Feb 2020

It Waits! No, It SUCKS!

Themen: Film, TV & Presse |

Ich habe beim Umzug eine Hunderter-“Milchkanne” mit DVDs, CDs und DVD-R gefunden, an die ich mich gar nicht mehr erinnern konnte. 100 Silberscheiben, pickepackevoll mit MP3, Filmen, Dokumenten, Bildern, digitalen Sammlungen, etc. Wie es aussieht, habe ich diese “Zeitkapsel” irgendwann um 2006 verplombt. Sie stammt aus der Zeit vor Wortvogel, vor Facebook, vor iPhone, vor Netflix.

Vieles, was ich darin wiedergefunden habe, galt als lange verschollen. Besonders die Relikte zu Filmen, an denen ich beteiligt war, machen mich glücklich. Es ist heute fast unmöglich, z.B. zu VOLLGAS – GEBREMST WIRD SPÄTER oder LOST CITY RAIDERS noch hochauflösendes Bildmaterial zu finden.

Ein paar der Fundstücke werde ich hier zeitnah vorstellen. Den Anfang machen heute zwei “reader reports” – also kurze Rezensionen zu eingereichten Drehbüchern. Anfang des Jahrtausends war der Job des Readers ziemlich angesagt und gut bezahlt. Ich konnte es mir damals leisten, keine großen Analysen anzufertigen – meinen Auftraggebern reichte ein gehobener oder gesenkter Daumen.

Nachfolgend nun die Reader Reports zu den zwei beschissensten Drehbüchern, die je über meinen Schreibtisch gingen – und von mir entsprechend verrissen wurden.

Den Anfang macht ein Horrorfilm namens IT WAITS, der angeblich von Stephen J. Cannell ko-geschrieben wurde, was ich bis heute nicht glauben mag.

Reader’s report
Script title: It waits
Format: Feature film, 88 pages
Writer: Unknown
Courtesy of: Unknown
Reader: Torsten Dewi
Date: 16.4.2003

A young ranger in a remote part of a forest is attacked by a supernatural beast.

Two prospectors are killed when they blow open the mouth of the cave that obviously held some ancient evil. The beast sets its sights on Mike, a young ranger, who is alone in the outpost with his pet monkey Phil. After Phil is killed, Mike is under repeated attack by the ferocious monster. Suddenly, an Indian appears and gives Mike a knife (supposedly the only weapon that can kill the monster). The Indian is killed. Mike is picked up by a helicopter, but the demon is not about to give up that easy.

I give up. Why do I even try to write interesting scripts with plausible characters and believable suspense situations, when you can obviously sell scripts in Hollywood that don’t even adhere to the most basic standards?

With endless depictions of camera angles and grimaces of the protagonist, “It waits” will not have feature film length. The scant 88 pages will probably result in a movie that barely hits the 80 minute mark.

For a movie this short, “It waits” has an amazing amount of filler. We get 30 pages of Mike hanging around his station (the writer doesn’t even bother to give Mike a back story or a believable character), with NOTHING in the way of plot development. The monkey feels like a failed attempt at comic relief, because like Mike, he doesn’t do anything. Later, the Indian pops up, gives some ridiculously vague expository explanation as to what is attacking Mike (not that we care), and is immediately killed off. It’s such an obvious plot device that it is downright laughable. Mike also tries to flee from the monster, only to decide that it’s probably a bad idea, and returns to the station – another three pages wasted.

When the attacks finally get so brutal that they can be considered suspenseful, Mike reacts by either acting dumb or frightened. Sorry, but as the lead of the movie, I expect him to be either heroic or ingenious. Instead, he (barely) survives by running around a lot. Usually, movies like this come to a so-called “Popeye point”: when the protagonist decides he’s had enough and pulls himself together to fight back.

Not in this movie.

What the first half lacks in action, the second half supplies in abundance. In fact, the second half of the movie is about running around a lot, and flying in a helicopter that puts up more of a fight against the beast than Mike.

Oh, and we never actually get to see the monster, lest I forget to mention that. Thus, one of the main reasons why people watch this type of movie is left out. The writer probably thought this would heighten the suspense, but come on – Stan Winston didn’t exist for you to NOT show us the goods!

Now, since we have only one lead character, a lot of trees, and never get to see the monster, this means that “It waits” should be really cheap to shoot, right? Nope – the last 10 pages (the fight monster vs. Helicopter – as seen in “Dragon Fighter”) will be a bitch to film, and cost roughly 80 per cent of the budget.

While “The Maze” was the worst monster movie I have ever read (actually, the worst script I have ever read, period), “It waits” is just plain dumb and boring. I could SNEEZE a better script (having a cold, I should know).

No German broadcaster in his right mind would buy this, especially not with a direct to video name like Lundgren attached. This is stuff you buy in a package with better movies, and hide away at midnight on RTL2.

