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screenplay Grandma's 9 Page Horror Script

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Link to script here:

I cannibalized the brain rebooting plot point from one of my previous stories, i like it way more in this script.
This will likely be my next production. Going to ask that foster mom from my previous film if she will be the scary grandma and bring back the two main kids.
 
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mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
I like it!
My favorite line is "Can I have her bedroom?" - such a perfect kid thing to say :)
And the helmet with the blinking lights is great - I'm imagining it making beep beep boop noises.

Just one note -
In scene 20, I think you mean "marital spat" rather than "material."
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
I like it!
My favorite line is "Can I have her bedroom?" - such a perfect kid thing to say :)
And the helmet with the blinking lights is great - I'm imagining it making beep beep boop noises.

Just one note -
In scene 20, I think you mean "marital spat" rather than "material."

Thanks. It'll probably end up being a spaghetti strainer with a string of LED lights in a programmable pattern 😆
 
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I liked it. I think it should be a bit longer though. I was getting interested in what was going to happen next in the story, and it jumped straight to the end. I think you had a great tension going when the grandma starts punctuating every sentence with motionless smiling and laughs that last too long. Maybe you could expand that middle part a bit, felt to me like a beginning and and end with no middle. Just a thought. I was looking forward to a more gradient reveal of the insanity in her dialogue.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
I liked it. I think it should be a bit longer though. I was getting interested in what was going to happen next in the story, and it jumped straight to the end. I think you had a great tension going when the grandma starts punctuating every sentence with motionless smiling and laughs that last too long. Maybe you could expand that middle part a bit, felt to me like a beginning and and end with no middle. Just a thought. I was looking forward to a more gradient reveal of the insanity in her dialogue.

It's already 10 minutes i dont want to go past that. but ill think about it. maybe if i can come up with a really killer scene in the middle.
 
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sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
I found this indienews thread interesting about how horror films dominated sundance

I wonder if I would have a chance at sundance with this horror movie and a good DOP.
I've updated the script to what i consider a 2nd draft.

It's funny how some small changes can have such a big impact.
I have Ella giving Grandma a hug before she packs her bags to leave and I feel like that one small change impacts how all the other scenes are interpreted between those 2 characters.

I also removed the weakest parts of the script and turned them into cool parts.
Instead of the neighbor going into basement, it's a much shorter scene now where Airica tries to scream for help but can't make any noise bc she was just strangled. Classic horror stuff lol. The original link is kept up to date via google drive version control.
 
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To really drive home how Grandma feels she is a burden to everyone, you can't just have her say that. That's boring exposition. It needs to be shown through visual storytelling. She needs to be seen ambling through the home, having difficulty walking and moving with arthritis. Trying to be useful but failing at simple chores, like not rinsing the suds off the cook pots before drying them off, so the next dish cooked in them tastes like detergent. Thus annoying her family rather than helping. Being quarrelsome maybe. Being incontinent, then being unable to clean herself up on her own. That sort of thing.

The grandchildren may love her but they should also be part disgusted and part distracted with their own lives to live, which Grandma feels she is rather getting in the way of. They could be seen doing modern things Grandma fails to understand, like vlogging (disclosing information that used to be considered personal and private) or recording suggestive dance moves on tiktok that used to be considered obscene back in Grandma's days. Failing to be able to play video games with them. Grandma could get in the shots and embarrass them that way or just get on their nerves.

It would also help if the children were maybe even a bit older because otherwise she could still be useful looking after them while the parents are at work. Or alternatively, Grandma could be shown to fail and be unfit to behave responsibly any more by, say, falling for some telemarketer scam. Being unable to cope with the modern world and use its technology. Falling for far-right lies spread by an OAN-like cable station etc. It does not need to be elaborate, just a series of short, pointed vignettes.

Minor nitpicks, the stereotypical drinks of female alcoholics are cocktails and wine, not so much whiskey. Their stereotypical suicide methods do not include shooting themselves, especially not in the face or head. It is possible to break these conventions but it should be done with a clear goal in mind, an intention that enhances the narrative. I like it on a gut-feeling level. It could be jarring to basically make an old woman act out Mel Gibson's suicide attempt from Lethal Weapon in this manner. But I fail to see a clear-cut goal beyond that, and the whole manliness of it would seem to interfere with her characterization as fragile and self-conscious beyond the mere depression. Also it could easily become unintentionally funny.

