Thursday, December 31, 2015

These Films Are National Treasures

Each year the Library Of Congress Film Preservation Board selects 25 films to be deemed National Treasures and included in the National Film Registry. Here are this year's entries...

BEING THERE (1979)

BLACK AND TAN (1929)

DRACULA (SPANISH LANGUAGE VERSION) (1931)

DREAM OF A RAREBIT FIEND (1906)

EADWEARD MUYBRIDGE, ZOOPRAXOGRAPHER (1974)

EDISON KINETOSCOPIC RECORD OF A SNEEZE (1894)

A FOOL THERE WAS (1915)

GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (1944)

HUMORESQUE (1920)

IMITATION OF LIFE (1959)

THE INNER WORLD OF APHASIA (1968)

JOHN HENRY AND THE INKY-POO (1946)

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997)

THE MARK OF ZORRO (1920)

THE OLD MILL (1937)

OUR DAILY BREAD (1934)

PORTRAIT OF JASON (1967)

SECONDS (1966)

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)

SINK OR SWIM (1990)

THE STORY OF MENSTRUATION (1946)

SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM: TAKE ONE (1968)



TOP GUN (1986)

WINCHESTER '73 (1950)

I could not find a BluRay for THE STORY OF MENSTRUATION, but maybe now Critereon will start to work on one. SECONDS is one of my favorite films, and if you haven't seen it you should check it out. I am also a huge fan of the Spanish version of DRACULA, made at the same time and on the same sets as the Lugosi version. They would shoot the English language version by day and the Spanish language version as soon as they finished the day on the English version. The Spanish version is more sexual, with Dracula as a romantic figure that no woman can say no to. Also, the women in this version show a lot more cleavage. I figure you have all seen TOP GUN and SHAWSHANK, so I focused on the others. Oh, and if you don't know who Eadweard Muybridge was - he invented movies with his experiment to see if race horses ever had all four feet off the ground at the same time (to win a bet with Leland Stanford). Muybridge began his experiment... then had to put it off for a few years when he went to prison for murder! When he was released, he finished - using a string of still cameras to photograph a series of stills of horses racing which lead to the idea of moving pictures (and persistence of vision). A fascinating character.

Hollywood Reporter Story.

- Bill

Monday, December 28, 2015

Lancelot Link: Fair Game?

Lancelot Link Monday! Is an episode of a TV series fair game to swipe the plot of and use it for your movie? While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Force Awakens.................. $153,522,000
2 Daddy's Home.................... $38,800,000
3 Joy (no almonds)................ $17,500,000
4 Sisters (no DePalma)............ $13,880,000
5 Road Chip (no Ernie)............ $12,700,000
6 Concussion...................... $11,000,000
7 Big Shorts...................... $10,520,000
8 Point Break..................... $10,220,000
9 Hunger 3,2........................ $5,300,000
10 Creed............................. $4,600,000


HATEFUL EIGHT opened out of the Top Ten, but it's still the movie everyone is talking about this weekend - because it's either that or DADDY'S HOME!

This year *has* broken Box Office records, as predicted.

2) HATEFUL Digital Or 70mm?

3) Ennio Morriconne On HATEFUL EIGHT.

4) Quentin Tarantino & Paul Thomas Anderson Discuss 70mm.

5) Walt Goggins On Working With Tarantino.

6) RIP: George Clayton Johnson - TWILIGHT ZONE, LOGAN'S RUN, more. Met him several times, kind of a weirdo... but aren't we all?

7) DEADPOOL Red Band Trailer. And Commentary From The Director.

8) RadioHead's Unusued SPECTRE Theme.

9) Disneyland To Change Name To STAR WARS LAND.

10) HATEFUL Pirate... Is Hollywood Exec!

11) BOURNE 5 News.

12) Screenwriters Roundtable Interviews.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



Okay, not a car chase at all... the episode of Andrew Fenady's THE REBEL with Nick Adams as Johnny Yuma that QT, um, homaged. That's the word.

Bill

Buy The DVDs

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

-
Dinner:
Pages:
Bicycle:

Movie:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers!

Have some writer friends who need a stocking stuffer? These e-books are the answer! Amazon even has a "gift button" which will send your friend a surprise wrapped gift, that they "open" online! From TERMINATOR fans to ACTION writers to HITCHCOCK fans to generic writers who have barcodes instead of names, there is something here for everyone on your list! And don't forget to put *yourself* on your list! Amazon gift cards for the holidays? Treat yourself!


bluebook

THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL!

*** THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING *** - For Kindle!

*** THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING *** - For Nook!

Why pay $510 for a used version of the 240 page 2000 version that used to retail for $21.95? (check it out!) when you can get the NEW EXPANDED VERSION - over 500 pages - for just $9.99? New chapters, New examples, New techniques!

"SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING is the best book on the practical nuts-and-bolts mechanics of writing a screenplay I've ever read." - Ted Elliott, co-writer of MASK OF ZORRO, SHREK, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and the sequels (with Terry Rossio). (ie; 4 of the top 20 Box Office Hits Of ALL TIME.)

Only $9.99 - and no postage!


HITCHCOCK: EXPERIMENTS IN TERROR


HITCHCOCK DID IT FIRST!

We all know that Alfred Hitchcock was the Master Of Suspense, but did you know he was the most *experimental* filmmaker in history?

** HITCHCOCK: EXPERIMENTS IN TERROR **

Contained Thrillers like “Buried”? Serial Protagonists like “Place Beyond The Pines”? Multiple Connecting Stories like “Pulp Fiction”? Same Story Multiple Times like “Run, Lola, Run”? This book focuses on 18 of Hitchcock’s 53 films with wild cinema and story experiments which paved the way for modern films. Almost one hundred different experiments that you may think are recent cinema or story inventions... but some date back to Hitchcock’s *silent* films! We’ll examine these experiments and how they work. Great for film makers, screenwriters, film fans, producers and directors.

Films Examined: “Rear Window”, “Psycho”, “Family Plot”, “Topaz”, “Rope”, “The Wrong Man”, “Easy Virtue”, “Lifeboat”, “Bon Voyage”, “Aventure Malgache”, “Elstree Calling”, “Dial M for Murder”, “Stage Fright”, “Champagne”, “Spellbound”, “I Confess”, and “The Trouble with Harry”, with glances at “Vertigo” and several others. Over 77,000 words, under $5!



BRAND NEW!

bluebook

Over 240 pages!

*** THE TERMINATOR SERIES *** - For Kindle!


He's back! The release of "Terminator: Genisys" (now on BluRay) is set to begin a new trilogy in the Terminator story... 31 years after the first film was released. What draws us to these films about a cybernetic organism from the future sent back in time? Why is there a new proposed trilogy every few years? This book looks at all five Terminator movies from a story standpoint - what makes them work (or not)? What are the techniques used to keep the characters and scenes exciting and involving? How about those secret story details you may not have noticed? Containing a detailed analysis of each of the five films so far, this book delves into the way these stories work... as well as a complete list of box office and critical statistics for each film. This book is great for writers, directors, and just fans of the series.

Price goes up on January 1st!

Only $2.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

Only 418 Pages!

