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"The Butcher" by Brian Wind

Rewrite: 2/11/2010 12:00 AM

Logline: Kevin woke up to find he doesn't know where he is, how he got there or who the lady butchering his penis is.

Genre: Comedy - Horror

Cast Size: 3

Production Status: In Production

Contest: Deadly is the Female (Sep. 2009)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent
0%21%31%40%7%

Comments Made During the Contest

Ali Barr (Level 4)

Wow, great job. I really thought this was going somewhere else and you totally fooled me right up to the payoff. It's funny how things you would say to a baby in that situation become really creepy when it is to an adult. The main question is how you plan to direct your director in this. You mention some action for Kevin like craning his neck and looking up. Eleanor moving to his legs etc. Are you planning on seeing an adult actor at any point or just hearing his voice and then the surprise ending? That is the challenge that I would like to know a little more on this one. The story is good and funny as well as scary, now how do you recommend pulling it off visually? Do you have a preference that you want the director to follow or will you leave it up to him/her to interpret it and modify in order to film it?

Annie Hunt (Level 2)

I had to read this several times to get what was really going on. Now that I get it. I think the plot just doesn't work for me. At first, I wasn't sure if this was a man inside a baby and I still don't know. The one thing I did like was the mental dialogue.

Aralis Bloise (Level 4)

Hahaha! That was a great ending! Did not see that twist coming. This would make a really cute short and its for sure something that you could shoot easily and inexpensively.
If anything I would say tweak the action a little bit, because even though I got that you meant to be vague because Kevin can't see what's going on and we are looking throught his POV, when you first read it, it just seems like you skippeed over details. I would actually put in the action something like:

Kevin's POV, still blurry: Eleanor disappears, returns a few seconds later brandishing
some menacing, albeit undistinguishable objects.

Ashley White (Level 3)

I thought that this was pretty good. It is definitely an original idea, that's for sure. I am assuming that all Eleanor heard was a baby screaming and crying. I went through it a second time thought you did a good job with Eleanor's dialogue. She was answering Kevin's questions, but actually she was just talking to a baby.

Bill Delehanty (Level 4)

Kevin's dialogue sounds way too direct, there's almost no subtext.
So this is a sick version of a circumcision involving the kids parents? I think it might be a little scarier if it were people Kevin did not know. The action lines were very well done though, but I'm still a little confused about the "twists" and whatnot.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

Very, very good. The only thing that bothered me about it was Kevin's voice - what would it be? Was it a baby voice? Was it in his head?

I did enjoy it a great deal. I think it stretches the boundaries of what horror might be(but then I'm a girlie and not sensitive about circumcision-type butchery!)

At first I thought of Hard Candy.

My disappointment was the last line. WOOOOOMPH! I knew that without being told it.

Charles Bonet (Level 3)

This script was like Look Who's Talking meets Misery. An interesting combination to say the least. A nice idea and a nice twist at the end. But I see this more as a dark comedy and not a horror script. The visual descriptions were well done but the dialogue was awkward, it didn't ring true for me.

I don't think this was a bad script, just not my cup of tea.

Chris Keaton (Level 5)

Hah! This was great. It seemed like a horror until the reveal, but I'm not going to dock you for that. It was a creative piece with a satisfying twist. You get a VG from me.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

Totally awesome twist ending. Brilliant idea.

I didn't see it coming at all and it was wonderful to come across a comedy/horror.

Very well done.

David Birch (Level 5)

i'm not sure how much this will score on the "horror" scale but the twist at the end had me laughing...decent dialog which helped to move the story and set up your finish...gives a whole other meaning to the term "CUT TO:"...thanks

Elias Farnum (Level 5)

I was going to say I think it would be a little less abrupt if Kevin had some memory of prior events, but what could you remember? I was powering down some gerbers? lol

I can't see these "menacing, but indistinguishable objects." If they are indistinguishable, how do I know they are menacing? Are they pointed? pincer-like? You could say something like that and clear it up. Probably a minor thing. And the title needs expanding, too generic and plain. There are a ton of adjectives out there.

I was already chuckling before the reveal, which btw, cemented the story together just fine. It was a bit unnecessary for the father to tell us it was a circumcision. That should be obvious, at least it was to me.

A lighthearted transition from the pure ugliness that the horror has brought out in most of the entries I've read thus far. Very Good.

