Aaron Vanek


During and after the opening title (title only, not credits), we hear MUSIC and a "blank" presence track (the sound of silence). We are in complete blackness. The music fades out, and there is 2 seconds of silence (aside from presence). Suddenly, someone GASPS for air, like they have been holding their breath for years. Immediately following is a scrabbling, scratching, CLAWING sound (still in darkness) as something fights to get out of some kind of confinement. There is a heave and a GRUNT, and a heavy stone is pushed away (like taking the lens cap off a camera), CRASHING to the ground (sound EFX) and we can see some vague, unrecognizable shapes, surrounded in eerie light.

EVERYTHING is in the NARRATOR'S POV (unless noted), and movement is with hand held camera.


Why? Why had I been brought from the gulfs of
nothingness into this dark abyss?

"Outside", with the strange shapes, we can hear the sound of dripping water echoing in a vast cavern, along with the scurryings of some small rodent. Then the sound of splashing water, like a heavy foot falling into a deep puddle of oil.


Memories of my childhood dripped into
recollection. Long hours in vast and dismal
chambers with dull hangings and infinite rows of
antique books.

The sound of footsteps in a cave. Perhaps strange shapes of light move back and forth across the screen, barely recognizable as human parts, as if we are seeing someone/something move around (shadows across red smoke).


It was to the books that I gravitated. People,
family, and friends were outsiders, distant and
cold. I wanted to harness the sun and moon,
and ride through the stars on wings of gayety
and merriment, but only the crumbling pages of
dusty parchment were there to welcome me.

A bat can be heard screeching in the distance. Maybe some eerie susurrations, like demons from the pit of hell clawing the subconscious. The footsteps pad around, like in a large chamber (with appropriate Doppler effect). A glow, high up, can be faintly discerned.


Through the books, I learned of the Great Old
Ones, and The Black Goat of the Woods with a
Thousand Young. The more I read, the more I
was driven to learn.

The footsteps are hurried, accompanied by a scrambling noise, hitting wood, like something running into a wood box, with the light getting slightly brighter overhead.

The sound of someone slowly, painfully CLIMBING A WOOD STAIRCASE, as the light gets steadily brighter. After a number of footsteps, the stairs give way, CRASHING down, and a flash of light as the camera eye moves violently, catching glimpses of someone tumbling (arms, feet, etc.). Then, WHEEZING heavily, there is a STRUGGLING to continue the climb. He reaches the stairs again, and CLIMBS again at a slower pace.


Still I longed to reach an understanding, to
experience the world outside, the world of
light and happiness. It would be better to
glimpse the world of life and perish, than to
live without ever beholding natural beauty.

As the light gets closer, a door, old and wood, is revealed, with daylight seeping through the cracks. There is a RUSTLING (creak of wood) and pause as the narrator reaches out and puts a hand on the doorknob, suddenly throwing the door open. BRIGHT LIGHT blinds the camera, arms are covered over the lens briefly, as the camera racks focus to make out a barren, dead landscape (SOUND OF JET ENGINE/ROCKET FADING IN JUST BEFORE HE OPENS, BLASTING AS HE OPENS IT ALL THE WAY?). (Maybe an ELS in a graveyard, maybe just an ELS of the narrator in silhouette coming out of a mausoleum.) (Hide any cuts by opening the aperture all the way -- get at least a 4-6 stop difference.)



A spotted cemetery, stones and tombs abound. This is a place of death. Far off in the distance, a forest, dark and foreboding, looms ominously. The camera slowly, awkwardly, but regaining equilibrium and purpose, starts to move through it.


Ah, Anastasia. That was your name. Your
loveliness was unsurpassed; your face, the face
that launched a thousand ships. I thank the
gods below that those cretins who held my
family name introduced us. Upon seeing your
beauty, I knew your fiery soul could burn away
my dark clouds of misery.

As he leaves, we track down low, seeing his back in silhouette, and then continuing to track so we can see a grave, or the corner of the tomb.

The flashbacks can be accomplished by either putting in a flash frame or shooting the same thing but under different light. This first flashback might come from flaring the lens (and then flared in the same place by a fireplace), or a fade, or a tilt up/tilt down on different scenery.


In a dark, foreboding, barren, cold room, set in a posh room, a woman is on her knees before a sofa, COMBING HER HAIR, a dying fire CRACKLING in the background, providing the only light around her to stem off the darkness. A MAN comes, in foreground, stops, watches her for a long time. She turns, startled, and he walks in and sits beside her. She shifts subtly closer to the fire. He lays a book down next to her. Perhaps they should both be in silhouette, so we cannot see the lead actor. He grabs the woman's hand and puts a ring on her finger. She tries to resist, but he overpowers her. He grabs her waist, pulling her toward him, and forces a kiss on her. He smiles, caresses her face, picks up the old book, and begins reading to her. She watches in terror. We FADE OUT

Get a warm glow around the figures (backlight), but frame it so there is darkness at the edges. There should be light (barely) where they are sitting, and "evil" awaits them just outside the dying, diminishing pool of light. Use LOTS of candles in these flashback scenes.


