Saturday, June 05, 2010

New Thing: The Orphans

So, when I was a kid I loved watching scary shows on TV ... and I had a nice give-and-take relationship with Mum and Dad about it:

Doctor Who: no problems; I could watch as much as I want
Sapphire and Steel: they let me stay up late, and then were pretty kind and low-key with the 'I told you so' after it had finished and I was in bed freaking out about plagues and men hiding in photographs
The Andromeda Strain: had to sneak into the living room at my grandparents' house and hide behind the couch watching it without anybody noticing.

For the last two years, I've been working on a ghost story for kids. A horror movie for kids, really. That's my goal: to create something that just slightly too scary for my target audience to handle, and thus begin the cycle again.

The Orphans is a little bit Sapphire and Steel and a little bit Silent Hill. A bunch of pre-teenagers live in with their parents in an old building that's been renovated into a bunch of apartments. One day the kids wake up and their parents are gone. As in missing, with no trace of them.

When the children try to leave the building they find that the doors won't open, the windows won't break and the walls can't be cut through. No-one outside can hear them or seems to notice them at all. The children are trapped.

And that's when the ghosts start showing up.

The Orphans mixes in a whole bunch of different influences: Lord of the Flies, my nightmares about Victorian orphanages, bodysnatchers, and a bit of survival horror.

For me the cool thing about it is that I have no idea how it's going to turn out. I've been outlining it, for fun, for about a year - coming back to it whenever I get some free time, and discovering what happens in the next bit of the story. At the moment, I'm trying to decide exactly how unhappily it's going to end; it's definitely not a safe movie.

As a feature film, I have a feeling that it'll look slightly animated - like Waking Life, or this trailer for Mars:

MARS - The Movie [HD Trailer] from Geoff Marslett on Vimeo.

The next step (in the next three to six months) would be to finish the outline and see if this is a story I want to take any further.

A reasonable success would be to write a draft of the script.

The wild and outrageous success would be to get enough funding to make the movie (and make it live up to its potential), so that it scares one 9-12 year old child hiding behind the couch and gets them in to horror movies.


Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

This scared me all to hell as a young teen:

*spoilery comment deleted above*

Steve Hickey said...

Matt! I remember loving that episode when I was a kid! Thank you for the link. (I always thought it was Alfred Hitchcock Presents that screened it.)

Jenni said...

The missing parents thing reminds me of Coraline. Sounds cool!

Karen said...

This sounds very cool...

I was a wuss as a kid... even the Tomorrow People (the giant whispery balloon things in the basement and the alien Hitler) and Buck Rogers (the one with the space vampire) used to scare me sometimes! I would have a wanted an ending that was at least a little bit safe! (and tonight I am creeped by the mouse in my room and that the trap might snap and I'll have to listen to it twitching to death in the dark... still a wuss)

d f mamea said...

calls to bring back Sapphire and Steel aside, i look forward to reading more about your Orphans project.