*** BREAKING IN BLUE BOOK *** - For Kindle!


Should really be called the BUSINESS BLUE BOOK because it covers almost everything you will need to know for your screenwriting career: from thinking like a producer and learning to speak their language, to query letters and finding a manager or agent, to making connections (at home and in Hollywood) and networking, to the different kinds of meetings you are will have at Studios, to the difference between a producer and a studio, to landing an assignment at that meeting and what is required of you when you are working under contract, to contracts and options and lawyers and... when to run from a deal! Information you can use *now* to move your career forward! It's all here in the Biggest Blue Book yet!

Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 400 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!



BLUE BOOK SERIES

bluebook

NEW!

*** HOOK 'EM IN TEN *** - For Kindle!


Your story doesn't get a second chance to make a great first impression, and this book shows you a bunch of techniques on how to do that. From the 12 Basic Ways To Begin Your Story, to the 3 Stars Of Your First Scene (at least one must be present) to World Building, Title Crawls, Backstory, Starting Late, Teasers and Pre Title Sequences, Establishing Theme & Motifs (using GODFATHER PART 2), Five Critical Elements, Setting Up The Rest Of The Story (with GODFATHER), and much more! With hundreds of examples ranging from Oscar winners to classic films like CASABLANCA to some of my produced films (because I know exactly why I wrote the scripts that way). Biggest Blue Book yet! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 100,000 words - 312 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

SECRETS OF SCENES!

*** SCENE SECRETS BLUE BOOK *** - For Kindle! (Exclusive)


What is a scene and how many you will need? The difference between scenes and sluglines. Put your scenes on trial for their lives! Using "Jaws" we'll look at beats within a scene. Scene DNA. Creating set pieces and high concept scenes. A famous director talks about creating memorable scenes. 12 ways to create new scenes. Creating unexpected scenes. Use dramatic tension to supercharge your scenes. Plants and payoffs in scenes. Plus transitions and buttons and the all important "flow"... and more! Over 65,000 words!
Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 210 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!



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BEST SUPPORTING ACTORS?

*** SUPPORTING CHARACTER SECRETS *** - For Kindle! (Exclusive)


Expanded version with more techniques to flesh out your Supporting Characters and make them individuals. Using the hit movie BRIDESMAIDS as well as other comedies like THE HANGOVER and TED and HIGH FIDELITY and 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and many other examples we look at ways to make your Supporting Characters come alive on the page. Includes Story Purpose of characters and Subplots. Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 150 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!



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STORY PROBLEMS?

*** STORY: WELL TOLD *** - For Kindle!


This book takes you step-by-step through the construction of a story... and how to tell a story well, why Story always starts with character... but ISN'T character, Breaking Your Story, Irony, Planting Information, Evolving Story, Leaving No Dramatic Stone Unturned, The Three Greek Unities, The Importance Of Stakes, The Thematic Method, and how to create personal stories with blockbuster potential. Ready to tell a story? Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 85,000 words - 251 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


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STUCK IN THE MIDDLE?

*** ACT TWO SECRETS *** - For Kindle!


Expanded version with more techniques to help you through the desert of Act Two! Subjects Include: What Is Act Two? Inside Moves, The 2 Ps: Purpose & Pacing, The 4Ds: Dilemma, Denial, Drama and Decision, Momentum, the Two Act Twos, Subplot Prisms, Deadlines, Drive, Levels Of Conflict, Escalation, When Act Two Begins and When Act Two Ends, Scene Order, Bite Sized Pieces, Common Act Two Issues, Plot Devices For Act Two, and dozens of others. Over 67,000 words (that’s well over 200 pages) of tools and techniques to get you through the desert of Act Two alive! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 208 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


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I WRITE PICTURES!

*** VISUAL STORYTELLING *** - For Kindle! (exclusive)


Show Don't Tell - but *how* do you do that? Here are techniques to tell stories visually! Using Oscar Winning Films and Oscar Nominated Films as our primary examples: from the first Best Picture Winner "Sunrise" (1927) to the Oscar Nominated "The Artist" (which takes place in 1927) with stops along the way Pixar's "Up" and Best Original Screenplay Winner "Breaking Away" (a small indie style drama - told visually) as well as "Witness" and other Oscar Winners as examples... plus RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 200 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


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GOT IDEAS?

*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Kindle!

*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to find great ideas! Your screenplay is going to begin with an idea. There are good ideas and bad ideas and commercial ideas and personal ideas. But where do you find ideas in the first place? This handbook explores different methods for finding or generating ideas, and combining those ideas into concepts that sell. The Idea Bank, Fifteen Places To Find Ideas, Good Ideas And Bad Ideas, Ideas From Locations And Elements, Keeping Track Of Your Ideas, Idea Theft - What Can You Do? Weird Ways To Connect Ideas, Combing Ideas To Create Concepts, High Concepts - What Are They? Creating The Killer Concept, Substitution - Lion Tamers & Hitmen, Creating Blockbuster Concepts, Magnification And The Matrix, Conflict Within Concept, Concepts With Visual Conflict, Avoiding Episodic Concepts, much more! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 175 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


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MOVIES ARE CHARACTERS!

*** CREATING STRONG PROTAGONISTS *** - For Kindle!

*** CREATING STRONG PROTAGONISTS *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting protagonists! A step-by-step guide to creating "take charge" protagonists. Screenplays are about characters in conflict... characters in emotional turmoil... Strong three dimensional protagonists who can find solutions to their problems in 110 pages. But how do you create characters like this? How do you turn words into flesh and blood? Character issues, Knowing Who Is The Boss, Tapping into YOUR fears, The Naked Character, Pulp Friction, Man With A Plan, Character Arcs, Avoiding Cliche People, Deep Characterization, Problem Protagonists, 12 Ways To Create Likable Protagonists (even if they are criminals), Active vs. Reactive, The Third Dimension In Character, Relationships, Ensemble Scripts, and much, much morePrint version is 48 pages, Kindle version is once again around 205 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


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DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR!

*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Kindle!

*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting protagonists! How to remove bad dialogue (and what *is* bad dialogue), First Hand Dialogue, Awful Exposition, Realism, 41 Professional Dialogue Techniques you can use *today*, Subtext, Subtitles, Humor, Sizzling Banter, *Anti-Dialogue*, Speeches, and more. Tools you can use to make your dialogue sizzle! Special sections that use dialogue examples from movies as diverse as "Bringing Up Baby", "Psycho", "Double Indemnity", "Notorious", the Oscar nominated "You Can Count On Me", "His Girl Friday", and many more! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 160 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!



FREE DECEMBER 26 - 30th!

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ADVICE FROM #2 SCREENWRITER!

*** VINTAGE #1: HOW TO WRITE PHOTOPLAYS *** - For Kindle!

***

Screenwriting books have been around as long as films have. This series reprints vintage screenwriting books with a new introduction and history, plus new articles which look at how these lessons from almost 100 years ago apply to today’s screenplays. Anita Loos book is filled with information which still applies. In addition to the full text of the original book, you get the full screenplay to Miss Loos' hit THE LOVE EXPERT, plus several new articles on the time period and women in Hollywood.

Only $2.99 - and no postage!



These links all lead to the USA store, if you are in some other country and want to write a review for your country, go to your Amazon website.

Thank you all again.

