far too much writing, far too many photos

runswithscissors


From BURBANK SHRUGGED, a screenplay

© 1993, 2009 by Two Jerks From Cambridge
[Continued from Part 3]



CUT TO:

INT. SET ON SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

ENRICO is speaking with PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS and the ART DIRECTOR. MARGE is cutting the blouses on five women who are grouped up against the barn to fight the UNDEAD.

ENRICO:
Si, si, si. More cleavage. Audience must look at her and say, "Dat one sexy mutant-killing babe."

PROD. ASSTS. 1 AND 2:
More cleavage!

All five women are nearly hanging out of their outfits.

In the background, as SHIRLEY talks with CARMELINA and TOM listens and investigates the food, BENITO and ANGELA advance on ENRICO.

ANGELA quietly takes the wrench out of her bag and hands it to BENITO, who slowly begins to move up behind ENRICO, holding the wrench as inconspicuously as possible.

JULIE:
Enrico, if you cut much more out of this, you may as well have me topless.

ART DIRECTOR:
She's right, Enrico.

ENRICO:
You all feel same?

The five women shrug, nod, generally agreeing.

BENITO is close by ENRICO, drawing no attention.

ENRICO (cont'd):
What you tink, Marge?

MARGE:
I don't give a good goddam. Just tell me what you want.

ENRICO:
And you?

ART DIRECTOR:
I think you need less cleavage and more plot.

ENRICO:
Plot?

BENITO positions himself near ENRICO as ENRICO addresses the PROD. ASSTS.

ENRICO (cont'd):
Is true?

They shake their heads, poo-pooing the ART DIRECTOR's comment, making big breast motions at chest level with their hands. Everyone talks at once in animated debate except for MARGE, who smokes.

TOM has noticed ANGELA and BENITO and moves toward them, curious. Before he can say anything, ENRICO notices him and runs to him, leaving BENITO holding the wrench with malice in his eyes.

BENITO retreats back to ANGELA and they confer.

ENRICO (cont'd):
Hey, it good to see you. Why you not in costume?

TOM:
We just got back with the hoses.

ENRICO:
Ah, good. De hoses. Good boy.

SHIRLEY is tasting food at the cart as BENITO and ANGELA begin to move quietly up behind TOM and ENRICO.

TOM:
Listen, we brought back a couple of people from Italy.

ENRICO:
Oh, si? When you go to Italy?

TOM:
Huh? We... two old people. I think they know you.

ENRICO:
Oh, yeah? Who is?

TOM:
I, well, they speak Italian so I....

ENRICO:
We find out, eh? Later. After scene done.

TOM:
Okay.

ENRICO pats TOM's cheek and leaves. TOM looks around, seeking ANGELA and BENITO who are behind him peering after ENRICO, then returns to the food cart.

BENITO and ANGELA look after ENRICO, speaking quietly, keeping the wrench inconspicuous. SHIRLEY steps up to them, wiping her hands on a napkin.

SHIRLEY (in Italian, subtitled):
Well, I see you have a... quite a... tool there.

BENITO (brusquely, in Italian, subtitled):
We're holding it for...

He looks for someone to indicate. ANGELA points to an armless MUTANT.

ANGELA:
...him.

Nearby, a group of UNDEAD get some vocal coaching. The VOCAL COACH (white male, 42, slender) speaks with a British accent.

COACH:
Very good. Now play the consonants, play the esssessss. Right, right. Don't stress the first dipthong too harshly, and use the rubber lips on your costumes to give the sound the right shading. Good, use the lips, that's it. Now give yourself up to it, feel the music.

The UNDEAD respond, some tentatively, some more comfortably, all different.

UNDEAD:
Gaaasssseeessssssss. Gasseess. Gaaasssseeeeeesss.

VOCAL COACH:
Better, better.


CUT TO:

INT. SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

ENRICO, CARD, a female CAMERAPERSON and a long-haired TECHNICIAN stand around a camera crane.

ENRICO:
I want dis go higher.

TECHNICIAN:
It was pretty much at its limit last take, Enrico.

ENRICO:
Not high enough.

CARD:
We could try the bungee cam again.

ENRICO:
No. No bouncy up and down dis time. Smooth, like birds wings. How you say...?

ENRICO makes motions of swooping, the others guess as in charades.

CARD:
Soar?

CAMERAPERSON:
Fly!

TECHNICIAN:
High up, like good dope or somethin'....

CARD:
How many words?

ENRICO:
Forget it, I do myself.

ENRICO starts to climb up the camera crane.

TECHNICIAN/CAMERAPERSON:
No, no. No, no, no. Wait a second man, hold it. Just chill a minute.

They pull ENRICO off the crane, his little arms and legs moving in the air as they do.

TECHNICIAN:
We'll take care of it, we'll take care of it. Don't worry.

ENRICO:
Bene. Bene.

INT. SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

Another take is about to happen. OLIVER REED steps up onto the storage silo roof. The camera crane is moving into position above OLIVER. ENRICO passes the food cart, SHIRLEY grabs him.

