A GOOD HIGHWAY TO A PRIVATE HELL
A Mystery-Suspense Thriller/Horror feature proposal, set up in modern time US, where
Eyes Wide Shut meets You’re Next - up to the moment Martyrs step in.
TAG-LINE: Mr. Good takes the long way Home: To Hell.
LOG-LINE: Mr. Good is abducted and imprisoned in a remote mansion, by six people wearing animal masks. As masks fall off one by one, all Hell breaks loose.
On his way to his office, TOM WOOD (a psychiatrist and family man in his forties, Ben Affleck-type, who suffers from schizo-affective disorder and he’s just recovering from a nervous breakdown) is abducted by two men wearing dog masks.
Their black limo (with the eccentric private plates “Riding Good”) drives him to a remote mansion, way deep in the woods.
There, he is introduced to six inhabitants, all wearing animal masks:
- AN OLD MAN IN A WOLF MASK: a despotic kind of Hannibal Lecter/Godfather of Evil figure, who will carry the story to the end.
- Two men in their forties, wearing dog masks (the two men that abducted him).
- Two young women in their thirties, wearing cat masks.
- A young boy in a wheelchair (with an oxygen device adjusted to it), wearing a rabbit mask and breathing through an oxygen mask.
A Wolf-Man’s odd speech on family and crime leads to Tom’s imprisonment cause.
Eleanor (the Wolf-Man’s only daughter) and her newborn girl were brutally murdered at birth the previous night, by one of “The Animals” present.
Tom Wood (that the Wolf-Man strangely and always addresses as “Mr. Good”) has been (randomly?) chosen to investigate and solve the mystery of their death.
A hide and seek, mind-puzzle game of shadows and horror is afoot and escalates.
Along the way, Tom is manipulated and pushed over his limits, driven all the way up to insanity and all kinds of torture by the old Wolf-Man.
Meantime (in parallel action and in flashbacks) Tom’s most troubled childhood is gradually revealed.
Baby Wood was abandoned by his mother at the doorstep of a remote farmhouse.
The old couple of farmers adopted and raised him in complete isolation: using him as a sort of a male Cinderella and pampering him old like a neutered.
As a boy, Wood was held responsible for a family tragedy: the death of his stepsister and her newborn girl at birth. He was then confined to the basement: in chains.
One night he broke loose of his chains and escaped his basement prison:
it was then, that the sinister life and crimes (incest, abuse and murder) of the old farmer, the so called “Bad Wolf” or else the “Monster in the Woods”, became public.
Tom now hovers: from illusions to facts and then to motives, from masks to figures and then to faces, from assumptions to judgments and then to revelations.
Is there a cunning plan that turns his life into a living hell?
Does this living hell exist for real or his imagination and gained (as a psychiatrist) knowledge play tricks on him and bury him down into his very own mind trap?
Animal masks fall off one by one and Tom finds himself surrounded by nothing but family: ghosts of his past and beloved ones of his present.
His stepmother, stepsister and his real parents (first cat-woman and dog-man) on one hand…
His wife (second cat-woman), his best man (second dog-man) and his (asthmatic and in a wheelchair) young son (the rabbit-boy) on the other.
The final Wolf-Man's performance (the one he announces as “The Shadow of Death”) unveils his (last in the line of masks) human face: his own Bad Wolf-Monster in the Woods-Tom’s stepfather one.
His stepfather then recreates the fright night when Tom, trying to help his stepsister Eleanor who gives birth to her baby girl all alone, cuts her umbilical cord with a pair of rusty scissors and accidentally leads/bleeds her and her newborn to death.
It is at that very moment that Tom wakes up from his terrible nightmare: at home.
Caged now in his horror parenthesis, trapped in between (fantasy vs reality) worlds, hallucinating, he “reconciles” his past with his present in the utmost nightmarish way.
He loads his stepfather's shotgun he hides in his closet and kills his whole family, but one: his little “Cinderella” girl, whom he sets free to her grandma with tears in his eyes and a note to deliver.
A clipping on his desk while he writes the note, reveals the catalyst for his relapse: his (serving a life sentence) stepfather’s release from prison, on a granted pardon.
Tom travels and finally confronts Mr. Wolf in the grounds of his own private Hell: the farmhouse of his youth. He shoots him dead and then he commits suicide.
His handwritten note lights up the final tragic act of his Descent (and the Thomas Hardy-like far less than happy ending) - as it reads in the open fire and at grandma’s house, before burning to ashes:
''No man should be considered Good or Fortunate, until he's dead.''
Greek maxim, OEDIPUS REX TRAGEDY.