A LOW RUMBLE increases in volume.
A BLACK-GLOVED HAND wraps around a bulky electrical lever,
SNAP! – Electricity arcs through darkness.
O.S. sound of MACHINERY turning ON.
MONTAGE OF CLOCKS starting – various. Second hands turn –
TICKING gets louder.
INT. BATHROOM – NIGHT
SHADOWS DANCE. A bare bulb swings from the ceiling revealing:
clothes on a chair, puddles of water on the floor…
SLEEPING EYES in and out of darkness. The eyes open.
WIDEN ANGLE ON JONATHAN WHITE – a man in his early thirties,
He sits up. Water splashes. He’s in a tub of long cold water.
His neck aches like he’s been sleeping forever.
He looks down into the murky water around him. A feint
movement beneath the surface, something swimming – A SMALL
DARK SHAPE. Startled, he leaps from the bath.
ANGLE – THE SWINGING LIGHT BULB. The man’s hand reaches up,
stops the light-bulb mid swing.
He steps to a circular window. The glass is cracked, covered
in grime. He wipes it, this only smears the dirt.
It’s dark out there.
EXT. BUILDING – NIGHT
ANGLE ON WHITE – from outside the window, through blurry
A RAPID FLYING P.O.V. PULLS BACK in silence. The window is a
SPECK on the side of a vast grey tower.
BACK IN THE BATHROOM
White shivers, cold. He stares down at the puddle he drips on
the floor. He looks at his feet and legs, covered with
numerous SMALL BITES. He dries the bloody wounds with a towel.
He picks up the clothes lying on the chair, puts them on.
Loose trousers with braces, a plain shirt, leathers shoes with
HOLES in both soles. In his trouser pocket he finds a key –
a room number on a plastic tag.
He hears splashing in the bath-tub. He steps over, looks into
the murky water. Suddenly a SMALL SILVER FISH leaps from the
water, lands at his feet, panting heavily and flapping about.
He leans down, picks the fish up, throws it back into the
Like a blind man, he feels the walls, comes to a door in the
shadows. He hears something on the other side, hesitates, hand
inches from the doorknob. He leans down.
TIGHT ON HIS EYE
Blinking through the key-hole.
P.O.V. OF AN EMPTY ROOM – A glimpse of motion – the door
across the room (leading to a corridor?) is shutting.
INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
WHITE pushes the door open, steps into the adjoining room.
No sign of life. Cheap decorations. He walks around
cautiously. Turns lights on. Then reconsiders. Turns them off
again. Disturbed, he studies his features in a wall mirror.
ANGLE ON OPEN BATHROOM DOOR – the fish has jumped from the tub
again and is flapping on the floor.
White steps back into the bathroom. He picks up the fish again,
doesn’t know what to do with it, so he puts it in his pocket.
BACK IN THE OTHER ROOM
He searches through things. A grey overcoat in the closet. He
goes through the pockets, finds a WALLET. No I.D., just a
laundry bill, some money and a postcard from a sea-side town.
ANGLE ON A REVOLVER on the bed-side table. He picks it up, his
grip tightens on the handle, his finger applies pressure to the
The gun goes off. A BULLET RICOCHETS wildly around the room,
bounces off the metal bed-head, smashes a vase, embeds itself
in the wall.
Startled, he holds the gun away from him like it might go off
again. He examines it carefully now. Opens the chamber.
TIGHT ON THE GUN – Five bullets left.
He turns the chamber carefully, shuts it, puts the gun in the
inside pocket of the coat.
He moves to the bed. A RIPPED PHOTOGRAPH on the rug. A
fragment of a woman’s face, her left eye. He lifts the
fragment up. There’s handwriting on the back, part of a note:
…MEANS THE MOST TO ME. LOVE YOU
FOREVER. – E…
The rest is missing.
He sits on the edge of the bed. As he does this, he notices
something else on the floor.
HIS P.O.V. – follows a dark stain on the floorboards, to a
woman’s bare foot behind the bed. He stands abruptly, fumbles
across the bed to stare into a dark corner of the room.
In the shadows he can make out a woman’s naked BODY lying in a
pool of blood. Her eyes stare lifeless.
White stumbles back in horror, throws his hands across his
INT. HOTEL CORRIDOR – NIGHT
White stumbles from the room, leans against a wall for support.
At the end of the corridor, elevator doors open. Light and
musak flood out.
INT. LOBBY – NIGHT
White staggers from the elevator, moves past a deserted front
desk. A VOICE from the back room:
HOTEL MANAGER O.S.
Hey, you! You gotta message.
White stops, looks uncertainly towards a bead curtain.
Message in d’box! You deaf?
White sees several nooks for messages and keys in front of him.
Reaching across the desk, he glances through the bead curtain
into the manager’s office. TELEVISION SOUNDS O.S.
Hard to see – the man sits in the chair, lit by the glow of
the T.V. set. White grabs the note, looks at it. A PHONE
NUMBER, also his room number, and what appears to be his name:
JONATHAN WHITE. That’s all. White thrusts the message in his
Got my money?
What? I… How long have I been
Jeez, too damn long if you ask me!
What about the two weeks y’owe me…
Totally confused, White turns to leave, sees something. Stops.
HIS P.O.V. – A painting on a wall (cheap print variety) –
waves on a beach. A breeze rustles the pages of a calender,
pinned beside the picture.
TIGHT ON WHITE – MOVE IN on his ear. O.S. SOUND – surf
crashes on shore. A WOMAN’S VOICE WHISPERS:
What is your name… What is your
He backs away from the painting, looks about the lobby in panic
– sees a sign: TOILETS. A painted hand points the way.
WHITE (without turning)
I’ll be back later.
Yeah. Well, y’better be.
CAMERA REVEALS A FIGURE – watching from a shadowy corner of
As White runs out, the MYSTERY MAN picks up a pay-phone, dials.
Whispers into the receiver in a foreign language.
INT. CORRIDOR – NIGHT
White pushes shakily through a red door, runs down a corridor.
Pipes steam and drip water. He rounds a corner, slips, nearly
INT. MEN’S ROOM – NIGHT
Puddles on the floor, stains on the walls.
White bursts through the door and into a cubicle. He bends
over a toilet bowl and VOMITS.
He looks up, wipes his mouth on his sleeve. A breeze tugs at
his stringy hair. A tiny ventilation grill above the cistern
looks out at the street.
HIS P.O.V. – OUTSIDE
Sheets of newspaper blow past. A full moon, surrounded by
blood red clouds, hangs above empty streets.
INT. CINEMA – NIGHT
A WATCH – on a hairy wrist. Seconds tick past. Soft
flickering light. VOICES O.S.
ANGLE ON FRANK BUMSTEAD – police inspector. He looks down at
the watch. Time to leave. He STANDS, heads for an illuminated
Images flicker on a SCREEN. The inspector rushes to the door,
runs into an USHER, who gasps.
BUMSTEAD (to usher)
Bumstead quickly moves off.
INT. CINEMA LOBBY
The INSPECTOR makes a call, licks the tip of a pencil,
scribbles in a notebook. Behind thick glass, he argues
soundlessly into a phone.
BIG IN FOREGROUND – a popcorn machine rattles noisily.
INSIDE THE BOOTH
The inspector is upset, face strained. A MALE VOICE chatters
quickly through the receiver.
BUMSTEAD (cuts in)
…but you told me the meeting was
A burst of chatter.
I know, sir, but I can’t make it at
nine-thirty… It’s – um – well,
A stream of chatter stops him.
Yes, sir… I understand… Yes…
But, I’ve done fine so far without an
The inspector tries to interject as the VOICE cuts in again…
But… But I… I…
INT. MEN’S ROOM
We are underwater. WHITE’s FACE swims into view. Bubbles spew
from the mouth, the eyes stare in horror.
ANGLE ON MEN’S ROOM
White washes his face in a sink. He looks up, wipes his face
dry with his coat. He turns towards the door to leave.
There are TWO – identical. He cannot remember which he came
through. Takes a guess, opens one and steps into darkness.
He realizes he’s picked the wrong door, tries to go back but
the door CLICKS behind him: locked.
INT. CONCRETE TUNNEL
Pitch black. Trickling water. A distant voice over a P.A.
system recites names, followed by numbers. A LIGHT, far away.
White walks towards it.
He steps into a bare concrete area, a public phone hangs on a
blank wall. He pulls a coin from his pocket, puts it in the
slot, dials the number on his message. Ringing – no answer.
Suddenly White feels cold.
There you are.
Startled, White drops the phone and turns. A figure moves
forward out of darkness:
ANGLE ON THE MYSTERY MAN from the hotel lobby. The stranger
wears a long black coat, dark glasses, and has extremely pale
skin. He is completely bald. He studies White carefully.
White glances about nervously – walks back up the corridor,
his eyes pinned to the man.
You are lost, yes?
White retreats faster.
A FLASH OF STEEL – a dagger appears by the stranger’s side,
gripped in a black leather glove. He moves forward, a grin on
his pale face.
White stops, backs against the wall.
Co-operate. Do not make this
White panics – he’s cornered. He remembers the revolver. He
pulls it from his coat and LEVELS it at the stranger, his hand
ON THE STRANGER continuing to advance. Something about his
eyes makes White immobile, unable to think clearly.
You will not shoot, yes. There is a
place in your mind, a corner of
THE GUN FIRES again and again. Red splashes appear on the man.
His shoulder. His leg. His neck. He walks forward, with
spastic jerks as bullets RIP into him.
A final shot POINT BLANK into the stranger’s forehead. A
stream of black liquid spouts from the hole.
Blue smoke clears. The man stands motionless, his mouth hangs
open. Then his eyes roll up, and he collapses to the ground.
INT. MORGUE – NIGHT
CLICKING of new leather shoes, walking, striking tiles.
INSPECTOR BUMSTEAD strides down a silent corridor. He reaches
into his pocket, removes a SURGICAL MASK, places it over his
nose and mouth.
Bumstead steps up to a bald man with a moustache standing at
the end of the corridor. The man, who is dressed identically
to the inspector, is his superior: CHIEF-INSPECTOR STROMBOLI.
Good evening, sir.
Yes. This way.
STROMBOLI leads the inspector into a tiled room containing
several COVERED BODIES. The two men are greeted by a cheerful-
Welcome, gentlemen. Youíre early.
Here for the examination, right?
Stromboli nods, then ignores the mortician and walks along the
row of corpses. Bumstead follows.
The handiwork of an extremely sick
He throws back covers to reveal horrible mutilations.
Youíve read the reports. Not much to
go on. We know nothing about him,
except that he likes to cut them…
Always the same type of blade.
Forensics match in each case…
Anyway, it’s all in the reports, read
them for yourself.
STROMBOLI shakes his head, turns away from the final body,
looks at the inspector.
Why are you wearing that thing on
Germs, sir. These places are full of
One thingís for sure, heís ambitious.
Youíll be a busy man from now on.
You can say that again.
Stromboli looks annoyed at the smiling man. The Mortician
becomes serious and goes back to his work.
What about Thompson, sir? Wasnít
this his case?
Thompson suffered a kind of severe
delusion or some damn thing. Anyway
he isnít with us any longer. The
case is yours. Go through his files.
Take what you need.
By the way, howís your mother?
Sheís getting better, thanks. She…
STROMBOLI (cuts in)
The chief-inspector turns, paces to the door briskly.
Letís go, Bumstead. So much to do
and so little time.
EXT. BUILDING – NIGHT
A large faded BILLBOARD advertisement on a building facade. A
portrait of a smiling woman clutching a product called, “LUMP-
O” – a cereal box carton.
THE CAMERA MOVES IN STEADILY, rises upwards, CLOSER on the
womanís face, finally enters a hole at the centre of her
A raftered room on the other side of the billboard. CAMERA
TILTS TO a convoluted staircase – at the base, the SHADOW OF
A MAN runs.
FEET pace rapidly. TILT UP TO REVEAL – WHITE.
CAMERA FOLLOWS as he tries to lose himself from possible
pursuers. He steps through a low archway into a back alley,
rounds a corner.
A DEAD-END. White stops, looks around, then up. Heís breathing
heavily, trying to catch his breath. He starts to shake.
ABOVE, the walls stretch into darkness. An OPENING way up
there – he can see stars. Something dark crosses the gap of
sky. A RUSHING NOISE in the distance. Wind starts to pick up.
Trash is being kicked up. A sheet of NEWSPAPER wraps around
Whiteís leg. He tries to kick it away repeatedly but it wonít
come off. He bends down, grabs it to throw it away, but
something grabs his eye.
He stares at the page for a moment – then his LEGS SLIP from
under him and he falls to the ground. He holds his head like
itís going to explode. A whimper deep in his throat. His body
is trembling violently.
PUSH IN TIGHT on the paper on the ground. A front-page
headline: MAN-HUNT CONTINUES FOR SERIAL KILLER!
White looks up – terrified. The RUSHING NOISE O.S. again.
ON THE WALL facing him, a DOOR has appeared where moments
before there was nothing. The door creaks open to reveal
ANOTHER DOOR WITHIN. This one extends outwards on the end of a
lengthening wooden shaft.
White, stands quickly, thrusts the newspaper into a pocket.
Tries to side-step the ADVANCING DOOR but itís too late, he can
only open it and step through, to avoid getting pinned to the
INT. HOTEL LOBBY – NIGHT
HAND-HELD P.O.V. THROUGH the swaying beads hanging in the back-
room doorway. TWO FIGURES peer into the room.
We are looking for Jonathan White.
THE HOTEL MANAGER looks up, moves forward into light: a squat,
hunch-backed man with glasses. He steps through the beads,
glares at the intruders.
ON THE MEN – an uncanny resemblance to the one who tried to
kill White. Black coats, glasses, pale skin. Creepy.
A BLACK GLOVED HAND flashes forward, grips the managerís face
and doesnít let go. The manager struggles, gulps for air.
Heís pushed back heavily against the wall.
Which room is he in?
The leather glove SQUEEZES, blood trickles from the managerís
ears, through the fingers.
INT. ROOM 43
ANOTHER (VERY SHORT) FIGURE is searching the room. He hears
NOISES O.S. in the corridor, runs to the door, presses against
ON THE MAN – FREDRICK – a stunted body, an oversized head,
thick limbs. The rest of his features lost in shadow.
The door swings open, a shaft of light floods the dark room.
ON THE TWO MYSTERY MEN as they step in and look around. They
search the room, knock stuff over. One of the men kicks at the
womanís corpse in the corner. Behind him, Fredrick, still
hiding near the door, slips into the corridor unnoticed.
EXT. FLYING P.O.V. – NIGHT
A FLYING PERSPECTIVE past buildings. An INSECT-LIKE BUZZING
O.S. Way down BELOW, in a canyon of silent buildings, a LONE
EXT. DOWN ON THE STREET
A breeze pulls at WHITEís hair and coat. He takes out the
wallet – a few dollars.
HIS P.O.V. AS HE WALKS
The city is DEAD. Empty. Desolate. Buildings hang down out
of black. Day-time was never invented.
As he puts the wallet back in his pocket, a BUSINESS CARD he
hadnít noticed, flutters to the ground. He stops, picks it up.
In simple print: DOCTOR D.P. SCHREBER M.D., a phone number.
Scribbled handwriting on the back says: Thursday 0930.
ON WHITE – he glances across the street.
HIS P.O.V. – A cafe. A broken NEON FISH buzzes above the
INT. CHINESE CAFE
He walks up rickety stairs, into a small room with five or six
tables. Empty. Dirty. He sits and waits.
A CLOCK ticks on the wall – midnight. White coughs, for
A NOISE from a doorway. A SHADOW moves towards him, dragging
one foot as it walks. A SMALL ASIAN WOMAN appears and limps to
his table. She speaks very quickly IN CHINESE. He does not
She points to a chalk board on the wall – a list of dishes
also in Chinese, only one in English – the last one. At the
bottom. In small print. “NOODLES”.
The noodles. Iíll have some noodles.
The old woman rips a YELLOW TICKET from a pad, gives it to
White. A number on it. She points her crooked finger again
at a SPEAKER BOX above a small serving window in the wall. A
greenish fluoro pulses from the room within.
She leaves again.
White looks about the empty room. Insects are zapped on an
illuminated DEVICE hanging on the wall. An old air-conditioner
NOISES from the kitchen – voices argue in Chinese, a baby
cries. Then SILENCE.
White removes the newspaper from his coat and spreads it on the
He overcomes his fear, starts to read the article. Leans
forward, hands trembling. Without realising, he holds the
paper OVER A CANDLE burning on the table. The paper CATCHES
FIRE, is engulfed. He drops the flaming page on the table. Now
the table-cloth starts to burn.
White is frantic. On a nearby table he finds a pitcher of
water, and dumps this on the flames. It kills the fire but
leaves a black hole in the table-cloth. The paper is ash.
He moves to another table pretending nothing happened, fans the
INT. POLICE STATION – NIGHT
BUMSTEAD is moving quickly. He suddenly trips and falls to the
floor. He curses under his breath, then looks up.
A door – THOMPSON: DETECTIVE/INSPECTOR on the frosted glass.
Bumstead stands, pushes into the office.
A total mess – paperwork everywhere, dozens of used coffee
cups, rotting food in greasy paper bags. Bumstead shakes his
A real shame…
He starts to look around.
TIGHT ON FILING CABINET – a drawer is pulled open.
Thompsonís files are also a mess. Bumstead continues to shake
his head. He reaches for a file. A loud SNAP!
