Saturday, August 17th, 2013
Do you like to meet the heroine/hero or the monster first in your horrors?
I’m blaming Spielberg entirely for my current dilemma. As mentioned in my last post, Top Gear-nightmare Duel is one of my big inspirations for the script I’m writing. It opens cold with David Mann (Dennis Weaver) pulling his red Plymouth out of his suburban driveway and setting off on… his journey. (Dum dum duuuuh)
I love being drawn into David’s world as he flicks unimpressed through an array of local radio stations as he moves further away from home. It’s quite intense. It’s all from the POV inside David’s car. It… doesn’t feature a scary truck for ten minutes. Also, Spielberg kinda mastered the ‘get the monster into the film at the beginning’ a few years later.
My original plan for my script’s hero Shelly (you can read the story logline here) was to introduce her first and then we only ever experience the whatever-it-is who begins terrorising her through her eyes. But would I be missing a trick?
Or, for a script where I intend to have Shelly in every single scene, would opening on a different character be cheating? Would or is that something only I’d be bothered about or even notice?
Scream and Halloween provide perhaps their most memorable moments in the opening scene. Candyman is one of the few examples I can think of where heroine Helen (Virginia Madsen) and monster Candyman are introduced simultaneously – albeit with Candyman introduced via flashback/fantasy sequene. Paranormal Activity and [REC] also go another way and first and foremost introduce us to the character of the camera.
As well as our monster, the location and the character the scene (briefly) introduces will be relevant later on in the script. But right now, I’m just trying to work out whether my heroine or my monster are the best way to haunt and hook the viewer.