Friday, December 23, 2011

Meeting John Carpenter (the story)

 (Eventually, there will be a screenplay to follow.)

Chris and James, both in their 30's, are faced with a dilemma.  Their dream of becoming successful filmmakers has not yet turned into a reality, and the chance that their newest screenplay "Vampires and Virgins" will ever be read by anybody above the custodial payscale, is slim at best. 

And even though their YouTube Channel "The Screaming Dungeon" has topped the 1,000 subscription mark, and most of their 23 vlogs have garnered a slew of predominantly 'positive' comments, this hasn't done much in the way of moving their 'careers' (as filmmakers) forward.  

In other words...they are stuck.  They have to make a move, and they have to make it  now!

Los Angeles Convention Center:  "Horror-thon Weekend" -- featuring the 'Mother of All Tributes'.  'JOHN CARPENTER: His Life & His Films.'  

Carpenter's entire body of work will be showcased in a special, celebrity-filled Q&A panel, consisting of some of the most well-known actors/actresses ever to star in a 'John Carpenter' film. This is John Carpenter's last hurrah for he is finally 'hanging it up'.

This event has the city of Los Angeles and the entire 'horror genre' buzzing.  Tickets/VIP Passes are beginning to disappear quickly, and neighboring hotels are starting to book reservations at an even faster clip.

The news of Carpenter saying 'goodbye to filmmaking for good' has left both Chris and James with an ultimatum:  Now or Never!

They instantly snatch up 2 VIP Passes and start planning their strategy.  Not only is it imperative that they make 'contact' with the Horror Master himself, but they must make sure that they get a copy of "Vampires and Virgins" into his hands--or at least, before any security guards can intervene.

Packed and ready, Chris and James start their journey toward true manhood.  They are about to step up to the plate and kick the damn door in.  But first, they must navigate through the jungle of hell... L.A. traffic!

Meanwhile, on the other side of town... waaaaaaaaaay on the other side of town...  

John Carpenter is facing his own dilemma.

He sits comfortably in an over-sized sofa chair, facing a 40 inch HD plasma flat-screen, carefully manuvering his way through a difficult level of "DEAD ISLAND". 

Around him, covered in bedsheets, are the furnishings of his office--pulled away from the walls, to allow for painting.  Several ladders are scattered about, but this does not seem to be a distraction.

John plays on.

Outside his office door (which happens to resemble one of those 'film noir' crime drama office doors, with the fogged glass and the letters 'John Carpenter's Office' perfectly centered), are the sounds of hustle and bustle.  Home Depot's finest.  

The Mexican chatter does not distract.

Despite the occasional 'profanity-laden' tirade, Carpenter appears to be in complete control of the situation.  This is how the Horror Master does his thinking and needs not to be questioned.

Upon finishing the difficult level, John reluctantly pulls himself from the sofa chair and then moves over to his desk, where his bags--packed and ready to go--sit on the marble floor, next to a small trash can.  He begins to address a few 'last minute' details before leaving for the Hotel.

He checks his email, searches several drawers for any sign of a cigarette pack, and then answers an 'already blinking' line on his business phone system.  He pushes the 'speaker' button and bellows "Ok, what do ya got?!!"  

His manager/agent replies... "Who is this again?!!"

Carpenter finds his mystery cigarette pack, slides one in his mouth, fires it up and deeply inhales...then exhales.  And with a calmness, that only a nicotine rush could administer, he replies...

"This is John Carpenter, who the hell is this!!"

"Oh, sorry John... You had me on hold for so long, I just decided to take a few other calls.  And then my wife called with her usual bullshit, about some idiot who forgot to inform her of some stupid store policy and whatnot..."

During all of this, Carpenter checks his Facebook page, reading some of his most recent comments, before clicking over to Twitter.  His agent continues to ramble on...

" she's pissed off about that, whatever that is, since I don't really pay her any attention anyway, and then there's the problem with the landscaper..."

John takes another deep drag off of his cigarette, clicking away at his mouse.  He begins to grin as he checks out a recent tweet from one of his more 'preferred' fans.  It is from a username @TrailRTrash and it reads "My newest Tats!" with a pic link that brings up an image of a woman's enormous breasts, pressed together by two 'soft-looking' hands.