Erin Arbogast (Level 3)

I didn't think I liked it... until it switched from Kevin's point of view, then I LOVED it! What a great twist. You had a really creative take on this month's challenge and I think you did very well.

Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)

There is no location slug-line when the SP begins. In fact, there is no slug line until page three. How will the director know where to stage this scene?

Other than the missing slug-line, I liked this story. Good job!

Geoff Willis (Level 3)

Being totally in mystery about Kevin's appearance, and then ending up being a two day old infant? Grammar and punctuation issues. Why put "Shouts" in perentacies, and then put explanation marks behind his words? Drop the "Shouts" all together.

Herman Chow (Level 5)

Hahaha.....that's some creativity! I don't know how many people expected that ending, I certainly did not. Kudos to that. This would make a nice and short comedy skit.

However, this is a screenplay contest afterall, and screenplays need to have a story. Too bad this one doesn't have a story, just a situation.

Kevin's dialogue should be completely V.O. because 1) Kevin cannot be seen in Kevin's POV, and 2) his dialogues are all in his head, no one can hear him.

Other than that, I think your script has the most gut-kicking ending out of all scripts that I've read so far.

Jacob Guerra (Level 4)

This one made me smile, only because it broke through convention and delivered something that was a total surprise. I thought I was in for another revenge/torture porn, but once that ending rolled around (and I'm hoping this was your intent, if not I do apologize) I was literally on the floor cracking up. I did not see that coming at all, and it is a great example of how a twist can be out of left field but somehow make the story better.

Jane Beckwith (Level 4)

This is a pretty funny and pretty freudian premise. I'm not sure how it would play out. Do we see Kevin? I think the screenplay could make it more obvious that we don't see him. For example, when he is craning his neck, lifting his head, etc. I kind of lost that this was Kevin's point of view throughout. I started picturing an adult. What is his voice like? Is it voice over? I think that might make more sense than making it seems as if he is having a conversation. Scary and fun. Excellent title. Love the misdirection.

Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)

Very very funny! I gave you an excellent! I certainly don't see Eleanor as a monster nor see this as a horror, but I guess Kevin does for now. So, glad Chris didn't turn it away based on that. I'm thinking some might not give you as high as score as me cause they may think it isn't horror. Whatever the actual genre, I think it's brilliantly written!

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

Okay, I was about to bash your screenplay, until I finished it. Now I see it in a new light. Let me read it again...

HA! I was about to say no one would be that angry when they first wake up, but in this circumstance, I think maybe you're right. :)

This is sort of a "look who's talking" kinda thing. The script was hilarious, the second time around. But I found it hard to believe the baby would know what blood was.

I'm assuming he knows curse words because of his parents arguing while he was in the womb, but if that's the case, then he would of known his name.

You said the term "to hell" Like five times in your script. You should of found a different phrase.

You also used past tense in a paragraph.

I found it very funny, overall. I thought the cursing was over used though. You can imply anger with other words other than swearing all over the place. I would of found it more creative if you had. I'm on the borderline with this one.... I'll give it a good.

Jem Rowe (Level 4)

This is my first review/comment/vote and to be blunt you've made it bloody difficult. At first I really didn't like "The Butcher" because I felt the piece relied entirely on it's twist. However, after reading it with a more humorous outlook I found it to be very amusing and ended up giving it "Very Good". I'm uncertain as to whether you wanted it to feel scary until the punch-line, but I think if it's approached with a mix of horror and humour from the outset (and not just humour at the end) it works far better. I liked the Kevin character and feel he works best when sounding particularly outraged (I couldn't help imagining Alan Arkin's voice for the role). Also, I feel the mother figure was perfectly described and had an off-putting motherly nature that tied in well with the warped horror.

John Brooke (Level 5)

Snip, snip! No wonder Kevin is screaming at the top of his lungs. You have eloquently told, every males worst nightmare.

From a newborn male babies Point of View, the person performing this operation, some would argue mutilation, would definitely be perceived as a butcher.

What a horror show this screenplay is. Not sure of the audience this approach is meant to entertain, but isn’t children!

Your surprising reveal at the end is perfect.

Didn’t spot any errors or any way you might improve this tale.

Neat micro story. Easy to produce at a low budget.

Good, maybe better.

Jose Batista (Level 5)

LOLOLOL!!!

You had me good, and that's why I give this a Very Good. I feel your script does not have the required theme of the contest, but that's niether here nor there. The butcher is actually a nurse, and she appears to be doing a fine job, so there's nothing deadly or horrific about that.

