The Upside Down World

by Anthony Kirkwood

Screenplay
Email: anthonykirkwood@hotmail.com

The synopsis: This (fictional) documentary follows horror film director Liam Meed and his fall from grace. As we enter Liam's life, we witness the fragmentation of his personal life and his descent to the murky depths of professioanl failure.

 

 

 

 

THE UPSIDE DOWN WORLD

SCREENPLAY
by Anthony Kirkwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony Kirkwood Telephone: +61 2 99672369
Email: anthonykirkwood@hotmail.com

FADE IN:
While we see the newspaper headlines below, we hear the following voice overs, excerpts taken from radio broadcasts.

 

(V.O.)

RADIO VOICE

What we’re talking about here is fear. Fear. Plain, basic fear.
When an entire community is targeted by an unknown predator, what other reaction could there be? They have been subjected to brutality and terror and that seems likely to continue, who knows for how long? What other reaction could there be? We would all be afraid if it was happening to us. Right?

 

(V.O.)

RADIO VOICE #2

Hatsdeld is a community living in terror. A maniac, identity unknown, a nameless psychopath, is on the loose, perhaps living within the very community he is terrorizing. Perhaps that maniac is a familiar face, a neighbour, a friend, a relative . . .”

SERIES OF SHOTS OF NEWSPAPER HEADLINES DATING BETWEEN MARCH AND APRIL 1975:

PREDATOR IN THE NIGHT: WHY WE SHOULD BE AFRAID

MONSTER ON THE LOOSE: KILLINGS PARALYSE THE HATSDELD AREA UNPRECEDENTED FEAR GRIPS PART OF THE CITY: IS ANYONE SAFE?
THE HATSDELD KILLER STRIKES AGAIN: FIVE VICTIMS IN FIVE WEEKS

EXT. TV NEWS REPORT - DAY
A news reporter, holding a microphone, is reporting live from a crime scene. In the background, several police cars with their lights flashing fill the street. The name of the reporting journalist is shown at the bottom of the screen.

 

TV NEWS REPORTER
As you can see behind me, police have swooped upon a small residential complex in the heart of the Hatsdeld area. We are unsure at this time if police have uncovered yet another victim of the predator who has been called ‘The Hatsdeld Terror’ or if the person responsible for the infamous series of gruesome Hatsdeld murders has finally be apprehended.

EXT. TV NEWS REPORT #2 - DAY
Another television reporter is interviewing a police detective in a live news report.

TV NEWS REPORTER #2
I have with me Detective Samuel Horn, who has been leading the police investigation into the Hatsdeld murders.
(to Detective Horn)
Can you tell us what happened here today?

DETECTIVE SAMUEL HORN
All I can tell you at this stage is that we have detained a suspect in relation to the Hatsdeld Murders.

TV NEWS REPORTER #2
Can you tell us who he is, or anything about him?

DETECTIVE SAMUEL HORN
More information will be made public as further details come to hand. But, at this stage, we are unable to reveal his identity.

TV NEWS REPORTER #2
Is he the man you have been looking for these past weeks?

DETECTIVE SAMUEL HORN
We believe so. We think we’ve got the right person. We think the killings are over.

 

SUPERIMPOSE ON BLACK SCREEN:

CUT TO:

 

In 1975 a horrifying series of gruesome murders in the downtown LA area were committed across five terrifying weeks. The five murders took place in and around the small community of Hatsdeld, prompting the police to dub the killer ‘The Hatsdeld Terror’.

Using forensic analysis and criminal profiling, the killer was eventually unmasked. To the shock and horror of the country, it was revealed that the killer was a local Hatsdeld resident. His name was Henry Meed.

Henry Meed was charged with multiple murders, was jailed, certified as insane, and he died in prison twenty years later.

At the time of the killings, Henry Meed’s nephew - Liam - was four.

 

CREDITS

FADE TO BLACK.

 

EXT. BLACK SCREEN - DAY
SUPERIMPOSE ON BLACK SCREEN: RADIO INTERVIEW WITH LIAM MEED: JANUARY 18, 1999

RADIO HOST
(V.O.)
We’re honoured to have the infamous horror director, Liam Meed, in our studio this morning. Liam’s reputation is well-known - he has produced some of the most acclaimed horror cinema to date. His career is on the up and up.
As one critic recently said, ‘From here on in, Liam can only cement his position in the pantheon of great Hollywood filmmakers.’
(pause)
Mr. Meed, before we begin, I would, with your permission, like to raise an issue that has recently come to light, regarding your past.
(pause)
It’s been suggested recently by numerous commentators that you bear a striking resemblance to the Hatsdeld serial killer Henry Meed. Now, would you . . .

 

LIAM MEED
(V.O.; angrily)
Are you for real? What sort of question is this?

RADIO HOST
Mr. Meed, there’s been intense interest in this topic. If you do object to . . .

LIAM MEED
I came onto your f#%king show to discuss my latest film, not to discuss past events in this city, which, I might say anyway, have nothing to do with me.

Short silence on the air.
RADIO HOST
Are you denying that you are related to Henry Meed, the notorious and brutal killer who .
. .

LIAM MEED
I’m calling you a f#%king nosy prick, is what I’m doing. This interview is f#%king over.

There is the sound of a microphone being ripped off and muffled curses and a loud bang as a door is slammed shut.

RADIO HOST
(V.O)
Well, listeners, that was star horror director Liam Meed. Liam’s latest film opens this week in cinemas everywhere.

EXT. PHOTOGRAPH OF LIAM MEED - DAY
A photograph of Liam standing behind a camera on a film set, with headphones hanging around his neck.

There are a few other filmmakers standing around Liam, as well as a couple of costumed zombies (one holding a cigarette), but Liam is the real focus of the photograph. We zoom in slowly on Liam, until he is the sole focus of the shot.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Liam Meed is a man who needs little introduction.
(MORE)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER (cont'd)
Anyone familiar with modern cinema will know his name, his films, his style. To me, Liam Meed is one of the giants of the horror genre, a god of filmmaking, a man at the top of his craft, an indisputable master of terror. Liam’s filmmaking career to date has been a series of successes, of high acclaim by many critics. He has been called, among other things - “a prodigy”, “the unquestioned genius of horror” and “a visionary filmmaker who knows how to keep the audience riveted in their seats.”

During end of the above section of narration, we see newspaper headlines from different newspapers on the screen, one appearing over the other - “LIAM THE PRODIGY”; “HE’S A GENIUS!”; “A PURE VISIONARY”; “LET LIAM ROCK YOUR WORLD!”.

EXT. PHOTOGRAPH #2 OF LIAM MEED - DAY
Change of photo. In the next photograph, Liam is standing outside a small-town cinema, with two of his close production team members on either side of him - Wayne Hillfield, his producer, and his agent, Ivan Drisko. They are arm in arm, smiling and waving to the camera. Behind them, on a billboard on the cinema front is the film title DAMAGED GOODS(one of Liam’s earlier films).

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
My interest in Liam Meed has kept me following his films, as well as his life, for over a decade.
Indeed, I find Liam’s films to be so powerful, so exquisite in composition, and so exciting to watch, that I recently decided to try and get in contact with him for the first time. After eventually taking my call, Liam seemed flattered by my endless praise and after I suggested the possibility of making a film of his life, he said this, “My life is what it is. Neither more nor less. If you think people want to know all that stuff, go ahead and make it, if not, let’s make it anyway.” So, with Liam’s blessing, this is it.

 

EXT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - EVENING
A full moon hangs low in they night sky.
We are outside large, lavish house in Los Angeles. A garden path leads up to the front of the house. Gothic lampposts line the sides of the path, casting a dull yellow glow over the path and front garden.

There is a sporty, black car, with tinted windows, and a red stripe down one side, parked in the driveway beside the house.

SUPERIMPOSE AT BOTTOM OF SCREEN: LIAM MEED’S RESIDENCE, LOS ANGELES

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

A good place to start is Liam’s home in Los Angeles. Liam has called his house “his refuge”, a place he can go to escape. Liam has generously offered me a peek inside his home, something he has never offered to anyone before, and he has kindly invited me to accompany him to his latest film premiere.

INT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - EVENING
LIAM MEED’s lounge room.

SERIES OF SHOTS OF VARIOUS OBJECTS IN THE HOUSE:

A DRACULA CLOCK ON A MANTELPIECE (TICKING); TWO GARGOYLES MOUNTED ON A WALL; TWO HELL HOUNDS WITH FEROCIOUS LOOKS ON THEIR FACES, AND GREEN EYES, SITTING ON TOP OF A GLASS SHELF; THE HEAD OF A WOLF STUCK TO THE WALL, BEARING ITS FANGS FEROCIOUSLY; A COPY OF THE EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD PROPPED UP ON A BOOKSHELF; A GHOUL HEAD SITTING ON ANOTHER SHELF; A LARGE CANVAS PICTURE OF FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Liam Meed has never been a particularly public person. He has, by and large, shunned attention throughout much of his career, preferring instead to concentrate on his work.
(MORE)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER (cont'd)
In a world where fame and celebrity can consume a person, Liam is a unique example of someone who prefers to stay out of the limelight, and to just get on with things. Standing in Liam’s house, I feel a sense of awe - I am finally in the presence of a man I have revered for so many years. I feel somehow special. How many people have been permitted to do what I am now doing?

INT. HALL IN LIAM MEED’S HOUSE - EVENING

WE MOVE SLOWLY DOWN THE MAIN HALL IN LIAM’S HOUSE. IT IS LIT DIMLY BY ORNATE LIGHTS HUNG FROM THE CEILING. THE FLOOR IS WOODEN AND THERE IS A LONG PERSIAN CARPET ALONG THE HALL, WITH STRANGE, WINDING PATTERNS.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Liam, I notice, is an avid collector of movie memorabilia, a large chunk of it from horror films. His house is almost a shrine to the darkness of the world - inside it appears that horror and evil reign supreme.

WE PASS CLOSE BY A MOVIE POSTER ON THE WALL. IT IS A DAWN OF THE DEADPOSTER: “WHEN THERE’S NO MORE ROOM IN HELL, THE DEAD WILL WALK THE EARTH”.

EXT. STORAGE ROOM IN LIAM’S HOUSE - EVENING
A large sticker stuck onto the door reads: TOXIC WASTE IS DUMPED HERE.

INT. STORAGE ROOM IN LIAM’S HOUSE - EVENING
The storage room door slowly creaks open. A light-bulb in the room is glowing a dull orange colour.

Movie paraphernalia and props are piled up on shelves and on the floor in the cramped storage room.

Among the objects, there is a large, bloody knife; there is a severed head, the face frozen in a paroxysm of fear; at the back, a realistic-looking human dummy hangs from a noose tied to a roof beam, its grotesque dead face illuminated. A mummified body is leaning against a wall.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

What should I expect from Liam Meed? I know what I know of him, but what will I discover? It is no exaggeration to say that Liam Meed’s films stand alone in the horror genre. I know that Liam is proud of his work, of his achievements. Liam has said that, if nothing else, he’d liked to be remembered fondly for his contribution to cinema. As Liam said once, “When I depart this world, my films will remain, and it is through them that I want people to think about me, to think about what I was about. The rest of it is just life.”

EXT. LIAM MEED’S BEDROOM - EVENING
Liam Meed is in his bedroom fixing his bow-tie in front of an ornate mirror. Liam glances at a clock on the wall. It reads: 6.14 p.m.

Liam turns. He is still trying to straighten his bow-tie.
LIAM MEED
This thing straight?
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Looks fine, Liam.
LIAM MEED
Good. Damn things never stay straight.

INT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - EVENING
Liam is in the lounge-room, gathering up his keys and wallet and mobile phone. In the background, on the mantelpiece, there are framed photos of Liam’s three young children.

Liam gathers up his things - his wallet and phone. Liam picks up a small amulet.

LIAM MEED
Lucky charm. I’m not that superstitious but you never know. Maybe the gods are watching us, judging us too. If they are, I want them on my side.

C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Liam, are you nervous about tonight?

Liam stops and looks at the camera.
LIAM MEED
Why should I be nervous? I know I’ve made a good film. I make films, and I feel pretty sure that I do it well.

Liam puts the amulet in his pocket.
LIAM MEED
(as an afterthought)
I often feel that if you don’t believe absolutely in what you do, then you should quit. Get out and do something else. Don’t get stuck in something that you don’t want to be doing.

Liam checks his pockets to make sure he has everything. He nods to the door.

 

Let’s go.

LIAM MEED

 

INT. FRONT DOOR TO LIAM’S HOUSE - EVENING
Liam opens the front door and steps outside. He pauses and looks at the camera.

LIAM MEED
Can I say something before we go?
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
You can say whatever you want, Liam. This is about you.

LIAM MEED
Okay. This is for your audience - those people who are going to go out and see your film. Or rent it.
(pause)
For all of you out there, if you don’t know who I am, if you’ve never heard of me, or seen any of my films . . . then, I don’t care who you are either. So, go to hell . . .

 

Liam chuckles to himself. When he stops laughing he turns back to the camera.

LIAM MEED
No, seriously. If you don’t know who I am, my name is Liam Meed. I make horror films for a living.
But you may be thinking - why should I care who you are? The truth is: you don’t. Let me just say this - my aim in this life is to leave my mark on the world through film. That might sound ambitious to you, maybe arrogant, maybe even a bit corny, but that’s my goal. So, I’d appreciate it if you give me a chance. You might even find me likable.
(pause)
And I should add the most important thing - I want my name spoken of FOREVERMORE and I want YOU to remember me fondly.

Liam winks.

LIAM MEED
Okay. Let’s do this. We’ve got a world premiere to go to.

Liam walks down the front path. He stops on the footpath and looks up and down the street. He turns.

LIAM MEED
Where’s the fucking limousine?

EXT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - NIGHT
A short time later. Liam is standing by his front path. He has his mobile phone to his ear.

LIAM MEED
Ivan!! It’s Liam! Where’s the fucking limo, man?
(he listens and looks at his watch)
It is six thirty. Shit, Ivan, if this limo isn’t here in five minutes, I’ll crucify you . . . I’ll . . .

A limousine turns the corner into the street, it’s headlights shining in the night. Liam sees it.

 

LIAM MEED
Hang on. I see it now. Yeah, it’s here. Thanks Ivan. I’ll see you at the premiere.

Liam abruptly hangs up and puts his phone in his pocket. He walks to the limo, which stops, and he gets in.

INT. LIMOUSINE - NIGHT
Liam is sitting the back of the spacious limousine. He is gazing out the window as the limousine drives through brightly lit city streets.

CUT TO:

INT. LIMOUSINE - NIGHT
Liam reaches into his coat pocket. He pulls out a pen. He sits forward and looks past the camera to the Documentary Maker.

LIAM MEED
You got a sheet of paper?
There is a sound of someone rummaging around in a bag. Liam waits. He looks into the camera and flashes a good-humoured smile. He then looks back at the Documentary Maker.

A hand reaches forward, past the camera, and hands a sheet of paper to Liam.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

That’s all I have.
Liam looks at the paper. He reads the hand-written notes.
LIAM MEED
Should I be reading this? (he reads the notes on
the paper)
“Liam Meed is an extraordinary man, with a vision unsurpassed in the film-industry. His revolutionary take on the horror genre has set a new benchmark in the industry.”

Liam looks up at the Documentary Maker. He grins.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
I wrote that?

 

LIAM MEED
Yes. It’s right here.
Liam holds out the sheet of paper right up close in front of the camera lens. The sheet of paper in fact only contains a daily schedule of the Documentary Maker. It has a list of dates, appointments and events etc.

LIAM MEED
I hope you use that. It makes me sound like a genius. It make me sound better than I am. Wait, cut. I can’t say that. What am I thinking? My fans would hate it. Not to mention the critics. I can see the front page headlines - “Liam Meed confesses to mediocrity”. No, we can’t have that!

Liam sits back in the seat. He looks out the window again, holding the sheet of paper in his left hand.

LIAM MEED
If you’re wondering what the paper is for - I just had an idea.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

For a film?
LIAM MEED
I figure the Christmas Carol tale has been told a hundred times, right? All from the same angle.
The stories we see rarely deviate from the original premise - that being, the story of Scrooge and his transformation into a good and charitable man, resulting from the revelations provided to him by three ghosts. Et cetera. I was thinking - why not tinker with the premise?

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
How? And why? That story is timeless.

LIAM MEED
Yeah, I guess. But in a different version, Scrooge doesn’t turn good. The story is about Scrooge after he refuses to recognize the error of his ways.
(MORE)

LIAM MEED (cont'd)
In my story, he’d ignore the three ghosts, and attribute them to hallucinations, maybe brought on by the consumption of prescription pills. He’d remain the same selfish, ungenerous man he is.
(pause)
What do you think?
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
I think Charles Dickens would turn in his grave.

Liam shrugs.

EXT. FILM THEATRE - NIGHT
It is the world premiere of Liam Meed’s latest horror film -
Dead Man’s Wife. There is a massive, illuminated sign on the theatre front - DEAD MAN’S WIFE.

A red carpet entrance is in place. On either side of the entrance, behind barriers, are groups of Liam’s die-hard fans. Three or four photographers hover around the side of the red-carpet. They don’t look very enthusiastic about being there, even a little bored.

The limousine pulls up outside. Liam gets out, and is greeted with loud and boisterous cheers from the contingent of fans. Liam waves to them.

The photographers raise their cameras and take a few snaps of Liam as he walks up the red carpet.

Liam stops and his fans in attendance reach over the barricade. They stretch out their hands. Liam shakes them in turn. His fans shout compliments.

FAN #1
Liam, you rock man!
FAN #2
Liam, your films are killers man! Revolutionary!! Awesome!!

LIAM MEED
(to his fans)
It’s all for you, guys. My fans and supporters - without you, there is no me. Thanks always!

The are cheers from the fans. A couple reach over and pat or shake Liam’s shoulder in friendly support.

 

Liam, having thanked his fans, then turns and moves into the cinema. He waves once more just before he enters. More cheers from his fans. The doors close after Liam enters.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
It is Saturday night, 5 August, 2010. The infamous Liam Meed has arrived at the world premiere of his latest film, Dead Man’s Wife, yet another horrifying slasher film from one of the masters of cinematic suspense. As I watch Liam Meed greeting his fans, I wonder what I have often wondered
- who is the real Liam Meed?

COLLECTION OF PICTURES AND FOOTAGE OF LIAM MEED AT DIFFERENT STAGES OF HIS LIFE AND CAREER, INCLUDING LIAM BEHIND THE CAMERA, ON FILM SETS, POSING NEXT TO ZOMBIES WHO ARE WAVING TO THE CAMERA AS WELL, ETC., AND LIAM POSING WITH FANS. HE IS ALTERNATELY SMILING OR HAS A SERIOUS, DETERMINED LOOK ON HIS FACE. THE PICTURES OVERLAP EACH OTHER ON THE SCREEN.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

There is a pervading sense of mystery surrounding Liam’s life. His public appearances and interviews are somewhat infrequent, and, perhaps for this reason, he remains something of an enigma, often reticent to answer questions about himself and his life, preferring to put his films at the forefront. What do we know of Liam’s private thoughts, his feelings? What does Liam Meed think about himself and what he does?

