This is the original short story as published in the October 2005 issue of Thirteen. The story was based on a recurring nightmare my wife has when she was a teenager. In the nightmare there were times when she was a silent observer and other times when she was the helpless victim.
I wrote a three-page version of the story in 1987 on a yellow pad in the break room of the fast food restaurant where I worked. One of the pages has since gone missing, but the words contained on those pages were enough to exorcise the nightmare from my wife’s subconscious, proving that (as Bobbi Catwright, to whom the film is co-dedicated, said) “Words are Power.”
In 1993 I revisited the story partly having run out of anything interesting to say and partly because it annoyed the hell out of me that I was missing a page. So I dove back in and expanding the tiny universe. What had once been down and dirty, now had become an exercise in creating a mood. You’ll see the descriptions are perhaps a bit overwrought. But that’s how I was writing then. I like it. Sue me.
The biggest change when adapting the story to a script was the shift from The Girl to the men as the main focus. I didn’t know how I’d be able to get any dialogue in if The Girl was gagged and the men never spoke. There’s damn little dialogue as it is. The other element that fell by the wayside are the flashbacks. What made the story appealing to shoot was the limited locations and cast. Keeping the flashbacks added more locations and more cast – specifically a young girl. I didn’t want to open that can of worms.
Anyway, judge for yourself. Film or story? I love ’em both – each for very different reasons. As always, please leave comments.