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"Seven For A Secret" by Brad Huffman Parent

Logline: A young girl returns home to take brutal revenge on her abusive parents.

Genre: Horror

Cast Size: 4

Production Status: Available (Please contact the author to negotiate the rights)

Contest: INT. ATTIC - DAY (Jul. 2008)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent
3%18%30%38%13%

Comments Made During the Contest

Adam Grage (Level 4)

Wow. Loved it. At first I thought the fly was somehow going to be involved but just a trick to move throughout the house. Great use of dialogue and how it tied into the story through were Kalli is placed in the trunk.

Definitely one of the best this month. I don't really have much to say but I might suggest adding something that goes to fact of why Kalli is there now getting rid 'the trash' so to speak. Maybe an anniversary or something from when she was killed? Just a friendly suggestion.

Ali Barr (Level 4)

Your story structure and composition is good but way too dark of a tale for my taste. The use of children's nursery rhymes of course pack a real punch in a dark story like this. It is powerful. Good job of returning to the trunk to complete the whole story.

No one who has ever committed such a crime against a child will get away with it in the end.

Ammar Salmi (Level 5)

First, thank God Joanna is not reviewing this month. Man! that was so cruel. I enjoyed reading your script. You didn't mention Darla and Georg Age. The way Kalli was talking was very entertaining and very scary. But...

This is just me. The cruelty can get your script rejected by directors and producers. I don't have that much of experience about this, but I've heard a story about how "RoboCop" script was rejected by almost every director in the USA because the level of violence in the story. It ended up with the script getting in the hand of a Dutch director, Who was used to this kind of violence in his movies. And between you and me, Robocop violence was nowhere near what you got in your script.

Believe me, you don't want your script to cross the world before it get produced, do you? This is just an advice from a friend.
"...Leaving her arm swinging by strings of tendons." They hit this stuff. (For me that was amazing)
Good luck

Bill Delehanty (Level 4)

Nice intro with the fly buzzing leading to the action downstairs. Love the creepy lines from the psycho little girl. I had to go back and check the beginning again if my assumption of the end was right, and it was. Try to make it clearer, black pigtails aren't that great of a stand-out distinction, so they didn't really stick with me to the end.
But I really liked this one!

Brian Wind (Level 5)

A ghostly revenge story filled with graphic violence. Nice! This was very entertaining. There isn't a whole lot that needs fixing here, but I did think the character descriptions could use a little work. An age is pretty important or else the reader is left to assumption. If something in the script later challenges their assumption, it can create confusion for the reader.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

I thought this was very good and I thought it was vile. I wondered if you needed quite so much violence?

It was simply brilliant the way you interspersed the nursery rhymes into the action.

One line didn't work for me out of the whole piece and it stood out like a sore thumb - and that was Erin saying:'You're her aren't you? My real mother I mean.' It just fell into exposition.

Great job, even though I am not at all one for violence and horror like this.

Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)

Family month is definitely over!

This was well-written. Enjoyed the nursery rhymes, very creepy, especially the last one.

I found the script interesting but perhaps a bit too gruesome. Liked the horror aspect, but it was predictable.

Now that the contest is over think you should ditch the opening. Is pretty irritating beginning with the sunlight only to have it immediately turn to a thunder storm seemingly only because you had to begin it like that. I guess you could go more with it and make it more obvious that big supernatural forces are at play here, just seems a bit out of place as is.

All-in-all I enjoyed this one. Thought you did a good job with it.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

Awesome title.

I love the use of 'nursery rhyme' dialogue. It's creepy and extremely well done.

The subject matter of the story is so terrible, but the revenge is so vicious I can't help loving it.

If I had one small suggestion it would be for Kalli to be a bit older (10 seems almost too awful).

Still, this reeked of style (in the best way) and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Elias Farnum (Level 5)

Nursery rhyme horror, pretty cool but this read like a novel for the most part. Tighten up the descriptions by not using "ing" verb endings. It's passive voice, a progressive verb, make a word like, rushing, into rushes - to make the action more immediate and fresh.

It was cool horror but I didn't see the rhyme, (no pun intended) or reason for the bloodshed, thus, no real story to speak of. Writing is fun and it looks like you had fun writing this so keep it up. Seek out web resources on story structure, character, and screenplay format. There are forum threads here at MoviePoet that are very helpful ie: "Lessons Learned." You've got a good start already, this wasn't poor and I see the paragraphs are not overly long. You will improve with the next script I am sure of it.