Bill

Monday, December 21, 2015

Lancelot Link: Alvin & The Chipmunks Edition

Lancelot Link Monday! All of my friends were excited about the new movie opening over the weekend, and those who saw it said they laughed and cried and it was so great they forgave the previous three crappy movies... so I went to see ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP! Kind of disappointed. You stand in line for hours, you'd think it would be worth the wait, right? While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a baker's dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Star Wars:TFA.................. $238,000,000
2 Chipmunks:TRC................... $14,400,000
3 Sisters (not DePalma)........... $13,420,000
4 Hunger Games:MJ2................. $5,650,000
5 Creed:RB6........................ $5,085,000
6 Good Dino:WTF?................... $4,232,000
7 Krampus:HHH...................... $3,780,000
8 ITHOTS........................... $3,465,000
9 Dilwale.......................... $1,875,000
10 Bajiaro.......................... $1,660,000


STAR WARS record breaking $238m opening weekend... and when you include foreign it's hit $517m so far. First weekend. People online are saying they are going to see it a couple more times... which means it will continue to make a ton of money. Also - because so many showings have been sold out, and there are lines and crowds, many people are waiting until later to see the film. This was already a great box office year *before* STAR WARS. I suspect this will end up the new record ticket sales year in the USA.

2) STAR WARS: FORCE AWAKENS Cast Photo.

3) Old STAR WARS Characters Who Didn't Get Rehired Bitch About It.

4) Carrie Fisher On The STAR WARS Red Carpet.

5) STAR WARS Secret Cameos.

6) Other STAR WARS Cameos You May Have Missed - Obi Wan?

7) The Secret Backstory Of Finn's Character & Princess Leia's Cell Number.

8) JJ, Kathleen, Cast Members, Discuss The Power Of Storytelling.

9) STAR WARS Music Sung By The Cast On Jimmy Fallon.

10) Lawrence Kasdan (writer of the next two STAR WARS movies) Talks About His career.

11) Oscar Isaacs Covers Bill Murray's STAR WARS Theme.

12) Original STAR WARS Audition Tapes.

13) They'll Be Back!

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



In keeping with this week's theme.

Bill

Buy The DVDs

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

-
Dinner:
Pages:
Bicycle:

Movie:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Special Guest: Harry Connolly on Studying Screenwritng

My friend Harry Connolly has been writing guest blogs to promote his new (awesome) GREAT WAY Trilogy, and knocking it out of the park with each one. All kinds of amazing insight and information on writing that applies to novels, short stories, and screenplays. He should write a book! So my blog is privileged to host this guest blog...



INT. BOOKSTORE - DAY: How Studying Screenwriting Made Me a Better Novelist (Mostly)

Way back in the misty dawn of the 1990s, I was a noob author on the internet, looking for advice.

Boy, did I find it.

One of the earliest places I went searching was from pro novelists. Nice people, but none of the advice they gave me seemed all that helpful. I wanted to know how to put together a really great book, and the responses were, essentially: "Try not to be boring."

Now, this is the ultimate advice. Really, there is no better advice than this. "Be interesting" is the only rule of writing. Everything a writer learns about their craft brings them toward this goal.

But I wasn't looking for that. I wanted to talk dialog. I wanted tips on creating characters and conflict. I wanted concrete rules. That's when I found screenwriting.

Now, this was back in the days of Syd Field, who specified actual page numbers where people should put act breaks. It was very, very rigid. Too much so, honestly.

Not that I knew about Field at first. I was just this guy writing terrible fiction. Some actor friends told me to write a script so they could be in it, and gave it a try. Had I ever seen an actual film script before? Nope. Lots of plays (I studied Modernist Drama in college, mainly because plays are so short) but no screenplays. You can imagine how good they weren't.

Then, while bumping around from one message board to another, I discovered Wordplay.

I think just about every person who goes online is searching for a peer group, even if they don't realize it. They seek out a circle of friendly voices who share their interests, enthusiasms, and ambitions. Someone to cheer them on or buck them up. Someone willing to tell them they're full of shit.

Just as important are contrasts. The horror writer has a lot to learn from the kitchen sink drama writer, and vice versa. The woman who wants her name on big budget summer tentpole movies has a lot to learn from the woman writing arch indies. They define themselves and their work by their differences. And they can argue.

God, how we argued. Antagonists, flashbacks, outlining: it was an endless competition of ideas, and while I argued passionately, I was wrong as often as I was right.

But what did I learn in all that back and forthing that I'm still using today?

1) The elegant flourish. There's an early scene in Budd Schulberg's What Makes Sammy Run where a movie producer complains about an Ivy League playwright he's hired. The script he turned in had a 20 page scene where a husband and wife argued, bickered, and fought, and the playwright insisted every line of dialog was necessary to establish the man's contempt and the dismal state of their marriage. The producer brought on another writer, a guy with barely a high school education. New guy throws out the argument entirely and writes a new scene: The husband and wife are on an elevator. A pretty young woman gets on, and the man takes off his hat.

That was it, a single moment that encapsulated the situation perfectly. Short, simple, telling. I've been searching for ways to do that in my own writing ever since.

2) Hurry up! One of the first things screenwriters at the time were told was that any dialog over three lines was too long. (And script formatting is really narrow for dialog.) Get to the point without being on the nose, then get out.

The same was true for scenes. Start late and end early. Get to the conflict, then the next, then the next. Anything that didn't move the story forward had to be cut.

Novels can be a digressive form, with characters telling little stories about their lives, or doing the dishes, or stopping for coffee with an old friend. That's not a bad thing, and I certainly don't mind reading digressive books. I don't like writing them, though. I try to keep the story moving, and I inevitably get editorial notes asking me to slow things up and take a little more down time.

3) Be the expert. This was a hard one, because it doesn't mean what a novelist would assume it means. It's not an injunction to study sword-fighting before writing a duel, or to interview a bunch of cops before writing a procedural. That advice ought to be so obvious that nobody should need it. This means to be an expert in your own storyΓÇöto know it inside and out.

In fact, this came from the Wordplay column called You're The Expert; the reason screenwriters are supposed to be experts is to effectively respond to studio notes. That's not an issue for my type of writing, but when I'm stuck on a scene, or unsure what direction the plot should go, I ask myself what a really great would do. How would [extraordinary author] write this scene?

It's a surprisingly effective way to break through a block, and research has confirmed that people are more creative when they imagine themselves to be someone else. Research requires actual expertise, but creatively it helps to have the pretend kind.

What about that "Mostly?" There's one aspect of novel writing that studying scripts didn't prepare me for, and it wasn't what I expected. If you watch the opening of The Godfather, you see an amazing outdoor wedding partyΓÇöthe people, the decorations, the food, all of it. In a script, that's covered by the words EXT. WEDDING PARTY - DAY or whatever. A novelist has to do the work of the art department, the wardrobe department, casting, and all the rest.

But I expected that. What I didn't expect was the profound difference in the way prose text operated. In a script, the text doesn't have a lot of flow because so much of it is instruction. Scene headers, dialog names and parentheticals, "legends", all of them break the flow of the narrative and dialog.

Prose has none of that. Not only is the text very linear, it comes in a flow that's largely unbroken (with the exception of chapter headers or asterisks scene breaks). That task of stringing words together into sentences, then tying sentences together into paragraphs, then arranging paragraphs properly, it a lot like beadwork, and it was the biggest hurdle I faced. While revising first drafts, I found sentences in the wrong order, paragraphs that repeated exposition, unnecessary prepositional phrases, and worse.

