Movies Magazine

Disaster When The Meteor Swarm Ran Beyond the Poseidon '79 - My Disaster Tribute - Another One

Posted on the 13 June 2014 by Georgewhite @georgew28573812
It is a misty morning. Somewhere in middle England, in the suburbs, in a strange 1970s-esque future, in a pale, unattractive kitchen, JACKIE (16, a wild-haired girl with curls of reddish-blonde hair cascading down) is reading soulless "TAKE A BREAK"-type magazine. It looks bleak and humdrum, depressingly mundane. An old AUNT hangs in the back, plotting out bingo timetables.
CLOSE-UP - A phone rings.
CUT - JACKIE answers it.
JACKIE (mannered, English)
Hello, who is it?
THROATY VOICE (OOV, deep European accent)
Is that Jackie?
JACKIE (curious, surprised)
Yes, who is it?
I am here to tell you that your father is dead.
JACKIE (shocked)
Oh no, what happened?
THROATY VOICE (OOV, sad, sympathetic)
I am a receptionist at the hospital. He was rushed here with a heart attack. He wanted you to see his body.
JACKIE (saddened)
Oh, I see.
THROATY VOICE (OOV, quizzical)
Is your mother there?
JACKIE (sad)
No, she's in Spain. I'm with my aunt.
You can go on your own.
JACKIE (confused)
Go where?
To Newfleet, to honor the memory of your father, and to honor the project that he was working on...
JACKIE (as she puts down the phone, suspenseful)
CUT - JACKIE turns to her AUNT and breathes a sigh of relief.
FADE-IN - To initially a sign reading "London Borough of NEWFLEET". The CAMERA pulls out to reveal a sparse green park, 1960s flats, ugly, squat things in the distance. It is spacious, lots of space, almost a world away from London, though red double-decker buses circle the road around the park. JACKIE walks in.
CLOSE-UP - JACKIE looks shocked.
CUT - We see in the park a large "modern" (i.e. futurist fifties design) building, the ALLEN INSTITUTE, a banner hung outside reading "WE BUILD THE FUTURE OF ENTERTAINMENT, A NEW EXCITEMENT IN ENTERTAINMENT". Outside it is LEYPOL, a thin moustache and a dodgy smile enlivening his lived-in face, wearing a trench-coat and flat cap.
LEYPOL (calling)
Anyone want to sample the new joys of the Metrovision DTP, Disaster Tapestry Projector, only available from the Allen Institute!?!?!
CLOSE-UP - JACKIE realises that the ALLEN INSTITUTE is where her father was working.
Excuse me, sir, did you know my father, Doctor Albrecht Siodmak?
LEYPOL (walking towards JACKIE)
Yes, as a matter of fact, quiet chap, determined to make things as realistic as possible. He did make a slight problem though.
JACKIE (confused)
What is it?
LEYPOL (sad)
Well, he made the disaster tapestries illegal.
JACKIE (shocked)
LEYPOL (trying to think)
Well, he based the master microfilms on disaster films, motion pictures made between the 1950s and 1980s, as they are now out of copyright. However, he made them so realistic, can put you into situations where you really can die.
JACKIE (horrified)
Oh no, but he died. How did Father die?
LEYPOL (solemn)
Your father is not dead. Well, he may be, but he is trapped in a virtual reality engine, in a specially-created pocket universe moulded out of fiction...
JACKIE (confused)
But a hospital receptionist with a throaty voice phoned me up telling me my father was dead...
LEYPOL (producing a can of "Motacola")
This can uses the same pocket universe technology. It will never run out as it links to a universe where the water has been specially designed to taste, look, act and effectively be cola. Each can is linked to a separate water planet. Rapid duplication also helps, as does recycled rain. Same with other drinks, so there are whiskey universes, orange squash universes, even a Kia Ora quadrant!
JACKIE (unhappy)
Stop ignoring me, you may create miracles, but where is my father?
LEYPOL (throws the Motacola can at JACKIE, laughing)
There he is!