Erich VonHeeder (Level 4)

A lot of fun as a good ol' fashioned hatchet-fest. Two thoughts come to mind:

1) I don't understand the connection between Kalli and Erin. At first, because of their ages, I figured they were sisters. But then Erin's line "You're her, aren't you? My real mother I mean" really threw me for a loop. I didn't get it.

2) I like the nursery rhyme bit. It made things a little different.

Gary Murphy (Level 3)

So while not exactly my cup of tea I have to say this was very good. Great idea with the nursery rhymes, kept the whole story together and really made it stand out from the usual "back from the dead to cut of your head" tales.

I wonder whether a flashback of Kalli being killed would be better inserted somewhere?

On a slightly negative note one thing I did not buy into was Darla, both her reaction to seeing her dead daughter on the doorstep nor her dialogue seemed very real to me. She said the same thing twice "I must be passed out somewhere". Maybe a more horrific response would be better, no matter how drunk she was. It would probably have worked better if she was not such a drunken waster but more of a victim, covered in bruises, maybe moronic. Lots of guilt over what happened etc.. Just a thought anyway.

Very good script though, a real solid effort.

Ian Arroway (Level 1)

intriguing title. i like the opening shot with the fly buzzing around the trunk. It's a dark and stormy night, okay, this immediately feels like a horror script. The words "pounding" and "patter" in the description of rain feel incongruous to me...akin to something like a "screaming whisper" or a "cacophonous squeak". Darla's dialog upon recognizing kallie seemed wooden and unrealistic to the situation. it's pretty obvious george is going to be gruesomely revenge-killed upon his introduction. it's kind of ridiculous that darla never screams throughout her butchering and thus obviously-doomed george can't come to her aid in time. you could fix this by having the first attack be to darla's throat instead of her shoulder. i paused to ponder the logic of a ten year old being pregnant but i guess it's sound, still, i think i would make her twelve years old just to dispel any possible confusion. all in all, the story is nicely written, stylish and creepy with the nursery rhymes, and climaxes with a little twist. however, it was entirely predictable and my suspension of belief was not fostered in regard to the character's cliche reactions towards seeing the ghost of their murdered child.

John LaBonney (Level 4)

Very good. I really liked the imagery, especially of Darla's arm hanging on by spit and sinew. I think that there was a little too much of the nursery rhymes in Kalli's dialog, one or two bits should be enough to inspire the appropriate amount of terror.

Kathleen Clevenger (Level 4)

Wow, great story telling. I thought the nursery rhymes were just creepy, but then when you tied it in with the body being covered in the books, that was just magic. I loved to hate Darla and George. Very vivid, disturbing imagery. I'd love some closure with what will happen to Erin, but I guess the fact that she is freed from her tortured life is enough.

Kenneth Hurd (Level 4)

Your story was pretty good, and quite disturbing. I never liked the characters, and I do believe that was your intention with this piece. They all got what was coming to them. I also really liked the atmosphere you were able to create in the descriptions. My only suggestion is that I think all the violence takes away some of the tension. It seems like it had too many characters for a five page script, which left them all just a little bit under developed. I also didn't get a point to the fly at the beginning. Overall, this script was very good!

Kirwin Sullivan (Level 2)

Creepy. Very well done. Its not my cup of tea but I enjoyed it none the less. I can barely sit through horror scripts but this one held my interest. I'm still freaked out about that little girl.

Laureen Muller (Level 4)

This was a bit gruesome, but a well played out story line. Dialogue could use a little more tweaking, Darla, Erin and George's lines seemed out of place at times and unnatural. The nursery rhymes throughout the script were great. The story line got lost; how is Erin Kalli's kid, as she was 10 and a little girl dead in the trunk, not even a teenager old enough to have given birth to anyone. Therefore, how could Kalli be anyone’s mother? I could easily picture each scene through your solid descriptions.

Lewayne White (Level 4)

Gruesome, but fairly well done.