A SHOT OF LIAM SMILING TO A CAMERA ON THE BACKLOT OF A FILM STUDIO, WEARING A SUAVE DARK SUIT, HIS FAIRLY LONG BLACK HAIR COMBED BACK OVER HIS HEAD.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Liam was once asked by a film journalist - “Liam, what’s really inside you. Who are you?” His answer was this: “Who am I? I’ve thought about it, but do I really care?
(MORE)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER (cont'd)
I suppose at one time or another we think of ourselves, but to let that thought of our selves dominate all others, to push everything else aside, and perhaps even wipe all other thoughts from existence, well, that’s as sad as it is stupid.”

EXT. FILM THEATRE - NIGHT
The film premiere of Dead Man’s Wifeis over, and the cinema is shutting down for the evening. The illuminated overhead sign on the cinema facade switches off.

Two cleaners are occupied in tidying up the cinema exterior and cleaning up, picking up rubbish and brushing/mopping the area.

EXT. STEPS NEAR THE FILM THEATRE - NIGHT
A group of Liam’s die-hard fans are sitting on some steps near the theatre’s entrance, huddled together in a small circle, still discussing their glimpse of Liam.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Liam Meed has often said that it is the fans that matter. It is they who mean the most to him. He will keep giving them what they want, so long as they want it.
So, where better to start than with the fans? - the legion of supporters who clamor for more every time a butcher knife is raised, an axe is wielded, or a limb is severed.

SERIES OF SHOTS OF FOUR OF THE SIX OR SEVEN FANS WHO HAVE BEEN HUDDLED OUTSIDE THE CINEMA LONG AFTER THE PREMIERE HAS FINISHED.

MEED’S FAN #1
Yeah, Meed is the master. No doubt about it. I’ve seen every film he’s made. None of them lack anything. They’re perfect as is. As long as Liam’s still living, I’ll keep living. I even have a shrine to him at home. No lie, man. I pray to the God Liam Meed every night.

 

MEED’S FAN #2
I’ve always been something of a horror buff. I know it all. But Meed gave me something new to think about. He portrayed the world in a way that was new to me. He’s totally awesome! The best! The best that’s ever been! I know that’s a big call, but I believe it!

DOCUMENTARY MAKER (to MEED’s FAN #3)
Why is Liam Meed so popular?
MEED’S FAN #3
Because he does more than make films. He speaks to us. His characters talk to us. He communicates to the world through his films.

MEED’S FAN #4
For me, it’s like everything that is happening on the screen is real. It’s like it’s all happening to me. No other else that I know of can make it all seem so true, and real, and genuine.

MEED’S FAN #2
No shit, man. That’s the truth. Real. Real, man. Real.

EXT. FILM THEATRE - NIGHT
A final shot of the title Dead Man’s Wifeon the cinema front. The cinema is quiet and the street is almost empty.

FADE TO:

EXT. THE CITY - MORNING
Liam is strolling down a street in Los Angeles, on his usual morning walk.

Liam stops at a newspaper vendor to pick up the day’s newspapers and some tabloid and film magazines.

LIAM MEED
(as he collects the magazines)
(MORE)

LIAM MEED (cont'd)
A lot of people in this business insist they don’t read their reviews. That’s crap. Four out of five do.

A few people turn their heads as they pass and look at Liam as he peruses the papers and magazines on the newsstand.
There is mild recognition on some of the faces. One calls out.

PASSERBY
Hey Liam! Great work, man!
Liam waves to the passerby and looks back at the camera. He holds up a film magazine he is holding.

LIAM MEED
Reviews. Hell. It’s always the moment of truth. I remember the first reviews I ever got. I just remember the anticipation I felt
. . . It’s hard to describe.
Liam looks at the covers of the magazines he has selected.
LIAM MEED
(almost to himself)
Hell, I’m not even on any of the covers!

A car passes by and honks at Liam. A man sticks his head out of the window.

PASSERBY IN CAR
Hey, Liam! How about you try something different for a change, man!

The car drives off, leaving a vexed Liam.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
If it is true that Liam lives for his fans, the same cannot be said for his critics. And Liam has always had his critics. No matter what his fans say, several critics can and have been merciless in their attempted demolition of Liam’s credibility. A handful of them have seemingly made it their mission in life to ruin Liam Meed.

 

EXT. THE CITY - MORNING
Liam is walking down the street, with his papers and magazines. He is reading one as he strolls along.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Liam claims he is largely unfazed by criticism. But after a while it is obvious that it has left him disgruntled and quite discontented. Meed himself has said this of his antagonists:
(the quote is in Liam’s voice; taken from an interview)
“The critics and I have had a long, tiring and difficult relationship. It sometimes makes me feel like my whole reputation is at stake just because a bunch of film buffs don’t like the genre I choose to work in.
They’re content to see the films I make, and then they are content to try to take the films apart piece by piece, I think just to get me, to piss me off. These type of people - they’re out to get anyone, at any cost. It doesn’t matter who or why - they want us all to go down big time. So, we have to stand united.”

EXT. FILM IN FOCUSTELEVISION STUDIO - DAY
Liam is sitting in an interviewee’s chair for an interview (about four years ago). A journalist, BENJAMIN LEMASTERS, is sitting opposite Liam. The camera is focused up close on Liam’s ponderous face. LEMASTERS waits patiently.

UNDERNEATH READS: INTERVIEW WITH LIAM MEED: JANUARY 18, 2006.

FREEZE ON BENJAMIN LEMASTERS’ FACE DURING THE FOLLOWING NARRATION.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

One such critic of Liam, and the avowed enemy of anything that is regarded as middle-range film- making or lower, is Benjamin Lemasters.
(MORE)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER (cont'd)
Lemasters is the creator of and has be the host of the TV show FILM IN FOCUSfor the past fourteen years. His show is watched weekly by over fifteen million viewers. Lemasters once said that ‘the average film is just that - average. No better. Unless we weed out the mediocre, the inane, the pointless - all that run-of-the-mill stuff - film will never progress anywhere. It will stay where it is - a medium for simple-minded fools. If filmmaking remains in the hands of the mediocre, it will remain forever incapable of elevating us to the great, wondrous heights that it more than able to do.”

In the interview, Liam is silent. LEMASTERS waits.
LEMASTERS
Do you want me to repeat the question?

Liam holds up a hand.
LIAM MEED
No. I understand.
LEMASTERS
Then would you care to privilege us with an answer?

LIAM MEED
I think I understand what you’re getting at. You seem to think that my films are overrated, overly-expensive, and an absolute waste of time, money and resources. Correct?

LEMASTERS
In a nutshell. It’s been pointed out many times, by many well- regarded critics.

LIAM MEED

Has it?

LEMASTERS

Yes. Or don’t you read the papers?

 

Huh.

LIAM MEED
(thoughtful)

 

Liam looks meditative. He looks up finally.
LIAM MEED
Where did you go to school?
LEMASTERS
Come again?
LIAM MEED
Was it a good school? Where did you go?

LEMASTERS
How is that relevant? I’m asking you, plain and simple, how you perceive your own filmmaking abilities and what you think about the widespread critical condemnation of your work?

LIAM MEED
Condemnation? To what are you referring?

LEMASTERS
Well, in particular, your overblown plot-lines, your one- dimensional characters, and your phony effects . . .

LIAM MEED
Phony effects? You think they’re phony?

LEMASTERS
Yes. I do. You use effects endlessly to create some kind of
. . . impact which nothing else in your films is able to achieve. You’re compensating for a lack of substance and meaning. The effects are cheap tricks. Nothing more.

LIAM MEED
Wrong. They support the story - they help to drive the narrative.

LEMASTERS
Some people have said that your films lack any essence whatsoever. They say that if your films prove anything, it’s that cheap special effects can be used in place of any of the other techniques of traditional film making.
(MORE)

LEMASTERS (cont'd)
In particular, you’re compensating for the lack of a plot.

Liam frowns, seemingly puzzled by the criticism.
LIAM MEED
So, where did you learn your craft? Where did they teach you to ask questions?

LEMASTERS
Sorry? What has this got to . . .
LIAM MEED
Because you obviously know more than the rest of us. It’s clear that your learning - your knowledge - has reached a peak that far exceeds any heights to which the rest of us can ever aspire to reach. We sit, dumb and stupid, at the base of the massive mountain your intellect has managed to scale, trying to find a way up, but always failing. You are truly a master of your trade - intelligent, discerning, perceptive. True?

Lemasters looks away to the crew who are off-camera.
LEMASTERS
(amazed; to the crew) What’s he talking about? Who’s asking the questions?

Lemasters looks back at Liam. Liam looks down and sees his shoe-lace is undone. He bends down to tie it up, leaving the camera frame. The camera follows him.

LEMASTERS
(still amazed) What are you doing?

LIAM MEED
(not looking up) My shoe-lace is undone.

Liam ties it up while the bemused Lemasters waits. Liam sits up again.

LIAM MEED
That’s better. Wouldn’t want to trip.

 

LEMASTERS
So, Liam, do you have anything to say to your critics?

Liam shrugs but doesn’t speak.
LEMASTERS

Do you?
Liam shrugs again.

 

LIAM MEED

Think what you want. Say what you want. It won’t change anything.

LEMASTERS
We will think what we want, and we will say what we want. Don’t worry about that.

LIAM MEED
Whatever you say or think, it won’t matter. Not to me. I’ll still keep doing what I’m doing.
(pause)
Horror is my business. Horror. And I won’t give it up. Not without a fight, or unless the studios cut my budgets.
(pause)
And you’ll keep coming to see my films, not because you like them, but because you’ll want more ammunition to fire at me in interviews like this. You’ll have more material for your stupid TV show. The thing that gets me about you shitheads is this - you miss the whole point.

LEMASTERS
Meaning what?
LIAM MEED
Meaning, you’ll keep being shitheads.

Liam takes off his microphone. He drops it on the ground as he stands up, half of his body and his head now out of frame.

LIAM MEED
(as he gets up)
This interview is finished.

 

LEMASTERS
Thank-you for your time. Let’s hope your next film wins something.

LIAM MEED
Yeah, f**k [beeped out] you.
Liam walks away and out of the studio.
LEMASTERS
(to his crew) What a schmuck.

INT. LEMASTERS INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Lemasters sits in front of a large poster advertising his own FILM IN FOCUS show. His own smiling face is the feature of the poster.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Is Liam Meed deserving of all the criticism he receives?

LEMASTERS
Put it this way, nobody escapes criticism in their lives. No one. We all face it at some time. And that’s natural. In fact, criticism follows us wherever we go in life. We progress through life, always followed by criticism in one form or other.
It is inevitable and you have to face up to it. Some of us learn how to deal with it, others don’t, and they remain haunted by it for the rest of their days.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
How does Liam deal with it?
Lemasters shrugs.

LEMASTERS
Pretty badly, I think. He’s an inflexible man. He likes to think he’s immune to criticism. But he isn’t. No one is.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
What do you think of those many critics who disagree with you, who praise Liam and his films?

Lemasters thinks.

 

LEMASTERS
I’d probably say they’re full of shit. Possibly deluded. Certainly stupid.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Liam is sitting in a interview chair in a studio.
LIAM MEED
I suppose everyone gets it good at one time in their life. I got it pretty solid at the start of my career. It sort of jolted me out of my zone, made me mad for a bit.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
Did you learn to handle it?
LIAM MEED
Not at first. All those comments about this and that, it really got to me. I started looking for a fight. I wanted to start throwing punches at every reviewer who used a bad word against me or my films. And then I knew I was being stupid. Why put up a fight? Why make life more difficult than it already is? So I calmed down, and I looked at it all again - all that criticism. I looked at it with a clear, rational mind, and thought
- “well, these people only thinkthey know the truth. But they don’t really know. These people have their own ideas of what the world is, who we are, why we’re here, how we should all act and behave. Things like that. But what do they really know? What do they really know about me and my work?”

INT. LEMASTERS INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Lemasters is grinning.
LEMASTERS
What do we know? We know Meed sucks.

 

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
LIAM MEED
Lemasters is a clown. A paid fool. He’s after controversy and scandal. He does his slandering and insulting just so he has something to say. I doubt there’s much really going on in his mind.

INT. LEMASTERS INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Lemasters again.

LEMASTERS
Take Meed’s first film - his cinematic debut, his first foray in horror. Some of us blasted Meed out of the water with that film. I remember it all well.
Screaming Jane.

A CLOSE UP OF A MOVIE POSTER OF THE FILM SCREAMING JANE. A WOMAN IS IN A PAROXYSM OF FEAR AND IS SCREAMING. A BLOODY KNIFE IS BEING HELD UP BY A GLOVED HAND NEARBY.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Liam’s interview.

LIAM MEED
I think I achieved a modest success with Screaming Jane. It was generally well received. Of course, there were a few critics who couldn’t stand it. But that’s commonplace in the film industry. You can’t please everyone. And I guess everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. I just don’t dig the personal attacks. Are they necessary? I don’t think they are.

INT. LEMASTERS INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Lemasters interview.

 

(V.O.)

LEMASTERS

Oh, it was a terrible film! Nauseating in its stupidity. Too many stab wounds. Too much screaming.
(MORE)

LEMASTERS (cont'd)
God, my ears hurtat the end of that film. Some people said a new talent had entered the arena after Screaming Janecame out. I wasn’t at all convinced. I still don’t believe we saw anything new or promising when Screaming Janewas released into cinemas.

 

 

 

 

CUT TO:

 

SCENE FROM THE FILM SCREAMING JANE.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Screaming Janeis the story of a young woman’s battle against a relentless psychopath. The woman’s past comes back to haunt her, in the form of a unhappy maniac with a butcher knife.

A suspenseful scene where brooding, mysterious music plays in the background. We see the following scene: Jane is carrying a candle up a dark staircase. Bumps come from the attic above her. She approaches the door. Her terror is palpable. The sounds from inside the attic chill her to the bone. She reaches the door and a trembling hand reaches for the handle and opens it. It creaks open on its hinges. She peers into the darkened attic. The sounds have stopped. She enters.

JANE
Hello? Hello? Is anyone in here?
Suddenly, a masked psychopath appears from nowhere. Jane screams a blood-curdling scream of fright, and turns and runs down the stairs, pursued by the knife-wielding masked psychopath.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

This haunting and terrifying film was well-received by a majority of critics. Whatever reviewers like Lemasters might have said, many people assured Liam that he had a bright future as a horror director. Many critics praised Liam’s cinematic style, as well as his ability to create mesmerizing and almost unendurable suspense.

INT. STUDIOS FOR INTERVIEWS WITH FILM CRITICS - DAY
We see the Film Critics in turn as they give their opinions. Their names appear at the bottom of the screen:

PETER BROOM - FILM REVIEWER FOR FILM TODAY
PETER BROOM (FILM CRITIC)
Yes. I liked Screaming Jane. It had a nice quality to it. The story was not new - not original by any means - but the way the film was put together, that was the films strong point.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
What do you mean by ‘put together’?

PETER BROOM
It was well-made. When taken as a whole, the film worked.

HOWARD LILLY - FILM REVIEWER FOR CUT IT!
HOWARD LILLY (FILM CRITIC)
I was willing to overlook some minor plot deficiencies because the film just lookedso good. It was a very stylish film. I know that style cannot always carry a film. Films need more than just style. They need substance, naturally. But the film’s look grabbed me from the start.
Overall, a good horror film. A good debut.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Of course, not every one was thrilled with Liam’s first offering.

INT. LEMASTERS INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Back to Lemasters interview.
LEMASTERS
Okay. Granted, Screaming Janewas Meed’s first foray into filmmaking, and, for a 1990s horror/thriller film, it was, in its own way, an admirable effort. It pains me to say that, but fair’s fair. However, a lot of things are admirable.
(MORE)

LEMASTERS (cont'd)
That doesn’t make them good.A lot of people can make a film look good, slick, stylish, whatever, but that doesn’t compensate for the things it lacks. There was simply too much missing in Screaming Jane.

Cut to PETER BROOM again.
PETER BROOM
The first time I met Liam, I took him aside and told him that some critics were going to try and tear him apart. I told him not to let it bother him, to not let it get to him. I think he listened. The thing I wanted him to realize was this - you don’t want people inside your head. You don’t want people in there telling you how bad you are all the time. Sooner or later it’s going to affect you. It’s better to keep them locked out. I’ve seen people destroyed by criticism. It’s sad, but it happens.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Liam is sitting in his interview chair.
LIAM MEED
I like to tell myself that Screaming Janeput me on the map. Somewhere. I didn’t know exactly where I was on the map, but I knew that I was somewhere. The world is a big place, and I knew that somewhere, I had left my mark.

INT. TELEVISION STUDIO - DAY
Lemasters in interview chair in front of his poster.
LEMASTERS
No. Overall, bad story. Badly made. In short - total shit.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Liam Meed in his chair.

 

LIAM MEED
I think the key to the film’s success wasn’t just the story, the mystery, and, of course, the slasher element. I think I made the right choices with the actors. The characters on the page were good, but when brought to life by a talented cast, they were nothing short of brilliant.

INT. TELEVISION STUDIO - DAY
Lemasters in interview studio.
LEMASTERS
Abominable acting! Absolutely terrible! Who cast that film? Was it Meed? I never did find out.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Liam in the studio.

LIAM MEED
I thought Screaming Janeworked quite well. In retrospect, of course, I would have done a few things differently, but that’s natural. One of the advantages of time is that we can often better realize our past mistakes, as well, of course, our past successes.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

What would you have changed?
LIAM MEED
This and that. (pause)
That’s all I’ll say.

INT. LEMASTERS INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Lemasters in his studio chair.

 

LEMASTERS
Perhaps the most notable feature of the film was Meed’s employment of what has become one of his trademarks - “madness music” - or music that is designed to send the viewer mad, to propel him into a new and uncertain world, where everything is upside down and different . . . more specifically, to put him in a position where he now considers both himself and the world around him completely insane . . .
(long pause) Nauseating, isn’t it?

CLOSE UP OF THE OFFICIAL POSTER FOR SCREAMING JANE. THE CATCHPHRASE ON THE POSTER, UNDER THE TITLE, READS: WHEN SHE SCREAMS, WILL ANYONE HEAR?

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Regardless of what his fiercest opponents had to say about him, it seemed the critics were unable to influence the studios. Liam was soon given the green light to make another film. Screaming Jane was enough of a success for the studios, and Liam was given a lot of licence with his subsequent films, something for which he has been forever grateful.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Liam’s interview.

LIAM MEED
“Do it your way”, they told me. Well, I was over the moon that they were giving me such a great deal of creative control over my films. I didn’t think I’d get that much so quickly.

