Thursday, November 8, 2012

Amateur Friday - Zombie Reserection

Genre: Horror-Comedy
Premise: (from writer) When an experimental male-enhancement drug turns all the men in town into sex-crazed zombies, it's up to a rag-tag band of women to survive the assault and stop the epidemic from spreading.
About: This was a holdover from last week where we chose a group of amateur scripts based on this post.  I ended up moving things around so we could get that Hitchcock script reviewed on Halloween, but now the Res-erection has arrived.  And I don't think any of you are ready for it.
Writer: Phil Laaveg
Details: 93 pages
Staus: Available

I feel a little dirty.  No, I feel a lot dirty.  I feel like bathing in the saliva of chipmunks for a week.  I feel that being a man is wrong somehow after reading Zombie Reserection.  Of all the first 10 amateur pages laid out for Scriptshadow readers last week, Reserection got the most attention.  People said the dialogue snapped.  They said the writing crackled.  They said of all the choices, this is the one that popped the most.

Of course, it just had to be the script about men growing large zombie penises and trying to rape all the women in town.  Sheeshkabob.  What am I supposed to do with that??  Okay okay, I'm going to try not to be the uptight J-Crew decored Christian mom at the parent-teacher conference who says, "How dare you teach my children this filth!"  But I mean come on.  This script is like a giant rape gang-bang.  It's all done in fun.  But it's hard not to feel a little strange while you're reading it.  Every time you giggle, you feel like you raped life a little bit.  Of course with all that said, it's definitely a script you'll have an opinion on, and those are in surprisingly short supply.  So grab some viagra, chase it with some Red Bull, and as Barry White would say..."Let's get it onnnnnn."

The raping begins...err, I mean, the story begins with an oblivious "Carl's Jr. commercial-hot" hitchhiker plopping down for a ride with a trucker trucking a truckload supply of one of those "Male enhancement" drugs you always see in your spam folder.  Well, apparently Mr. Trucker decided to try out the pills himself because he's one horny little pedal-pusher.  This results in a lot of awkward advances that are getting worse by the minute.  Like scary worse.  In fact, he almost seems to be in a trance.

The next thing the hitchhiker sees is the man's bulging gigantor donkey-sized penis (no, I am not making this up) and the two start fighting as the man tries to, um, get some action.  Typically, when the driver and passenger decide to fight in a moving vehicle, things don't end up well.  But it tends to be really bad when that vehicle is a SEMI!  Bang, clack, whoosh, SPLASH, the truck goes over the railing, soars through the air and splashes into a lake, the entire supply of male enhancement drugs gobbled up by the water, which, as you can guess, supplies the nearby town.

Cut to said nearby town where we start meeting a few of the locals, mainly a team of hot and horny teenagers which include the all American Ashley, the curvy sexpot Josie, and the tomboyish-ly beautiful Max.  The three are trying to make it through work at the local chicken fast food joint, where their skeevy boss (the appropriately named, "Dick") leers at them from his little backroom security video haven.

But as soon as they're done, it's off to getting wasted and finding the big party in town, which doesn't take long.  What also doesn't take long is how weird all the guys start acting.  I mean of course they're horny, but it's like they have no control over themselves.  This culminates in one of the drunk girls throwing off her top to go skinny dipping and a dozen guys following her.  That's when we see it.  All of them have huge donkey penis bulges in their pants (again, I'm NOT kidding), and therefore can no longer control their urges.  And these aren't ordinary urges.  These urges lead to a full-on attack!

Ashley, Josie and Max realize something is very wrong and with more guys lingering, they decide it's probably best to disappear.  They meet up with a few other scared women at a local bar and eventually come to the conclusion that it's the water that's turning all these men into donkey-penis sized sex zombies and that the only way to stop them is to....well, shoot their balls.  I mean, I suppose you could shoot them in the head as well but that wouldn't be nearly as dramatic.  So balls it is!

But the bad news keeps coming.  It turns out the local hydro plant, which has infected the water supply for the town, is having some sort of "water dump" tonight where they're going to send half the water into the big river, which will affect the drinking supply of the entire state!  Yikes!  So our group of women only have a few hours to get to the plant and stop the dump.  All while trying to avoid the rapidly increasing population of bulged-pantsed male zombies.

Okay, so obviously this was written in the same vein as movies like Piranha 3-D.  It's not meant to be taken seriously.  It wants to exploit, titilate, and ejaculate, so to speak.  You're supposed to be scared and entertained.  But man!  This idea walks dangerously close to disturbing.  The rape undertones (or overtones??) are everywhere you look.  I think Phil does a good job dancing around it whenever a situation becomes too detailed, but sometimes that's impossible, and every time that happened I clenched my teeth and made that 'sucking in' sound.  Ugh, 'sucking' is probably the wrong word to use.  Man, I'm going to have a hard time getting out of this review in one piece.  Argh!  "Hard."  I did it again!  That's what she said!  What??

Placing the disturbing nature of the concept aside for the moment, here's my qualm with the script, or should I say the genre in general: There's no character development.  And I'm not even sure if that's fair to criticize.  Are characters supposed to have depth in these kinds of movies?  On the one hand you'd think no, because the movies are just about having a fun silly time, not unlike a drunken party at your buddy's house.  But my feeling is that any time you're asking us to pay attention for 90 minutes, we're going to have to care about the characters, and it's hard to care about anyone for 90 minutes if they don't have anything going on underneath the surface.  I don't know.  What do you guys think?  I'm not that familiar with this genre so I don't know what the audience's expectations are.  Are thin characters okay?

Because that led to my other problem which was that there was a huge character count. It's one thing to write thin characters, but if you introduce a ton of them, it's hard to keep track of who's who because nobody's deep enough to remember.

I also would've liked more irony in the story.  That's something this genre is built for.  For example, make the hero some oversexed teenage boy who's disturbingly horny - like he lives every second to try and get laid.  And then he becomes the only guy in town who's not hopped up on these super-penis pills and is therefore tasked with being the "un-horny" one for once and saving these women.  You could then work in a fun love story where he's obsessed with one of the girls who would normally never give him the time of day, but this situation allows him his one and only shot.  I think that's so much more fun than the whole Ashley-Josh relationship, which was sorta boring.

This was a strange one.  Just like you guys promised, the writing was really good, particularly in those first ten pages.  The writing style was sparse and therefore flew by.  There was a lot of urgency.  The stakes of keeping the water from infecting the entire state was a good call.  But the risky subject matter, even for a subject this broad, and the lack of any true character connection, made it a tough read for me.  If I were Phil, I'd go back and really study character before re-writing this or moving on to the next script.  Even in the simplest of genres, the characters have to be memorable, and none of these characters were.  That can be attributed to a distinct lack of depth, so let's remedy that.

I'm afraid I have to send Zombie Reserecton and its male enhancement plot to my spam folder. :(

Script link: Zombie Reserection

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

What I learned: I know I'm a broken record at this point but the easiest way to add character depth is to give your character something personal they're trying to overcome.  Bonus points if you can tie it into the concept or the theme.  So the theme here has to do with sex - maybe Ashley's a virgin with really strong Christian beliefs.  But she really loves Josh and wants to sleep with him.  So she's going through this internal struggle the whole time of staying true to her beliefs or just saying "fuck it" and having fun.  It's not too deep, stays within the tone of the movie, but it gives our protagonist something she's struggling with, which adds much-needed depth.  It could work well with the new Josh character I suggested above (the oversexed one).