Learning to control the flow of text and the transitions between sentences over page after page of prose, instead of in small bursts of narration, was the skill that elevated my game to earn a publishing contract and a career.

Obviously, it isn't absolutely necessary for novelists to study screenwriting; plenty of pros have done well without it. One of the strengths of the novel format is the extraordinary variety of styles and subject matters. Nothing really matters except that one rule I mentioned at the top.

But I'll always be wedded to the stripped-down, full-speed-ahead aesthetic of the script, and I'll always be grateful to the screenwriters (including my host here) who taught me what I needed to know to become a pro novelist.

Now watch me gently segue into a note about my latest, blurbed "Epic Fantasy that reads like a Thriller" by Greywalker author Kat Richardson.

The Way Into Chaos Cover

Have I mentioned that it received a starred review in Publishers Weekly? Bill wrote a review of the entire trilogy. You can also find out more about that first book on my website.

If you want to see the fast-paced style I've been talking about, you can read the sample chapters I've posted on my blog.

Thanks for reading.

BIO: Harry Connolly's debut novel, Child Of Fire, was named to Publishers Weekly's Best 100 Novels of 2009. For his epic fantasy series The Great Way, he turned to Kickstarter; at the time this was written, it's the ninth-most-funded Fiction campaign ever. Book one of The Great Way, The Way Into Chaos was published in December, 2014. Book two, The Way Into Magic, was published in January, 2015. The third and final book, The Way Into Darkness, was released on February 3rd, 2015. Harry lives in Seattle with his beloved wife, beloved son, and beloved library system.

In case you missed any of Harry's other guest blogs...

My Favorite Bit.

Why Talent Is Evil.

My Superpower As A Writer.

It's Dangerous To Go Alone.

Failing On Your Own Terms.

The Most Difficult Part To Write.

Experts Vs. Bumpkins.

Always Blame Yourself!

And the books:

Click covers for more info!

Chaos Magic Darkness











PS: Lancelot Links will be on *Tuesday* this week!

Bill

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Caution: Subconscious At Work

From 5 years ago...

For me, part of writing is figuring out what my damned subconscious is up to. I am a planner by nature. Part of my outline process is trying to find the parts that go together and why they go together so that I can make sure to highlight that in the screenplay. Our minds are mysterious places. They connect things that may not seem to be connected on the surface. When I'm thinking about my story before writing it, all kinds of strange elements may pop into my noggin that don't seem to be part of the story... but my subconscious is way ahead of me. Often in outline stage, I discover the connections... sometimes I can't see the connections and either leave the weird stuff out or leave it in for the first draft hoping that I will figure out where the heck that idea came from as I am writing, and make it work in the next draft.

That's kind of what happened on the spec I'm working on now. There were 3 subplots, and though all were connected to the story on the surface, I had no idea how they were connected to the story on a deeper level. One subplot had to do with the character's problems in school. One subplot had to do with the character's father's problems at work. One of the subplots had to do with a specific type of sidekick and that sidekick's background – also specific. Now, there was some reason why my subconscious selected that sidekick with that background... but I didn't know why when I began writing the screenplay. I've read many screenplays where it seemed like characters and incidents were picked blindly from a hat and just jammed into the script arbitrarily. That's what I try to avoid at the thinking-about-it stage and the outline stage – I try to find the connections. But on this script? Not a clue.

But why did my brain pick these specific elements? There is always some reason, and the trick to a good screenplay is to know the reason so that it can be communicated to the audience in the film and not just some weird thing that only makes sense to you. Screenwriting is communication – and if for some reason you just know that the character is left handed, part of the job is to figure out why they are left handed and why that is critical to the story and make sure the audience understands these things so it's not just some whim that the character is left handed.

So, a few days ago I was writing a scene... and had this flash. Suddenly, I could see what my subconscious was getting at! I knew the why for these subplots. I knew why there was only one choice for type of sidekick and background of sidekick – no other version would have worked as well. No other version would have illustrated the theme. No other version would have shown the protagonist's emotional issues as well. And that sidekick was connected to the two other subplots in ways I'd never seen before. Connections that were always there, that my subconscious could see, but I had not been able to see before. This allowed me to write a scene that was about one of the subplots but also addressed the two other subplots on the sly... so that all three subplots could make sense as part of the story to the audience. Now, those subplots made sense to me so I could write a scene so that they'd make sense to the audience. My subconscious knew these were the best subplots for this script before I did.

The trick is to listen to your subconscious, but also to find the way through that wall between right brain and left brain so that you understand what the heck your subconscious is up to and get that stuff on the page in a way that the reader and viewer can understand as well.

- Bill
IMPORTANT UPDATE:

TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: Protagonist's Job - How your protag's job is part of the story and important to the story... using the new movie WIN WIN as an example.
Dinner: Subway sandwich.
Pages: Dang - fell off the horse! But I did get a couple of pages written.
Bicycle: Mostly short rides.
Movies: WIN WIN - great little movie by the writer-director of THE VISITOR and THE STATION AGENT.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lancelot Link: Nobody Wants To See That Film!

Lancelot Link Monday! I can't figure out why people are surprised that Ron Howard's new film is bombing. If you had pitched me that script, I would have passed on it... How many people want to see a remake of MOBY DICK, based on a famous novel? Okay, now divide that by 100 because this isn't based on the famous novel, it's based on the true story that inspired the novel. Snooze! What *dream* of the audience does this film fulfill? And it's not even "cultural" like some movie based on MOBY DICK (which allows you to sound as if you maybe read the book, when you just skimmed the Cliff Notes in High School). How did *anyone* think this would make money? Oh, and the title SUCKS! While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Hunger Games 3 Part 2............ $11,300,000
2 Fart Of Sea...................... $11,005,000
3 Good Dino........................ $10,497,000
4 Creed............................ $10,120,000
5 Krampus........................... $8,010,000
6 Spectre........................... $4,000,000
7 Night B4.......................... $3,900,000
8 Peanuts........................... $2,650,000
9 Spotlight......................... $2,508,853
10 Brooklyn.......................... $1,975,000




2) Remember when the sequel to INDEPENDENCE DAY was going to be a remake of FANTASTIC VOYAGE?

3) Francs Ford Coppola on APOCALYPSE NOW and his recent films.

4) Golden Globe Nominations! Who Are The "Hollywood Foreign Press" Again?

5) Tarantino Talks With Nolan about HATEFUL EIGHT.

6) Adam Sandler's RIDICULOUS SIX Nominated In All Categories!

7) Brad Pitt's Company Also Making Movies For Netflix.

8) MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 breaks Kickstarter records.

9) Variety's Actors On Actors: McKellan & Blanchett.

10) Bradley Cooper directs Beyonce in STAR IS BORN remake.

11) Bill Murray On The New GHOSTBUSTERS and Wes Anderson.

12) Morricone on HATEFUL EIGHT score.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



This is *not* a Ron Howard movie...

Bill

Buy The DVDs

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

-
Dinner:
Pages:
Bicycle:

Movie:

Monday, December 07, 2015

Lancelot Link: End Of The Year?