PHOTOGRAPH OF LIAM LOOKING OVER PRODUCTION NOTES WITH WAYNE HILLFIELD (HIS PRODUCER) ON A FILM SET. LIAM IS POINTING AT SOMETHING IN THE NOTES, AND WAYNE IS LOOKING ON.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Creative control is one of the keys to Liam’s film making.
(MORE)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER (cont'd)
To work unfettered in brining his own vision to the big screen - that is what makes Liam happy.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Liam’s interview.

LIAM MEED
If they took it away from me, I would suffer. My work would suffer.

DURING THE FOLLOWING NARRATION, WE SEE POSTERS OF EACH FILM AS IT IS MENTIONED.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

To date, Liam has made six films. Following Screaming Janecame Damaged Goods; There Lies A Killer; In A Circle Of Friends; Blue Moon, Red Blood; and finally Dead Man’s Wife. Liam’s second film - Damaged Goods - is perhaps his most notable achievement. A chilling tale of a man’s mind gone horribly wrong, it is frequently listed as one of the pivotal and defining films of the horror genre. The lead role was played by the accomplished actor Herman Bottle.

INT. HERMAN BOTTLE FILM SET - DAY
The actor Herman Bottle in an actor’s special chair on the set of a film. The setting behind him is a jungle, and he is dressed in a leather jungle outfit. A spear rests against his chair. A couple of cannibal natives pass by in the background while he talks, as well as one or two production hands, with headsets or radios.

HERMAN BOTTLE
Of all the films I’ve made, and that’s about forty, working with Liam was by far the most fun.
He’s a great man, a talented director, with a great sense of what works in terms of suspense. I’d work with him again, in a minute.
(MORE)

HERMAN BOTTLE (cont'd)
And may I say, I was honoured at the reception I received for playing the character penned and brought to life on the screen by Liam.
(with a pointed finger to the camera)
Liam, I hope you stay on the scene for a long time, buddy! Keep rocking!

INT. SCENES FORM LIAM’S PREVIOUS FILMS - DAY
During the following narration, we see shots taken from each film by Liam Meed, which correspond to the references in the narration: 1) a group of young adults in a cemetery, carrying out a seance; 2) a group of college kids looking on horrified as one of their group stands near them, holding a knife, and covered in blood; 3) a shot of a masked killer, with a huge orb moon in the background, tinted red, like blood.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
There Lies A Killer and In A Circle of Friends were also hits and received high acclaim. There Lies A Killer documented the bizarre goings-on of a Satanic cult which carried out their devil worship ceremonies in a cemetery. Unknown to the members of the cult, they accidentally raise the spirit of a maniacal criminal who was interred in the ground beneath them. In A Circle of Friends is a gripping psychological thriller/horror film in which a group of close- knit friends come to the horrifying realization that one of them must be a murderer. Blue Moon, Red Bloodis a tale of a series of unexplained murders which take place ‘once in a blue moon’. In this film, a police detective must make connections between the seemingly unconnected, but evermore brutal, murders.

INT. HERMAN BOTTLE FILM SET - DAY
Herman Bottle interview.

 

HERMAN BOTTLE
I think it’s only a matter of time before Liam receives the true accolades that he deserves. His films are standouts and he will get his credit. There’s no doubt in my mind, anyway.

EXT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - MORNING
A shot of Liam’s home.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
It is the day after the premiere of Liam Meed’s latest film offering Dead Man’s Wife.

INT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - MORNING
Liam is sitting at a balcony table, reading the arts section of one of the morning newspaper, The Daily News. He flips through it, looking for the review of Dead Man’s Wife.

LIAM MEED
(as he searches) Let’s see.
(pause while he checks page by page)
This is almost a ritual with me. Checking the next-day reviews. It doesn’t all come down to this of course, but a good review never hurt anyone.   The critical reaction can often make or break a film. You know?

Liam can’t seem to find anything about his film. He looks a little frustrated. He puts the paper aside, doesn’t look at the camera and scratches his head. There is a uncomfortable silence as it becomes clear no one has bothered to review the film in the newspaper.

LIAM MEED
(to the camera)
Can we cut for a moment?

INT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - DAY
Liam is in his lounge room, on the phone to his agent, Ivan. The camera hovers nearby.

 

LIAM MEED
(into phone)
Ivan! It’s Liam. Where the hell is the review we were promised?
(pause)
Yeah, well, it’s not there! I just read it! I checked! There’s nothing. Not two fucking words!
(pause)
I want you to call the paper, find out what happened. Well, ask them! They said it would be covered! This is a major paper, for god’s sake.
(pause)
Yeah. Just ask them - where the hell is the review of Liam Meed’s Dead Man’s Wife? Yeah! Just like that, Ivan!!

EXT. THE DAILY NEWSHEAD OFFICE - DAY
Liam is standing outside the offices of The Daily News. He faces the camera as he talks.

LIAM MEED
Here we are, outside the offices of The Daily News. If you’ve just joined us, this particular paper promised me a full review of Dead Man’s Wifeand they didn’t deliver on the promise. So now we’re going to get to the bottom of this.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

What did Ivan, your agent, find out?

LIAM MEED
Nothing. They blew him off. So, I’ve decided to put in a personal appearance, to see if we can’t get some answers. Let’s go in!

INT. THE DAILY NEWSHEAD OFFICES - DAY
Reception area of the The Daily News offices. Liam walks up. The SECRETARY looks up at Liam and at the camera.

NEWSPAPER SECRETARY
Can I help you?
LIAM MEED
My name is Liam Meed.

 

NEWSPAPER SECRETARY
What can I do for you, Mr. Meed?
LIAM MEED
I would like to speak to your Film Reviews Editor.

NEWSPAPER SECRETARY
Do you have an appointment, Mr. Meed?

LIAM MEED
No. I do not.
NEWSPAPER SECRETARY
Well, our film reviews editor, Mr. Bonson, is a very busy man.

LIAM MEED
(contemptuously)
Busy. We’re all busy. He promised me a review of my new film - the world premiere was last night - and, well, the thing is, there was nothing in today’s paper. I want to know why that was.

NEWSPAPER SECRETARY
Oh. You’re Liam Meed! I saw one of your films.

LIAM MEED

Which one?

NEWSPAPER SECRETARY

I . . . I forget the title. The one with the psycho killer . . .

INT. MR. BONSON’S OFFICE - DAY
MR. BONSON is sitting in a swivel chair behind his desk, his hands busy playing with a pencil. He is contemplating a question that has been posed to him.

SUPERIMPOSE AT BOTTOM OF SCREEN: ALEC BONSON; FILM REVIEWS EDITOR; THE DAILY NEWS

Mr. Bonson finally speaks, having thought it over.
MR. BONSON
No one promised you a review.
LIAM MEED
Oh really? You don’t remember a conversation we had two weeks ago?

 

Mr. Bonson shrugs.

 

MR. BONSON

You don’t remember speaking to me, promising me a full half-page review of Dead Man’s Wife?

Mr. Bonson is quiet, gazing at Liam thoughtfully.
MR. BONSON
Yes. I do remember a conversation. But no such promise was ever put on the table. All I said was - we’d think about it.

LIAM MEED
Bullshit. In all fairness, Alec, you screwed me on this one.

Mr. Bonson shrugs again.
MR. BONSON
What can I say? Everyone gets screwed at least once in their life.

 

 

 

Pause.

LIAM MEED
At least tell me you sent someone to see the film. At least tell me you sent a reviewer to the premiere.

MR. BONSON
Well, to be honest, Mr. Meed, we discussed it, and we came to the decision that it was unnecessary to view the film, let alone review it.

 

Why?
Mr. Bonson shrugs.

LIAM MEED

 

LIAM MEED

What sort of paper are you running here? Would you care to answer that one?

MR. BONSON
A fine one, Mr. Meed. We’re proud of our achievements. In our opinion, our journalistic integrity is unmatched.

Liam is silent. Mr. Bonson continues.

MR. BONSON
I’m sorry, Mr. Meed. The paper has . . . well, lost interest in you. Slasher films are all the same these days. They’re predictable, rarely as terrifying as they pretend to be. We have limited space in our paper and we think we ought to report on more important things. What can I say?

LIAM MEED
What about the fans? What about your own readers? Did you ask them before you made your decision?

MR. BONSON
Mr. Meed, I do have other appointments. You’re not the only filmmaker in this town, you know. So, if there’s nothing more to discuss, I’ll have to ask you to let me get back to more important things.
(to the camera)
Okay? Can you switch it off now?

EXT. CITY STREET - DAY
Liam has left the meeting with Alex Bonson and is walking down the street from the newspaper offices.

LIAM MEED
(as he walks)
Okay, that achieved nothing. Bonson clearly is a liar.

Liam walks in silence for a few moments.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER

(O.C.)
What now?

 

LIAM MEED

I suppose we just hope the other reviewers deem horror films less ‘predictable’ and decide to review it.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

And then what?

 

LIAM MEED
Then we get our focus back and look towards our next project. We get back to business.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Another film? Already?
LIAM MEED
Yes. We’ve already written a script. We’re looking at casting options, and we’re scouting locations, among other things.

A fan stops Liam at this point. He is a young man, dressed casually, and carrying a backpack.

LIAM’S FAN
Liam! Liam Meed! How are you man?
LIAM MEED
Couldn’t be better.
The fan shakes Liam’s hand with enthusiasm.
LIAM’S FAN
How about an autograph?
LIAM MEED
Sure.
We see Liam sign a sheet of paper for the fan. While he signs the autograph.

LIAM MEED
Make sure you catch my latest film . . . it’s opening soon.

LIAM’S FAN
Yeah, I will Liam, sure. I’ll check out the reviews too!

LIAM MEED
(melancholy suddenly) Yeah, do that.

LIAM’S FAN
(grateful)
Thanks, Liam. Keep going, man. You rule!

Liam nods his thanks. Liam’s Fan walks off.
LIAM MEED
Like I was saying, we get back to work straight away. There’s no time to waste. You know?

 

Liam continues to walk down the street.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
If Liam has demonstrated one thing in his decade at the helm, it’s that he has a strong work ethic. He detests excessive idleness, sees it as a destructive vice, and seeks to keep himself busy, moving from project to project with the speed of a racing car.

INT. LIAM MEED’S OFFICE - DAY
Liam is standing at a filing cabinet, his back to the camera.

He is in his production office, the place where he coordinates all aspects of his filmmaking. On the walls around the room are his favourite film posters.

SHOT OF EACH POSTER IN TURN
POSTER #1: The possessed REGAN from The Exorcist
POSTER #2: HANNIBAL LECTOR in straight jacket and restraining mask from The Silence of the Lambs

POSTER #3: The hockey-masked JASON from the Friday 13th
films.
Liam pulls out a file from the cabinet. It is a thick file. He turns and puts it down on his desk.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
What are you doing today?
LIAM MEED
I want to make a start and get moving on my next project. I know it’s soon, but that’s how I work. I’ve short-listed a dozen or so actors for one of the lead roles. This file contains all their info. I plan to audition some of them this week, hopefully in the next day or two.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
What’s the character?

 

LIAM MEED
A young woman determined not to become a corpse.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

And?

(O.C.)

 

LIAM MEED

And nothing. That’s all I’ll say.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Can you tell us anything about your next film? The premise, maybe?

LIAM MEED
I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise, would I? Let’s just say that I’m hoping to make it one of my most suspenseful films yet. A real thriller. Edge of the seat stuff.

Liam sits down at his desk. He straightens the file in front of him.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

What’s the budget going to be?
LIAM MEED
Oh, the budget. That’s always a contentious issue. It’s still to be determined. Hopefully, the studio will throw in a few extra dollars for this one. It’s slightly more ambitious in scope than most of my previous films. Like everyone else, I’ve worked with small budgets, mainly when I was starting out. I’ve found it always helps to have a few extra dollars lying around to play with. But the studios can be really stubborn. They often need persuading. So I say, “Oh, the film will be ten times better if you toss me another million” - that sort of thing. And good actors cost money.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
You seem to have a good relationship with the studio you work with - Proviso Studios.
(MORE)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER (cont'd)
Do you feel much pressure to live up to their expectations?

LIAM MEED
Sure. I think everyone in the film business does. Studios want to make good films, naturally, but they want hits above all else. A goodfilm that becomes a big hit puts the studios in seventh heaven. They’ll shower you with praise and throw more money your way. A badfilm that becomes a hit has much the same effect. As long as the money starts rolling it for the studios, then it puts you in a more secure place.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
And if the film is a flop?
LIAM MEED
If a film makes peanuts at the box office, well, you’ve got your work cut out. Your track record is important. They might overlook the film’s failure once if you’ve got plenty of good films - successful films - under you belt. If it flops and you’ve got nothing to back up your credibility, well, good-bye.

INT. LIAM MEED’S OFFICE - DAY
A short time later. Meed has actor’s photos spread out on his desk, twelve in all. All the photos are of female actors.

LIAM MEED
These are the contenders. I’ve got to whittle this list down to four or five. These two I like.

Liam holds the two photos up to the camera. We see two beautiful, blonde actresses.

LIAM MEED
There’s something about them that impresses me. They look right for the part.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

What exactly are you looking for?

 

LIAM MEED
Besides the right look? (slight pause)
They must, absolutely must, have a unique presence on the screen. They need something no one has seen before. Plus, and this is crucial - they must show that they have a strong, determined attitude, that they can withstand any form of menace or manifestation of evil, however horrible, and can remain firm in the face of that menace or evil. The audience must be convinced.
They must believe it.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
And you can see that in just these pictures?

They phone rings. Liam reaches across and picks it up.
LIAM MEED
Hello? . . . Ivan? What’s up?
Long pause while he listens to Ivan. Then, finally, LIAM MEED
(angrily)
You’re fucking kidding me, right?

INT. LIAM MEED’S CAR - DAY
Liam is driving. He looks irritated and angry. He drives in silence.

EXT. PROVISO STUDIO HEADQUARTERS - DAY
A shot of PROVISO STUDIOS main headquarters, a large corner office block.

INT. OFFICES OF PRESIDENT OF PROVISO STUDIOS - DAY
BOB BITERO sits in his lavish office suite, attired in a expensive suit. Liam sits on a couch along one wall of the office, his legs sprawled out in front of him. IVAN, Liam’s agent, is sitting on another couch.

BOB BITERO
I understand your frustration, Liam. I understand it perfectly.
(MORE)

BOB BITERO (cont'd)
But this studio has to face facts, including the fact that mainstream audiences are just not liking what you’re giving them anymore. You need to face facts too. We all have to face facts.

Liam is irritated, and pensive, and runs a hand over his head, but doesn’t speak.

BOB BITERO
Liam, your films have not been grossing what they used to. In short, Liam, they’re not grossing enough. You know that. We’ve discussed it. We’ve made it very clear to Ivan that if your films aren’t succeeding then we need to reassess the situation.
(pause)
Liam, we’re . . . well, we’re concerned. Very concerned. We’ve got a great pool of new talent ready to go. They’ve got good ideas.

LIAM MEED
(slowly and seriously) Bob, I’ve spent over a decade cultivating a career. I think I’ve earned my place in the industry. I even think I’ve helped to enhance your studio’s reputation. Now, you’re just
going to toss me on the shit-heap with the rest of the has-beens?

BOB BITERO
We’re not doing anything of the sort. But you have to see things from our perspective. Okay. Dead Man’s Hand. The initial reviews .
. . well, they’re not glowing.
LIAM MEED
Reviews? What reviews? The fucking Daily Newsdidn’t print a word about it.

BOB BITERO
There are a few already floating about.

LIAM MEED
Isn’t it a bit early to judge the success or otherwise of Dead Man’s Wife? It only previewed yesterday!

 

Bob reaches across his desk for a stack of magazines.
BOB BITERO
Sarah brought these in this morning. Look at them if you want.

Bob grabs a tabloid entertainment magazine entitled Star Factor. He flips to the article on Liam Meed.

BOB BITERO
(as he reads)
The Star Factorsays “With his latest film - the thoroughly implausible Dead Man’s Wife- Liam Meed appears to be heading in completely the wrong direction. In fact it is questionable if he has any idea where he should be going. While Meed should be aspiring to reach incredible heights, he seems capable of only rolling backwards down a very steep hill, at the bottom of which rests the rest of the film biz inferiors. How he is to do a massive U-turn is uncertain, but if he can, at least he may be able to regain some of the credibility he once had.”

LIAM MEED
Star Factor?No one reads that crap!

Bob Bitero, to make his point, grabs another magazine.
BOB BITERO
And here - “There is no doubt that Liam Meed has ability and some vision when it comes to the horror genre. However, his latest film will do nothing to garner him any accolades, let alone entice a viewing audience into a cinema. His latest film is standard fare, interesting in parts, but in no way exceptional.”

Bob Bitero drops the magazine on the table.
LIAM MEED
So?

 

BOB BITERO
So? So, people, if they read this stuff, won’t want to see your films.

LIAM MEED
You know what critics are like! They don’t know a fucking thing! They have no artistic sense.

BOB BITERO
Well, we think the reviews are bad enough for us to rethink our relationship with you.

LIAM MEED
Are you telling me you don’t want to be in business with me anymore?

BOB BITERO
No. That’s not what we’re saying. We just need to consider much more carefully, what we allow you to do.

IVAN
Liam, what he means is - he’s going to curtail all your creativity. He wants control over your artistry.

LIAM MEED (to BOB)
Is that true?
Bob sighs and rubs his head, showing his frustration. He looks at the camera.

BOB BITERO
I don’t think we should discuss any more of this in front of the camera.

LIAM MEED
Why? You afraid of something? You can tell the world what you think of me! Okay?

BOB BITERO
Please, switch it off.
The camera stops rolling.

 

EXT. COFFEE SHOP - DAY
Liam and Ivan are sitting at a table outside a coffee-shop. They have sandwiches and coffee.

LIAM MEED
What do you think, Ivan? What do we do?

IVAN
Whatever you want to do, we can do.

Liam ponders this.

LIAM MEED
Can we go to another studio?
IVAN
We can try. I’ll back you a hundred per cent, whatever you want to do.

Liam sighs. He takes a sip of coffee.
IVAN
How’s your coffee?
LIAM MEED
Shit. Worst I’ve ever had. (pause)
You were right in there. Spot on. They do want to control my output. Bob Bitero wants to put a god-damn harness on my creativity.

IVAN
The way I see it - the question you’ve got to ask yourself is: can you accept that? Can you allow yourself to be controlled that way?

Liam is quiet as he thinks.

EXT. LIAM MEED’S CAR - DAY
Liam is driving back to his offices. He talks as he drives, always looking straight ahead.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
It looks like you’ve got a big decision to make.

LIAM MEED
Yeah, I sure do. It might be my career on the line, right here. Unfortunately.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
What do you think you’ll do?
LIAM MEED
That’s what I have to consider. (slight pause)
I mean, Proviso Studios basically told me I’m now a failure. They think I’m not good enough to keep on board. That’s painful. After everything I’ve done for them.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
I don’t think they said that much
- that you were a ‘failure’.
LIAM MEED
Weren’t you listening?
No reply from the Narrator.
LIAM MEED
(adamantly)
Whatever happens, I’m not going to lose my foothold in this business. That would spell disaster. If you let them put you down on the shit-heap where can you go from there?