CUT - JACKIE is knocked unconscious.
CUT - JACKIE wakes up on a stretcher. She is wearing a pink medical gown. She is in a cluttered medical clinic, full of obsolete, archaic medical tools, such as tongs, scissors, pumps, rotatable face mirrors, even a cordless Bakelite rotary-dial "Emergency-Call" phone. The walls are off-white flock wallpapered. She picks up a slim-panel photo-frame-like screen showing a preview of a possible "DISASTER TAPESTRY".
FADE-IN - In 1960s-style full-cast and crew opening titles, shown in bright green Rockwell-font letters against footage of volcanoes erupting, and lava flows, to a bombastic ZULU-esque score.
CUT - We see scenes of a band of raw-faced, scarred, burnt-skinned NAZIS in tribal warpaint (some Swastika-themed, others with Hitler moustaches and painted-on black hair) in loincloths, cutting through dense (dip-dyed paper-leaf) foilage with Swiss Army knives, surrounded by acres of false Hollywood jungle, a volcano matte painting behind it. The CAMERA follows, as they reach a BLACK WOMAN, her hair shaved off, tied to a red and white pole. The pole is surrounded by regularly-lit hot coals. The CAMERA pulls out to reveal a hot air balloon rising up, towards the volcano, KRAKATOA - EAST OF JAVA style.
CUT - The screen halts, a caption appears to 70s/early 80s-type muzak. The caption reads (in red letters against a silver-grey backing) - "THANKS, YOU HAVE SAMPLED OUR LATEST TAPESTRY - NAZI TRIBES OF KRAKATOA - INSIDE THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE! TO ACCESS FURTHER SCENES, PRESS 1 AND PAY 6 CREDITS. THANK YOU!"
FADE-OUT - JACKIE puts down the screen and sits back. A fat, moustachioed SURGEON, not unlike PETER USTINOV enters the room.
Excuse me, is this the Entrance to the realities?
SURGEON (Germanic accent)
To the tapestries, yes, you must be Albrecht's daughter?
JACKIE (nodding)
Yes, what happened to him?
SURGEON (lamenting)
He went missing. A receptionist rang you, claimed he was dead, but the truth could be stranger.
JACKIE (curious)
What tapestry was he in?
SURGEON (trying to think, putting on goggles)
Hmm, one of the recovered 1970s restorations, the Poseidon Adventure, alongside a bout of tourists...
JACKIE (curious)
Can I enter it please?
SURGEON (slightly worried)
Well, due to staff relatives' privileges, it is free, but it is dangerous...
JACKIE (confused)
A man with a moustache and flat cap put me in here!
SURGEON (laughing)
That's Leypol, the head of the betting matches.
JACKIE (quizzical)
Betting matches?
SURGEON (smiling)
Yes, that's how we fund the creation of the clones, all slightly modelled on the famous actors in the films that the tapestries are based on, as well as the sets, the food, the water, so on, though the name of the ship has been changed to Neptune to avoid legal challenges with the warring tribes that were once the Hollywood studios...
JACKIE (bored)
Can I go now?
CUT - JACKIE shakes the SURGEON's hands. The SURGEON pushes the stretcher through a glowing hallway and pulls down a lever. We hear on the soundtrack eerie buzzing, punctuating noises and screams of disaster.
FADE-IN - JACKIE finds herself sitting on a crate in a ship's cargo deck, in her dirtied pink dress, now with nano-created bows, sleeves and frills. She sees a FIRST OFFICER coming in with a torch.
CLOSE-UP - The FIRST OFFICER, who looks not unlike RODDY MCDOWALL twitches in curiosity.
FIRST OFFICER (clipped British accent)
It is a stowaway. She looks harmless to me, an orphan girl.
CUT - JACKIE walks out and nods.
JACKIE (feigning worries)
I sneaked in at Southampton.
Oh jolly good, we have a lax attitude.
CUT - JACKIE is taken down the steps by the FIRST OFFICER.
