View Full Version : A Funhouse Butchery

02-05-2012, 10:14 AM
A teenage girl can't find her way out of the funhouse while a pedophile may be closing in on her little brother.

02-07-2012, 04:35 PM
- That scene heading is unecessarily long. 'Point Pleasant Beach' doesn't tell me anything more than 'Boardwalk Public Bathroom'. The beach can come out in the description and the sounds as well. That will paint a better picture.
- Cavalcade of bilious effluvium...is certainly descriptive, but I laughed. I'm not sure that's what you wanted.
- Relentless cascade of sheeted torrent...ok, some flower is fine, but damn.
- Why are there extra carriage returns <I know you'd appreciate that) between your character's name and the dialog? This is unneeded.
- Don't let dialog break the page...it's a format thing.
- Trapped beauty has been emancipated...wait are you Mr. Ersky? :)

I don't think you sold the pedophile fear enough to get me worried, maybe is Julian was more afraid of Ersky. Of course you were trying to play on our stereo types, but I do this a lot so I'm immune. :) I think you really could sell threat up, but then maybe people will be unhappy with the ending. I do like the boy being a sicko and it was foreshadowed nicely. I do think there needs to be something more to get the whole story to mesh. I hope this helps.

02-07-2012, 05:46 PM
Okay...two weird things. First, I live about 15 minutes from Point Pleasant boardwalk and two, I had a cat in my story too....but I didn't kill mine. LOL.

This had some really cool parts to it but I think your set up went on a page too long. More time and tension in the funhouse is needed IMO.

Now Chip is a bit whacky I guess but I think that pretty much came out of the blue. The only clue we have is that he runs away. Maybe more of a foreshadowing would make the end more satisfying. And I wasn't sure how General broke his heart...because he bit him?

I wasn't sure what Jillian's throwing up added to the plot of the story. But why are these kids so screwed up? Chip is scary and Jillian has bulemia or something. Maybe a clue as to why they both have issues that would also fit into the pedophile fear. Drop little clues in subtext or gestures to give your characters and the story more depth. I did like the funhouse mirrors and loved when Jillian saw her fat reflection. More of that. Totally the best part and it just flew by.

FORMAT ISSUES: Your slugs are really long. And when we see Jillian in the stall you need to change the location to inside the stall. Unless we are watching the whole scene from above. Also, in most of your SP you had a space between the character's name and their dialog. Quite a few mis-spellings as well.

So some cool stuff but I think it still needs some work but totally worth the effort to fix it up. :cheesy:

02-07-2012, 05:52 PM

Some prosy words early on made me laugh. I think the wording was meant for that response. Gets me in the mood for kid/young adult hijinks.

I noticed that some of the character slugs were off , some spacing between character and dialog. Some dialog orphans.

"A boy giggles" (p4) Chip or another boy?

You'll need a INT. JENKINSON'S FUNHOUSE - DAY when Jillian runs inside. (p4)

Avoid the "then" word when you can. The following actions always happens next; a minute is generally equal to a page of screen time.

Not a bad effort though. Some of it again was aimed towards dark humor.

Eric Boellner
02-07-2012, 06:23 PM
This felt a little disjointed, to be honest -- like scenes from three different films (bathroom, the cat and store owner scene, then the funhouse horror bit). The writing was very good, though some of the dialogue was a bit sketchy, but your style of action and description kept me going. It had a smooth pacing that worked well, I just couldn't piece together these separate bits of story as one cohesive/flowing narrative. The payoff in the end, about the kid breaking the cat's heart, was excellent, though I felt the setup should have been a little stronger. That is, the cat should have done something a bit more... heartbreaking? At least a little more hurtful.

I hope that doesn't come across as overly critical, but I also don't want to be unhelpful and not explain what I thought was good and what wasn't.


02-08-2012, 01:27 AM
Hi csetten,

Thanks for the read.

solid characters.
Some good descriptions.
I liked the ending.

