Workshop Wednesday

We have a big section this week with three different action sections. The story really gets moving at this point, with only a few small info dumps to help the mystery along.

Remember to catch up on Van Helsing Syndrome in the Works of Mike FinkelsteinWhat's that, you want to read various creative works from Asteroid G Lead Editor Mike Finkelstein? Well, if that's what you want... archive before reading this part.

Van Helsing Syndrome: Part 9

INT: REGINALD'S NIGHT CLUB, MIDNIGHT MADNESS, DAY.

The interior of the club is dark, with Black lights illuminating monstrous statues and paintings, most all of vampires or other undead creatures. The black lights give it a feel between bad night-club and amusement park attraction. The place is packed with high school students straight out of class. Bodies bounce and jump to Techno-Goth-Rock.

SFX: Thumping music

MARK, JULIET, and JENNIFER walk up to the BOUNCER who takes one look at the three of them and attempts to block their path. MARK flashes his fake FBI badge, and the BOUNCER backs down.

MARK:

(shouting over the music) Which way to the management offices?

BOUNCER:

(shouting over the music) What?

MARK:

(shouting over the music) Nevermind, I'll find it myself.

The BOUNCER shrugs. MARK, JENNNIFER, and JULIET head past, and once their attention is turned away, the BOUNCER skulks off into the crowd. As the hunters push their way through the crowd, many of the teens turn to look at them. However, most of them are dressed edgier than our heroes, so they're all just ignored as dumb, adult posers.

SFX: A different, thumping song comes on.

MARK:

(shouting over the music) This song was better when John Denver recorded it.

A PALE TEEN jumps out at MARK from the crowd. Mark throws the figure to the ground and pulls a gun. A large circle opens in the crowd.

SFX: Screams

Most of the kids, though, start to dance around the edge of the circle. MARK checks the guy's teeth. No fangs. MARK lets PALE TEEN up. PALE TEEN runs off, chastened and afraid. MARK turns and shrugs at JENNIFER AND JULIET.

JULIET:

(laughs)

JENNIFER, though, isn't paying attention.

JENNIFER:

(shouting over the music) I'm gonna head over to the bar, check if there is a way in to offices from there. You wanna check the stage?

MARK:

(shouting over the music) Sure, or I could check the stage while you check the bar.

JENNIFER waves her hands by her ear, as if to say “I can't hear you.” MARK points to her and then to the bar, then he points to himself and then the stage. She nods as if to say “duh”, then moves off.

MARK and JULIET head farther into the crowd over to the currently empty stage. A DJ booth is there, with lights going and equipment working, but no DJ is in sight. MARK jumps up on stage and checks the backstage area. Empty dressing rooms, on DJ grabbing a smoke, lots of electronic equipment. No coffins. Not much room back there.

MARK:

(shouting over the music) Nothing here.

JULIET:

(shouting over the music) Yeah, I don't smell any vampires this way.

MARK:

(shouting over the music) You can smell them?

JULIET:

(shouting over the music) Uh, yeah. I'm a lycanthrope.

MARK:

(shouting over the music) Right, duh.

The two look out over the crowd. MARK sees something, and points it out to JULIET. We see a strange blue glow from a hallway behind the bar area.

JULIET:

(shouting over the music) What is it?

MARK:

(shouting over the music) Magic!

MARK and JULIET push their way over to the bar. The blue light increases. SCARED TEEN, dressed in leather like most of the rest of the kids there, runs out of the offices as MARK and JULIET run in.

INT: REGINALD'S CLUB, OFFICE, DAY.

SFX: Muted music

MARK and JULIET enter the dingy office just in time to see blue fire leap from JENNIFER's hands and catch a man on fire.

SFX: Whoomp noise, like fire catching gasoline

MARK:

What are you doing?!

JENNIFER:

It was REGINALD. He attacked, so I killed him.

MARK:

Right, well... Good work.

REGINALD continues to burn with a blue fire. Then fire turns red.

REGINALD:

(painful screams)

MARK's eye go wide as he picks up on something before the other two.

MARK:

(Shouts) Everybody down!