Nick's line "That's not your choice Mom. I'm your guardian and I know what's best for you" seems a bit blunt. Legal guardian or no, family dynamics don't work that way. He wants to make things easy for himself and also he assumes he is still dealing with the gullible, doddering old fool from before. He would be trying to persuade or even convince her, pointing out the apparatus malfunction claiming that the doctor implied unlpeasant consequences, and that the follow-up is therefore in her own interest. He could also be trying to placate her while later being overheard mentioning to Rachel that they will just dump some sedative into Grandma's tea again if she continues to be a pain in the morning, and simply drag her to the doctor while she is drugged out.

Nick's line about the treatment being therapeutic and her not being dead feels too coherent for a man who has been bound and rendered defenseless while his mother starts cutting up his live body from the bottom up. More plausible utterances might be along the lines of "AAAAAAAAAA OH MY GOD PLEASE PLEASE STOP AAAAAAAAAA HELP MUM WHAT ARE YOU DOING OH GOD IT HURTS SO MUCH!!!"
Again, I'm not saying it wouldn't work, just that it is implausible and thus, surreal and absurd, which I don't feel was the intention.

GRANDMA's line with the marital spat sounds a bit contrived and stiff, maybe she could mention Nick and Rachel's names and hint at how they have been a bit stressed out, "you know how it is some days but they seem to have cleared the air now and gone to bed. Sometimes it's good to have things out, doncha agree, and tomorrow is another day." Then if he still wants to come inside, it would be even easier for her to deflect.

Final note, it all seems a bit short and pointless. The only character even surviving long enough to have a character arc is Airica. That makes her the protagonist. And that means she needs to be far more three-dimensional and fleshed out, and her transformation needs to be elaborated on. In order to achieve that, it would be good, for one thing, to set up early on the method by which she later dispatches the Monster instead of simply putting a gun in her hand. Even if she was only practicing dance moves or karate moves in the earlier tiktok video where Grandma got in the way, which she then uses somehow to incapacitate the Grandma monster. Something like that. Set it up - have it pay off.
 
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sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
To really drive home how Grandma feels she is a burden to everyone, you can't just have her say that. That's boring exposition. It needs to be shown through visual storytelling. She needs to be seen ambling through the home, having difficulty walking and moving with arthritis. Trying to be useful but failing at simple chores, like not rinsing the suds off the cook pots before drying them off, so the next dish cooked in them tastes like detergent. Thus annoying her family rather than helping. Being quarrelsome maybe. Being incontinent, then being unable to clean herself up on her own. That sort of thing.

The grandchildren may love her but they should also be part disgusted and part distracted with their own lives to live, which Grandma feels she is rather getting in the way of. They could be seen doing modern things Grandma fails to understand, like vlogging (disclosing information that used to be considered personal and private) or recording suggestive dance moves on tiktok that used to be considered obscene back in Grandma's days. Failing to be able to play video games with them. Grandma could get in the shots and embarrass them that way or just get on their nerves.

It would also help if the children were maybe even a bit older because otherwise she could still be useful looking after them while the parents are at work. Or alternatively, Grandma could be shown to fail and be unfit to behave responsibly any more by, say, falling for some telemarketer scam. Being unable to cope with the modern world and use its technology. Falling for far-right lies spread by an OAN-like cable station etc. It does not need to be elaborate, just a series of short, pointed vignettes.

Minor nitpicks, the stereotypical drinks of female alcoholics are cocktails and wine, not so much whiskey. Their stereotypical suicide methods do not include shooting themselves, especially not in the face or head. It is possible to break these conventions but it should be done with a clear goal in mind, an intention that enhances the narrative. I like it on a gut-feeling level. It could be jarring to basically make an old woman act out Mel Gibson's suicide attempt from Lethal Weapon in this manner. But I fail to see a clear-cut goal beyond that, and the whole manliness of it would seem to interfere with her characterization as fragile and self-conscious beyond the mere depression. Also it could easily become unintentionally funny.

