This is an excerpt (first 20 pages) of a completed screenplay.

"Dark Visitor" - screenplay by Derek Paterson. Muffled sounds of a FIGHT between a man and woman. The woman's getting the crap slapped out of her, she cries out with every blow. Furniture gets moved around. A body hits the floor with a thump. FADE IN: INT. DONNER'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT DONNER (30) surfaces from sleep, awakened by the noise. It's coming from through the wall. He lies there and listens for a moment. The woman SCREAMS. It's enough. Donner gets out of bed, dressed in tee shirt and boxers, and heads for the door. He wrenches the door open and exits. INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT Donner stalks to his neighbor's door. He doesn't knock, he just kicks it open, splitting the door frame, and goes right on in. INT. LINDA'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Donner finds a BIG GUY standing over LINDA (20s) who's on the floor, trying to push herself up. Both are fully clothed. Let's call the big guy GODZILLA -- we never do get to know his name. Godzilla turns in time to meet Donner's angry fist. The punch spins him around. Donner hits him again. Godzilla falls down. Linda looks up at Donner, dazed and hurt. She isn't quite sure who he is but he isn't hurting her so that's good. Donner looks down at her, sympathy in his expression -- but only for a moment. Then he remembers Godzilla. Godzilla pushes himself up. Donner hits him. And hits him. Every bone-shaking punch drives Godzilla away from Linda and out of the apartment. INT. STAIRWAY - NIGHT Donner throws Godzilla downstairs. Every time Godzilla tries to stand up, Donner hits him again. Godzilla's face is starting to look like pizza. EXT. DONNER'S APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT The street's empty at this time of night. Only a few lights show in the building. A pile of plastic garbage bags sits at the curb waiting for collection. Godzilla reels into frame, lands on the garbage bags. He tries to get up. Donner makes sure he doesn't. Donner isn't angry, he's cold as ice, punishing the piece of shit for beating up a girl. A PATROL CAR draws up, lights flashing. TWO COPS watch Donner dispensing wild justice. They switch off the lights. One of the cops leans out his window. COP #1 Need any help, detective? Donner lands a haymaker. Godzilla goes down and stays down, bleeding all over the sidewalk. DONNER Just taking out some garbage. The cops accept this without comment, and drive away. INSERT: Linda's apartment window. Linda opens the blinds and looks down at what's happening below. Donner closes his eyes, breathes the night air. DONNER (CONT'D) I ever see you again, I'll kill you. He turns his back on the garbage and goes back inside. INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT Linda stands at her door, waiting for Donner. She holds a bag of frozen peas against her face. LINDA How come they didn't arrest you? Donner gently pulls her hand away from her face and inspects the damage. Not too bad. He puts her hand (and the bag of frozen peas) back again. She winces with the pain. DONNER You'll live. LINDA You're a cop, aren't you? DONNER You got something against cops? LINDA That depends on the cop. (beat) Thanks. She puts a wealth of feeling into the word. DONNER I just hate being woken up, that's all. LINDA I'm sorry. DONNER Don't be. Not your fault. He looks at her split door frame. DONNER (CONT'D) Sorry I made a mess. LINDA Don't be. Not your fault. I'll get the maintenance guy to fix it in the morning. DONNER Morning's a long way away. (beat) I got a couch. You're welcome to it. LINDA I bet you pick up lots of girls with that line. DONNER All the time. Who was he? Husband, boyfriend, or what? LINDA He was a mistake. Forget about him. DONNER I got pillows and blankets, too. She considers the offer. Well, her door lock is bust... LINDA Let me get a couple of things. She disappears inside. INT. DONNER'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Donner enters and turns on the lights. Holds the door open for Linda. She looks around. It's surprisingly tidy. He closes and locks the door. Shows her the key. DONNER You want out, here's the key. He introduces her to the couch. DONNER (CONT'D) It's not much to look at, but it's comfortable, and it's clean. She puts her stuff down. She brought her purse, a football shirt six sizes too big, her toothbrush