The three leap away from the body as it explodes. A rain of floor tile chunks and blood hit our heroes as they lie on the floor.

JULIET:

I didn't know vampires could explode!

The floor is a smoking ruin. A large crater of tile, floorboard, concrete, pipe, and wires are what remain of the floor. Mark gets up to examine the crater, which has Reggie's head in it, and then walks around to explore the rest of the office. Dark blue paint, tacky prints of half-naked women, leather furniture. Mark walks over to a cheap wood-panel desk and picks up the phone.

MARK:

This is JACOBS. Need a cleanup crew. Midnight Madness. (pause) Right. 20 minutes.

MARK walks back over to the crater and just stares. JULIET wanders over and puts a hand on his shoulder.

JULIET:

And you didn't even get to use all your shiny weapons.

MARK shrugs.

MARK:

There's always next time.

JENNIFER steps into the crater and retrieves the head. She passes it off to MARK.

MARK:

Good kill. Just be wary of using your magic too often. Luckily, only one kid saw, and I doubt he will be telling anyone. Hell, he probably just thinks it was some kind of powerful light show. Or that he was on drugs. (pause) Or both.

MARK opens the door and the music pours in.

SFX: Louder music.

MARK:

(shouting over the music) Anyone want a drink?

EXT: REGINALD'S CLUB, EVENING.

MARK and JENNIFER are standing by her car. She grabs out a bag and MARK drops the vampire head inside. She then takes the head and jumps into her car before driving off. THOMPSON is just pulling up at this point, along with the cleanup crew trucks. Agents swarm in to the club, and then a bunch of confused kids start to pour back out.

THOMPSON wanders over to MARK and JULIET.

MARK:

Just taking a break from office life?

THOMPSON:

Not exactly. I need to talk to you directly about something...

THOMPSON looks over at JULIET.

THOMPSON:

Who's this?

MARK:

She's, uh-

JULIET pulls out a press badge and shows it to to group.

JULIET:

Freelance journalist. I was here to interview the owner of the club before, as your agent told me, he took his own life. Do you have any comment?

THOMPSON:

Our press liaison will be over to speak to you. MARK, can I talk to you privately.

MARK nods, and then THOMPSON wanders off. MARK lingers for a moment.

MARK:

Where'd you get the press badge?

JULIET:

My day job. I'm really a journalist.

MARK:

Oh... uh... everything we talked about is off the record, right?

JULIET:

(said with a sexy smile) What about the things we did?

MARK:

(pause) No, you can print that.

They both laugh, and then MARK moves off towards THOMPSON.

THOMPSON:

Why were you talking to the press?

MARK:

I wasn't. She was just a nice lady at a club. We chatted small talk up until the agents showed up.

THOMPSON:

Fine... Anyway, another hunt that just came in. Vampire by the name of Ivan Smith.

MARK:

When did we get the info in? Another body?

THOMPSON:

No... Actually, file came in from the office of Senator DAVIS. Guys upstairs said to follow the lead he gave us.

MARK:

(glares) Okay. Where is this vampire at?

THOMPSON:

Case file has an address in CARMEL-

An AGENT runs up.

AGENT:

Sir, call just came over the line. A vampire is going to commit suicide at the Carmel downtown shops.

THOMPSON:

What? Who called it in?

AGENT:

The vampire, sir. He called the Body Depository. Said that if we wanted his head, we could find it downtown.

THOMPSON:

He give a name?

AGENT:

Yes. Ivan Smith.

MARK:

Hey, that's convenient. Looks like I'm still on the job.

MARK runs over to his car while THOMPSON and the AGENT head into the club. Juliet quickly darts off and the two drive off together.

EXT: CARMEL DOWNTOWN, EVENING.

MARK and JULIET jump out of the truck and run up to the stores in the complex. One of them is a movie theater.

EXT: CARMEL DOWNTOWN, MOVIE THEATER, EVENING.

MARK and JULIET run inside and shoot past the ticket taker, MARK flashing his FBI badge. They look around the main lobby, and then up the escalator to the second floor of the theater. Mark scans the crowd, then walks slowly over to IVAN, a rather pale individual in a long coat and broad hat.

