THE WORK OF KEVIN WILLIAMSON (SCREAM) Teen Scream Heroes and heroines
Gruesome Short Story CONTENT ONLY SUITABLE FOR THOSE 18 YEARS OR OVER
EDITOR’S NOTE Claire Richardson, Editor Hello Fright Fans and welcome to another issue of the Fright Club magazine! So anybody ventured into The Cabin in the Woods yet? If yes; we hope you enjoyed it. If not it’ll be coming to DVD and Blu-ray on the 24th September so keep an eye out. We’re celebrating the film, which has many knowing nods to the genre, by bringing you a quick look at some of the best teen scream heroes and heroines. This includes some of the scream-worthy greats, such as Sydney Prescott and Laurie Strode, but can you guess which is in the number one spot? Tell us if you agree or not on our Facebook page. We’re also taking a look at the work of Kevin Williamson, who brought us great horror movies like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Faculty. And finally we bring you one or two words with… deep breath …Joss Whedon! The horror and sci-fi genre maestro who co-wrote and produced The Cabin in the Woods. That’s all for now folks, just a quick one this time, but we’ll have some more great stuff for you at the darker end of the year when Halloween descends upon us again. So, enjoy, visit us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, on @FrightClubUK. Don’t forget that budding writers can get in touch and have their articles/stories included in the magazine – just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Until next time…
TH E WO RK OF KEVIN WI LLIAM SO N
BY Russ Gomm
JOSS WHEDON INTERVIEW
TEEN SCREAM HEROES
n BY CLAIRE RICHARDSo
GRUESOME SHORT STORY BY MARK BOWSHER
We want your horror stories! To contribute reviews, stories, images or anything else please contact frightclub@ lionsgatefilms.co.uk Fright Club Magazine contains advertisements, views, opinions, and statements of the individuals participating herein. Lions Gate UK Limited and its affiliates do not represent or endorse such advertisements, views, opinions, or statements. Lions Gate UK Limited 60 Charlotte Street London, W1T 2NU © 2012 Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK. All Rights Reserved.
Screamâ€™s Ghostface killer has made a lasting impression on horror audiences
“There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie.” Randy Meeks, Scream By Russ Gomm Can you remember what horror films were like before 1996? Of course you can. They were much the same as always; suspense, shocks, blood and guts. But in 1996 the face of the genre changed forever in one swift move. Nobody saw it coming but when ‘Scream’ was unleashed on audiences it heralded a new era of post-modern cinema that would become a force as unstoppable as the ghost-faced killer of the film itself. Although the power of this trend-setting film is commonly attributed to director Wes Craven (a man who had already dealt with Teen Slashers in his own ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ in 1984 and reassessed the genre with his 1994 selfreferential sequel ‘New Nightmare’) many forget that it all began with a screenplay titled ‘Scary Movie’ by Kevin Williamson. A young Kevin Williamson, obsessed with movies, always dreamed of working in the cinema industry, but after graduating University with a B.A. in Theatre Arts he moved to New York to pursue a career in acting. Moving again, this time to the other coast, Williamson took screenwriting classes at UCLA and wrote his first screenplay ‘Killing Mrs. Tingle’ which was sold in 1995 and later directed by Williamson himself in 1999 as ‘Teaching Mrs. Tingle’. The title change was due to an uproar about teen violence in films after the Columbine High School massacre. It was instantly clear that Williamson had a strong connection with teenage life, something he would go on to explore fully in later scripts for both television and cinema. The villainous character of Mrs. Tingle was based on an experience from his own childhood when a teacher screamed at him regarding his ‘lousy’ writing. It is events like this that clearly shape a man. They
have led to Williamson in keeping a strong bond with his own past, drawing from his memories and personal experience to write scripts to captivate a teenage audience who were tired of seeing the same old perspective. What these viewers wanted was something new and fresh, something they could relate to. What they got was the most original and dynamic horror film of recent years. Williamson explains quite simply how his style of writing was born and how he defined his own originality in cinema - “I like emotional horror. If I can care and root for the main character, then I’m in. I don’t like stupid stories about people I don’t know. Like ‘Halloween’ in 1978, there’s this one girl, Jamie Lee Curtis, who’s that young, sweet girl, in the midst of all of this, and you just root for her and feel for her, all the way through the chase scene. You have to figure out how to do that and care for the characters.” Funnily enough, Williamson actually credits ‘Halloween’ as the reason he started writing.