He recoils. A mousetrap has snapped over his fingers. He
pulls it off his hand, throws it to the floor, cursing.
INT. CHINESE CAFE
White is still waiting for his food.
He leans down to scratch an itchy ankle, lifts his trouser leg
to examine the bites – worse, inflamed. He uses a napkin to
wipe at the pus.
AERIAL PERSPECTIVE OF A FLY – circling the room, looking down
ON THE FLY – It lands on a plate of half eaten food on
another table. The creature is some kind of SURVEILLANCE
DEVICE – half insect/half machine. Itís spying on him. MOVE
IN TIGHT as inbuilt camera lenses focus in its head. It shits
on the food behind it.
White is oblivious to this. Heís finished examining his leg,
is sitting quietly. He yawns. His head nods forward briefly.
A NOISE. White looks up.
A TRAP-DOOR has opened in the ceiling. Two feet in black
leather shoes descend from the hole. A sea breeze blows
through the room. The SOUND OF SURF, SEAGULLS CRYING.
ON Whiteís nose twitching. He can smell the ocean.
The WALLPAPER COMES ALIVE – like a seething tangle of worms.
One by one, THREE MEN in black coats lower into the room,
floating on air. They pull out knifes, step forward.
ON WHITE rigid with terror.
ON THE MEN – though their faces cannot be seen clearly in the
gloom, they too resemble the MAN who confronted White earlier.
They walk towards him slowly, holding knifes above their heads.
Ready to attack. They lean over him, pause dramatically.
Donít fall asleep.
Might never wake, yes.
This Man turns to the others. They all smile, then turn back
MEN (in unison)
ANOTHER VOICE has been speaking softly – now it is louder.
ANGLE – a chair falls to the floor.
White leaps up from the table, terrified, disoriented. Just a
DREAM – he had dozed.
WIDEN ANGLE – The place is still empty. White glances to the
serving window. A DISH waits for him, framed in the glowing
fluoro square. He gets it. A bowl of soupy liquid with
noodles. He sits down.
He is about to start eating – realizes he has a fork instead
of a spoon. Picking up the bowl again, he heads to the
He takes a door beneath a set of wooden stairs and finds
himself in another corridor. He looks about, unsure which
direction to go in.
INT. SERIES OF ROOMS – LATER
White is lost, still holding the soup.
He moves through a number of RUSTED METAL DOORS that open and
shut automatically. Each reveals another room or corridor.
Deserted spaces long forgotten – dusty, crumbling.
He feels the fish moving about in his pocket, pulls it out and
looks at it.
White holds the dying fish in one hand, the bowl of cold soup
in the other. Disgusted, he puts the fish into the bowl.
A TICKING SOUND O.S.
White stops. Looks up. A large clock suspended from the
rafters. A tug at his coat.
Standing beside him is FREDRICK – the little man from Whiteís
Where have you been? The doctorís
been worried about you.
What? Who are you?
Fredrick looks nervously down the corridor.
Címon, letís go! We donít have any
The little man grabs Whiteís sleeve, starts to pull him along.
Hold it a minute. Letís start at the
ANGLE ON – the top of a set of stairs in front of them. Two
dark figures appear.
Fredrick looks up at them in horror.
(looks at White)
Both men run like crazy, White awkwardly holding the bowl of
soup. They come to a junction, each takes a separate corridor.
Fredrick finds some stairs, climbs two at a time.
White climbs INTO FRAME, looks around, finds another corridor.
The little man is nowhere to be seen. White reaches another
junction – several corridors branch off.
HIS P.O.V. PANNING AROUND
Each passageway completely deserted.
He keeps running.
INT. HOTEL LOBBY
A PHOTO FLASH – illuminates the dead body of the hotel manager,
slumped in his own blood.
Bumstead leans INTO FRAME, examines the corpse. He notices
several stab wounds in the manís abdomen. Various cops search
One cop walks up to the Inspector.
We got another one upstairs
INT. ROOM – NIGHT
A SMALL ROOM with arched windows that look over the city.
Fredrick is pulling a notebook and pen from under an upturned
He scrawls rapidly, screws the message into a tight tube, then
puts it into a METAL CYLINDER he finds beneath the table also.
He glances out a window, notices A FIGURE standing beneath a
street-lamp below, looking up at him. Startled, Fredrick darts
back into shadow, goes to a wall covered in about a dozen
vertical PIPES running up into the ceiling.
TIGHT ON ONE OF THE PIPES – he opens a small hatch and puts
the metal cylinder in it. The cylinder is snatched from his
hand, sucked into the pipe with a rush of air.
Fredrick steps back, a sigh of relief. A shadow falls across
his back. He turns. He screams.
TIGHT – rushing along lengths of rusted pipe, at blinding
speed. The cylinder races around corners. It clanks and
grinds. HURTLES up the side of a building. THEN PLUMMETS
underground. Rushes through darkness.
EXT. BRIDGE – NIGHT
THE CAMERA MOVES along a bridge-like structure. An enclosed
corridor supported by rotting wooden pylons. Under the bridge,
pipes spew sewage into stagnant water.
ANGLE ON WHITE WALKING – seen through a series of illuminated,
dirty, windows. He occasionally glances into the bowl he holds
TIGHT ON the fish swimming weakly in the soup.
ANGLE ON WHITE – He stops, looks up at O.S. SOUND of
clattering metal. A pipe runs the length of the corridor –
the invisible clanging cylinder races away, into darkness.
Then the silence is shattered by a piercing series of SCREAMS
somewhere in the building. White hurriedly moves towards the
White rounds a corner, stops, notices a small rectangular HOLE
in a wall. ANOTHER SCREAM, weaker now – He runs to the hole
in the wall and looks through.
A small, very ordered ROOM. A fake fireplace bathes the room
in a warm glow.
White cranes his neck forward, stretches his head through the
hole. He can see into an adjoining room to his right – two
dark figures stand over a man on the floor lying in a pool of
dark crimson. The man looks up – itís Fredrick – just as
both dark figures stab him repeatedly with bloody daggers. He
doesnít scream this time, just gags on blood running from his
Suddenly a sliding door SLAMS onto the back of Whiteís neck,
traps his head in the hole. He struggles, tries to free
himself. Drops the bowl of soup. It shatters on the hard
floor, makes a mess.
INSIDE THE BATHROOM – The killers look up at the smashing
BACK IN THE CORRIDOR – White pulls with all his strength.
The door gives and he stumbles backwards. He is about to run
away but glances at the floor.
The fish is flapping about – still alive.
White darts from a doorway, trips and falls. He sprawls at the
base of sweeping stone steps. He looks at a building towering
above him. Chiselled in the facade, above the entrance:
INT. POLICE STATION
A series of ply-wood SILHOUETTES race through frame. Stop
suddenly, mechanically. LOUD GUNSHOTS. Chunks of ply-wood
blast away violently.
BUMSTEAD is practising his marksmanship.
A HAND – on his shoulder. He whips around, startled.
ON MISS CRENSHAW – a young, stiff-looking woman.
Donít ever sneak up on me like that!
Who are you?
She puts out her hand.
Iím your new assistant.
I didnít requisition a secretary.
The Chief-Inspector thought you might
need a hand.
He takes her hand tentatively. They shake.
Iíve taken the liberty and had
Inspector Thompsonís office searched,
as I believe you instructed. All
clear now, sir. They found several
more traps and things were filed
under pretty strange categories…
You wonít regret this, sir.
Bumstead moves off.
White steps into a vast, empty room, stops beneath a big sign
saying, SILENCE in formal letters. The place seems abandoned,
then he notices a hint of movement. Cigarette smoke snakes
into the air, a light, across the expanse of polished floor.
He walks up to an elderly female LIBRARIAN sitting behind a
desk, smoking, reading. White looks somewhat distraught still.
Keep newspapers here, birth
certificates, records of deaths, that
kind of thing?
The librarian looks up from her book.
Which would you like first?
She takes her glasses off. Her eyes are TINY, like pin-heads.
She studies White.
Are you alright?
He looks around – restrained panic.
WHITE (looks at the woman)
Sure. Iím fine.
Mmm-hmm. Stairs at the end of the
hall. Third floor. Turn left.
Section C-7. Row 35, near the
She replaces her glasses, watches White rush away.
Donít mention it…
She blows her nose into a handkerchief. The snort ECHOES
INT. LIBRARY CORRIDOR
White rushes down a dark hall lined with bronze statues. He
finds section C then walks between towering rows stacked with
old volumes. Comes to number 7.
He follows an arrow past row after row – finally finds Row 34
but then it skips straight to letters again, A, B, C, etc.
No Row 35.
He stops and looks around – sure enough a door displays a
small sign: TOILETS.
White is sweating profusely. He now sits on a chair, takes off
his shoes, rubs his feet. He pulls a book from a shelf behind
him, looks about, opens the book and tears several pages out,
folds them, stuffs them into his shoes to plug up the holes.
He gets up, tries to backtrack, comes across an elaborate
diagram of the library interior. An arrow points to a section
near a wing labelled: MAPS. Near the arrow it says: YOU ARE
He keeps walking.
He finds the door to the maps wing but the door is locked, a
sign is nailed to it: WE ARE REMODELLING. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY
White, annoyed now, tries to force his way in. Puts his
shoulder to the door, pushes several times. It CRUMBLES under
his weight – rotten.
He finds himself in a DUSTY ROOM.
A narrow room, filled with rows of bookshelves with stacks of
TIGHT ON WHITE – he steps forward, pulls a folded newspaper
off the shelf. The instant he picks it up, it crumbles to dust
in his hands. He picks up another, and another, each in turn
breaking apart and dissolving to nothingness.
INT. DARK CHAMBER – NIGHT
TWO SILHOUETTED FIGURES face each other across a polished black
table. They speak in a foreign language. A phone rings.
Figure 1 picks up the receiver and listens attentively.
Figure 2 is involved with various metal shapes he is trying to
lock together. A complex puzzle. He gets impatient with the
puzzle, dashes it to the floor.
Figure 1, on the phone, hangs up and writes something. Hands
the note to Figure 2, who in turn drops it into A CHUTE.
The note falls from a slot in the wall before Figure 3 (in
shadow yet again). He reads from the note over a silver
microphone, still in the unfamiliar tongue.
TIGHT ON A SPEAKER – his distorted voice. A final mysterious
person – Figure 4 – listens to the announcement. He takes
a stick and moves a small cut-out figure of a man across a
board, away from a large grouping of similar cut-outs. The
board resembles a planning table in a war-room.
A HIGH ANGLE as the CAMERA PULL BACKS on the grouping of cut
out figures. More and more of them. Ten. Twenty. A hundred.
A sinister army.
INT. INTERSECTING STREET – NIGHT
White is in a phone booth. He removes the note from his
pocket, dials. No answer again. He dials the OPERATOR. A
muffled voice over the line.
Iím trying to reach nine zero eight
triple two. I canít get through…
He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a coin, puts it into the
slot. Heís sweating again. He wipes his brow with a trembling
It is?… Which area is that number
listed in?… Is that near the
ocean?… The ocean… Never mind.
Have a Jonathan White listed?…
WHITE. Seventeen? All Johns? I
see… Never mind.
He hangs up, then removes the business card he found in his
wallet. He is about to dial but decides otherwise. He steps
into the street.
A HIGH ANGLE
White walks between tall buildings, towards a narrow street
that branches off into two separate routes. He stops. He
canít decide which branch to take – he steps to the left,
then steps back, takes a few steps to the right, reconsiders
INT. POLICE STATION/BUMSTEADíS OFFICE – NIGHT
TRACK ALONG – piles of towering files bursting at the seams
with paperwork – TO FIND Bumstead hunched over notes,
photographs and files. His eyes are rimmed with red. He
doesnít seem to be getting anywhere.
He looks up. The secretary stands in the doorway with another
big pile of paperwork.
What? I donít drink coffee. A cup
of tea would be good. Milk and no
Crenshaw puts the paperwork down on Bumsteadís already
He looks at her like she just slapped him.
These are the investigations of a
madman. He has fabricated an entire
bizarre paranoid delusion with no
internal logic whatever.
(without looking up)
This is a mess. A horrible mess.
(looks at her now)
Itís the second time now.
Miss Crenshaw looks concerned.
Look at this!
He holds up a sheet of white paper – a report. The woman
steps over and looks at it.
You typed this report?
Yes, sir. Anything wrong?
Wrong? Look at this!
The woman bends down, adjusts her glasses, examines it.
It seems fine.
Fine? Look here!
His finger points at the bottom of the page – a tiny,
INSIGNIFICANT ink smudge.
How can I submit this?
Do you wash your hands before you
Well be more careful, please.
An embarrassed beat, then:
Bumstead reaches for the phone but Crenshaw is on it first.
Inspector Bumsteadís office…
She cups the receiver with her hand, looks at Bumstead.
Yes, sir. The Chief-Inspector said
he would see you now.
INT. POLICE STATION HALL-WAY
TRACKING SHOT towards a door: CHIEF-INSPECTOR on the frosted
glass. A hand reaches INTO FRAME, knocks twice.
Bumstead steps into the office – finds STROMBOLI wandering
about the room, distracted, searching for something…
What is it?
He pulls the waste-basket up and empties the contents onto his
desk, sorts through it.
A formality. I need to speak with
Thompson. Officially I need your
Stromboli is looking through his desk drawers now.
Why do you want to speak to him?
A hunch. He might be able to…
STROMBOLI (from under desk)
Bumstead, donít be so paranoid.
Leave him alone – heís a sad case.
Itís extremely important to my
Iíll be the judge of that. Anything
Actually, I was wondering, sir, if
you could let me have a few uniforms,
to follow up for me…
STROMBOLI O.S. (pokes head above desk)
Absolutely not. Up to my ears in
cases right now – canít spare
Stromboli becomes distracted again – stands up, looks behind
pictures hanging off the walls. A big sign suspended above his
desk says, SO MUCH TO DO AND SO LITTLE TIME – his motto.
What makes you think that! If you
would learn to concentrate on facts,
not get so side-tracked – you might
get things done faster, Bumstead…
The door clicks shut. Stromboli looks up – the inspector has
EXT. PLAZA – NIGHT
White walks under stone archways.
Across an empty plaza is a sign above a door: DRUGS OPEN 24
HOURS and in smaller print, recently added beneath: SHAVE &
INT. DRUG STORE – NIGHT
White walks between bare, dusty shelves. Only one shelf
carries products – BOX AFTER BOX OF “LUMP-O”. He moves up to
a small counter. A man with thick glasses, dressed like a
BARBER, is seated there.
I need something to keep me awake.
Looks like you need a haircut to me.
Thanks. Just some pills.
Only two bucks. Shave as well…
WHITE (annoyed now)
Your sign says you sell drugs –
well, Iím here to buy some. Okay?
He waves dramatically to a shelf above his head, with several
bottles of all sorts of different coloured capsules.
Tell you what – let me cut yer
hair, give ya watcha need half price.
Canít argue at that!
I donít want a haircut.
CAMERA TRACKS OFF a clock on a wall – REVEALS WHITE in a
barber chair. The BARBER gleefully works on WHITEís hair. A
thin OLD GUY in a moth-eaten suit steps from behind a curtain,
smiles, playing a violin. Heís passionate but bad.
BARBER (talks fast)
Cut hair when I was in the navy,
yíknow – havenít lost the touch.
Bet youíre happy ëbout that. Huh!
The city. I need to get to the
Nope. No maps. Ocean, huh? On
White doesnít answer. The old guy with the violin moves back
and forth behind White, smiling as he plays.
Grandpa thought customers might like
some mood music.
You still look familiar. Itís
driving me nuts! Sure I donít know
ya from somewhere?
WHITE (nervous now)
Barber looks out the front window as his hands busily trim
Mnunn. Cold lately.
(lathers up Whiteís
That night, couple weeks ago. That
was real cold. Remember that?
Yeah, Iím like that. Senility says
the wife. But she sure canít
complain. Heh. The erector set still
(points to head)
And this ainít no fucking rug!
Gíhead. Feel it! All mine!
Grandpa laughs and plays louder.
Yes! Feeeeel it!
PUSH IN ON WHITE – he smiles weakly.
INT. DETAIL – NIGHT
A HAND scrawls cryptic diagrams into a notebook.
PULL OUT TO REVEAL
DOCTOR SCHREBER at his desk. Heís bearded, with thick lensed
glasses. He puts the phone down, sits quietly at his desk,
staring into space, lost in thought.
A LOUD RATTLING NOISE FILLS THE ROOM. Schreber looks up.
A rusted pipe runs across the ceiling and down one wall. He
steps across to the pipe on the wall, leans down, looks into an
open hatch at its base.
Without warning, out of the hatch pops the metal cylinder FROM
SEVERAL SCENES PREVIOUS and bounces off the doctor’s head.
He curses, picks it up, opens it. He plucks out the note and
reads FREDRICKís SCRAWLED MESSAGE:
DOCTOR, I DID AS YOU ASKED. BUT
THINK I MADE STUPID MISTAKE. HOPE
THINGS DONíT GET BACK TO YOU. SORRY.
Schreber looks up – then PUNCHES HIS FIST into the desk
INT. EMPTY BUILDING
A P.O.V. MOVES DOWN halls made of wood slatting – the floors,
walls and ceilings are bare boards. FOOTSTEPS O.S.
TIGHT ON – a manís shadow as it descends a wooden staircase.
