As it so happens, one of my special skills is finding things. Usually, I visualize where something might be, and using a bit of observation and deductive reasoning, narrow in on the location. Sometimes I have to tap into my inner terrier and dig into everything. Tonight’s hunt was the latter, and I finally found the damn pattern in a box under a few other boxes tucked in the corner of our crafting room.
(I’m not sure why we call that one room our “crafting room.” We make stuff all over the house. We should call it the crafting house.)
In the same box (which also had a few bits and pieces dating from 2006) I found a stack of disorganized plot cards for an unwritten screenplay titled Bone-Fire. I vaguely remember the details, and the cards are so out of whack, I can’t really tell exactly what order the events were supposed to take place.
Just for fun, here are a few random cards:
EXT. CABIN – EVE
Dawn runs to cabin. Screaming. Old coot knocks her out with shotgun butt. “Goddamn Satanists.”
EXT. WOODS – NIGHT
Around the bonefire. Dawn’s “D.K.S.” [note: “Dead Kitten Speech.” see below] about mom & cancer. Samhain ritual. Puts a picture in the bone-fire
“Cow Tipping” episode
INT. SHACK – NIGHT
“Bads” argue abt what to do with the girls
“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”
EXT. WOODS – NIGHT
Burning Allison at the stake
Denouement — another Samhein?
Yeesh … I’m really glad I didn’t waste any more time on this.
I think the idea was a group of Wiccans beset by a group of ignorant assholes on Samhain. I was obviously intrigued by the symbolism of the “bone fire,” but I seem to have steered directly into tired tropes. The idea of setting a thriller against the backdrop of Samhain is not a bad idea. From Wikipedia:
It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. As at Beltane, special bonfires were lit. These were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers and there were rituals involving them. Samhain (like Beltane) was seen as a liminal time, when the spirits or fairies (the Aos Sí) could more easily come into our world. Most scholars see the Aos Sí as remnants of the pagan gods and nature spirits. It was believed that the Aos Sí needed to be propitiated to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the winter. Offerings of food and drink were left for them. The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. Mumming and guising were part of the festival, and involved people going door-to-door in costume (or in disguise), often reciting verses in exchange for food.
A lot of great ideas to play with. I can envision a very earthy, del Toro-esque exploration of the themes, traditions, and beliefs surrounding Samhain.
Regarding “Dead Kitten Speech,” David Mamet coined the term in his book 3 Uses of the Knife. It’s an expository monologue that explains why the character delivering it is so fucked up, all the while slamming the brakes on the forward momentum of the play/movie/episode/etc. The fact that I specifically called out a moment and reserved it for a “Dead Kitten Speech” deeply embarrasses me.