IVAN:

I was wondering when you would show up.

MARK:

Hey, you called us. So what's the plan here? Do you want me to try and tell you that life, I mean unlife is worth, uhm, unliving?

IVAN steps back. From his pocket he pulls out a vial of holy water.

IVAN:

I don't fear death. I'm not going to die just because you are after me. I am going to die because my master has abandoned me. She won't protect us. She hunts us down to protect her secrets.

MARK:

Wait, so you're killing yourself to make a statement?

IVAN:

Yes! She will see the error in her ways when I die.

IVAN motions to the crowd of people milling around in the theater.

IVAN:

All these people will die when I die, explode when I do, and it will be her fault.

JULIET:

You're nuts. I doubt that, whoever she is, she gonna care if you die. If you have her secrets, she'll be unhappy if you share them.

IVAN:

It's all a game to most of them...

MARK:

Who?

IVAN:

A game of power. Accumulate the most power, become the strongest one. Control the greatest magic.

MARK:

Magic?

IVAN flicks the vial open and drinks the water. He runs into a crowd of people as he begins to smoke. A few people notice and try to get out of the way.

UNHELPFUL MAN:

Fire!

At this shout, the crowd begins to stampede. MARK and JULIET duck into a theater to get out of the way of the crowd as everyone pushes and pulls and stomps on each other. Then the vampire explodes.

SFX: Explosion boom

Two people near the vampire get taken out with the explosion. The blast blows a hole through the floor to the lower levels. IVAN's head eventually drops down, through the hole, and plops down on the lower level. The people begin to clear from the escalators as the crowd verges onto the lower level. MARK and JULIET emerge from the theater and walk over to the crater.

MARK:

I honestly don't even know how we're going to explain this one.

EXT: CARMEL DOWNTOWN, MOVIE THEATER, EVENING, SOMEWHAT LATER.

We see an AGENT talking to the crowd of people. MARK and JULIET are off to the side.

AGENT:

The guy must have had explosives inside his trench coat.

MARK:

Well, okay then.

JULIET:

How did he get in the theater? Isn't it daytime?

MARK:

Some vamps don't need to sleep at all during the day. Plus he had that big hat which must have given him just enough coverage.

THOMPSON wanders up, looking very angry. JULIET wanders off at this moment so as to dissuade any questions about why she's there.

THOMPSON:

Mind telling me why we have two dead civvies on our hands?

MARK:

What was I supposed to do? Throw myself on top of him to control the explosion? He killed himself and blew up on some people. I really couldn't stop him.

THOMPSON:

You could have shot him before he killed himself.

MARK:

He still would have exploded. They all explode at this point. These vampires are crazy.

THOMPSON looks around, scanning the crowd.

THOMSPON:

Where's Agent GREYSON?

MARK looks confused.

MARK:

I sent her to the Body Dep. to drop off REGGIE.

THOMPSON:

I just checked in with them about that body. They never got his corpse.

MARK:

All that was left was his head. Because he exploded.

THOMPSON:

Well they didn't get that.

MARK:

That's really bizarre.

THOMPSON:

I'll check back in. Maybe she was delayed. You go home, get some rest.

INT: MARK'S HOUSE, KITCHEN, NIGHT.

JULIET is sitting at the table, drinking coffee. MARK is on the phone.

MARK:

MOM, you you find out anything yet?

MARK'S MOM (V.O.):

Yes. The vampires you were hunting actually are part of a power circle of sorts. If I read my books right, there is a way to connect vampires up to a spell-caster and have the spell-caster feed off their power to increase their own.

MARK:

Would this bump the vampires' power up as well?

MARK'S MOM (V.O.):

Actually, yes. Side effect of the connection to the spell-caster. A mutual sharing and boosting of powers.

MARK:

And would this result in vampire connections even after the vamps are dead?

MARK'S MOM (V.O.):

(pause) Maybe... The could be a residual connection for a day or two afterwards, sure.

MARK:

That does help. Somehow. I mean, it connects some dots at least.

MARK'S MOM (V.O.):

Also, about the lycanthropes, I didn't find out anything about teens specifically, but there are a lot of reasons for vampires to hunt lycanthropes. The undead can get a boost in power from the blood. All they have to do is feed regularly on lycanthropes.