On the left breast is the word 'JOHN', and on the right is the word 'CARPENTER'.  Above the cleavage are the words 'INSERT HERE', with an arrow pointing downward.

John's agent/manager is still lamenting about his ongoing issues.

John Carpenter, focusing on the image in front of him, mumbles to himself... "Very Nice!"

"...huh?  Why is that nice?!!  I'm telling you that my life is shit, why is that nice?!!"

Carpenter snaps back to reality, and engages his agent/manager in business talk.  They discuss a pending endorsement deal with a hip new 't-shirt company', as John just happens to have the open package on his desk.  He pulls out one of the t-shirts and inspects it again.

It is a black t-shirt with an image of Carpenter on the front.  Above the pic, are the words "I'm John Carpenter",  and underneath the pic, are the words "Who the Hell Are You?!!"

John waffles over it for a moment or two, but then finally agrees.  "Ok fuck it, let's do it!"

They continue to iron out the details, just as another call comes through.  John agrees to stop by his agent/manager's office on the way to the Hotel, so he can sign the contract.  He then takes the other call.

"John Carpenter" he responds cooly.

It's his wife, calling to inform him that the 'house speaker' has been temporarily disconnected from the wall while the painters work, and that if he wants to take along some freshly-made 'egg salad' sandwiches to the Hotel with him, they are in the refrigerator.

This pleases him somewhat, as he finishes the conversation with a simple 'I love you too!' and 'Did you remember to pick up some Anchor Steam while you were out?'

After finishing his current cigarette, Carpenter fishes another out of the pack just as another call comes through.  This time, he checks the Caller ID and sees that it is a call from "Laurie".

He presses the speaker button and flicks his lighter.  He continues weeding through his 'tweets' as he takes the call. 

"Hey Jamie, how's it going?  Did you get the Itinerary I had sent over to ya?!!"

It is Jamie-Lee Curtis.  She responds in her sultry 'Escape From New York' voice...

"Hi John.  How are you?"

John with a deep sigh, responds... "What's wrong?!!"

"I can't make it this weekend.  I know it's last minute and I'm sorry.  But I've got... Activia issues."  Jamie delicately explains.

John is somewhat confused.  "I thought the new deal was closed last month, what happened?!!"

"John..."  she slowly responds.  "...I have Activia issues!"

John is still clueless.

"John, I have the shits, ok!!  Are you happy now?!!  I HAVE THE SHITS!!"

Carpenter tries to respond, but it's no use...the flood gates have opened.

"I know it's a shit thing to do at such short notice, and I'm sorry...but I can't be away from the toilet for any length of time..."

John glances over at several empty 'Activia' yogurt cups (a gift from Jamie-Lee), and begins to worry.  He quickly tosses them into the trash can.

"...I'm sorry, but I'm not going to sit my ass down on public porcelain, no way!!  I'm sorry, but that's all I have to say right now...  Maybe another time..."

He interrupts.  "That's fine.  PJ is going to be there and I have Nancy(Loomis) as backup.  So, not a problem!"

This seems to subdue Jamie-Lee Curtis a bit.  She apologizes once again and wishes John luck on a successful night.  John then reassures Jamie that everything is fine, and that he hopes her 'issues' are resolved soon.  End of conversation.

John lights up another cigarette just as another phone call comes through.  He glances down at the Caller ID.  It reads: "E.B"  He hesitates a second before pressing the 'speaker' button.  "This is Jo--"

"Hi John, it's Cabbie!!"  the voice blurts out.

It's Ernest Borgnine...again. And with much enthusiasm...again.  The conversation bounces back and forth rather awkwardly.

"Just wanted to re-confirm what time you wanted me to--"

"Be there at 7:30, Ernie...7:30!!"

"--be there, and to see if it would be ok if I--"

"Come around to the side door.  7:30.  Side door, 7:30 ok!  Thanks, see ya then!!"

"--wore my Cabbie hat from 'EFNY'!!

Click.  John hangs up.  He takes a much-needed drag from his cigarette, before focusing his attention back on Twitter.  Just as he begins to weed through his numerous 'tweets', the phone system lights up again.  Another call.

