Delusions

Ken Rice

Book Cover

GENRE

HORROR COMEDY POLITICAL DRAMA

    Core Theme

    DESCENT INTO MADNESS.

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    SPIDER, DONNIE DARKO

    CHARACTER LIST

    NICK – 21, A COLLEGE STUDENT WITH A CONSERVATIVE BENT AND AN OBSESSION WITH 70S MUSIC WHO UNDERGOES A SCHIZOPHRENIC MENTAL BREAKDOWN AND BECOMES DANGEROUSLY VIOLENT.

    JEN – NICK'S CONSISTENTLY SUPPORTIVE GIRLFRIEND.

    AUBREY – A SYMPTOM OF NICK'S SCHIZOPHRENIA, APPEARS AS BOTH A HUMAN WOMAN AND A MAN SIZED TARANTULA.

    DICKHEAD TONY – AN EX-BOYFRIEND OF JEN WHO WANTS TO GET NICK ARRESTED.

    GUS – NICK'S CLOSEST AND MOST SUPPORTIVE FRIEND AND FELLOW 70S MUSIC FAN.

    JOANNE – NICK'S MOTHER WHOSE REVELATIONS ABOUT THEM RELATIONSHIP FURTHER DAMAGE NICK'S MENTAL STATE.

    Logline

    It's Nick's world to lose...and he's losing it. As his mind slowly slips away, the rabbit hole goes deep (and sexy) as his friends and his delusions battle. Will his love for his girl (and his sanity) hold out? Or will the hideous forces trying to consume him prevail and take him down forever?

    Genre

    Horror,Fantasy,Mystery,Comedy,Drama,Suspense/Thriller,Political

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Los Angeles

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Starting Description

    Nick, an intellectually curious (and somewhat conservative minded and bright musician) who loves the 1970's, starts to feel his life coming unraveled. He meets a horrible being, created by his own mind that slowly weaves him into her web. He's losing everything he's always been able to depend on.

    Ending Description

    Out of options, desperate and driven to a desperate act., Nick creates a pivot that gives our audience a triumphant conclusion. And one that will not only save his life, but also be the catalyst for building the creative life he always dreamt of.

    Group Specific

    Los Angeles, conservatibe, college age

    Pitch Adaptation

    If your mind shapes everything that you see and know, how would you know if you were going insane?. Our hero Nick fights for his sanity as his gal and his friends are all questioning his politics, his mindset and his behavior. As he slowly slides into madness, his love for 70's music and his wit (his anchors), are the only things that he doesn't question. His greatest nemesis, a sexy tarantula (yes, that), seeks to take hold of him in Nature's grab at his very sanity. As horror and loss ensue, Nick reaches deep to prevail and relies on the true love around him to overcome and soar to his greatest dream.

    WGA Number

    The author has not yet written this

    Mature Audience Themes

    Extreme Violence, Language/Profanity,Substance Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Coming of Age,Happy Ending,Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions,Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth

    Main Character Details

    Name: Nick Reach

    Age: 21

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Charming,Complex,Sexy,Patriotic,Confident,Crazy,Desperate,Selfless,Empathetic,Outspoken,Engaging,Skillful,Funny,Romantic,Gracious,Heartthrob,Sarcastic,Secretive,Heroic,Honorable,Leader,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Aubrey

    Age: 25

    Gender: Female

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Funny,Adventurous,Aspiring,Badass,Villainous,Charming,Aggressive,Complex,Confident,Sexy,Crazy,Criminal,Blunt,Power Hungry,Desperate,Empathetic,Engaging,Outspoken,Skillful,Greedy,Sarcastic,Secretive,Seductive,Manipulative,Unapologetic,Heartthrob

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Genre

    COMEDY, MATURE AUDIENCE, SUSPENSE, POLITICS, THRILLER LGBT

    Brief

    Nick is a college student racked by voices and hallucinations culminating in a giant spider that terrorizes him and incites him towards violence. Just when it appears all is lost he gets control of his life and becomes the person he's always dreamed of.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    SCRIPT

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    It is inaccurate in that it asserts that Nick 'creates a pivot', some concrete action that results in his deliverance. In the script it appears he just wills himself into triumphing over mental illness.

    Draw of Story

    The opening nightmare and his hallucinations at the homeless encampment give a clear direction from the beginning.

    Possible Drawbacks

    This script is part of the broken political discourse it claims to disparage. The use the words 'chinks'. Jokes about a professor getting killed by antifa. Over-the-top leftists that only exist in the conservative imagination. This may all be done with satirical intent, but it fails to succeed. At best it appears the writer is trying to be objectionable to provoke attention generating backlash.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES HEAVILY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The opening nightmare and his hallucinations at the homeless encampment give a clear direction from the beginning.

    Fanbase Potential

    No. This script is split between many different goals and fails to devote enough time to any. There's not enough horror or suspense to satisfy horror fans. There isn't enough comedy to succeed as comedy. Even in the political sense it's hard to see who this appeals to. The victimhood and complaints about the left will turn off any liberals, won't give conservatives anything they can't get for free on talk radio and has nothing for the middle either. Despite including a lot of hot button items the script lacks anything to actually say about America's culture wars. The stated goal in the development pitch is not dramatized here. β€œIf your mind shapes everything that you see and know, how would you know if you were going insane?

    Awards Potential

    No. No part of this script excels in a strong enough manner to consider it an awards contender.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    SPIDER, DONNIE DARKO

    What’s New About the Story

    Films with this level of psychosis don't usually have a happy ending. This movie needs to justify the bright ending it has for it to work.