However, you caught me completely by surprise. I was expecting some sort of twisted, crazy psychopath nurse who was extracting revenge on a man for cheating on her by mutilating his penis. Your very excellent writing created an atmosphere of dread and tension that had me cringing by the time I reached the bottom of page two. Very well done. In the end, you flipped the script and I salute you for so successfully doing that. Cheers.

Kevin Carty (Level 4)

So from what I can tell no one dies they just say that he's getting a circumcision. I'm not sure if I can feel good about this so you want to circumcise me. Lol.
This is pretty one note nothing really good here for me, I keep saying that people write 3 pagers but this just doesn't do it for me. Sure all men can identify with this but it's just a procedure. I don't even know if she kills anyone or how she is a monster. Your dialogue sounds forced too much talk about:

I don't know why I am here, Who are you what am I doing here.... You say this so many times in so many different ways it just doesn't connect. I'm supposed to feel fear not listen to your character bemoan his captor the entire time. I'd silence him and the dad sounds like a doctor checking up on the patient. All he has to say is so how's the circumcision coming. Also you slipped by the moderators by including the dad as an accomplice. The bloody pampers don't know what that's about

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

Haha, this is so great! From an infant's point of view - very very original. Well written. I just can see it filmed.

I think at the end you must let us know that it's the same Kevin. You let the reader know but on screen it might be hard to understand. So have her say "-that you're stuck with me for the rest of your life, KEVIN." - with the inclusion of "Kevin".

I'd do Very Excellent but there's no Very Excellent, so Excellent is my rating.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Short and funny. Will assume the "horror" is not what's committed on two-day old Kevin, but the reaction of an unsuspecting male unable to decipher what's happening to him. Clever twist.
Probably could shorten/tighten some of infant Kevin's protests. Bit repetitive; ie, "Where am I? What's going on? What's wrong?" His next dialogue asks the same questions.
Assume by Eleanor's last line: "...you're stuck with me for the rest of your life" that she's Mom. Maybe, delete Eleanor's name and "large" at the beginning, leaving "intimidating blur of a woman." Introduce Eleanor at the end, arms extended in comfort, with a more appealing and nurturing appearance. Just a suggestion...

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

That's pretty darn funny. I like the conception of substituting an older character speaking the thoughts as if he's inside the infant's head, with the fuzzed-out camera from the infant's point of view. That's really inventive, stepping out of the box like that, and although it might not strictly be horror, I hope you do really well.

I re-read it, and the dialogue is really great for the different characters's points of view. That had to take some careful planning, and I appreciate it! I take exception to infant Kevin using adult swear words, but that's just a personal bias, because obviously if he knew them he'd use them. Very Good!

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

Good title. It's been used, but it's an older movie. Sort of. And Chinese...

I don't know if your title fits the story yet. Starting out with a POV stopped me from reading and brought me back here. This is a readers' script. Write visually and keep the directions to a minimum. When I'm reading, I want to be caught up in the story, not the technical aspects of filming it. My personal opinion is that anything that can take a reader out of the story should be avoided.

You never introduce Kevin. Always introduce your important characters.

On page 1- Kevin's dialogue - "What's wrong? I don't know... or what's going..." Insert an 'on.' Small thing.

Okay. I know why you didn't introduce Kevin and why you kept it all in his POV. I'm still not crazy about the overall fuzziness of this, though. Everything is blurred. The character, the images on the screen, what was happening... Nothing is clear until the last lines.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)

When I first started reading it I thought it was totally stupid. But then I got to the end...LOL. What a great way to show the baby's side of the procedure. I feel bad that I had it done to my boy now. Great title, funny dialog.

Very good job:)

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

Wow... I'm not sure how to feel about that twist. Was the baby talking to her? In the previous scene is Kevin's voice like a toddlers? Wouldn't we see his body and realise it's a baby's? So many questions are left unanswered. Looking over it again, it seems like she never heard what he was saying, just baby noises, but it's really not that clear.

You set up that Kevin had been abducted very well in my mind, making the twist even more of a blow.

Good.

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

Love the statement you're making in this script. Right on the nose. I don't think it works beyond that, it's just a powerful idea, but I don't think it really works as a 'story'. It's too short to really connect to any of the characters. Don't know if it really delivers on the requirement either, unless it's a metaphorical 'monster', she isn't really killing anyone. Oh well, not to spoil the fun. Loved the thing, but I didn't really find much of a story in it. The last sentence is a bit...too much on the nose for my tastes. Explains too much, I think we get it when he reverts to a baby, nice twist by the way. Would be a good film for short festivals, one that sticks.