INT. LIAM MEED’S OFFICE - DAY
Liam sits down at his desk. He looks through his phone list.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Who are you calling?
LIAM MEED
My producer. I’ve got to let him know what’s going on.

Liam finds the number and dials it.
LIAM MEED
(into phone)
Wayne. It’s Liam. Yeah, we’ve got a problem. Where are you? Can you get to the office today?

 

INT. LIAM MEED’S OFFICE - DAY
WAYNE HILLFIELD, Liam’s long time producer, strolls into the office. Liam and Wayne shake hands. Wayne slumps into a chair. He is wearing his sunglasses and a cap and cowboy boots. He is chewing gum.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
Alright, Liam, lay it on me. What’s going on?

LIAM MEED
The bad news is that Proviso Studios might be pulling the pin on our next film.

Wayne scratches his cheek.
WAYNE HILLFIELD
Any good news?
LIAM MEED
Nope. That’s it. We’re fucked. The studio doesn’t give a shit about our track record with them. They think our films are going downhill. I’m thinking of taking my work to another studio.

Wayne looks at the camera and the Narrator and Cameraman. He chews his gum a few times.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
These the guys you were telling me about?

LIAM MEED
Yeah. They’re doing a bio on me.
WAYNE HILLFIELD
Well, there you go. There’s your answer.

LIAM MEED
What do you mean?
WAYNE HILLFIELD
Get them to paint a pretty picture of you - your success, your determination to produce quality work. Get them to show what an artistic genius you are.

LIAM MEED
I’m sure they’ll produce a flattering picture of me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pause.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.; to Wayne)
Wayne, how do you feel about Proviso Studio’s decision?

WAYNE HILLFIELD
Oh, we’ll figure it out. That studio is run by a bunch of boneheads . . . They don’t know what a good film is.
(to Narrator)
Cut that bit out later . . . (pause; to Liam)
But seriously, you’re in a league of your own, Liam. No studio is dumb enough to kick you out.
You’re one off the stars of the horror genre. You’re probably being paranoid.

LIAM MEED
(to Camera, with a grin)  I pay him to say these things.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
(to the CAMERA)
Yeah, that’s right. I know if I don’t say this stuff to Liam, my next paycheck won’t come, and I’ll be looking for work somewhere else.

LIAM MEED
(to the Camera)
Just for the record though - this man, Wayne Hillfield - he’s the best producer in Hollywood. He’s been around, he knows the way it works. He can do anything, he’s that good. I wouldn’t trust anyone else.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
Gee, I’m blushing now.

 

LIAM MEED
But you really think I’m being paranoid?

 

INT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - NIGHT
Liam is mixing a drink at a bar in his room. Two of his close friends are seated in comfortable chairs. One is a man, the other is a woman, both in their late-thirties. There is take-away Chinese food on the table.

 

FRIEND OF LIAM #1
You had quite a day then, hey, Liam?

LIAM MEED
(to his friends)
You want the full run down - the best bits?

FRIEND OF LIAM #1
Sure, we love when you’re in a bind. It brings out the best in you.

 

Such as?

LIAM MEED

Liam finishes making the drink, and puts in some ice.
FRIEND OF LIAM #2
Your temper. We like to see you react when you’re . . . challenged.

LIAM MEED
Hey, I know what’s right and what’s wrong.

FRIEND OF LIAM #1
Sure you do.
LIAM MEED
(to the camera)
You see this! These are my friends. Always supportive.
(to his friends)
My system of ethics is second to none. I never hurt or criticize unnecessarily. Any hurt I dish out, any criticism I level at someone, it always has a cause and a point. It is deserved.
(pause)
But when the studio that has supported you, one could almost say nurtured and helped you, for over a decade, tries to turn you around and fuck you in the ass, then there’s cause for losing one’s temper.
(pause)
I trusted that god-damn studio. I had confidence in it. I thought they had trust and confidence in me. But obviously, I was greatly mistaken.

 

FRIEND OF LIAM #1
No one’s saying it’s over, Liam.
FRIEND OF LIAM #2
Yeah, maybe you’re reading too much into it. They didn’t actually say that they won’t let you make any more films, did they?

LIAM MEED
They came pretty close.
Liam collapses into a chair. He takes a drink, sits back and sighs, and goes quiet.

FRIEND OF LIAM #2
Ssshh! No one speak. Liam is thinking.
(to the Camera, with a chuckle)
Has Liam shown you ‘both sides’?
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Of his personality?
FRIEND OF LIAM #2
No, of the coin in his pocket. Yeah, his personality.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
He’s given us a glimpse of his mind at work.

FRIEND OF LIAM #1
Ha! Liam’s mind doesn’t work. At least, not like everyone else’s.

FRIEND OF LIAM #2
Liam’s mind is very peculiar.
LIAM MEED
Don’t listen to this. They’re having you on. They want to look intelligent for the camera.
(pause; to the Documentary Maker)
And by the way, you weren’t meant to see all that today. All that bickering and fighting.
(pause)
What it comes to is that I’ve got some serious thinking to do if I want to stay afloat. Where do I want to go from here? Where canI go from here?

 

FRIEND OF LIAM #2
There are plenty of places you can go. You’ll think of one - you’re a creative man after all. Aren’t you?

LIAM MEED
(to Narrator)
At least you saw one thing.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
What was that?
LIAM MEED
You got a snapshot of how it really works. One day they’re all smiles and handshakes, the next day they’re cutting your fucking budgets and considering axing you from their studio altogether.
(pause)
You should have made your film last year, when things were on the up and up. How am I going to look now? Pretty fucking pathetic. Right?

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
I wouldn’t say that.
LIAM MEED
“Liam Meed - the man on the brink of failure. Liam Meed had a good run, but all good things must come to an end . . .”

Liam rubs his head. His friends look on.
LIAM MEED
(softly; to himself) Shit.

FRIEND OF LIAM #2
Liam’s self-pity phases are second to none. They have to be seen to be believed.

LIAM MEED
Shut the hell up. I’m serious. I could be fucked here.

FRIEND OF LIAM #1
Oh, you’ll pull through. You always do. You’re creative and resourceful. You’ll find a way.

 

EXT. CITY SCENES - DAY
Shots of the busy city.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Three weeks have passed since Proviso Studios told Liam he was close to looking for a new home. The reviews of Dead Man’s Wifein the last three weeks have done little to build confidence in Liam and his crew that Proviso Studios were wrong in their assessment of the film and Liam’s future as a filmmaker. Liam himself seemed to fall into a mild depression and would not let us film him during this time. His friends assured us this was normal and Liam would soon be okay.

INT. IVAN’S OFFICE - DAY
IVAN is at his desk, facing the camera.
IVAN
Hi. I’m Ivan. I’m Liam Meed’s manager. I’ve been his manager for twelve years. I like to think I ‘discovered’ Liam Meed, but others have claimed the same.
Perhaps we’ll never know the truth . . .
(pause)
Well, here it is. Liam’s problems appear to just have gotten much, much worse. His latest film Dead Man’s Wifewas released in cinemas across the country three weeks ago. The film has largely been slammed by the critics and by audiences alike. No one seems to get it. And no one seems to like it. The initial reviews were just the beginning. The film is about to be pulled from cinemas, giving it a very, very, short run. No one wants to show it.
Which is sad. I’ve seen it twice and I think it’s not half bad.
Anyway, Liam’s taken about as much as he can. Now, he’s decided to lie low for a bit.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

As Liam’s manager, do you have any comment on future projects and his relationship with Proviso Studios?

IVAN
Well, it’s all a bit up in the air at the moment. Proviso Studios look like they’re going to let Liam go. So that looks a bit grim. A couple of other studios have expressed . . . how should I put it . . . mild interest. They’re hesitant to commit right off to any deal, because they think that Liam may have lost it.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

(O.C.)
Has he?

 

IVAN

Liam is still as capable as ever of making quality horror. There’s never been a doubt in my mind about that. What is in doubt, is where he’ll get the funding to keep going.

EXT. ARIZONA RETREAT - DAY
A week later.
A large sprawling house in Arizona.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
In times of trouble, Liam has said that he has two support systems - his house in Arizona, and his family and friends.

INT. ARIZONA RETREAT - DAY
Liam is sitting by a pool, a note-pad on the table in front of him, and a pen in his hand. There are two writers - HENRY MITSON and LENNY HOWDER - at the table with Liam.

LIAM MEED (to CAMERA)
So, basically, what we’re doing today is finding a way to improve the script for our next project.
(MORE)

LIAM MEED (cont'd) Personally, I think the script is good, I think it’s a winner, but we’ve got to make it more than that - we’ve got to make it exceptional. We want to show it to the studios, so it’s got to be as good as it can be.
(pause)
And these two guys know exactly how to make it exceptional.
Right?
(to the CAMERA)
This is Henry Mitson, and this is Lenny Howder. The three of us have worked together on my last five films. Their credentials speak for themselves.

Henry and Lenny both acknowledge the camera with a nod or a hand gesture.

LIAM MEED
So, we’re going to get to work today, and we’ll spend about a week here in Arizona touching up the script.
(pause)
So, there you go.

WE SEE THE THREE OF THEM, THE PAGES OF THE NEW SCRIPT SPREAD OUT OVER A GARDEN TABLE. THEY ARE TALKING, QUITE ANIMATEDLY AT TIMES, AT OTHER TIMES QUITE SEDATE. WE DON’T HEAR THEM AS THE NARRATOR DOES HIS VOICE OVER.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
As Liam, Henry and Lenny bunker down to work on their script, I am informed that Liam is here for another reason. Liam’s daughter, Helen, will soon be celebrating her fifth birthday. Perhaps, I wonder, this would be a good time to look deeper into Liam’s roots, into his heritage. Thanks to the generosity of his friends and family, I have been granted interviews with many of those people who know Liam intimately.

EXT. ARIZONA DESERT - DAY
Liam is hiking through the desert, lost in a world of his own thoughts. The camera follows him down the hill.

 

(V.O.)

NARRATOR/DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Liam Meed is a native of Arizona. He returns here several times a year, to what he calls his ‘desert retreat’. Liam has alluded many times to Arizona as being his ‘spiritual home’ - the place where he feels most secure, most confident, and most at peace with both himself and the world. Liam once said that he would be a hell of a lot happier if they moved the film industry to Arizona.

We see more shots of Liam trekking through the desert hills. He walks on his own, lost in his world.

NARRATOR/DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Liam Meed was born in Tucson, Arizona. He spent his childhood in Arizona, before he migrated to California at age twenty, to pursue the opportunities in filmmaking which he saw there.

CLOSE UPS OF PHOTOGRAPHS OF LIAM AT DIFFERENT AGES. THEY APPEAR ONE AFTER ANOTHER ON THE SCREEN, SHOWING HIS DEVELOPMENT FROM TODDLER, TO CHILD TO LATE TEEN TO YOUNG ADULT.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Is it possible to trace the origins of Liam’s personality and his love of filmmaking to his childhood, I wonder? Is the truth of his life hidden there, buried somewhere? Can we unravel the man in the present by looking at his past?

A SHOT OF LIAM, HIS BROTHER CHARLES, AND HIS PARENTS ROBERT AND LISA WHEN THE CHILDREN ARE TEN AND THIRTEEN YEARS OLD. THEY ARE STANDING IN AN ABANDONED AIRPLANE YARD, WHERE THE RUSTED SHELLS OF FIGHTER PLANES FILL THE AREA.

A SECOND PHOTO SHOWS LIAM AND HIS OLDER BROTHER CHARLES CROUCHED DOWN ON THE WING OF A DISUSED PLANE. THEY ARE BOTH SMILING FROM EAR TO EAR, THEIR ARMS OVER EACH OTHER’S SHOULDERS.

WE SEE A PHOTOGRAPH OF LIAM AND CHARLES STANDING NEXT TO A TEEPEE. A NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN IS WITH THEM, SMILING TO THE CAMERA, ONE HAND ON EACH OF THE TWO CHILDREN’S SHOULDERS.

INT. LIAM’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY
ROBERT and LISA MEED - Liam’s parents - are sitting on a couch, a photo album on Lisa’s lap.

Liam’s parents are both now in their early seventies, but look fit and healthy.

The CAMERA focuses on each photo she shows of her children.
LISA MEED
Liam and his older brother Charles were very active boys. Both of them. They were always off doing something, exploring or something similar.

PHOTOGRAPH OF LIAM AND CHARLES IN DIFFERENT DRESS-UP COSTUMES - SUCH AS AN ARMY UNIFORM, A COWBOY UNIFORM, A PIRATE, ETC.

ROBERT MEED
Liam was particularly adventurous. We have many fond memories of his stories of his adventures. He could keep us captivated for hours.

WE SEE A PHOTO OF ROBERT AND LIAM, STANDING NEXT TO THEIR DECORATED VAN, WHICH THEY USED TO TRAVEL THE COUNTRY.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Liam and Robert Meed travelled a lot before their children were born. Almost nomadic, they went from place to place, until they finally settled in Tucson, Arizona.

INT. LIAM’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY
Interview with Liam’s parents.
LISA MEED
We weren’t exactly hippies or gypsies or anything like that. We just moved where things were.
(MORE)

LISA MEED (cont'd) But when Charles came along, we decided that we didn’t want our child, or children, to be
uprooted all the time, taken from place to place, never settling down, making close friends, and so on.

ROBERT MEED
So, after Charles was born we decided we would find a place to live and that we would stick to it.

LISA MEED
We had a couple of friends in Tucson, who we used to visit from time to time. They encouraged us to settle with them in the area. And that was that. We had liked Tucson, so we made it our home.

PHOTOGRAPH OF CHARLES AND LIAM AS INFANTS AND THEIR PARENTS STANDING OUTSIDE THEIR NEW HOME IN TUCSON. LIAM IS WAVING TO THE CAMERA. ALL ARE SMILING. FOLLOWED BY A PHOTO OF LIAM AND CHARLES HELPING THEIR PARENTS PAINT THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Robert and Lisa Meed gave their creative young sons as much freedom as they could. Robert and Lisa believed strongly that a child’s creative instincts should be nurtured and encouraged, and never ignored or stifled.

LISA MEED
Yes, we did want our children to use and follow their imaginations. Of course, we didn’t realize quite where those imaginations would take them.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
While they did all they could to encourage and promote their children’s imaginations, at the same time, Robert and Lisa insisted Charles and Liam be instilled with a powerful sense of rationality. This was met with only minimal resistance from the two children, who soon recognized their parent’s good intentions.

 

LISA MEED
At first, Charles didn’t believe that anything that didn’t concern music was worth doing or knowing about. He was always at the piano in his childhood. Always. Liam, while he was never by any means a ‘couch potato’, he did give us some worry.

ROBERT MEED
He did like TV shows, and the movies. Perhaps more than we would have liked. But we let him pursue his passion. I think all that TV gave him his foundation in film, and art more generally. Believe it or not.

INT. LIAM’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
The importance of learning to use their minds was emphasized to the two children, who soon saw it’s point.

Robert and Lisa talk to the camera.
ROBERT MEED
In this world, you’ve got to know what’s going on. You’ve got to understand what’s what, and why it is the way it is. You’ve got to make sense of things. It’s the only way to get through it all properly. You can’t live in ignorance.

LISA MEED
We tried hard to cultivate our children’s minds, while giving them their freedom at the same time. That can be tricky. But we like to believe that we did okay at that.

ROBERT MEED
The mind needs to possess both imagination and rationality. The imagination we never doubted Liam had. His brother, Charles too.
They both had it.
(MORE)

ROBERT MEED (cont'd)
They were also reasonable logicians, but that side of life didn’t seem to matter as much as their creative drives.

EXT. LIAM MEED’S OLD HIGH-SCHOOL - DAY
A shot of a high-school in Tucson, which was attended by both Liam and Charles.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Charles Meed, three years older than Liam, did remarkably well at school, and flourished in almost everything he did. Charles was particularly gifted at music, and played both the piano and the saxophone, and he further tested his hand at the xylophone. His goal from the start was, as he said at age ten, ‘to travel the world playing cool music, preferably jazz.”

SHOT OF A YOUNG CHARLES SITTING AT A PIANO, SMILING AT THE CAMERA, HIS HEAD TURNED TOWARDS IT.

ROBERT MEED
You couldn’t drag Charles away from that piano. He sat at it night and day, and all the time in-between.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Liam Meed, too, was a promising student at school. He excelled in much of his work.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM #1 - DAY
MRS. DIBERY, Liam’s language teacher. The blackboard behind the desk has French phrases written on it.

SUPERIMPOSE AT BOTTOM OF SCREEN: MRS. DIBERY, LIAM’S LANGUAGES TEACHER

MRS. DIBERY
Liam Meed was efficient when he wanted to be. On the whole he would do things when they needed to be done, learn things when required. He had no complaints, or anything like that.
(MORE)

MRS. DIBERY (cont'd)
He never put up a fight. I liked Liam. I was impressed with his abilities. He was dedicated to his work.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

However, as more than one of Liam’s teachers pointed out, during his school years Liam had a tendency, now and again, to take his work a little too easily, and his focus would slacken. Despite his hard work, there were noticeable intermissions.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM #2 - DAY
MR. PODORAS, one of Liam’s old high-school teachers. There are mathematics equations on the blackboard behind Mr.
Podoras.
SUPERIMPOSE AT BOTTOM OF SCREEN: MR. PODORAS, LIAM’S MATH TEACHER

MR. PODORAS
Despite his hard work, Liam Meed was inclined to be . . at times .
. . a little . . . relaxed . . . is how I would put it. He was one of the most easy-going young men I’ve ever met. Liam never seemed to worry about anything. He never appeared to get stressed, or too concerned about how things were going. “Everything will just work out”, he would say. Nothing ever got to him, he never lost his temper, his voice was never raised. If something did get to him, he never showed any sign of it.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

One of Liam’s mentors and closest adult friends during his school years was Danny Lomby, the student counsellor at his high- school. Liam spent many afternoons after school talking with Danny.

 

INT. DANNY LOMBY’S OFFICE AT THE HIGH-SCHOOL - DAY DANNY LOMBY.
SUPERIMPOSE AT BOTTOM OF SCREEN: DANNY LOMBY, SCHOOL COUNSELLOR.

DANNY LOMBY
When I first met Liam I got the impression that he had a burning creative streak raging within him. He appeared calm and relaxed on the outside, but I believe that inside his mind, there was a kind of . . . restlessness. He often talked of his creativity, and of what he wanted to do in life. He realized early on that he could use his creativity in his life. I tried to help him focus and plan so that he could achieve his goals.

PHOTO OF LIAM IN THE ART CLASSROOM, SMILING IN FRONT OF A PAINTING HE HAS JUST PAINTED, WHICH IS FULL OF SWIRLING COLOURS AND INTRICATE PATTERNS.