And so it was, Williamson took his own advice and sat down with pen and paper and began writing about what he knew and what he wanted to see on-screen. The result was the screenplay for ‘Scary Movie’ soon to be re-titled ‘Scream’. Being a fan of the films which involved audience participation made Williamson want to make a film where the audience literally screamed at the characters onscreen, but these movies had dried up a long time ago. It was because this style of film had passed that Williamson knew it was time to create something new. It came down to the discovery of what would be the next wave of horror films. Williamson decided that his film would comment on all of those films he loved so much. He says “You know teenagers are so savvy and smart. VCRs and the Blockbuster generation had surfaced. They know these films like the back of their hands. What if they used their knowledge of these films and found themselves in the same situation, what would happen?”
“There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie.” By Russ Gomm
This picture makes you wonder what they’re looking at... What indeed? Well for a start, the characters knowledge of their situation created a scarily original vision of horror. Something that audiences knew was special and could easily relate to. It is this simplicity that makes the film even more powerful on so many levels. All of the characters in ‘Scream’ are based so perfectly in reality that most viewers will actually be able to relate to one or more of their on-screen counterparts. The most exciting character for many was that of Randy, perfectly played by Jamie Kennedy. Although many of us want to be the cool kid in movies, we are in fact closer to his character than most because he is the ‘normal’ down to earth character who basically geeks out over horror films and his vast cinema knowledge. Sounds like a lot of people I know (myself
included). Williamson cleverly promoted Randy as the coolest character in the movie which in turn made people feel good about themselves in real life; powerful psychology that you might not expect from a horror movie.
frightening. We can all join in the fun when they talk about things we actually know about and we can take part in the film because the characters invite us to join them because of the way Williamson created them.
Along with wonderfully realistic and cinematically exciting characters, Williamson also brought his soon to become trademark dialogue and sly cleverness to the screen with a huge dose of post-modernism and reference. He did what he set out to do and created an old fashioned horror film with updated sensibilities and turned the genre into something new and fresh. The fact that all of the horrific events are going on in a world that we can understand makes it all the more special and all the more
And so Williamson’s style was born and set in stone from just one screenplay and a year later Williamson took his own work to the next level. Only Williamson would be able to create a sequel where the main characters are living in a world where ‘Scream’ is a reality and has been made into a movie called ‘Stab’ – directed by none other than Robert Rodriguez. Discussions on how sequels ruined the horror genre, having the killers attempting to make a real life sequel to ‘Stab’ and creating a new set of ‘rules’ for the
3 characters to follow were just some of the tricks that Williamson had up his sleeve. If ‘Scream’ showed that Kevin Williamson was a man who had a fantastic idea, ‘Scream 2’ showed his real flair for variety and an ability to keep the audience on the edge of their seat and continually shock and surprise them. Something horror movies had stopped doing for a while. ‘Scream 2’ happened relatively fast, being put into production while ‘Scream’ was still in theatres. The movie was a huge success and also had completely revitalised the genre. Williamson had always hoped for a sequel and when he auctioned his original ‘Scary Movie’ screenplay to the studios it actually came with a five page treatment for the follow up movie. Smart thinking there! By the time Dimension Films put ‘Scream 2’ into action, Williamson already had 42 pages of the plot developed. Unfortunately by the time filming began, the original screenplay which dealt with four killers was suddenly leaked onto the internet revealing both the plot and the identity of the killers to the public. The production continued with a partial script while Williamson was busy with extensive re-writes. All was not lost and Williamson created a film even more scary and enjoyable than the first; something so rare in this genre. For a fun cameo, look out for Kevin Williamson as the man interviewing Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) near the beginning of the film. And whilst on the subject of cameos – yes that is Wes Craven dressed as Freddy mopping the halls in ‘Scream’. And very interestingly Matthew Lillard who played Stu in ‘Scream’ can be seen talking to Mickey at the first party in ‘Scream 2’. It’s a lot of fun knowing that the film is set in our world, the world as seen through the eyes of
Williamson. After the success of both ‘Scream’ movies, the world was very aware that Kevin Williamson was the new guy in horror; someone with a serious voice and a talent for good characters and scenarios. It was from here that Jamie Lee Curtis asked Williamson out to lunch for a meeting regarding a new Halloween film that she had ideas about. By this point Williamson was busy with his commitments in pre-production for the first season of his new show ‘Dawson’s Creek’, but he promised a favour to her – that he would write the treatment for the new movie. Williamson met with new associates the Weinstein brothers to pitch his treatment, unaware that a stand-alone script was already underway. Due to the success of the first two ‘Scream’ movies it was decided that writer Robert Zappia would cease work on his story and flesh out the new treatment by Williamson.
of their situation and the world of horror around them. Teens with real problems, and indeed adults with their own problems too, really helped to elevate this seventh episode in the long running series. Without Williamson’s refreshing new take on the franchise it would never have been as cool and clever as it was. How ironic though that Williamson became involved in the franchise that originally had got him interested in screenwriting in the first place. In my opinion he crafted the most original, exciting and accessible film since John Carpenter’s original, and as Williamson himself points out “You can probably pick out my moments if you know my work”.
