Chocking” off the top of my head should be choking… etc…

  • John Bradley

    I liked “Because I wrote it.” Simple and straight to the point. I prefer someone’s work to speak for itself rather than reading large paragraphs of people explaining to me why they are a great writer, often times never living up to bloviated descriptions of themselves (I’m not speaking of this week’s writer who I voted for and enjoyed his wysr).

  • m_v_s

    “That’s not to say I’ll never review Grendl’s script. I probably will at some point. Just not this week.”

    I think that’s pretty reasonable no? Considering you’ve already been reviewed once and this guy hasn’t?

  • Citizen M

    I had it in my handwritten notes but forgot to transcribe it :o[

    But I don’t know why I bother. Readers are mostly younger people who have been so exposed to the incorrect form they think it’s correct. Thus moveth the language onward, leaving us lexicographic dinosaurs foaming in the past.

  • Jake Gott

    Fair or not (and I lean towards fair) you have a reputation for making arrogant comments (some would say in the name of tough love or just telling it like it is.) and that is what people bring with them when reading your comments (and unfair readers would go out of their way to find it in your work.) But when you write something as vague as “because I wrote it” you open yourself up to misinterpretation, regardless of reputation.

    As you rightly pointed out “Because I wrote it” can be construed a number of ways. I liked it when I read it in the Why I Should Read section because I imagined myself saying it and it seemed kinda cheeky but in a charming way. So even I didn’t interpret it the way you intended even though I liked it. I didn’t choose to misconstrue it.

    It’s impossible to misconstrue “You will remain on the periphery on the business as long as that overblown ego of yours continues to expand.”

    But when it’s followed by “…they don’t have the guts to post their own work, knowing what I would do to it. Its smart on their part, I would have them suicidal after getting through with their piece of shit scripts, every one of them.”

    Well, that brings us back to what you said about reading comprehension. With regard to egos anyway.

  • Citizen M

    In the real world there are more scripts looking for readers than readers looking for scripts. Which means that, no matter how much one may respect screenwriters, some must be counted among the wheat and others go out with the chaff, without ever cracking open a script they wrote.

    That’s where the elevator pitch comes in. Is there something you can say that gives you a teeny tiny edge and makes your script seem more desirable that the hundreds of others out there all crying for attention? Carson’s “Why You Should Read” is the equivalent of the elevator pitch.

    In an ideal world all scripts are read with oohs and ahs of delight. In the real world most scripts are crap and need to be weeded out with chainsaw-like tactics to make the pile under consideration more manageable.

  • Stephjones

    Hark! Is that the sound of a foot stomping hissy fitter? I think I recognize it’s plumage!

    Yep.

  • Matthew Garry

    Granted, Grendl’s rant wasn’t very nice, but sometimes people get a little emotional (especially about their screenplays), and reply a little hasty (even if lengthy).

    If he’s willing to replace it with “What?”, which is as close to a retraction and apology as I think anyone will ever see from him, why drag it back up? I don’t think that’s a very nice thing to do either.

    • John Bradley

      Grendl rants are 25% of the reason I come here. I think people take them way too personally sometimes.

    • Frank

      What?

    • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

      What’s strange is that he actually copied it and saved it… but that’s the thing about the internet, you put something up, and it has the potential of being there forever. You can’t always go back and erase something from your past.

  • C.K.

    Yes, and also BECAUSE most (sane) guys know that women don’t actually behave this way, it makes the concept stronger BECAUSE the women are acting this way despite the lack of an emotional connection.

  • Eddie Panta

    God… I hope Tall, Dark and Handsome gets reviewed. Please God…

  • Eddie Panta

    Grendi’s right! From now on… no one post in this amaeture screenwriters blog unless you have IMBD credits.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

    Kinda weird that he actually copied your comment when it was up. Maybe he was planning on pinning it to his wall??? Or sleep with it under his pillow? lol

  • Guest

    Happy New Year. Hope everyone had a great holiday!! :)

  • A Tribe Called Guest

    Tall, Dark & Handsome is easily my favourite submission on this site. A unique and phenomenal story that’ll stick with me for a while. Would definitely recommend others go and read it.

    On a self-reflective note, here’s the bar it sets:
    ———————————








    And here’s me not clearing it.

    • Eliza

      cough. PLANT. cough.

      • A Tribe Called Guest

        Love me some hack jokes :) You’re forgiven.

        Seriously though, go back and read it- could help you be more creative and less snarky.

        • Eliza

          You’re a noob who has no idea what makes for a sellable spec.

          Your opinion is worthless.

          • A Tribe Called Guest

            Probably, yeah.

  • DamselInDisguise

    could you send me the script? damselindisguise@hotmail.co.uk

  • Frankie

    A fifty-year-old who’s written a total of two scripts years ago.

    Arrogant AND lazy.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

    Down votes don’t bother me. It’s like high school on here sometimes. It was actually childish reposting something you took down.

    But hey, while people play their childish games, I’ll be working hard writing and selling my screenplays… lol

    By the way, might email you something else I just finished in a day or two. I’m also still pounding away on Killing Field…

    And I’m actually working on an idea with Billy Ray that he thinks I should drop everything else and work on. So been corresponding with him, bouncing off ideas, trying to get this idea off the ground. I’ll email you the idea as well. But we’ll see how it goes. It’s not an easy one for me.

  • C.K.

    Finally finished the script. It definitely keeps moving. Good concept. Bloody as hell. On an execution level I felt there were a few minor things: 1) Alison is one-note…”f” the world the whole way through. Got kind of exhausting to read. After a while I just wanted her to shut up. 2) the ending — after the writer describes Alison hearing the torturous end Breeze comes to — and then Alison finds her “alive” in the bed I pretty much suspected it was the Incubus, so there was no real suspense left for me — especially when they escaped so easily. Saw it coming. 3) an INORDINATE amount of misspelled words and grammatical errors such as apostrophes in the wrong places “lets” when it should be “let’s”, etc. Even minor stuff like “alter” when it should be “altar.” So my guess is the spell check was run, but it was never given another “red pen” read through. But who cares right? As long as it gets sold. (being cynical here). In any case, a solid genre entry with enough of a twist to make it original.