REVEAL WHITE – He rummages in a paper bag as he walks. Pulls
out two capsules, swallows them. Now he pulls out a pack of
“LUMP-O”, rips it open, eats ravenously.
EXT. STREET – NIGHT
White steps out into a street, turns a corner, drops the empty
packet of cereal. Now he sees TWO FIGURES APPROACH. He hides
behind a wall before he is seen. Suddenly a deafening RINGING
startles him. He looks across a plaza.
HIS P.O.V. – A CHURCH. A bell-tower, black against the sky.
White stares up into the night.
INT. CHURCH – NIGHT
White walks in, sits on A PEW, towards the back of the room,
glances over his shoulder. He tries to blend in with the SMALL
GATHERING OF PEOPLE sitting silently around him.
A PRIEST – appears at the altar, cloaked in a blood-red robe,
followed by two altar boys also in red. They move past a
statue of an insect-like creature, walk in circles chanting
softly, stop and stare at the congregation through eye-slits in
their hoods. The priest begins his sermon.
Beware! The night is deadly. There
is a criminal among us.
White looks forward.
TIGHT ON the priestís hand – It rises, points, moves over the
heads of the congregation, accusingly. Suddenly the red finger
jabs towards an OLD WOMAN in the front row.
It could be she! The innocent across
All the congregation turn and stare at the woman. Sheís
The hand moves slowly now, across to a BEAUTIFUL JAPANESE WOMAN
several rows back.
Or the temptress next door!
The priest pauses dramatically then:
Or mister nervy stranger at the back!
Suddenly the finger is pointing at White. All the faces turn,
stare suspiciously at White.
ANGLE ON WHITE – frozen with fright. Fortunately his face is
obscured by shadow and the priest lowers his hand, continues
the sermon. The people look away.
You are thinking it could be anyone?
And youíre right! Why, it could even
White goes to leave. As he stands he notices the DOORS of the
church open – two figures step in and move into the candle-
MYSTERY MEN – Whiteís bizarre pursuers. They look around.
White ducks down, crawls between pews, startling several of the
congregation. He motions to them to keep quiet. He runs into
the legs of the BEAUTIFUL WOMAN the priest pointed out. She is
startled momentarily but looks down at him, smiles.
PRIEST (continues sermon)
Evil stalks our streets. It seeks to
hide in our hearts. Have you not
evil within you now?
White sees a nearby CONFESSION BOX. Staying low, he runs,
almost knocks over a large illuminated candle-holder, darts
inside. The girl watches him.
A GAUNT-FACED WOMAN stands. Hysterical. She looks at the
He took my little boy! Iíll rip out
INSIDE – White breaths relief.
HIS P.O.V. – carved on the dark stained wood in front of him
is a crucified insect. A voice surprises him. Another PRIEST,
You have sinned?
White watches the two Mystery Men walk past, through the ornate
wooden grill in front of his face.
I am listening.
Thereís a… woman. I don’t know
but I think I, ahh…
The Mystery Men look towards the box for a moment, towards
White, but keep walking.
No. I, ah…
You seem restless.
The Mystery Men seem to have gone. White takes out the gun,
keeping it hidden from the priest. Opens the chamber.
TIGHT ON THE GUN – Only ONE BULLET left.
Someoneís after me.
Then we must call the police.
No. I mean… that isnít necessary.
The silhouette on the other side of the box leans forward.
I see. Then who is after you? What
sins have you committed?
Just let me sit here for a moment?
Iíll go soon, and stop bothering you.
The priest suddenly stares incredulously at White. His eyes
widen in horror.
Youíre the murderer?
(starts to yell)
Yes! That must be it! Donít kill
White lunges, grabs his collar with one hand, slaps the other
over his mouth. The old man stares at him, trembling
Shut up! Listen. Walk out quietly.
(holds up gun)
The priest nods stupidly. White pushes him out of the
confession box, grabs his coat from behind, puts the gun to his
back. Together they head for the doors. Still no sign of the
Donít kill me!
White loses his temper, grabs the priest, shakes him violently.
WHITE (not so quietly)
Iím not going to kill you, okay!
The priest kicks White in the leg, bites his hand. While White
is wincing in pain, the priest breaks away.
People start to scream and run. The GAUNT WOMAN points at
GAUNT WOMAN (screams insanely)
Itís him! Rip out his eyes!
Frightened, White holds the gun out. Everyone panics,
scatters. People run for the exit. Religious statues topple
and smash. The gaunt woman is pushed screaming to the floor,
trampled by the crowd.
Amidst the chaos, the two MYSTERY MEN appear across the room,
see White, head towards him. He turns and runs.
White climbs narrow stairs rapidly.
INT. BELL TOWER
White stops, nowhere left to go, just a long drop to the street
through a series of arched windows. A low, raftered room,
three huge black BELLS.
Suddenly a groan of gears in the ceiling and the bells start to
swing, build momentum.
CLANG! CLA-A-A-ANG! A cacophony of noise.
White puts his hands over his ears in pain, then turns to the
Through the swinging bells – the MYSTERY MEN climb the last
few steps on the other end of the dark room. They advance
slowly, clutching daggers.
White raises his gun. Aims. Difficult to find his target –
the approaching MEN are obscured by the bells.
White steps sideways, never taking his eyes off the Men. They
follow him slowly, pivoting about the bells in the centre of
the tower, pursuers and pursued remaining a semi-circle apart.
What do you want? Tell me!
The Men stop. So does White. They separate, now approaching
him from OPPOSITE sides, moving around the bells.
White doesnít know who to point the gun at – he swings back
and forth, one to the other, faster and faster, as the Men
He lets them get uncomfortably close, then swings to his right,
thrusts the gun to one Manís forehead. FIRES. The Man steps
back, spouting liquid from the bullet hole, hits a low railing,
FALLS into the shaft at the centre of the tower.
The second Man SWINGS his dagger at White.
White falls backwards, dropping his gun clumsily. The Man
advances, smiling – kicks the gun across the wooden floor.
White, clutching at straws, lifts his foot, kicks down hard on
a loose floorboard. The board flies up, pivoting against
Whiteís heel, catches the Mystery Man with a CRACK under the
White runs at the off-balance Man, head-butts him in the
stomach. The Man recoils, canít stop, steps off backwards into
space, PLUMMETS INTO DARKNESS towards the street below.
White relieved, turns, dusts himself, picks up his gun. Looks
down at the floor. Broken glass and capsules everywhere – he
dropped the bottle of pills during the scuffle. Starts to pick
Behind him SOMETHING is rising.
The shadowy Mystery Man is LEVITATING HIMSELF back up to the
bell-tower. He lands behind White, approaches, lifting his
dagger, closer and closer.
White glances around.
The Man lunges, pushing White towards the shaft beneath the
swinging bells. White FALLS, dangles over dark space, the Man
stands above him.
MYSTERY MAN (shouts)
Do not make us hurt you…
The bells are swinging very close to the Man.
It will be inconvenient, yes…
Suddenly, to Whiteís amazement, the shiny black rim of a bell
clips the Manís head. SLAMS it against a low wooden beam in
the ceiling. A splash of black liquid. The Man slumps to the
ground, his head crushed beyond recognition.
White pulls himself up – stands over the Manís body, trying
to decide what to do. A MOVEMENT catches his eye.
TIGHT ON the collapsed Manís ear – something moves inside. A
BLACK INSECT, half-dead, crawls out of his crushed head.
White revolted, SQUASHES the insect under his shoe.
EXT./INT. VARIOUS – MONTAGE
RAPID MOVE ACROSS MYSTERY MEN screaming. Faces contort with
pain. INTERCUT WITH:
Electricity ARCING between electrodes.
A building against the sky. The windows EXPLODE. Glass blows
out, raining down on the street.
A concrete wall SPLITS OPEN. Slime oozes through the crack.
An old man, walks on a deserted street, looks up at the sky.
One of the lenses of his spectacles CRACKS without warning.
A chair falls over in a dark room.
A woman under a hair-dryer gossips on a phone. Suddenly the
phone emits a high-pitched shriek. Her ear spouts blood and
A small transistor radio emits a high frequency and short
circuits with a spark.
TIGHT ON – a wristwatch spinning backwards rapidly –
INSPECTOR BUMSTEAD stands on a street corner staring blankly at
his watch. Taps it several times, annoyed, then looks up at a
THREE STOREY BUILDING. He holds a piece of paper in his other
hand – on it a number rapidly scrawled: 23.
The dilapidated building – arched windows only on the topmost
floor. A faded number on the facade – also 23. The windows
light up continuously with rapid bursts of white light.
The inspector climbs a staircase, enters a dark room.
TWO FIGURES move about. Bumstead glances at a UNIFORMED MAN,
standing beside a fake fire, who acknowledges his arrival.
To the side, A POLICE PHOTOGRAPHER flashes something swinging
back and forth, hanging from the ceiling. It looks like…
Fredrick. Dead. His arms and legs missing. A pool of blood
beneath the mutilated torso.
Bumstead looks at the cop.
How long have you been here?
Maybe ten minutes…
(looks at his watch)
The cop is shaking his watch, tapping it with his finger. He
looks up. Bumstead indicates his own watch.
Bumstead nods. He removes a notebook from his pocket, walks
about the room, glances at objects, makes notes.
Bumstead steps over to a small RECTANGULAR HOLE in the wall.
He examines it carefully, then bends down and puts his head
through. On the other side is a corridor snaking off into
darkness. Just beneath the hole, is a broken dish and a
puddle. Lying half in the puddle is the business card of
Doctor D.P. Schreber M.D.
Without removing his head from the hole he shouts to the nearby
I want prints over here…
Suddenly the door has caught Bumsteadís head in it. He
struggles. The cop and the photographer run over to help.
EXT. BUILDING – NIGHT
MOVE IN ON a doorway. Above it a small illuminated red sign:
DOCTOR D.P. SCHREBER M.D.
REVERSE ANGLE ON WHITE
He stands on the street, under the sign, rummaging in his
wallet, obviously looking for the business card he doesnít have
INT. WAITING ROOM
A white room, bare. Dirt stains the walls near the air-vents.
A NURSE is typing behind her desk.
A THUMPING fills the room. The nurse stands, removes her shoe
and hits a pipe running along the wall several times. The
The front door creaks open and White enters. She watches him
step into the room.
I want to see the doctor. It’s
What time was your appointment?
Look! Tell him I’m here. Now.
He’s leaning across her desk threateningly.
Yes, certainly… Who should I say?
No idea. Just get him…
Suddenly a door opens and DOCTOR SCHREBER, clutching a file of
papers, steps out. He freezes, stares at White. The papers
fall from his hands to the floor.
INT. DARK CHAMBER – NIGHT
A group of DARK SILHOUETTES file into a concrete room.
The MYSTERY MEN have gathered. Like the Men who pursue White,
they wear coats, leather gloves, dark glasses, and have near
One MAN points to diagrams on a chalk board and speaks in the
peculiar foreign tongue.
TIGHT ON THE DIAGRAM – a path through the city. A circle
marks the point where the red line ends – a cathedral. The
Man goes into broken English – a guttural accent.
It has failed.
ANOTHER MAN stands at the rear of the room.
This is becoming dangerous, yes!
YET ANOTHER MAN starts to tremble violently, seized with some
kind of convulsion. He froths at the mouth and throws his head
about. A TALLER MAN standing beside him opens a silver box,
removes a small WRITHING WORM. He places this on the tip of
the trembling Man’s tongue, who swallows it and calms down.
Let’s get this over with.
ANOTHER MAN rises suddenly, pushes forcefully to the front of
What about the dance-steps! This is
my responsibility, we must resolve
this issue, yes?
THE MEN turn to face him. He is out of line. He becomes
irritated, as if to say something further, then pulls himself
short, sits down.
The situation has changed.
(pacing the room)
This one is in possession of
MAN 1 (cuts in)
…to avoid influence, yes.
RUMBLING NOISE O.S. attracts everyone’s attention. They all
look to a round portal high on a wall. The noise is louder.
several figures on stilts run past outside the opening – then
the noise subsides. The MYSTERY MEN go back to more important
It gets interesting, yes.
Stop this! It has gone too far!
Tell Mister Black!
Man 2 stares blankly into space, he makes a peculiar clicking
noise with his mouth, his eyes roll upwards.
INT. DOCTOR’S OFFICE
THE CAMERA GLIDES down a corridor, towards a door – a sign
says, DOCTOR IS: IN.
White sits in a leather chair across from an ornate wooden
desk. THE DOCTOR paces up and down in front of glass jars
containing preserved specimens. He stops, looks at White.
You remember nothing? Who you are?
What you’ve done?
You know something about me?
Ah, that would be cheating, wouldn’t
Is there nothing you remember? Not
even a detail? You must try.
You think I haven’t been trying!
It’s like there was never anything
Waves… A beach. A woman
whispering. That’s all.
(looks up, yawns)
I need to stay awake. Do you have
The doctor walks to a glass cabinet and removes a bottle, takes
out two green capsules. Hands them to White. Sits behind the
What does she say? The woman.
Asks my name. Over and over. Just
like a broken record. Only thing is,
I can’t answer. I’ve no idea what my
Your name is John White.
That’s what people keep telling me.
Te doctor walks to a small sink in the corner, returns, hands
White a glass of water. White swallows the pills.
SCHREBER (indicates pills)
And what’s this about? Why?
White stands up, starts to pace nervously.
Tell me about them…
Yeah well, why don’t I ask some
questions for a change.
If you like.
You’re supposed to be my doctor,
That’s right. I am your doctor.
White is very agitated now, his voice is getting edgy.
Known me for long?
WHITE (cuts in)
Am I a killer?
I cannot say… You don’t know the
answer to that?
I told you, I can’t remember a thing!
White reaches across abruptly, GRABS the doctor.
WHITE (angry now – shouting)
Look, you know something about me,
out with it! Let’s end this
bullshit! I want answers!
The doctor is obviously scared.
We won’t get anywhere like this.
Please. Let’s take things in easy
INT. BUMSTEAD’S APARTMENT/KITCHEN – NIGHT
TIGHT ON DRAWING PINS – Being pushed into a map. A seeming
random pattern across the terrain of the city. Each pin is
labelled: VICTIM 1, VICTIM 2,… etc.
WIDER ON BUMSTEAD
He’s tired, like he hasn’t slept. He’s looking at the map
stuck to a wall. There’s several neat piles of folders on the
kitchen table in front of him. The kitchen itself is
incredibly neat – everything completely organized.
Bumstead shakes his head slowly, turns away from the board.
Picks up a cup of hot tea, pours milk into it from a small jar.
TIGHT ON THE TEA CUP – Cream SWIRLS into a rapidly dissolving
spiral. Bumstead looks up. Puts down the cup hurriedly, turns
back to the map.
With a thick pen he traces a line between each point marking
the location of the victims. He steps back to examine his
A SPIRAL – moving outwards. Beyond the last victim it
becomes a dotted line, following the same trajectory but with a
big question mark beside it.
Bumstead glances over to a blackboard with a list of names and
addresses on it. He holds up the doctor’s card and stares at
it. He turns it over, notices an address on the back.
INT. DOCTOR SCHREBER’S OFFICE – NIGHT
SCHREBER is showing WHITE a series of CHARTS. The doctor seems
nervous about White’s potential for further violence.
Put simply… a penetration of the
left parieto-occipital area of the
cranium… complicated by
inflammation that resulted in
adhesions of the brain to the
meninges. Without going into
detail… the formation of scar
tissue altered the configuration of
the lateral ventricles, producing
incipient atrophy of the medulla…
WHITE (cuts in)
Look. It was a simple question. Can
someone kill and not remember it?
I’m sorry. I get carried away
sometimes. Possible? I’m… ah,
Did she drown? The woman you told me
Not exactly. She was found in a
canal, disembowelled. Throat cut.
Blood drained. The body wrapped in a
White shakes his head, looking blankly at the doctor.
You remember nothing, eh?
(shakes his head)
Let me show you something.
Schreber turns, points to DOUBLE-DOORS. He walks towards
these. White follows.
Formation of memories is the most
important of brain functions.
THE DOORS ARE OPENED
They step into a room of living animal experiments.
We are little more than a sum of
memories. From them we reference who
we are, where we’re going. Without a
past we are nothing. This is why you
are so interesting.
I’m nothing then.
Anything but, my friend.
The two men look down on a monkey with the top of its head
missing, squirming in a mechanical device that restricts its
It feels no pain.
White turns and starts to pace away. Schreber reluctantly
Can I get my life back?
Schreber points dramatically at a wooden structure containing
We know of two kinds of memory.
Firstly, declarative memory.
The rats perform various activities involving mazes and
geometric symbols. Schreber turns to look at White, eyebrow
And then there is procedural memory.
TIGHT ON HIS SLENDER FINGER – pointing to a machine also run
by rats. The object is to make it through a guillotine device.
One rat is successful, the other is chopped neatly in two.
Research on simple animals can be…
useful. To show us where memory
storing systems are located, for
example. I am building an experiment
with hamsters next.
(looks at nearby cage
Cute little things.
Schreber puts a hand on White’s shoulder.
Listen to me talk! You must be
White nods again, extremely troubled.
INT. HALL-WAY (DOCTOR’S RESIDENCE)
Schreber’s office is an annex of his living quarters – a
maze-like series of rooms and halls. White is led down a dark
hall by Schreber, clutching a candle.
Whole damn wing lost power. Wiring’s
old. Keep meaning to get it fixed.
Here we are.
They’ve stopped outside a flaking door.