SHIRLEY:
Signor Zefferberg.

ENRICO:
Please. Enrico.

SHIRLEY (in Italian, subtitled):
Enrico, I know you're busy, but I'd like to introduce you to someone very quickly.

ENRICO (in Italian, subtitled:)
Ah, but....

SHIRLEY (in Italian, subtitled):
Enrico, these are the Tancredis, Benito and Angela. They say they know you.

ENRICO:
Eh?

ANGELA (in Italian, subtitled):
We've never actually met, but we heard so much about you from our son that we feel like we know you.

ENRICO (in Italian, subtitled):
Your son?

ANGELA (in Italian, subtitled):
Our son used to work with you, back in Italy.

ENRICO (in Italian, subtitled):
Ah, well.

ENRICO kisses ANGELA quickly on both cheeks. BENITO stays behind her, staring at ENRICO and gripping the wrench, which TOM has noticed.

ENRICO (in Italian, subtitled):
I am pleased to meet you. I don't mean to be rude, but we'll have to talk later.

ANGELA (in Italian, subtitled):
Of course.

ENRICO darts off.

BENITO notices TOM has seen the wrench and tries to conceal it.


CUT TO:

INT. SILO ROOF, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

The bell rings. The wind machine picks up speed, blowing OLIVER REED's hair and costume as he stands and plays King Lear to warm up.

OLIVER:
Blow winds and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!

The CLAPPER holds the clapper in front of the camera and shouts:

CLAPPER:
Sperm silo, take four!

TECHNICIAN:
Speed!

OLIVER REED starts without missing a beat.

OLIVER:
You will die! None of you will make it home for Christmas! You will no longer be undead....


CUT TO:

INT. FOOD CART, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

ENRICO moves to the food cart, watching the take, nodding his head as he eats some pasta. CARMELINA watches him, satisfied.


CUT TO:

INT. CARD AT VIDEO MONITOR, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

CARD is monitoring the shot, right at the edge of the set. TOM and SHIRLEY stand watching from a few feet behind, other people around them. DIZ rejoins SHIRLEY and TOM.


CUT TO:

INT. BARN SET, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

A crowd of UNDEAD and MUTANTS pour out in a panicked stream from the barn that abut the silo, yelling through cleft palates:

MUTANTS, UNDEAD:
The gasseees! The gassseeeeess!


CUT TO:

INT. SCAFFOLDING, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

A couple of TECHNICIANS are bolting a lighting bar down. Another TECHNICIAN motions for them to be silent.

A toolbox sits between them on the scaffolding.


CUT TO:

INT. FOOD CART, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

CARMELINA cleans a food spill behind the cart.

ANGELA and BENITO appear in front of ENRICO, angled off so that he is positioned with the cart against his back. ANGELA, BENITO and ENRICO look at each other.

ENRICO is puzzled, BENITO's face shines with a strange light. They speak in subtitled Italian.

BENITO:
Do you know who I am?

ENRICO:
Ssshh. Yes, but the scene....

BENITO:
You killed our son, our Marco, on your foolish film "Coed Kidney Suckers." Now we take your life for justice.

ENRICO:
Eh?

BENITO brings the wrench menacingly into view. ENRICO begins to see that he is in danger.

ENRICO (cont'd):
No, no! There's been some mistake!

ANGELA (softly):
Yes. You made the mistake....

BENITO and ANGELA close in, BENITO raising the wrench.


CUT TO:

INT. SCAFFOLDING, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

A TECHNICIAN bumps the toolbox, a couple of heavy tools fall out and slide to the edge of the scaffold.


CUT TO:

INT. FOOD CART, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

BENITO advances on ENRICO with the wrench. CARMELINA straightens up and sees the scene, uncomprehending. ENRICO grabs on to the cart in panic, with nowhere to go, and the cart rolls hard against the scaffolding so that...

A technician who has just bent over to pick up the loose tools falls and keeps from going over by holding on to the scaffolding, which is rocking, leaning with his weight.

The tools slide off the scaffolding and someone shouts:

TECHNICIAN (o.c.):
Look out! Watch yourself!

The tools strike CARMELINA, hitting her so hard that her sneakers remain whirling in the air for a moment after she goes down.

People around her try to get out of the way, looking around and up in panic.

The COP, INSURANCE ADJUSTOR and NURSE appear.

NURSE:
Ma'am, are you all right?


CUT TO:

INT. -- MEDIUM CLOSE-UP OF CARD, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

CARD is jostled by upset crew members and pushes them away. He looks around.

CARD:
Crissake, what is going on here?


CUT TO:

INT. MEDIUM CLOSE-UP OF SHIRLEY, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

SHIRLEY looks around at the growing commotion and sees ENRICO's struggle.


CUT TO:

INT. FOOD CART, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

There is turmoil as people try to get out of the way of the cart and BENITO. ENRICO sees CARMELINA is down and moves toward her, but is cut off by BENITO, ANGELA and the crowd of people around the set.

ENRICO (in Italian, subtitled):
She's hurt! Let me go see her!