Almost a year passed with Zappia working on re-writes of ‘Halloween: H20’ with draft notes given by Williamson. Matt Greenberg was hired to help finish the shooting script and Williamson gave the script a once-over, tweaking dialogue and adding his final touches. Unfortunately Williamson didn’t receive any writing credit for his work on ‘H20’ due to rules imposed by the Writers Guild of America. The producers were not allowed to give him an onscreen credit because so much time had passed since his original treatment but to show gratitude and honour his work, Williamson was given a Co-Executive Producer credit on the film.
After completely re-inventing the slasher flick with the previously mentioned movies, the 1997 teen horror ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ the opportunity to reach out to a different genre appeared. Just like his previous work, Williamson now gave new blood to the Sci-Fi genre with ‘The Faculty’. Teen science fiction was not a big deal at the time but the solution was simple. Take a group of fresh young adults and throw them into a scenario where aliens are trying to take over the world. But bring it back to reality by making them fully aware of what is going on because they have a vast knowledge of science fiction in popular culture. And it worked. Each character was unique and had something to say. Audience members were invited to pick a character that they could relate to, and thanks once again to Williamson’s connection with his teenage years, the film stood head and shoulders above the majority of teen scream fare.
‘Halloween: H20’ feels fresh and exciting and is rooted deep in Williamsons world of horror. Just as ‘Scream’ was post-modern and ironic so indeed was this. The story was full of characters aware
Interestingly ‘The Faculty’ seems to have another odd story behind its genesis. The screenplay was originally written by David Wechter and Bruce Kimmel who had both seen small projects produced
4 several years before. Dimension films were looking for a film with aliens and high school kids and The Faculty came up. Dimension purchased the screenplay and immediately handed it to Williamson for a new draft, partly due to needing an update and partly due to Williamson’s name being bankable. The two writers seemed pleased with the final result though, Wechter points out “He kept the basic story but he rewrote all the dialogue, made the teenagers more hip and created several new characters.” Williamson was originally going to direct ‘The Faculty’ but moved off to direct ‘Teaching Mrs. Tingle’ instead and left directorial duties to Robert Rodriguez. Another writer and friend of Williamson’s – George Huang was brought in to work on several re-writes. Williamson explains “I was always nervous about ‘The Faculty’ because it’s such a big special effects science-fiction movie, a genre I know nothing about”. Despite this, the screenplay is clearly very heavily Williamsons and with his trademark flair and creative talent the movie stands up as another piece of cinema which was powerful and re-defined the genre and style of teen sci-fi. At the end of the 90s Williamson had begun to move away from cinema and concentrate on his television series. Due to these commitments Williamson was unable to write ‘Scream 3’ but he did offer the story of the film. Writing duties this time were taken over by Ehren Kruger who discarded many of Williamson’s notes which led to a troubled production. Williamson reunited with Wes Craven in 2005 with his screenplay for ‘Cursed’ which again had a troubled production. It took another six years for Williamson’s name to return to the big screen. As for ‘Scream 4’; that story is best left alone for now. It would prob-
“There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie.” By Russ Gomm
High school was never this tough...unless you’re in The Faculty ably make a whole article on its own. I love it; it’s a lot of fun. But there are so many rumours surrounding the writing and Williamson’s involvement in the film. Some say he fought with Bob Weinstein and was fired, others say that isn’t the case. Who knows? Maybe time will tell and if and when there comes a time for ‘Scream 5’ perhaps the truth will come out. All I want to say about it with regards to this article is that you only have to watch the opening scene to realise that Williamson knows exactly what he is doing. He knows how to play with genre expectations and create excitement from our own knowledge of post-modernism and meta-movie moments. Williamson knew exactly how to update the ‘Scream’ series for the new generation proving himself to be a genius writer with his finger clearly on the pulse of society. So this is the story of how one man with a passion to create something fresh and exciting changed the face of the horror genre for good by turning the ‘teen slasher’ movie on its head. Through just a few years and a handful of movies Williamson took something that had been done to death and breathed a completely new life into it. It wasn’t until his arrival that film makers and audiences all realised that there was a much wider scope in the genre to be explored. From the early days of slasher movies through to the mid-90s we had seen it all. There are only so many ways you can murder teens before it gets old. Where filmmakers were looking at trying to up the shocks by making more bloody and gruesome pieces of cinema they didn’t realise there was only so far you could go before the audience would be lost. It was Williamson’s ability to dissect the situation and genre that really did change the way films are crafted and the way the audience view them. Realising that instead of trying to make films more gory and over the top, all you really needed was to create a captivating story with some believable characters that audiences would relate to. The fact that he uncovered this equation seems so simple, and not only did it work in creating the brand new style of horror, it also bridged the gap between horror and other genres that are perhaps seen as more worthy. All it really took was assessing good film skills and employing them to films which had perhaps lacked in them before.
