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JUDY: A SCREAMPLAY
WRITTEN BY HIRI DAVID FEIGN
©2019 HIRI DAVID FEIGN
EXT. HAUNTED HOTEL — 1966 — NIGHT
Lightning flashes, revealing an old stone mansion in the distance, covered in dead vines, with torrents of hard-driving rain.
The camera pans across an outside wall to reveal WHITHERS looking through the window from behind thick drapes. The rain against the glass warps her silhouette into a shadowy, menacing figure. Lightning flashes. Thunder roars. A deep, echoing door chime rings.
INT. HAUNTED HOTEL VESTIBULE — LOOKING OUT TOWARD THE DRIVEWAY
A large wooden Spanish-Gothic door opens to reveal a medium CU of JUDY, 26, standing in the doorway, smiling broadly and wearing goggles. Behind her is a parked scooter in the rain.
The frame freezes as the film title appears and dramatic, lush music builds to a crescendo.
©MMXV111 Hiriuku Cinema Productions
Action resumes again as we see JUDY entering a vestibule. Frightening portraits and stuffed birds covered in cobwebs grace the tattered walls. Ratty, dusty drapes conceal tall windows. An array of crematory urns line a shelf, accented with dead flowers in vases.
JUDY wears a mod yellow rain slicker (though we’re watching in black-and-white), with a matching pull-down vinyl hat and built-in goggles. She carries a round makeup case in one hand, with a ukulele under her arm. Ankle-high gollashes cover her velvet flats. Draped in an X over her shoulders are an instamatic camera with flash cube, in leather case and strap, and a simple white purse. In the other hand she carries a large white suitcase.
The door is held open by BEAKINS, a heavy-set middle-aged housekeeper and cook (played in this pretend-production by Hermione Baddeley). She wears a black uniform with white ruffled collar and a plain, dark wool sweater with signs of wear. Her right hand is useless and twisted, and she keeps it against her stomach.
Lightning flashes randomly as JUDY follows BEAKINS inside. The house is dark and foreboding, covered in cobwebs and dust. As the lightning flashes, scary shapes animate against the walls, doors, and paintings.
JUDY puts down her things, pulls her wet goggles onto her forehead, and looks up and around.
Low shot of JUDY glancing above her, thrilled, like she’s seeing Paris for the first time.
Follow me Miss.
They pass a huge staircase overlooked by an emormous stained-glass gothic window. In a beam of light, moths flutter. Lightning flashes, revealing the outline of an unseen skylight on the dusty marble floor, with the shadows of rats crawling across the glass above them.
They walk down a long corridor. Lightning flashes and rain beats against the high windows. Dead trees cast menacing shapes onto the walls and floor. Closeup details of paintings reveal painted rats watching JUDY as she passes by. Their eyes follow her.
INT. HAUNTED HOTEL — STUDY
The credits end as BEAKINS knocks twice and opens two large moldy doors leading into a slightly less-cavernous chamber. Inside, a fireplace burns solemnly.
Tall gothic windows conceal in silhouette the shape of an elderly matron in a high-backed Victorian chair, stroking a BLACK CAT. If this were the forties, WHITHERS would be played by Judith Anderson. Lightning flashes, thunder thunders.
Madam, she’s arrived.
Thank you BEAKINS, you’re dismissed.
But don’t… go too far. We’ll need you
to accompany our guest to her… room.
(“Room” is pronounced with two syllables — “Roo-um.”)
As you wish, Madam. I’ll be just
outside ‘ere, setting the traps.
(mutters to herself)
BEAKINS closes the doors and lightning flashes. JUDY, awestruck, puts down her luggage, takes off her camera and purse, and pours water out of her ukulele into a dead planter.
JUDY opens her rain jacket. Underneath she wears a posh high-waisted mini dress with a wide belt. As she pulls off her vinyl rain hat, JUDY's shoulder-length red hair plumps perfectly into shape with curls at the end.
Come here and let me
look at you.
JUDY approaches cautiously. She giggles.
Turn on that lamp, my dear,
so that I might see you better.
JUDY glances around and sees a fluorescent lamp on a writing desk. When she switches it on, the lamp sizzles and clicks into life. JUDY smiles and shivers, and holds out her hand.
Hi there! I’m JUDY!
WHITHERS leans forward onto her cane without accepting the handshake. Her face falls into the light, with stark, bony cheeks and dark sunglasses. Her black-and-silver hair is braided and she wears a full-length black satin mourning gown, with a short black-laced shawl around her shoulders, accented by tiny sparkling rhinestones.
Are these… all your things?
Yes Ma’am. I brought my ukelele too.
D’ya dig hootenannies?