Margaret Avnet (Level 4)

You certainly depict Kalli's parents as two characters the viewer would have no sympathy for. I don't think you give them enough emotion though when they encounter Kalli. Knowing I had killed her and then saw I think I would be more panicked stricken. They seem almost blaise about it. And while I can see where Erin could be Kalli's daughter considering what kind of man George, it's stretching it a bit that Kalli had her at ten. I suppose it's not impossible, but I think it would have been better if you made Kalli a little older. And the fact that Erin is seven wouldn't Kalli's body be even more decomposed, I mean to the point where you wouldn't see pigtails on the head? I did however like your use of the nursery rhythms,especially since Kalli says them with no emotion.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

Excellent! What more can I say? Very well thought out, very well staged, really good dialogue, creepy as hell!

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)

I really wanted to like this...I love horror. Some of your visuals were really good and it defiately had a creepy vibe...BUT...I was confused by the relationships. How old were Darla and George? If Kalli was 10 why and how could she be Erin's real mother? That really threw me off. If you meant that George raped Kalli and then killed her after she gave birth to Erin, 10 is too young to have a child. I'd say 12 at the absolute youngest. (if that's what you meant)

I just think the relationships need to be clarified.

Great job on the creepiness though. You obviously have a knack for it!! Keep it up! :)

Michael Cornetto (Level 5)

I loved the concept of this story and it was nicely written but

I thought the nursery rhymes grew tiresome. A couple of them I didn't get why she was saying them - including seven for a secret - who were the seven, I only counted four.

I thought the reveal about Erin being her child came out of the blue. I though it could work but it needed more setup. For a script this size I would have just cut out Erin.

Michael Leath (Level 3)

The visual for this story was clear and concise. The imagery was horrific. The question I have to ask is this. Who was the sympathetic character in this story? Erin surely was the sympathetic character and the one we would latch onto.

Yet she doesn't appear until the top of page three. So we have a drunk woman, a homicidal ten-year old, and a pedafile to choose from. It seems difficult to hold the readers interest without someone they can take to their bosom and embrace until 40% of the script has passed.

The violence, which was ultimately justified felt as if it were simply a device for violence sake. My first script was something equally as gory, and a producer in Hollywood asked me if this type of writing is what I wanted to be known for. Not judging, but just passing it along.

Horror, sci-fi, and slasher films have their own set of rules established by the writer. But there is still a requirement that the basics of story-telling must be there. You did establish Kelli's motivation for her revenge/protection of Erin without having it come out in dialog - to a degree. But I wonder if there could have been a link between Erin and Kelli which is less nebulous or vague?

Dialog was good. Formatting and the technical aspects of this was good. But I needed more than the red and gurgly running out of everyone who crossed Kelli's path for this piece to not overwhelm me with the horror.

I'm not squimish. But I also need something that pulls on me emotionally for me to suspend disbelief that a dead girl can come back and weild an axe to protect a child. I need characterization!!

Michael Rome (Level 4)

As far as really dark sh** goes, this was great stuff: The fly at the beginning on the trunk, with the camera following it down into the house. The characterization of the screwed-up 'parents'. The little rhyming child was very well done. Also, having an emotional motivation for the gore was excellent.

The only thing that distracted me a little bit was lack of age and a little further description of the parents...but not a big problem.

Congratulations on this piece.

Patrick Sweeney (Level 4)

Interesting use of a fly to convey us from the attic to the kitchen. Clever use of nursery rhymes to 'narrate' events.

Needs another edit pass for spelling. Dialogue starts off entertaining but becomes unnatural & forced; try reading aloud or having a reading with friends. Extremely graphic and unpleasant subject matter, even for a horror story.

Paul Jaworsky (Level 4)

This was excellent! You really know how to tell a tale of horror. I was totally mesmerized as I read this and could not wait to get to the last page to see how it finished. The action lines were fantastically crafted and the descriptions of the killings along the way were very graphic. I loved your brief, yet precise detail. I think what I liked most was the little girl only speaking in nursery rhymes. I believe it added something uniquely special to her character. I have absolutely nothing to add as far as making this any better. It was simply perfect. Keep writing horror because you have a knack for it. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a winner and, I also wouldn't be surprised to see this made into a short. I'd LOVE to see this on film. A definite 5!

