A Good Highway to a Private Hell by Pag Kravvas | Script Revolution

A Good Highway to a Private Hell

In recovery from a hidden trauma, a scarred psychiatrist is kidnapped and imprisoned by a masked family of six. As masks fall off one by one, the prisoner meets his dark past.

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Page Count: 
97pp

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Synopsis/Details: 

(CLOCKWORK ORANGE meets YOY'RE NEXT, next thing you know MARTYRS step in.)

TOM WOOD (a psychiatrist and family man who suffers from schizo-affective disorder, forties, Ben Affleck-type) 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 about family values leads to Tom’s imprisonment cause.
Eleanor (the Wolf-Man’s only daughter) and her new-born girl were brutally murdered during 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.
Tom is manipulated and pushed over his limits, driven all the way up to insanity and torture by the old Wolf-Man - while 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 male Cinderella and pampering him old like a neutered.
Boy Wood was held responsible for a family tragedy: the death of his stepsister and her new-born girl at birth. He was then confined for life to the basement: in chains …
… Until finally one night, Young Wood broke free of his chains and escaped …
… And that’s how 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 hovers between illusions and facts, masks and faces, assumptions and judgments. Is there a cunning plan behind this living hell and who pulls the strings? Is this living hell for real or it’s just his mind playing tricks on him?

Then come the revelations. Animal masks fall off one by one and Tom finds himself surrounded by family: ghosts of his past and beloved ones of his present.
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 Shadow of Death" act) unveils the (last in line) human face: his own Bad Wolf - Monster in the Woods - Tom’s stepfather one.
His stepfather then recreates the fright night when Young Tom, trying to help his stepsister Eleanor who gives birth all alone, cuts her umbilical cord with a pair of rusty scissors and accidentally leads/bleeds her and her new-born girl to death.

It is at that very moment that Tom wakes up from his dreadful 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 takes 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 stepfather’s release from prison on a granted pardon.

Tom travels inland 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 of grandma’s house before burning to ashes:

"No man should be considered Good or Fortunate until he's dead." (Greek maxim, OEDIPUS REX TRAGEDY)

All Accolades & Coverage: 

* Blue-Cat Analysis, Archive #9016
In this script, the writer displays a unique skill for creating dramatic tension in a scene and highly poetic, stylized dialogue. The crowning achievement of the script is the creation of the sinister old man, one of the most frightening villains we have come across in a script. He instantly summons up comparisons to Hannibal Lecter. The writer uses the haunting flashbacks as a counterweight to the events of the present moment. This gives the script a deeply poetic quality, a dreamlike atmosphere that feels like a cross between a Hitchcock film and a Tarkovsky film. With the use of animal masks among the inhabitants he draws obvious comparisons to the Stanley Kubrick film, Eyes Wide Shut. All these references and allusions create a rich texture that awakens the intellect of the audience.

* ISA Evaluation, Rating 4 (out of 5) stars
This is a psychological thriller that demonstrates the writer’s ability to provide for well-developed characters amid a frightening and emotionally challenging setting. We are impressed with how this story weaves past and present together with the writer’s Thomas Hardy-like appreciation for a less than happy ending. The writer really has a solid voice, this script is spooky but in a heightened way that keeps the reader/audience engaged. We are taken to the edge, this is a confidently written script that dares a few boundaries and respectfully so. We do feel blessed to have the chance to read such a compelling script. Clearly, there is some real skill here.

Submitted: August 24, 2021
Last Updated: September 7, 2021

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The Writer: Pag Kravvas

Panagiotis (aka Pag) here, an award-winning Writer-Director. Greek, studied Script Writing & Film Direction in Greece & the US (N.Y.F.A) in the 90s, had a long & fruitful career in Greece. Shorts & features, docs & music promos, prime time TV series: you name it, I've done it all. Last film back home, The Death I Dreamed Of : six international awards, a US & a UK distribution. It was time to move on. Resided to UK a few years ago, changing gear & my priorities. I mostly stick now to my darling craft & career: writing. Filmmaking's always at the ready, especially if it's my own Writer-Director projects or challenging & provoking features/other projects we'... Go to bio

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