PHOTO OF LIAM AT AGE SIXTEEN, STANDING IN THE SCHOOL YARD, LEANING VACANTLY AGAINST A WALL, STARING AT NOTHING IN PARTICULAR.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

At age sixteen there was a perceptible change in Liam. Many of those who knew him attributed it to his creative streak.

INT. DANNY LOMBY’S OFFICE AT THE HIGH-SCHOOL - DAY
Danny Lomby.

DANNY LOMBY
One of the things most noticeable about Liam’s ‘mental life’ during his later high school years were his bizarre ‘wanderings’, a product, no doubt, of his fierce imagination. He often told me that his mind would drift for hours on end, in many different directions. He told me he just wanted to know where those psychological journeys would lead him, if anywhere.
(MORE)

DANNY LOMBY (cont'd)
I think he didn’t know how to cope with them, hard as he tried.
(pause)
We all go through difficult phases. This was one of Liam’s.

INT. LIAM’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY
Robert and Lisa Meed.
ROBERT MEED
I think Danny Lomby was the one person who really helped to determine Liam’s future. He had the most influence on Liam. Liam trusted Danny probably more than anyone.

LISA MEED
Danny was the one who suggested Liam find an outlet for his imaginative ‘wanderings’. The problem that Liam faced at first was that he just didn’t know where all of it was leading. His imagination was taking him places, but he didn’t know what to do when he got there.

ROBERT MEED
Liam talked about it a lot. He used to say he could see the roads in his mind extending into the distance, and could travel them if he wished, but he just wasn’t sure what was at the end, and what he was supposed to do if and when he got there.

INT. DANNY LOMBY’S OFFICE AT THE HIGH-SCHOOL - DAY
Danny Lomby.

DANNY LOMBY
Liam loved film. It was one of his passions. Probably his dominant passion. He loved to go to the cinema. Liam and I talked often about the latest films that were being shown in the cinemas. He had a high regard generally for most genres, but what he really liked most though was horror - real blood and guts. I didn’t know too much about horror films.

 

INT. LIAM’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY
Robert and Lisa Meed.
ROBERT MEED
Horror. Yeah.
(he chuckles)
I hate to think what Liam found on those roads in his mind. I hate to imagine what was lurking along those roads.

LISA MEED
Whatever it was, he used it. He put it down on paper, writing stories and taking lots of notes of his ideas. He had a small red book that he used to carry everywhere. And which he wouldn’t let anyone else open, let alone read.

ROBERT MEED
He was very protective of that little red book.

INT. DANNY LOMBY’S OFFICE AT THE HIGH-SCHOOL - DAY
Danny Lomby.

DANNY LOMBY
I remember the day well. The day it all changed. Liam came into my office, and sat down without saying a word. He looked me square in the eyes and said “I think that horror films are my calling”. Simple as that. He pulled out a thick pile of notes, and slid it across the desk. “Could you have a look at this for me?” he asked politely. I read what was written on the page, and I was astounded. It wasn’t my cup of tea, granted, but I could appreciate good art all the same. I think from that day, we both knew that Liam was going to be a horror film director, and that he was going to go places.

INT. JAZZ CLUB - NIGHT
A jazz band is playing on the small raised stage. CHARLES MEED is on piano. The jazz club is dark and smoky.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Charles Meed took a great interest in his little brother’s interest in horror. Charles admits he was not too enthusiastic by the choice of the horror genre, but, nevertheless, he promised to assist Liam in any way he could. Liam has attributed his perseverance in trying to get a start in the film business to his brother’s constant encouragement.

INT. DARK JAZZ CLUB - NIGHT
Charles is being interviewed in the jazz club.
CHARLES MEED
Liam wasn’t in any way insecure and he didn’t lack confidence or motivation, but I felt he needed assistance and encouragement.
Sometimes even a kick in the behind. I did what any brother should do, and could do - and that was to back him up when he needed it. I remember Liam once dragged me to a reshowing of Hitchcock’s Psychoat our local cinema. Now, I’d already seen the film, and had plans that day. But I knew it was my duty to go with Liam to see that film. And Liam was quite insistent that we go.
Afterwards, we talked for about two hours. It was then I really understood that Liam had a rare and unusual sense about film. I also noticed that Liam had a massive knowledge of film. Almost encyclopedic it was.
Particularly, the horror genre. I wondered where he had got it from.

INT. LIAM’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY
Robert and Lisa Meed.
ROBERT MEED
Where did Liam develop his extensive knowledge of film? At the local video store of course.

 

EXT. THE MEEDS’S LOCAL VIDEO STORE IN TUCSON - DAY
The VIDEO STORE OWNER sits on a stool behind the counter. He is a aging man, with stubble, and greying, thinning hair.

There are the latest release film posters on the wall behind him.

VIDEO STORE OWNER
Yeah, it’s hard to forget someone like Liam. He was here three years, before he went on to film school, I think. He was a good boy, and still keeps in touch with me. You know, he sends me a Christmas card every year, sometimes a postcard too, when he travels.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

What is your memory of Liam? How did he appear to you?

VIDEO STORE OWNER
He was quite relaxed in everything he did. He wasn’t a slacker though. I don’t mean that. He just appeared . . . well, he was easy to get along with. But he had a thirst. A thirst to know everything he could about film. I think over the three years, he went through every horror film we have here. And that was just for starters.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Did Liam ever talk to you about his goals, or his dreams?

VIDEO STORE OWNER
Sometimes. He’d let slip his ambitions to work as a film director, making horror films. He wasn’t shy about it. But he just kind of kept it all inside his mind. We can see now that he found expression for all those thoughts.

 

(O.C.)

NARRATOR/DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Do you have a favourite film of Liam’s?

 

VIDEO STORE OWNER
Hmm. That’s a tough one. I’ve seen them all, many times. We stock them all too. But if I had to pick one - probably Blue Moon, Red Blood. That one was a ripper. Sometimes I think he overdoes it on the gore side, but that’s just one man’s opinion. Audiences seem to like it, I guess.

INT. DARK JAZZ CLUB - DAY
Charles Meed is sitting in the jazz club.
CHARLES MEED
I’ve no doubt that Liam was gifted in many ways, and it’s not just my bias as a brother that’s saying that. Liam was a good brother to have. A good friend, too. It’s a pity to me that Liam’s personal life has become, in some ways, such a topic of concern and speculation.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

(O.C.)
How so?

 

CHARLES MEED

Two marriage breakdowns. Despite his failures as a husband, he is not a bad father. I want that on the record. He always keeps in touch with his three kids.

NARRATOR/DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
What do you attribute the breakdowns to?

CHARLES MEED
Well, I can’t speak for Liam, obviously. I don’t know everything. I only know what I saw for myself, and what Liam has told me over the years.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Did his work have anything to do with it?

CHARLES MEED
Maybe. He was away a lot. He was also very obsessed with his film career. So much so that he devoted a lot, if not all, his spare time to it. I wouldn’t say he ignored his wife and children, but perhaps he did let them down in some way.

EXT. SERIES OF PHOTOS OF LIAM - NIGHT
Various photographs of Liam as he is followed by crowds of photographers and journalists, including Liam at a major press conference for one of his films - IN A CIRCLE OF FRIENDS.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Hollywood filmmaking is a full time job for Liam. He has admitted as much at different times during his decade long career. The long hours have ensured that Liam spent considerable time away from his families.

INT. PRESS CONFERENCE - DAY
A press conference for the film IN A CIRCLE OF FRIENDS. Liam is sitting on a stage, with Wayne and others involved in the film. Liam has a microphone in front of him.

LIAM MEED
I guess you could say that filmmaking can be gruelling. Stressful at times as well. But I wouldn’t change careers. Not if you paid me twice as much.

JOURNALIST
How do you find balancing work and your personal life?

LIAM MEED
I think I’ll leave that question for another time.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Some commentators have said that Hollywood has ‘intruded’ excessively into Liam’s personal life.
(MORE)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER (cont'd)
His family’s dark secrets have led to intrigue and speculation among many. I asked Charles if this was a problem for Liam.

INT. DARK JAZZ CLUB - NIGHT
Charles in the jazz club.
CHARLES MEED
You’re making this film, aren’t you?
(long questioning pause) With this film you’re making, you’re no doubt trying to uncover the ‘truth’ about Liam and his life? Maybe his personality?
Right? You want to show a side of Liam that no one has seen? Is it something like that?

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Do you think this film should not be made?

CHARLES MEED
That’s not for me to say. It’s Liam’s life. It’s Liam’s choice. Whatever he wants to do, he can do. I’m just concerned that he’ll be misrepresented.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
We’re trying to portray Liam as honestly as possible, often through the words and remembrances of others, through people that have known him and seen him grow up and mature into the person he is today.

CHARLES MEED
Yeah, but a good story sells? Right? All you have to do is add a few juicy exaggerations, embellishments, dress it up a bit. You have to produce something that audiences will wantto see, something they’ll wantto swallow. It has to be controversial, exceptional. It can’t be run-of-the-mill stuff. No. Can it?

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

So you are against this film?
Charles looks at the camera and shrugs.
CHARLES MEED
I just hope your film doesn’t harm or even destroy Liam’s reputation, or his career. It’s not worth that, just to make a good story.

INT. LIAM’S PARENT’S HOUSE - DAY
Robert and Lisa Meed look thoughtful.
ROBERT MEED
Lots of people told Liam he was gifted when he was growing up. I guess Liam took it all in his stride. A lot of people had a lot of good things to say about him. But he never got big-headed.

Lisa nods in agreement with Robert.
ROBERT MEED
He never got an inflated sense of who or what he was.

LISA MEED
Actually, Liam had a crisis of identity late in school, and shortly thereafter. It lasted about a year, and he became profoundly introspective, and started asking a lot of big, meaningful questions.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
What sort of questions?
Lisa and Robert exchange glances.
LISA MEED
Well, his main thrust during that time was ‘why’.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Why what?

 

LISA MEED
Why anything? He seemed to go through a protracted phase of not only “Who am I?” but also “Why am I on this earth?”. “What is my purpose, if I have one?”

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Did he find answers?
ROBERT MEED
I think he’s still looking. The change in his personality was noticeable during that year. It wasn’t a change for the worse, or anything like that - just . . . well, maybe a sign of greater maturity and understanding . . . of his place in this universe.

INT. CHARLES MEED’S HOUSE - DAY
Charles is sitting on the couch.
CHARLES MEED
I put that change in Liam down to some inner experience that he had, but it was something he never elaborated on. I tried to find out, but he wouldn’t really specify what it was he was thinking. But I know the lack of answers wasn’t a result of a lack of questions. I almost hounded the poor kid trying to find out what he was turning over in his mind day and night.

INT. BASKETBALL COURT - DAY
Three men, all in their late-thirties, are playing basketball. We watch them playing for a while. They run around, dribbling, passing, shooting, calling out and laughing as the game progresses.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
If Liam went through some kind of transformation in his later school years, an experience which may have changed him, and which he seems reluctant to have disclosed to his family, perhaps his old high-school friends can shed some light on the matter.

 

More action of the basketball game.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Liam still keeps in frequent contact with some of his old school friends. In a disused basketball court in a shabby corner of the city, I find Aaron, Stephen and Billy, three of Liam’s closest school friends, all of whom graduated the same year as Liam. Each has their own unique memory of Liam.

AARON, STEPHEN and BILLY are now sitting on plastic chairs to the side of the basketball court, being interviewed and sharing their memories of Liam.

AARON
Liam was a relatively popular kid at school. He was well-liked and respected among his peers. I think we saw his abilities, and acknowledged that.

STEPHEN
I know a lot of people throw compliments around in a sycophantic way these days, but I really believe that Liam had something special. It’s hard to define exactly what that ‘special thing’ was.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
If you had to hazard a guess, what would say it was?

STEPHEN
I don’t really know, still, after all these years. I’ve tried to figure it out, by recalling Liam’s words and behavior at school. I don’t pretend to be an expert on human behaviour, or an expert on the mind for that matter.
(pause)
I think he must have had a . . . an innate sense of what people were about, and he also seemed to be relaxed in his perception of the world around him. Does that make sense?

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Do you mean he understood the world?

Stephen coughs, and puts a hand to his mouth, before continuing.

STEPHEN
Liam never exactly professed to know everything that was happening. There were plenty of fools at our school who did, and they became . . . condescending to everyone else. They assumed an air of superiority. Liam wasn’t like that. But he often referred to “the reality in which we find ourselves.” It was sort of his favourite phrase for a while.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

What did he mean by that?
STEPHEN
Who knows?
(to Aaron and Billy) Any ideas?

BILLY
I think he perceived reality in a was that was different to everyone else, and he had to state that openly, so that people knew he was . . . different to them.

AARON
But, different as his thoughts might have been, Liam didn’t seek to force us to enter his world, his reality. He recognized that we had our own truths, and he never interfered. “We can all coexist peacefully”, he said.

BILLY
Liam wanted a world of peace. That’s probably one thing people have forgotten about Liam. He disliked conflict.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Did Liam ever confide in you about his inner thoughts later in high-school?

 

The three men look at each other, a little quizzically.
STEPHEN
Inner thoughts?
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
I’ll ask a different question. Did Liam experience any unusual change in high-school, during the period of about a year?

STEPHEN
Oh, sure, his introspective, questioning phase. I see what you’re getting at with the ‘inner thought’ thing. Yeah, Liam went through that, like most of us do at one time or another.

AARON
No one really knows for sure what Liam was thinking during that time. I wouldn’t say that Liam became, or was, secretive, but he certainly kept a lid on his actual mental goings-on for a while.

BILLY
We actually, the three of us, put bets on about what it all was. As we never found out the truth, the bets still stand.
(pause)
Aaron’s bet was the craziest.
Billy and Stephen looks at Aaron with grins on their faces.
BILLY
(to Aaron)
Care to share with the world what your bet was?

AARON
It goes back to Liam’s childhood. I’ve known Liam since we were five years old. A little after we became friends, Liam claimed he had discovered an ‘upside-down world’. Now, he never said howyou get there, and he never really said whatwas there, except that everything was upside down. It was a world turned on its head. My bet simply was that Liam had found a way to get back into the upside-down world.

 

There is a pause and a silence among the three men.
BILLY
The truth of it is, one day we may find out what Liam was thinking of. Or, we may not. It’s up to Liam to tell us. No one else.

EXT. SAPPINGTON FILM COLLEGE - DAY
A shot of Sappington Film College, a large building located in Los Angeles.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

A year after Liam graduated high school he enrolled in and was accepted into Sappington Film School, in Los Angeles.
Established in 1977, Sappington Film College has produced a significant number of talented film makers over the years. Liam spent four years there, honing his craft, learning the business and producing and directing a number of short films. He garnered several nominations for two of his short works. While he missed out, he credits these nominations as a motivating factor in pursuing a career as a director. He also credits the film college for allowing him to meet industry insiders, many of whom recall Liam and were impressed with his early work.
One producer who recalls his early work is John Bing, producer of a vast number of Hollywood action-adventure scripts.

INT. JOHN BING INTERVIEW - DAY
Interview with JOHN BING.
JOHN BING
I remember Liam well. Outgoing guy, full of ideas, and ready to pitch them to you no matter what you said. Kind of annoying in a way, but Liam had the knack of making you listen.
(MORE)

JOHN BING (cont'd)
I liked his short works, and his experimentation in the horror genre. Quite impressive stuff back then. I knew that he would probably get a start somewhere, and I did my best to point him in the right directions. Well, he did what he said he was going to do - that is, he made it as a director or horror films.
Overall, a good guy. I’m glad he succeeded.

INT. LIAM MEED’S CAR - DAY
Liam is driving his car through Tucson. He is on his way to his youngest daughter’s birthday party. Liam talks as he drives.

LIAM MEED
Today is my daughter’s fifth birthday. We’re throwing a party for her with all her friends.

EXT. GARDEN AT LIAM MEED’S EX-WIFE’S HOUSE - DAY
HELEN MEED’S birthday party is in full swing. There are tables with plates of food and drink. There is a small jumping castle. About twenty children are running around, playing games.

Robert and Lisa Meed are there, as is Catherine, Liam’s ex- wife and Helen’s mother.

SERIES OF SHOTS OF CHILDREN PLAYING AND RUNNING AROUND SHOTS OF CHILDREN PLAYING PIN THE TAIL ON THE DONKEY
SERIES OF SHOTS OF LIAM’S FIVE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER HELEN OPENING UP HER PRESENTS

While Helen opens her presents, Liam is seen in a distant part of the garden speaking with his second ex-wife, CATHERINE. The camera does not get too close to them, but they can be clearly seen. They seem to be discussing something important.

SHOT OF LIAM CROUCHING NEXT TO HIS DAUGHTER, UTTERING SOME ENCOURAGING WORDS AND HUGGING HER. HIS EX-WIFE WATCHES THEM, HER ARMS CROSSED.

 

EXT. GARDEN AT LIAM MEED’S EX-WIFE’S HOUSE - DAY
A short time later.
Charles’ jazz band is set up in a section of the garden on a small stage. The twenty or so kids are all seated intently in front of it, listening to the music. The jazz band plays a cool jazz song. Charles in on the piano.

Later. Charles steps up to the microphone. Liam is standing to the side.

CHARLES MEED
I would now like to welcome Helen’s father, Liam, to the stage to say a few words about his daughter.

Liam steps up to the microphone. He takes the microphone in his hand.

LIAM MEED
Well, here we are. Another year gone by, and my lovely and beautiful daughter Helen is one year older. Helen, this is your very special day, and we wish you all the very best. We all hope that this year will be better and bigger than last year, full of surprises and wonderful times.
It’s a wonderful thing to watch you growing up, and I love you very much.

Helen smiles and Liam steps from the stage. Charles takes the microphone again.

CHARLES MEED
Now, would everyone now please join us in wishing Helen a very Happy Birthday.

The jazz band launches into a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, and all the children sing along. Helen looks blissfully happy.

EXT. GARDEN AT LIAM MEED’S EX-WIFE’S HOUSE - DAY
Liam is inside the house, looking out the back window into the garden as Helen Meed’s birthday continues.

LIAM MEED
She’s sweet, isn’t she?
Liam continues to gaze out the window at his daughter.

LIAM MEED
(contemplative)
I remember when I was her age. (pause)
There certainly are plenty of surprises in life, aren’t there? I just wish they were all good surprises.

There is a pause as Liam watches Helen playing.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Do you see yourself having more children in the future?

Liam doesn’t look, he just continues to look out the window.

LIAM MEED
Who’s to know what will happen in the future? I don’t think any of us can predict what life has in store for us.

EXT. GARDEN TABLE - DAY
The party is over, and all the children have left. Liam, Catherine, Charles, Charles’ wife, and Robert and Lisa Meed, are sitting outside, in garden chairs.

EXT. GARDEN TABLE - DAY
The group is talking in the garden.
CHARLES MEED
What do you think, Liam? A success?

LIAM MEED
I think Helen had a good time. That’s all that really matters.