THE CAT on WHITHERS’ lap hisses. JUDY backs off, startled.
He likes you.
Terrific! And me like you too widdle puddums!
Yes yes I do!
Look at puss. Puss puss puss. Give us a…
(stomps her cane):
Yes, ma’am. Sorry.
JUDY wipes a wayward bang away from her eyes.
THE CAT hisses again.
Breakfast is at eight. So is dinner.
Breakfast eight am, dinner eight pm. Got it. Thank you.
(pounds her cane again)
No! Stupid girl! Just am!
We eat breakfast and dinner at the same time.
Yes, ma’am. Breakfast and dinner at eight. am.
I’m sure it’ll be delicious.
Not if I can help it.
THE CAT hisses again, and jumps from her lap, past JUDY and into a dark corner. We see a sofa and a two-story bookshelf, covered in cobwebs.
On Sundays, we order Chinese.
Did you bring toiletries?
Uh huh. All that.
Shampoo, soap, toothpaste. Yes.
We don’t provide them you know.
You’ll need your own towels too.
We don’t believe in coddling our guests!
Yes ma’am. I understand.
We do sell them if you need any.
There’s a special on shampoo. Prell.
Two for one.
Got enough. Thanks.
Now remember: we have a reputation
to uphold. So keep your room tidy.
We don’t like unkempt young ladies.
Oh, I’m kempt, big time kempt. Extremely.
Just tidy as a cricket.
SFX: A cricket chirps, and JUDY looks around.
Now I’ll have BEAKINS show you to your room.
WHITHERS rings a handbell.
Terrific! I have been so looking
forward to living here!
We don’t like to use such terms.
Your brochure said there’s a pool?
It’s an old brochure.
JUDY’s smile fades.
Lightning flashes. Suddenly BEAKINS is beside JUDY, startling her. JUDY giggles.
Now before you go, be forewarned!
There are things in this house that
should have stayed buried, unspeakable terrors
that have been awakened in the darkness
of night, in this house, in these rooms,
long before I became its mistress.
Don’t go snooping about in the darkness,
you'll never know what you might find.
But if you must snoop, we have candles
for sale if you need them.
WHITHERS gestures toward a standing display with price tags.
Um, now just what… uh, sort of
things should have stayed buried,
if you don’t mind me asking?
We can’t always rid ourselves of the
past, now can we, even after a series
of very expensive exorcisms?
No ma’am, I... I suppose not.
This house is old, older than you
might imagine. It’s seen the ravages of time,
wars, conquests, murders, doomed romances,
and mysterious disappearances. Once or twice
even a movie actor or two might have slept
here — quote-unquote "by chance," on the same night.
Century after century this house has
changed hands. First it was owned by the Moors.
Then it became a residence hall for ex-vikings.
For awhile, it was a bowling alley and cafeteria,
until a poisoning disaster struck.
There’ve been mergers, selloffs, acquisitions,
and corporate restructuring, each slightly
changing the dreaded tenor of this once-great house.
But still it stands defiantly, as
a testament to what malice and horror
can leave behind in their wicked wake.
The secrets that this house holds remain
constant, and they shall never die.
Except now our lease is owned by a multinational
holding company called Mrs. Goodcookie.
Lightning flashes, thunder booms.
Ooh, they’re terrifying! I got my
student loan with them and they were just…
Some who stay here say they feel
uneasy, sickened, some report a sense of
dread and foreboding, even terror, some say.
Some who’ve stayed here never return. I don't
know why. I do my best to make it feel homey.
Suddenly JUDY notices a raven on the bookshelf.
Tonight you die!
WHITHERS stands up and walks toward the fireplace with her cane.
It’s this infernal place. This house is angry,
it manifests evil. It puts us all on edge.
What bitter secrets have been awakened
now by fate, by your very presence here,
who knows what might be unleashed in this house,
in these rooms, after all these centuries,
with its almost unworkable, ancient wiring
and abysmal plumbing.
We have that in common.
Beakins, take our new guest to her room.
Then bring me my cocoa.
And don't poison it this time!
Yes, mum. If you insist.
Follow me, Miss.
Put a marshmallow in it. A big one.
Of course, mum.
2-SHOT of BEAKINS and JUDY.
(picking up her luggage, to WHITHERS)
Thanks so much! You’ve been just fantastic!
I mean it. I’m just so happy! See you
tomorrow at breakfast-dinner!
(to BEAKINS as they’re leaving the room):
I love what you’ve done with this place.
It’s a lot to take care of, Miss. Mind the traps.
INT. GREAT HALL ENTRANCEWAY
BEAKINS and JUDY begin climbing the long and winding staircase. After a few more dissolves later they reach the landing for the first floor.