BENITO (in Italian, subtitled):
You will see her soon enough. In a moment you will join her, murderer!


CUT TO:

INT. MEDIUM CLOSE-UP OF SHIRLEY AND DIZ, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

SHIRLEY grabs DIZ's arm and they both stare at the unfolding scene, briefly frozen with confusion and surprise.

DIZ:
Dear God!

SHIRLEY: (shouting):
Enrico!


CUT TO:

INT. SCAFFOLDING, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

ENRICO tries to climb up the scaffolding as the TECHNICIAN above is being helped up, making the scaffolding list to the side more.


CUT TO:

INT. CARD BY VIDEO MONITOR, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING


CARD is watching the gathering crisis, his eyes wide. As he speaks, he goes from talking to himself to yelling.

CARD:
Jesus Christ, what the hell is going on here?


CUT TO:

INT. SCAFFOLDING, SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

ENRICO is still trying to climb up the scaffolding, it lists further to the side and the TECHNICIAN goes over again. In the commotion, the toolbox begins to slide off.


CUT TO:

INT. SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

DIZ and SHIRLEY advance on BENITO and ANGELA. BENITO whirls toward them and barks fiercely at them, brandishing the wrench.

BENITO (in Italian, subtitled):
Don't interfere! Stay where you are!

The crowd around the set is reacting to all the commotion.

TECHNICIAN (o.c.):
Get out of the way! Look out!


CUT TO:

INT. SPERMINATOR SOUNDSTAGE -- MORNING

The toolbox slides off the scaffolding. It clocks ENRICO, who...

...falls against the cart and drives it into the crowd onto the set, as the scaffolding comes down onto the camera crane and the set, people and equipment falling onto the set with it.

TOM:
Enrico!

TOM pushes violently through the crowd toward the set, SHIRLEY right behind him, DIZ is talking into a walkie-talkie he has taken from a technician.

BENITO and ANGELA ssee that ENRICO is dead. The COP, INSURANCE ADJUSTOR and NURSE race to ENRICO and begin slapping him.

BENITO and ANGELA are triumphant, BENITO holding the wrench up in the air and shaking it. The camera crane swoops down and collapses onto him, crushing him and landing on the set. Chaos, noise, screaming.

CARD watches all this and sees the CAMERAPEOPLE turning from their equipment to watch, stunned. CARD yells to them and they do what he says.

CARD (shouting):
KEEP ROLLING!! KEEP ROLLING!!

TOM is standing near the bodies of CARMELINA and ENRICO, stunned and dazed, as a camera dollies closer to ENRICO.

SHIRLEY stands by him, with a hand on his shoulder, and gently pulls him back a few steps as the chaos continues around them.

The scene fades to black, the noise fading and ending in a moment of echo, then there is silence.


FADE IN:

TITLE CARD: SIX MONTHS LATER

The card fades to black.


CUT TO:

A screen with the MPAA rating for the following preview. It is rated G.


CUT TO:

The San Andreas Studios logo.


CUT TO:

The screen is black. The numeral 1 appears, tiny, in the center of the screen, growing in size as it approaches, fills the center of the screen and disappears.

V.O. NARRATOR:
It started with Sperminator One.

A quote appears in the lower left-hand portion of the screen: "'An instant classic!' -- Hartford Journeyman." The quote fades to black, the numeral 2 appears, approaches, fills the screen and disappears.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd)
:
But that was just the beginning.

A quote appears in the lower right-hand portion of the screen: "'Carnage, slaughter, cleavage... Great fun!' -- Akron Plain Dealer." The quote fades to black, the numeral 3 apperas, approaches, fills the screen and disappears.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
Each one was bigger, more dangerous.

A quote appears in the lower left-hand portion of the screen: "'A stunning parable of excess' -- The New Yorker." The quote fades, the numeral 4 appears, approaches, fills the screen, disappears.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
Each one was more powerful, more successful than the last.

A quote appears in the lower right-hand portion of the screen: "'I must have been looking at my knees.' -- Rex Reeves, The Daily Views." The quote fades, the numeral 5 appears, approaching more slowly than the others.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd): And now, from the creative team of Zefferberg and DuBois, the biggest, most dangerous one of them all is coming to a theater near you.

The numeral slows and stops, large and imposing, in the center of the screen.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
Sperminator... Five.

The image rips apart and curls away to show JULIE in a skimpy outfit, cleaning house. V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd): It started in Poughkeepsie.

The doorbell rings, JULIE goes to answer it.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
She was just a housewife until the Welcome Wagon arrived.

The door is shattered from the outside and OLIVER REED enters, bloodied and horrible looking, all three arms waving around as JULIE screams. He advances on her as the NARRATOR continues.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
Sperminator 5, celebrating the life and art of Enrico Zefferberg.

The image on the screen rips apart and curls away, showing a still of ENRICO lying on the Sperminator set, bloodied and dead, his eyes rolled up in his head.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
Sperminator 5...

The image of ENRICO rips apart and curls away, replaced by an 8 year old girl in a pink ballet tutu giving a dance recital in a school auditorium.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
...where the innocent get theirs.