BEST MOMET: Him going off at her. "Mad? I'm gonna kill you b*tch!"

Paul Williams (Level 5)

Your ending is surprising, really only because we're not given any clues to pick up on and there's such misdirection that we could never figure this all out, but it was fun in the end.

You should have made the initial dialogue exchange with Eleanor and Kevin and little more ambiguous, so that it has a double-meaning later on and makes up reconsider it.

Who exactly is Eleanor? Kevin's mother? The nurse?

Dad's piece of dialogue, while humorous, felt a little odd.

Good title, by the way.

Your screenwriting is good; format overall appears in order; didn't detect any typos.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

This is a good idea although it is obviously a bit off the wall. You've done a good job technically with it.

I guess it's difficult to get around the fact that you have to hide so much information to make this work. As a result it was largely confusing for me. I wonder if having set up the horrific scenario you could have gone all in on it and devised something that didn't have a cute get out.

Rob Dianora (Level 4)

It's an interesting story. I like the little twist at the end. I feel like it needs more descriptions. You have it written very vaguely, which is great for on screen, but it's a tough read at points.

Robbie Comeau (Level 3)

Very clever. Didn't see it coming.

Great job, this would be very funny. I was wondering how the ending would turn out and it shocked me pretty good :)

Robbie

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

Interesting slant on the horror theme. I think I'd have enjoyed it more if Kevin didn't have such a foul mouth.

I certainly wasn't expecting this twist and I think a lot of people will like the script.

It certainly made me sigh with relief when I got to the end. Two pages? Impressive to leave me thinking, with only two pages.

I'm not sure it's really horror, but maybe it is all in the filming. That would be key to make this work.

Scott Merrow (Level 5)

That was very cute and fun. And I have to admit -- it took me totally by surprise. Totally. (I'm not sure it fits into the horror genre, though, but I guess that's a decision for the contest administrators to make.) Aside from that, I only have one other comment. Since you have to hide Kevin's identity throughout the movie, you might have a hard time showing things like "Kevin strains to see what she's doing at the foot of the bed. He can only see the top of her head. Kevin drops his head to the pillow." I know we're still seeing from Kevin's P.O.V., but it seems like it might be tough to pull that off while hiding the fact that Kevin is actually a baby. You can't rely too much on keeping everything a little out of focus, either, because the viewers will realize quickly that you're hiding something. I guess that's a pretty minor point, though. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the script.

My score: VERY GOOD.

Shane Shearer (Level 4)

I like the concept behind the POV but you can't fade in to blackness. Just eliminate the fade in (you may keep the fade out) and have it open with BLACK and then have Kevin open his eyes.

This was enjoyable though there was no "killer." I assume that doesn't matter since the contest also allows for the "monster" to be a female and any lady with a knife, ever so close to my penis is definitely a monster. Trust that. In fact, they should probably back the eff up mother effer, cuz I don't play around when it comes to sharp objects and my penis. But anyways...

I enjoyed this, I did. You've got a knack, and it shows in your ability to show the entire thing from the baby's point of view and leaves the audience wondering what in the hell is going on. Nice work, friendo. But seriously, I was holding my groin after I read this, anticipating some scorned lover chopping stuff up, Lorena Bobbit style. That's a huge no-no for my huge friendo. Though, I do have some I could afford to shave off as it's pretty intimidating, just like this story! See what I'm doing here? Okay, I'll stop now. Way to go!

Shyama Kant Misra (Level 3)

You’ve written a very short script in the truest sense. You appear to have tried to maintain a kind of suspense until the end.

You should, however, write a proper header in the beginning of the first scene. I guess the slugline ‘P.O.V.’ can’t substitute a proper header. Secondly, you should also know how to correctly use the ‘P.O.V.’ thing.

If it’s your first attempt at screenwriting, you will fare better in your next one – you simply have to get familiar with the rules of good screenplay formatting.

Thomas W. Brown (Level 4)

This is script is well formatted, well structured, and well written. Unfortunately I find it way too preachy, and I think circumcision is horrible. Regardless, I'm giving this a good. Cheers!

