Little boys have crazy imaginations… Or do they?
The topic for today is Monsters. Mwa-ha-ha -haaaa!
In his inaugural address, F.D. Roosevelt famously paraphrased Francis Bacon’s line by saying: The only thing we have to fear… is fear itself.
I don’t know about you but I’ve always found cold comfort in that line… Fear itself is pretty darned scary.
Monsters, ghouls, devils, demons, the boogeyman – all strike fear into the most hardened of hearts and can turn even the most cast-iron of stomachs to jelly. From Ghoulies to Gremlins, to Chucky (Child’s Play) and The Babadoo – monsters not only have a long and illustrious history on film but they continue to fascinate, disgust, horrify, and if the writer is especially talented (like this one is) even make their audiences laugh.
Now cast your mind back to your five-year-old self lying in bed in the dark – your nightlight casting ominous shadows onto the walls, your super-hero bed-covers pulled up tightly around your chin, wide eyes darting back and forth into the foreboding darkness.
What was that?!
Did you hear that barely perceptible creak across the floorboard? Did you see that lightning-fast flash of movement just out of the corner of your eye? What about that inky black cavern that is your wardrobe with its door slightly ajar, or that cavernous space under your bed where all manner of dastardly things could be lying in wait, ready to pounce when you least expect it.
Ooh, it’s enough to give you the heebie-jeebies, make you crawl into the fetal position, yank those bed covers over your head while you mutter over and over and over again: not real, not real, not real, in a desperate attempt to prove to yourself that what you just heard, what you just saw, was all just the result of a bad dream or an overactive imagination.
But what if it wasn’t your imagination…?
As we open on Nolan Bryand’s, Imagination, Smagination, this is the very real dilemma facing five-year-old, Owen. He’s just run the five-metre dash down the hallway and into his parent’s bedroom. What he knows is: this is not his imagination in overdrive. There’s a monster in his closet, and he needs his dad to get rid of it! Actually, he’d prefer to sleep in his Mom and Dad’s room, where there is no monster, but they’re not having it. Big sigh. Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad.
The Monster in The Closet and The Monster Under The Bed are familiar tropes in horror fiction and filmmaking, but Nolan Bryand’s rendition is about to surprise, not only with its freshness and originality, but also with its perfectly timed comic-horror twists. That’s right, not one, but two. Just when you think the story’s done and dusted, Nolan expertly hits his audience with yet another comical twist in the final seconds of a denouement that will have you jumping in surprise and laughing out loud at the same time.
Suspense, comedy, acerbic wit, mixed with clever barbs aimed squarely at jaded grown-ups with their all too familiar rationalizing that ‘monsters don’t exist’, Imagination, Smagination is a finely orchestrated monster-lite tale that is sure to be a crowd pleaser for kids and adults alike.
Filmmakers: Now’s the time to banish your fears, scare up your own special brand of cinematic ‘smagination’ and take your best shot in the dark. Best not sleep on it though, cause this one’s gonna’ get snapped up fast.
Budget: Low. One location. Two adults, a plucky talented five year old, and a couple of ‘monsters’. A talent for gruesome make-up fx will also come in handy.
About the Writer Nolan Bryand: While completing a minor in film studies back in 2005, I took a keen interest in the screenwriting aspect. Acting and directing wasn’t for me. In 2015 I came back to writing as a way to spend some free time, and remembered how much I enjoyed it. Since revisiting my passion, I’ve optioned two short scripts, which were both read and picked up after being read on the SimplyScripts discussion board. It’s the actors and directors that really make a script come to life, but it’s the screenwriter that gets them there in the first place! And that’s what I love about screenwriting.
Read Imagination, Smagination (6 pages in pdf format)
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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
About the reviewer: L. Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.