A small eat-in kitchen. Dirty and run-down. White, sits at a
bench, as Schreber removes items from the refrigerator. The
doctor holds up a large FROZEN fish.
Ah. Beautiful! Head and all! Just
how I like ‘em!
ANGLE ON FRYING PAN ON STOVE – The fish lands in it and starts
to sizzle furiously.
ANGLE ON WHITE
I’m sorry. About before.
I don’t blame you for getting angry.
You are in a frustrating situation.
You must be patient though. Trust me
completely. I’m here to help.
A set of swinging doors on the other side of the room open
slightly and THE NURSE looks in.
NURSE (to Schreber)
I have to talk to you.
It can’t wait?
She shakes her head, with a serious expression, then darts out
SCHREBER (to White)
Excuse me. Ah, make yourself at
Alone, White looks around the bleak room. He takes off his
coat and sits down again. He removes the FISH. The eye opens.
The creature looks up at him. It breaths painfully.
Still kicking, huh?
He puts it back in his pocket.
The OTHER fish is spattering oil everywhere. Smoke starts to
fill the room. White, steps over and looks at the frying pan.
The fish is turning black. He turns the heat down.
He notices a SMALL HOLE in the wall. At eye height. He steps
across, looks through.
TIGHT ON WHITE’S eye through the hole.
A dark room. Shadows on the wall. Something wet, some kind of
ANIMAL, moving in the darkness. He can hear breathing and
White’s eyes start to blur, he rubs them.
How are things in here?
White spins, like he’s caught doing something wrong. The
Doctor walks across to the stove, prods the frying fish with a
Ah, nearly done. So tell me about
your dreams. I’m very interested.
White is having a hard time focusing.
Just the typical fabrications of a
distorted mind. You know, chased by
mysterious men in black, that kind of
WHITE’S P.O.V. – ANGLE ON Schreber with his back turned, at
the stove. THE IMAGE is blurring.
Ah, our friends in black… they are
not just a figment of your
imagination you know, in fact none of
what you are experiencing is anything
Smoke rises thickly around the doctor.
I know everything about you. You
have no choice but to trust me.
Flames are shooting up around Schreber from the frying pan.
His arms catch fire, and he suddenly spins around clutching
flaming daggers in both hands, his whole body engulfed in fire,
his face charred, black flesh hanging off his skull.
Scarey, isn’t it?
White startles awake.
Schreber stands at the stove looking at White. Everything is
Are you feeling alright?
White stands awkwardly, pulls his coat on.
What are you doing?
I have to go…
You can’t go yet. We’ve got so much
to talk about…
Suddenly White feels feint – leans against the wall to steady
You’re tired. You need to lie down.
ON WHITE – swaying.
The scene is distorted – like looking through water. Things
Yes. A little something to help you
A tile floor RISES rapidly TOWARDS CAMERA.
Objects float underwater. They rise upwards amidst bubbles,
break the surface. A storm at sea – dismembered BODY PARTS
float all the way to the horizon.
TWO FOETUSES in separate jars are talking to each other through
This is madness. If we’re caught…
Shut-up. Help me with these
INT. EXAMINATION ROOM
WHITE wakes strapped to an exantination table. SCHREBER and the
NURSE loom above him. The nurse hands Schreber a long, chrome
SYRINGE. The doctor moves towards White.
SCHREBER (holds syringe up)
Now you must relax, Anton.
A DOOR-BELL RINGS O.S. The nurse makes for the door.
He’s tapping the side of the syringe, squirting out air
bubbles. THE DOOR-BELL RINGS again – very insistent.
Schreber looks at the nurse, annoyed.
Damn! Whoever it is – get rid of
She heads to the door – turns back.
Schreber puts the syringe down, fumbles in his pocket, pulls
out a huge collection of KEYS on a ring, walks to the nurse,
hands them to her.
White manages to wriggle a hand free from the leather strap
holding him. The nurse leaves, the doctor shuts the door,
locks it. He steps over to White.
I’m sorry I had to put you through
(lowers syringe to
There will be some pain, but things
will be easier this way.
White lashes out, PUNCHES the doctor in the face. His glasses
go flying, and he falls to the floor, blinded, scrambling for
A convenient scalpel cuts White from his remaining bonds. He
undoes the last strap around his ankles as the doctor replaces
his glasses and leaps at him trying to drive the syringe INTO
The struggle continues – each man tries to turn the syringe
on the other. White pushes the doctor, who falls backwards.
Schreber leaps onto him, both fall against a tray of medical
A loud THUMPING on the examination room door. White is grabbed
from behind, pinned down with the syringe INCHES from his face.
A CRASH O.S. Splintering wood. The door bursts open.
A ROTUND SILHOUETTE – is revealed, clutching a police
special, flashing a badge. A squeaky, over-excited, voice:
Schreber and White FREEZE in mid-struggle, look at the
inspector. Behind him, the nurse appears in the hallway.
Police. Nobody move.
He tried to kill me!
Shut up! Everybody stay calm…
Bumstead steps into the light, shoves his gun in White’s face,
handcuffs him. Bumstead searches White, finds the revolver,
takes this. Also takes his wallet. He glances at the doctor,
who hides the syringe behind his back.
BUMSTEAD (to Doctor)
Schreber nods blankly.
Bumstead runs his hand over White’s side pocket – feels
White says nothing. The inspector opens the pocket and looks
A fish, huh?
EXT. CITY STREETS – NIGHT
An old-fashioned BLACK SEDAN drives over a rusty suspension
bridge. Stone gargoyles look down at the lone vehicle. It’s
been raining. Streets are empty.
INSIDE THE CAR
WHITE and the INSPECTOR drive silently. Bumstead has appointed
his un-marked police vehicle with all the comforts of home.
Hot thermos. Note pad holder, complete with light. Coat
hanger. Gun rack. A system for everything.
(glances at his
I’m curious? How many so far?
He shakes his watch, puts it to his ear.
BUMSTEAD (counts on fingers)
Let’s see, there’s the little guy
with no arms or legs. And the young
CLOSE ON WHITE – frightened now.
The six year old. Sure, you
Bumstead pulls something from under the dashboard. A SANDWICH,
carefully wrapped and prepared. After glancing at his watch
again, he bites into it.
Y’know, the kid you left in the meat
packing plant, cut into pieces.
Packed into brown paper parcels,
wrapped in twine, that kind of thing.
You sure have demonstrated a great
deal of… imagination. The baby
was the best though. Several cops
lost their lunch over that one. Head
twisted off, spine pulled out,
WHITE (cuts in)
Stop it. You’re making me sick…
We count seven so far. Anyone we
RADIO CRACKLE O.S. – A tinny voice cuts in.
Inspector Bumstead… Inspector…
Bumstead picks up a microphone, speaks into it.
What is it, Crenshaw?
Just reminding you… your eight pee
(looks at watch)
Very efficient, as usual, Crenshaw.
Remind me to give you my watch. It
Bumstead replaces the microphone under the dashboard, takes a
SHARP CORNER as he finishes off the sandwich.
Where are we going?
Burastead pulls out a small brush, cleans the fallen crumbs from
his trousers, keeping a hand on the wheel.
White is silent – his wounds continue to bother him. He
leans down to scratch through his trousers.
WHITE (looks up)
I didn’t sneeze.
EXT. HOSPITAL ENTRANCE – NIGHT
The INSPECTOR’s car pulls up and stops.
INSIDE THE CAR
What are we doing here?
Bumstead grabs a bunch of flowers off the back seat.
INT. HOSPITAL – NIGHT
BUMSTEAD pushes the handcuffed WHITE through a swinging metal
door. They enter a sterile air-conditioned room. An
effeminate MALE NURSE sits behind a glassed-in counter.
Directly opposite is a small WAITING ROOM through a glass
panelled door. Bumstead pushes White into this room.
The inspector shuts the door behind him. White looks about the
blank room, takes a seat. He can see Bumstead, through the
glass panel in the door, walk up to the male nurse opposite.
OUT IN THE CORRIDOR
The inspector talks to the male nurse through a tiny opening in
Bumstead. I’m here to see my mother.
BACK TO WHITE
He cannot hear anything of what Bumstead is saying. He sees
him take out his wallet and show his badge. The male nurse is
concerned, looks over towards White, then opens a drawer, hands
Bumstead a KEY. The inspector steps back to the waiting room
door and LOCKS IT from the outside. He looks at White for a
moment, then walks away, along the corridor.
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM
Bumstead enters darkness – pneumatic MACHINE NOISE fills the
gloom. He walks quietly to his mother, encased in a metallic
contraption, something like an iron lung.
Brought you these.
He places flowers on the bedside table. His mother just stares
expressionless into space, in a coma. He sits on a metal
chair, looks at the woman. Her life-sustaining machines hiss
INT. POLICE STATION
A FINGER presses down on the sticky surface of a page. It
pulls away revealing an inky finger-print.
White is standing in a bare room, in front of a finger-printing
machine. He’s alone. A blast of electrical FEED-BACK. White
looks up at a speaker mounted to the wall.
MECHANICAL VOICE (through speaker)
Move – forward.
White follows a painted line on the floor, stands against a
wall, in front of an old-fashioned camera. A slot opens in the
wall behind him, mechanical arms spring forward, restrain him,
one arm holds a sign with a number in front of him. A flash
goes off, the click of a shutter.
Left – profile.
A claw lowers from the ceiling, grips White’s head, turns it
abruptly – the camera fires.
Right – profile.
The claw turns his head the other way. The camera fires again.
Move – forward.
Across the room A BUZZER SOUNDS, a red light flashes above a
door. White is released by the mechanical hands, walks over,
opens the door and steps into darkness.
LIGHTS COME ON – extremely bright. A room for line-ups –
markings on the white wall behind White indicate varying
heights, a darkened window faces him. He is obviously to be
identified by an unseen person.
A buzzer sounds again, a light indicates another door.
Move – forward.
White moves into another room. A chair faces a large wheel
painted in a black and white spiral. He sits down – the
wheel turns, faster and faster.
Watch – the – wheel.
The wheel stops after several seconds.
Move – forward.
The next room is full of scientific equipment.
Stand – behind – the – screen.
White sees a metal-frame X-ray machine – he steps across to
it. The screen lights up, filling the room with a green glow.
We can see the shape of his skeleton. Where his pocket would
be, is the tiny skeleton of the fish.
Move – forward.
The next room is empty.
Face – the – wall.
White turns. As soon as he has done this hears a door open
behind him. FOOTSTEPS approach. Blows rain down on him, fists,
boots, clubs. He slides to the floor. The lights go out.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM
LIGHTS come on again. White is dazed – in a chair, a bright
light in his face blinds him.
What’s your name?
WHITE (squints into light)
I don’t remember.
White shakes his head slowly and looks at the floor. The light
is angled away, pointed down towards A TABLE. White can see
A featureless room. STROMBOLI stands over him, behind him is
BUMSTEAD and two shadowy guards. Bumstead picks up an
envelope, removes a SERIES OF PHOTOS, hands these to Stromboli.
He throws the first shot down on the table in front of White.
A black and white police photo of a murder victim.
Another photo goes down. Another victim. Another and another.
Each more grisly than the last.
You’ll sign a confession?
White nods. He’s looks utterly lost.
Bumstead steps across to a small speaker box on the wall near
the only door, presses a button.
BUMSTEAD (into speaker)
TWO GUARDS immediately step through the door, GRAB White by his
arms. They carry him off.
INT. PRISON CELL
White is woken by a UNIFORMED GUARD shining a light in his
INT. VISITING ROOM
White is led into an empty pale green room with a glass barrier
down the middle. The guard tells him to sit and wait.
The door on the other side of the barrier opens with a squeak –
DOCTOR SCHREBER steps in, looking frightened.
WHITE (to guard)
Keep him away: He’s insane.
The guard just smiles, looks at the doctor knowingly.
Please, stay calm.
WHITE (to guard)
This man wants to kill me.
The guard remains indifferent.
SCHREBER (to guard)
Just one of his many delusions –
(a whisper to White)
Shut up! Listen, damn you! This is
a fortunate coincidence – we won’t
get another chance like this. Listen
WHITE (turns to Doctor)
What do you want?
(still a whisper)
You didn’t kill anyone.
What am I doing in here then?
Listen to what I have to say. Decide
AN ADJOINING ROOM
The dark silhouettes of BUMSTEAD and ANOTHER COP watch from
behind a two-way mirror.
What’s he doing here?
Says he is the man’s doctor…
(taps side of his
I know it’s his doctor…
I need the file on..
Daniel Paul Schreber M.D.
MISS CRENSHAW’S VOICE O.S.
Schreber. Yes. Isn’t that his
And it’s SCHREBER – with an ‘h’.
Yes. An “h”.
The inspector looks up from the speaker.
HIS P.O.V. – THROUGH THE MIRROR, White seems to have calmed
BACK IN THE VISITING ROOM
The men in black – they’re the
White stands abruptly, pushes himself against the glass.
You’re a liar!
No, it’s the truth.
So you’re telling me the truth this
time? Is that it!
The doctor removes a SMALL SYRINGE from his black bag, places
it on the table in front of the glass, blocks it from the
If you would only take this, inject
it in your brain, everything would be
Not that again…
Everyone get’s one – very much like
(points to syringe)
But this one’s special. It will help
you understand, everything…
WHITE (cuts in)
I’m not injecting anything into my
Anton – I mean, John, there
has been an experiment, a dangerous
experiment. I arranged it. It was a
lie from the beginning. It almost
worked, but things did not go as they
should have. You have been left –
Schreber waves frantically at the air surrounding him.
You can change this, all this.
(points at syringe
But you must take it.
White stares blankly at him for a moment, then:
You’ve been working too hard.
Please! Don’t be foolish! Time is
short. Let me show you something.
Look at this syringe.
Don’t ask stupid questions. Look at
White reluctantly does this.
Concentrate. Imagine the syringe
rising. Picture it floating above the
TIGHT ON WHITE
The syringe starts to vibrate, actually RISES INTO THE AIR –
floats stationary between White and Schreber.
It’s a trick.
No it isn’t. You are doing it! Now
raise it over the glass and…
Suddenly the syringe spins towards the doctor, IMPALES itself
in his shoulder. He yelps, grabs it.
The doctor pulls out the syringe, is about to say more when a
Your – time – is – up.
Schreber looks to where the voice came from – a speaker above
SCHREBER (looks at White)
I gave you your chance, now it’s too
late. They’ll learn you are here
soon. It’s all over.
INT. POLICE STATION CORRIDOR
DOCTOR SCHREBER paces towards the exit. BUMSTEAD steps in
front of him. The doctor is startled.
Doctor! What brings you here?
Just visiting my patient.
Really? And how is his state of
He’s seriously disturbed…
The doctor is nervous, glancing about.
You seem a little edgy. Everything
Yes, of course. Everything’s fine…
He tries to push past. Bumstead grabs his arm.
To tell you the truth, I’m glad we’ve
run into each other like this. Maybe
you can help me tidy some loose ends.
SCHREBER looks like a trapped animal, when:
Bumasead turns to look down the corridor. He sees STROMBOLI
peaking out of his office door.
I need to speak to you. Immediately.
The door shuts again. Bumstead turns back. The doctor is GONE
– the corridor empty.
INT. HOLDING CELL
White is staring through a glass door at A COP. A KETTLE
WHISTLES O.S. The cop gets up and moves off.
White looks up.
A small WINDOW, high up on the wall. Impossible to get to,
even if his hands weren’t cuffed. Nothing he can do – he
looks at a clock on a wall.
PUSH IN on the clock – TICKING GETS LOUDER.
INT. POLICE STATION
BUMSTEAD enters STROMBOLI’S office. A nervous CHIEF-INSPECTOR
is flanked by TWO STRANGE-LOOKING MEN in ill-fitting brown
Bumstead, these… er, gentlemen are
here to collect White.
Bumstead suspiciously eyes the two men, beside STROMBOLI’S
BUMSTEAD (to men)
Who are you?
STROMBOLI (even more nervous)
Please, Bumstead. Co-operate –
This is highly irregular. I have a
right to know.
We are from a mental asylum.
He notices that this man’s moustache is LOP-SIDED. The other
man wears spectacles WITH NO LENSES in the frames, clutches an
un-lit pipe in his teeth.
Yes. That’s right. He’s ill – he
needs expert help.
Yes, Inspector. Has he been
displaying any strange… behaviour?
He’s been a little angel…
If you could show them to the holding
SLOW MOVE IN on Bumstead’s face.
IN THE CORRIDOR
Bumstead and the MYSTERY MEN walk towards the holding cell.
Bumstead glances up through the glass in the door before he
enters. IT’S EMPTY.
He fumbles furiously for the key in his pocket – BURSTS into
the room. White is gone. But where? Bumstead throws a look
back TO THE FRONT DESK.
Where is he?
The cop is just returning, holding a cup of coffee. He looks
at the inspector, sees the room is empty. A nervous twitch
knocks the cup from the cop’s hands.
TIGHT ON THE CUP – smashing on the floor.
INT. SUBWAY STATION – NIGHT
Underground. CONSTANT NOISE O.S. of trains arriving and
departing but none are seen.
CAMERA MOVES PAST broken tiles on a wall to REVEAL: WHITE –
sitting amidst rubbish on the ground, looking around, confused,
groggy from sleep. He looks down at his hands, unsuccessfully
tries to free them from the cuffs.
MOVE IN TIGHT ON WHITE
He starts to cry. He puts his head in his hands, his body
spasms with each sob.