and a travel bag. LINDA What about you? Married, girlfriend, or what? DONNER No one's going to wake you up in the middle of the night and ask what the hell you're doing here, if that's what you mean. LINDA Just thought I'd ask. He fetches pillows and blankets. Then points to the doors leading off the living room. DONNER Kitchen. Bathroom. Bedroom. I usually get up around seven. I'll try not to make too much noise. LINDA Don't worry about me, I'll be awake anyway. I promise I won't peek. I'll turn out the lights before I go to sleep. DONNER Sure. Goodnight. Donner heads for the bedroom. LINDA I'm Linda. Donner stops. A "d'oh" moment. DONNER Donner. LINDA You got a first name? DONNER I'd have to look it up. Nobody ever uses it. LINDA Thanks, Donner. Donner nods and exits to the bedroom. INT. DONNER'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT Donner settles down again. He places his gun on the bedside table, ready in case he needs it. Then turns out the light. A beat. He turns the light back on. Takes his backup gun and hides it under his pillow. Turns the light out again. DISSOLVE TO: INT. DONNER'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY Donner opens the bedroom door and looks out. Linda's fast asleep on the couch, tucked up beneath the blankets. She left the lights on all night. Donner tip-toes to the bathroom for his shower. INT. DONNER'S APARTMENT - BATHROOM - DAY Donner buries his head under the hot shower spray. The bathroom door opens. Donner can't see anything through the fogged shower screen, but he senses the movement. His hand snakes up and draws a huge KILLING KNIFE from a sheath hanging from the rail. Some people have soap on a rope, Donner is more practical. He opens the screen. Linda sits on the john having a pee, with her too-big football shirt hitched up to her waist. LINDA Don't mind me. Donner shuts the screen, returns the knife to its sheath and continues with his shower. By the time he's finished and shuts off the water, Linda's gone. INT. DONNER'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY Donner and Linda are fully dressed. She's gathered up her stuff and is leaving. LINDA Nice couch. DONNER It's yours any time you need it. LINDA Maybe you'll let me cook dinner for you tonight? My way of saying thanks. DONNER Dinner sounds good. He unlocks the door. Gestures for Linda to wait a moment. INT. HALLWAY - DAY Donner goes to Linda's door. Opens it with his foot. Steps inside, drawing his gun. INT. LINDA'S APARTMENT - VARIOUS - DAY Donner checks the apartment out. Nobody's there. INT. HALLWAY - DAY Donner escorts Linda to her door. LINDA I always wanted my personal guardian angel. DONNER I'm not always here. Sometimes I work nights. LINDA Then I guess I'll have to get a heavier chain. So, dinner... is seven okay for you? DONNER Seven's fine. Gives me time to have a shower and freshen up. Linda runs her fingers lightly over his jaw. LINDA Don't freshen up too much. She gives him a sassy smile and exits into her apartment. The door swings shut, cutting off our view. Donner smiles and heads for the stairs. Duty calls. EXT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS - DAY (ESTABLISH) Fort Apache. Cop cars and activity outside. INT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS - DONNER'S OFFICE - DAY Donner arrives with a coffee and finds a pile of reports stacked on his desk. He backs up and talks to LAWRENCE (30s) his sometimes partner, at an adjoining desk. They share the office. DONNER Who left this on my desk? LAWRENCE Wasn't me. DONNER If I thought it was you, I'd shoot you. I'm not touching them. Someone better move them the hell off my desk. LAWRENCE It's your turn. DONNER Screw you. It was my turn last... He thinks. Maybe it is his turn. DONNER (CONT'D) Ah, shit. LAWRENCE Take your medicine like a man. DONNER Yeah, yeah. He sits down at his desk... stares at the pile of reports... takes the first report off the pile. The cover reads, "HOMICIDE - UNSOLVED - HISTORICAL." He opens the report. There's a photograph of a dead man paperclipped to the report. It's Godzilla, the big guy Donner beat up last night. Maybe taken by a mortuary attendant, from above looking down. Donner sprays his coffee everywhere. LAWRENCE What the hell's wrong with you? Donner flips through the report while he wipes up the coffee with a napkin. DONNER This is all screwed up. He picks up his phone and dials a