A tank bursts through the wall behind the little girl, flattening her as people scream. OLIVER REED sits in the top hatch, bloodied and horrid, his arms waving gleefully.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
Sperminator 5...

The image rips apart and curls away to show JULIE and the four other SCANTILY-CLAD BABES with machine guns walking down a street, mowing down UNDEAD and MUTANTS.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
The women are angry and heavily armed...

Behind the women, hundreds of fallen UNDEAD and MUTANTS can be seen in a panoramic shot, dead or in their death throes.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
...and the imagination team of Zefferberg and DuBois paints in wild strokes on a broad canvas.

We see the WOMEN from the rear, mowing down MUTANTS and UNDEAD as they walk, explosions happening all around. The image rips apart and curls away, leaving the numeral 5 in the center of the screen.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
Sperminator 5. Coming soon.

The numeral fades away.

V.O. NARRATOR (cont'd):
Don't miss it.


FADE IN:

EXT. MEDIUM CLOSE-UP OF TOM IN IDYLLIC HOT TUB SETTING -- LATE AFTERNOON

The visuals fade slowly in, so that sounds of the outdoors are heard before the image is clearly seen.

TOM sits in the tub, in profile, his face golden with sunlight, his eyes closed. It is a beautiful, breezy late afternoon.

We move slowly all the way around the tub, gliding first behind TOM so that we see JULIE sitting across the tub from him.

She opens her eyes, then raises her leg and slowly rubs TOM's chest with the sole of her foot.

JULIE:
Hey.

TOM smiles, though his eyes remain closed. JULIE leans over to that her mouth is right by his ear. She speaks softly:

JULIE (cont'd):
Hey, you.

The tip of her tongue flicks into his ear, just for a second. TOM opens his eyes.

TOM:
You rang?

JULIE stays close as she speaks.

JULIE:
I'm going inside for a few minutes. You want anything?

TOM:
No, thanks. I'm fine.

JULIE:
Okay.

They kiss.

JULIE (cont'd):
I'll be back.

JULIE gets out of the tub and leaves, TOM closes his eyes again.

In front of him, in the center of the tub, something begins to rise slowly out of the water.

First some hair swirls around in the water...

...then a head rises slowly up, facing TOM.

It is ENRICO, hideous and half-decomposed. His voice is quiet and horrible.

ENRICO:
Tom.

TOM doesn't hear. ENRICO speaks more loudly.

TOM (cont'd):
Tom.

TOM opens his eyes and sees ENRICO. It takes a second for what he's seeing to register, then his eyes widen and he flattens against the side of the tub in fear.

ENRICO (cont'd):
Why you no help me, Tom?

TOM:
I....

ENRICO:
Tom, why you let me die?

TOM:
You were already dead. I wanted to help. It happened so....

ENRICO cuts him off.

ENRICO:
I help you. I give you job. I make you my friend.

TOM:
I know. I'm sor-....

ENRICO (interrupting):
Den when I need you, you not dere.

TOM is crying with grief and fear.

TOM:
I'm sorry.

ENRICO reaches out slowly, his hand finally gripping TOM's neck.

ENRICO:
I miss you, Tom.

Though frightened, TOM answers sincerely.

TOM:
I miss you too.

ENRICO:
Bene. Bene. You come wit me.

TOM:
No.

ENRICO begins to sink into the water, TOM going down with him.

ENRICO:
Come with me. We be friends always.

TOM is going under, his eyes wide with terror. When he tries to talk, his mouth fills with water so that he chokes and struggles without success.

TOM:
No! Nooo!


CUT TO:

INT. MEDIUM CLOSE-UP TOM'S BED -- EARLY MORNING

TOM jerks up out of sleep, sweaty and frightened. His breath rasps in and out as he remembers where he is.

The bedside clock-radio reads 6:29. It changes to 6:30, there is a click and the radio comes on.

MORNING D.J.:
Good morning, L.A.! It's time to go to work, and the commute is a nightmare as usual.


CUT TO:

INT. HALLWAY -- CAR AND TOM -- AFTERNOON

The sound of feet walking. CARD and TOM move quickly through corridors and stairways. TOM, dressed in a blazer, carries a cellphone and a large briefcase. CARD, wearing an Armani suit, speaks quickly, with self-importance.

CARD:
Did you remember to bring the figures?

TOM:
Yes, Card.

CARD:
We won't need them. All we have to say is 450 million worldwide. I'm keeping this place afloat.

The cellphone rings, TOM answers as they continue walking.

TOM (into phone):
Mr. DuBois' office, Tom speaking. May I help you?

He listens, then covers the receiver to talk to CARD.

TOM (cont'd):
Streisand's agent. Are you in?

CARD:
Sure.

They stop walking. CARD takes the phone.

CARD (cont'd):
Howard! How are ya? Great, great. Here's the deal: if you can get her to agree to the cameo in the next ten minutes, I'll throw in an extra mil. Yeah, I'm heading into a meeting -- she'd be a great catch to announce.