    Lead Characters

    The intensity and vividness of his hallucinations. Seeing it through Nick's eyes is a frightening but engaging experience.

    Uniqueness of Story

    No. There's no journey for Nick from descent to success, it just jumps from him falling apart to his life being perfect with no explanation. The pitch suggests a relation between difficulty determining reality due to bias and mental illness. But the mental illness could not be more obvious to the audience. It says the songs are suggestions but it also relies on knowledge of them. The lyrics quoted add up to pages of dialogue. The screenwriter borrows words from others instead of using their own. In addition, the cost in music licensing would be more than enough to finance an entire film. There are long conversations that either opine about the state of music or exist only to serve up immature jokes and politically themed buzzwords. Neither of which can be said to be entertaining to stand alone or to move the plot forward.

    Possible Formats

    Film

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    Despite some interesting delusional visions and hints at an interesting relationship between Nick and his psychosis in the form of Aubrey this script is muddled and fails to connect meaningfully. It's core them and characters are both underdeveloped. It relies on cultural references from other media to serve as character development. It's plot is resolved off screen and without explanation. The portrayals of political topics and especially mental illness are ill-informed at best and dangerous at worst.

    Tips for Improvement

    This script would need a complete rewrite, going back to its initial concept and building a story that supports that idea.

    Brief

    Nick is a college student racked by voices and hallucinations culminating in a giant spider that terrorizes him and incites him towards violence. Just when it appears all is lost he gets control of his life and becomes the person he's always dreamed of.

    What We Liked

    The relationship between Aubrey and Nick paints a dark but sometimes funny view of insanity. The script gives you a visually striking view of a person's descent into madness..

    Key points: Striking visuals. Good pace. Provocative. Twists and turns. Suspense.

    Synopsis

    Nick wakes up from a horrible nightmare of a burning Los Angeles in which he murders his girlfriend. He goes to hand out water bottles on Skid Row and tells his homeless friend Sam he's going to fix it. Nick begins to hallucinate as he watches Sam choose not to take his pills.

    At college Nick bonds with another student, a girl named Diaz, after their conservative professor is killed by an Antifa student. Nick then spends time spouting political complaints and sex jokes with friends, Gus and Kyle, in between reciting 70s song lyrics. They get concerned as Nick is very angry.

    At a Halloween party with a long singalong Nick and his girlfriend Jen dodge her clingy ex 'Dickhead Tony' before they can engage in a night of sex and penis jokes. They next day Nick studies with Diaz, she invites him to a party, as a friend because she's a lesbian.

    Nick visits his mother Joanne, who objects to Nick's plan to move in with Jen. Nick crushes a spider in her kitchen and hears a voice scold him. Joanne tells him he's adopted, he can't handle it and tries to talk about music while she pleads with him.

    Back at school another sex and politics talk escalates as Nick gets aggressive, then in a confrontation with Dickhead Tony he pulls a knife and holds it to Tony's neck. After his friends get him away he acts like nothing has happened.

    Gus takes him to a movie and Chipotle where Nick gets into a confrontation with other theater-goers and goes on long rants about how the left is destroying the country. All the while Nick keeps thinking he sees a big spider. His rant ends with Gus crowning him with a tin foil hat.

    Right after this he takes Diaz to her party, it's 70s themed and Nick has a good time, takes lots of pictures. Then Diaz's face briefly turns monstrous, but he shrugs it off. The next day Jen is furious having heard he went to a swingers party and dumps him for cheating on her.

    In trying to defend himself he pulls out his phone to show photos but there's no Diaz, not even in selfies he took with her. He freaks out, a voice tells him to kill his friends. A man sized tarantula, Aubrey, crawls into view, her voice eggs him on. He pulls a knife and charges at the imaginary spider. People flee in terror.

    Nick flees the scene, goes to Joanne's house. She tells him that he's the child of her cousin and his biological father stabbed a black family to death, dismembered their bodies and arranged them into a spider, which is shown in a flackback. His mother is homeless and lost to them.

    Nick tries to run, but wherever he goes Aubrey the spider follows because she's in his head. She can also transform into an attractive woman, alternating threatening and seducing him. Jen comes, Aubrey tries to get Nick to kill her and he scares Jen off with a knife. He threatens Aubrey by threatening to kill himself.

    They talk about insanity and 70s music until Jen returns and convinces Nick to go to the hospital. Dickhead Tony tries to get a campus cop to apprehend Nick but Jen sends them away. A doctor gives Nick a prescription to help with the hallucinations but Nick doesn't take them.

    Nick then yells at the staff of an overly 'woke' coffee shop and has a long conversation with Aubrey about music. A playlist of 70s hits accompanies a montage of hallucinations deep into madness. Jen gets him to take the pills but he's initially worse.

    Nick flees to Joanne's house and finds it empty. Jen arrives to tell him that she died eight months ago, he was at the funeral, they thought his references to her were part of a way of coping. Despondent he scares off Jen again and lays on the couch and into Aubrey's embrace.

    Cut to Nick living on Skid Row with a pregnant Aubrey and hundreds of spider babies.

    Cut to thirty years later and Nick is a successful record producer, who hides the fact that he doesn't take his pills from wife Jen. He has somehow found a way to overcome his illness and keep Aubrey under control.

    About The Author

    Ken Rice is a writer of plays and screenplays.