SEVERAL ANGLES of the empty corridors of the subway. White’s
crying is heard – echoic.
BACK ON WHITE – A small feminine HAND touches his head.
Startled, he throws himself back, like he’s about to be
THE BEAUTIFUL JAPANESE WOMAN from the church looks down at him.
INT. POLICE STATION
BUMSTEAD and the COP are getting grilled by STROMBOLI.
Yes, sir. I’m sorry… But I don’t
understand how it was possible. The
only window was twenty feet up a
vertical wall, he was cuffed…
(shouts at cringing
How could you have been so stupid?
I’m sorry, sir.
Alright, get out.
Bumstead gets up and leaves.
The cop hustles out, shuts the door.
Bumstead, you’re starting to annoy
me. This case is very important to
me. Just a little warning: I’ve got
my eye on you inspector, remember
INT. APARTMENT BUILDING
White, awkwardly trying to hide his cuffed hands in his coat,
follows the JAPANESE WOMAN up a flight of dark stairs. she
keeps looking back at him, smiling but SAYS NOTHING.
White and the woman step into a run-down apartment. She points
to a couch. White looks uncomfortable. She smiles again, then
turns on the radio. MUSIC.
She steps into an adjoining bedroom, leaving White alone. He
gets up and starts to tune the radio. A babble of fragments of
voices and music, then: A NEWS REPORT…
NEWS READER O.S.
…earlier this evening it was
reported a man fitting his
description had been apprehended.
White listens nervously.
NEWS READER O.S.
…and now for a message from LUMP-O
Across the room he can see the woman’s bedroom door ajar. He
crosses to the doorway and looks in. The woman stands naked
against a deep red wall, her back turned. She has an elaborate
TATTOO on her back – looks like an INSECT. She puts on a
dressing gown and TURNS SUDDENLY.
White steps back before she notices him, he goes back to the
She steps from the doorway holding a BAR OF SOAP in her hand.
She sits down beside White and takes his hands, gently
lathering soap around the handcuffs, continuing to smile at
him. White looks down.
His hands seem to have SHRUNK – they poke out of his sleeves
like tiny children’s limbs. The cuffs effortlessly slip off.
White looks at the woman, then back at his hands – NOTHING
STRANGE, they are normal size, but somehow the cuffs have been
removed. He looks at the woman again, grateful. He can’t help
Her eyes. Her lips. Her neck. She leans forward, goes OUT OF
She touches her tongue to his lips. Kisses his face. She
pushes him back on the couch and pulls her dressing gown open.
White does not respond – seems uncertain. She sits upright,
astride his body, unbuckles his belt, opens his shirt, caresses
his chest. She stops, her face in shadow.
Slowly, White lifts his hands to her breasts, touches them.
She starts to breath deeply.
OUT OF FOCUS – their bodies entangle, begin to move
rhythmically. The CAMERA TRACKS SIDEWAYS, REVEALS a microphone
behind a chair, leads us to a mirror on a wall. On the other
side of the one-way glass a reel-to-reel tape recorder is
picking up the SOUNDS OF HEAVY BREATHING.
The building the lovers are in SLOWLY RISES into the air, past
taller buildings and floats out over the city. Its shadow
moves past empty plazas and across faces of grey towers.
White sleeps, as buildings move past outside the window. He
opens his eyes, FORCES himself awake. Looks across the dark
The JAPANESE WOMAN stands naked at the window, clutching a
large red megaphone. IN PERFECT ENGLISH she shouts down at the
streets drifting past.
He’s up here! He raped me! Hurry!
Before he kills again!
MYSTERY MEN stand on roof-tops, watching the building drift
BACK IN THE ROOM
White runs to the window, GRABS the woman. As they struggle,
the building is landing softly in another part of the city.
LONG SHADOWS move towards the entrance…
WHITE WAKES UP AGAIN – finds he is still on the couch. NO
SIGN of the woman. Then he notices her standing by the window
(minus megaphone). The wind pulls at her black hair. A
distant SIREN O.S.
He gets up, walks over, stands beside her, looks out at the
dark city. She ignores him, goes back to the couch, turns on a
table-lamp, puts her hands before the lit bulb, casts animal
shadows on the wall.
White watches her. He walks across and sits next to her. She
points to herself.
WOMAN (a whisper)
He nods slowly, looks at her. She waits for him to respond
with his name. He shrugs, remains silent. Then he puts his
hands in the light, makes his own animal shadow.
That’s me. I’m a shadow.
She smiles at the shadows.
Do I look like a murderer to you?
She just keeps smiling, not understanding. Kisses him. He
notices an old phone on a corner table, removes the note again
and rings the same number. This time, after several rings the
call is answered.
WOMAN’S VOICE O.S.
Yes?… Who is this?… Who’s
White remains silent. Sachiko stands and leaves the room.
WOMAN’S VOICE O.S.
John? Is that you?
Who is this? What do you know about
In the darkness of a doorway Sachiko hesitates momentarily.
She slides a hand into White’s coat, removes the wallet. She
takes out some cash, puts the wallet back, then she MOVES OFF.
EXT. STREET – NIGHT
BUMSTEAD pulls up in his car. Across the street is DOCTOR
He is about to get out of the car, when the SURGERY DOOR OPENS
and A FIGURE steps into the street. Bumstead watches the
shadowy man for a moment. Then gets out and FOLLOWS, assuming
it is Schreber.
Bumstead follows inconspicuously. Without warning, the figure
stops and TURNS. Bumstead backs into a doorway to hide. He
gets a glimpse of the gaunt features of a MYSTERY MAN in the
dim light of the alley.
When Bumstead steps into the alley again there is no sign of
the Man – like he disappeared into thin air. A SHADOW
crosses the wall beside Bumstead. He spins, looking around
behind him. Then he looks up into the air.
The shadow of a LEVITATING FIGURE crosses the face of a
INT. APARTMENT BUILDING PASSAGEWAY – NIGHT
SOUND OF A WOMAN SOBBING O.S. A wet dog sits in a corner
gnawing a bone. A crackly voice recites a list of names from a
small speaker-box mounted to a wall. A TREMBLING FINGER
presses a door buzzer.
SACHIKO, opens the door and looks out.
ANGLE ON – A STRANGE WOMAN in the dark corridor adjusting her
hair nervously. She pushes past the Japanese woman, into the
WHITE stands inside the room, looking at the woman,
expressionless. The woman suddenly leaps forward, grabs him,
kisses him passionately.
White tries to push her away, but she takes his hand, pulls it
inside her dress, makes him touch her breasts. He pushes
harder, she trips on a chair, falls to the floor. She starts
EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING FACADE
The CAMERA MOVES past flaking bricks – to a window. Behind
the glass WHITE and SACHIKO sit across from the WOMAN who
attacked White. She is talking, though nothing can be heard,
drying her eyes with a handkerchief.
The strange woman looks at White intently between sobs.
Please believe me. It’s me, John.
Your WIFE. I wouldn’t lie to you.
You told me I could come and see you
– now you want to just send me away
White looks AT THE FLOOR.
HIS P.O.V. – a crack in the floorboards – movement
I thought it would make more sense.
I’m getting the pieces, but when I
put it together it feels like…
Like you’re telling me about somebody
It’s the truth… I need you. I
know you’re innocent.
How do you know I’m innocent?
Of course you are. You couldn’t do
those terrible things. Come home with
me – maybe things will make sense
I can’t do that. It’s dangerous.
What about my parents? Do you know
where I can find them?
They’re dead, John.
He stands and walks to the window – looks out at the city.
You have an uncle. You were very
She fumbles in her handbag, pulls out a notebook, scribbles
something on a piece of paper, hands it to White.
This is where he lives. I’m sure he
would like to see you.
WHITE (taking paper)
WIFE (looks at him for a beat)
Don’t you want me? My body?
Remember how my skin feels? Touch
She notices Sachiko – becomes self-conscious. Sachiko
silently stands and leaves the room. The wife puts her face in
her hands, overcome with tears.
What’s your name?
WIFE (looks up – still sobbing)
White removes the torn fragment of the photograph he has in his
wallet, holds the black and white eye up to her face – it
In the darkness of a doorway Sachiko watches the couple. She
I want to help…
He pulls the postcard from his wallet, holds it up so the woman
can see it.
Know this place?
She looks at the card.
ELIZABETH (stops crying)
Of course. Your home town – where
you grew up…
White stands abruptly, startling the woman. He glares down at
How do I get there? Tell me.
That’s easy. You…
She trails off into silence. Her hand, about to point in a
certain direction, freezes in mid-air.
…strange, I forgot.
White sits back down quietly.
Yes. Very strange.
Sachiko locks the door behind her and steps to the middle of
the room, lifts a small round rug off the tiled floor.
Underneath is a TRAP-DOOR. Opening it, she climbs down a
UNDER THE FLOOR
In the semi-darkness she moves to a WOODEN BOX. She cranks a
small metal handle on the box which makes the lid open. Music
She looks into the yawning black mouth of the box. A WORM-LIKE
apparition threads its way out of the hole, wraps about her
thigh. She breaths deeply, shuts her eyes.
INT. TENEMENT BUILDING CORRIDOR
LOW ANGLE TRACKING SHOT – feet walk along a tattered rug,
approach a door. Bumstead’s shoes, shiny as always.
INT. TENEMENT ROOM
A KNOCK ON THE DOOR startles a huddled man in a blanket,
sitting before a small t.v. set. This is THOMPSON – the
detective with mental problems. He’s unshaven, haunted.
Clutching a shotgun, he steps to the door, peeks through a spy-
Bumstead, back turned, glancing at his watch.
Thompson backs away, points his gun at the figure through the
Open up, Thompson. It’s me…
Thompson puts his eye to the door again.
THROUGH THE SPY-HOLE LENS the inspector turns, looks at us, his
face DISTORTED, fish-like. Thompson undoes four locks, opens
the door a crack, but leaves it chained.
Can’t let you in… sorry.
I’m on the serial killer case, need
Not that. Anything else.
Thompson wipes at the sweat on his forehead.
You don’t look so well… C’mon, let
me in Thompson.
Thompson stares at Bumstead, then silently unchains the door
and lets him through.
I can’t talk about that. As long as
you understand, that’s all.
The room is very dark. Bumstead is assailed by a wave of
putrid smells. It’s a mess – rotten food, overturned
furniture, dirty clothes.
Pull up some garbage – make
yourself at home.
Thompson smiles weakly. They sit down, face each other in the
gloom. A RAT scuttles past Thompson. With lightning reflexes
he throws a shoe at it. The rat runs under a table. He looks
back at Bumstead, smiles, slightly insane.
They’ve taken my mind, my memories…
What? Who has?
Is that your idea of a joke? I don’t
Take my advice, Bumstead. Get off
this case. Now.
What is going on?
THOMPSON (looks more frightened)
Wish I could tell you, Bumstead.
Strange business. I…
He screams horribly. Stands, clutching his head. Startled,
Bumstead falls backwards off his chair. Thompson, still
clutching his head, runs and starts POUNDING HIS FACE against
Get away! Leave me alone!
Thompson’s head is CHANGING – bloating. It rapidly elongates
into a pink fleshy tube.
Thompson’s head continues to grow – his features are lost
beneath folds of skin. His screaming is stifled. Thompson
falls to the floor. His head HUGE NOW – larger than his
body. Small tendrils sprout from the main appendage.
Bumstead takes cover behind a sofa.
Then, as violently as the head began to transform, it stops.
Bumstead peaks over the sofa at the huge throbbing purple
growth sprouting from Thompson’s collar. At the top of the
growth an orifice opens.
An EXPLOSION of green bile spouts into the room – covers
everything in sight…
Then the head starts to shrink. Thompson’s features appear
again. It returns to normal size. Thompson groans, sprawled on
the floor, clutching his head.
Bumstead looks on in horror.
It’s – it’s disgusting, I know…
Thompson’s face is heavily bruised, covered in sweat. His nose
starts to bleed – he wipes it on his sleeve.
Jesus! We have to get you to a
No… No doctor…
Bumstead stands unsteadily.
But… How long has this been
A few days… a few weeks – dunno,
I can’t remember.
Worse thing is, I never know if it
will change back again… Now,
please leave me alone.
INT. APARTMENT – NIGHT
WHITE, ELIZABETH and SACHIKO sit around a small table, eating
Without warning, Elizabeth starts to cry again. White tries to
ignore her. Sachiko looks sadly at the wife, puts a hand on her
shoulder, gives her a handkerchief. The woman quietens down.
They resume eating but in no time Elizabeth again bursts into
tears. White looks at her now.
ELIZABETH (through sobs)
Sachiko leans across and puts her arm around Elizabeth, helps
her to her feet. Elizabeth hangs onto the woman as she is led
from the room. White can hear the sobbing still, as the women
move through to the bedroom.
They sit on the edge of the bed – Sachiko holds Elizabeth’s
hand, smiles at her.
ELIZABETH (calmer now)
I’m sorry… This is embarrassing –
my husband doesn’t know who I am…
With this, she starts to cry again.
Sachiko leans forward and tenderly kisses Elizabeth’s lips.
INT. DARK CHAMBER – NIGHT
TIGHT ON TWO MYSTERY MEN speaking in whispers. The Men
continue talking as THE CAMERA RISES, through several levels of
concrete and machinery TO REVEAL:
EXT. ROOF-TOP – NIGHT
OTHER MYSTERY MEN are rigging a wire to some kind of antenna
BACK DOWN IN THE DARK CHAMBER
The group of MYSTERY MEN have gathered once again. One
addresses them all.
The line of junction between two
We have located him. Now is the
A switch is thrown. Electricity sparks to life. A hum is in
Let the tuning commence!
The congregation of MEN place ELECTRODES to their foreheads in
a trance-like manner. They chant, quietly at first, steadily
building in volume. The MEN stand and MOVE RHYTHMICALLY to
some inner beat.
The CAMERA MOVES ACROSS to a diagram pinned on a board. A
representation of a man’s legs. Trousers rolled up above the
knees, showing a number of bite-like wounds on the flesh.
Labels point out various parts of the legs in medical fashion
– the legends are an unknown language.
ON THE ROOF
The antenna glows with a ghostly green light. O.S. SCREAMS
RISE UP FROM THE STREET.
INT. APARTMENT/KITCHEN – LATER
White downs a cup of black coffee, staring blankly out the
window. O.S. distant screams.
He glances across to a wall, notices A FLY there – something
about it looks WRONG.
A distorted electronic image of White’s FACE looming up.
At exactly that moment the FLY TAKES OFF, flies erratically
down the hall, around a turn and disappears. White follows.
White moves quietly towards the bedroom door.
It is ajar, dark inside. Movement. The women are naked on the
bed. The JAPANESE WOMAN has her eyes shut, head back in
ecstasy. The WIFE is bent over her, kissing her stomach.
ANGLE ON WHITE – watching through the crack in the door. The
women are oblivious.
He moves away slowly, feeling strange. His feet stop making
contact with the floor. He grabs a table to steady himself.
The table-cloth comes away, things spill to the floor and
smash. He’s FLOATING.
White desperately reaches out to grab something, holds the
light-fixture in the ceiling. It breaks off in a cloud of
plaster. Sparks briefly illuminate. He falls heavily ONTO THE
CEILING – now the floor. The apartment is upside down.
He stares up at furniture and objects.
White steps into the room, eerily illuminated by a glowing
heater stuck to the floor. Water is running – filling the
tub and overflowing, making a suspended puddle above White’s
White takes off his clothes and climbs the wall, towards the
floor. It’s difficult, but he reaches the tap, turns it off.
Pulls himself towards the tub.
Gravity becomes NORMAL AGAIN as he sinks in the warm water.
He’s incredibly weak – floats limply in the bath. Submerges
his face. A distant throbbing O.S., like a huge machine heart
somewhere in the building.
He opens his eyes, still underwater, stares up at the ceiling.
A blurry DARK FIGURE moves into his vision. It stares down at
White rigid with fright, cannot focus on the figure through the
thin veil of water. The FIGURE reaches out. A GLOVED HAND
grabs White about the throat, holds him forcefully. White
gulps for air, swallows water. His eyes widen. He tries to
stop the hand strangling him but can’t.
Suddenly the hand pulls away. The BLURRY FIGURE stumbles back
and ERUPTS into bloody explosion. The body splits apart,
throwing internal organs through the room.
White awakens in the bathtub. He looks about the room. Empty.
Silent. He gets out of the water, starts to dress.
BUMSTEAD’S car pulls up. He gets out, stained here and there
A HIGH ANGLE on the slain bodies of the JAPANESE WOMAN and
WHITE’S WIFE. TWO COPS wander about the dark room, doing
stuff. Bumstead walks up to the cop in charge.
All the same entry wounds. It’s
She lives… lived here. A
The other one?
Jesus. Small world.
Where’s the photographer?
No one available.
A third YOUNG COP steps up to the cop in charge, glancing at
the bile on Bumstead’s suit.
They won’t come out.
We’ll interrogate them anyway.
The cop leads Bumstead behind a WOODEN PARTITION. A small area
neatly arranged – a double bed, various possessions. Someone
obviously lives here. The room is empty however.
This is the family of the victim –
apparently they were in the apartment
when he committed…
BUMSTEAD (looks around empty room)
What are you talking about?
He walks to THE BED, bends over and lifts the bed-spread. In
the shadows underneath, Bumstead can make out SEVERAL FACES. A
man, an old woman, three or four children.
