Insomniac by David Troop | Script Revolution

Insomniac

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Page Count: 
11pp

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Budget:

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Logline: 
A late-night radio talk show host receives an unsettling call from his biggest fan - a psychopathic killer.
Synopsis/Details: 

Like many an evil tale, Insomniac begins at the edge of night. Late night talk show host Dave Burrows burns the late night oil in Philly – catering to listeners who’d rather not be listening, but have tuned in for multiple sorry reasons: “My husband snores.” “You catch the Eagles game, Dave?” In other words, they’re insomniacs. Sleep’s a distant memory.

But Dave’s rapport with his listeners soothes their woes… well, mostly. Treating each anonymous caller as a long-lost friend, his delivery is warm and glib. Especially when he gets a ring from “The Caller”, who tells him – “I’m having this nightmare. But I’m awake.” The Caller worries out loud that he’s gone crazy.

“No. Actually it sounds like my first marriage,” quips a weary Dave. “Get out and take a walk. Clear your head.” Spot on advice. Or so it seems.

Two weeks later, the “Caller” resurfaces. This time it’s to thank Dave for his sage advice. The Caller’s enjoyed his new practice of walking at night. Especially that time he met a freshman girl. “She looked young. Almost too young to be in college…”

The Caller trails off, his voice sinister. And Dave snaps instantly awake. Both he – and the reader – know immediately when this story’s heading. Details of a butterfly shaped toe ring. A foot tied to a bed. Muffled screams. And a bedpost slamming against a wall. Helpless to do anything, Dave (and his technicians) take the horrifying sounds in.

But ultimately – is it just a prank? A sleep-deprived man’s sick idea of humor? Or is the Caller horrifyingly real – leaving a mysterious trail of terror, wafting over the city like scattered radio waves? You’ll have to read Insomniac to find out. Inspiringly original, it’s a throwback to the golden age of terror and suspense. A case of “clever” meets “terrifying.”

Video: 
The short film directed by Logan Ward

This Script Has Been Reviewed By Shootin' The Shorts

“INSOMNIAC”
A late night talk jock gets an unsettling caller.

Hollywood and its inhabitants live in a crazy paradox. In one breath, they claim originality to be extinct. Yet they pan for it… daily. Then, when a true nugget of uniqueness is found, it’s immediately turned into a movie dating game:

“Think of it as Superman meets Super Fly!”

The Godfather – meets George Burn’s Oh, God!

Mary Poppins Meets Mary Jane!”

(I think that last one actually happened. At least my hallucination-induced penguins say so.)

And David Troop’s hauntingly clever Insomniac could certainly be pitched in those terms. It’s “Play Misty for Me” meets “Se7en.” Now there’s an easy elevator sell. But I’d rather call it… screenplay gold!

Like many an evil tale, Insomniac begins at the edge of night. Late night talk show host Dave Burrows burns the late night oil in Philly – catering to listeners who’d rather not be listening, but have tuned in for multiple sorry reasons: “My husband snores.” “You catch the Eagles game, Dave?” In other words, they’re insomniacs. Sleep’s a distant memory.

But Dave’s rapport with his listeners soothes their woes… well, mostly. Treating each anonymous caller as a long-lost friend, his delivery is warm and glib. Especially when he gets a ring from “The Caller”, who tells him – “I’m having this nightmare. But I’m awake.” The Caller worries out loud that he’s gone crazy.

“No. Actually it sounds like my first marriage,” quips a weary Dave. “Get out and take a walk. Clear your head.” Spot on advice. Or so it seems.

Two weeks later, the “Caller” resurfaces. This time it’s to thank Dave for his sage advice. The Caller’s enjoyed his new practice of walking at night. Especially that time he met a freshman girl. “She looked young. Almost too young to be in college…”

The Caller trails off, his voice sinister. And Dave snaps instantly awake. Both he – and the reader – know immediately when this story’s heading. Details of a butterfly shaped toe ring. A foot tied to a bed. Muffled screams. And a bedpost slamming against a wall. Helpless to do anything, Dave (and his technicians) take the horrifying sounds in.

But ultimately – is it just a prank? A sleep-deprived man’s sick idea of humor? Or is the Caller horrifyingly real – leaving a mysterious trail of terror, wafting over the city like scattered radio waves? You’ll have to read Insomniac to find out. Inspiringly original, it’s a throwback to the golden age of terror and suspense. A case of “clever” meets “terrifying.”

Budget/casting: Locations minimal. A rented sound booth would be great, but any office setting will suffice. An apartment and a toe ring. Four actors…and a foot. Also, I immediately heard Kevin Spacey as the Caller. If you can get him, give HIM a call. Immediately!

Review by Zack Zupke
Submitted: September 6, 2016
Last Updated: May 18, 2019

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David Troop's picture

The Writer: David Troop

Dave Troop began writing as soon as he could hold a No. 2 pencil. In 2012, he discovered the beauty and the challenge of the five page screenplay while writing short scripts for MoviePoet.com and Simplyscripts. Dave continues to write and review short scripts for Script Revolution and Shootin' The Shorts. He currently is working on a few features and a TV pilot, and plans to take Hollywood by storm. Well, not really storm. More like a light sprinkle. Dave was born on the mean streets of Reading, PA, but currently lives in the comatose town of Schuylkill Haven where he is a proud grandfather, a father of two, and a husband of one. Go to bio

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