Not so good:
Very disorientating with regards to story locations.
I'm not sure how things got so confusing for her.
It probably needs some more adding to it.

Overall a good read. Thanks.

02-08-2012, 01:59 AM
Right off the bat, some rather flowery prose. The use of terms like "cherub" and "expelling a cavalcade of bilious effluvium" add nothing and come across more as pretentious to me. Slows down the read a bit too.

As for the story, I thought the funhouse segment was great. I was definitely being carried along by your story and was hoping to find out what happens next and to find the significance of Ersky and Jillian's weight problem. I was disappointed when I found out that neither had anything to do with the story. I re-read your logline, then re-read the story and I don't see how Ersky was a pedophile, or even a threat. He left after his brief scene with Chip and that was the last of him. I had no worries that he was chasing after Chip.

As for Chip killing the cat, I liked it, but I didn't understand how the cat broke his heart. The cat scratched him. That was it. Not really heart-breaking, especially considering the cat had good reason.

All in all, well-written, and I think if you can connect the other characters, Jillian and Ersky, to the story better, I think it would be much stronger.

Like others said, unnecessarily long scene headings. I don't think it matters which boardwalk it is.

02-08-2012, 07:46 AM
I have to agree with most of the statements above. Most of all the disjointed aspect of the story. The three parts didn't seem to fit together. Having Chip squeeze General's paws until the cat runs and then later claim that General broke his heart didn't make a lot of sense. With the first action we know that Chip is an evil little creep, so the dead cat at the end doesn't have much impact.

I liked the funhouse sequence most of all.
A little touchup to draw the characters more sharply would help.
Thanks for the read.

Sarah Daly
02-08-2012, 05:22 PM
Hey! Lots of interesting ideas in here but yep this could certainly do with tightening up. It's a little rambly and disjointed - I think you're maybe trying to achieve too much in such a short time. I like the twisted/creepy vibe and it certainly is affecting, but some more solid characters and motivations would help this further. Also as others have said - just make the action lines a bit more consistent. Stylised can be okay but if you're going down that route you have go all the way with it.

The way you play with perceptions making the kid the creepy one rather than the assumed paedophile is great - so focus all your efforts on making that part work as best you can, and be as clear and confident with that central theme as you can.

02-08-2012, 06:35 PM
Comments provided as read.
Scores are 1-10
Ten is the best I ever read.
One the worse.


Overall: 6
Character: 5
Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Dialogue: 8
Theme: _
Structure: 5
Originality: 5
Style/Quality of Writing: 8
Entertainment Value: 5
Cinematic Quality: 7
Synopsis: An odd teenage girl takes care of her odd younger brother at the beach. The meet a man who is a friend that has a cat.
The boy tortures the cat, unknown to the others. The two move on to a funhouse. The boy bolts into the funhouse and is lost.
His sister follows and she gets lost inside. It is unclear what then occurs but the cat somehow get in, fights with the boy and
he kills it, by biting it?

***Great first page
Pg 2
How could you?
Pg 6
***Character confusion on six. the man & cop are different?
***Why is a cop inside a fun house?
***Why is Ersky there?
***Scary kid.

02-08-2012, 09:34 PM
Quick disclosure: ever since I’ve become a father, I don't really have the stomach for pedophile characters. The use of pedophilia as a source of tension...I just have to say... turns me off like a light switch. When you head out on a limb with a touchy topic like that, as an artist, you are considering people like me collateral damage and catering to others with a higher constitution. And hey, no hard feelings! That’s your decision. But…in the interest of full disclosure…I'd be lying if I said that, after reading your logline, my view of this script wasn't tainted by that.

Okay...moving on...

The script, as a whole, was written well. You have a flowery style, but I dig that. It’s fun. It's the structure of the script that's a little lacking, in my opinion. I think you need to ask yourself how important Jillian’s bulimia is to the script, you know? What does it add to the central conflict? If you took that out, you’d be able to hit the ground running with your core conflict and funnel ALL of our energy as readers into that streamlined emotion-grinder…

I apologize…this review is coming off very negative, I’m afraid. I think you have a lot of talent as a writer. I look forward to reading some other things from you!