CARD listens for a moment to a voice we hear as a faint murmur. TOM has taken some papers out of the briefcase and studies them, his lips moving as he reads. Then he stops reading and stares ahead.

CARD (cont'd):
Uh-huh. Hey, it doesn't matter to me. Dead, alive, as long as blood covers over 50% of her body. Uh-huh. Well, hell, if she's gun-shy, tell her she can die next to Andre Agassiz. Yeah, he's definite. Okay, ten minutes. We'll be waiting for your call.

CARD shoves the phone at TOM and resumes walking. TOM follows, trying to put the papers back into the briefcase as he goes.


CUT TO:

INT. -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- AFTERNOON

DIZ, SHIRLEY, ARNOLD II, RUSS (52, plump, self-satisfied) and GERALDINE (28, touch, businesslike, edgy, glasses) sit around a conference table. RUSS and GERALDINE each have a personal assistant sitting behind them by the wall.

DIZ:
So, Shirley and I both feel that the studio is approaching a crossroads....

CARD and TOM enter and take seats, CARD at the table next to SHIRLEY, TOM behind them.


DIZ (cont'd):
Ah, Card, glad you're here. You know everyone so let's get down to business.

SHIRLEY:
Hello, Tom. Has everyone met Card's assistant?

DIZ:
Oh, of course not. Russ, Geraldine, this it Tom Vincent. He's been working with Card ever since the changeover. Tom, that's Mark, Geraldine's assistant, and Carmen, Russ's assistant. You know Shirley and Arnold.

Everyone nods at TOM.

ARNOLD:
Hey, kid. Good to see you.

TOM:
Hello.

DIZ:
So, as I was saying, the studio has reached a turning point. Thanks to the success of the latest Sperminator picture...

CARD:
450 million worldwide.

DIZ:
...yes... thanks to that the soundstage rentals underway right now, San Andreas is holding its own for the moment. But as you know, we're looking to create a future that is a bit more firm and prosperous than some of our recent past has been. So we're here to talk about new ideas. We're looking for different ideas, and I want to encourage you to present ideas that may seem radical or involve risk. To start it off, I believe Shirley has an announcement to make.

SHIRLEY:
After negotiations with San Andreas, The Way Foundation, Inc. has decided to commit $50 million for films of a family nature to be made by a new division of the studio, Way Pictures. Another $50 million has been allocated for a slte of experimental action films designed to take an audience through their taste for violent entertainment and transform it into a need for family film fare.

The executives respond with various exclamations.

DIZ:
Card, what about you?

CARD:
As I mentioned, Sperminator Five has grossed 450 million worldwide so far, Sperminator Sikhs starts shooting in May with victim glitterati such as Andre Agassiz and Barbra Streisand.

Positive murmuring from the executives.

DIZ:
Geraldine?

GERALDINE:
Sperminator Stuffy Dolls, filled with lottery tickets. Knife your stuffy, win the lottery. 3.5 million dolls to reach market when the boxed set of the first four Sperminator pictures hits video stores in June.

MARK and CARMEN have been taking notes. TOM, on the other hand, is lost in his own thoughts, writing and drawing on his yellow pad. SHIRLEY notices and glances at what he's doing.

DIZ:
And Russ?

RUSS:
My new division, San Andreas After Dark, will be the counterpoint to Shirley's division, the other side of the faultline if you will. After Dark will produce softcore and horror, with the Sperminator pictures as the flagship releases for the horror line. In the softcore line, we've been exploring ideas for erotic films using well-endowed television stars from cancelled shows. We're also testing some ideas for a series of 1-900 numbers using those same television talents, and it looks promising.

DIZ:
I see. Interesting. Very interesting.

SHIRLEY speaks to TOM in a low voice.

SHIRLEY:
Tom? What's all that?

TOM answers without looking up, very off-hand and innocent.

TOM:
Zeffer Burg.

SHIRLEY:
Zeffer Burg?

TOM:
Uh-huh. Kind of a theme park, a place Enrico might go for fun, with rides and stuff. Like this one here, Nightmare in Burbank.

TOM looks up and realizes everyone is looking at him. CARD, RUSS, GERALDINE, MARK and CARMEN stare at TOM unfavorably.

TOM (cont'd):
Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to... I mean....

DIZ:
Perfectly all right. Tell us a little more about this idea.

TOM:
Are you sure? I was just scribbling, you know, just some stuff for me....

DIZ:
Please, I'd like to hear more about it.

TOM:
Well, you know, you get in little golf carts all linked together in a line that goes through places in Burbank, and each place might be like a different kind of movie. Like one street might have a battle going on between the undead dentists and the mutants, and you'd go between the two sides so you'd be right in the middle of the action with lots of explosions and special effects, and it would seem like you're in danger. And we'd have real people doing the action, like maybe the people who actually live on the street, so we'd pay them to run around like the undead and fight or be wounded or hang dead from their windows each time a line of golf carts goes by. And there'd be whole streets like that, a different theme on each street.

There is a second of silence.

