Everything needs to start from somewhere. This, being the first official Daily Horrorscope, will include the start of a "generic" (for lack of any better term) horror story for a short film. This is a work in progress and WILL change over time.
Yes, this is part of a script and yes, it carries the ThumbKey copyright seeing how it was originally posted on this site so bla-bla try not to plagiarise bla-bla law infringement bla-bla, you get the point.
A short film is short (revelation) and what a lot of people are unaware of is that although the run-time is significantly shorter than a feature film some of the challenges involved are more prevalent and... challenge-y. In a feature film you can have up to 15 minutes in order to introduce the protagonist (have him "save the cat" and all that) while having close to an hour and a half to give him/her a curve. Take them through their paces, ups and downs, lefts and rights. In a short film,however you have less than 2 minutes in order to give the audience enough info as to who this person is and close to 20-25 minutes to tell a story. You are allowed, of course, to play the whole thing somewhat more discreetly which is the route I took here. The short film is unnamed officially as of now but because my greatest OCD manifestation is that EVERYTHING MUST HAVE A NAME for now this is Project Semita.
So to save time, I literally throw the viewer in the protagonist's path immediately. This way the viewer is forced (a MUST in any horror story) to experience the unfolding events just as the protagonist does. Here are the first few minutes of Semita:
Scene: Total blackness
A female voice speaks in a happy tone
The voice can lie silly, be careful
Scene: A man is sleeping alone in his bed. His phone rings. Groggily he answers it.
On the other end of the line is a low-tone male voice, speaking slowly yet urgently.
I am sorry to wake you. But you need to get off the roof
Scene: The frame, which was zoomed in on the man’s face as he answered the phone, zooms out to reveal that he is in fact standing on a roof with only the shorts and shirt he was wearing while sleeping.
The voice interrupts him
Enter the building and get to the second floor. You need to move fast, the door won’t be open for long.
The man talks back to the voice, tired yet relaxed.
I’ve been off the pills for a month… these fucking dreams.
He looks around and notices the stairs that take him back into the building. He slowly starts walking towards them.
Faster. Remember, second floor
The man audibly grudgingly complies and walks faster towards the roof entrance/exit, his free hand sleepily waving around by his side. He walks with his head up and eyes closed.
Scene: The man begins his descent down the stairs.
He walks down the stairs to the second floor, the sudden crying of a baby echoes through the building. He lowers the phone to listen carefully but the crying stops the second he removes the phone from his head. He reaches the second floor.
Noticeably, all the doors are unlocked and slightly opened. He turns to flat 202 and pushes the door. The voice from the phone shouts.
It’s 203, TWO, O, THREE!
As the door to 202 opens, the man squares off to a tall figure. He is taken aback by the figure at first but then realizes that the figure is actually a hanged man. The man holding the phone is scared witless when the hanged man suddenly reaches out for him. He manages to escape the lunge and close the door to flat 202 behind him, falling down into the corridor.
Now, wide-eyed and wide awake he picks up the phone with a trembling hand.
My apologies. I meant 203, really
The man reluctantly gets off the floor and turns to face the door to flat 203. Slowly he gets up to open it.
As he reaches for the handle, the baby cries echo once again, this time from behind him. He lowers the phone quickly and turns around to find a woman holding a baby. Behind her stands a very large man, holding a baseball bat. He is rolling up his sleeves.
The woman stretches her hands out to the man, holding the baby towards him. The hulking figure behind her places the baseball bat on her shoulder then begins drawing it slowly back. The voice from the phone is heard shouting
There is no need for introductions. Bang, he is on a roof ("I am on a horse") in the middle of what he perceives to be a dream. He is comfortable, so that must change. Unease has to settle in so throw in the baby cries, a jump scare (yes...they help) and a moment of tension in order to force urgency on the protagonist and the viewer simultaneously. Must the bashing of the woman and the baby with a bat be shown? Absolutely not, the image speaks for itself, the dread is there as to what a piece of steel reinforced with wood can do to an infant and a small woman. We want the man to turn away from it, lest he finds himself put to the bat of sorts.
So here's a basic start for a horror story. It will take even more shape and form as the days go by. Where is this dude? Who is the man on the other side of the phone line? What is the meaning of all this? Questions that I have to answer myself in order for the story to take shape.
As always, feel free to tell me what you think and throw in your own opinion as to what could possibly happen next. Trigger those fears people, they can be liberating!
- Frixos Masouras 2014