MARK:

Okay Mom, thanks. That might explain a few things.

MARK'S MOM (V.O.):

Glad to help.

MARK hangs up the phone.

MARK:

Well, from the sound of it, spell-casters are behind the vampire attacks.

JULIET:

Who?

MARK:

That is the question. I'd figure it's someone close to the case. Are there any spell-casters in the packs?

JULIET:

I've never heard of any of my people using magic. I always assumed our inner beast prevented it somehow. But I'll ask around, just to be sure.

MARK:

Good call... Dammit, I wish I had a clue. Who would be after all this power?

JULIET:

I'm missing something... Who said the casters are trying for power?

MARK:

IVAN did, something about his master and their need for more power. Some sort of elaborate game... (pause) I need to make a call.

MARK picks up the phone again.

SENATOR'S SECRETARY (V.O.):

Senator DAVIS's office.

MARK:

This is MARK JACOBS. I need to speak with the Senator.

SENATOR'S SECRETARY (V.O.):

I'm sorry, the Senator is out of his office. I'll put you through to his AIDE...

SFX: Connecting phone noises

AIDE:

Yes, Mr. Jacobs, how can I help you.

MARK:

If you know, how is IVAN SMITH connected to the situation the senator and I discussed?

AIDE:

The senator informed me on this. He was part of the string of vampires leading back to the source of the connection.

MARK:

Any clue on who the source may be?

AIDE:

No, but we are running a check on the people you work with. We may get a hit with someone at the PHA. If not, we'll have to start tracing connections to the shifter packs.

MARK:

All right... If you guys find out-

AIDE:

The senator is busy now and left me a message that if you were to figure it out before he was ready to deal with it himself, you were to eliminate those responsible.

MARK:

Well, tell the senator that I don't take orders from a vampire. Once I know all that is going on, I'll make up my own mind on who gets killed, if anyone.

MARK hangs up.

JULIET:

You work for vampires?

MARK:

That's a long story. Once we figure all this out, maybe-

SFX: Car door slamming from outside.

MARK looks over, then walks to his front hall.

INT: MARK'S HOUSE, FRONT HALL, NIGHT.

MARK opens his door and then is immediately thrown back by a ZOMBIE. Behind the one zombie, we see a couple other ghouls trying to get out of a car with them mostly falling out, and all over, themselves.

MARK:

How the hell did you drive a car?

ZOMBIE:

Auto... (groan) Pilot...

JULIET comes into the hall to see the commotion, then she throws back her head.

SFX: Wolf howl.

We see sweat stand out on JULIET's forehead and her power begins to build, with fangs slowly growing in her mouth. The ZOMBIE moves over to her, much more lithe than you'd expect from the undead. At the same time, MARK stands and lunges at the ZOMBIE. It easily brushes him off, sending him slamming to the floor, unconscious. JULIET attacks the ZOMBIE, and it fights back, the two throwing punches before slamming into each other and tumbling to the floor. Eventually the zombie pins JULIET down, then takes a needle out of its pocket and slowly, methodically, jams it into her neck. The drugs kick in and JULIET falls asleep. The ZOMBIE then easily scoops her up in one arm and walks off with his load out the door.

SFX: Phone ringing.

Scene fades.

End Part 9:

This section of the script went through the least amount of editing from when I first wrote it. Of course, this script was originally written over 10 years ago, so the primary changes where dropping specific music references for what was playing in the club and just making them generic music cues. Other than that, I mostly just tweaked a few lines, punched up the action a bit, but everything plays out more or less how I wrote it before.

Were we to film all of this, it'd likely be on a small budget, so we'd probably have to tone down the power of the explosion inside the movie theater. Of course, I doubt any public place would actually let us set off real explosions indoors, so a lot of the action pieces in this whole movie would probably have to end differently.

After this, I think we might be into the final stretch of the script. We'll see how the next section breaks down, but I'm not going to end the next chapter right in the middle of the final climactic fight, so we'll either lead right up to the end, or finish it all out next week. Until then...