Sunday, July 5, 2009


Hope everyone had a Happy Fourth. I'll be taking the day off today as my cohort Tarson Meads makes his return reviewing a Vampire script. Tomorrow I'll be reviewing that mysterious high-profile project (which I will warn you in advance - there will be no script link for). If you're just dying to know what it is, I just started the Scriptshadow Fadebook Fan Page. There are some hints on there :) So stop fooling around and join up! Here's Tarson...

Genre: Action/Horror
Premise: Two US mercenaries become involved in a brazen plot to kidnap a beautiful and seductive socialite. However, they soon realize the girl they've snatched is an ancient Vampire queen, and her legion is out to get her back.

About: A vampire spec penned by upcoming writer/director Michael Stokes. His indie film “The Beacon” won first prize in a series of horror festivals and comps. Nightfall is currently in development with legendary horror producer Frank Mancuso Jr.

Writer: Michael Stokes

Nightfall has been on my Top 10 for a while now, but I never had the chance to review it, so here you go.

They say don’t ever write a Vampire spec, right? Thankfully, Stokes ignored that advice and wrote one of the most enjoyable Vampire scripts I’ve read in years. I had a lot of fun with Nightfall, there’s a ton of stuff to compliment here, but the real highlight was Stokes' writing style. I loved it. It’s the kind of style I try to emulate. Snappy dialogue, vivid action, words that pack a punch. The way a great action spec should be.

Stokes doesn’t waste any time at getting to the meat of the concept either. The story begins with the intro of our two protags - Rainford and Denton, two bad- ass, mercs for hire. Rainford is actually on a job to kill Denton when we first meet them inside an Albanian tavern. Rainford's job has been set up by a couple of local mobsters. The pay is good, but at the last minute, Rainford decides against killing Denton, and all hell breaks loose. This opening grabbed me from page one with strong visuals, and some really cool action sequences.

After the opening bang, the two men decide to work together and soon become involved in a shady scheme to kidnap an exotic socialite from a packed nightclub. They don't know much about the target - except her name is Aurora, she's drop dead gorgeous, and their employer is a very rich man by the name of Peter Foxe. Unfortunately his hot-headed and inexperienced son is leading the gig. Apart from our two heroes, there's a crew of freelance mercs tagging along, who seem to know a lot more about the job than they're letting on. Things are not adding up. Sparks soon begin to fly. There also seems to be an awful lot of heavy handed hardware and tech in place, just for one woman. Hmmm. You see where this is headed, don’t you.

Another highlight for Nightfall was Stokes’ clever usage of Vampire mythology, as well as his own unique touches that he skilfully adds, here and there. The action is top-notch, and when the shit hits the fan, its balls-to-the-wall mayhem. It’s just a great combination of action and horror, with lots of twists and turns. Overall this was just a really fun read, highly recommended for any scribes who are into this kind of thing.

[ ] trash

[ ] barely kept my interest
[ ] worth the read

[x] impressive

[ ] genius

What I Learned: Don’t be so concerned with market trends. Sure, you need a solid understanding of what’s selling and what’s not, but chasing the market isn’t the best course to a success. Writing what you feel passionate about is. But make sure you know what the hell you’re doing. There’s no formula when it comes to what sells. Genre wise, anything can sell, but it has to be unique and commercially viable at the same time. With so many Vampire and Zombie scripts clogging up the spec market, most people in Hollywood yawn at the sight of them, knowing all too well, the majority of them, suck (heh.) But despite this, audiences still crave these types of movies, and despite what you hear, they are still popular with some studios and production companies. They just need to be good. Really fucking good.