ROCKETS OF THE DEAD, Third Draft, by Gavin Scott, December 31st, 1997
Continued from Page 1
25 EXT. FORESTED MOUNTAINS - DAY:
The Dirigible is gliding over spectacular but forbidding country.
Look at those forests down there, Fogg: the very breeding ground of myth and legend. We are nearing the dark centre of Europe.
26 INT. GONDOLA - DAY.
It's not myth and legend I'm worried about, Verne: it's flesh and blood.
Sometimes mist and ledgers swallow up flesh and blood, Master. I have heard dark tales of these mountains.
You're not going to tell us about your grandmother's spooks again, are you?
My grandmother was a very wise woman, Monsieur Verne. She came from Rumania. She knew of the "Vampyra" - creatures who do not die, who live by night, who suck the blood of others to feed their undead souls!
Passepartout: I have to confess I'm sick and tired of hearing about your grandmother and her superstitious -
They sleep in coffins! Talk to the bats! Hold a mirror up before them - and they are not there! Only garlic can keep them at bay - and the sign of the cross, of course. They hate the cross because -
(Quite carried away)
And if you see one, sleeping in his coffin, his fangs sticking out of his mouth, like this - you must thrust a stake right through his heart - for only thus can he be killed!
Will you SHUT UP?
I am sorry Master. I was only trying to keep you amused during a tedious journey.
And signally failing. Go and iron the Times.
But you have already read it, Master.
That's why it needs ironing. As there is no new Times, I will have to read it again tomorrow at breakfast, won't I? And I prefer it - uncrumpled.
At once, Master.
Fogg - come here: I think this might.be Gradowice !
27 EXT. AERIAL VIEW OF A RUINED CASTLE - DAY
A sinister ruined castle comes into view.
Well, wherever he is it's clear Duke Rimini doesn't inhabit the local castle.
They sweep over the castle and see, nestling below it, an attractive, medieval -looking village: ancient stones, crooked roofs: utter silence.
Pretty looking place: but not exactly over-populated
Silent as the grave, in fact.
28 INT. GONDOLA - DAY:
Let's take advantage of the fact that nobody seems to have noticed us.
Land in that valley over there?
Passepartout - prepare for camouflage deflation.
Will we be the hill this time, Master?
Yes, the hill will do nicely.
29 EXT. MOUNTAIN MEADOW - DAY
The Dirigible sweeps in over the forested hills and lands in a meadow out of sight of the village.
30 INT. GONDOLA - DAY
Tight on Passepartout hauling down on a series of brass levers.
31 EXT. MOUNTAIN MEADOW - DAY
The great cylindrical balloon is deflated, entirely covering the gondola.
32 INT. GONDOLA - DAY:
Passepartout hits another series of gleaming brass controls.
33 EXT. MOUNTAIN MEADOW - DAY
The collapsed balloon changes colour until it looks like a green hill.
Very good, Passepartout: let's be on our way.
34 EXT. CEMETERY - MAGIC:
They are trecking down towards the village through the churchyard: a place full of baroque-looking tombs.
Have you noticed, Monsieur?
There are no crosses here ...
Pure chance, Passepartout.
A sinister looking bird squawks in Jules' ear and he leaps about a foot in the air.
35 EXT. MOUNTAIN PEAKS - MAGIC
The sun is slipping in fiery splendour behind the mountains.
36 EXT. VILLAGE SQUARE - MAGIC
They enter the charming but deserted central square and look up at the silhouette of the ruined castle up on the hill, lit by the dying sun: and then around the square itself: shuttered windows, locked doors, smokeless chimneys.
A sudden rattle startles them: the wind in a loose shutter. Otherwise the silence is absolute.
Long siesta, perhaps. Let's try the inn....
PHILEAS leads the way to the darkened inn. They look up at the creaking inn-sign. It features a hanging man.