Lancelot Link Monday! Some of this week's links are to Best Films Of 2015 Lists... and this year isn't even over! This is worse than Christmas decorations and music before Thanksgiving! Hey, most of the big Oscar movies will be released just before Christmas, so how can you know what the best movie of the year is when a whole bunch of really good ones haven't even been released yet? Did they use a crystal ball? Did they call one of those TV psychics? What if some movie that hasn't been released yet is better? While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Hunger 3 Part 2................. $18,600,000
2 Krampus......................... $16,020,000
3 Creed........................... $15,540,000
4 Good Dino....................... $15,512,000
5 Spectre.......................... $5,425,000
6 Night Before..................... $4,920,000
7 Peanuts.......................... $3,525,000
8 Spotlight........................ $2,926,844
9 Brooklyn......................... $2,430,000
10 Secret Eyes....................... $1,950,000


Box Office has dipped below 2013 & 2014 at this point in time, but International Box Office is breaking records.

2) Lawrence Kasdan on writing STAR WARS movies.

3) Over 100 Free Legal Download Screenplays!

4) And The Best Film Of 2015 Is...

5) The BIFA Winners!

6) The Hit List - This Year's Hot Scripts!

7) Interview With Director Of HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT.

8) Relativity... Not Quite Dead.

9) Tarantino & Cast Talk HATEFUL 8 in 90 Min Interview.

10) HANNIBAL (TV show) Script To Screen Comparison.

11) L.A. Film Critics Awards... The Year Isn't Over Yet!

12) Last Year's Oscar Nominated Directors Talk About Their Favorite Scenes.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



The *Next* Series In The STORIES IN ACTION Books will talk about this chase.

Bill

Buy The DVDs

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

-
Dinner:
Pages:
Bicycle:

Movie:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lancelot Link: Women!

Lancelot Link Monday! This week's links not only have the first photo from the WONDER WOMAN movie, also a swell article on the Women In Hollywood... oh, amnd the #1 film this weekend stars one of those women we speak of. Yes, there should be more of them working in the business, so let's do something about that! While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Hunger Games #3 P2............. $101,025,000
2 Spectre......................... $14,600,000
3 Peanuts......................... $12,800,000
4 Night Before.................... $10,100,000
5 Secret Eyes...................... $6,633,000
6 Coopers (not mini)............... $3,925,000
7 Martian.......................... $3,700,000
8 Spotlight........................ $3,603,466
9 The 33........................... $2,240,000
10 Bridge Spies..................... $1,945,000


Though part 2 of MOCKINGJAY opened $20m below part 1's opening, but foreign brings it up to $247 million... and it's days before Thanksgiving and 2 weeks after SPECTRE... with STAR WARS around the corner. Some of the estimates were $100m, and it made $101m, so it's not a failure. Heck, it made a pile of money in the first 3 days! Total box office for the year is still 4% over last year... with STAR WARS on the horizon.

2) John Gregory Dunne On Screenwriting.

3) Stacy Keach On Working With John Huston On FAT CITY.

4) The Women Of Hollywood Speak Out! (unfortunately, this is probably all of them.)

5) Carter Burwell's (BLOOD SIMPLE) Score For CAROL, Based On The Patricia Highsmith (STRANGERS ON A TRAIN) Novel.

6) STAR WARS Auditions From SNL.

7) Christopher McQuarrie Returns For MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 6.

8) WONDER WOMAN Starts Filming.

9) MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Remake. Will This Open The Door To Mystery Films?

10) LEGEND Actress Emily Browning On Working With Tom Hardy Times Two.

11) A Dozen Things You Need To Know Before Writing TV.

12) DP John Seale On Shooting MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



From KILL ME THREE TIMES.

Bill

Buy The DVDs

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

-
Dinner:
Pages:
Bicycle:

Movie:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lancelot Link: Bill's Day Off

Lancelot Link Tuesday! A day late and a dollar short... so if all of you could send me a dollar, I'd appreciate it. Sorry this is a day late - but weather in Los Angeles on Sunday (and Monday) was cold and windy, so I decided to skip work and stay home near the heating vent and drink cocoa and watch TV and relax. I actually wrote a couple of pages on my short story, but not enough to matter. Some times you just need to take a day off. By the way - what does a cat do on it's day off? The opposite of what it does every other day? While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Actuals:
1 Spectre......................... $33,681,104
2 Peanuts......................... $24,013,538
3 Love The Coopers................. $8,317,545
4 Martian.......................... $6,712,171
5 The 33........................... $5,787,266
6 Goosebumps....................... $4,633,112
7 Bridge Of Spies.................. $4,268,772
8 Prem Ratan Dhan Payo............. $2,425,585
9 Hotel Transylvania............... $2,314,063
10 Last Vin Diesel Movie............ $1,482,463


Box Office is 4.4% ahead of this time last year... and STAR WARS hasn't opened, yet. Oh, and the last HUNGER GAMES movie comes out this weekend. Looking to be a good year.

2) Screenwriter Emma Donoghue On Adapting THE ROOM.

3) Screenwriter Steve Kloves (FABULOUS BAKER BOYS) On Writing, Outlining, Moments.

4) Spec Sale News.

5) Where Nightmare Are Created.

6) Why There Are Few Women Directors In TV.

7) The Next 100 Sequels In The FAST & FURIOUS Franchise Announced.

8) 25 Best Action Flick Opening Sequences.

9) MEMENTO Reboot (or is it a prequel?)

10) Screenwriter John Sayles On Writing And Directing Indie Films.

11) WGA Picks 101 Funniest Comedies.

12) Answers To Common Questions About Los Angeles (Movie Capital Of The World). A bunch of great articles about the birth and growth of the city.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



Okay, it's a foot chase. But with all of the screenwriter interviews this week, it kind of made sense.

Bill

Buy The DVDs

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Raindance Film Festival Awards 2015

Another thing that happened while I was doing the 13 Films Of Halloween was the Raindance Film Fest gave out their awards.

** denotes the winner in the category.



Best International Feature:
Fires On The Plain
**Alice In Marialand
Chorus
Happy 140
That’s It
Echoes of War

Best British Feature:
**Kicking Off
Love/Me/Do
Mile End
The Return
Swansong
God’s Acre

Best Debut Feature:
Le Dep
**Princess
Bob And The Trees
Racket Shelter
Out of My Hand

Best Documentary Feature:
Sila And The Gatekeepers Of The Arctic
Digital Dissidents
**Gored
The Arms Drop
Horizontes
Broken Land

Best International Short
**Home
Winter Light
Chute Fighter
Shabu Shabu Spirit
Harry & Judy
A Hole In My Heart

Best UK Short
Into The Surf
Dating Eliza
**North
The Earth Belongs To No-One
Just Desserts
Strange Weather

Best Animated Short
N0-A
**Palm Rot
The Mechanical Waltz
The Alchemist’s Letter
Nowhere Line – Notes from Manus island
Last Day Of Freedom

Best Documentary Short
I Thought I Told You To Shut Up
Transmitting Thought: The Maimonides Dream Lab
The Champion
Rattle The Hocks
Rock’n’Roll Island
**Walking Through Havana

Feature Film of the Festival
All features in the festival are eligible. It is awarded to the film that best embodies the spirit of Raindance.
**Datuna: Portrait of America

Short Film of the Festival*
All shorts in the festival are eligible. The winner of the Short Film of the Festival award will be eligible for Oscar consideration.
** Winter Light

Special Jury Prize for a Short**
All shorts in the festival are eligible. The winner of the Special Jury Prize for a Short will be invited to pitch for next year’s festival trailer.
**The House Job

Best Music Video
All music videos in the festival are eligible.
**Stealing Sheep – Not Real

Congratulation to all of the winners!