I know this is getting old, but I could write a better monster movie for Lundgren in a week. Heck, I could even write a good script based on the idea of “It waits” – you just need to flesh out the lead character, introduce some character interplay, build a mythology around the monster, and create a believable fight scenario man vs. beast. And at the end of the day, THAT script would probably have the appropriate length of 110 pages…

Footnote: Dolph Lundgren is attached to this? Mike is described as “early 20s”. And this type of movie is usually reserved for Lou Diamond Phillips.

A ridiculously vague and underdeveloped monster movie that needs too long to get going, and then fizzles out with a totally laughable and over the top action/chase scene.

Der Film wurde übrigens Jahre später tatsächlich gedreht – stark verändert, 84 Minuten lang, ohne Lundgren und in der erwartbaren “Qualität”:


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Skript 2 hingegen wurde nie verfilmt – besser ist das. Autor Lucente ist allerdings immer noch in der Branche unterwegs. Laut seines IMDB-Eintrags hat er auch (uncredited) an der Science Fiction-Gurke 2002 – DURCHGEKNALLT IM ALL (mit Verona Feldbusch!) gewerkelt. Irgendwie passt das ganz gut.

Reader’s report
Script title: The Maze
Format: Feature film, 92 pages
Writer: Francesco Lucente
Courtesy of: Unknown
Reader: Torsten Dewi
Date: 5.2.2003

A dozen friends drive to a remote valley to play paintball. A German zombie kills them off one by one, until he is killed himself by the last of the players.

Actually, the log line sums it up nicely. There really isn’t more to it. About twelve people meet to play paintball, and get gruesomely killed by an unseen sniper. They fail to escape in time, and their cell phones don’t work. They try adapting their paintball guns to be used as weapons, but the assailant seems invincible. When the final survivor, Charley, finally meets the killer face to face, he is shocked to find out that it is some sort of German WWII zombie.

Now I have really seen it all. “Maze” is probably the most complete and utter disaster I have ever read. There is not a single redeeming feature. Let’s just list the biggest flaws for fun:

  • None of the 12 characters is actually a character. The script doesn’t introduce them, never gives description or age. We just get twelve names thrown at us within the first two pages. It is impossible to say who is who. The only way to figure out that Charley is some sort of lead is the fact that he has slightly more dialog than the others
  • Speaking of which: the dialog is atrocious, consisting of little more than swear words
  • Paintball is probably the most ludicrous paramilitary sport of them all, and it is taken ridiculously serious here. We have to see a bunch of rednecks go at it for painful 50 pages until something finally happens (the first guy is killed)
  • After the first kill, the rest of the movie is just one gruesome death after the other, described in all the detail that was lacking when the characters were introduced
  • The opening scene indicates that the members of the group were part of an army platoon that killed a German sniper (who has now come back as a zombie). HELLO? The script is set in the present, the characters are probably something between 20 and 40 (we are never told), and they killed a German sniper in WWII? Does that make any kind of sense?
  • It doesn’t. In the end, it is never explained how or why the zombie appeared. He is killed, the last survivor looks at the sky – the end.

To top it all off, the script doesn’t use standard script format, making it very hard to read.

Somehow this feels like the work of a paintball maniac trying to mimic the almost equally ludicrous slasher movie “Jeepers Creepers”. He sure has no talent, but he has seen lotsa grisly movies – that’s enough preparation to write a profitable script, innit?

You answer that.

I’d say it’s the worst script I have ever read, but when I say that, I usually am proven wrong within three months. I should get a bonus for finishing this.

Ich gesteh’s – es war ein Heidenspaß, Reader zu sein…

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18. Februar, 2020 20:00

Geile Scheisse. Ich liebe ja den Blog vom Bitter Script Reader, da kann man viele Anekdoten dieser Art finden. Und ich hatte so ca. 2002 mal einen Kollegen, der nebenbei als Script Reader tätig war und u.a. “Das merkwürdige Verhalten geschlechtsreifer Großstädter zur Paarungszeit” abgenickt hat. Den habe ich wirklich beneidet, der hat für vergleichsweise wenig Arbeit richtig gut verdient.

19. Februar, 2020 08:14
Reply to  heino

Vielen Dank für den Hinweis auf den Bitter Script Reader.
Ein kurzer Blick hinein verspricht ebenso interessante wie unterhaltsame Lesezeit für die nächsten Wochen und Monate.

Ich revanchiere mich – wenn es gestattet ist – mit einem der interessantesten Artikel des Guardian, die ich in letzter Zeit gelesen habe, auch wenn er mit dem Thema Film nichts zu tun hat und schon 2 Jahre alt ist:

19. Februar, 2020 20:04
Reply to  takeshi

Freut mich, wenn der BSR dir gefällt. Da sind auch viele aktive Filmschaffende, die sich immer wieder zu Wort melden. Sehr interessant und lehrreich. Den Artikel werde ich mir auch mal genauer ansehen.

20. Februar, 2020 16:32
Reply to  Torsten Dewi

Und ich weiß nicht mehr genau, wer ihn mir vor längerer Zeit mal empfohlen hat, oder wo genau ich seinerzeit auf den Link gestoßen bin.
So könnte sich der Kreis schließen 🙂