number. INT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS - PARTON'S OFFICE - DAY Detective PARTON, 50s, picks up his ringing phone. PARTON Parton. Shoot me. INTERCUT between Donner and Parton. DONNER Al, it's Donner. Got a question for you. Unsolved John Doe. Your name's on the report. Bradley and 57th. Ring any bells? PARTON How come it's with you? DONNER My turn for the History files. It was top of the pile. PARTON There's been a mistake. Check the date. Donner flips a sheet over. DONNER Ah, crap. This is current. PARTON You're damn right. DONNER How'd it get into the Histories? PARTON Ask the filing clerk. It should have gone to Central Records. We issued an all-agency info request for the Doe. Still waiting for an answer. DONNER You know anything about the guy? PARTON Just what you see. Body was found in an alley off 57th. Looks like a bullet to the head. No ballistics at the scene. He might have been shot somewhere else and dumped. That's it. DONNER Okay. Just one more thing. When was it reported? PARTON Yesterday. DONNER I see that. What time, exactly? PARTON It's all in the report. Somebody called it in around four-thirty, we got there after five. DONNER That's a sub-standard response time. PARTON If they're still alive, we drive faster. The dead can wait. DONNER Thanks, Al. PARTON Any time. Don't lose that report, I'm not typing it up again. They hang up. INTERCUT ends. Stay with Donner. LAWRENCE What have you got? DONNER Mix-up with some files, that's all. But Donner keeps reading. He keeps looking at the photograph. Yeah it's the same guy, no doubt about it. EXT. CITY MORGUE - DAY (ESTABLISH) A sign and maybe a Coroner's van tell us where we are. INT. CITY MORGUE - EXAMINATION ROOM - DAY Donner meets BO NILES, a ghoul in a white lab coat. NILES Detective Donner. To what do we owe this honor? DONNER I'm interested in a John Doe that touched down maybe around six yesterday evening. NILES I think I know the one you mean. DISSOLVE TO: Niles pulls open a body drawer, revealing the John Doe. Sure enough, it's Godzilla. But his face doesn't bear any signs of the injuries Donner inflicted. NILES Interesting case. Crime Scenes and our city's finest failed to notice something unusual about the victim. DONNER What's that? NILES Check his head. Donner examines the back of the dead guy's head, and REACTS. DONNER Jesus! NILES As you can see, the back of his skull is missing. Couldn't have been a bullet, it's too clean. Surgical, in fact. His hair flopped down to cover the hole. And it's a damned big hole. Diameter's approximately 4 inches. DONNER Where's his brain? NILES See, you spotted it right away. That's why you're a detective. DONNER Stop screwing around. What did you find? NILES You think we removed the brain and have it under a microscope? (shakes his head) This is the way he came in. Missing his gray matter. DONNER Could some animal have snacked on him while he was lying in the alley? NILES The rest of the scalp hasn't been chewed and there's no sign of teeth or claw damage elsewhere. Nice theory, but nothing suggests animals were involved. (beat) No, you're looking for a mad scientist. A mad scientist who owns a castle. Check out his secret laboratory, that's where you'll find his brain collection. Take plenty of backup, villagers with pitchforks and torches. Don't go in alone. DONNER What did Parton say? NILES Not much. He shrugged. DONNER Figures. Who'd want a human brain? NILES You find all kinds of fetishists on the Internet. Doesn't it warm your heart that some horny bitch is probably getting off on rubbing this guy's goo all over her naked body? DONNER Stop it, you're turning me on. (beat) Does a brain have any market value? NILES Not really. Medical research departments receive a steady supply of cadavers. Families who don't have a lot of money want to save on funeral costs. DONNER What happens to this guy if nobody claims the body? NILES We have this place nobody knows about, next door to a sausage factory. That's all I can say. Donner shakes his head and turns to leave. NILES (CONT'D) Something that might interest you. Niles fishes inside his coat pocket and offers Donner a key with a label attached to it. DONNER I'm flattered, really I am, but I prefer girls. NILES Found it inside his left shoe. Donner takes the key and examines it. The label reads "214 Bellmont Apartments" DONNER Who needs to write their address on their key? NILES I had this professor at medical school. He had to