02-08-2012, 10:34 PM
Sorry, I read this a couple of times and I'm having trouble following it. I'm not normally a nag about formatting, but for some reason your character names and dialogue lines had a space between them, through most of the screenplay. This made it harder to keep the pieces together.

You do a nice job of introducing the characters. Very visual I can see them.

"Jillian reaches back down her throat and massages her
esophagus. She flushes the toilet to camouflage the sound of
her expelling a cavalcade of bilious effluvium."

What the heck? Why not something like:
"Jillian sticks her fingers in her throat then flushes the toilet
to hide the sounds of throwing up."

You want to write a film, not send us to a dictionary. Use good descriptive words. Use the right words, not unnecessarily flowery words.

02-09-2012, 10:34 AM
I really liked this. It was a novel idea, and I think that, considering the page restrictions, you did really well to flesh it out. To be honest, it did feel a little rushed, but I think if you'd had more space to play with, that wouldn't have been an issue.

I liked the idea of having Chip locked in the bathroom at the beginning - it was a nice way of introducing him as a character ('he runs away a lot') and a nice little nod to the theme of the fest. However, I can't help but wonder how he managed to get him in the bathroom stall and use a chain and padlock to lock him in without anybody noticing. And does she just carry it around with her all the time? I might be over thinking it a little, but it bugged me.

I think you're a little bit overly descriptive at some points as well. The scene header was a little long - Public Bathroom would have been fine, as we would find out where that bathroom was in the scene heading once they step outside. "expelling a cavalcade of bilious effluvium" bugged me as well. I know what it means, but it seemed to me like you were just using those words because it's a writing contest and you felt like you needed to use more complicated words than usual. I hope that doesn't sound too mean, as it's not intended too - I just think that, when it comes to script writing, the simpler you can keep your language the better. Obviously not to the point where it jeopardises what you're tying to say or describe, but if the reader has to stop to try and work out what you meant, it takes them out of the story, and what you really want is for them to become completely immersed. "Several people gasp at nature's brilliance." is a brilliant example of the right way to describe something - not many words, but not simplistic and very descriptive. It also made me smile.

Having said that, other than that small moment, I was completely engaged with the story, especially the scene with the cat. The tension between Jillian and Mr Ersky was great, and even better because Chip was so obviously unaware of it. It was also a lovely piece of character development between Chip and the General, giving just enough information to make the character interested, but not so much that it ruined the end of the story.

In fact, I really liked all of your character development. It's really hard to get any kind of backstory or personality into characters when you're limited to a small amount of pages, and you managed it brilliantly, with both Chip and the cat, and with Jillian by the mirrors in the fun house.


The only other thing I'd pick you up on is that the space between the noise of the cat being killed and Jillian coming outside to find the emergency services (policeman and a nurse), a crowd of people, and My Ersky with his cat seemed far too short. Perhaps it would have worked better if you could have shown some time passing whilst she is stuck inside the funhouse, and then the police officer coming to find her because Chip told him she was in there. It's a really nice twist though, and I wasn't expecting it at all, which is the mark of good storytelling.

There were a few grammatical things in there that bugged me, but I wont point them all out, as I'm sure others will/already have.

Overall, it was a really nice script. I don't know how new you are to scriptwriting (I can see you're new to DVXfests), but I would be really proud of this story. Yeah, it has a lot of refining to be done, but I've read far far worse scripts by people who've been doing it for years and years. In the end, I enjoyed reading it, which is really all you can aim for. Well done!

02-09-2012, 02:14 PM

Righto now first of all my feedback is coming from the perspective of a director and more so nowadays a producer. So im not going to be giving a view based on pedantic scriptwiting bs, what seizes my attention is imagination - great characters, great story. That which makes me want to go out and grab this script to maka a movie out of it. That is the angle of my feedback - that an my impressions reading it.