CUT - JACKIE is brought onto the neat white, well-lit OFFICER'S DESK. The CREWMEN are mostly British and are playing cards.
JACKIE (confused)
Are you all simulants?
CLOSE-UP - A hard, craggy-faced, sixty-odd YORKSHIRE CREWMAN turns his head.
YORKSHIRE CREWMAN (thick Northern accent)
What's that, miss?
CUT - JACKIE looks nervous.
JACKIE (trying to explain)
Are you specially created for the game, androids, so on, or are you genuine tourists or guides?
CUT - All the CREWMEN at the table begin laughing.
Some of us are.
CLOSE-UP - CORNISH CREWMAN (black, young, bearded, West Country accent) puts his hand up.
Yes, you must not have gone through the tourist arches.
CUT - JACKIE looks confused.
JACKIE (pausing for breath)
No, the surgeon here put me through privately.
CUT - Once more, the CREWMEN laugh.
Ooh, a private patient, what are you here for?
JACKIE (walking over, quizzical)
Well, my dad was a scientist here, Dr. Siodmak?
YORKSHIRE CREWMAN (startled, slightly sarcastic)
Oh yes, our Glorious Creator (!)
JACKIE (confused)
What, you know where he is?
Oh yes, see, I'm not like these lads.
JACKIE (smiling)
You're older!
Yes, much older, see, I am not a simulant.
JACKIE (smiling)
You're real?
Yeah, I am the genuine article, Alexander Murray Wyckham, at your service.
JACKIE (curious)
Who is real and who is a simulant?
Cornish here is a simulant, in fact they're all simulants, First Officer Rod, the Captain...
JACKIE (curious)
Why are you down here?
Well, I was mechanic, wasn't I?
JACKIE (confused)
I don't know.
YORKSHIRE CREWMAN (honest, straight to the point)
Well, I was. Then, they sent me down here, to check analysis. Your father was there, then we found it...
JACKIE (confused)
Found what?
The glitch!
JACKIE (excited)
Is that what happened to the father? Don't people die in this game?
If they don't know the rules!
YORKSHIRE CREWMAN (banging the table, angry)
Stop it!
CUT - There is silence around the table.
Yes, there are, but the glitch can spread to other universes. I can't tell any more.
JACKIE (confused, tugging the YORKSHIRE CREWMAN's shoulder)
What should I do?
Find your dad! Captain, take this young lady to the first class dining hall, New Year's Eve...
CUT - THE CAPTAIN (50s, grey-haired, in full white regalia, World War Two medals pinned to jacket) walks in immediately and salutes.
CAPTAIN (saluting, Mid-Atlantic accent)
Yes, I will!
CUT - JACKIE is handed a bag containing an evening dress and walks off with THE CAPTAIN.
CUT - JACKIE, now wearing a pretty lavender dress is in a dirty, murky industrial open-cage lift with THE CAPTAIN. It is cold and looks dangerous. As the lift goes up, a flash of lava-like orange light is seen down below, an old wino-tramp, SELWYN in floppy hat, straggly gray beard full of food, in university scarf. SELWYN throws a blanket over the orange light, as it flickers out.
CLOSE-UP - JACKIE looks shocked.
CUT - THE CAPTAIN looks pleasant, and clearly has not seen the flash.
JACKIE (tugging THE CAPTAIN's shoulder)
What was that?
THE CAPTAIN (emotionless)
Nothing, just a minor electrical fault!
CUT - The lift arrives and stops.
CUT - JACKIE is escorted to the CAPTAIN'S TABLE, but she is clearly not impressed. The hall is ornate, decorated with balloons and large murals of the Hindenburg, Krakatoa and other historical events. However, these murals are actually film posters of the films based on the events. Signs saying "No children allowed" are visible, held by the token children on board, all of whom are androids with cute Uncanny Valley faces and huge heads and nearly as large eyes.