CATHERINE
Charles, thank you for helping us out. Thank your band for us.

LIAM MEED
(to the camera)
I don’t think you’ve been introduced. This is Helen’s mother, Catherine. She used to be in publishing, now she writes her own children’s books.

 

CATHERINE
Oh, stop it, Liam. (to the camera)
You’ll edit this bit out, won’t you?

LIAM MEED
No. They won’t.
(with a grin to the camera)
Leave it in.
Catherine slaps Liam with the back of her hand.
CATHERINE
Stop it, Liam. I mean it!
LIAM MEED
Okay. Okay.
(to the camera; jokingly)
Hey! Look somewhere else. Eh?

MORE SHOTS OF THE FAMILY MEMBERS ALL TALKING
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
The subject of Liam’s private life has been a topic of speculation over the years. While Liam has rightly insisted on many occasions that his personal life is “no one’s business but mine”, many in the media have tried to intrude into his private world.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Benjamin Lemasters interview (same interview as earlier).
LEMASTERS
Now, Liam may not like what I’m going to say next. But Liam needs a wake up call - a jolt back into reality. When you make yourself into a public figure - that is, when you enter the public domain in some way, such as being a film director - some people in this world are going to want to know more about you. That’s natural.
Now, you have a couple of choices.
(MORE)

LEMASTERS (cont'd)
Firstly, you can continue to hide from it all - you can try to hide from all the scrutiny - or, you can face up to it, and, tell the truth. You can set the record straight, as it were. Liam doesn’t face up to it. He hides, he doesn’t reveal the true Liam. Facts are facts.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Why do you think, as you say, Liam conceals his past?

LEMASTERS
Why? I think because he’s ashamed of it.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

In what way?
LEMASTERS
Look, I didn’t want to be the one to raise this. I think there are places that we - the critics/the media - don’t really have a right to go. There are limits. We need to stick to the boundaries of right and wrong. But there’s something about Liam’s past that musthave affected him deeply.
People have questioned him about it, but he won’t talk about it. And if he does, it’s in very vague terms.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
Henry Meed?
LEMASTERS
Yes. Henry Meed.

INT. PRISON ROOM - DAY
Henry Meed is being filmed in a prison room. He is facing the camera, sitting in a bare room at a small, metal table. The film was made shortly after his arrest and incarceration (the late 1970s).

HENRY MEED
(a quiet, expressionless voice)
Some people might say I’m crazy. That I’m insane. But, I ask, who is to say what is sane or insane?
(MORE)

HENRY MEED (cont'd)
Who has the mandate to do that? We are a community of individuals
- made up of different mixes - where no two people are the same. What one person considers normal, another will consider abnormal. I will refute the notion that I am insane and that what I did was wrong.

INT. INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT AND LISA MEED - DAY
ROBERT MEED
My brother, Henry, made some horrific decisions which affected a lot of people, decisions we would have obviously tried to stop had we known about them. But the truth is, nobody knew. On the outside, Henry just seemed a normal guy, the person everyone had always known.

LISA MEED
No one knew about Henry’s sickness. No one had any idea what was going through his mind. Had we known, had any of us known, I doubt even then we could have conceived of the consequences - the outcome - of his condition, and of his deteriorating health. No one knew what he was going to do.

PHOTO OF HENRY MEED. The photo is of Henry as a young man, and before the killings. He is with his family, including Liam and Charles, who are just infants.

INT. ROBERT AND LISA MEED INTERVIEW - DAY
ROBERT MEED
Neither Liam, nor Charles, have even spoken about the discovery that their uncle - their close friend and a childhood confidant - was a mass murderer.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Liam is facing the camera. He sits quietly for some moments before speaking.

 

LIAM MEED
I just don’t like to talk about it. I mean, whose business is it anyway?

EXT. HATSDELD APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY
A shot of a small, shabby apartment building in Hatsdeld.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
For Liam, the darkest part of his life has come from his family’s past. The topic of his uncle, Henry Meed, has been a constant source of sadness and despair for Liam and, indeed, for his whole family. For many years, Liam’s close family found it almost impossible to accept what Henry had done, and they were unable to explain how it could have happened. Liam has discussed the story of Henry Meed with me on several brief occasions, but he has asked that almost all of those conversations go unrecorded. What he has allowed me to present are the basic facts of what happened over three decades ago.

INT. NEWS STUDIO REPORT - DAY
Archival news footage. A news reporter is delivering a report. During the report, we see a photo of Henry taken from a Hatsdeld community archive.

NEWS REPORTER
Following a five week police investigation, the Hatsdeld killer has been identified by police as Henry Meed, a local Hatsdeld resident and a well- known member of the local community. Henry Meed lived in the area for close to twenty-five years, and was a recognized and respected part of the Hatsdeld community. He was arrested in his home last night. The arrest puts an end to five weeks of terror among Hatsdeld residents.

 

EXT. HATSDELD COMMUNITY - DAY
SERIES OF SHOTS OF THE HATSDELD COMMUNITY GOING ABOUT THEIR DAILY LIVES.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

The capture of Henry Meed came as a shock to the community of Hatsdeld. How, they wondered, could such a devoted and active member of the Hatsdeld community commit such terrible crimes? When asked why he murdered five people, Henry Meed was at first silent and would not answer.
However, later he said this -

INT. PRISON ROOM - DAY
Another interview with Henry Meed in prison. He is dressed in prison clothes, has ruffled hair and is unshaven.

HENRY MEED
I don’t know why exactly I did it. I wasn’t myself at those moments. But all know is that I did do it. I am a guilty man.
However, I want people to know that I do not feel a need to assist people in their destruction. I believe that people are capable of that themselves. People are predisposed to self-destruction. Maybe I assisted them in some way
- but it probably wasn’t necessary. The result would have been the same.

PICTURE OF HENRY MEED’S POLICE MUG SHOT
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
For the Meed family, when Henry was arrested, everything changed. In fact, the family nearly fell to pieces when it was discovered what Henry had done.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Robert and Lisa in their interview.

 

ROBERT MEED
We don’t really talk much about any of that any more. At the time, and since, we have tried our best to understand - to make sense of what Henry did to those five people. But we still find it inexplicable. Most of the time, we try to keep it locked away.

LISA MEED
Henry snapped. How could any of us know how badly he would snap? To all observers, he seemed so fine, so normal, so kind and helpful. To this day, I don’t understand it.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Charles Meed’s interview.
CHARLES MEED
When the media found out about Henry, they went berserk. Our family was deeply affected by what they did. Of course, neither Liam nor I knew the truth at the time - we were just kids. To know about something like that could only hurt us. But in time, when we were old enough to understand, our parents told us about Henry.
(pause)
Liam once told me, not that long ago actually, that he overheard our parents talking about it when we were just kids, but I don’t know if he was making it up or not.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Liam is on camera.

LIAM MEED
I really tried to bury it. Anyone in the same situation would have done the same. It’s the only way to keep going. You can’t carry a truth like Henry Meed around in your head everyday.

 

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Robert and Lisa interview.
ROBERT MEED
One thing we won’t forgive the media for is their treatment of Liam when speculation began that he was related to the serial killer Henry Meed. Liam was a public figure and they just decided to delve into his past. They wouldn’t let the matter rest, and hounded not only Liam but the rest of us too.

LISA MEED
It was never anyone’s business. We’re sorry for what Henry did, but enough is enough. It wasn’t Liam’s fault, but his relation to Henry became a curse. It almost ruined him. Really, it did. His family life fell apart for one thing. It was a devastating time for Liam.

INT. LIAM INTERVIEW - DAY
Liam is silent and contemplative.
LIAM MEED
(to the camera)
Yes. Okay. I was shocked and ashamed of Henry Meed. I felt that I’d done something terrible because of what Henry did. The whole saga turned my life inside out, and upside down. I looked for answers but found none. A close family member turned out to be a monster, a deranged killer. How would you feel? And it all contributed to the breakup with Catherine. I just don’t think she could live with it, or me.

VARIOUS FOOTAGE/PHOTOS OF HENRY MEED
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
Henry Meed largely refused to talk about what he had done, or why he had done it, beyond his original confession.
(MORE)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER (cont'd)
Nothing substantial was ever really extracted from him concerning his crimes. Shortly after his trial he was certified as insane.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Charles’s interview.

CHARLES MEED
We may never know why our uncle did what he did. He never really said much about it. I just remember one thing he did say. It went something like this:

PHOTO OF HENRY MEED WITH HIS TWO NEPHEWS - CHARLES AND LIAM
CHARLES MEED
(V.O.)
“What does it mean to say I’m sorry? Why should I apologize for what I did and for what others classify as wrong? Murder may be regarded as one of the worst kinds of acts. But says who?
According to those who make the rules, everything that we do is wrong.”

INT. ROBERT AND LISA MEED INTERVIEW - DAY
ROBERT MEED
Things will be better if the past is left undisturbed. There has been enough pain and suffering and guilt already. It is a private thing and we leave it at that.

LISA MEED
Instead of focusing on all the darkness in our lives, all that trouble and turmoil, we should look instead at all those things that make this world a good place to live.

EXT. ARIZONA RETREAT - DAY
Liam is sitting at a desk. He is reclined back in his seat, initially gazing at the ceiling.

 

LIAM MEED
Catherine really is a lovely person. Everything that happened in my family’s past was too much for her, I think. Besides that, we just had too many . . . differences. But we managed to split amicably enough. I worried about what would happen to Helen, but I think she’s a strong girl.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Do you miss having Helen around everyday?

Liam doesn’t look at the camera. He looks anywhere but at the camera.

LIAM MEED
I do, yeah. Children can be such marvellous companions. Yeah, I do miss Helen.
(pause)
But I know she’s better off with her mother. I couldn’t provide the proper upbringing for her, I don’t think.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

(O.C.)
Why not?

 

LIAM MEED

I’m here and there. Out and about. So much of my time is taken up with my career, my films. I just doubt Helen would get the time and attention she really needs, and deserves. Call me a bad father, selfish, whatever, but that’s how it goes.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
Couldn’t you make time? Perhaps spend less time on your projects and more time with Helen?

LIAM MEED
What are you? A family guidance counsellor?

Liam shakes his head.
LIAM MEED
I suppose it might have been possible.

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

How often do you see your children from your first marriage?

LIAM MEED
David and Sarah. About once a month. Either I go to them, stay for a couple of days, or they come to LA with their mother. Her work brings her to LA quite a bit. When I see them, they never seem to be having much fun. They sometimes pretend, for my sake.
But I know they’re bored.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
All three declined our request for an interview.

LIAM MEED
Yeah. I don’t think they’re really that fond of me. I don’t think those two kids really admire me, their father. I think they consider me a loser of some sort. It’s probably a good thing they won’t talk publicly about me. Who knows what they might say?

EXT. LIAM’S CAR IN LOS ANGELES - DAY
Liam is driving in a car from the airport back to his offices.

Liam looks at the familiar sites that he passes through the streets. He passes a small cafe. He points to it.

LIAM MEED
See that cafe. That’s where I was when I heard that they offered me my first directing job. I remember that day well. Pure joy and bliss came over me when I got the news. They make good coffee there too.

EXT. POSTER OF SCREAMING JANE- DAY
A poster of Screaming Jane. We see a close up of Liam’s name as Director of the film.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Liam’s first directing job was too good to be true. Proviso Studios had a script - Screaming Jane- which they wanted to make. It was passed over by three other directors. As one said, “It had little merit or substance for mine. Why waste time on something that you know wouldn’t work? I had better things to do.” Somehow, Liam made it work.

INT. HOME OF JAMES HOLBORN - DAY
SUPERIMPOSE AT BOTTOM OF SCREEN: JANE HOLBORN: HEAD OF PRODUCTION AT PROVISO STUDIOS, 1984-2003.

JAMES HOLBORN
I had a script which no one seemed to want to make. The studio was keen to do it, and told me to pick anyone I wanted. I had heard of Liam through an old friend as Sappington Film School and checked him out. He seemed very capable, agreed to take a pittance for that film - I think he would have made it for nothing. But his enthusiasm was unbounded. You could tell Liam really loved the genre. So, we went with him.

INT. HOUSE OF ROBERT LEAN - DAY
SUPERIMPOSE AT BOTTOM OF SCREEN: ROBERT LEAN, WRITER OF SCREAMING JANE.

ROBERT LEAN
The studios had a tough time of it finding someone to take the helm of my script. Initially, I was hesitant to agree to Liam Meed. I wanted someone with more credentials. I mean, what did we really know about him? But the studio, to be honest, didn’t really give a shit about what I thought. They still don’t, despite my record.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Liam got the job, and did a remarkable take on the script. Says, James Holborn . . .

JAMES HOLBORN
Liam was unique in his interpretation of the film. At Proviso Studios, we all thought we knew what sort of film it would be. Liam surprised us and we liked that. The rest is history.

INT. LIAM MEED’S OFFICE - DAY
Liam is back in a conference-type room at his offices, with Ivan, his manager, and Wayne, his producer. Liam is at his desk. Ivan is sitting on a couch. Wayne is lying on another couch, his boots hanging off one end, and his cap resting on his stomach.

IVAN
So, we’ve got one studio willing to green-light our next project. Greathouse Studios. Now, they’re a bit tentative at this stage, but I think we can get them to come around quite easily.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
Greathouse Studios? What have they done?

IVAN
They’ve got a pretty good record.
LIAM MEED
And the budget they’ll give us?
IVAN
Not as much.
LIAM MEED
Enough though?
IVAN
What choice do you have? If you want to get your film made, you’ll have to make some sacrifices. Budget is one of them. We’ll just have to figure out how to work with less money.

 

WAYNE HILLFIELD
Liam, I still figure we can make the film we want with a smaller budget. We just got to cut some corners. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll squeeze every penny we can out of Greathouse Studios, but we just got to spend it more carefully.

LIAM MEED
Fine. What else, Ivan? What else is going on?

IVAN
The TV show Horrifiedwants you as a guest host for an upcoming episode. All you got to do is introduce one of the segments. That’s it.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
That’s that kid’s show, right?
Liam taps his pencil on the table, and appears to be thinking.

LIAM MEED
Fine. I’ll do it. Let them know.
There is a short pause. Ivan looks like he is going to say something but he hesitates and holds it back.

LIAM MEED
Is that it? There’s nothing else to discuss?

IVAN
There’s one other thing.
LIAM MEED

Yes?

IVAN

Besides giving you a smaller budget, Greathouse Studios said they’re going to cast the film. You won’t have any say in it.

LIAM MEED

Huh?

IVAN

At least just the leads, anyway.
Wayne briefly raises his head, but lets it drop and doesn’t speak.

 

LIAM MEED
Great. Just great. What more are these studios going to take from me? Don’t they understand I have a particular vision, a picture in my mind, of how the films must work? And that I need to make decisions to ensure that my vision comes to the screen?

IVAN
Vision or no vision, they said they’re casting it. And it’s not negotiable.

LIAM MEED
Wayne, what do you think?
WAYNE HILLFIELD
I don’t like it. But, fuck it, let them cast it.

IVAN
And they’re cutting it. They’ll have final say on the edit.

Liam looks furious, but contains his rising temper.
LIAM MEED
Good. Fine. I’ll work with their fucking conditions if it’ll get the film made. But after that, watch out.

INT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - DAY
Liam is addressing his core crew of filmmakers - including Ivan, and Wayne.       They are all gathered in Liam’s house.

LIAM MEED
Okay. This is where we stand. We’re splitting with Proviso Studios. Our long relationship with them is now at an end. It’s sad, and a shame, but there’s nothing we can do about it.
They’re not to be persuaded or convinced that we can make another hit for them. I know all of you have read the bad press for Dead Man’s Wifeand seen the poor response it’s received from film audiences. Put that behind you now. We look forward now, to something new.
(MORE)

LIAM MEED (cont'd) Another studio - Greathouse Studios - are interested in making a film with us and they’ve promised us a moderate budget.
Enough to get something made, anyway. The script has been polished, and shown to the studio, who have given the thumbs up.
(pause)
But there are a couple of other matters. We’re not, as a team, going to have full creative control over our project. The studio just won’t have it. So, we won’t have any say in casting.
And the final edit will be determined entirely by the studio.

There are murmurs of disapproval and dismay from the gathered crowd.

LIAM MEED
So, that’s it. Let’s accept it, do what we have to do, and get to work.

INT. GREATHOUSE STUDIOS - DAY
Liam and Ivan and Wayne are meeting PATRICK HARPER - the chief executive of Greathouse Studios. Three of Patrick’s assistants are present, two men in dark suits and a woman dressed very conservatively. Everyone shakes hands and there are greetings and introductions. They all sit down.

PATRICK HARPER
Can we get you anything to drink?
LIAM MEED
No. We’re fine. Thanks.
PATRICK HARPER
Mr. Meed, we want to say that we are excited to be working with you.

 

Thank-you.

LIAM MEED

PATRICK HARPER

We see a very bright future for yourself and for this studio. To have a talent like yourself on board, well, it’s a thrill. We believe that we can and will create great things together.

 

LIAM MEED
Thank-you. I hope so too.
PATRICK HARPER
Now, we understand that you’ve hit kind of a rough patch recently.

Liam interrupts.

LIAM MEED
Well, it’s not a rough patch as such, I wouldn’t say. More of a disappointing outcome of a long process.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
Whoever says Liam is a failure or a man on a downhill slide, well, that’s just a perception. It doesn’t necessarily match up with the facts.

Patrick looks very confused by their statements. He gazes from one to the other.

PATRICK HARPER
Whatever. Your last film, Dead Man’s Wife, was not quite what was expected. We don’t believe that this is going to continue. Do you?

LIAM MEED
To be honest, I didn’t think my last film was going to be . . . received the way it was. I thought, still think, that it has more merit than has been acknowledged.

PATRICK HARPER
Whatever the case, Greathouse Studios is willing to overlook it, because we know that Liam Meed still has something special to show audiences. We are certain that audiences still want to see films by Liam Meed.

EXT. GREATHOUSE STUDIOS - DAY
Liam, Ivan and Wayne are going down in the lift in the studio office building.

 

IVAN
I think that went well. It doesn’t sounds like your career is over yet, not by a mile.

LIAM MEED
Do you think it was ever in doubt?

IVAN
I was worried, Liam. I admit it. I’ve seen clients lose out, big time. Their careers cut prematurely short. It’s tragic when it happens.

LIAM MEED
I’ve got plenty in me to keep me going for a long while yet.

The lift doors open and they exit.

INT. STUDIO SET OF THE TV SHOW ‘HORRIFIED’ - DAY

Horrifiedis a children’s show.
An audience of eager and ecstatic kids, ranging from about age eight to about fifteen are in the crowd. The studio is dark and eerie. Cobwebs hang around the studio, there are images of ghosts and ghouls and like creatures positioned around the studio. There is a shrine to a demon on the back wall.

ELSIE BLOCH, the host, is a young woman in her twenties. For this week’s episode, she is dressed like a witch, with a pointy hat.