From the end of the landing, we see a huge arched window looking down a long corridor. Lightning flashes. Menacing sounds of horror grow all around them. Blood drips from the walls.
As they walk down the hallway, behind them, unnoticed by JUDY, IRENE THE GHOST LADY, a see-through woman with long hair and white nightgown, carrying a lollipop, crosses through one wall and into the opposite wall.
Lightning flashes again.
A vicious cursed, growling sound emanates from a doorway as they pass by.
Where’s that horrible growling sound emanating from?
It’s Mrs. ‘atchet, Miss. Gastric distress.
SFX: A hideous scream is heard.
I can’t wait to meet her!
We get a lot like ‘er ‘ere.
Fine when they come in,
Then it starts in on ‘em, the runs
and the cramps you might say.
I think it might be me cooking.
As they pass a room, the doorway opens slightly and inside, pupil-less eyes glow in the darkness, but JUDY is looking in the other direction.
Are there many other ladies
living here now?
They pass a room with an open door. Inside IRENE THE GHOST LADY stands in a bloody bridal dress holding a dripping axe and the head of her groom.
Living, Miss? A few, just a few.
They must love it here! I know I will!
They pass by an open door. Inside, a coven of witches dance around a pentagram with candles on the floor.
Oh you have dance classes!
BEAKINS looks at her oddly.
They pass another open doorway, and JUDY looks in. A fanged DEMON CHILD sits alone in a high chair, gnawing on a human leg.
Oh look, there’s children here too?
Yes Miss. Just the one.
Don’t try ’n feed ‘im though.
‘e’s a very picky eater.
JUDY waves at the DEMON CHILD, who’s licking the bone clean.
The DEMON CHILD hisses and its eyes glow.
They walk past THE RAVEN atop a marble bust. It glares ominously down upon them.
Don’t mind the raven, Miss,
‘e’s evil, pure evil if ya know what I mean.
Oh my goodness.
Your goodness indeed, Miss.
THE RAVEN watches them pass by.
Don’t engage ‘im Miss. He’ll destroy yer mind.
Aye yer daft!
See what I mean? He’s cruel, Miss.
He’s so cruel.
Now here’s yer room, nice and cheery like.
You should find it quite comfortable.
BEAKINS opens the door. Lightning flashes, thunder roars. The room is dilapidated, dark and creepy. Black mold covers the walls. Water drips from the ceiling into a huge hole in the floor. The four-poster bed has a ripped velvet awning.
Oh my gosh, it’s better
than I ever imagined!
I feel just like a princess!
MUSIC CUE: As she drops her bags and runs to the window, an orchestral crescendo builds to a crash.
Outside is a graveyard with several open graves. Through the rainy window, two bent figures can be seen pulling a casket from the ground.
Beyond that, in an abandoned old church, candlelight passes behind a broken stained-glass window.
A wolf howls in the distance. Lightning flashes.
As JUDY turns away there are faces at the window. When she turns around to look out again, they disappear.
And you get to live here too?!
For Free? Like all the time?
Been ‘ere… a long time Miss, yes.
It seems a bit chilly in here.
How do I turn up the heat?
Don’t worry yerself, Miss.
I’ll attend to it.
BEAKINS waddles over to the fireplace and moves around the logs with an iron poker.
We see JUDY at the window. As she turns to look at BEAKINS, the faces reappear behind her.
Suddenly a huge ball of fire explodes from the fireplace, dying down quickly into a crackling inferno.
Spiders flee the flue.
Oh, how nice. Thanks so much!
I’ll leave ya be, then, Miss.
If ya need anything, just pull this ‘ere cord.
BEAKINS pulls the cord.
SFX: A man’s traumatic screaming sounds.
Oh that’s Lovely.
Yes Miss it is Lovely. It’s ‘is new album,
Lovely Screams In The Night, Volume 2.
'ave you 'eard it yet, Miss?
Heard it! I bought six copies!
I - I just love Mr. Lovely.
A rock 'n' roll genius, he is.
Did you see his last tour?
My friend flashed her boobs!
Me too, Miss, me too. 'Twas a grand
show, weren’t it?
His best yet!
I was in the first row at ‘is
concert ‘ere in town.
It’s how I got me arm
crushed for life.
Don’t worry yerself over it none,
sweet missy. Twas worth it. Twas brilliant to be
so close to genius. He spat at me.
I’ll never wash me eye sockets again.
BEAKINS blinks involuntarily.
There’s an awkward pause.
Well, I’ll be goin’ now.
Oh, thank you BEAKINS, for everything!
You’re the best! I mean it. Really.
As you say, Miss.
BEAKINS closes the door and JUDY is alone in the dark and creepy chamber.