JOSS WHEDON INTERVIEW
It doesn’t take an expert to work out that the darkly inventive minds behind The Cabin In The Woods belong to fans of horror movies. Producer Joss Whedon is best known for Buffy The Vampire Slayer on television, and Serenity on the big screen while director Drew Goddard co-wrote the smash Cloverfield. And together they have written this film, breathing new life into a genre staple of nubile teens looking for fun in a remote yet creepy country location and getting a whole lot more attention from the undead, the twisted and the sheer psychotic than they ever bargained for. Watch closely and you will recognise nods to plenty of chilling 70s flicks from Halloween to Friday The 13th, where familiar horror rules were first established only for them to be neatly deconstructed here in the most terrifying of ways. “I was more of a John Carpenter, Wes Craven kind of guy,” says the softly spoken Whedon. “I remember the first Friday the 13th well, but it started to become like a series of killings and not a film. In a way that’s the devolution of the horror film that this movie is about.” That’s when horror raised the gore factor and exchanged plotting for shorthand, the so-called rules that meant copulating couples had to be punished by a killer in a hockey mask. “I mean the rules are what they are, they’re part of the film,” Whedon adds. “I have a problem with a few of them, mainly where people act like complete idiots. But I love the idea of people going to a dark, terrible place, just as I loved it when Hansel and Gretel did it.” That reference serves as a reminder that storytellers have been creeping out audiences for as long as stories have been told.
6 JOSS WHEDON INTERVIEW
“I don’t know anybody who works in horror who has successfully explained why horror is necessary or at all redeemable,” Whedon smiles. “Yet I think it is both of those things. I love it. But it is absolutely a real conflict within yourself, because if the movie is well made you’re rooting for the people to survive while desperately wanting them to be in more and more scary situations. “Horror is about being afraid. When the horror movie began to devolve into a murder movie, a kill pic, that’s where it gets sad. There was a time in horror films where people died, but they were character stories. They were more about the dread of something than about the thing itself.”
Don’t they know you should never go into the creepy basement… In The Cabin In The Woods there is not only a rationale for the grisly goings on, but a pretty inventive one that harks right back to the gruesome side of humanity willing to sacrifice one to save many. This serves not only to support the story as it unfolds on screen, but to hold a mirror to the audience who in some ways are just like the regular guys with highly irregular jobs played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford. Their scenes also offer some much needed relief from the relentless tension and mounting apprehension that faces our five young victims heroes – who include Thor star Chris Hemsworth – in the aforementioned wood based cabin. And it underlines how closely comedy and horror co-exist, as a scene might build to a suspenseful peak only to lead to false shock that produces a relieved laugh that in turn moves into a bigger fright still. It’s a fine line but one that Whedon and Goddard’s film treads expertly.
7 JOSS WHEDON INTERVIEW
I have felt in my life. It’s something that I write about all the time.” But the headlines will inevitably belong to star Chris Hemsworth, who shot this film before his starmaking turn in Thor, and then after The Cabin In The Woods reunited with Joss Whedon as his director to reprise the God of Thunder role for Marvel blockbuster The Avengers.
A new way of tackling a horror menace… “You know, it is a very fine line. Luckily it’s not a jarring thing to go from horror to comedy, people expect a certain amount of humour in a horror movie – these days anyway – and I do think they’re very similar in that it’s often an unexpected moment. “But it is also very easy to topple off into camp. I loathe camp. For years people would say ‘I love Buffy, it’s so camp!’ and I would just glare at them because it was the exact opposite of what I was trying to do. “With a movie like this it does get just bizarre, and where Drew and I are having so much fun the trick is to make sure that we’re not having so much fun that everything else stops. With a horror movie in particular there are times when you must shut the hell up, to just be scary.” And so it is, The Cabin In The Woods is every bit as scary as it needs to be, though like most well directed horror films it’s less explicitly horrific than you might remember after seeing it.
