Let me just say up front that I’m thinking of starting a “free ideas for Hollywood” series. I have a lot of concepts for movies and TV shows, but little interest in shopping them. Plus, some of these ideas are really dumb. Which means they’re perfect for any major motion picture studio.
Hollywood is pushing hard for stronger intellectual property enforcement due to “rampant piracy” on “the internet.” But instead of feeling bad for them (or entertaining their more ludicrous proposals to lock down the web), I’m giving them free, unfettered use of my own intellectual property. Hey, it’s the least I can do!
The following is an idea for a movie that I think will be boffo at the box office. It pulls something from the world of telecom policy, but as they say, “write what you know…”
SPECTRUM: A HORROR FILM TREATMENT
Possible tag lines: “Beware of early termination.” “He’s dialed into your fearquency.” “Meet Buzz: He’s a real dead wire.”
Premise: Cody “Buzz” Maddick is an occultist serial killer condemned to death for the ritualistic slaying of more than two dozen people. Along with his co-conspirator girlfriend, Devina, Buzz is a member of a deranged satanic cult that believes that blood sacrifice is key to immense power in the etheric plane. Devina explains how all this works in an early flashback scene, where the two are preparing to murder a teenage girl. She tells Buzz that, by positioning electromagnetic devices around the victim, their connection to the etheric plane will be amplified. When enough astral doors have been opened, they will be able to cross the threshold and dwell in a perpetual state of evil exultation.
When Buzz is arrested for his crimes and sentenced to death, his girlfriend (who has thus far evaded any charges) tells him that she will cast a powerful spell at the precise moment of his execution. But nobody except the prison warden knows that Buzz is to be killed using an untested new method: powerful microwave radiation. A bill has passed in the Texas state legislature that would make this means of execution legal. Yet due to political pressure, the governor has yet to sign it. The governor and the warden go way back — they’re part of the same secessionist group — and the warden has been assured that he can go ahead and flip the switch on Buzz and everything will be just dandy. He tells his execution staff that the killing is a go. “You boys will just love it,” he says. “The beauty is, no mess! Them my-crow-waves cook ’em right from the inside, just like a reheated burrito!”
Buzz is executed as planned, and his girlfriend casts her spell. At the moment of his death, we see his murderous soul converted to electromagnetic energy, which shoots up through the walls to the top floor of the building, blasting skyward via a huge radio antenna on the prison roof. We hear demoniacal laughter.
The killings begin anew. Buzz is now a spectral being who manifests through radio-capable devices, just long enough to dispatch his victims in clever ways. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, Devina, is finally brought in by the law and imprisoned while awaiting trial. Buzz now has a reason to eliminate key witnesses, including family members of his original victims.
Death scenes might include the following:
Buzz comes through a victim’s tablet computer. She is using an eReader when Buzz appears in a social network chatbox. “Buzz wants to chat,” the message says. The victim keeps trying to close the window, to no avail. Eventually, Buzz’s face looms large in the device’s screen, until he managers to stick his head out and bite the victim on the lower lip. He pulls several times, smashing the victim’s head repeatedly into the screen until she dies in a burst of plasma (blood and electronic) and glass. As the screen goes dark, we hear Buzz’s disembodied voice: “That’s my kind of face book.”
A couple is getting frisky in bed in a remote lakeside cottage. An old boom box is positioned on a bedside table. An upbeat pop song comes on, something along the lines of Katy Perry. The girl interrupts the foreplay to turn up the radio. “I love this song,” she says. The boy looks annoyed for a second, then they get back to business. Suddenly, the Katy Perry track is interrupted by crackling, then a scratchy vision of “Walking After Midnight” comes on. Annoyed, the girl shoves the guy aside and starts fiddling with the dial. The song is on every station. “What is this shit?” she exclaims in desperation. Buzz’s voice cuts through the airwaves. “What’s the matter? You don’t like the classics? Maybe you prefer something more… cutting edge.” Weird light begins to emanate from the speakers, until Buzz appears before them, with whirring, electric saw blades for hands. He does his sick business and then disappears.
A day trader is using a cellphone. He’s trying to tell his wife he’ll miss his kid’s soccer game, while firing a useless subordinate on the other line. While switching between calls, he ends up on a channel with Buzz. “Please hold while I disconnect you,” Buzz says. The day trader stares at his smartphone in disbelief. At that moment, buzz appears on all of the many computer monitors in his office. Buzz then manifests at the center of the room, with the Wall Street index flashing all over his semi-corporeal body. “Buy low, die lower,” Buzz says, as he crushes the day trader to a pulpy, mangled mass on the floor that briefly gives off sparks.
Meanwhile, an investigator is banging his head over these new murders. But he begins to discern a pattern. In each killing, he notices the presence of spectrum-powered technology. On a hunch alone, he reaches out to an expert in wireless telecommunications, who comes along to a fresh murder scene. At a key point, the expert says, “I think he’s traveling from place to place using the electromagnetic spectrum.” Not wanting to accept what he’s hearing, the detective replies, “Is that even possible?” Without missing a beat, the wireless expert answers, “It is now.”
And that’s basically all I have. Surely that’s enough for some studio-contracted screenwriting hacks to thread together into something marginally cohesive. Like I said, it’s pretty fucking dumb. But that doesn’t mean it’s not potentially profitable!
So c’mon, Hollywood, why not bring Buzz to life and start a whole new horror franchise? I promise I won’t sue…