Review of: HUMANIMAL (2nd rev) 

reviewed by Rfordyce on 10/16/2011
Credited Review
Laughs, gore, sex and werewolves Credited Review
First of all, disclaimers: I’m not by any means a devotee of werewolves, vampires, rampaging prehistoric beasts, bloodsuckers or any of that jazz. But I thought what the hell, it’s good to get reviews from a full cross-section of readers; let’s give it a whirl. So please take my comments in the context of that knowledge.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this one. Comedy horror is a pretty tough nut to crack, and here I think you’ve made a good attempt at it. In some areas I’d score this script highly. The dialogue is nice and lean; the style suited to the characters; exposition for the most part deftly carried along through information which the characters reveal. In characterisation, you’ve done a good job with the aptly-named Milton Kipper. We immediately are drawn to his cack-handed, gormless personality and it gives a lot of scope for comedy while at the same time retaining our affection for him as a loveable buffoon. There are some wonderful comic touches in Milton’s behaviour which keep us involved in the story.

Annie is an interesting portrait of a woman with some peculiar personality traits, and Stacie is suitably enigmatic as the girl with secrets to hide. Margaret on the other hand is something of a cardboard cut-out who just seems to be evil for no apparent reason. I think you need to give her more of a backstory, dig a bit deeper into her relationship with her husband and daughter, to make her believable. At the moment, she’s just over the top. The sorority girls too could do with some nuances of personality – they’re all basically slutty slags. Give us more of a reason to at least feel a bit sorry for them.

Story and structure are the areas where I think you’ve got work to do. I’ll take them together because they seem intertwined to me.

Now you’ll have to make allowances because I’m notoriously thick when it comes to following storylines, so I’ve probably missed all sorts of clues. But the story doesn’t seem to make sense to me. Firstly I’m assuming that Stacie has been ‘experimented’ on by Professor Oval at some point in the past, when she says, ‘I hunted, I mated’. So Oval has changed her from wolf into human, just like he did with Gray. This is what gives her a telepathic connection with Gray, and also what enabled her to help Milton find the ‘blood bath’ killer. But how then does she manage to have a human mother (Margaret) and lead a normal life with friends as a university student?

Who is ‘The Figure’? Does it just exist in her dreams? Presumably not, since we see it clearly (page 11) and this is presumably the killer which has previously ‘strangled all those chicks’. This backstory is rather irritatingly only semi-revealed to us. Milton says that he’d made a promise to Stacie, but couldn’t keep it because ‘he was defenseless. I couldn’t
pull the trigger’. So what happened? Did the killer get away? Presumably not, because we’re told that the murders were solved. What does the Figure mean when he mentions something about four hundred and twenty-three days? We’re never told.

What about Stacie’s stepfather in all this? The stepfather plays a part in the story, being the object of Margaret’s scorn, and also, it would seem, he casts more than a few lustful glances in Stacie’s direction (page 38) – but we never see him. Is it possible, then, that he is The Figure of her dreams? And if he isn’t, why do you generate so much dialogue about a character who never appears?

So there just seem to be too many loose ends which don’t come together. I know that not everything will be ‘logical’ when the script is in a supernatural setting, but the basic storyline should be – in fact, must be – valid to achieve the effect you need.

As regards the pacing, it seems to me that you reveal your hand too soon. We see the first metamorphosis on page 7 and you then show the killing of the three kids in explicit detail. I reckon that for the sake of building up the tension you could show essentially the same information, but merely suggest it rather than display it. Also it doesn’t help your structure, since you’ve pretty much shot your bolt by page 10, leaving you with no effective turning-point to take you into Act 2. So yes, I’d agree with your post-script comment, and hopefully you could use this to help tie up some of those loose ends.

Although I do like the raccoon joke! But you could have that somewhere else in the script.

Your suggestion of a ‘g-spot’ I’m not so sure about. I think there are a few other unanswered questions to be dealt with before you add any more complications!

Other reading notes:

1 It seems a bit unlikely that an academic boffin like Oval would be able to track down and shoot a wolf – especially in darkness.

12 We meet Jennifer and Jason. It seems at first that these two are going to be major characters, but they disappear from the story quite early. A bit strange.

14 In human form now, Gray Wolf kneels at the water’s edge...
So he changes form at will? It’s often not very clear in the script what form Gray is currently appearing in. A little bit more detail would make a big difference.

17/18 Good set-up of Milton’s character. Also a good comic scene with Gray ‘talking’.

23 ELI I forgot to tell you about the others, didn’t I?
Nice one.

27 I like the comedy with the sign of the cross.

34 The bondage between Annie and Phillip is a quirky little touch. I think you could usefully find a bigger role for Phillip later the script.

75 INT. STACIE’S BEDROOM – NIGHT It was day a minute ago; now it’s night?

81 That was a stupid thing to say. I hope someone isn’t really-
VOICE (on phone, blood curdling)AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!! MILTON Shit.
I do like that one.

85 He plays Russian roulette with Oval. Now this doesn’t quite ring true. Firstly it’s a jump out of character for Milton. We lose that loveable buffoon image and suddenly he’s not so likeable. Secondly, Oval would never hold out that long – he’d be crapping himself from the word go. I think you need to come up with something a bit less stark.

102 She nestles into him as he lays his head back down. So what happens to Gray? Apparently he dies, but I only know that from your notes at the end.

104 The Bloodbath Killer disappears. I know, I’m thick, but I don’t really follow what’s supposed to be happening here.

Typos, spelling, boring stuff...
14 ...jumps back immediatEly. ?? You seem to have an errant E on your keyboard.
19 Mornin’, Ely! Ely stares straight ahead, bug-eyed.
Ely’s spelling seems to interchange throughout the script.
25 These prints aren’t the right shape...
28 Finish busing those tables... busing??
40 Margaret merely...
45 If she’s what you want...
50 Maybe he’s an epiclectic. ??? Epileptic?
70 putting her through the wringer...
78 Ely addresses the crowd.
78 PAN to reveal five bloodied wolf carcasses... We haven’t seen them before. Omit ‘the’.
82 ... nearly hurls at the sight.
87 ... having no idea what to do.
94 I think you owe her an answer.
100 STACIE (sternly)Damn it, Milton.

Anyway that’s all I’ve got. I do think you’ve got a very appealing comic style, and good luck with any re-writes.

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