Archive for July 2007

Movie Diaries 22

July 9, 2007

Watchers of the Greater Dark, Act II

In the parking lot of the hotel where our meeting took place as guns and equipment are being loaded, we learn that Murphy was in the unit that investigated the disappearance of several children shortly before Rio vanished.  Such disappearances happened in the area every twenty years or so, going back to the late 1800’s.  In his investigation, Murphy visited and questioned Whitefeather who owned an occult shop in town.  Although not implicated in the disappearances, the investigation ruined Whitefeather’s business, and he committed two years later.  His only remaining descendent, Joy Beck, blames Murphy for her father’s death but is the team’s only hope of finding the key Rios was searching for.

Once at the Beck home, Murphy, refused entry by Joy Beck, sits on the porch while Kate and JD question her.  Eventually, she offers them a small Aztec or Mayan statue of a head that belonged to her father, and from it Kate receives a vision of a river and gazebo.  There is both nearby, so head in hand the team jumps back in the car and races to that location.

At the river, Kate’s intuition leads the team to a bluff where they find an ancient carved face matching the statue of the head in Kate’s hand.  She and JD climb the bluff to the face, and find hidden within a leatherbound book wrapped in oil cloth.  A storm is brewing, so the team retreats back into town to rest and investigate their find.

Arriving at a coffeeshop, they are told by Bill to remain where they are: Watchers agents are on their way with a package.

Coffees in hand and secluded in the upper loft of the coffeeshop, JD opens the book: it is a diary written by Frank James, detailing his involvement in the Watchers and revealing the healing powers of the local spring waters.  Jesse, it seems, did indeed die after being shot but was resurrected by the magic in the waters of Shiloam Springs.  Shiloam Springs is the 19th century name of Excelsior Springs, Missouri.  After being brought back to life, and having found the Key of Solomon, Jesse and his brother Frank bury the artifact in what would be Jesse James’ grave.

Two Watchers arrive with a large metal case for Kate.  When she opens it she find an ornate silver staff with a large, flame-shaped crystal head.  When she takes it out of the case it responds to her touch by flaring with an intense light.  As it does, JD notices two more people in the coffeeshop: dressed in black suits and standing by the door, agents of the shadowy government agency MJ12 are waiting to take the James diary and the staff.

While JD and Murphy confront the two, Kate and the other two Watchers leave.  JD and Murphy follow, and the team being making their way to the Historical Society Museum.  They gain admittance to the archives and make several discoveries:

In 1905, the same year Jesse James – using the alias Thomas Howard – truly dies, Elizabeth Bathory arrives in town from Hungary.  She is met by, and later marries, a Dr. Musgrave, who the team believes is the infamous Jack the Ripper.  The first set of child disappearances is reported in the local paper.

Dr. Musgrave keeps an office in the Royal Hotel, and the two share an apartment there.  The team decides that’s the next logical place to visit.

As the team nears the hotel, a storm begins to brew above it, and energy begins to crackle around the Royal sign.  Kate and Murphy discuss the Bath of Immortality: Bathory would drain the blood of local village girls and bathe in it, believing the practice lengthened her life.  Kate suddenly stops.

In the front window of the hotel, Kate sees a group of children.  Murphy recognizes them as the group that disappeared at the same time as Rios.  Unable to open the main door to the hotel, Murphy shoots out the lock but when they enter, the children have disappeared.

In their search, they are attacked by Katarina, Bathory’s living dead handmaiden, who attempts and fails to steal the staff, and they barely escape.

Next Up: The Death of the Scholar


Movie Diaries 21

July 5, 2007

Watchers of the Greater Dark

Preface: it was MLD’s intention that this movie be passed off as a documentary.  There is no fucking way that will ever work: the target audience for this movie (14-30 year old males who play MMUDs and RPGs, wear costumes to movie premieres and refer to themselves in the third person) is far too savvy.  There are also large holes in the narrative flow, pieces that are introduced but never used, and places where you’re going to shake your head and think, “Who wrote this shit?”