“There’s definitely gore in this movie, some horrible things happen, but there’s nowhere near as much as in the George Romero films, or a Paul Verhoeven movie. There’s a certain amount of restraint, because Drew, like me is somewhat old school and the horror he wanted to evoke is something like Halloween. People get stabbed and whatnot, but it’s not limbs flying about.” Underpinning it all is a story founded in a self contained logic, and the strength of the characters who are introduced to the audience. One of the most appealing among the hapless group is the wisecracking stoner Marty played by Fran Kranz. “I liked that character the most,” grins Whedon, “because I believe that I’ve been that character most of my life. Whatever situation I was in it was never about me, I was just the guy commenting on it. And the person that nobody takes seriously being the only person in the room who knows what’s going on is something that
“There’s a lovely symmetry to the whole thing,” Whedon notes, “because when we were doing Cabin Kenneth Branagh called me to ask me about Chris, because he was considering him for Thor. “And then when I was first on The Avengers I had to get Ken on the phone to ask him about Chris as Thor, and about Tom Hiddleston too, and he walked me through that. So it was a nice little flip. “Chris is so much fun to work with, he’s such a good guy. He’s just a very happy, centred guy. So it did not surprise me in the slightest. The moment we shot his first low angled close up both me and Drew went ‘oh yeah, he’s a movie star,’. Pretty soon everybody else was saying the same thing.” Most pleasing for Joss Whedon, one suspects, has been the fruitful working relationship with Drew Goddard on The Cabin In The Woods. They go back a decade or more, collaborating on various hit series and now a smart and chilling movie, and on this form you would not rule out the possibility of them working together again. “We are very similar,” Whedon
8 JOSS WHEDON INTERVIEW
explains. “We both have a passion and a joy in the thing – neither of us is afraid to be completely out of control. But there are also differences. Just given the fact that he’s 10 years younger than I am, the things that we do in our spare time are very different. “It’s great to have that sort of back and forth, as well as the simpatico, to have a little bit of the flavour where that’s Drew and that’s me. There was a point where he was still in the editing room and I was shooting an episode of Glee right before I started The Avengers. “He called me, he was doing the sound mix and said he’d play me some stuff but said he was having trouble hearing because he’d been listening to monster roars all day. I said I couldn’t hear very well either, because I’d been listening to Glee all day. And he was like ‘that, Joss, is the difference between you and I,’.”
TEEN SCREAM HEROES AND HEROINES
BY CLAIRE RICHARDSON
College is supposed to be a time to learn and grow, go to the occasional party and to figure out what you want to do with your life. That’s not the case for Natalie, who also has to contend with a hooded villain who wants her to watch all of her friends drop dead around her before taking her out too. No wonder she seems so sad. What makes this particular situation worse is that when she reports the murders, no one believes her because the killer has based all of the killings on well known urban legends and moves the bodies to a different location to hide them. What a meanie. So with everyone thinking she’s either crazy or has an overactive imagination, Natalie must deal with the urban legend loving serial killer alone…well almost, her potential crush is tagging along too, but only because he thinks he can get a story for the student paper. What a romantic way to spend a first date.
t if you quickly discover that there is a nest of Moving to a new town is difficult enough, but wha Sam and his brother Michael who have to deal with vampires to deal with? Well, spare a thought for ing face to face with Santa Carla’s band of the just that. They’re in town for only a day before com that no time at all poor Sam is dealing with the fact undead, led by vampire Kiefer Sutherland, and in osed to do? Well Sam decides to join forces supp he at’s Wh . them of one g min beco is her his big brot to Frog brothers to do battle with the nest and try with local monster experts/comic book kids, the save Michael.
Everyone has their fair share of bad neighbours but I think Char lie Brewster’s may take the crown. He is a Vampire, terrorising the neighbourhood in the dead of night and basically making Charlie’s life miserable. I mean, Jerry (yes, the vamp ire is named Jerry) turns Charlie’s former best friend into one of the undead and then steals his girlfriend. The villain. While this is all very bad stuff indeed, it spurs Charlie on to face his neigh bourhood nemesis and bring out his inner vampire-slayer. With the help of famous ‘vampire-h unter’ Peter Vincent, Charlie begins to learn that popularity isn’t the most important thing in his life. I think I may cry.
inal flight 180, who then had to try to cheat Clear Rivers was one of the survivors of the orig r living in a mental hospital fearing that death with her friends. In the sequel we see Clea ivors find themselves on death’s hit-list, death is still after her. When another group of surv tion to help them beat death’s design. This is Clear forces herself out of her self-imposed isola s what could happen to her, but she still goes what puts her on this list, the fact that she know to help anyway. Well done Clear!
TEEN SCREAM HEROES AND HEROINES
Deputy Dewey may seem like your average eager to please, slightly too green law enforcement officer who is in way over his head, but he proves himself to be something more when the ghost-faced killer descends upon Woodsborough. When his friends are threatened Dewey plays his part and steps in to help, even though in two of the Scream movies he ends up on the wrong end of a killer’s knife. Stabbed in the back (literally) in the first movie, he continues to help in the second, where he once again, finds himself with some new wounds to add. Throwing himself into the fray seems to be what Dewey does best so unsurprisingly this trend continues in the third and fourth movies. Our hero!
stalked by a slicker-wearing psycho armed with a big In this movie and its sequel Julie James and her friends are down a man on a deserted road and then cover it up, nasty hook. When Julie and her friends accidentally knock with it. Not so. The following year they are taunted they then make the crucial error of believing they got away are then stalked and killed one by one with only Julie with letters saying “I know what you did last summer” and then becomes the target of the same psycho, who and her on again, off again boyfriend Ray left standing. Julie sequel which brings about more revenge carnage. this time brings his son along for the ride in the inevitable This guy’s really not happy with her.