DIZ:
And this is a theme park, you say?

TOM:
Uh-huh, and it could have lots of different places on it. You know, maybe we could all make some up.

The executives start speaking.

GERALDINE:
Like Voodoo Lottery Land?

TOM agrees with wide-eyed approval.

TOM:
Cool!

RUSS:
Killer Babes In Bikinis Land.

CARMEN:
Lawyer Bloodlust Land.

DIZ:
Hmmm....

SHIRLEY:
Cosmetic Surgery Land, the Silicon Valley.

MARK:
Noxious Fluids Flowing From Rotting Corpses Land.

DIZ responds diplomatically.

DIZ:
That last one, maybe not.

DIZ addresses TOM.

DIZ (cont'd):
Well, we have a lot to think about here with this idea.

SHIRLEY:
I think there is a lot to consider here. I wonder, Diz, if you'd allow our division to work on development with Tom?

CARD looks unhappy and DIZ hesitates.

DIZ:
Well....

SHIRLEY addresses CARD, her voice showing only concern, with no trace of threat.

SHIRLEY:
That is, of course, unless it would feel like too much of a loss for Card to let his friend go to tackle a new challenge like this.

CARD realizes he's on the spot and attempts a graceful, company-man style reaction.

CARD:
Hey, no, of course not. Great opportunity. Wow, yeah. Hey, I've always been his biggest booster. Always.

TOM speaks sincerely.

TOM:
Gee, thanks, Card.

DIZ:
Terrific. So there we have it. We have work to do, people. And I'd like you all to think about a name for this theme park, something distinctive and descriptive that reflects our values, like, oh, I don't know, American Family Entertainment Land.

Everyone looks at DIZ. Then they look at each other.

SHIRLEY:
We may need something with a little more zing than that.

DIZ:
Well, whatever. Let's get to work.


CUT TO:

A series of images, rapid and overlapping:

A front page of Variety spins into view, growing larger until it stops and the headline reads: "SAN ANDREAS THINKS THEME PARK -- Zeffer Burg Memorial To Director."

TOM and SHIRLEY stand looking over the fence at the rear of the studio lot, at the neighborhood beyond. The ARNOLDS join them, shaking TOM's hand. TOM speaks to the ARNOLDS and SHIRLEY, gesturing toward Burbank.

A conference room: TOM and SHIRLEY point to charts and graphs as they talk to people ranged around a conference table, including the ARNOLDS, and CARD, who looks not entirely happy.

Another Variety front page spins to a stop. The headline reads: "ZEFFER BURG BULLDOZES BURBANK."

TOM, SHIRLEY and the ARNOLDS stand wearing hardhats as bulldozers break down the fence separating the studio from neighboring streets. Residents of the street stand on their lawns watching as studio employees and equipment start to flow from the studio down the street.

A front page of the Log Angeles Times spins into view with the headline "ZEFFER BURG PUTS BURBANK BACK TO WORK."

A table set up on a Burbank Street, where TOM sits with the ARNOLDS and SHIRLEY. A line of people stretches away from the table down the street. A young couple stand at the table and ARNOLD I speaks to them.

ARNOLD:
Do you have any objection to being slaughtered in your home for pay?

MAN:
Ummmm....

WOMAN:
What's the performance schedule?

ARNOLD:
Two killings on weekdays, four each on Saturday and Sunday.

WOMAN:
That's doable.

A front page of the Los Angeles DAily News spins into view and stops. The headline reads: "ZEFFER BURG IS A WRAP!"

A huge arch is being raised at the end of a street where Burbank and the San Andreas studios abut. On the arch are the words "ZEFFER BURG."

As it's being anchored, a worker takes down a nearby "Welcome To Burbank" sign.

We move in through the arch past lots of activity and draw close to an interview being conducted by...

BARBARA WALTERS, who stands with CARD. Work goes on in the background which ARNOLD I, ARNOLD II, SHIRLEY and TOM are involved in.

CARD:
Oh, I've always been good at spotting talent. Always. And I thought, "This boy's headed for something big," and I figured, you know, give him a job, give him a place to start from.

BARBARA:
WAs this an attempt to give back for the good fortune you've had?

CARD:
Oh, absolutely. You can't just take, you know? You have to give back or it's all meaningless.

TOM, SHIRLEY and the ARNOLDS approach and stand behind CARD, flanking him, as the interview continues.

BARBARA:
When Walt Disney opened Disneyland, he said it will never be finished as long as there is imagination in the world. Will that be true of Zeffer Burg as well?

CARD:
Sure, of course. I look at Zeffer Burg...

CARD notices SHIRLEY, TOM and the ARNOLDS.

CARD (cont'd):
We look at Zeffer Burg as a kind of dark cousin to Disneyland, the same way that Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price and even Bogard and Cagney were dark cousins to the Disney characters.

TOM, SHIRLEY and the ARNOLDS, unknown to CARD, begin to bleed from the scalp, blood running down their faces lightly at first, then getting heavier so that they look awful. They stand impassively as CARD talks on, oblivious.