I like the first scene, the way the characters are revealed to us - the sympathy for the kid (brat). The 'cavalcade of crap' though goes at complete odds with the idea of our 16 year old girl - just a weird kinda juxtaposition that made me think (pretentious) use of language. Page 2 and page 3, where we get to meet the slightly creepy teacher, the cat - and get to see what an evil little brat the kid is - is all quite entertaining.

Then we're in the funhouse, - some nice (horror short) stylsied imagery going on there, and of course what the poor kid does to the cat, and the (implication) for his torturing of his sister really does create an impression that she is trapped (by that villain) we suspect to be trapped at the beginning.

It is ambitious of course, it zings and zangs across the place, but as a colourful and over the top theatrical almost - horror short, it is quite amusing, rich in excess. It's story is basically one of villainous entertainment (its campy and silly) but that could make it an entertaining horror short imo to some (and a good one at that) more so than a serious one!

I'd imagine it looking like something out of the music video Black hole sun!

Rustom Irani
02-10-2012, 11:45 AM
"a cavalcade of bilious effluvium"


You took puke out to tea with a snooty uppity manor family, I do believe. This seems deliberate enough and got me to laugh, so there. But later on words like "contralto" pop up and do halt the flow of reading, though the images that pop up are highly melodramatic. For example, contralto throws up an almost operatic visage of a lugubrious bovine looking aria in distress.

I personally would've loved for the bathroom stall and the shack to have their own slugs as the wider world locations you've set-up make it difficult to envision these new ones separately.

There were a few clues, I either picked up on or read too much into...a boy who needs to be locked up behind a bolted door. Why? I'm guessing he's done some really nasty stuff when he's left to himself. He's probably tortured animals and is shrewd enough to play his cards around adults by realising their motives, and probably is aware of Ersky's pedophelia and got back at the old man by killing his cat.

If that's not the case vis a vis the plot, then I'd make this pretty much the central premise.

"Pedopheliac meets Damien."

Jillian could be aware and more scared for what he might do to any living creature and actually tries to help Chip's victims. Or maybe she's a bit twisted too and the reason for her eating disorder has some sinister back-story.

This has potential and doesn't need to be pitched as some quickie thriller when you've got some great characters to eke out more over-the-top insanity while maintaining rising odds at a fast pace.

Don't let up off the pedal once you lose the cat initially and get this to around ten pages or more. I think it might turn out quite well.

02-12-2012, 03:05 AM
I enjoyed this. The setup was a little long, I wanted to get trapped sooner... but that's just me. I think if you developed it into something a little longer, it could be excellent, trippy fun. Interesting choice of language. Sometimes got in the way of the story, but I'm wondering... are all of your scripts in this style or is this one special?

Fun read.

Bill Clar
02-12-2012, 01:03 PM
Jillian carries around a padlock for such occasions as to secure Chip in a closet?

Single line space between the character name and dialogue.

I like your description of Chip's sinister smile. Very detailed.

The ticket attendant stops Jillian but not Chip? It's unclear if the attendant is talking to Chip or Jillian.

Jillian is too easily rattled by the funhouse. She says "Not again!" implying her experience with this situation.

You're giving voice to the porcelain fat woman and boy. Do they speak with moving mouths or are the voices off screen?

Introduce the policeman and nurse with capitals.

I like the funhouse setting. Good suspense.

Your formatting errors made this difficult to read but they are easily corrected. My only criticism is Jillian. She's passive in the funhouse. She takes charge of keeping an eye on Chip but cracks in the third act and has to be rescued by a policeman. Jillian needs to be the one to find Chip, not someone else.

02-17-2012, 02:28 PM
I thought for a short too much was spent on character development. Funhouse was the most interesting part, was hoping you'd get there already, it was almost too short a sequence. The Boy and Chip confused me, thought they were one in the same at times. A little bit odd but it worked.