They don’t speak English…
How will we interrogate them?
Well, sir… I don’t know exactly.
Under the bed, Bumstead can see a LITTLE GIRL. He walks over
to her. She puts a hand over her mouth, edges away.
It’s alright. I won’t hurt you.
Without coming out from under the bed she hands the inspector a
crumpled paper. He looks at it then glances over his shoulder.
The wooden room divider. The CAMERA MOVES IN steadily, into a
crack running along the length of the divider – we can see
the room on the other side, with the cops moving about.
Bumstead looks back at the page he holds in his hands.
A child-like DRAWING. Two men, stick figures, dressed in
black, with impossibly big knifes, slash at two screaming
Unmistakable – MYSTERY MEN.
INT. DARK CHAMBER – NIGHT
DOCTOR SCHREBER walks stiffly into the room and sits at the
head of a boardroom table. He’s cold, pulls his coat up about
his neck. The long table is lined on both sides with immobile
A DARK FIGURE walks into the room, steps up to the other end of
the table. This is the enigmatic MISTER BLACK – only ever
seen hidden in shadow.
MISTER BLACK (addressing Men)
(peers at Schreber)
He sits, dark and mysterious.
I have called this meeting for a
(turns to Schreber)
It is clear to you we are –
Yes, of course. I…
The tuning failed – when our agents
arrived he was gone. He knows things
– predicts things. Explain to us,
Doctor. Why is the situation this
Schreber seems distinctly uncomfortable.
I’m not certain I fully understand
No excuses, dearest Doctor! Answers.
MYSTERY MEN (chant in unison)
You said this would be containable!
Nothing works this time. Why is this
I – ah – I… it’s a little cold
in here don’t you think?
We must find him. This is your
SCHREBER (thinking fast)
Yes, of course…
INT. INSPECTOR’S OFFICE
Bumstead once again scratches his head in front of a map. The
little girl’s drawing is pinned to his board. His attention
wanders. He notices a FLY CRAWLING across the wall in front of
his face. He leans closer, studying it.
The intercom crackles to life. The insect flies off.
MISS CRENSHAW (through intercom)
A call, sir.
Who is it?
Won’t say. Says he must talk to you.
Put it through…
A light flashes. Bumstead picks up.
This is Bumstead. Who is this?
He listens intently.
INT. BUMSTEAD’S OFFICE
BUMSTEAD enters. He looks nervous. His SECRETARY sits at her
desk in an adjoining office, filing her nails.
I need everything on the Jonathan
Yes, sir. Everything?
All the important stuff. Wrap it up
The inspector turns to face her, a little manic. She is staring
Please – I’m in a hurry.
MISS CRENSHAW (evenly)
EXT. POLICE STATION
BUMSTEAD steps from the doorway and walks across to his car
Bumstead moves down a long corridor full of people in towels
and swimming outfits, waiting silently. They sit lined by a
wall, staring into space.
Bumstead walks into a larger tiled room, full of steam. He
walks beside a heated pool – naked people swim about weakly
or sit on the edge washing themselves. He steps up to A FULLY
DRESSED MAN, sitting silently on a bench. It is WHITE.
A feint smile brushes across White’s lips as he looks up at the
inspector. He looks away, like he’s forgotten something.
Stands, walks over to the pool, cups his hand, bends down,
scoops some water.
Bumstead sees White has picked up the LITTLE SILVER FISH.
Why give yourself up?
I – ah – couldn’t think of
anything else to do. I thought maybe
you know something…
That was a pretty good escape act at
the station. How did you do that?
I woke up in a subway. I don’t know
how I got there.
BUMSTEAD (not convinced)
What are you scared of?
People… after me.
I don’t know who they are.
Why are they after you?
Don’t know that either.
Don’t know much, do you?
INT. LABORATORY – NIGHT
PIANO ACCORDION MUSIC wafts on a breeze, someone breathing.
HIGH ANGLE – Down through an OPENING metal hatch. A dim
laboratory IS REVEALED – a maze of scientific instruments.
Elongated shadows move about.
MYSTERY MEN are hunched over something. Behind them a
diagrammatic chart of the evolution of the human brain.
MAN 1 bends across to a CONTROL PANEL, works a switch. A small
speaker in a metal box crackles to life. SOUND OF DISTANT
SURF. A WOMAN’S VOICE:
What is your name… What is your
Wires lead from the metal box to a HUMAN BRAIN within a
metallic container. Electricity arches across electrodes.
More sounds from the speaker: WATER BUBBLING. HIGH HEELS WALK
DOWN STAIRS. BED-SPRINGS. LOVERS MOAN PASSIONATELY.
MAN 2 steps forward and pulls a bloodied sheet from their
A PUPPET-LIKE CREATURE is revealed. Small – two and half
feet tall. The top of its head an open hatch containing the
BRAIN. Wires lead to this.
TIGHT ON PUPPET’S EYES – They glance about the room. Its body
is a series of geometric shapes and polished surfaces.
MAN 1 shines a torch into the puppet’s eyes.
INSIDE ITS HEAD
Gears turn, illuminated by the beam of the light. The gears
part slowly to reveal a small writhing INSECT screwed to a
MAN 2 shows the puppet PHOTOGRAPHS: WHITE as he looks
currently, shots of him as a teenager, a young boy, a baby.
Photos of what we realise are his parents, standing on a
seaside pier sirtiling and waving. Where he went to school. A
red push-bike he owned as a boy. His first sweetheart. Then a
photo of a young woman smiling – his WIFE.
MAN 3 holds up a small sea shell to the mechanical ear of the
puppet creature – MORE SOUNDS OF SURF…
A FIGURE clutching a wooden cane looks on from the shadows.
His pale hand fondles the ornate handle of his cane – a
carved silver insect. It’s MISTER BLACK. Man 3 steps up to
You have duplicated the personality,
It is ready. The Doctor was most
Mister Black turns towards the OTHER MEN.
I hear a clock in my head, and I like
MEN (respond in unison)
We hear clocks in our heads, and we
A world in our likeness!
A world in our likeness!
The Men close the hatch in the top of the puppet’s head.
SQUEAK… CLUNK! The puppet tests out its MANY WEAPONS, a
series of nasty-looking blades snap out of its small body, then
INT. INSPECTOR’S APARTMENT
Bumstead leads White through the front door, into a SITTING
ROOM. Everything is extremely neat and organized, plastic
coverings on all the furniture. White steps towards a sofa.
Please. Not that way. If you could
just follow the covering – the
carpet gets stained and it’s
impossible to clean.
White stops. Bumstead indicates a CLEAR PLASTIC MAT running
through the room.
Everything the department knows about
John White is in this. Here.
Excuse me for a moment.
White flips through it. Details of White’s history.
IN THE BEDROOM
Bumstead removes an empty suitcase from a closet. Begins to
place neatly folded clothes within it.
BUMSTEAD (calling to White)
Age thirty one. Brown hair. Green
eyes. Five feet, ten and a half
inches tall. Until recently worked
for a firm manufacturing scientific
equipment. Wife’s name – Elizabeth.
Father and mother – Harold and
Edith. Both dead. A history of
mental instability… etcetera,
Bumstead walks back into the sitting room, packed bag in hand.
He looks at White leafing through the file.
That stuff helpful?
Why are you helping me?
You’re case has been driving me
crazy. You see, I pride myself on
being thorough. There’s too many
loose ends with your case.
Thought it was best you were hidden
until we understand more about the
facts. What do you know about these
men in black?
White looks up, pauses as if he didn’t understand Bumstead,
If you shoot them here…
(points at his
you can kill them. They’re not
people – like us – got insects in
their heads… Got any disinfectant?
The inspector is caught off-guard by the question.
It’s my legs. Been bitten. Giving
Bumstead walks silently to the bathroom, opens a medicine
BUMSTEAD (to himself)
He returns clutching a small bottle and some cotton wool.
(hands things to
Careful with your trousers. That
The inspector gives white back his revolver and his wallet.
Bumstead paces thoughtfully, careful to stay on the plastic
protective covering. He turns, glares at White, who dabs his
legs with the cotton wool.
Any idea what part the Doctor plays
in this business?
White shakes head.
Let’s try and find out, shall we.
(points at White’s
Lace is untied.
White looks down. Bumstead doesn’t lie.
INT. DRUG STORE – NIGHT
The BARBER is shaving under the armpit of a client. GRANDPA
snores in a corner, his feet buried under a pile of hair
The BELL hanging above the door rings. The door swings open.
He with you shortly, sir…
Several heads turn, THEN LOOK DOWN to see the PUPPET. The
puppet wheels forward and stops.
BARBER (not really looking)
Hello, sonny. Cute outfit. Mother
get it for you?
The puppet crosses the room threateningly. TWO OTHER CLIENTS
look up startled from their newspapers and girly magazines.
ON THE PUPPET – it wheels up to the barber’s leg and GRABS HIS
TROUSER with a mechanical claw. The puppet holds out a PHOTO
PUPPET (incoherent obscenities)
BARBER (looks down, scared now)
He’s grabbed and THROWN into a nearby chair. The puppet leaps
onto the bench in front of him – he’s frightened, so are the
Puppet wheels up and down on the bench in front of the
customers – stopping to glance at individuals in a threatening
manner, holding out the photo of white.
It leans forward, spinning its blades – HAIR FLIES. Screams
The PUPPET retracts its weapons – COVERED in blood. It
wheels forward, through the door and into the street.
THE CAMERA PANS to reveal a scene of complete carnage. Blood
covers the walls. FOUR BODIES slumped about the room. Each has
an outlandish hairstyle.
INT. BUMSTEAD’S CAR
White looks at the inspector – street lights pass over his
features. Bumstead stares at the road.
I didn’t tell you the entire reason I
helped you. It started with two
little girls. Twins. Used to play
with them when I was young. Couldn’t
remember for the life of me what they
looked like, then I understood why…
He looks at the dashboard, brushes away a small piece of lint.
They didn’t have faces.
That’s right. Just seamless flesh
across the front of their heads. No
mistake. I just hadn’t remembered it
that way. Up until then they had
been normal little girls in my
(looks back at White)
That’s not all. Once I started
examining them, all sorts of things
about my life, had…
inconsistencies. It was like a game.
I would think about a person or a
place, or an event. Then I would
turn the lights off. Sit down in a
comfortable chair… And study each
detail of this subject.
He glances at White, then back to the road.
Everything was liquid beneath a thin
surface that had always seemed solid
Bumstead and White are quiet momentarily, then:
Is there anything you haven’t told me
about this business? Even the most
No. Nothing I can think of.
Well. The only thing I’ve been
certain of, all this time, is that I
need to get to the ocean. The point
is no one seems to know how to get
Why, that’s ridiculous. You just…
He trails off. Shakes his head slowly.
We’ll get to the bottom of this. I
INT. SCHREBER’S SURGERY
The doctor is sitting at his desk, when the door bursts open
suddenly. White and Bumstead move into the room and grab the
doctor before he can protest.
I met a friend of yours the other
night, doctor. Tall fellow. No
hair. Rather pale skin…
I don’t know what you’re talking
That’s surprising. He was leaving
your office at the time…
You are mistaken.
What are you hiding?
Nothing. I don’t know anything!
BUMSTEAD removes his revolver, sticks it in the doctor’s face.
Please, they’ll kill me…
I think it’s time you introduced us
to your little friends.
EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT
SCHREBER, BUMSTEAD AND WHITE sit in Bumstead’s car in an
Schreber points to a SOLITARY METAL DOOR in a wall.
Just like that?
The threesome step from the car, keep close to a wall.
Schreber alone steps up to the door, leans down to a mat at the
foot of the door, lifts it and takes a KEY from underneath. He
unlocks the door, opens it, puts the key back, goes inside. He
waves the other men forward.
White and Bumstead step up to the door – Bumstead looks at the
mat – it says: WELCOME on it.
Through the door – AN ELEVATOR. There is only a down button.
Schreber presses it, several seconds later the doors open.
They step inside. The doors close, the lift descends.
What is this place?
You wouldn’t believe me if I told
you, Inspector. Have patience –
you’ll see for yourself.
When the doors open again the three men look out on a DARK
EXT. LIBRARY – NIGHT
The PUPPET wheels up to the sweeping set of stairs at the base
of the building. It stops, WHEELS BUMP into the steps
repeatedly. It looks down and shrieks with a string of
INT. MYSTERY MEN’S UNDERWORLD
WHITE and BUMSTEAD follow SCHREBER down a corridor to what
appears to be an ancient crypt. They enter a door – it has
something written on it in a strange language.
INSIDE IS A ROOM
They stumble around in the darkness, Schreber finds a light
switch, suddenly White STOPS dead in his tracks – Bumstead
turns to him.
White points to a wall featuring a line of brass hooks. On
these hooks hang MYSTERY MEN coats – that’s not all. Each hook
carries A FACE.
Bumstead and White step closer, look at the faces. They seem to
be elaborate, very life-like MASKS.
Put them on.
White and the inspector look at each other, incredulous.
OUTSIDE – THE CORRIDOR
The door opens. White, Bumstead and Schreber step out, wearing
poorly fitting masks and coats – DISGUISED AS MYSTERY MEN.
FURTHER ALONG THE CORRIDOR
The three men come across a small area with a raised platform,
between arches. A number of OPEN CARTS roll past on tracks –
the scene resembles some bizarre amusement-park ride. The carts
are numbered on the side – all of them empty.
Get in. Hurry.
White, Bumstead and Schreber hop aboard. The cart takes them
into a DARK TUNNEL, deeper into the secret underworld of the
MYSTERY MEN. They MOVE THROUGH a subterranean landscape of
unexplained contraptions and bones.
Where do you think this goes?
It sure isn’t the fun-fair.
The cart finally comes to a stop in a cave. Bumstead, White and
Schreber leap out and hide in a dark doorway, as a LONG LINE OF
MYSTERY MEN walk past them.
Follow me, and do exactly as I do.
They join the end of the line, falling into step.
INT. DARK CHAMBER
The MEN, with WHITE, BUMSTEAD and SCHREBER in tow, enter and
sit in a number of rows of wooden chairs. White and the
inspector do the same.
MORE MYSTERY MEN appear in circular portals high up on the
concrete walls. ONE MAN faces the others at the front of the
MYSTERY MAN 1
Eleven past eleven – the Night of the
The seated Men start to CHANT.
NIGHT OF THE EYE! NIGHT OF THE EYE!
A MAN in the front row stands.
The Eye is too small for the head of
ANOTHER MAN stands. Next to the first, who sits again.
What is it that floats on the water?
So it goes around the room, each Man takes his turn announcing
part of the strange ritual. It will be White, Bumstead and
Schreber’s turn shortly. White is worried, looks at the
What do we do?
SCHREBER (hisses back)
SCHREBER is next – he stands abruptly.
The eye. Master of time and space!
Then it’s Bumstead’s turn.
The Eye – um – delicious with
horseradish on rye!
MAN 1 at the front seems confused for a moment – SEVERAL of
the others turn towards Bumstead.
MAN 1 (uncertain)
The inspector sits back down – whispers to White without
looking at him.
Nothing to it…
White stands. Hesitates. Then:
Eye… eye, captain!
White sits down, shaking his head, embarrassed.
Um – yes…
THE MAN NEXT TO WHITE rises up – keeps rising, FLOATS IN THE
AIR above the Men’s heads.
My spine will bend for the Eye!
He turns sideways, still floating.
BACK ABOVE GROUND, Bumstead, White and Schreber run from the
door at the end of the alley-way, tossing their masks away.
Was that for real down there?
I’m afraid so.
The inspector stops walking suddenly, grabs White, holds him
What the hell is that?
At the end of the alley the PUPPET advances menacingly.
Schreber takes his chance and runs down an alley and
Quick. My car.
Fortunately BUMSTEAD’S CAR stands nearby. The two men leap in,
start it up. Bumstead guns towards the puppet standing in the
glare of the headlights.
The puppet’s head opens, a TINY PROPELLER pops out, spins,
lifting the puppet into the air. The car passes beneath it at
speed. Screeches off into a street, races along between tall
INSIDE THE CAR
This ocean business… I know where
I can find a map. I need to go back
to the station. Where will you be?
White thinks for a moment, pulls the paper his wife gave him
from his pocket.
I’ll go see an uncle of mine.
Five – one – eight – three – double
six – three…
Bumstead scribbles on the pad mounted to the dash, battles with
the wheel, driving at breakneck speed.
(looks in rear
White turns and looks behind them.
HIS P.O.V. – HEADLIGHTS gaining on them.
ON THE PUPPET – sitting AT THE WHEEL of a stolen car, driving
BACK IN BUMSTEAD’S CAR
White takes out his gun – AIMS at the rapidly approaching
Bumstead pulls a gun out of his coat. They swap.
The puppet PULLS ALONGSIDE, a mechanical arm extends towards
Bumstead’s front tire. A SPINNING BLADE extends from the end
of the mechanical arm.
TIGHT ON THE BLADE heading for the spinning wheel. White
fires. Shells hit the PUPPET’S car, shattering windows.
THE BLADE cuts into the tire – it pops loudly, goes flat,
metal SPARKS off the road.
White is thrown forward, hits his head on the dash. Bumstead
fights to keep control, SWERVES into the side of the other
vehicle, making it scrape a concrete wall, hits garbage cans
The PUPPET’S car falls behind – then swerves off into a side-
street and disappears.
BUMSTEAD (looks behind him)
Where did it go?