Paul Williams (Level 5)

I can't believe how many of these stories this month revolve around the death and/or murder of children. The tie-in with the nursery rhyme books and Kalli's dialog was clever, probably the aspect I liked the most. If it is supposed to be a surprise reveal at the end that Kalli was killed and her body dumped in the trunk, it was a bit obvious.

I didn't understand why Erin thought Kalli was her real mother. Kalli seems to verify this via her nursery rhyme dialog. I surmise Kalli was killed at age ten and has stayed that age perpetually in the afterlife. Erin, described to be Kalli's sister by their mother, Darla, is age seven, only a three year difference. I did have the morbid thought that Kalli was raped by George, giving birth to Erin, but certainly not at age three.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

This is a great script for this kind of movie. The motivations work, the justice is deserved, the attacks are gruesome, and you have a gimmick that strings it all together.

Pia Cook (Level 5)

I thought this was very good and I enjoyed it.
However, I have a couple of comments. Since this deals with child abuse, I don't think it has to quite as graphic on page three. Erin doesn't have to be naked and George shouldn't spit tobacco juice on her... It's a little too much and brings this story down a notch.

Also isn't Kalli just 10 years old? How can she be Erin's real mother?

Other than that I enjoyed your writing and the super dark story you wrote.

Good job!

Rustom Irani (Moderator)

Very imaginative and ample gore added a change from the other scripts.

For a while I felt that the trunk was being left out but you did involve it at the end. The use of nursery rhymes was ingenious actually and very creepy.

My only complaint is to do with Kalli's return from the dead. A scene that shows how she is resurrected could add more atmosphere to this macabre piece.

The attention to gore is commendable, though I've seen or read about heads being torn off and legs being sliced up a few times you make it crystal clear. Now if you could have added a few screams or begs of forgiveness while she goes about her task it'd add more spice to the proceedings.

Nicely done though. Can be produced on a short budget with tons of fake blood and limbs.

Keep writing.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

I thought this script was very clever and well written. Way too gory for me though, but still well thought out.

The only thing I would definitely change is the child rape scene. YUCK! I don't think you need this at all. It changes the whole feel of the story. Gory I can handle, even if it's over the top like this, but child rape is a whole other story.

Shaheryar Ahmed (Level 4)

I liked the story but the thing I liked the most is the use of rhymes for Kalli. It went along and gave her character depth. But the thing is with the rhymes she gave away the suspense. But I guess we can live without that suspense.

Visually the movie is okay. Nothing much to see. The only thing that we see is the killings and everything which were important. It is an old concept. Atleast for me. A person dead is hidden in the attic and his ghost comes back to take revenge. It has been done too many times. But I loved the use of rhymes which makes this piece kind of original!

Stan Askew (Level 3)

The only thing I would change, and this is a maybe, is George's expository, "I killed you once, I can kill you again." This works like Cliff notes for the reader who hasn't been paying attention. I think we all get it without that. Instead, when he sees a bloody girl in his hallway carrying his wife's severed head, a girl he knows for a fact is dead, because he killed her himself, his reaction doesn't require a lot of words. He could soil himself . . .or sumpin like that.

Another smaller thing. . .the decomposing body in the trunk would stink to high heaven, unless the trunk was sealed. And then, if it were sealed, when they opened it putrid gases from hell would be released. She could be sealed up in a plastic bag. . .

That said, wow, great job. The nursery rhymes work to great effect. Very eerie comeuppance tale.

Stephen Brown (Level 5)

This was pretty tidy. Quite funny gore, just how over the top it was, but I think the story fitted in with it.

You forgot to capitalize Kalli's introduction, but I'll forgive that.

I liked how the fly led us from the attic into the story. That was quite Lynch-esque, which is always good.

Overall, VERY GOOD. Marked down due to a few typos and some of the ryhmes didn't really gel with what was going on on screen, but I enjoyed it.

Stina Carlstedt (Level 3)

From one Stephen King fan to what I assume is another, well done. The depiction of the violence is expertly done. The nurserly rhyme dialogue works well, and the action moves along effectively. The way you tell us what's happening to Erin without telling us is so good, as is the buildup to Kallie showing what her real business at the house is. I might lose the line about "you're my real mother, aren't you?" -- I don't think it adds anything to the story and it kind of snagged my attention.

Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)

I'm a fan of buckets of blood, so I gave this a bonus point since I love a good axe murder, especially when well deserved. Cutting him off at the knee was a nice touch.