write his name on all his stuff just so he'd remember who he was. Pretty good with Latin verbs, though. DONNER Thanks, Niles. Donner heads for the exit. NILES We're all part of the same big team. Or, it helps to know we're sleeping underneath the same big sky. I forget which. EXT. BELLMONT APARTMENTS - DAY (ESTABLISH) A midtown apartment block. INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE APARTMENT 214 - DAY Donner finds Apartment 214. There's nothing on the door that might suggest who lives here, just the number. He slips the key into the lock. It fits. INT. APARTMENT 214 - HALLWAY - DAY Donner opens the door and steps inside. Listens for noise, voices, anything. He closes the door, leaving it ajar just an inch. He creeps along the hallway, exploring. INT. APARTMENT 214 - BEDROOM - DAY Empty. Bed isn't made up, it's just a bare mattress. INT. APARTMENT 214 - BATHROOM - DAY Empty. INT. APARTMENT 214 - KITCHEN - DAY Empty. INT. APARTMENT 214 - LIVING ROOM - DAY Donner stands looking around. Nothing to see. If someone has been living here they've left no clothes, magazines, personal items. He turns around and BAM! Godzilla hits him! Donner does down, caught off guard and shocked by the sight of a dead man walking. This version of Godzilla bears the injuries Donner inflicted last night, unlike the version we saw in the morgue. Godzilla kicks Donner in the guts. Donner gasps for breath and tries to crawl away. Godzilla kicks him again, this time in the head. DONNER'S POV: the room spins and blurs. DISSOLVE TO: When he regains his wits, Godzilla has turned him over onto his stomach and is kneeling behind Donner like he intends to screw him. Donner experiences a horror unlike any he's ever known before! Donner struggles but it's no good, Godzilla pins him down, putting his full weight on Donner's ass. We see (but Donner doesn't) that Godzilla has a "camera" type instrument with a pistol grip and a "lens" that looks like a mini radar dish. Godzilla points this at the back of Donner's head. Donner, convinced he's about to be butt-fucked, struggles until he reaches his backup gun, strapped to his ankle. He hasn't got time to aim -- he just squeezes the trigger. BANG! His bullet rips through Godzilla's foot! Godzilla falls off him, dropping the camera. Donner rolls over and tries to take aim but Godzilla grabs a chair and throws it at him, stunning Donner and knocking his gun away. Godzilla limps to the door at top speed and exits, leaving a trail of bloodstains. A beat. Donner recovers slowly and painfully. He pushes himself up. Discovers he's alone. He picks up his gun and stumbles to the hallway. INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE APARTMENT 214 - DAY Donner opens the door, looks outside. There's no sign of Godzilla. INT. APARTMENT 214 - LIVING ROOM - DAY He comes back into the living room and sees the "camera" lying on the floor. He picks it up. Wonders what the heck it is. Something snaps open at the back and a set of X-ray photos (like 6x6 developed photographic negatives) tumble out and fall to the floor. Donner picks a couple of the X-rays up and holds them up to the light. DONNER'S POV: the X-rays look like human heads, viewed from behind, with neck vertebrae clearly visible. The camera and the X-rays puzzle him greatly. Donner takes them with him as he exits from the apartment. INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE APARTMENT 214 - DAY Donner looks around as he closes and locks the door. Still no sign of Godzilla. EXT. BELLMONT APARTMENTS - DAY (ESTABLISH) A parting shot, so we'll recognize the place when we come back here later. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS - DAY (ESTABLISH) Later in the day. INT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS - DONNER'S OFFICE - DAY Lawrence looks up from his paperwork as Donner comes in. LAWRENCE You been having fun? DONNER You might say. LAWRENCE Lieutenant's been asking about you. Donner puts the "camera" down on his desk. Lawrence looks at it curiously. DONNER Who's that guy works in the crime lab? LAWRENCE Which one? DONNER The geek. LAWRENCE That would be Freddy. Donner picks up his phone and dials. INT. CRIME LAB - DAY FREDDY (20s) is indeed a geek, surrounded by lab equipment. He examines the "camera" with interest. FREDDY What is it? DONNER I was hoping you could tell me. FREDDY Never seen anything like it before. Where'd you get it? DONNER The FBI issues