37 INT. INN - MAGIC
Empty chairs and tables. Grey ashes in the fireplace. Otherwise - only silence. Phileas raps smartly on the bar with his stick.
His voice echoes through the building - but there is no response.
38 EXT. MOUNTAIN PEAKS - MAGIC
The last sliver of sun slips down behind the mountains.
39 INT. INN - NIGHT:
The three of them look around warily - as the room falls into even deeper shadow. Suddenly from outside: a high-pitched chanting.
A dagger, battle-axe and spear.
A heart to whom unknown is fear.
A potent arm which oft has slain
The Tartar foe in field and plain. ...
They move over to the window and look out. A group of children are playing skipping-rope. Lights are coming on in the cottages, and VILLAGERS are moving about. Suddenly, from behind them.
Yes, gentlemen - how can I serve you?
They spin around to discover THE LANDLORD, a plump, smiling man, turning up a lamp.
(Recovering from his surprise)
A jug of wine, landlord. Some bread, some cheese, some ham. Fruit perhaps.
(Fetching these things out)
Oh yes, sir, we have fruit. This is a very fruitful region
(He pours the wine into goblets)
Come from far, sir?
London. We've come to visit Duke Rimini.
Ah, friends of the Duke, eh?
He told us to look him up if we were ever in the vicinity, but we're not exactly sure of his address.
Well sir, you can find him up in the -
He stops. His eyes are fixed on Jules' goblet - and something about it makes him think twice about being so informative.
His eyes flick to Phileas's goblet and the knife with which Passepartout is cutting himself a slice of cheese. Whatever he sees there confirms his decision to change tack.
Woods ... in a hunting lodge ... several miles from here. That is, when he's in residence, which I don't think he is just now.
No matter. We'll take a hike out to this lodge in the morning, just in case. Can you give us directions?
The landlord looks flustered.
(Bringing it out)
I have a map. Perhaps you could point the lodge out?
The landlord licks dry lips and stabs a finger into the map -and is suddenly in urgent attendance on another customer: the inn is filling up. Phileas peers at the spot on the map marked by the landlord's wet finger.
Rather odd. Duke Rimini seems to have built his hunting lodge in the middle of the Black Sea.
Jules is looking at his wine goblet for clues to the landlord's sudden change of attitude: but all he can see is his own reflection. He picks up the knife Passepartout was using - wipes it clean and again sees his own face.
Then he glances back at the now crowded room and grabs Phileas by the sleeve.
Fogg: look at my knife.
Fogg peers at it curiously.
See anything reflected in it?
Fogg looks over his shoulder and realises that the knife-blade is reflecting an empty room: he twists the knife round: he can see his own reflection quite clearly.
The Landlord whispers to one of the villagers and shoves him out the door.
I owe your grandmother an apology.
They become aware that the room has fallen silent, and that the villagers are staring at them: some licking their lips.
Well, I think we'd better be going now.
There's a sort of guttural grunt from around the room: their prey is getting away. The landlord isn't ready to make his move - he makes a discreet gesture of silence.
But there's no other accommodation round here, gentlemen. You'd best stay with us. Let me show you to a room.
We were thinking of taking a moonlight stroll.
Oh, I wouldn't advise that, gentlemen; there's - unwholesome creatures prowling these valleys at night.
A bit of heh-heh-hehing from the villagers. The landlord frowns at them.
Wolves and such. Let me show you to a nice comfortable suite.
Phileas assesses the odds against them, and decides not to try a frontal assault against fifteen sets of elongated upper canines.
One of the villagers has a small furry head peeping out of the pocket where more normal people might keep a handkerchief. On closer inspection it turns out to be a bat.
You're right, landlord. Perhaps sleep IS what we need.
Some nodding at this around the room.
The landlord's eyes glitter wickedly, and he lifts a lantern.
In my inn, gentlemen, you'll sleep like you've never slept before. That I promise you.
And as he leads them up a narrow staircase, the villagers look at each other - and rub their hands.