Tim Westland (Moderator)

The disconnect between the Nurse and Kevin are so far apart that it doesn't make any sense until the end. That might (might!) be okay for a short 5 pager, but if you were to do this same thing with a longer script, I suspect the reader would think something was wrong with your writing. The only way it makes sense is if you get to the end.

The twist ending could have been handled a bit more elegantly.

As for craft, you need a little work on how to handle transitions and slugs.

I wondered why you didn't give a description or age for Kevin... and when the twist came, I understood. For me, that kind of qualifies as cheating in order to ensure the twist really worked. You could have described him as "young, with wispy hair" or something. Then our brains would fill in the blanks and the twist would work better.

Kevin's dialogue seems way overwritten. I always find it interesting when writers have the victim curse at their tormentors as said tormentors are physically hurting them. Insults and vitriol would only serve to make the tormentor angry and spiteful, thus ensuring more and longer bouts of pain. So I think you should reconsider his dialogue.

Wes Worthing (Level 5)

Typo: "...or what's going!"
I think a noticeable weakness of the script is with the echoed dialogue: "What's wrong?" "What's Wrong?" "...fixed up." "Fixed up?" "Your penis..." "My penis?" "Better?" "Better?" "...sleep." "Sleep?"
If you wrote that on purpose to show how infants repeat what they here, then that would contradict that the infant already knows the rest of the words he's using.
Concept however is terrific. I laughed my butt off. The only suggestion I feel comfortable making is stretch this out to five pages and include the nurse, (the real butcher), in the story as well. Still laughing.

William D. Prystauk (Level 5)

Remove the POV element for Kevin. There's no need for stage direction because the director doesn't like to be told what to do. Just say something like: "Kevin looks at..." to reveal POV.

"brandishing some menacing, albeit undistinguishable objects" - more detail needed for production design. Mention that actual circumcision tools by name.

"whatever diabolical procedure" - you can't leave the director/actors in the dark. Be specific. The director and cinematographer will determine how to shoot the scene and what to keep hidden. To be secretive about the end result, you can mention "she cuts". Keep it simple, but give the readers of the script something subtle to work with.

Since Kevin's a baby, he needs to at least make a remark about how his arms won't work or something. And remember, circumcisions are performed with a baby in a padded chair under local anesthesia.

"poopy diaper" - say this better. Remember, you're writing for adults.

Excellent idea, just rewrite the story in a more gripping manner. From the beginning, it was obvious he was on a hospital bed, so how can you hide this better. And once the nurse "did her thing", I realized what the ending would be - but that's just me. I thought the idea was smart and the script can really, really work.


Comments Made After the Contest

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 12:33 AM

Wow, Brian, I really thought you were going to run away with this one. I thought your script was wonderful.

Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 12:37 AM

Thanks for the great feedback everyone! I'm glad to see that so many of you enjoyed this. I will comment again in more detail after I have re-read it all and taken a little time to soak it in. One thing I agree on completely though is that the title could be improved.

Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 12:37 AM

Thanks Kyle!

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 11/1/2009 12:45 AM

I loved this as well. I want to know where you got the idea for this - it was so clever.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 1:08 AM

I thought this was great Brian. And I like the title. :)

Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 1:29 AM

I was trying to come up with an idea and then the new baby started just whailing at the top of his lungs and inspiration struck. Haha. I could tell whatever he was experiencing was pretty horrible and tried to translate his pain and confusion at this whole new world he's in to the form of a horror comedy short.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 8:43 AM

I expect that we'll get to vicariously watch Brian's baby grow up, inserted as his horror protagonists!

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 11/1/2009 11:07 AM

I love how your newborn's child first inspiration was for a horror story. :)

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 9:45 PM

Loved this one!

Chris Keaton (Level 5) ~ 11/2/2009 8:36 AM

You got a VG from me!

Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 11/3/2009 7:33 PM

Thanks again everyone! I'm glad that a lot of you enjoyed this script.

Something tells me the little one will be a source of inspiration for many more scripts to come. (Mainly because I can't get a thought in, let alone brainstorm a script, without him vying for my attention.) :)

Scott Merrow (Level 5) ~ 2/11/2010 6:12 PM

I just read the rewrite (and the original, again), and I actually like them both about the same. The new one is just for a different audience, without the harsh language.

The harsh language in the original is a little funnier, and it lends itself to your deception a little better, because it makes Kevin seem like he's really freakin' out. But both versions work well, depending on the audience.

Likewise with the ending. The new one is a little more subtle (without the father blurting out the question), but both versions work well. IMHO.


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