WHITE (looks back also)
Both look FORWARD AGAIN – to see the PUPPET’S CAR pull out in
front of them, BLOCKING THE WAY. Bumstead’s car is going too
fast. Slams the brakes.
TIGHT ON PUPPET – Screaming with insane joy as Bumstead’s car
approaches like a bullet.
INSIDE INSPECTOR’S CAR
Bumstead rips the phone number from the pad. The two men LEAP.
The car continues onwards.
In the glow of the flaming wrecks, the two men pick themselves
up from different sides of the street. Look at each other,
turn and head in OPPOSITE directions.
CAMERA MOVES IN on mangled metal – a MECHANICAL CLAW starts
to pull itself from the wreckage.
EXT. STREET – NIGHT
White steps up to a SMALL DOOR in the side of a building. A
sign above the door depicts an underwater scene, crammed with
fish, sea-weed, bubbles floating to the surface. Dominating
everything is a GREEN MAN with scales – a KING NEPTUNE-type.
White stops in front of a ticket booth, beside a faded blue
curtain. In the booth a TICKET SELLER is snoring with his mouth
hanging open, his head sagging. White knocks on the window. The
man wakes with a start.
Yeah. That’s what I said!
(looks at White –
I’m looking for this address.
The man squints at the card White holds up, nods groggily.
Upstairs. Through there.
He thumbs the blue curtain. Curls up, shuts his eyes again.
BEYOND THE CURTAIN
A dark room full of BUBBLING NOISES AND WATER DRIPPING – an
Several corridors meander between large glass panels that look
into illuminated tanks of sea creatures.
White moves past a shadowy doorway. He can barely make out
White moves cautiously in the darkness. On a door a tiny
NAMEPLATE says: K. WHITE. The door is unlocked. He opens it
and goes in.
An entrance hall of an apartment. A large number of MOUNTED
FISH of all sizes line the hall.
PHOTOS on the wall – family portraits. White examines these,
concentrates on one in particular – a young boy on a red push-
bike, in the background a sign with a faded image of a girl in
a bathing suit: WELCOME TO BLUMBVILLE! it says.
A strange WHIRRING NOISE O.S. White hides behind a sofa.
Whatever is making the whirring noise moves past slowly. White
cannot see what it is.
White turns to see an OLD MAN in his pyjamas sitting in a
WHEELCHAIR. The man pushes a lever on the side of the chair. A
whir of electric motors. The chair carries him out of the
shadows. White steps from behind the sofa.
Are you alright? What are you doing
here? Is this one of your jokes,
John? It’s been so long, I thought
you’d forgotten your uncle Karl?
INT. AIR-CONDITION DUCT
A P.O.V. – MOVING THROUGH a dark, claustrophobic pipe.
TWISTING around tight corners, DARTING down straight lengths of
ducting. Dim light spills from wire grills spaced along the
WE TRAVEL up to one grill, at the end of a long stretch of
tunnel – stop, nowhere left to go. We can see through the gaps
in the wire, looking down into…
White and uncle Karl are having a SLIDE-SHOW. Shots of a recent
vacation – the uncle doing a series of mundane things.
Not often I get a chance to show
He changes the slide: an image of him standing against a brick
And this is me again about – um – I
would guess about twelve feet further
to the right of the last shot. Now
just behind the wall is the hotel I
stayed at – sweet little place…
The PHONE RINGS. Uncle Karl wheels over, picks up the receiver.
KARL (talks down the line)
Hello… Yes, he’s here…
(holds out the phone
It’s for you.
White concerned – takes the phone.
Oh, it’s you… Yes… My uncle
apparently… Just looking at some
memories… You have? That’s good.
INT. POLICE STATION – NIGHT
Bumstead talks to White on the phone. He stands in a dark
room, surrounded by charts and maps.
At first I thought there was no way
to get to the ocean… The buildings
are a barrier, no windows, no doors
– everything just, well, ends – only
thing would be drill a hole. But
then, I saw it, one door, just one…
Inside a tenement building…
Bumstead is interrupted by a NOISE O.S. He looks to a frosted
partition – dark figures walk past on the other side. He
quickly sorts through SEVERAL MAPS, making as little noise as
We can meet later – but first I
have to do something. Look I got to
CUT BACK TO:
White holds THE PHONE, listens to Bumstead on the other end.
Where can we meet?… Alright.
As White hangs up he notices A DOOR behind a big old crockery
cupboard. The cupboard has been pushed up against the wall,
hiding the door.
BACK IN THE POLICE STATION
BUMSTEAD quickly folds the map and shoves it into his pocket.
As he turns and runs from the room we NOTICE A DARK FIGURE
standing behind a shelf in the room.
IN UNCLE KARL’S APARTMENT
UNCLE KARL continues to change slides – the noise echoing
about the room. White moves over and sits down next to him.
Look! This is a good one!
What is that door?
There. Behind the cabinet. Where
does it go?
The uncle watches the slides.
Such a joker! Like your father.
No. Have a look.
He leads the old man over to the cabinet.
You see it?
Where does it lead?
It must be a closet or something.
White pushes at the cabinet. The old man helps. They only
manage to push several inches – it is very heavy. White
decides to just climb over it. He squeezes through, opens the
door and climbs a set of dark stairs. Uncle Karl watches.
Don’t trip over. It’s dark up there.
INT. ATTIC – NIGHT
TIGHT ON a light switch – it is flipped.
AN ATTIC – full of books, boxes, discarded possessions.
White picks up a book and opens it – the pages have been
eaten out by a swarm of ROACHES. He drops it in disgust as the
insects scurry over his hands.
In a small wooden box are several toys he examines with great
interest. At the bottom of the box he finds a SMALL DOG-EARED
DRAWING BOOK. On the cover is a colourful scrawl in child’s
writing – a title: ANSWERS – BY JONATHAN WHITE, AGE NINE.
White sits down and flips through the book in the dim light.
Page after page is filled with neat handwriting and drawings.
As he reads segments from the book he seems more and more
disturbed. He flips through faster and faster.
Pages flip past, stopping occasionally. Glimpses of DIAGRAMS.
The MYSTERY MEN and THEIR WORLD. Cross-sections of the MYSTERY
MEN, the cavity in their head with the INSECTS INSIDE clearly
PUSH IN CLOSE on White. He looks up, STUNNED.
INT. UNCLE KARL’S APARTMENT
White emerges from the attic, clutching the small book to his
chest, lost in thought. He steps quietly into a hall-way –
notices the old man putting THE PHONE back on its cradle.
John, I didn’t see you there.
A NOISE O.S. White and Uncle Karl turn. A VENTILATION GRILL
falls off a wall, revealing a hole. EYES shine from the
THE PUPPET leaps from the hole. Its blades unfolding,
spinning wildly before it hits the carpet. It faces the two
What is that?
WHITE (to Karl)
Filthy beast! Shoo! Go on! Shoo!
He wheels forward, attempting to scare the puppet off.
The puppet goes for Uncle Karl. A whirr of metal, BLOOD
SPLASHES ACROSS WHITE and the walls. Uncle Karl SCREAMS
White grabs a chair – holds it above him. The puppet turns
from the dead man in the wheelchair. White lets it have it.
The chair CRASHES DOWN, splintering into pieces.
The puppet is dazed, but immediately recovers. White has a
fire-poker now. As the puppet advances, he swings, connecting
with the creature, hurtling it across the room, into a wall.
White runs out the door.
IN THE CORRIDOR
He leaps into a waiting elevator. Pushes the top floor button.
THE ELEVATOR SHAFT – The elevator moves upwards.
INSIDE THE ELEVATOR
White looks through the circular window in the door.
HIS P.O.V. – Floor after floor SLIDES PAST – deserted. He
looks at the floor indicator. TIGHT ON NUMBERS lighting up:
86, 87, 88…
Then the elevator stops, the doors open, looking down a dark
corridor. The PUPPET is at the end. It turns to face him,
SUDDENLY RACES FORWARD, a horrible high-pitched shriek from its
mechanical voice box.
White STABS the buttons of the elevator frantically, the doors
won’t close. The puppet is upon him. He JUMPS, straight up.
It goes under him, CRASHING INTO the back of the elevator.
White hits the down button one last time, and leaps out of the
compartment AS THE DOORS CLOSE.
A MECHANICAL extendible arm shoots out and grabs White around
the ankle. DRAGS him across floor. THE PUPPET shrieks wildly
ITS ARM – is JAMMED in the closing doors now. Lift descends.
The puppet squeals. The arm SNAPS OFF.
White stands, pulls dislocated arm off his ankle. He can hear
the elevator descending. Suddenly it STOPS – starts
returning to his floor. White turns and runs again.
The lift doors BURST OPEN – the ENRAGED CREATURE emerges and
races after him.
He tears around a corner – finds himself in a dead-end.
Nowhere to go. He can hear the puppet approaching along the
corridor. Suddenly he notice A GRILL on a wall ABOVE HIS HEAD.
He pulls it off, climbs into an incredibly tight pipe. Crawls
He sees a LIGHT ahead. An opening. He kicks the grill off. A
sudden gust of wind.
The pipe leads to the outside of the building – nowhere to go
except a hundred stories STRAIGHT DOWN. He screams, almost
falls. Turns to start crawling back.
Suddenly the end of the pipe fills with WHIRRING METAL BLADES.
The puppet has followed him in and is advancing.
No choice – he looks out the hole. SEES A PIPE on the
outside of the building, running vertically near the opening.
It looks impossible but it’s his only chance.
He climbs out, balancing himself on the lip of the opening,
REACHES for the pipe. The puppet is almost upon him. He
swings across, gets a HAND on the pipe. He slips, DANGLES –
holding on – one hand on the pipe, one on the edge of the hole.
The pipe is greasy, slippery, can’t grip it.
SUDDENLY he hears a MECHANICAL CLICKING – TURNS to see the
puppet standing on the edge of the hole, inches from his hand.
A soft noise reverberates in its voice box – a mechanical
giggle? A circular blade on one of its arms starts up, moves
down onto White’s HAND.
TIGHT ON HIS EYES – sweat beads and runs down his forehead.
TIGHT ON THE BLADE – as it cuts into flesh. BLOOD spatters
White’s face as he grimaces with intense pain. He can’t hold
HE FALLS, plummets through space. Screaming.
INT. HOSPITAL – NIGHT
A GROUP OF SURGEONS stand about BUMSTEAD’S MOTHER on her life-
support machinery. The surgeons have face-masks on and are in
deep shadow. The woman stares blankly, still in a coma.
IN THE RECEPTION AREA
BUMSTEAD looks up from his wristwatch.
I can’t wait any longer…
He is standing in front of the MALE NURSE in the glassed-in
I’m sorry. I told you, she is being
He turns and storms off down the corridor. The NURSE stands,
shouting after him.
INSIDE MOTHER’S ROOM
One of the “doctors” leans down and grabs a handful of WIRES
leading out of a box beside the woman.
We will teach the pig to meddle in
our affairs. Yes.
He pulls the wires out in a burst of electrical sparks – ALL
THE MACHINES DIE. The woman comes to life momentarily, starts
to claw at the glass shield in front of her face, like she is
suffocating. The life drains from her weak body and she is
ANGLE ON THE DOOR – it bursts open. Bumstead is standing
there. The masked surgeons are startled, they turn rapidly to
BUMSTEAD (steps forward)
What is happening?
Ah, Inspector Bumstead! We are glad
you are here – I’m afraid we have
done all we can. Yes. Your Mother
has passed. Yes.
Bumstead turns towards his mother.
But she was getting better…
We are sorry. The cancer – it was
Bumstead turns to the men, confusion in his eyes.
She doesn’t have cancer.
The men glance at each other for a moment, then back at the
We knew that. Yes.
(the other men nod)
Anyway – she is dead.
Bumstead leaps forward, RIPS OFF one of the surgeon’s masks.
ANGLE ON THE MAN – He turns to look at Bumstead, pale skin,
staring eyes, a MYSTERY MAN. TWO OTHER MEN grab him from
I’ll kill you all!
One of the Mystery Men steps up to the struggling inspector,
places the palm of his hand across Bumstead’s eyes.
You will obey us, yes. In your mind
there is a dark space…
Bumstead’s hand reaches out, fumbles at a tray of surgical
implements, grabs a SCALPEL.
He cuts into the hand of one of the Men holding him, SPINS AND
DRIVES the scalpel into the forehead of the Mystery Man
attempting to hypnotise him.
The other Men leap towards him.
EXT. CANAL – NIGHT
TIGHT ON WHITE’S FACE
His eyes are shut tight. He opens them, slowly LOOKS AROUND,
curious why he isn’t dead.
White floats in MID-AIR, hovering ten feet or so above a dark
body of water. He looks amazed. Shuts his eyes, rubs them,
opens them again. Still floating.
He clenches his fists and TENSES his body. Slowly he starts to
MOVE FORWARD, hovering at an even height over the water.
SEVERAL ANGLES feature the figure of White levitating across
the harbour, past half-sunken buildings and rusted ships.
TIGHT ON WHITE – He comes to a stop. Smiles in amazement.
Then he suddenly plummets into the water, like a trap-door has
opened beneath him.
ANGLE ON BUBBLES floating to the surface. White’s FACE rises
slowly out of the water.
WIDER – CITY SKYLINE
A SMALL OBJECT floats towards the ground at the end of a tiny
BACK ON WHITE
He swims across to a small boat, climbs aboard, pushes himself
silently through the still canals of the city.
Oil tankers move silently through inky water.
White paddles the boat to the bottom of A PIER, climbs a rotten
ladder. He runs off into the shadows.
BACK IN THE WATER
The PUPPET cuts through the waves, pushed along by a rear
propeller. It reaches the pier, climbs to the top. The prop
retracts, and the creature wheels forward slowly, onto a
concrete surface. It looks around – it knows White is there
A trail of WET FOOTPRINTS on the ground. It follows them, is
led to a crane cabin.
INSIDE THE CRANE’S CABIN – is White, a lunatic grin on his
face, at the controls.
A NOISE O.S. startles the puppet. It looks up.
Follows the crane up into the air. The crane is swinging around
against the dark sky. A HUGE METAL CONTAINER dangles, stops
above the puppet.
Nice knowing you.
TIGHT ON WHITE’S HAND – It pulls a lever.
THE CONTAINER – Shakes and starts to fall.
THE PUPPET – Screams up at the plummeting container.
The container crashes into the ground, crushing the creature.
Silence. Dust floats in the air.
BUMSTEAD’s running. He looks a mess, clutching a bleeding gash
in his side, cuts on his face, clothes torn – but he made it
BUMSTEAD sits on the ground, leans against a wall, breathing
heavily – he’s losing a lot of blood.
A NOISE O.S. startles him – A FIGURE in the shadows across the
It’s too big to be White. The man steps from the shadows.
STROMBOLI (walking forward)
He’s holding a gun, levelled at the inspector. Bumstead lies
bleeding, against the wall. He points his own gun at the
advancing man and pulls the trigger.
CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!
Stromboli is upon him, grabs the empty gun, throws it away,
picks up the inspector, leans him against the wall. Without
Stromboli holding him up, Bumstead would not be able to stand.
Why do you always have to find things
out the hard way! Couldn’t you just
do your job, you idiot? I told you,
didn’t I? These people are not
playing games, Bumstead. They can do
anything they want, don’t you
BUMSTEAD (a hiss)
You’re one of them. You bastard…
In a way, we all are, inspector!
You. Me. Everybody!
Stromboli carries Bumstead towards the EDGE of the roof. He
Time for that early retirement,
Bumstead. Didn’t bring the gold watch
THE EDGE looms up – a long drop to the street.
White paces nervously through empty streets. He stops, to get
his bearings, then turns and runs into:
A SILHOUETTED FIGURE in a bizarre metal contraption on wheels.
A skeletal hand reaches out to White, grabs his arm. An inhuman
Terrorised, White pulls back.
Ahhh… it hurts!…
The mechanized figure trundles forward, pins him to a wall. A
DOCTOR SCHREBER covered in blood, encased in a metal framework
covered in silver blades.
What happened to you?
I’m… being… punished.
The blades are connected to the wheels – they turn when he
moves forward, metal cuts into his flesh, slowly SKINNING HIM
ALIVE. A torture machine. Between screams of intense pain, the
I had to – ahhhh – find you… I..
The doctor shuts his eyes, a trickle of blood runs down his
What is it?
We are… living in their dreams…
Schreber turns and rolls off into the night, screaming – BLADES
SPIN furiously, peeling back flesh. He glances at White one
WHITE is running. As he approaches the building he hears a
scream – looks up to see a figure PLUNGE OFF the roof.
He runs over. Looks down at the twisted body. THE INSPECTOR
moans – barely alive. White kneels by his side.
BUMSTEAD’S hand moves across to an expanding POOL of red beside
him, traces an ‘H’ on the ground in the blood.
The inspector seems to be dying, then revives momentarily, puts
A MAP in white’s hand, looks up at him:
His eyes roll up and he GOES LIMP. White stares at the body,
I didn’t sneeze.
INT. MORGUE – NIGHT
The MORTICIAN turns off the lights in the main hall and steps
into his office, sits down, pours himself a hot drink; turns on
the radio, opens his conic-book.
A NOISE O.S. disturbs him and he gets up, walks out of his
office, looks into the darkness.
HIS P.O.V. PANS around the empty morgue. Nothing. Decides to go
back to his office. He turns and is startled by three MYSTERY
MEN obstructing his path.