I’ll do my best, but no promises, mm’k?  So, strap it on, honey, we’re going in:


Twenty years ago, a Watchers agent, searching in Excelsior Springs for a segment of the Key of Solomon, disappeared, never to be heard from again.  Although his whereabouts were known, his fate was not, and he is presumed to have died.

In the meantime, the organization he worked for, the Watchers of the Greater Dark, cross-dimensional peace keepers, have become aware of an increasing amount of inter-dimensional traffic: they suspect their arch-enemies Starry Wisdom are trying to open a Greater Gate to allow the entry of their god into our world, and their efforts to stop it have met with no success.  Nine teams have been dispatched worldwide: all but two have been lost, with the remaining teams’ statuses unknown.

In a move of desperation, WOGD summons its last remaining agents in the hopes that these few can stop what is quickly becoming a war: a war WOGD is losing.

Detective Sean Murphy.  Skeptic; tactical specialist and newest member of WOGD; injured on his first and only mission, stabbed in the leg by a halberd in a misunderstanding with the Swiss Guard.

J.D. Crockett.  Long time member of WOGD, embittered and vengeful after the murders of his family by members of the Starry Wisdom cult working under the instructions of their leader “Mr Bibb”.

Dr. Doug Arle.  Scholar, researcher.  Expert in local history.

Bill.  The audio/video tech and mission coordinator.  Referred to as “the quarterback”.

“Cecil”.  His real name is never revealed.  Cameraman, documentarian.

Kate West.  Youngest member of the team, she’s suffers from amnesia: her memories go back no further than 1995 when she was “found” by Bill.  Kate is special and extremely important, indeed the key to this Forlorn Hope, but no one around her is aware of this fact until much later.

The team is assembled and given the history.  They learn about Rios’ mission, and that he was able to send one final message, but it was not received until that morning: Starry Wisdom is planning to open a greater gate that night, and the path to the means to stop that from happening leads to a man named “Whitefeather.”

As the briefing concludes, Kate detects the presence of something in the room: the briefing has been compromised, and the team quickly leaves to gather supplies and equipment before visiting Whitefeather.

UP NEXT: ACT II, The Fellowship of the Head

Movie Diaries 20

July 5, 2007

Well, that hasn’t happened in  long while.

Monday, I went to bed late (for me – about midnight), and then laid in bed unable to sleep until about 3:00.  My mind simply would not shut off.

The week before we left for Colorado I met with Lezlie and Dave (the “Gunslinger”*) at the Westport Coffeehouse to talk movie making and possible opportunities.  As it often does in these circumstances, talk turned to The Movie. (more…)

Movie Diaries 19

July 2, 2007

Are you familiar with the addage in theatre that if you see a gun onstage it will be used before the end of the third act?  MLD would fill a scene with guns (metaphorically speaking) and never acknowledge them again.

Child abductions.  A hugely important plot point in the first fifteen minutes.  Brought up again only once in the second act.

The “key”, that lightsabre thing here.  We struggle to get it, kill off a member of the cast for it, and use it (here it comes..!) to   o p e n  a n   e l e v a t o r.  Duh-duh-duhhhhhhhn.  Although Lezlie has to carry it for the remainder of the movie, it’s never used , or even mentioned, again.

MJ12.  They periodically show up, act menacing, get in the way, but otherwise have no purpose.  They don’t move the plot forward.  Although, to be fair, any time our heros reach a spot where they’ve stopped moving, MJ12’ers show up and push them to the next plot point.  They’re the dudes (and one dude-ette) in the clip behind the link.

Lady Bathory.  The villain we chase throughout the film.  We see her once.  At the very end.  With bad dialog.  From a bad angle.  The real villain, if screen time is any indication, is her handmaid, Katarina.

And let us not forget that she married Jack the Ripper, alias Dr. Musgrave, in 1905.  Where’s he?  Nobody knows.

MLD was a master of Missing the Moment.