Before taking off for a high school trip to France, Alex has a vision. He experiences a disaster on board the plane which leads to everyone on board being killed. When he gets off the doomed craft, followed by a few friends and a teacher he realises the true nature of what he’s seen and quickly learns that they are not being let off so easily. So, that’s all bad enough but what follows is worse. Yeah, masked serial killers are scary enough in most films, but Alex and co aren’t facing something so ‘mundane’, they are facing death itself and death doesn’t like its plans to be messed up. Trying to learn what death’s game plan is becomes a fight for survival as Alex watches death take his fellow survivors one by one until it’s his turn to face the Grim Reaper.
TEEN SCREAM HEROES AND HEROINES
Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen…
Whoever said babysitting was easy obviously hasn’t seen this little horror gem. Jamie Lee Curtis stars as Laurie Strode, the teenage girl who is charged with looking after some kids on Halloween night. Scary stuff? An evening of watching TV is ruined when escaped murderer Michael Myers returns to his hometown and begins stalking Laurie and killing those around her. Though it’s clear that Mr. Myers underestimated this teenager, as he’s still trying to kill her in all of the sequels!
TEEN SCREAM HEROES AND HEROINES
It takes someone with great survival skills, great horror movie knowledge or just an immense amount of luck to survive a horror film. It takes someone like Sydney Prescott to survive an entire horror franchise. As the central target of various serial killers (including boyfriends and half-siblings) with various motivations (mostly revenge, but some are just generally p*****-off ), some may view Sydney as a bad luck charm, since everyone around her seems to end up on a masked killer’s hit list, you can’t ignore the fact that she’s still standing and still armed with a witty comeback even after 4 films worth of carnage. Go Sydney!
I Killed Tristan Metcalf and Here's How I Did It
By Mark Bowsher
Nobody hated Justin Felderman more than Justin Felderman. Even the rag that had called him “a moronically introverted, suicide-obsessed amateur with all the talent of a pile of s*** but with less of the appeal” hated him less than the man himself did. But this was not really surprising. Felderman was an intriguingly detestable artist with a completely unremarkable career. Completely unremarkable up to the point where we join his story, of course. Felderman filled his world with grey, misty paintings of despair and coarse, clumsy sculptures of pained figures. And the running theme throughout his work was suicide. He continued to produce such morbid work, blissfully unaware that what he was doing had already been done to death by hoards of untalented art students, which is in essence what he was. But if there was one person who hated Felderman almost as much as himself it was that buffoon from the bluetop – Tristan Metcalf: His elongated career suicide has been a nauseating freakshow for all to endure. I can offer only one bit of advice to a man so artistically and unjustifiably obsessed with suicide: Just get it over with. Felderman was not a happy bunny. It was this review that pushed him over the edge. His preoccupation with suicide was gone. All he wanted to do was wallow in his own angst and self-pity for the rest of his days in the comfort of his own prison cell. Oh, and he’d be in prison because he was going to murder Tristan Metcalf. Completely murder him. The only question was how. It couldn’t be quick and it certainly had to be painful. One night, as he perused Metcalf ’s review, the dusty air willing him to blink but his enraged mind refusing to let him take his eyes off the page for one second, he came up with an idea. For two months he prepared. He took up sewing classes. He researched rudimentary surgery. He rang the bluetop, pretending to be a courier delivering to Metcalf ’s home and blagged the receptionist into giving him his address from their personnel records. Sleight of hand at Metcalf ’s gym allowed him to take his key, copy it at the cutters’ by the tube station and return it to his bag within the hour. Now he was ready. On the evening of October 26th, Justin Felderman entered Metcalf ’s flat, made his preparations and waited in the immaculate white oak kitchen. He’d been nervous at first, struggling with the key in the lock and almost slipping on a purple envelope on the mat, but now calm had descended over him. At 8.17pm, an hour later than he had anticipated, he heard Metcalf enter the flat. As he entered Metcalf turned and beheld Justin Felderman, slowly advancing on him. The chloroform worked fast. In an hour the bloody work was done. But Metcalf was not dead yet. Not in the slightest.