The show is in full swing.
An animated horror segment finishes. It features a troll under a bridge, who is waiting for unsuspecting humans to cross.

 

(V.O.)

VOICE OVER

And so, having missed the opportunity to capture the young girl, the angry troll was forced to wait for his next victim.
(MORE)

VOICE OVER (cont'd)
He cursed himself for missing this tasty treat, and thought “How long must I wait now for someone else to pass by?” He slunk back to his hiding place under the old stone bridge, and there he waited, and waited, and waited, until . . . he heard footsteps approaching. “Another helpless human,” he cackled to himself, licking his lips in anticipation of his treat. He edged forward, to get a better view of the approaching human.
And then he saw his prey, and knew that this time he would get her, and he would have his dinner after all!

The animated film finishes. The children clap and cheer. The Camera moves back to Elsie Bloch.

ELSIE BLOCH
(to the audience)
That troll really was creepy, wasn’t he! I wonder if he will get his victim this time!

INT. BACKSTAGE AT ‘HORRIFIED’ STUDIO SET - NIGHT
Liam is waiting patiently backstage for his cue to enter. He looks at the camera and gives the thumbs up. He is dressed in black, with a ghostly white face.

INT. STUDIO SET OF THE TV SHOW ‘HORRIFIED’ - NIGHT
The lights dim.

ELSIE BLOCH
Now, I would like you to all welcome a very special guest. His films have shocked and terrified audiences for over a decade. If anyone knows how to frighten, he does. Please welcome - Liam Meed!

The crowd of children cheer and shout.
Liam emerges from the side of the stage. He looks like the walking dead. Elsie welcomes Liam.

We see Ivan and a bored looking Wayne in the audience, to the side of the studio, watching on.

 

ELSIE BLOCH
(to Liam)
Well, Liam Meed. The man who reinvented scary. How are you doing?

LIAM MEED
Fine. Thank-you.
ELSIE BLOCH
Would you like to help me introduce the next segment of the show?

 

Sure.

LIAM MEED

(to the audience; the stage goes dark except for a dim spotlight on Liam)
Once, not long ago, a young boy decided to ask his parents about his family tree. It was to be a harmless search. Just something to satisfy his own natural curiosity about where he came from. But what he found was something terrifying, spine- chilling . . . horrifying!

Suddenly, there is a blood-curdling scream which fills the studio - the trademark scream of the TV show. At the same time, wild white lights spin around the stage. Flashes of ghosts and ghouls appear all over the stage. Then, there is quiet. A deep, booming laughter, too sinister for words, breaks the silence.

 

(V.O.)

DEEP VOICE

Are you ready to be horrified?
THE WHOLE STUDIO AUDIENCE
(wild screams of delight)
YEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!
DEEP VOICE
Then sit back, grip your seats, and prepare to be shocked out of your skins . . .

The stage suddenly goes black. On a large screen at the back of the stage, images of an evil maniac flash intermittently on the screen. The title of the piece “WHAT I FOUND IN MY FAMILY’ appears in blood letters on the screen, over the face of the man.

The crowd is ecstatic and going wild.

 

EXT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - MORNING
It is the next morning.

INT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - MORNING
Liam and Ivan are sitting in the lounge room, watching TV in silence. They look bored.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
What’s the plan today?
LIAM MEED
We’re waiting.
DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
What for?
LIAM MEED
(unenthusiastically)
Our ‘new lead actor’. She’s apparently been billed by the studio as the ‘next big thing.’ ‘Plenty of promise’, ‘indefinable quality on screen’, shit like that.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

You don’t approve of her?
IVAN
The studio is trying to use Liam as a vehicle to promote their own hand-picked star. They don’t give two shits about this project. Or Liam.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

How do you know she’s not what they say she is?

Liam and Ivan exchange looks.
IVAN
She happens to be one of Patrick Harper’s daughters. How’s that?

LIAM MEED
It’s almost guaranteed she can’t act.
(angrily)
This is so messed up.
(MORE)

LIAM MEED (cont'd) What were we thinking? How could we agree to this?
IVAN
We didn’t know. And now it’s too late to pull out. We’ve signed the papers.

LIAM MEED

Fuck!

IVAN

Agreed. It’s a fucking terrible place to be.

LIAM MEED
Do you know how ridiculous this is going to make me look! I’ll look like a fool! A C-Grade actress with little to no talent. As the lead no less! Oh, God.
It’s too depressing to think about.
(pause; to Ivan)
Is there any way out of it? Can we persuade them she’s not right for the part?

IVAN
Nope. It’s final. No negotiation is possible.

LIAM MEED
(frustrated shout) Aaaarrrggghhhh!

Ivan shrugs.

LIAM MEED
Couldn’t we sabotage it? We could find a way to ensure that she couldn’t be in the film. There’s got to be a way. Severe food poisoning? Or, we set it up to look like she’s a drug addict? Or a booze-hound . . . Wait, she was once a hooker?

Ivan shakes his head.
IVAN
No. We’re fucked. She’s your lead, and we’re going to be the laughing stock of the film community.

 

INT. GREATHOUSE STUDIOS - DAY
Liam is confronting Patrick Harper.
PATRICK HARPER
What exactly are you saying?
LIAM MEED
Listen, I know she’s near and dear to you. I know she’s your daughter and you just want the best for her. But understand my position. Understand my perspective.

PATRICK HARPER
(sternly)
What is your perspective?
LIAM MEED
Well, I’ve thought the project through. I’ve got a clear image of it in my mind. I know exactly how it’s got to work.

PATRICK HARPER

And?

LIAM MEED

And I just don’t think your daughter is right for the part.

PATRICK HARPER
That’s absurd. She couldn’t be more right. Anyway, she went through the whole audition process along with everyone else.

LIAM MEED
(sarcastically) Yeah. Sure she did.

PATRICK HARPER

Excuse me?

LIAM MEED

Look. I don’t mean to insult you. But I have to tell you what I think. What I’m saying is - I think maybe she got this part, not because of her acting talent, but because her father is the head of the studio that’s backing the film. The studio is blind to her real abilities, if she has any.

 

PATRICK HARPER
(angrily)
Are you accusing me of bias?
LIAM MEED
It’s nepotism at it’s worst.
PATRICK HARPER
Mr. Meed, that’s a dangerous thing to say. Don’t forget that we can axe your from this film any time we want if we so wish. Your role as director is by no means written in stone.

Liam is boiling inside, but must watch his words. He finds this extremely difficult. There is a long pause.

LIAM MEED
You want to axe me, axe me. I don’t give a shit. You’re screwing the film up anyway. I might as well pull out now.

PATRICK HARPER
Mr. Meed, are you telling me you’d like this studio to can you and your film? Because we can do it. Don’t dare us, because we will do it.

LIAM MEED
I’ll take it somewhere else.
PATRICK HARPER
We own the project now, Mr. Meed. You know that. Try and take it somewhere else and we’ll sue.

LIAM MEED
Well, I won’t do it with your daughter as the lead. That’s my position.

PATRICK HARPER
I think you’re being rash, and unreasonable. You’ve barely given her a chance. Everyone is entitled to a fair go. I’m sure once the filming is underway you’ll come around. You’ll see she’s not what you think she is.

LIAM MEED
Oh, for fuck’s sake!

 

PATRICK HARPER
Mr. Meed, we don’t want to can this project and you before it even begins. But we will if we have to. If that is what it comes to. If we really can’t see eye to eye on this. As it stands, we would like you to stay on board. We think you are the director most capable of making this film.

Liam sits fuming, desperately telling himself to calm down.
LIAM MEED
Fine. But, I very much doubt that your daughter is going to win any awards.

PATRICK HARPER
We’ll just let her work speak for itself, shall we?

INT. IVAN’S OFFICE - DAY
Ivan is sitting behind his large desk in his lavish office. Liam is sitting on a couch, sprawled in all directions.

IVAN
You should have called me first.
LIAM MEED
Oh, who cares? They know how I feel now. So, there. Patrick Harper is hardly going to axe the project now that he’s established his daughter in the lead role.

IVAN
So, when do we meet her?
LIAM MEED
There’s a party tonight. The studio’s throwing it. You’re invited too.

IVAN
Good. Good. We can finally see the whole cast together.

LIAM MEED
(sarcastically)
Yeah, what a thrill that’s going to be.

IVAN
Are they providing transportation?

 

LIAM MEED
I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I expect so. Shit, I am the director!

Ivan picks up the phone. He dials the number of Greathouse Studios.

IVAN
Hello? This is Ivan Drisko. Liam Meed’s manager. I would like to arrange for transportation to the studio party this evening.
(pause while he listens) What?
(pause)
Okay. That’s fine. Thank-you.
He hangs up the phone and looks at Liam.
IVAN
(matter-of-factly)
They said you’re to arrange your own transportation.

LIAM MEED
Huh? What does that mean?
IVAN
It means no limo, unless you pay for it.

Liam picks up a book and throws it across the room.
LIAM MEED
Those cheapskate assholes! I bet the exec’s god-damn, fucking daughter is getting one. I bet she’ll be showing up in style.

IVAN
Well, it doesn’t make any difference. If you want a limo, you’ve got to organize one yourself. They were quite . . . well . . .

 

Adamant? Yeah.

LIAM MEED IVAN
LIAM MEED

Fine. Give me the damn phone.
Liam stands and walks to the desk and snatches up the phone. He dials a number for the limousine service.

 

LIAM MEED
Hello. I would like to organize a limousine for tonight please.
(pause) For Liam Meed.
(long pause while he listens to someone)
What do you mean you’re all booked out? You’ve got nothing at all?
(pause)
How can you be booked out? I mean, seriously?
(pause)
Yes. I can repeat it - Liam Meed. (pause)
LIAM MEED!! No. LIAM. L-I-A-M and
then Meed, M - . . . Oh, you’ve never heard of me, eh? . . .
That’s how it is? (pause)
Yes. I’m famous. (pause)
Does it matter if you’ve never heard of me? . . . Priority only? What the fuck does that mean? . . What the fuck is priority only?
What do you think? This isn’t important?! . . .Fine!!

Liam slams down the phone, picks it up, rips it from the wall and throws it across the room. Ivan looks up at him.

LIAM MEED
They say that because they’re practically booked out tonight, they’re only taking priority clients? And apparently, I’m not one.

IVAN
You’re not priority?
LIAM MEED
Apparently not.
Liam walks angrily from the room and slams the door.
IVAN
(to the camera and NARRATOR)
He gets this way. Fame gets to everyone sometimes. I see it in all my clients.

 

EXT. MANSION - NIGHT
A string of limousines and other expensive cars are parked outside a sprawling mansion.

INT. MANSION - NIGHT
The party is in full swing. The massive, lavish foyer is crowded with guests. There is a bar and waiters. Everyone has a glass of champagne or wine. Guests are standing in groups talking.

Patrick Harper is showing off his daughter, ELLEN HARPER, to anyone who is interested. He is smiling and talking to the crowd that is gathered around him. She is doing little else but posing.

Liam and Ivan can be seen chatting to some of the cast and crew. Liam looks unenthusiastic, and as if he doesn’t really want to be there.

A short time later. Liam, Wayne and Ivan are quietly talking about some of the cast in the new film. They are looking across the room at the different people as they talk about them. The camera follows their glances.

The first person they point to is a large, rotund man, with a mop of brown hair and facial stubble.

LIAM MEED
(quietly)
That big fat guy over there is Henry Pontif, also known in his heyday as “The Pope”. He’s been around a while, since the 1970s. He hasn’t done much lately. God knows why the studio dragged him into this film . . .

WAYNE HILLFIELD
(quietly)
Yeah, he hit the bottle pretty hard from about 1978 to 1988. He admits himself he doesn’t remember much about the eighties.

LIAM MEED
And that guy over there is the coolest dude in town . . .

There is a suave, well-dressed young man with perfect hair standing in a small crowd of similarly well-dressed people, looking as cool as possible.

 

WAYNE HILLFIELD
Unquestionably the most fashionable guy in Hollywood. For me, he doesn’t have much by way of ability. But these days, that’s not always essential in this business . . . He was handpicked by Patrick Harper too.

LIAM MEED
Now, look at this guy. From what I hear he’s pretty nice.
Friendly, tries his best to get along, even though, most people suspect, he doesn’t really want to.

The man in question is a scraggly, unshaven, youngish man with messy hair. He is dressed down in grey and black clothes, looking a little shabby.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
Guy is said to be high as a kite most days. Nice enough guy though. Means well.

A little later. Patrick Harper is standing on a staircase, addressing the crowd. When he refers to individuals, he gestures to them deferentially.

PATRICK HARPER
Good evening. And welcome to everyone here. First of all, I want to say that we - all of us - we’re a team. And we have to work together, as a team.
(pause)
I know that what we are about to create is going to be something special. We have one of the best and most experienced casts and crews ever to be assembled for a horror film. We have the great and wonderful Liam Meed at the helm - truly one of the modern greats of the horror industry. We have Wayne Hillfield, Liam’s trustworthy producer by his side, to guide us through this. He has a number of awe-inspiring credits to his name. We also have some newcomers to the scene, and I hope, personally, that you will welcome them into the fold. There is my very own daughter, for instance.
(MORE)

PATRICK HARPER (cont'd)
The talented and graceful, and may I say, extremely beautiful, Ellen Harper.

Ellen poses and smiles some more for the benefit of the crowd. There is applause from the crowd. Liam shakes his head and slips out unnoticed. Ivan sees him leave, as does Wayne, and they slip out after him.

EXT. COURTYARD OF MANSION - NIGHT
Liam is drinking straight from a bottle of champagne when the camera finds him. Ivan and Wayne are sitting nearby, looking a bit despondent and sullen. When Liam speaks, it is clear he is intoxicated.

LIAM MEED
This is so fucked!! So fucked!! How did it get so fucked up!!

IVAN
It’s how it is.
LIAM MEED
What sort of answer is that? I want to know why and how it’s so fucked!!

WAYNE HILLFIELD
You know why, Liam. It’s because they’ve stolen your film.

Quiet for a few moments, while their intoxicated minds digest this.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
This is the studio system functioning at its best. They take what’s not their’s and rip the heart and soul of out it.
They turn it into something else, something it’s not, something it was not meant to be.

IVAN
The film’s yet to be made. Perhaps it’s a little early to speculate on what the studio may do.

LIAM MEED
Oh, fuck, Ivan. Wake up!! They’ve taken control. We’re just pawns in their sick game!! I have no control over this film.

 

IVAN
And what can you do about it? Huh? Nothing. You’ve got to sit back and take it. At least, if you want to continue in this business. Later, maybe, you’ll get your control back. But, this time, bite the bullet, and do what they want.

LIAM MEED
You’re really fucking loyal, Ivan.
(to Wayne)
Do you want to stab me in the back too, Wayne?

Wayne just chews his gum, ignoring Liam’s outburst.
IVAN
If you keep your head, maybe you’ll pull through this. If you kick up a big fuss, you’ll lose not only your part in this film, but maybe in film full stop.

Liam drops the champagne bottle and it breaks on the ground. He stands up and walks to the door and trips as he steps through it. He topples to the ground and then stands up and regains his composure.

LIAM MEED
That hurt.
Liam turns and walks into the house.
IVAN
(to the Camera)
All that bullshit that people say about Liam being calm and responsible and composed, all that stuff, it’s bullshit.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
It is a stressful and difficult situation for Liam. It’s a hard time for him. For the first time in his career, he’s losing his control over his work. That’s tough.

IVAN
It’s business, is what it is. And Liam has to accept that.

Wayne shrugs, looks away and takes another drink.

IVAN
I’ll find him and calm him down. I’ll get him to think clearly about it in the morning.

Ivan walks inside.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
(to the camera) Guess its just us now.
(pause)
So what’s your deal, eh? Where did you come from anyway?

The Camera cuts.

INT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - NIGHT
Later that night. Liam is lying on the couch, on his side, vacantly watching television. Nothing much is happening.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
It is safe to say that Liam Meed is in a position that he has rarely, if ever, been in before, at least in the film business. It is a place where he does not have the control he needs. Liam Meed is the type of man who requires full creative control of his projects. He needs that control to make those projects his own.
To leave his signature stamp on them. It is what, I believe, has driven him thus far, and what has made him the success he is. That has been taken away from him. He is, nominally, at the helm of a film where the component parts are, for once, not of his choosing, and are not under his full governance. Will this stunt his creative powers? Will it lead to a film that is beneath that which he is capable of achieving? Time will tell.

FADE TO BLACK.

 

EXT. EDITING SUITE - DAY
Three months later.
SUPERIMPOSE ON SCREEN: THREE MONTHS LATER

 

Liam is sitting in a darkened editing suite. The film project is nearing completion. The final edit is being put together.

They are all watching a slasher scene from the film. Liam sits on a couch, his legs crossed, his arms folded over his chest. Ellen Harper is screaming as a psychopath wielding a butcher knife chases her through a cemetery. Her dress is torn and she is cut and bloody. Ellen trips. The psychopath runs to her. She scrambles through the long grass, desperately trying to escape.

Liam looks at the camera and grins.
LIAM MEED
(quietly)
She’s really not that bad. Much better than I expected.

He winks at the camera.

INT. INTERVIEW STUDIO - DAY
Liam is being interviewed. Alongside him is Ellen Harper and Henry Pontif. They are being interviewed about the film
- BLOOD SACRIFICE - by a film critic.
ELLEN HARPER
It’s really a dream of mine come true. I always wanted to act.
Always. I love it. It’s my calling. I just want to be recognized as one of the greats. Is that a big ambition? I don’t know. But I’m so excited. And to work with such a great team, it was just such an honour. I mean, we had Liam Meed - the greatest horror film maker ever - directing the film. How cool is that?

INTERVIEWER
Liam, there was talk before and during the making of this film that there was friction between yourself and Greathouse Studios. In particular with Patrick Harper, one of the heads of the studio? Is that true?

Ellen looks confused suddenly.
LIAM MEED
No. There was never any friction. Not at all.

 

INTERVIEWER
What made you switch studios? Why break with something that has worked so well for over a decade?

LIAM MEED
I felt deep inside that it was time for a change. Leaving Proviso Studios made that change possible.

INTERVIEWER
Liam, your last film, Dead Man’s Wife, received quite widespread criticism. The critics were varied in the comments - ‘bland and boring’ one put it, ‘unexceptional horror, nothing more, perhaps less’ another said. How do you feel about Blood Sacrifice? Are you confident it will be well-received?

LIAM MEED
Look, I can’t predictwhat people are going to think and say about my work. I just make what I think is good. They can make up their own minds, and I’ll live with that.

EXT. CINEMA - NIGHT
SUPERIMPOSE ON SCREEN: THREE WEEKS LATER; WORLD PREMIERE OF
BLOOD SACRIFICE.
A red-carpet affair at the premiere of Liam Meed’s latest film - Blood Sacrifice. The usual crowds are there, cheering and shouting, the press reporters and photographers are present, cameras snapping in rapid succession. The stars file up the red carpet one by one and into the cinema.