We are looking for the White victims.
And who the hell are you?
The mortician catches a glimpse of the shiny dagger Man 1 is
clutching by his side. He becomes very scared.
Over there. Numbers eight to twelve.
THREE MEN look over to where the mortician has pointed in
unison. Man 1 looks back.
A FLASH OF STEEL. The mortician’s throat SPOUTS blood. He grabs
reflexively at the gash and falls back onto the floor, DEAD
before he hits the tiles.
The Mystery Men step to an adjoining chamber. Man 2 puts down a
Box he is carrying, opens the lid. A green glow oozes out. The
other Men manipulate levers on a control panel on a nearby
wall. Stainless steel doors open. Body-length trays slide into
the dim light. SHAPES covered in white sheets.
Man 2 with the box removes a GLASS SYRINGE, filled with a
glowing green liquid. He steps TO THE BODIES and injects each
with the syringe, through the sheets. When he has finished he
steps back, places the syringe back in the box. The MEN leave
All is silent and still.
Then the shape beneath a sheet starts to SIT UP. Then another,
INT. CORRIDOR – NIGHT
WHITE is running again, clutching BUMSTEAD’S MAP.
CAMERA PULLS BACK AND UP
REVEALS the entire corridor. KEEPS PULLING BACK – until the
view is impossibly wide – like a cross-section of the building
he’s in, a doll’s house with the roof taken off. The TINY
FIGURE runs, amidst a dark network of surrounding rooms and
CONTINUE PULL BACK
White is no more than a SPECK – the hall-way stretches
ENDLESSLY in both directions, behind and in front of the moving
figure, through an infinite labyrinth.
We no longer make out the figure. The x-rayed environment
resembles some intricate aerial map of the vast city – the
corridor an ever increasing SPIRAL.
INT. ORNATE APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT
White reaches the top of a spiral flight of stairs.
APARTMENT ‘H’ – a rusted metal letter on the door. White steps
forward. He knocks once and the door creaks open, unlocked.
The rooms are empty, derelict, strewn with rubbish. Mould grows
on the damp walls. A door stands at the end of a long empty
room. He can hear the muffled sounds of SURF, SEAGULLS. White
starts to walk forward, smiling. As he approaches the door he
begins to feel colder.
He opens the door and looks out. A blast of SUNLIGHT – blue
ocean and sky.
White does not turn about, he takes a step forward, then
another – and RUNS INTO THE SKY – A PAINTED WALL. He glances up
at a small SPEAKER built into the wall – the SOURCE of the sea-
side SOUND EFFECTS.
He hears the click of the gun being cocked behind him. Hopes
dashed, he turns. ANGLE ON A MYSTERY MAN – a gun pointed at
There is nothing, Mister White.
Beyond the city. Never has been.
White is led into a pitch black room.
TIGHT ON WHITE’S FACE – In the darkness – he looks across to
the Mystery Man standing beside him.
How did you know where to find me?
We knew you would turn up here
eventually… Been waiting for you,
yes. Hoped you wouldn’t make a
nuisance of yourself on the way…
The Man motions with the gun for White to walk forward. As soon
as White turns to do this, the Man slips from the room and
shuts the door, cutting off any existing light.
A NOISE O.S. – some kind of machine being turned on – lights
start to come up all over the room.
It’s a normal, average-sized, living room. All the furniture
has been removed and replaced with chairs, tables, podiums – an
arrangement resembling an IMPROVISED COURT of law. In fact,
White realizes he is standing behind some kind of witness box.
The apartment is devoid of people, though almost immediately a
door opens to the side (looks like it would lead to the
kitchen) and a series of figures step through. MYSTERY MEN.
All the MEN take up specific positions around the room, without
uttering a word, but don’t sit. One MYSTERY MAN opens a curtain
beneath an arched entrance – beyond it, within a very small
room, stand DOZENS OF PEOPLE, crammed shoulder to shoulder. The
people stare at White silently – a bizarre gallery of
An eerie silence falls on the room.
The kitchen door opens again. White is shocked to see the
VICTIMS WALK INTO the room and adopt positions in what is
obviously the area for the jury.
The DISEMBOWELED CORPSE OF A WOMAN steps out of the shadows,
pushing a pram. Her throat is cut, she is shrouded in a white
Within the pram is the BABY clutching its own head, with spine
attached, under its arm.
Then the mutilated FREDRICK hops out, followed by the three
brown blood-stained paper parcels containing what is left of
the YOUNG BOY.
Finally, his WIFE and the JAPANESE WOMAN, still in passionate
embrace, take their positions.
Another door opens – a closet. Within stands the figure we have
only seen as a shadow – the elderly MYSTERY MAN with the cane.
MISTER BLACK slowly reaches above him and pulls at a chain
hanging from the ceiling – the light snaps on inside the
closet. Somewhere, a long way off in the same building, a
toilet is heard flushing.
He is much older than the rest, carries himself with authority
as he hobbles across the room to a raised podium, supporting
his withered body on his cane. Looks like he will play JUDGE.
Everyone in the room now sits. Mister Black looks at White.
ANGLE ON WHITE – He starts to tremble, not so much from fear,
White just looks at him, still clutching the small notebook
John White, you are to be tried for
murder, yes. You wish to confess to
these crimes now?
White is silent. He leans over and scratches his legs through
the fabric of his trousers. They itch like crazy.
Mister Black turns to the assembled people.
Very well. The testimony of the
TWO MYSTERY MEN stand and step across to a wooden easel. MAN 1
stands beside it, reveals a series of visuals, charts, etc.
drawn on stiff cardboard. MAN 2 uses a pointer while he
describes the evidence to support their case.
MYSTERY MAN 2
We will show that John White is
abnormal, a menace to society, a
dangerous sick individual, and that
the court should have no mercy in
finding him guilty and punishable to
the extreme for his crimes.
MAN 1 places a large black and white photo blow-up on the
easel. It shows White at the door of the JAPANESE WOMAN’S
apartment, clutching a kitchen knife, covered in blood.
MYSTERY MAN 1
Exhibit A shows the accused leaving
the scene of his most recent crime,
yes. A photo taken by a remote camera
planted by one of our agents.
White watches in stunned silence.
A general murmur of agreement through the room as the point is
made. Mister Black turns to the victims, nods his head slowly.
MYSTERY MAN 2
MAN 1 removes a small tape recorder, hands it to MAN 2.
MYSTERY MAN 2
Actual tape recording of accused
committing aforementioned crime, yes.
He turns a switch, the reels spin slowly. A hush fills the
VOICE 1 (sounds like JAPANESE WOMAN)
VOICE 2 (sounds like White)
Another scream. A ripping sound.
VOICE 3 (sounds like his WIFE)
White is standing up, involuntarily, he can’t listen to this
WHITE (a squeak, almost inaudible)
Stop it! This is a lie…
Mister Black turns to White. The Men testifying stop the tape
and look at him also.
Something to say? Ready to confess?
The Men in the audience turn and all stare at White, as do the
victims and the spectators in the adjoining room.
WHITE (back to a whisper)
I didn’t kill anyone.
Speak up. Yes.
WHITE (finds his voice)
It’s lies. Everything.
He grips the barrier before him.
A SHRIEK from the pram containing the BABY – it rocks violently
from side to side.
The DISEMBOWELED WOMAN rises from her chair. She has difficulty
standing, her limbs stiff. She looks at White, opens her mouth
to say something, but no sound comes out. Instead a tiny RED
CRAB scuttles out, across her face, and falls to the ground.
She sits down.
White is stunned.
Bring the witnesses.
AN OLDER COUPLE are led out of the kitchen by a Mystery Man.
Shown to seats behind a podium. The woman looks sadly at White.
You are the accused’s parents?
Wait a minute…
You had your turn! Let them speak.
My parents are supposed to be dead!
You can’t keep changing the damn
rules like this! Why go through this
ridiculous set-up! Why don’t you
just kill me and be done with it!
MISTER BLACK (smiles at parents)
This is insane!
He looks over to the victims.
It was them, not me.
(points at the
They killed you.
Looks back at the Mystery Men.
You have invented all this. History
is a lie, not just mine, everyone’s –
a fiction. You are the authors.
His knuckles go white as he squeezes tighter on the barrier.
A fanciful idea, Mister White.
Everyone has a job – a function. Each
one teaches you more about your
invention. I’m what is called a
The whole court listens in silence to White’s testimony.
You’ve given everybody memories, but
I missed out. The Doctor saw to that
– played your own game. And now…
WHITE looks at the MYSTERY MEN, then back at MISTER BLACK.
You’re trying to get rid of me.
There is silence. Whispers. Faces staring.
Why do I threaten you? You’re scared
MISTER BLACK and the gathered MYSTERY MEN look speechless at
White. Suddenly everyone bursts into spontaneous LAUGHTER, led
by Mister Black.
A terrible cackle fills the room – all the MYSTERY MEN laugh
hysterically, so do the mutilated victims. The spectators in
the adjoining room remain silent.
Ah – a plot. Now we have a plot!
The older couple behind the podium look disturbed.
Please, John, you’re embarrassing
MISTER BLACK (chuckling still)
You have proof? Evidence? Yes?
WHITE (holds up notebook)
It’s all here!
Mister Black seems startled by the book, then pretends it’s
A book of delusions. Anything else?
(turns to the
The verdict, yes…
Wait, this isn’t fair…
The DISEMBOWELED WOMAN stands again. This time she opens her
mouth, there is a bubbling noise, water runs out, then:
DISEMBOWELED WOMAN (whisper)
Guil – ty…
White is agitated, fear in his face. Mister Black stamps SOME
PAPERS before him repeatedly.
ON THE PAPERS – official-looking documents. The stamp says:
CLOSE on White’s eyes.
Before I pronounce sentence…
Suddenly the papers on the bench in front of Mister Black BURST
INTO FLAMES. Mister Black recoils, almost falling off his
chair, taken by surprise. The Mystery Men all look at White, a
murmur of concern.
Mister Black looks up at White – angered.
How dare you use your tricks on me!
White, genuinely surprised, looks around. Several Mystery Men
BACK AWAY from him, scared.
I didn’t realise…
Shut up, freak! Monster! You are
He glares across the room, angrily. An WOODEN CHAIR in a corner
starts to vibrate.
CLOSE on Mister Black’s eyes.
The chair rises into the air – HURLS across the room at White.
Mister Black laughs as it crashes into the wall. White ducks
just in time.
The gathered Mystery Men erupt into enthusiastic applause.
White regains his composure and tries some mind tricks of his
own. He lifts a small table into the air, and makes it spin –
a knife and fork dance back and forth on the surface, as several
plates (from a stack in the kitchen) hurl, firstly at the
spinning table, then go flying across the room, smashing near
Mister Black, making him dance back and forth comically.
This display is accompanied by a rousing rendition of a WALTZ
playing on a floating gramophone White has also activated with
SEVERAL Mystery Men are TERRIFIED. White is amazed at his own
You’ll regret that.
Mister Black is furious, spluttering, spit flying from his
MISTER BLACK (shouts)
SHUT IT DOWN!
A Mystery Man by the window, picks up a phone and dials
furiously. Everyone in the room remains silent – waiting.
MAN ON PHONE
Yes, we have a problem here. Shut it
White doesn’t understand what is going on. O.S. the SOUND of
machinery WINDING DOWN.
ANGLE ON a clock hanging on the wall. ON the SECOND HAND. It
All eyes are on Mister Black.
This has all gone too far. Yes, much
Mister Black starts to SHAKE. His eyes shut, clenches his
teeth, grips the insect on his cane, plants his feet firmly to
Around the room WALLS CRACK, plaster rains down from the
EXT. CITY – NIGHT
All over the city things START TO FALL APART – a devastating
impact on the landscape.
A street CRACKS OPEN. Beneath the pavement are pulsating
intestine-like organs. These burst open with pus…
A building vanishes…
A car on a street corner flies into the air…
A telephone box STARTS TO SPIN, faster and taster, digging
itself into the concrete. Monstrous INSECT LEGS sprout from the
hole left behind…
Geysers of STEAMING BILE spurt into the night sky…
BLACK EXCREMENT forces up out of a sewer, runs down stone
THE CITY is coming apart…
CUT BACK TO:
INT. APARTMENT H’
The room looks like an earthquake hit it – broken furniture and
gaping holes torn in the walls.
Several MYSTERY MEN huddle behind an upturned table, watching
WHITE and MISTER BLACK. They face each other, both still
standing – mental energies focused against each other in battle.
The fighting is taken its toll on both men.
A DAGGER hangs suspended in mid-air, slowly rotating to face
White with its shining silver blade.
Mister Black is clenching his rotting teeth, tightening bony
fists by his side. Pushing every ounce of mental power at the
White, bleeding from a gash in his cheek, is straining his mind
against the knife.
The blade STARTS TO MOVE, ever so slowly at first, towards
White. His body is shaking with his mental effort. A bead of
sweat runs down his brow, dripping into his eye, blurring his
He is losing.
INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT
We see an OUT OF FOCUS IMAGE. A group of dark figures. WHITE
regains consciousness, strapped to a kitchen table. From his
perspective, in the immediate foreground, a figure speaks as he
removes a syringe from White’s FOREHEAD.
Good as new. Yes. Everything is
His vision CLEARS, he can see. It’s MISTER BLACK. Behind him a
SMALL CROWD who turn out to be MYSTERY MEN.
Mister Black suddenly pulls at his own face, removes the mask.
Underneath is a mess of PULSATING ORGANS AND INSECT PARTS.
This is what Mystery Men really look like. He laughs, starts to
MOVE rhythmically – a strange dance-step. The others join in,
as they too pull off masks.
Each Man reaches up to his left ear in unison. They pull
squirming INSECTS out, hold them up to the light. The insects
White screams too. And he can’t stop.
Everything goes BLACK. Then the sound of a key rattling in a
lock. A door slowly creaks open…
INT. SEASIDE HOTEL ROOM – DAY
A P.O.V. enters a small room.
Dappled SUNLIGHT through a tattered lace curtain. A clock ticks
on a wall. A cough O.S. from the corridor. A FAT MAN, talks as
It’s small but clean…
…and the view’s nice.
(points to window)
JOHN WHITE enters. He is haggard, eyes rimmed with red. He
still holds the small black NOTEBOOK, tight to his chest. He
stands in the centre of the room, looks up. Strangely, though
the room is very small, it extends upwards several stories –
windows sit at various heights.
White walks to the lace curtain, opens it with shaking hands.
A narrow street and at the end, the ocean. The sound of distant
surf, he can taste the salt spray.
WHITE (without turning)
I’ll take it.
The man behind him blows his nose loudly and turns to go,
shutting the door. White puts the notebook down on a table near
the open window.
White has fallen asleep on the bed.
He wakes, troubled. Stands and walks over to the sink next to
the bed. He moves like he is underwater. The sea-breeze tugs at
the curtain, draws him to the window.
Down the street to the small patch of sand between buildings.
TWO FIGURES approach each other.
He pulls out his wallet and removes the torn photo of the
woman, places it against the pillow on the bed. He sits on the
edge of the bed and lifts his trousers, looks at his legs
nothing out of the ordinary.
White is disturbed by a TINY MOVEMENT in his coat pocket. He
reaches in and pulls out a small, EMACIATED FISH.
Disgusted, he drops the fish to the floor, looks at the
creature. White raise his foot. His heel comes down with a
THE CAMERA MOVES IN STEADILY towards the notebook near the
window. As the SHOT TIGHTENS we can read the title on the
cover: ANSWERS – BY JONATHAN WHITE, AGE NINE.
Now a sudden GUST OF WIND blows open the book. The pages
flicker past. Glimpses of happy things. A child’s drawings of
smiling people. The sun shining down on a blue ocean full of
sailing boats. Fields of colourful flowers. Cute animals.
INT. LONG CORRIDOR – DAY
SOUND OF SURF, distant, muffled.
CAMERA MOVES slowly towards a door. The final door – no
others beyond this. ECHOIC FOOTSTEPS.
TIGHT ON WHITE – His haggard face moves through darkness. He
looks down at his walking feet.
HIS P.O.V. – White sees water, waves breaking, through the
cracks in the floorboards of the hallway.
The cracks around the closed door are illuminated, white-hot,
by the SUN outside.
ON HIS HAND – As he reaches towards the handle.
ON HIS FACE – As the door opens. A sharp line of light cuts
across his features, as his eyes blink and water. The wind
pulls at his messy hair. SURF NOISE is louder now.
REVERSE ANGLE – WIDER – OUTSIDE looking through the door,
along a long wooden pier jutting out into a blue seascape. At
the end of the pier stands the tiny figure of A WOMAN WITH RED
HAIR. She looks out at the ocean, her back turned.
ANGLE LOOKS BACK at White standing in the open doorway, squints
into the sun. Suddenly he looks relieved, almost happy for the
first time. He steps OUT OF FRAME briskly – a weight gone
from his shoulders. Everything is clear finally, he knows
exactly what to do.
A voice recites names over a P.A. system.
A TRACKING SHOT follows White, moves down the pier toward the
woman. As White steps up to her, she turns and smiles.
WOMAN (indicates the sea)
White nods slowly. He looks out of place in his crumpled suit.
He stares out at the ocean. Seagulls fly over. Sun reflects
What’s your name?
He looks at her. Smiles. Then, slowly, brings his hands to her
FADE TO BLACK[amazonjs asin=”B00846NKQ8″ locale=”JP” title=”ダークシティ Blu-ray”]