- Bill

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

BEAT THE CAT!

The new BREAKING IN Blue Book has not even gotten close to beating THE CAT on Amazon! How can that be? The previous Blue Books had all battled SAVE THE CAT for the #1 position on Amazon by this point and won... for a day or two. THE CAT always returns to the top spot!

So how about helping me BEAT THE CAT?

If you want the new Blue Book and haven't bought it yet - BUY IT FRIDAY (11/6/15). If enough people buy it on the same day, it can battle the CAT for #1!

But *why* should you buy the BREAKING IN Blue Book? It's 419 pages long! That's like *2* books worth of material! Did I charge extra? Nope - still only $3.99. (But look for all of the Blue Book prices to go up a buck sometime next year... there are $5 screenwriting "books" on Amazon that are under 50 pages...) The problem was, the old paper version of the Blue Book was (and is) only around 40 pages of material, so it could only focus on the very basics of getting your script out there... nothing about making connections and networking, nothing about assignments, nothing about meetings, nothing about options, nothing about contracts, nothing about side doors into the business, nothing about *most* of the aspects of the business. Once I typed the words:

"Though this book is titled “Breaking In” that is kind of a misnomer, because it should be called the Everything About The Business Blue Book. There will be much more involved in your screenwriting career than selling screenplays, so I covered as much as I can. It's really the BREAKING IN AND HAVING A CAREER AND STAYING IN Blue Book.

I knew I was in trouble, because now I'd have to address all of those things! I'd have to go beyond query letters and look at all of the things that happen once your career begins, and you need to know all about meetings and assignments. Things you need to know in order to make connections that get you into the business. All of the back doors and side entrances into the business... what about contests? Pitchfests? Hey, what can you expect when you do a round of meetings and where will they make you park? How do you find a manager? Do you need a lawyer? There are so many aspects of the screenwriting business that I know even at 400 pages I have left things out... but eventually you have to type Fade Out and release it into the world. So here it is...

BRAND NEW!

bluebook

405 Pages!

*** SELLING BLUE BOOK *** - For Kindle!


Should really be called the BUSINESS BLUE BOOK because it covers almost everything you will need to know for your screenwriting career: from thinking like a producer and learning to speak their language, to query letters and finding a manager or agent, to making connections (at home and in Hollywood) and networking, to the different kinds of meetings you are will have at Studios, to the difference between a producer and a studio, to landing an assignment at that meeting and what is required of you when you are working under contract, to contracts and options and lawyers and... when to run from a deal! Information you can use *now* to move your career forward! It's all here in the Biggest Blue Book yet!

Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 400 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!



USA Folks Click Here.



UK Folks Click Here.

German Folks Click Here.

French Folks Click Here.

Espania Folks Click Here.

Canadian Folks Click Here.

Other countries check your Amazon websites... it's there!

Seriously - TEN TIMES larger than the paper version (still on sale on my website)! That's just crazy!

The next 3 Blue Books will be DESCRIPTION, STRUCTURE, and BLOCKBUSTERs (all 3 in 2016 I hope). Everyone wants the OUTLINES Blue Book, and I've promised it for the past couple of years, but the problem is I don't have enough ideas for new chapters, yet... and I want to get it up to 200 pages. I hope that over the next year I'll come up with some new chapter ideas and get that out at the beginning of 2017.

Thank you to everyone!

Bill

Monday, November 02, 2015

Lancelot Link: Merry Christmas!

Lancelot Link Monday! Halloween candy is 50% off and every store has their Christmas stuff up. Couldn't we create homne decorations that switched from scary Halloween to fun Christmas with the flick of a switch? While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 The Martian..................... $11,400,000
2 Goosebumps...................... $10,210,000
3 Bridge Of Spies.................. $8,060,000
4 Hotel Tranny 2................... $5,830,000
5 Burnt............................ $5,038,000
6 Last Vin Diesel.................. $4,750,000
7 Pair Of Normal................... $3,450,000
8 Our Brand........................ $3,430,000
9 Crimson (not Twin)............... $3,110,000
10 Jobs............................. $2,580,000


Some folks have been making a lot out of BURNT and OUR BRAND IS CRISIS - two star driven vehicles - not making piles of money this weekend. Those people are morons. Both films are not commercial vehicles, but "Oscar bait" movies - and I don't think anyone expected them to make a lot of money. They expected them to get good reviews and be remembered when the Oscar nominations are announced. Halloween is traditionally a dead weekend - people are Trick Or Treating and going to parties - not the movies. So it's the perfect time to release a film that is not expected to sell a lot of tickets. Hey, both ended up in the top ten...

2) What is "Deathwave"? Jason Blum answers.

3) Deathwave Part 2

4) Horror Comedy - Per Roger Corman.

5) Emmett-Furla (FEAST) make a big deal with Lionsgate.

6) The Stars Of FINAL GIRLS Interviewed.

7) Jar Jar Binks, and evil Jedi Master?

8) WORLD WAR Z: PART II gets new screenwriter.

9) Stan Lee's New Movie Is *NOT* With Marvel

10) Top Spec Script Agent Leaves WME!

11) The Legal Problems With True Stories: STRAIGHT OUTTA HARVARD LAW?

12) The Dramatic Return Of Steve Guttenberg To Modern Cinema.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:





Bill

Buy The DVDs

Saturday, October 31, 2015

13 Films Of Halloween:
FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM

FROM A WHISPER TO SCREAM (1987)
Aka THE OFFSPRING

Starring: Vincent Price, Clu Gulager, Susan Tyrell, Cameron Mitchell, Lawrence Tierney, Terry Kiser (WEEKEND AT BERNIES), Rosalin Cash (OMEGA MAN) and many others - great cast!
Written by: C. Courtney Joyner, Darin Scott, Jeff Burr.
Directed by: Jeff Burr
Produced by: Bill Burr & Darin Scott


Happy Halloween!



This brings the series to a conclusion, and I’ve had a lot of fun writing these entries. All of these great films from my childhood - watching on late night TV on Halloween night - this was reliving my childhood watching Bob Wilkens’ CREATURE FEATURES and the kids matinee movies they showed at Pleasant Hill Intermediate School on Saturday afternoons. Watching the films again has been a blast, and looking at how they delivered scares on low budgets without gore or much in the way of special effects. Those Corman movies used suspense and dread and shock moments - and I tried to point all of them out in the synopsis so that you can see how the films work. These were all films that you could show to an auditorium full of kids... and provide some “safe screams”.



But some of you are wondering, “Where was THE FLY? Where was TALES OF TERROR? Where was THE TINGLER?” Hey, there are easily 13 more Vincent Price horror films that I didn’t use this time... so maybe I’ll do those next year.

For our last film I decided to go with a film late in Vincent Price’s career, after his “retirement” from movies. When you read a biography of Price they always say he came out of retirement to do two films, WHALES OF AUGUST and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS... but they never mention this film! The actual return from retirement movie. Oh, and made by a whole bunch of people I know. Directed by my friend Jeff Burr, produced by my friend Darin Scott, written by my friend C. Courtney Joyner (plus Darin and Jeff), and even some of the cast members are people I know. Met these folks at a series of Fangoria conventions I went to when I was still living in the Bay Area... and at AFM (maybe the year they were selling the film as THE OFFSPRING - I had a long conversation with Bill Burr on one of the balconies as we looked down at the “Lobby Rats”). Since the film was 1986, and that was my first year ever at AFM, these guys may have been the first people I met in Los Angeles! I saw the film at AFM, which means I probably saw it before it was released by MGM under the new title the next year.