POV SHOT - Through JACKIE's eyes, we see a table marked "Players of the Game". There are several people. We see BURKE (mid-50s, American, cigar-smoking, craggy, aged, rotund) and his wife JOYCE (shrewish, late-30s, big glasses, brown hair in a bob, short), the lone, fidgety, British-Asian bespectacled office nerd TRENCH and the prim, proper elderly widow MRS. CARVETH. They are a band of outcasts.
BURKE (shouting, American)
Come on over here, girl!
JACKIE (walking over)
You're human then!
BURKE (kindly)
Of course, we're the players not the bloody extras here!
TRENCH (interrupting)
I know, but I am away from it all.
BURKE (angry)
I know. Act big, man!
TRENCH (withdrawn)
Okay, Burke-em.
JOYCE (tetchy, moaning, shrill)
Francis, come on!
BURKE (stern, loving)
I know, Joycey baby. Call me Burke, my surname.
JOYCE (irritated, shrill voice)
You're my husband, Frank!
MRS. CARVETH (out of sync)
Has anyone seen my husband?
TRENCH (horrified)
Shut up!
CUT - Suddenly the ship falls on its side. This effect is portrayed by the ceiling cracking open and the camera turning on its side. People fall. Water rains through the ceiling. The ship turns once more, and the ship is upside down, the floor now the half-broken ceiling.
CLOSE-UP - BURKE falls in, impaled on a chandelier.
CLOSE-UP - JOYCE is shocked.
JOYCE (horrified)
CUT - MRS. CARVETH slides to one side, then is pushed back by a dining trolley down a corridor and is last screen hurtled away.
CUT - JACKIE, TRENCH and JOYCE are balanced on a lone piece of tiling. JACKIE is nervous, a weeping wreck.
TRENCH (confused but smart)
I can't believe it.
JACKIE (confused)
What is the matter?
TRENCH (energetic)
Well, I have been on these things fifty times. The non-players, they don't die, they sleep, recharge until the next game, all the pieces in the ship, they are designed to slot back together.
JOYCE (optimistic)
So there is a chance my husband is alive?
TRENCH (thinking)
Possibly, they have nursing facilities in a linked dimension, so when he "died", he may have been rushed to one of the secret wards.
JACKIE (curious)
Where do the corpses go?
TRENCH (thinking)
Medical donations, some go to food processing plants if the bodies are found unworthy, some harvested to make the non-players if they look right or look like the actors, That is why the Captain is not Leslie Nielsen, but a generic British captain.
CUT - Suddenly, MRS. CARVETH falls in, her brother SELWYN on her back. They are falling around, talking gibberish.
MRS. CARVETH (jolly, weird foreign accent)
Selwyn eep thy brut der.
JOYCE (irritated)
They're happy. This is nowhere near as exciting as I thought.
TRENCH (laughing)
It's not one of the most exciting tapestries!
JOYCE (curious)
Can you get us out?
TRENCH (witty)
I have a holo-key. I pick up tips. My dad works here. I'm Trench, Trench Leypol.
JACKIE (angry)
Your dad hit me over the head.
TRENCH (friendly)
Yeh, he recognised you. I can take you to your father.
JACKIE (astonished)
You can?
TRENCH (taking out an ordinary-looking key that creates a rip, a door to the 'real' world)
Yep, he is another world. He found the secret holo-key. However, it took him to another world, another tapestry.
JOYCE (nervous)
What tapestry?
TRENCH (thinking)
Well, they call it the 'default'. It is a mix of films, there's an Earthquake, a Towering Inferno, a Tidal Wave, a train on a Cassandra Crossing full of infected, a Swarm of Deadly Bees, a Meteor, a volcano when Time Ran Out...
JACKIE (quizzical)
Was that rehearsed?
TRENCH (nodding)
CUT - Suddenly, the rip in the fabric of the Tapestry gets wider and JACKIE, TRENCH and JOYCE are sucked in.
CUT - JACKIE and TRENCH (without JOYCE) wander a Europe devastated by a volcanic eruption. Lava appears, wet hardened magma affected by a tidal wave. There are burning buildings in the background.
