Midnight Dreary by Joel and Valerie Reeves | Script Revolution

Midnight Dreary



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Both inspired and haunted by the deaths of everyone he loves, Edgar Allan Poe fights poverty, enemies, and his own demons to become one of America’s most famous writers.

After his mother’s death, EDGAR ALLAN POE lives with the John Allan family, his surrogate mother, FANNY, giving him love and encouragement, while the father surrogate, JOHN ALLAN, poses a more complex relationship. Poe is torn between contempt for what he sees as Allan’s hypocrisy and the money-grubbing nature of his business, and the youngster’s need for approval and love, as well as economic support while he finds his own role in life. Tensions mount to open hostility as Poe declares his intention to be a writer and reveals his love for a young girl named ELMIRA ROYSTER. John Allan does all he can to block both objects of Poe’s affection, hurting at Poe’s lack of gratitude and knowing he is losing control of the boy for good.

Moving into Poe’s adult life, the writer encounters the strange minister, RUFUS GRISWOLD, a would-be poet himself whose failure at that pursuit has not discouraged him from becoming a fairly influential literary critic. The men are complete opposites, Poe the irreverent Southern romantic, Griswold the pious booster of the New England transcendental movement. Between Poe and Griswold grows a connection that will not be broken until Poe dies at the end of the story. Griswold, like a sinister groupie, is forever appearing in Poe’s life when times are most desperate for the poet.

The love story between Poe and the young girl, VIRGINIA, ends when the girl dies of consumption, just as Poe begins to achieve some measure of financial success. Poe returns to his first love, Elmira Royster, now a rich widow. Poe, seeking both domestic and financial security, draws out a promise of marriage from Elmira.

However, Poe is looked upon as a scoundrel and fortune-seeker by those who love Elmira and he is followed by shadowy figures that pressure him not return to Richmond. Poe, of a paranoid nature to begin with, seeks to throw off these threatening figures, finds refuge and a disguise in Philadelphia and attempts to return to the woman he loves. However, his enemies are as doggedly determined to see he does not return, and he is ambushed in Baltimore, drugged and left to be found in a debauched state that will discredit him with Richmond society and his bride-to-be.

Unfortunately, Poe falls ill instead, and dies in a delirium, Griswold gloating over him as he promises to bury his reputation as well as his body. Ironically, it is Poe whose reputation becomes fixed permanently in the public mind forever, while Griswold quickly falls from grace and soon fades from memory.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

MIDNIGHT DREARY received a grade of RECOMMEND from SCRIPT P.I.M.P. and was a winning entry in the WILDsound Screenplay Competition.

Submitted: July 7, 2020
Last Updated: July 7, 2020

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The Writer: Joel and Valerie Reeves

Joel and Valerie Reeves are a father and daughter writing team from Northwestern Lower Michigan, living practically on the doorstep of the Traverse City Film Festival. Joel's fantasy trilogy, Of Quills and Kings , Walpole Unbound , and Dreams, Schemes and Spiny Machines , was published by Double Dragon Press. His first collection of short stories, Odd Birds was released by Scantic Press, debuting in 2019. Their screenplay, Midnight Dreary , a biographical drama about Edgar Allan Poe, was a winner in the WILDsound Screenwriting Competition. Valerie's comedy stageplay was a winner in Traverse City Young Playright's Festival and was produced and performed at the Traverse City Opera House. Go to bio

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