I told you of the flight of the nightgaunt, the
caverns of N'kai, and asked for your hand in
marriage. Such wonders I could show you,
wonders that the books have given me.

This should be HIGH LEVEL CREEPY!! Fade out? Zoom in on dying fireplace, and then zoom out (dissolve) from a setting (dying) sun (and get rid of fades), use DISSOLVE instead.



Moving through brush and bushes (here, we might be able to cut with images of feet hitting the ground, like ECU of the narrator walking, but not enough to give it away), the narrator is traveling quickly, RAMBLING through the brambles. Coming suddenly out of the thicket, he spots a mansion sitting alone on a hilltop. This antiquated, brooding structure squats like some ancient demon god looking over its domain. There are some lights on inside, like fiery eyes. He pauses for a long time, considering, looking, watching, before he moves on, towards the house, with determination.


I anticipated our day of union with untold
excitement. Visions of sharing the secrets of
the universe with you flicked the edges of
fancy. Quickly I arranged the wedding,
inviting those who would call me mad to the
family estate. They did not understand, but
you, you, my dear Anastasia, you understood.

He is crossing the grounds now, walking up to the front door. He (we) pans around to look in certain windows, jealously, at the merriment occurring inside (dark outside, warm inside) at a particular hedge, or (if possible) at certain statuary arrayed in the yard.

The narrator arrives at the front door of the house, which he opens slowly. We FLASH FRAME to opening an interior door to a bedroom (back in the past). These cuts should match precisely.


Under warm (happy) orange lights, with candles flickering, the narrator walks in (dressed casually, but still aristocratically) and moves around the chamber. He looks disturbed at all this light (maybe even putting some of the candles out?). The sound of HEAVY BREATHING can be heard, along with loving KISSES and female GIGGLES. He walks beside the bed, and catches his fiancée with another man under the covers.


You never laughed with me.

QUICK DOLLY IN (zoom?) to an ECU of his mouth; the narrator SCREAMS (but use the sound of the female screaming in the next shot -- using sound to hide cut). That is cut (again, as exact as possible) with another mouth, a woman's.


Pull back from the screaming mouth, as a matronly woman SHRIEKS and runs out, away from the camera. People all over are stumbling to get away from this monstrosity, covering their eyes and running into each other as they try to get away from this thing moving slowly towards them.


This is intercut with the FLASHBACK of the narrator and the other lover struggling. He turns to look at her, but she backs away. The other lover KILLS the narrator, plunging a knife into him. The narrator falls in SLOW MO to the floor, eyes agape, blood trickling out of his mouth. Behind him (and above) Anastasia embraces the lover (music?). (Maybe more abstract?)



This room is well lit, cheerful, and happy, obviously with her touch. Maybe there are some childish FLOWERS or bric-a-brac laying around. Contrast the death that he had all around him, with the life that she exudes. The narrator is high above Anastasia, who looks slightly older and fatter in her gown, in complete shock. We close in on her, but darting quick to the side to look at a SHAPE that is standing next to her. Coming closer to the SHAPE, we find out (through movement) that it is a MIRROR. We see the narrator as he is now: "eaten-away and bone-revealing outlines a leering, abhorrent travesty on the human shape; and in its moldy, disintegrating apparel ... bewitched by the glassy orbs which stared loathsomely into them, refusing to close."



The narrator screams his rage (looking right into the camera the whole time) and rams a deformed fist (quick matching action cut to ECU of hand) into the mirror, SHATTERING it into a million pieces that glint and reflect light as they tumble in SLOW MO (and let the sound work in slow-mo also) to the ground, revealing NOTHING (darkness) behind it.


Again, total blackness. The sound of DRIPPING WATER is accompanied by RATS.


I realize now why I was brought back from the
nether world -- to learn the Final Lesson. I
never was a part of the world of light. Death
has cleansed me of that lie. I can now feel
this dark planet turn beneath my feet. I know
what stares back at me when I look into the
Void. I know, and I smile.

Adapted from "The Outsider" by H.P. Lovecraft


© 1998 Edward P. Berglund
"The Outsider" (script): © 1994, 1998 Aaron Vanek. All rights reserved.
Graphic © 1998 Old Arkham Graphics Design. All rights reserved. Email to: Corey T. Whitworth.

Created: January 31, 1998; Updated: August 9, 2004