John glances at the Caller ID again.  It reads 'LoserHackFuckFace'.  Carpenter sighs, and then reluctantly presses the speaker button.  

"This is John."

A soft voice begins to talk through the speaker phone.  "Hey's Zombie."

Rob Zombie is on the line.  LoserHackFuckFace himself.  John manages to maintain composure as he walks on the 'Hollywood' eggshells, yet once again.  He does not enjoy this part of the business and it shows.

"Ok.  What's up Rob?" John asks--not a care in the world.

Rob clears his throat, sniffs a few times, and then begins to speak.  "Yeah, like I said... it's Zombie and... I just wanted to let you know that..."

 "What's on your mind Rob?!!" John quickly interrupts.

The snail's pace of the conversation has forced John to speed things along.

There is a slight pause, before Rob continues... "Well, like I said..."
John rolls his eyes and impatiently starts bouncing his left leg.

Rob Zombie continues his speech, and informs John that he has agreed to take on the reboot of "Escape from New York".  There is an awkward silence as John checks his 'tweets', and Rob begins to repeat himself before John cuts in...

"So what do you want me to say?" rather unimpressed and disinterested.

"I don't want you to say anything if you don't want to say anything.  Just thought I'd be a cool dude and let you know ahead of time, before I got things rolling and know!"

Just as Rob begins to get rolling, Carpenter comes across a very disturbing 'tweet'.  

@MyKillMyers has tweeted him "Why havn't U respnded to any of my tweets?" with a twitpic of a very large 'butcher knife' being held by a bloody hand.

This causes John to react out loud... "YOU SICK FUCK!"

"Excuse me?!!" Rob replies--caught off-guard.

Carpenter quickly shuts his monitor off.  He sucks deep and hard on what is left of his cigarette, before slumping back into his leather chair.

"John."  Rob Zombie prods.

John Carpenter, not in the best of moods at the moment, reaches for the speaker button.  "Good luck Rob!" he quickly says, before hanging up.  

The recent tweet has left him visibly shaken.  He manages to gather himself, as he grabs his bags and heads to the door.  He stops, turns, and takes one last look at the inside of his spacious 'office'; like a person saying goodbye to an 'old friend'.

He then shakes his head and mutters... "Yeah, fuck you Michael Myers.  Fuck you right in your ass!!"

And with that, John Carpenter exits.  The Mexican chatter continuing.

(Part II coming soon!)


Monday, December 12, 2011

Everybody is a Millionaire!

(My uncle told me this story when I was a kid)
Once there was a man who made a wish.  Standing outside of the most expensive Hotel the city had to offer, the man shouted to the skies above "I wish I was a Millionaire!"  

And in a flash...he was!  

His old, tattered clothes became new, expensive clothes.  He had a top hat, and an expensive-looking cane to match.  The shocked and bemused man let out a joyous howl, thumped his heavily polished cane into the pavement below, and proceeded into the luxurious Hotel in front of him.

The first thing he noticed was...there was nobody outside to open the door for him.  Seemed strange that the most 'expensive' Hotel in the city would not have a doorman outside to accommodate its patrons.  He opened the door himself and made his way into the lobby, where he noticed a few other 'rich-looking' people just standing around, looking confused.

The man then wandered over to a vacant Hotel desk, wondering where the clerk had disappeared to.  A few quick slaps of the bell still produced no results.  He looked around and could not see any sign of anybody who even resembled an employee of the Hotel.

Spotting an 'older gent' standing in front of the nearby elevator, the man quickly made his way over; joining the older fellow as they both waited for the elevator to arrive.  And as the elevator doors opened, and the man noticed that there was no 'operator' inside, he turned to the older man next to him...
"Excuse me, I hate to bother you but I must ask... Where is everybody?!!"

The older gentleman replies, "What exactly do you mean?"

"When I came inside, there was no doorman.  There is nobody behind the desk... not a clerk, not a bellboy, nobody at all.  And then just now, there is no elevator 'operator'!  Where has everybody gone?!!"

The older man begins to chuckle... "Oh, I guess you haven't heard."
"Heard what?" the confused man replies.

"Everybody is a Millionaire!"

And with that, the two men disappeared into the elevators...left to 'push' their own buttons.