INT. LIAM MEED’S LIMOUSINE - NIGHT
A slightly nervous Liam sits in the limousine. He is looking out the window. Ivan is sitting next to him. The limousine is approaching the cinema.

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(O.C.)
How do you feel, Liam?
LIAM MEED
It’s . . . I’m nervous, I think. It’s a strange feeling.
(MORE)

LIAM MEED (cont'd)
I don’t know why I’m feeling it. I’m usually so relaxed at these things.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

They say nerves are natural. In fact, they’re a good sign.

LIAM MEED
Well, I don’t like it. Not at all. It’s not a good feeling.

EXT. CINEMA - NIGHT
Liam’s limousine pulls up. Liam gets out, followed by Ivan. They wave and smile and walk the red carpet, being snapped by photographs in the process. They enter the cinema.

INT. CINEMA - NIGHT
Liam is sitting next to Ivan, and Wayne. The premiere is about to begin. There is quiet chatter from the crowd.

LIAM MEED
(quietly to Documentary Maker)
I think you ought to switch that off now.

The Camera switches off. A short time later.
The Camera comes back on. It is tilted sideways. There is a chaotic situation unfolding. A COMPARE is on stage.

COMPARE
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve just received a report that there may be a bomb in the cinema.

Horrified gasps and a couple of stifled screams. Liam can be heard saying to Ivan ‘What the hell? Is he serious?’

COMPARE
The police are on their way. Would everyone please remain calm, and file from the cinema as orderly and quickly as possible. Thank-you.

 

A few moments later.

CUT TO:

 

The Camera is still shooting the scene unfolding. People are moving quickly but in an ordered fashion from the cinema.

EXT. CINEMA - NIGHT
They are all outside. Police cars are arriving, with sirens screaming, pulling up outside the cinema. Ambulances and fire-trucks and the bomb-squad are not far behind.

EXT. SHORT DISTANCE FROM CINEMA - NIGHT
Liam, Ivan and Wayne are watching on. The CAMERA is filming them.

LIAM MEED
Well, I guess you can’t buy this sort of publicity. Eh?

IVAN
Anyone got a cigarette?
Wayne takes out a pack and hands a cigarette to Ivan.
LIAM MEED
This is something. I just hope it’s a fake. A false alarm.

INT. TELEVISION BROADCAST - DAY
A news broadcast the next day.
TELEVISION PRESENTER
An extraordinary scene took place last night at the world premiere of horror director Liam Meed’s latest film Blood Sacrificeat a Los Angeles cinema. The entire cinema was forced to evacuate the cinema just moments before the screening was about to begin, when a bomb threat was reported at the cinema. After an exhaustive search by the Bomb Squad, no trace of any explosive device was found. It is still unknown just who made the threat, and why. Police are investigating.

The Television Presenter’s report is accompanied by a few images of the chaos of the evacuation and the Bomb Squad’s entrance into the cinema.

 

INT. LIAM MEED’S HOME - DAY
Liam is sitting on his balcony, his feet resting on the table. Ivan is sitting at the table. Wayne is at the table too, his feet propped up on a chair.

IVAN
Greathouse Studios called this morning. The scheduled release of the film remains unchanged.
Cinemas right across the country will be screening it. It may be your biggest released film yet, Liam.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
Are they rescheduling the premiere?

IVAN
Don’t know yet. The studio won’t say. They’ve postponed it indefinitely.

LIAM MEED
You know what this means, though right? It means all eyes are going to be on this film.

WAYNE HILLFIELD
Yeah, maybe the bomb scare will turn out to be a good thing.

LIAM MEED
Yeah, maybe.
WAYNE HILLFIELD
Are you worried?
LIAM MEED
Should I be?
Wayne shrugs.

LIAM MEED
What? You’ve seen the final edit, Wayne. Should I be worried?

EXT. CINEMAS ACROSS THE COUNTRY - DAY
SERIES OF SCENES. We see a number of cinemas across the country. On each cinema we see the BLOOD SACRIFICE title signs.

Crowds of people line the pavements outside the cinemas, waiting to buy tickets to the newly released film.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

After the drama of the world premiere of Blood Sacrifice, the film received a noticeable response upon its opening across the country. Crowds of horror fans, and non-fans alike, lined up for tickets. Due to the bomb scare, Liam Meed’s Blood Sacrificereceived an almost unprecedented amount of attention. All eyes were focused upon the film, and critical minds everywhere tried to analyze the film. However, the overriding question of “Who targeted Liam’s film and why?” remained at the forefront of much discussion. Was this a good thing? Or was it going to prove detrimental to the film’s release?

Liam in front of the camera.
LIAM MEED
It may be that people are more interested in the events of the world premiere than the content of the film itself. They might be going to see the film because of what happened. If that’s true, it’s a great shame. I only hope that those who go to see the film don’t forget to just watch it and enjoy it. That’s why I made it - to entertain and thrill audiences. So there was a bomb scare! So that drummed up interest in the film! Well, now just concentrate on the film . .
. Just watch it.

EXT. CINEMAS ACROSS THE COUNTRY - DAY
Some interviews with fans and non-fans who have just seen the Blood Sacrifice.

LIAM’S FAN #1
I can’t say I’m not slightly disappointed. I expected more from a Liam Meed film. I’m a big fan, always have been.

 

LIAM’S FAN #2
It was okay. I can’t say it was great. It’s definitely not as good as Liam’s other films.

LIAM’S FAN #3
What was with Ellen Harper? Who the hell cast her in the lead role? What a waste! The film would have been ten times better with a good actress.

LIAM’S FAN #4
I quite liked it. Okay, I admit, it dragged a bit in parts and the denouement was a bit lame, but it had the usual thrills that a Liam Meed film has.

LIAM’S FAN #5
Not enough blood. And the slayings looked corny. I don’t know why. Liam Meed is a master at that sort of thing. It’s almost like someone told Liam to rein it in for this film. Which is a pity. When he’s in full swing in his films, nothing tops it. He’s unstoppable!

EXT. CAFE - MORNING
Liam, Ivan and Wayne are sitting at a table on the pavement outside a cafe. They all have a coffee on the table in front of them. A few newspapers are piled on the table.
They are reading all the reviews of Blood Sacrifice.
LIAM MEED
(reading a paper) “Crowds and critics have been lukewarm in their response to
Blood Sacrifice. Despite the fact that the film has done remarkably well in its opening days at the box office, word is spreading quickly - ‘Liam Meed’s latest offering leaves a lot of be desired. Horror fans will be disappointed.’”

Liam drops the paper on the table. Ivan is reading an article, the paper held up in front of his face. He lowers it.

 

Here.

IVAN

(reading the paper)
(MORE)

IVAN (cont'd)
“Ellen Harper, the lead in Liam Meed’s Blood Sacrificewas unquestionably a poor choice. And Liam Meed must be cursing himself privately for his casting choices. Some critics have gone as far as to assert that Ellen Harper, who was previously unknown in the film industry, is possibly the worst actress to appear upon the scene in the last decade.”

Wayne lowers his paper too.
WAYNE HILLFIELD
You don’t want to hear this one. Same shit.

 

 

Silence.

LIAM MEED
Are there any good reviews?

 

LIAM MEED
Be truthful with me. Have I lost it?

WAYNE HILLFIELD
Liam, you didn’t have proper control of Blood Sacrifice. There was just too much interference.
The studio made all the key decisions. Not you. They decided what the film was going to be.
You need control. You did what you could with what you were given to work with.

EXT. CITY BILLBOARD - DAY
Liam is standing in front of a city billboard. Cars and people are passing by in a steady stream.

LIAM MEED
(to the camera)
I just wanted you to see this before they take it down. See that . . .

Liam points to the massive billboard poster of Blood Sacrifice.

LIAM MEED
Look at it! It’s magnificent, isn’t it?
(MORE)

 

LIAM MEED (cont'd)
Can you imagine what it feels like for me to see something like that!
(pause; subdued suddenly)
Well, you may not see that again. So, take a good look.

Liam nods and looks up at the poster.

118.

 

IMAGES OF THE COVERS OF NUMEROUS FILM MAGAZINES AND THEIR HEADLINES, SOME WITH PICTURES OF LIAM MEED, WHILE THE NARRATOR SPEAKS THE FOLLOWING:

DOCUMENTARY MAKER
(V.O.)
If the initial reviews for Blood Sacrificeproved to be disappointing, it only got worse from there. Discussion of the film’s merits turned to speculation on the future of Liam Meed’s career as a director. The speculation centred on one question” “Is Liam Meed finished in Hollywood?”

EXT. INTERVIEW STUDIOS - DAY
Three CRITICS and FILM MAGAZINE EDITORS speak their opinions. Their names appear at the bottom of the screens, along with the magazine they are associated with.

FILM MAGAZINE EDITOR
His last two films haven’t done well, commercially or critically. Blood Sacrificeopened well, but we can attribute that to one thing - the bomb scare at the premiere. Since then box office takings have dropped off. I don’t know if even his fans will be willing to tolerate another failure.

FILM MAGAZINE EDITOR #2
Liam Meed has taken an awful lot of criticism lately. Perhaps it is a bit harsh, but not necessarily undeserved. But is he done? I’m not sure. I’m really not sure. Liam Meed had something that was working. His early films were quite unique in the horror genre. He’s deviated from that, and now he’s paying the price.
(MORE)

FILM MAGAZINE EDITOR #2 (cont'd)
I mean, Ellen Harper? Who made that choice? Craziness!

CRITIC #1
I don’t think he’s washed up. Not by any means. People sometimes lose perspective, and they make films which flop. If Liam goes back to what was working before, he may be around for a while yet.

EXT. CINEMA - DAY
A cinema somewhere. The sign for Blood Sacrifice is being taken down.

 

(V.O.)

NARRATOR/DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Blood Sacrifice was pulled from most cinemas after a mere three weeks of screenings. In response to the bad run, as well as the ordinary press the film received, the studio immediately called Liam in for an urgent meeting.

INT. GREATHOUSE STUDIOS - DAY
Liam is in the studio office, talking to Patrick Harper. Three of Patrick Harper’s assistants, all high placed persons in the studio, are in the room too, looking on with concern etched on their stern and focused faces.

Liam is sitting in the chair, looking glum, and waiting for the inevitable news.

Patrick Harper is sitting with his hands clasped in front of him.

PATRICK HARPER
Well, Liam?
LIAM MEED
Well? Well what? You want answers from me?

PATRICK HARPER
Are you disappointed?
LIAM MEED
What do you think? My film is being pulled after three weeks!

 

PATRICK HARPER
There’s simply not enough interest left, not even among your fans it would seem. And the reviews are ordinary at best.
What choice was there?
LIAM MEED
What choice? At least tell them to give it a chance! Christ! All that time and effort . . .

PATRICK HARPER
We feel your pain, Liam. Your dismay. We understand you may be frustrated. We’re dismayed too. We’re frustrated. But the reality is that the film has flopped.
It’s a failure. We take half the blame, Liam. It’s not just you that . . .

LIAM MEED
Half? Only half? If I recall, you assumed a hell of a lot of control over this film.

PATRICK HARPER
Naturally. It was our film. We financed it. It’s only right that we have somecreative input into the final product.

Liam wants to argue but lets the issue drop.
LIAM MEED
So, where do we stand? What’s next?

PATRICK HARPER
What do you see as your future with this studio?

LIAM MEED
I don’t think I have one.
PATRICK HARPER
Are you saying, you don’t wish to work with us any more?

Liam shrugs, saying neither yes nor no.
PATRICK HARPER
Well?

 

LIAM MEED
It’s your call. I don’t know how many more places I have left to go.

Patrick Harper thinks, a frown appearing across his face as he does so. Liam waits.

PATRICK HARPER
I believe . . . I should say webelieve . . . that one film is enough for us. We think that it’s best if we part ways now, on an amicable note.

LIAM MEED
I’m terminated?
PATRICK HARPER
That’s not a very nice way to put it. I think an amicable split now is better than a nasty fall out and ferocious wrangling later on.

LIAM MEED
So, asking me what I thought my future here would be, you really didn’t care what answer I gave. It really would have made no difference, perhaps except to embarrass me. If I talked of a fruitful ‘partnership’ between us, you’d have nodded, and then said what you were always going to say - “You’re finished here.” Right?

PATRICK HARPER
We were not open to any negotiation on the matter, if that’s what you’re getting at.

Liam stands up angrily.
LIAM MEED
What a waste of time . . .
As Liam heads to the door . . .
PATRICK HARPER
Liam, we hope you’ll remember your experience with us.

LIAM MEED
Sure I will. I’ll remember it as the time a studio took my film and fucked it up.

 

Liam walks out the door. The CAMERA films him as he walks down a corridor, not looking back.

PATRICK HARPER
(to the NARRATOR) You done here?

The Camera switches off.

INT. IVAN’S OFFICE - DAY
Liam is leaning against a wall of Ivan’s office. He is dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. IVAN is giving him a list of options.

IVAN
(reading his notes)
You’ve got an invitation to attend the annual ‘HORROR MASTERS OF TODAY’ conference in Idaho.
Runs for four days. You’ve been asked to give a speech.

LIAM MEED
What’s on the agenda there?
IVAN
Shit, Liam. I don’t know. They didn’t say.

LIAM MEED
Didn’t you ask?
IVAN
No. I didn’t ask. Next. The Pepper Institute of Film . . . which is quite highly regarded I’m told . . . has invited you to give a lecture on your films.

LIAM MEED
I’ve never heard of it.
IVAN
Me neither. But I’ve checked it out. It’s quite small, but they take themselves seriously as budding filmmakers.

LIAM MEED
What else?
Ivan pauses in silence while he scans the rest of his notes. A long moment passes.

IVAN
That’s all.

 

LIAM MEED
That’s it? For all my contribution, dedication and hard work in horror, this is it?
(pause)
Ivan, it’s crap. You’re crap.
IVAN
Liam, your popularity has kind of plummeted if you haven’t noticed.

LIAM MEED
Bullshit. No one’s popularity can drop so far so quickly.

IVAN
Yours apparently has.
LIAM MEED
Because of two films! Shit, someone must be out to ruin me. That’s the only explanation I can think of. Certain people don’t want me to do what I do, and, now, finally, they’ve succeeded in turning everyone against me!

IVAN
You’re being paranoid.
LIAM MEED

Am I?

IVAN

I think so.
LIAM MEED
Maybe I am. I don’t know. (long pause;
enthusiastically)
What do you think about this? New film - The Killer I Knew.

IVAN
Sure. Whatever you want.
LIAM MEED
Sound okay?
IVAN
Sure. What sort of killer?
LIAM MEED
What sort of killer? Ha! What sort do you think. A deranged one!
(pause)
(MORE)

LIAM MEED (cont'd)
But we control it. We control it. No interference. It’s ours.

IVAN
Sure, Liam. Whatever you want.
Liam becomes visibly despondent again, and gets frustrated once more.

LIAM MEED
How has all this happened? Where did I go wrong? Are my films really that bad?
(pause; as he racks his brain)
Have I missed something? Some new trend? Have I misread the consumer, what they want? The viewing public is fickle - they change what they think they want so often. I . . .

IVAN
Liam, relax. Just give yourself some peace. Concentrate now on getting back up there, where you once were. You’ve been there once. There’s no reason you can’t be there again. That has to be your goal now. There’s no point getting all worked up looking for explanations, or worrying all the time that you’re losing it, or fearing that people are trying to derail your career. It’s not going to help you. You need to focus. Okay? Focus.

Long silence. Then another outburst from Liam.
LIAM MEED
Bullshit. Someone is trying to destroy me. I’ll find him, or her, and I’ll . . .

IVAN
Liam. Relax. Relax. Take a holiday. Get away for a bit. Whatever. It’ll do you good. Do whatever you need to give your mind back its focus.

Liam looks at Ivan for a long time, a strange look in his eyes. Liam stands angrily . . .

LIAM MEED
We’ll talk again.

 

Liam walks from the room, before Ivan can say another word.

INT. BEN LEMASTERS INTERVIEW - DAY
After all of it, Lemasters gives his appraisal of Liam Meed (again).

LEMASTERS
(thoughtful; placid)
Well, what can you say? Liam Meed has done his best, and his best is not good enough. I honestly don’t think that Liam Meed can cut it in this industry. And, no, I’m not just out to malign him.
It’s what I think. That’s all. It’s strange in a way. Liam Meed strives for success, but he only can achieve, if not failure, then something close to it. I know this sounds harsh. I’m aware of how blunt, and brutal, my words may seem. But the crux of it seems, to me, to be this. How do you reconcile Liam Meed’s “so- called” abilities with his recent and ongoing failures in film?
Some people say that Liam Meed has just hit a bad patch, maybe gone off the rails. There has always been a lot of talk about this “precocious genius”, but I, personally, believe such talk is all a lot of hot air.
(pause)
Hey, I’ve met the man several times. I’ve talked to him. I’ve seen his films. My final word - I’m yet to be impressed. What more can I say?

EXT. ARIZONA RETREAT - DAY
Liam’s Arizona retreat. Liam is in the front garden, fixing a car that looks like it has passed its best days a long time ago.

 

(V.O.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

Well, as Liam looks towards new things, new opportunities, we leave him here, in his idyllic Arizona retreat, a place he comes to get away from it all, to clear his head, to work it all out.

 

EXT. ARIZONA DESERT - DAY
Liam is standing at a look-out point, gazing out across the wondrous desert.

 

(O.C.)

DOCUMENTARY MAKER

So, what are Liam Meed’s final thoughts on life?

CLOSE UP OF LIAM AS HE GAZES ACROSS THE DESERT
LIAM MEED

(V.O.)
I’ve always believed that not everything is explainable. I think there are some things in this world, this universe, that we are just not meant to comprehend. We can try, but the result will always be failure, imperfect knowledge at best.

 

END CREDITS

 

 

 

 

FADE OUT.

During the end credits we see the official poster of each of Liam Meed’s films: SCREAMING JANE; DAMAGED GOODS; THERE LIES A KILLER; IN A CIRCLE OF FRIENDS; BLUE MOON, RED BLOOD; DEAD MAN’S WIFE; BLOOD SACRIFICE

Then: EXTRA CLIPS OF LIAM FROM INTERVIEWS:
LIAM MEED
Have I ever thought about any other genres?
(pause)
Me? No. Horror is my calling. I don’t think I could do anything else, even if I wanted to.

LIAM MEED
One of the hardest things I’ve found in this industry is trying to keep a lid on things, particularly upcoming projects. Everyone always wants to know what’s going on. It can be a real pain in the ass.

LIAM MEED
Final words of advice? Christ, who would want advice from me?
(MORE)

LIAM MEED (cont'd) But, okay, if there is someone who wants some advice (and you need some serious psychiatric evaluation right away if you do), this would be it: follow your heart, your dreams. But be smart. Do it the right way. Try and keep it all in perspective. There.
That any good?

 

THE END

 

Anthony Kirkwood, 2011

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