Ghost Species by Justin Hayward | Script Revolution

Ghost Species

A lonely geneticist's life spirals out of control after an incident in Tanzania leaves her with long-lost powers to kill with a stare.



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Dr EMILY PUSSETT is a workaholic with little time for fun. Stagnating at work and frustrated by her boss DR GEORGE FRENTON, she jumps at the chance to join an international field study in Tanzania, Africa, to study the Hadza people. Dr Frenton is livid but knows he can't stop her.
Emily flies into Kilimanjaro International Airport and is met by the lead research professor from the United States, Dr HEREFORD COOK, a friend of Dr Frenton, immediately putting them on an unhappy footing.
On meeting the Hadza tribe, Emily strikes up a friendship with one of the teenage Hadza girl, MARIAMU, who speaks English and Swahili as well as Hadzame. Mariamu tells her some of the oral traditions of the tribe, including the AKAKAANEBE, ancestors of the Hadza who could kill prey with a stare.
Work progresses and Emily rises in the eyes of the team. On a day off mid expedition, Emily decides to head out to Lake Natron as she is fascinated by the area. Whilst there, an earthquake occurs and a body, long trapped at the bottom of the lake rises to the surface. The remains of what was once thought of as a Ghost Species, the Akakaanebe. She secures the body by the lake under some rocks and takes some vials of samples for later analysis.
Returning to the camp, she quickly processes some of the samples but is confronted by Cook who is furious. The professor claims her discovery belongs to him.
They struggle and, in the process, the vials shatter and material from them embeds in cuts to her hand.
As is custom in an altercation, the Hadza banish them all from the camp.
On the flight back home, Emily suffers fever dreams. Dragging herself back to Oxford and her small flat, she collapses into bed. When she wakes up, nearly twenty-four hours later, her life begins to spin out of control.
Emily is called for a disciplinary hearing with the potential for being removed from her post.
She has a confrontation with Dr Frenton and HR. As his lies anger her, she stares at him. He suddenly drops dead. Whilst waiting for an ambulance, Professor Cook video calls and Emily picks up. He is incandescent with rage, blaming her for the situation in Tanzania. She stares at him and the line goes dead. She leaves.
On the street, she listens to a message to say her mother has been in a serious car accident. Still feverish, Emily collapses in the rain. She wakes up in hospital and is questioned by the doctor, who takes blood samples. She dresses and checks herself out.
Picking up her few possessions from the flat she has been evicted from, Emily drives a rental to visit her mother in hospital, and sits with her until a doctor comes and tells her it’s time to switch off life support.
Distraught, Emily drives to her mother's house. A nosy neighbour sees a local news report about enquiries regarding Emily's location. The neighbour immediately calls the police.
As they try to take her into custody and return her to the hospital, she stares at them and they fall down dead. She realizes that she is the cause of this and panics. She drives into the night.
Emily finds herself drinking in a seedy hotel room. Angry about her situation, she posts a drunken rant to YouTube and then collapses on the bed.
In the morning, she wakes to find herself a top story on the news. Overnight, she’s been linked to several unexplained deaths over the past couple of days and police now have a nationwide hunt for her. Realizing its the video, she deletes it. Distraught she tries to commit suicide by staring at herself in the mirror, just as armed police break her door down.
Taken to a hospital morgue, Emily reanimates and heads off to her former place of work to exact revenge on those who wouldn't fund and support her work. Rampage over and with nowhere else to go, she heads to the house of an old University friend LIZZIE to try to rebuild her life. Meanwhile, in a University in the United States, a scientist works on DNA taken from the body of the Akakaanebe now being stored in the department, having been extracted from Tanzania.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Grand Jury Prize, Best Unproduced Feature Screenplay – UK Motion Picture Festival 2020
Grand Jury Prize, Best Horror Screenplay – Rhode Island International Film Festival 2020
Grand Jury Prize, Best Horror Screenplay – LAMPF 2020
Next 100 – Academy Nicholl Fellowship 2021
Second Rounder – Austin Film Festival Drama Screenplay Competition 2021
Quarter Finalist – New York International Screenplay Awards 2021
Winner, Best Horror Screenplay – PIMFF March 2021
Winner, Best Dialogue in a Feature Script – Queen Palm Annual Awards 2021
Third Place – HorrorFest International Film Festival 2021
Quarter Finalist – AIM/Silver Bullet Screenplay Competition 2021
Semifinalist - Table Read My Screenplay - Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller 2020
Official Selection – HorrorHaus Film Festival, CA 2021
Top 18% of the Finish Line Script Competition 2020
Top 25% of all discoverable projects on Coverfly in 2020

Ghost Species Taster
Submitted: January 20, 2021
Last Updated: January 28, 2022

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The Writer: Justin Hayward

Justin is an Equity-registered actor, WGGB screenplay writer and voice artist. He lives in the south of England. Originally a trained choral singer, he subsequently moved into stage musicals and then into film and television. Prior to returning to the creative industry, Justin worked for two decades in technology public relations, running promotional campaigns and speech writing. He holds a degree in English & Philosophy from the University of Leeds. * Next 100 - Nicholl Academy Fellowship 2021 * Second Rounder - Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition 2021 * Winner - Best Horror Screenplay - Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival 2020 * Winner - Gold Grand Jury Prize -... Go to bio

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