I Killed Tristan Metcalf and Here’s How I Did It
The first thing that happens when most people awake is that they open their eyes . This did not happen with Tristan Metcalf. They were already open and he had not the means of shutting them ever again. In the preceding hour, Metcalf had been transformed. Felderman had stripped him naked, hacked off some of his hair and sat him on the floor, hugging his knees against his chest, his hands over his head. He took a needle and surgical thread and started to sew. He sewed his hands together and then the flesh above his elbows on his forearms he sewed to his knees. Finally, he sliced off his eyelids. The critic’s eyes merely focussed as the effects of the chloroform wore off and he awoke. All he could do was look down in terror. He became aware of the pain and screamed. The sight of feet in front of him answered his cry. The man knelt and a blank face stared back. He held two items. The first, his glasses, were placed on his head so he could focus on the second, which was slid in front of him. A copy of his review. The critic realised who the man standing over him was just a moment before his throat was cut. Metcalf had no choice but to stare down as his own blood dribbled out of his body to be soaked up by the paper that those harsh words he wrote were printed on. ***** A taxi delivered Felderman and a large box to the East Wing of the gallery at 11.03pm. The gallery had allowed him 24 hour access to prepare the day before. He set to work. Once he was convinced that he couldn’t improve on the composition any more he stripped off, made sure his arms and face were covered in as much of Metcalf ’s blood as possible, handcuffed himself and then took his place. The time came and the critics were unleashed upon the East Wing. The look of shock on their faces was unbelievable. The mutilated corpse was the centrepiece. It sat there hunched on the floor, hands behind his head, like it was crying into the ground. But then you saw its bare, wide eyes staring at the blood-soaked review on the floor. Neatly set out in front of the body were a number of items, each with a short piece of text explaining what they were: The key to Metcalf ’s flat, the bloody knife, the needle, the thread and the chloroform. And the last thing they saw was the title, carved into Felderman’s chest:
I killed Tristan Metcalf and here’s how I did it... It was a storm. Never had the work of the ”vermin of the contemporary art” (another Metcalf quote for you there) provoked such a positive reaction. It was proclaimed a work of genius. The smell, they said, was particularly convincing. The man himself was bewildered. He stood there, a tragic figure lost in his own passionate, murderous expression, mystified by its success. ***** In the following weeks the naysayers emerged from the woodwork, saying details of the murder were unconvincing. Most thought Metcalf was in cahoots with Felderman when they found out he was meant to be going on
I Killed Tristan Metcalf and Here’s How I Did It
extended leave to Cuba the day after his ‘death’ anyway. They awaited his return, as did the blue-top, who were furious at him for going against editorial’s policy of “never giving THAT W****R a break”. Meanwhile, Felderman’s pent-up aggression slowly ebbed away from him as became the toast of the artistic community. There was also pressure for him to create more masterpieces. He toyed briefly with the idea of faking the murders but it was the particularly life-like corpse that had gone down so well before. So late one night he found himself in a leafy suburban street in Surrey waiting for Peter Tennant, art critic for the other lefty rag, to return home. Tennant had been less witty than Metcalf in his criticism but had still managed to offend him pretty well: His work lacks talent or originally but despite his popularity Justin Fielderman poses no threat to his contemporaries. He strangled the man in his own dimly-lit driveway and the next day his naked dead body was on display, sitting at a table, wide-eyed, open apparently dribble-strewn mouth, sitting at a table at chest level. Letters cut from his skin floated on top of the bloody soup in a bowl. Splattered in front of the bowl fleshy letters spelt:
I CAM SPELL Caroline Miller at the Art Journal was of course next for her infamous, scathing and deliberately short review: I see no reason to waste more than a few syllables on that cretin. Some say he is a genius. I do not see it. He presented her dead body upstanding, nailed to a sheet of wood, arms outstretched decorated with her own entrails, a corkscrew in each eye. On her chest he scratched the words:
Do you see it now?
He thought it was very witty but the critics were getting lukewarm about his art. They all felt that his latest works missed the punch of the original. Families of the critics were becoming suspicious too. Unlike Metcalf, who didn’t really have any family aside an estranged brother in Manchester, Tennant and Miller’s families were beginning to get concerned. It was only a few months after I Killed Tristan Metcalf so there was still a chance it would transpire to be the hoax everybody claimed it so obviously was. Besides, the police were reluctant to be involved in any kind of publicity stunt. As for Justin Felderman himself, he was confused. He yearned for his prison cell of exquisite torment but fame had begun to seduce him. It was getting harder and harder to think up ways of killing off his critics and he was also aware that he would eventually run out of them. One day, he had an unexpected visitor. He invited the old, olive-tinted man to sit down at his table. His name was Edgar Armandez and this is what he told Justin Felderman about himself: They say I don’t have long. Two, maybe three months. I feel myself aging with every day. But I came here to Britain, all the way here to see you. I see your art and it makes me cry. I have believed my whole life in the freedom of expression and you more than anybody encapsulate that.