40 INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT:
Phileas bolts the door behind them.
They are vampires, Master, all of them! They will come in the night and suck our blood! And we too will become vampires, and sleep in the daytime forever.
Shouldn't make much difference to you then, Passepartout. But don't worry.
(Pushing a cupboard against the . door)
Nothing's coming through there tonight.
There's a clatter of horses hooves outside. They dash over to the window and look out in time to see: a black carriage -thundering past the inn and taking the road out of the village and up to the castle.
See the coat of arms on the back! That's Rimini's carriage!
And look - following him!
Eurrch! A swarm of bats!
Never mind the bats: look up at the castle!
They look up as lights come on all over the ruined castle. Phileas stares at them, appalled.
Fogg - what's the matter?
It's suddenly sunk in what this means: my sister is up there with that - creature.
No - Master - I am mistaken, I am sure -it is all just the stories of old wifes. Take no notice of Passepartout - he talks too much. He talks nonsense.
I only wish I could believe that, Passepartout.
41 INT. INN NIGHT:
The door opens and the messenger sent out by the landlord comes back with the answer to their query. All eyes turn to him. He pauses to give dramatic emphasis to his reply - and then mimes a knife-slash across the throat. There's a collective sigh of anticipated relish.
Alright lads - come on: but remember -only one drink each. We don't want to empty them.
And they all crowd into the narrow stairs up which our heros went.
42 INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT:
Phileas is boosting Passepartout out of the window and up onto the roof as there's a knock on the door.Hello, sir: I brought you a hot water bottle.
(Moving faster - getting Jules)
No thank you, landlord: we're very comfortable.
(Rattling the door)
Keep your feet warm, sir. Lovely hot water bottle.
Awfully sweet of you. Feet like toast. Very sleepy. See you in the morning.
Jules is out now: Phileas is boosting himself up. The landlord is now pushing at the door - in vain.
It is traditional sir. I wouldn't be able to sleep myself knowing that you didn't have a nice hot water bottle.
And so saying he slices right through the lathe and plaster wall beside the door with a massive, two bladed axe and leaps into the room - with the rest of the pub's customers behind him.
I DO NOT WANT A HOT WATER BOTTLE!
And he boosts himself out of the room and onto the roof. There is a roar of fury behind him.
43 EXT. ROOFTOPS - NIGHT:
Jules, Phileas and Passepartout scramble across the rooftops. Even as they run, Phileas barks out orders.Villagers begin to swing themselves up over the eaves
Passepartout: back to the Dirigible. Do you think you can outrun this lot?
Oh, Master - with people like this behind me, I could be in the Olympicals. But where are you going?
Up to the castle, of course: where else? Meet us there with the ship as soon as you can.
And without either looking behind or pausing in his stride he bends down, rips a tile from the roof, and flings it back at their leading pursuer, knocking him clean off the roof.
Alright, Verne: let's see how much of an athlete you are. Jump!
And they take a flying leap off the roof.
44 EXT. LANE - NIGHT:
Landing in a haycart - as the villagers on the roof race after Passepartout. Phileas looks up at the castle and points.
45 EXT. CASTLE - NIGHT:
Phileas and Jules come at a crouching run up the bush-covered slope that leads to the castle, keeping under cover.
They look at the main door - which is massive and heavily barred. Phileas points upwards, and Jules nods.
They start to climb the wall.
46 EXT. CASTLE WALL - NIGHT:
Phileas and Jules clamber onto a window ledge and peer into the castle.
47 INT. BANQUETING HALL - NIGHT:
There is a gleaming table set for dinner in front a blazing fire.
And seated at the head of the table, at Rimini's right hand -is Rebecca - dressed in magnificent attire and looking perfectly relaxed.
My God! There she is!
And as they stare in horror - RIMINI suddenly leans forward and appears .to sink his teeth into her, neck
Verne - Verne, I don't believe it: we're too late!
END OF ACT TWO.
Continued on Page 3
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