CARD (cont'd):
And I mean dark as in fun. That's why fun houses and haunted houses are called dark rides. They take you off into the unknown for a good scare, they give you some excitement, and when it's all over you've had some fun and you're ready to fork over more money and do it again. Isn't that right, guys?

CARD turns, sees the others bleeding profusely and screams. ARNOLD II gets CARD in a headlock and gives him noogies.

CARD:
Hey, hey, come one. Darn it, Arnold, cut it out....

ARNOLD I:
Yeah, you see, this is what Zeffer Burg is all about. Good scary fun and a lot of laughs.

BARBARA:
And Tom, seeing as this is your baby, do you have some closing words you'd like to say about Zeffer Burg.

TOM:
Um, no.

BARBARA:
How about you, Shirley and Arnold?

SHIRLEY:
Get ready for a different theme park.

ARNOLD II:
Adn be prepared for a lot of explosions!

BARBARA:
Well, there you have it. Opening a week from today, Zeffer Burg, the brainchild of Tom Vincent, a film fan who went from being a go-fer at San Andreas to starting a new chapter for the Studio. A classic American story.


DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. CLOSE-UP, FILM PARK ENTRANCE ARCH -- DAWN

The arch and the park name fill the screen. In about five seconds, the light goes from dawn to 9.a.m., as the arch and park name continue to fill the screen.

Birds sing, the noise of people and activity starts and grows louder. A marching band plays and the image pans from the arch to the marching band and the immense crowd waiting to get into the park.

A statue of ENRICO can be seen inside the entrance to the park. It is done in a way that suggest he is the Mickey Mouse of this theme park.

DIZ and the MAYOR OF BURBANK stand together, surrounded by other DIGNITARIES, at the ribbon that spans the entrance to the park. NEWS PHOTOGRAPHERS and CAMERA CREWS record the event.

TOM, CARD the ARNOLDS and SHIRLEY stand to one side, watching. The band quiets and the amplified voice of DIZ is heard.

DIZ:
Good morning, everyone. We'll keep these formalities to a minimum because I'm as anxious as anyone else to get into the park and have some fun. We'd like to thank everyone who helped to make this day possible, and most of all we'd like to thank our partners, the people of Burbank, who have given themselves and their homes to create the greatest entertainment attraction ever built. As Jimmy Durante once said, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!" Now I'd like to introduce the Mayor of Burbank, Clara Bone.

There is some applause.

MAYOR:
Thank you very much, Mr. Gubola. On behalf of the City of Burbank, I want to thank San Andreas Studios for an innovative plan which will decrease income taxes, boost money for schools and drug prevention, and decrease violence in the streets since so many of our young people will be committing their violence safely within the wholesome confines of Zeffer Burg. Beyond this ribbon lies a bright and prosperous future.

The MAYOR cuts the ribbon, people cheer and stream into the park as DIZ, the MAYOR and the various DIGNITARIES shake hands then join the people entering the park, while the bank plays.

DIZ, CARD, the ARNOLDS and SHIRLEY stand by the entrance and watch, conferring with one another about the fine points of what they're watching. TOM stands with them but is silent.

Lines of golf carts loaded with fun-seekers take off down different streets. Laughter is heard and balloons ascend into the sky. Then sporadic gunshots are heard, followed by an explosion.

More gunshots are heard, then rocket fire and more explosions, this time visible. Screaming and panicked noises are heard above the mounting explosions and gunfire.

Black smoke rises, blowing by the park entrance, obscuring what's going on inside, which is apparently becoming more chaotic by the minute.

A loud, deep explosion is heard far off to one and several people run by in the background, pursued by a horde of undead who wave bloodied human limbs.

A married couple with a young son and daughter and a toddler in a stroller run out of the smoke, their skin blackened, their clothes and hair charred and smoking, some styrofoam peanuts sticking to them. They're catching their breaths, and...

a REPORTER with one the NEWS CAMERA CREWS runs over to them.

REPORTER:
So do you like Zeffer Burg?

The family members shout joyful answers.

FATHER:
Terrific!

MOTHER:
It's great!

SON:
Awesome!

DAUGHTER:
Cool!

The blackened, smoking baby laughs joyfully.

FATHER:
Ready to go back in?

The MOTHER, DAUGHTER and SON shout joyous assents, the family runs back into the blowing back smoke, disappearing.

DIZ, CARD and the ARNOLDS appear to be enjoying themselves immensely, watching the festivities and talking. ARNOLD II hands out cigars. CARD addresses SHIRLEY as the others talk.

CARD:
So tell me the truth -- is this the first step in some big aversion therapy deal you've got going? You gonna wean us off violence and turn us into flower-sucking hippies?

SHIRLEY:
What do you think?

CARD: Me? What do I think? Well. Well, I mean, you know, it just seems like, um... oh, I don't know. I mean, speaking as a layman... I don't know. I mean, I don't think...

SHIRLEY (interrupting, kindly):
Good. Don't think.

CARD nods and sniffs the air.