She wanders around, taking off her slicker and boots, revealing velvet flats. She hangs the slicker and cap on a standing coat rack.
She wanders through the room, looking around. She pulls a book from a shelf, and when she opens it the pages break into dust. She claps her hands to get rid of the dust, and coughs.
Looking out the window again, she sniffs the air and scowls. She opens the window slightly, but the smell gets worse. She closes the window and bolts the lock.
JUDY walks across the room to the Lovely cord. She pulls it, eliciting the Lovely scream.
BEAKINS is walking downstairs when she hears the wail. She turns around and huffs back up the stairs toward the room.
(mumbling to herself):
I’m gettin’ right damn sick of that
song to tell the god’s honest
truth of it.
BEAKINS opens the door and walks back into the room.
Yes, Miss. You pulled the Lovely cord?
Beakins, what’s that awful stench?
Which awful stench is that, Mum?
The... uh — wait, there's more than one?
It’s a potpourri Miss.
Frankly with the clientele here,
awful smells are the least of me worries.
Can you mayhaps describe it fer me now?
Well I don’t know. How does one describe
a smell? It smells like, uh,
I don’t know, um, EWWW!!
I see Miss. Let me ask ya another question now. Would ya be describing it perhaps as a distinct EWWW smell, or might you say it be more like an UGH (she makes gagging sound and shivers) smell.
Well, something of both, actually.
Oh, per’aps you mean the Hideous
Stench of Mrs. Moira Pasternack.
Um, yeah, that one, I guess.
We don’t charge extra for it,
the smell comes with the room.
But I don’t want it!
Can’t be helped. It’s Mrs. Pasternack, Ma’am.
She lived in this house for nigh on thirty years,
and every day, her smell got worse. We bathed
her in everything from holy water to hair spray,
but nothing stopped it, her menacing odor.
Nice as she could be too, hygenic and all, if you
know what I mean. Peach as punch if ya
get me drift. But her odor, it was evil Miss,
like it had a mind of its own.
Worse and worse it went, just like that,
the smell kept on growing meaner and nastier,
day after rainy awful day. Meaner and meaner her
vicious stench became. For decades it went
on like that, with the horrific aura of odor
about her person, just growing more
and more ugly all the time.
It consumed ‘er.
Consumed her? What do you mean?
The painful stench of death finally
took her, m’lady, God rest her poor soul.
Like some demented curse it was, suffocating her.
Right there during breakfast-dinner it happened too.
Took her then and there, between the
cornflakes and roast duck.
That’s terrible! I’m so sorry.
But the smell…
She’s dead and buried, Miss, but her odor
lingers on like a demon from hell. Sometimes
it wafts across from the east tower.
That’s where we put ‘er, in ‘er final
years, in the east tower, over there.
We used a pulley system to pass her trays over,
whatever the stinkin' weather.
Anybody went over to that side of the house,
never recovered. The smell drove ‘em mad,
each and every one.
We called in the best the holy church
could give us, Miss. A whole team of priests,
the most elite exorcists you could ever find.
One had a ferrari and a pet seal.
We spent a fortune.
But it tweren’t enough, Miss.
Her odor lives on without her, and we’ve had
no peace since we buried ‘er stinkin’ carcass
in the bog nie on twenty long years
ago this very night.
It’s an ominous place, is the the bog.
Don’t ya go wanderin about in there now Missy.
But if ya do, we have a sweet nightie
and torches for sale downstairs.
I’m good. Thank you.
She’s dead now, is old Mrs. Pasternack,
God rest her. But her hideous stench lives on,
and not a sainted soul here’s had a decent
night’s sleep since. Again, I’m concerned it
might be me own cookin.’
Well, g’night Miss. Happy dreams.
Goodnight BEAKINS. Thanks so much! I mean it!
BEAKINS leaves, and JUDY wanders around the room again.
From her jacket on the coat rack, she pulls out a transister radio. She switches it on and dials to a mid-sixties pop station.
JUDY sits on the bed, humming to herself softly.
Lightning flashes, thunder roars. A woman’s creepy portrait looks down on her, its eyes moving. A rat scurries against the floorboard. Water drips onto the moldy carpet.
She lays back upon the bed for a moment and stretches. As she sits up again, the blade of a guillotine falls where her neck would have been. JUDY doesn't notice.
Sweet gravy, AM I gonna LOVE THIS PLACE!
FADE TO BLACK
END CREDITS SEQUENCE
After the credits, fade in to long shot of the house,
with lightning flashing in the driving rain.
Pan across a gate and stone wall to an outdoor neon sign,
several letters blinking sadly.
SFX: Mrs. Hatchet screaming.
FADE TO BLACK