16 I Killed Tristan Metcalf and Here’s How I Did It Everything he had said was true. He also said that he had read about a German anatomist who had asked people to donate their bodies to him after death so he could turn them into art. He understood that Felderman must be doing the same thing and that he was offering himself up to him for the same purpose. For the first time in that callous b*****d’s life, Felderman felt uncomfortable about exploiting another person’s suffering for his own gain. But he soon came round to the idea and expressed his concerns to the old man that people were becoming more and more cynical about the plausibility of the murders he had ‘faked’. Armandez asked if previous donors had helped fake their murders. Felderman lied and said he liked to keep his donors anonymous so that he didn’t form emotional attachments to them. Armandez smiled and said he was willing to help. First, the piece itself. They would flaunt controversy. Armandez’s body would be nailed to a crucifix. He would hang there naked and dead. A piece of paper would be safety-pinned to the flesh across his chest displaying an audition number. A panel of shop window dummies, set up to look like reality TV judges, would be sat in front of him. Above their heads would be low scores printed on Perspex so the audience, who the judges would have their backs to, could read them clearly. And on a board nailed above Armandez’s bowed head, stretching out further than the width of his arms, would be the following words:
I AM NOT FAMOUS. I DIED FOR NOTHING. Now the method. It had to be more convincing than before. Armandez posed for photographs of the ‘murder scene’ which took place in his hotel room. They took photo after photo, scrutinizing each one until they were perfect. A friend of Armandez‘s had studied forensics up north somewhere and agreed to check over the photos to see if they looked convincing. He even produced some fake forensic reports on the murder, taking samples of Armandez’s blood to make sure he listed his type correctly. Then one morning Felderman visited Edgar Armandez in his hotel room and found him dead. He felt a jolt of sadness. But no. This is what the old man had asked for. Nails he bore through dead skin and cold blood soaked into wood. The dummies, the scores, the photos, the reports, they were all set. The next morning the critics arrived. There was silence, just like the first time, but it was different. They believed. But the problem was, they believed too much. People looked ill. Some left. The smirk on Felderman’s face grew. He had truly shocked them, he thought. And he was right. Just before Justin Felderman went to greet who he thought were his adoring fans he looked over to see Edgar’s friend, the one who had helped with the forensic reports. He walked towards him but that face just stared blankly back. He made no move towards Felderman. There was something he hadn’t seen there before in the way he looked at him. What was that accent? Manchester? His face was suddenly familiar. Younger, thinner nose, black rather than grey hair and no glasses, but the resemblance was still there. Nathan Metcalf had indeed studied forensics. In fact he passed his degree 46 months ago. It was now the field he was employed in. He turned away from Justin Felderman but there was no need for him to call the police.
17 I Killed Tristan Metcalf and Here’s How I Did It A maid at Armandez’s hotel had discovered his room covered in blood. If she had seen the photos at Felderman’s exhibit she would have seen an exact match. Almost as if they had been taken there that very morning. The police had asked the maid if anybody had visited Mr. Armandez recently. She said he had only had one visitor in his whole time at the hotel. Metcalf had always visited Felderman and Armandez at the former’s apartment although he had visited the latter’s hotel room. Armandez had passed on his key to Metcalf as well as directions to an unattended back entrance. Metcalf had also made sure that it was Felderman who had written up the forensic reports that morning so, he said, that the ink looked fresh. He took the originals that he had prepared. Justin Felderman was handcuffed and escorted out of the gallery and on to the front pages. ***** One morning, Prisoner 17202 received a package. Inside the package was an envelope. Of course the envelope then seemed redundant until he noticed it was an old letter. Also, the address wasn’t his. The address he knew and suddenly he remembered his brief encounter with this object before. He hadn’t noticed the stamps from Cuba on it then. Written on the outside in familiar handwriting were these words:
I deliver to you the letter you prevented him from ever reading.
He opened the purple envelope. The letter within was full of heartfelt words but you need read no more than this to understand:
To My Dearest Tristan,
I know by the time you read this it will be no more than a few days until you come to me but I still felt compelled to write to you. I miss you more than I can find the words to express in English. Time is precious in what will probably be my last few months and I desire nothing more than to have you here to hold. It was signed: Edgar He understood. In that moment any delusion he’d had of relishing that glorious feeling of self-pity for the rest of his days melted away. His mind became infected with a far more powerful and infinitely more painful emotion. As I have mentioned before, nobody hated Justin Felderman more than one person. Unfortunately for him, he was the one locked in a cell with him.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.