CARD:
You know I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

SHIRLEY:
It does have a kind of tang, doesn't it?

SHIRLEY notices TOM, who has wandered over to the statue of ENRICO, quiet and a bit forlorn. She addresses CARD.

SHIRLEY (cont'd):
Excuse me.

She goes to TOM.

SHIRLEY (cont'd):
What do you think of your park?

TOM:
Oh, it's all right, I guess.

SHIRLEY:
Enrico would be very proud of you today.

TOM:
You think so?

SHIRLEY:
I do. He would love this, and none of it would have happened without you.

TOM:
I know.

SHIRLEY:
It's funny how people we meet in the most random ways can change our lives so drastically.

TOM squints up at her.

TOM:
I wish he was here, you know?

SHIRLEY:
I know.

There is a brief pause.

SHIRLEY (cont'd):
Feel like doing Zeffer Burg with me?

TOM:
Sure.

SHIRLEY holds out her hand. TOM takes it and they walk into the smoke and out of view.

More explosions and gunfire, and there is a brief glimpse of a hideous-looking guy with a working chainsaw, dragging a screaming woman behind him. Some terrified people run by pursued by monstrous mutated bears armed with machine guns and a flame thrower.

Our view moves up above the noise and the activity for a wide view of the park and the chaos happening in it. Black smoke obscures the view and continues to blow by as the credits roll.

Partway through the credits, the smoke clears to show a southern California sunset over a swimming pool that has a beautiful view of the hills.

A woman is sitting in one of two lounge chairs by the pool, wearing a straw hat and shades, dressed in a one-piece swimsuit. She has a book on her lap, but is looking at the sunset. The other lounge chair is empty.

TOM walks into view in swimming trunks, a Hawaiian shirt and sandals, carrying two drinks. He stops next to the woman, and when she turns and accepts a drink it is clear that it's SHIRLEY.

TOM sits in the second lounge chair, and they watch the sunset as the credits roll. Gradually the image beneath the credits fades to black until only the credits remain.

After the credits finish, PENN and TELLER appear, seated and facing the audience.

PENN:
Hey, it's over. What did you expect, enlightenment? Go home! The theater's waiting to sell your seats again. Go on! The credits are all done, you read them, now you know who the best boy was. We're impressed. Now get out of here. Tell 'em to go home, Teller.

TELLER makes 'go home' motions with his hands, as if shooing the audience away.

PENN (cont'd):

See, Teller wants you to go home. The people who clean up the trash you left under your seats want you to go home. Everybody wants you to go home. What are you waiting for, something magical to happen or something? Here, I'll make something magical happen: I'll make you disappear.

He intones two words as if in a magic trick:

PENN (cont'd):
GO-O-O HO-O-O-ME! This ain't a double feature. There's no such thing as double features any more. This is it! This is the best we can offer, Penn and Teller being paid minimum wage to tell you to GO HOME. Have I made myself clear?

PENN pulls a handkerchief from one of Teller's nostrils and holds it up. It reads: GO HOME!

The screen goes to black.






MORE FOCUSED BLATHERINGS


Travels:
London '01
Pamplona
Italy '03
U.K. '03
Sevilla
Casablanca
Stoke-on-Trent
Barcelona
Québec/Ottawa
Boston/Lisbon/Madrid
Italy '04
Montréal
La Sierra

Events:
Madrid -- arrival
9/11
Emergency Room I
Holidays 2001
Holidays 2002
Holidays 2003
Holidays 2004
Holidays 2005
A neighbor's passing
Madrid -- March 11 bombings
  and aftermath
Emergency Room II
Israeli friend/Madrid Marathon
Madrid -- Royal Wedding
The DELE exam

GONE, a novel:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10

THE BASTARD CHILDREN OF
JOE ROCCO, a novella:
-- Part 1
-- Part 2
-- Part 3

BURBANK SHRUGGED,
a screenplay:
-- Part 1
-- Part 2
-- Part 3
-- Part 4

Short stories:
Murphy's Wife
Another Autumn
La Queja de Una
  Hermanastra Muy Conocida

Autobiography
-- Personal History
-- Hormones On Parade
-- Accidents, Random Mishaps,
    Personal Problems

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


OTHER SOURCES OF WHOLESOME ENTERTAINMENT

People/Weblogs:
dooce
foxvox
fudge it
fear not
rebekka
bookslut
802online
idle words
madhaiku
wockerjabby
grow-a-brain
rebel market
letting me be
out and about
kung fu grippe
fanatical apathy
baghdad burning
wfuv's music blog
kexp's music blog
mimi smartypants
between the miles
just a hippie gypsy
the impossible cool
tomato can brushes
vermont homestead
sugar mountain farm

Good Clean Fun:
gizmodo
futurismic
postsecret
dave barry
human clock
mcsweeney's
spaceweather
book-a-minute
internet archive
self-portrait day
my cat hates you
out of context quotes
surrealist compliment
  generator
strindberg and helium

Makin' Musical Whoopee:
last fm
stereo8
pandora
soma fm

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ABOUT RWS/CONTACT





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