them to agents. Freddy doesn't know if he's serious or not. FREDDY What do you want me to do with it? DONNER Find out who makes it and who they might have sold it to. It looks like it could be some kind of specialist rig. Here's what fell out of it. He shows Freddy the X-rays. FREDDY This is a joke, right? DONNER You hear me laughing? FREDDY Only thing that could produce plates like this is an X-ray machine. They don't make 'em this small. Donner returns the X-rays to his pocket. DONNER Who's arguing? Look, all I want you to do is check it out. See if you can find a company name and a serial number. And ask them what it's supposed to do. FREDDY What's in it for me? DONNER A free pass. FREDDY Meaning? DONNER You ever get pulled over for speeding, tell them to call me. I'll confirm you're working for me on a special assignment. FREDDY Only speeding? DONNER I draw the line at drug dealing, armed robbery and homicide. Everything else is negotiable. Just think how impressed your girlfriend will be. FREDDY I don't have a girlfriend. DONNER This kind of thing could get you one. FREDDY Count me in. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. HOSPITAL - DAY (ESTABLISH) A busy medical center. INT. HOSPITAL - INFORMATION DESK - DAY Donner talks to a FEMALE DOCTOR. He shows her the photo we saw in the file report, of Godzilla as taken by a mortuary attendant. DOCTOR He looks dead. DONNER This is just a likeness. DOCTOR You said you shot him in the foot. Did he do something to annoy you? DONNER I wouldn't have shot him otherwise. DOCTOR No one came in today with a bullet in the foot. I'd remember that. And I'd remember him. He looks like he needs an embalmer, not a doctor. DONNER If he shows up... He gives her his card. She slips it into a pocket. DOCTOR I'll treasure it always. Donner shows her one of the X-rays. DONNER You seen anything like this before? DOCTOR Where'd you get it? DONNER Long story. DOCTOR I don't usually see them this small. Good quality. The indexing on the frame is unusual. DONNER You've got X-ray machines, right? DOCTOR Nothing that would produce this. DONNER Any ideas where might I find something that would? She gives him back the X-ray. DOCTOR Sorry, I just use 'em, I don't make 'em. DONNER Thanks for your time. EXT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS - DAY (ESTABLISH) Later in the day. INT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS - DONNER'S OFFICE - DAY Donner returns to his office to find Lieutenant HOLLAND waiting for him. Holland's been talking to Lawrence. HOLLAND A moment of your valuable time? DONNER Absolutely. Lawrence gives Donner a warning look as he follows Holland out. INT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS - HOLLAND'S OFFICE - DAY HOLLAND You've been busy doing what? DONNER This is hard to explain. HOLLAND I always have time for you, Donner. Donner slides Godzilla's photo (from the homicide report) across the desk. Holland looks at the photo. HOLLAND (CONT'D) I think I saw this guy on "Six Feet Under." DONNER Last night I got woken up by a disturbance in my neighbor's apartment. When I got there, her boyfriend was beating seven kinds of shit out of her. HOLLAND Did you arrest him? DONNER Not knowing the circumstances, I didn't want to place more strain upon their relationship than was necessary. I asked him to leave instead. HOLLAND Politely, of course. DONNER I didn't even raise my voice. Donner taps the photo. DONNER (CONT'D) This is him. The mug shot was taken before last night. Coroner says John Doe checked in yesterday evening. He was dead hours before he woke me up. HOLLAND Could it be a twin brother? DONNER That's what I'm thinking, because this afternoon, when I went to his apartment, the same guy jumped me. HOLLAND What did you do? DONNER I shot him. Didn't have a choice. HOLLAND He's dead? DONNER No, but he won't be tap-dancing for a while. The hospitals say no gunshot wounds to the foot reported yet. They'll call me if he shows up. HOLLAND Were you going to tell me about this? DONNER I was just about to. HOLLAND Uh-huh. What's your next move? DONNER Unless one of the hospital treatment rooms calls, I don't have a next move. HOLLAND If anything happens, let me know. In the meantime... DONNER I'm at my desk like a good little pencil pusher. HOLLAND I'll staple you to your chair if I have to. DONNER It might come to that. End of excerpt.


Back to Script Samples

Back to my Home Page