Katherine White (Martine Beswick) is being executed in a Tennessee prison, as the Warden (Lawrence Tierney, pre-RESEVOIR DOGS “comeback”), the death is not instantaneous nor pleasant. Reporter Beth Chandler (Susan Tyrrell) watches in horror...

Oldfield, Tennessee: a spooky old house that is a combination town Library, town bureau of records, and residence - where the White family lived. Beth knocks on the door, finds it open, ventures inside to discover Mr. Julian White (Vincent Price) in the library section. He was the uncle of the executed woman. Beth wants the full story - Katherine killed her first man at age 7 and continued her killing spree until she was caught at 32. Why? What could have caused her to kill at 7? White says his niece’s execution will not end the problem - Oldfield is serial killer central, many a killer has called this place home. A cursed town. White tells the stories of some of the residents like...



Stanley Burnside (Clu Gulager), who wakes up screaming after dreaming of his dead and bloody wife. A quiet small town man. Lonely. He watches a pretty girl, Grace (Megan McFarland), at en employee barbeque for the meat packing company he works for. That night his sister Ellen (Miriam Bird-Nethery) is suffering from a fever and he has to bathe her in ice water, washing down her naked old body. This is more horrifying than that execution - as the wrinkled old sister is digging having her brother touch her naked flesh.

At work he shyly flirts with Grace, who gives him the cold shoulder.

One night, he calls her to ask her out on a date... and she refuses at first... then relents. Sister Ellen is jealous that he’s got a date.



At some cheap family chain restaurant they have an awkward meal together... afterwards on the drive back, she pretty much shoots him down big time. He forces a kiss on her, and she insists he take her home. When she keeps shooting him down, he strangles her to death... the tail light of the car blinking as they struggle. He dumps her on the side of the road and drives away.

Next day at work the Foreman announces that a fellow employee was killed the night before. There will be a funeral in a couple of days and they will be given time off to attend. A coworker notices that Stanley has scratches on the side of his face.



Night. The funeral home. Someone breaks a basement window and crawls inside... Stanley making a late night visit. Grace is laid out in a coffin for tomorrow’s funeral, surrounded by flowers. Stanley brings champagne, tells the corpse they can’ let something like this get in the way of their romance. Oh, yeah - it’s going there. Stanley kisses her corpse, then undresses both of them and gets busy...

Nine months later...

He comes home from work to find his sister wanting a bath... and wearing a ton of make up. Um, what’s up with that? Stanley breaks up the ice with an ice pick and pours some in the tub. His sister keeps talking on and on and on... and finally Stanley just pushes her head under the water and tries to drown her. That doesn’t work, and he grabs for the ice pick., ends up getting her robe belt - that works just fine to strangle her. She ends up dead and naked in the tub of ice water.

Meanwhile, at Grace’s grave, something crawls out of the dirt! Crawls across a field to Stanley’s house.



Stanley hears noises in the house - a broken window in the kitchen. A tree branch? No, something messy on the floor - dirt and slime. And there’s something crawling around in his house - like the totem dude in TRILOGY OF TERROR. Now it’s Stanley versus this little crawling thing! He reaches under he couch for it and it bites his hand! He grabs a knife to defend himself as it terrorizes him - what the hell is it? It skitters upstairs. When he follows, he finds his sister’s naked corpse at the base of the stairs! He climbs the stairs carefully, knife ready... when that *thing* trips him at the top of the staircase. Stanley tumbles all the way down... into the arms of his dead sister. He looks up to see what that thing is... and it’s a dead baby. A dead baby that keeps saying, “Daddy!” Then the baby comes down to attack him!

Back to Mr. White who tells the next story... that happened over 30 years ago.

Jesse Hardwick (Terry Kiser) lives in a crappy trailer and has the ultimate in relationship problems - his girlfriend says she’s leaving, and that she’s tipped off the McCoy Brothers that he was cheating them... and they are on their way.

Just the, the McCoy Brothers show up - guns drawn - and Jesse blasts through the wall of the house trailer and runs. But he can’t outrun a bullet, and one of the McCoy Brothers shoots him and leaves his body on the side of the road. But Jesse isn’t quite dead, and drags himself to the river where he has his boat stashed and then passes out in the boat. The boat drifts down the river... until someone pulls it ashore.

Jesse wakes up in an old shack filled with some really weird stuff. The old man who owns the shack, Felder Evans (Harry Ceasar) comes home and tells Jesse he’s been asleep for days. Gives him some soup. That night, old man Felder is practicing voodoo on the back porch and Jesse overhears.



The next day, Jesse asks Felder some prying personal questions and can’t get any straight answers. How old is Felder? How long has he been living here? Felder just talks about carving wooden buffalo while standing in the middle of a herd. No herds of buffalo for decades. How old is this guy? When Felder leaves, Jesse ransacks the shack - looking for valuables. Finds a hidden trunk filled with “valuables” - some antique guns, a book of voodoo spells, a scrap book with clipping about Felder that go back over *two centuries*. What? How is that possible?

Felder comes home and Jesse asks him how a man gets to be 200 years old. Is it that voodoo? Jesse demands to know how it’s done. If you could live that long, you could become rich! Jesse wants to take voodoo lessons...



Three weeks later, Jesse is frustrated. He’s a guy who is looking for a get rich quick scheme and this voodoo thing is a lot of work. Jesse has seen Felder drink from a little vial - is that his secret to eternal life? He knocks out Felder, puts him on the boat, and takes him out on the swamp. Threatens to throw him overboard if Felder doesn’t tell where the vial of magic water is. Felder doesn’t tell, and Jesse screws up yet again and accidentally shoves him all the way out of the boat. Felder sinks into the swamp. Jesse can’t see his body anywhere. Crap!

At Felder’s shack, Jesse is tearing the place apart looking for the vial - can’t find it. When Felder - covered in swamp mud - blasts through the door and slams him in the head with the boat paddle!

Jesse wakes up tied to the dock. Felder tells him when he first dragged Jesse and that boat in, Jesse was already dead. Felder used that potion from the vial on him to bring him back to life - so Jesse has just been trying to steal something that he already had. “You can’t die. I gave you enough that you’ll last another 70 years or more.” Felder pours kerosine on Jesse’s chest. Then chops off one of Jesse’s arms and sets him on fire and...



Two kids find a *moving* sack on the side of the road, call the police.

Hospital: The doctor says it is impossible for this... man... to be alive in his condition. But he is. And then we see what is left of Jesse - burned torso and head and... yech! Felder’s voice echoes, “You’ll last another 70 years or more.”

Back to Mr. White and Beth, who still isn't convinced it is the *town* that is evil. All of these bad things happening in the same place is just a coincidence. Mr. White tells her the Librarian who was here 40 years ago killed two people and buried them under this very floor (what that Mr. White?) then he tells her a story from his childhood - when the carnival came to town, bringing along the sideshow. And he remember Amarrillis Caulfield....