JACKIE (confused)
Where is that lady, Joyce?
TRENCH (analysing the area)
Just sent back to the real world, her husband replaced by an emergency non-player simulant?
JACKIE (amazed)
I didn't know you do that.
TRENCH (solemn)
Only in extreme cases.
JACKIE (curious)
Where is my father?
TRENCH (pointing at the bridge)
On the train.
CUT - A 1970s-era diesel locomotive hovers over a rickety ornate Victorian metal bridge. A helicopter goes past it, crashing into it, accompanied by the buzzing of anguished bees.
CLOSE-UP - JACKIE looks horrified.
CUT - As the train crashes, sliding off the bridge, a figure is revealed behind it, as it travels along. He is a trim, middle-aged man, slim, tall, grey-haired, stubbled. It is ALBRECHT. He is waving.
ALBRECHT (long-shot, in silhouette, posh, mannered)
Jacqueline, baby, you're here!
CLOSE-UP - JACKIE is astonished.
JACKIE (astonished)
Daddy, you're alive!
CUT - ALBRECHT climbs down the bridge. The CAMERA follows, as he goes on his way to reach his daughter. There is no dialog. It is a tender, moving moment. It is a family reunion. It is in SOFT-FOCUS, SLOW-MOTION.
CLOSE-UP - JACKIE hugs her father. She is tearful. ALBRECHT is not, and he doesn't blink. He is almost emotionless, but his mouth does suggest a smile.
CUT - The CAMERA stares upon the burning train wreckage. Out of the Technicolor flames of orange and red, there is something not quite right, like a flame among flames, like an ink-drawn outline of a flame. There is a buzzing noise. A SWARM OF BEES descends from out of the wreckage.
CUT - Among the wreckage is a VHS cover entitled S*L*A*S*H, its cover in the style of the poster for 'M*A*S*H', but with a pair of scissors, not a pair of fingers. The CAMERA ZOOMS onto S*L*A*S*H. It is harvested on by packs of BEES.
CUT - The BEES come towards ALBRECHT and JACKIE.
CLOSE-UP - ALBRECHT looks shocked.
CLOSE-UP - JACKIE looks horrified.
CUT - In the ground, cracks begin to appear, and slowly space out, revealing bright orange light below, like the lava seen down below the LIFT.
CLOSE-UP - ALBRECHT looks anguished
ALBRECHT (horrified)
CUT - JACKIE is confused.
Father, Father, is it real?
CUT - The three heroes are submerged in white light.
ALBRECHT (looking towards the "real world" beyond them)
It is, an unlikely savior.
FADE-IN - Out of a huge smoke bubble, ALBRECHT, JACKIE and TRENCH rise out. As they walk, the CAMERA ZOOMS OUT, revealing shiny silver floors, huge computer with tape-decks mounted on angles. Faceless, head-phoned DRONES man the computers, watching the universe by a complex hidden CCTV satellite camera system. Huge neon signs above appear.
CLOSE-UP - On the neon signs, in bright orange writing, it reads "Earthquake Warning! Now Live - S*L*A*S*H". The CAMERA pans down to reveal a screen, on which there are flashing snippets of S*L*A*S*H, a conglomeration of various 1970s/80s slasher-horror films. There is the "SLASHER", a figure in full 'Phantom of the Opera' cape, evening dress and fedora, with a manic frizz of white hair and his face plastered with plain white greasepaint, no other colours just white, bar his black eyebrows, licking a train window with his blackened tongue.
CUT - On the screen, a GIRL screams in a BRICK-MOUNTED HUNTING DEN.
CUT - In the CONTROL ROOM, ALBRECHT notices that there are no cracks.
ALBRECHT (intelligent)
We are underground enough to withstand any cracks. Now, showtime!
TRENCH (walking towards ALBRECHT)
What do you mean, showtime?
ALBRECHT (laughing)
The implosion, silly boy!
JACKIE (confused)
What do you mean by implosion?
