The Vault of Horror
What you are looking at is an artifact of untold value. It is the original handwritten script to Kat Killer, the very first Danman Production. All over it are the scribbles, revisions, and doodles of yours truly. From whence did this veritable Shroud of Turin come? From a cardboard box in an Iowa basement, where I conducted (one last time) the final, ultimate search for all surviving movie materials. What I found - in both quantity and quality - will shock you.
First, let's take a closer look at this seminal screenplay.
Even as a teen I had an innate sense of drama. Look at the first three words I ever wrote: "Guy walks in." Guy? What guy? Walks? Walks how? In? Into where? So many delicious mysteries to be solved! Kat Killer was just one of the many scripts, notes, tapes, and figments of esoterica that I uncovered. Like the explorer who first disturbed the fetid air of King Tut's tomb and glimpsed that first gleam of gold, here is what mine eyes did see:
The Francis Ford Iowa project has been a nostalgia trip of epic distance, but up until this point my memories had been reliant on the finished films themselves - there was no scrap of behind-the-scenes matter. Suddenly, I was faced with the ample evidence of my hurried tomfoolery, my hasty compromises, and my dependence upon a certain exclamation:
Not a single script I found didn't have someone screaming "Noooooooooo!!!!!!" at some point (if not multiple points). For example, there were several such wails of protest in Misery. Oddly enough, the script itself was titled Misery II. It was my first remake, so I must have toyed with the idea of considering my movies as sequels rather than copies. Anyway, note the "Noooo!!"
Even more incredible is the promotional material that survived. I've already shared the amazing poster for The Godfathers: Part Two - but that was just for our own amusement. In fact, there were two fliers expressly created to hang up all over town in order to advertise local public access screenings. Somehow I had the sense of historical obligation to save one copy of each.
Below is the advertisement for The Godfathers. (I especially like the threatening tagline: "Miss it and by tomorrow morning you will be suffering.")
And here's the stylish advert for Evening of Fear, touting the world premiere of Harvest of Wrath:
Packed alongside these two posters was the only production still ever taken on one of my sets. The memory is hazy: already costumed for my part in The Godfathers, I indulged my mom's insistence that I stand outside our house for a portrait. She had a hunch I'd want to see it someday. She was right.
For all the fun I had scouring these scripts for discrepancies from the finished films (who knew that Father Sin originally featured a Joe-murders-Matt K. scene?!), the best crap is the random crap. Here's a little checklist I found on the Night of the Living Dead script. Seems like I had I successfully acquired make-up, my friend Ben (but not Chris), and some scary music... but that gravestone was giving me hell.
From the same script, here's an amusing last-minute music swap: Laura Palmer's theme from Twin Peaks is out; the Rocky IV training-montage music is in.
Finally, a mystery is solved. Remember how I couldn't find The Godfather's Two: Director's Cut (and so I recreated it)? Well, apparently it was called the "Special Edition," and exists on 3/4-inch tape. How about that?
And that stupid "The Naughty Elephant" hackey sack that got its own commercial and a cameo in The Godfathers? Yep, found that, too.
An exciting haul, to be sure. But all of this is dwarfed by three discoveries that will shake the very foundations of the Danman universe:
- 1. A short film shot directly after The Godfathers: Part Two.
- 2. Ephemera from seven unproduced projects, including four complete scripts. (My previous recollection was woefully incomplete.)
- 3. The raw footage to the never-edited second volume of Sex, Drugs, & Film. Did I say never-edited? That's all about to change.