1933: The Carnival - crowded - pretty small town girl Amarrillis (Didi Lanier) walks along the midway until she comes to the sideshows, and enters the tent for Arden The Amazing (Ron Brooks) - who eats nails and screws and broken glass and razor blades and other things not on the standard food pyramid. After the performance she waits for Arden, and kisses him. Small town girl attractive to “sophisticated” carny. As they kiss, fellow carny Leonard (Gordon Paddison) watches them. Arden tells her he has a poker game with the guys, so she’s gotta go. She doesn’t want to leave... and makes him a deal - she’ll leave tonight if he meets her for a necking party at the graveyard after tomorrow’s shows have finished. He agrees and tells her to leave, “You don’t know how dangerous it is here if she finds you.” Amarrillis wants to know “Who’s she?” but Arden tells her to just leave.



Arden plays poker with the other carnies... when SnakeWoman (Rosalind Cash) steps from the darkness and wants to know who’s the girl she saw Arden with. Arden asks *who* saw him, SnakeWoman or Leonard? Leonard sneaks up behind Arden and blows on his neck. Tiny Tinker (Angelo Rossitto) says that SnakeWoman has no control over their personal lives, and she threatens him with the police... Tinker relents. SnakeWoman says that she protects all of them from the police in exchange for their talents - maybe in the case of the freak “No Face” (Barney Burman) she gave him his talent (by removing parts of his face). “This is my carnival. I own everything in it. Even you,” she says to Arden. “I own the tears you weep and the blood you shed.” Arden splits.

Amarrillis goes to the graveyard to put flowers on Father’s grave, when Arden arrives. Arden says he can’t stay long, she needs to forget about him. She says since she first saw his act she wanted to marry him, or just be with him. He tells her he’s a freak. She puts his hand on her breast and gets her freak on. They make out on her father’s grave, and begin undressing each other. But when he puts his hands “down there” she screams and bleeds - is it supposed to hurt like that? He takes his hand out of her panties - and screws and nails that he’s eaten in the past have erupted from his finger tips. He screams and staggers back to the carnival, where SnakeWoman is there to meet him. “Welcome home, glass eater.” SnakeWoman is a voodoo priestess - whose tent is filled with snakes. She makes his bleeding stop... and tells him to forget the girl. She makes the glass and nails he has eaten poke through his insides! Tells him to love that girl and know what pain really is.



When Arden returns to his tent, Amarrillis is waiting for him - she begs him to leave with her. He decides that might not be a bad idea. But on the way to her car they are discovered by Leonard - who has a gun. When he threatens to kill Arden, Tiny Tinker comes out of the shadows and stabs Leonard in the back. As Leonard lays dying he tears open his shirt, exposing a third eye on his chest, and says “I can still see you!”

Arden and Amarrillis drive off together.

In a roadside motel, they once again try to make whoopi... then he begins screaming in pain as all of the nails and screws and glass and razors he has eaten over the years *burst* from his body! Blood sprays everywhere - drenching Amarrillis - and piercing her body again and again!



Back to the side show, where they have a new attraction: Amarrillis The Human Pincushion. She has holes in her body that you can see through!

Mr. White finishes the story, and Beth is coming around... she is starting to believe that Oldfield might just be an evil town. “Oldfield’s history is written in human blood, on pages of human skin.” All the way back to when the town was founded during the Civil War. He shows her a series of Civil War photos, and one comes to life before our eyes for the last story...

Four Confederate Soldiers, lead by Sgt. Gallen (Cameron Mitchell) have been separated from their division, and come across a group of Union Soldiers - also separated from their division. The Union soldiers haven’t seen them yet, so Gallen orders his men to fire on them. Everyone fires except Pike... whose man is getting away. Gallen grabs Pike’s rifle and kills the running survivor. Gallen has them loot the bodies. They find documents on the dead Union soldiers - the war is over, and has been for a month. Gallen thinks there’s still some raping and looting left to do. Pike says if the war is over, he’s going home... and walks away. Gallen shoots him in the back, killing him.



Gallen and the two other soldiers (Bullock and McBride) go looking for a house where they can rape and loot, when they’re fired upon... and captured. They’re taken in a wagon to an old house named Oldfield with a bunch of children in the yard. Some of the children have been mutilated in the war - missing limbs or eyes or parts of their face. A little boy in a Union Army uniform, Andrew (Tommy Nowell), comes out of the house and tells Gallen that he is their prisoner now. Gallen can’t take this little boy seriously. Bullock (Tim Wingard) tells them their just a bunch of kids... and gets stabbed in the balls with a knife. Suddenly Gallen is taking this seriously. He tries to convince the boy that the war is over... but little Andrew does not believe them. Andrew takes the three Confederate soldiers into the house and warns them that the Magistrate will decide their fate. The Magistrate taught them everything they know - how to fight.

Soldier Bullock who was stabbed in the balls? They don’t expect him to last the night, so they’ll prepare a game for him. The other soldier, McBride (Leon Edwards), is in a different room, so he won’t be able to conspire with Gallen to escape.



A little girl with only one leg and only one eye, Amanda (Ashli Bare), brings Gallen dinner. He tries to talk her into letting him go when the ball rings - the Magistrate is calling a meeting. She leaves.

Andrew tells Amanda that he has a surprise for her, and takes her into the room where they have McBride. The Confederate soldier is now strapped to a table. Andrew tells Amanda to take off her eye patch... and then he inserts one of McBride’s eyes into her socket. McBride screams - and we see that his eye has been cut out.

When Amanda brings his next meal, Gallen convinces her to untie him... he’s adopt her and be her daddy. She untie him... Then he gives her a full on kiss... which is just wrong. She fights him. And he kills her and escapes... to find the kids playing a game in the front yard.

Pinata with meat hooks and the body of dead soldier Bullock. You know, for kids!



Gallen gets the hell out of there - running through the woods at top speed. Until he runs into Pike, who wasn’t killed by Gallen’s shot in the back. Pike knocks Gallen to the ground. Gallen says - you have to help me get away, those kids are going to kill me!

And Andrew has discovered Amanda’s body and the kids *are* chasing through the woods to find Gallen. But Andrew doesn’t help Gallen... he turns him over to the kids.



Gallen wakes up in the Magistrate’s Room. Andrew tells him they don’t murder people, they take them before the Magistrate and the Magistrate passes sentence. Then Andrew pulls aside a curtain so that Gallen can see the Magistrate: a Frankenstein’s monster made of the body parts of these kid’s parents... who were murdered in the war.

And the sentence for Gallen? Barbecue. They cook him up and eat him.

And that’s where the town of Oldfield came from - those cannibal kids.



Mr. White tells Beth that Poe and Lovecraft’s monsters where inventions of their imaginations, but here in Oldfield they walk the streets. Beth asks how Mr. White managed to survive this town, and he answers: “How do you know that I did?” Beth reaches into her purse and touches the handle of her knife... Mr. White smiles and tells her that he managed to just remain an observer of the parade of violence, but his niece Katherine became part of the parade. Beth says that she reported on Katherine’s murders, then after the arrest became Katherine’s pen pall while she was in prison... and learned all about this town and how Katherine was brought up... by Mr. White. And now she’s here to deliver Katherine’s parting gift to the man who raised her - pulls out her knife and stabs Mr. White, who dies saying: “Welcome to Oldfield.”

One of the final credits on the film: “When In Tennessee Visit Oldfield”!

Happy Halloween everybody! Trick Or Treat responsibly!

Buy the pit



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