Nick's line "That's not your choice Mom. I'm your guardian and I know what's best for you" seems a bit blunt. Legal guardian or no, family dynamics don't work that way. He wants to make things easy for himself and also he assumes he is still dealing with the gullible, doddering old fool from before. He would be trying to persuade or even convince her, pointing out the apparatus malfunction claiming that the doctor implied unlpeasant consequences, and that the follow-up is therefore in her own interest. He could also be trying to placate her while later being overheard mentioning to Rachel that they will just dump some sedative into Grandma's tea again if she continues to be a pain in the morning, and simply drag her to the doctor while she is drugged out.

Nick's line about the treatment being therapeutic and her not being dead feels too coherent for a man who has been bound and rendered defenseless while his mother starts cutting up his live body from the bottom up. More plausible utterances might be along the lines of "AAAAAAAAAA OH MY GOD PLEASE PLEASE STOP AAAAAAAAAA HELP MUM WHAT ARE YOU DOING OH GOD IT HURTS SO MUCH!!!"
Again, I'm not saying it wouldn't work, just that it is implausible and thus, surreal and absurd, which I don't feel was the intention.

GRANDMA's line with the marital spat sounds a bit contrived and stiff, maybe she could mention Nick and Rachel's names and hint at how they have been a bit stressed out, "you know how it is some days but they seem to have cleared the air now and gone to bed. Sometimes it's good to have things out, doncha agree, and tomorrow is another day." Then if he still wants to come inside, it would be even easier for her to deflect.

Final note, it all seems a bit short and pointless. The only character even surviving long enough to have a character arc is Airica. That makes her the protagonist. And that means she needs to be far more three-dimensional and fleshed out, and her transformation needs to be elaborated on. In order to achieve that, it would be good, for one thing, to set up early on the method by which she later dispatches the Monster instead of simply putting a gun in her hand. Even if she was only practicing dance moves or karate moves in the earlier tiktok video where Grandma got in the way, which she then uses somehow to incapacitate the Grandma monster. Something like that. Set it up - have it pay off.
The lethal weapon shit got a good laugh out of me. hahaha. yeah i guess thats pretty spot on but i like that it's not a stereotypical grandma.

Hmmm so how about this.. mom you promised me you stopped drinking
"whiskey was always his favorite"
did you try to shoot yourself
"yes i miss your father so much"

A 10 page short film is actually the perfect length, so I must strongly disagree with you saying that it seems a bit short.
Ella is actually the protagonist but she dies like in the movie psycho - not everything has to be so sterotypical otherwise its boring and predictable. You ever guess a movie ending just from watching the trailer?? lol i have. and it sucks most of the fun out of watching the whole film.

Also I don't think under any circumstances would i put and 11 year old girl doing suggestive dance moves in my film.
She is doing great in her dance competitions IRL though, I see her pics and stuff on instagram.

Final note for me.. I disagree with a lot of what you said but i think that just comes down to taste, still appreciate you reading and commenting on my script. For example I disagree i am "just putting a gun in their hands.." i set up in the first scene that there is a gun, it's not out of nowhere and it's my favorite scene in the whole film where the gun clicks empty and then the girl gets stabbed to death. Nobody that watched my last film will see it coming. she was the action star of my previous film i made. like 30 of her family members came to the premiere, they're gonna be horrified by the scene if i end up making this lol.


The other girl, Airica, is the redhead at the foster home.
 
I think you are underselling yourself here. This could make it to broadcast on a smaller horror anthology show if you just pushed it up to 22:30. I've seen televised episodes of Outer Limits and similar with less interesting stories than this. The bones are here to build a good story, and I think there are plenty of opportunities for expansion. I can't remember the name of the show, because it was terrible, but I just saw a horror anthology on tv a few months ago where both the filming and the writing was well beneath your level. I think you aren't giving yourself enough credit, and you should start thinking in terms of publishable formats. At least make room for the possibility of success.

Skinman made some decent points. I'm only saying this because I think what you have here has potential, it's not intended as criticism, but rather as encouragement. Why say 10 minutes is perfect, when you know anything under 22:30 gets automatically discarded for publication? Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

If I can find that show, I'll post it here later. You could email them and ask for a shot, they were clearly running at a talent deficit, the episodes I saw looked like high school kids made them.

Ok, found it, it's "creepshow" obviously from the SK concept. From the new trailer it looks like they have upped production value a lot from the pilot, but I watched the first few episodes, and judging by those, you could have definitely landed a slot on this show.

Keep in mind that these creators on this show were supplied with all the actors, equipment, and budget. You are already working harder than they are.

 
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