George just arrived in Songless. And he’s got a tune to wake the dead…
Any scriptwriter worth their salt knows that the last ten years or so has seen a massive resurgence in the undead and all things zombie. Huge blockbusters like the recent World War Z have taken the box office by storm proving that there is still plenty of life in the ravenous flesh-eaters.
A point given further credence when considering the phenomenal success of TV’s The Walking Dead. The show is an international smash with millions of viewers tuning in each week to see Rick and his cohorts trying to survive a terrifying zombie outbreak where the only thing on the menu is them.
Given the rising popularity of these brain-hungry creatures it’s hardly surprising that there are probably as many scripts floating around as there are dead bodies in a zombie apocalypse.
Invariably, the inflicted end up as cannibalistic corpses due to a mysterious virus or lab experiment gone wrong.
So it’s particularly refreshing to see talented writer Cindy L. Keller breathe new life into the undead with her own unique take on the genre with her script Damned Yankee.
Our story begins when New Yorker, George Davidson’s rental car breaks down on the outskirts of Songless, a deathly quiet town in the Deep South. We think little of it until we discover that George is a country singer en route to Nashville – talk about irony!
George and his guitar take shelter from the sweltering heat under a tree where he encounters a mysterious dancing girl who likes to dance to the sound of silence! George attempts to make conversation, but the terrified girl runs off into the woods.
Fortunately, help soon arrives by way of wiry old hillbilly Phil Basher. Phil is the town’s chief peacemaker who not only has a strong dislike for “Yankees” like George, he also takes his job seriously… very seriously! So much so, that he refuses to allow George to play a single note on his beloved guitar and growls “You’ll raise the dead with that racket!”
They head off into town together and tensions soon rise between them. Phil eventually confides in George that the town is cursed, hence the reason why all types of music including singing are strictly prohibited. A statement borne out by the grizzly sight of hundreds of dead birds culled to prevent them from making so much as a peep.
But it’s too late! Modern technology intervenes and thanks to George’s ringtone all hell is about to break loose! Worse still, Phil has a much darker side to him as George is about to discover to his dismay.
Will George survive Phil and the undead hordes or are he and his musical career truly dead and buried?
Budget: low to moderate. A handful of characters (mostly non-speaking). A couple of vehicles. A few locations: Woods/House/Service Station/Cemetery and that’s pretty much it!
About the writer: Cindy L. Keller When asked where her inspiration comes from, Cindy will tell you that she was brought up in a small town. A town whose movie theater played Double Features on Saturday afternoons. Many of those being Horror double features. She loves the old horror classics. Movies like Dracula, Creature, The Mummy, and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Horror without all the blood and guts, and she strives to incorporate that notion within her own writing.
Cindy is an award-winning screenwriter. She’s been a finalist at Page, finalist at Gimme Credit, Sixth place winner at American Gem, and the winner of Hellfire’s Short Horror Contest.
She has had two shorts produced, and has more shorts and features available for production. Cindy can be reached at skyburg “AT” hotmail
Read Damned Yankee (26 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: Gary “Rolo” Rowlands cut his teeth writing sketch comedy for the hugely popular Spitting Image – a show broadcast on national television in the UK. He has since gone on to write several high-concept features and can be contacted at gazrow at Hotmail dot com.