This could be better if the characters weren't such cliches and there was more suspense ot maybe more of a fight. Kalli's dialog was not working for me either, a bit too contrived. Solve both problems by building some suspense before the girl is recognized, kill the mom right off with more action, and let us wonder what's going on while George abuses Erin, we'll be begging for him to get what's coming.

T. James DeStein (Level 5)

This story was way too cheesy for me. Crack of lightning when mystery person is revealed? Check. Creepy killer who speaks in rhyme? Check. Dumbfounded victims who think outloud? Check. I think it could've been a lot better if those cliches had been minimized or avoided altogether. Everything else about the story I liked; the descriptions, the pacing, it's just those things that made me dislike it.

Tony Oldham (Level 4)

Very dark. A fast paced horror type flick.

I think the set up on page one was excellent and worked great. The murdered child singing the songs was also very effective.

A strong sense of character throughout with dialogue that suited. The basic description was clear cut and easy to follow.

As a premise it works. The problem is that you know there's a dead body in the trunk very early on. We just don't know it's the little girl. The adults got their just reward, but there is a danger of this being violent for no other reason than entertainment.

I appreciate that you're aim is unlikely that. And as said, there's no doubting Darla and George got what was due.

I think that the story just lacks on tension and drama because it is an inevitable ending; blood and gore film from start to end.

There's some terrific scenes though. A good horror, and possibly a great end to a feature.

William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)

I didn't find the premise terribly interesting or original. I was hoping that something other than dead bodies/parts were in the trunk.

Some of the dialogue, especially Darla at the beginning felt forced.

William Flink (Level 3)

Nice title. Kalli's dialogue was well written and interesting to read, I think.

The characters, I got a "sense" of who they were and how they were like, but I knew nothing about Kalli or Erin more than that they been sexually abused, I felt I had no interest in Kalli or Erin. I think I had a problem relating to any of the characters.

I felt that it was all over too quickly and without any challenge/obstacles.

It was easy to read through I think, it had a good flow.


Comments Made After the Contest

Paul Jaworsky (Level 4) ~ 9/1/2008 12:14 AM

Brad, this was my winner this month. Great story, love your writing!

Brad Huffman Parent (Level 4) ~ 9/1/2008 12:22 AM

Thanks, I'm real happy with this one. I had to make some major cuts to get it to fit in the page limit, so most of the complaints I got in my review are already dealt with and ready to be edited back in.

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 9/1/2008 12:52 AM

This was one of my favorites this month. Awesome style and use of language. The whole piece was creepy and vicious. Really wonderful. I would love to see this get filmed.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus) ~ 9/1/2008 7:57 AM

I loved this. It's the first really violent piece I have read that was so well-written I didn't mind!

Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 9/1/2008 10:10 PM

This was one of my faves this month Brad. Nice work.

Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 9/1/2008 11:33 PM

Brad,

I really liked this one. Voted VG on it. I'm amazed someone voted poor on it. You should be proud of this one!

Rustom Irani (Moderator) ~ 9/2/2008 6:30 AM

Ammar Salmi wrote: "First, thank God Joanna is not reviewing this month. "

LOL

Brad, really enjoyed this one,the only very good I gave after Caroline's script amongst the twenty I could review.

Think of more imaginative ways to dispose of the victims. Blender's, microwaves, beer bottles, fish-hooks, can openers...think of the possibilities.

Good gore.

Brad Huffman Parent (Level 4) ~ 9/2/2008 7:23 AM

Thanks everyone. I'm amazed at the responses I got to this one. I thought the majority would HATE it. My goal here was to find my specific audience (the horror fans) and write the most disturbing thing I could think of. Looks like it appealed to a much wider group than I thought.

I put a lot of time into research on this one, between reading pages and pages of nursery rhymes, and even a bit of time on the baby name sites (Kali is the Hindu goddess associated with death and destruction. One common image has her holding a severed head.)

So, thanks again for all the wonderful and helpful reviews. This one may not have placed, but I'm sticking it on my personal winner's list.

Adam Grage (Level 4) ~ 9/2/2008 5:35 PM

Brad you were robbed this month I had this one to definitely take the cake. I would hope this one gets snapped up by some producer and would love to see it on the screen.


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