CUT - ALBRECHT smiles, as he pulls down a lever.
ALBRECHT (sinister, maniacal)
Well, there are too many people on this planet. That is why the creation of the multiverse of these dinky little pocket universes was supervised. Many of the players are unworthy of this place we call Earth. They belong in the virtual tapestries, living out their dreams, pumping adrenaline in disasters. They are in their Heaven, so with the flick of a computer switch, they can be killed, deleted, via the Implosion.
CLOSE-UP - JACKIE is speechless with horror.
CUT - TRENCH breaks a fire extinguisher out of a silver cabinet and sprays it at ALBRECHT.
CLOSE-UP - ALBRECHT laughs off the fire extinguisher.
You're mad!
ALBRECHT (OTT, showman-like)
No, you are all mad. I am the only sensible one.
CUT - TRENCH is sucked into a glowing doorway. He pulls JACKIE in. Together, they are sucked in.
CUT - TRENCH and JACKIE are in embrace, as they fall down onto the green lawn at the promenade of YAMIT ISLAND, a small New England island not unlike AMITY ISLAND in JAWS. A CHEERLEADER rehearsal happens behind them. Gangs of nubile young CHEERLEADERS do the same identical movements, as they are clean-cut perfect programmable drones.
CLOSE-UP - JACKIE looks shocked.
JACKIE (horrified)
Girls, watch out!
CUT - The fedora-wearing SLASHER jumps out of a bush and starts bloodlessly eviscerating the DRONE CHEERLEADERS, using an axe to beheaded CHEERLEADER #1, a scissors to stab CHEERLEADER #2, an electric hedge cutter to slice and dice CHEERLEADER #3 and various other households good for the other CHEERLEADERS.
They can't hear you or see them. They are essentially holograms. You cannot touch them. They are only projections sent off to affect the SLASHER, an android sent into this reality. Unlike the other worlds, this is a basic Virtual Reality program, though it can cause death. When someone is slashed, in reality, they are electrically shocked. This is just a small white room, but the projections make it look bigger. The floor is a treadmill to simulate the action of traveling further on.
CUT - A SHERIFF's Police Car arrives. The SHERIFF gets out, a tall, middle-aged man not unlike JOHN VERNON.
SHERIFF (holding megaphone to mouth)
Killer, halt! This is S*L*A*S*H, the Security Liaison Association of Slasher Hunters.
CUT - The SHERIFF produces a huge mechanical crossbow that releases a rotating gyroscopic saw blade.
CLOSE-UP - The blade violently beheads the SLASHER, but the headless SLASHER still walks about. Behind him lurks LEYPOL with an automatic rifle.
LEYPOL (cocky)
Son, Albie sent me. I can't put up any longer with your misbehaving.
CUT - An angry TRENCH runs out, presses down the HOLO-KEY, and pushes LEYPOL into the "REAL WORLD", into a lift, his dad cut by a laser-blade protruding from one of the points in the key. The noise of an earthquake can be heard from above, even in the virtual world.
Excuse me, the Implosion is about to begin, please get out!
CUT - TRENCH struggles to press down on the HOLO-KEY in an attempt to access another door. ALBRECHT is sucked in from above, sent down a chute. As he arrives, he hits his head on the ground. JACKIE looks horrified.
TRENCH (confused)
I'm using the key to shut down the Multiverse.
JACKIE (horrified)
But you can't! They're real people.
TRENCH (serious)
All the real players who survived will release, while the non-players and clones will be saved onto disc! The Multiverse is a bad influence.
ALBRECHT (calming down, hyperventilating, serious)
Yes, he's right. It drove the world mad. It drove me mad. It blurred the lines. We can be a family again.
CUT - JACKIE and ALBRECHT look at each other and smile.
Close down the Multiverse, save and release!
CUT - The AMITY background flickers, revealing it is just a white room. JACKIE and TRENCH carry the ailing ALBRECHT out. They breathe sighs. ALBRECHT hugs JACKIE.

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