The Dying Breed by Jim Sheehan | Script Revolution

The Dying Breed

A reporter tracks a killer terrorizing L.A.’s Griffith Park. But SHTF when he learns the suspect is a 500 pound Bengal Tiger who was harassed as a zoo cub and is now out for revenge.

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121pp

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Veteran crime reporter Jimmy Wolf is on the downside of his newspaper career in L.A. and looking forward to a life of smooth scotch and good books – when the single most sensational story of his life breaks out of the blue. A killer is loose in Griffith Park, kicking off with a late night gruesome attack on a young couple in an old cage enclosure at the long defunct park zoo.

The only witness? A teenage girl named Faye who is left so traumatized that she can’t even speak. It seems the killer saved her from rape by tearing her sometime boyfriend/attacker named Jordy to pieces and carrying off his body. It’s a story that has the entire city electrified and the cops trying to keep a lid on it – which means keeping Jimmy on a short leash on a story he cannot resist even as the killings mount with two more victims.

In the midst of trying to pry information out of no-nonsense black ex-marine LAPD Inspector Miles Taylor, Jimmy meets – and is immediately attracted to - Sally Chamberlain who used to work at the old zoo and now works at the new zoo at the opposite side of the park. She is looking for a retired acquaintance Franz Bowman who also used to work at the old zoo and is known to spend much of his day in the park. (Franz is in the opening scene of the script when he is threatened by Jordy before the attempted rape of Faye. He also becomes a major suspect in the course of the story).

After Jimmy gives Sally an exclusive look at the crime scene photos of the victims she becomes hooked on a new idea – based on the neck injuries, she suspects the killer might be a mountain lion. She goes on a hunt for any lion droppings near the original crime scene – accompanied by another zoo co-worker – Bruno Tilbert a muscle bound, knife wielding lunk-head who has been unsuccessfully trying to date her. Bruno also becomes a suspect after he disappears into the park, like a sulking Rambo.

LAPD becomes convinced that the killer is in fact Bruno with his big serrated knife - and they begin a massive manhunt. Meanwhile Jimmy tracks Franz to his house and stumbles in the backyard, revealing a half buried decomposed body who turns out to be … Bruno!

Franz accosts Jimmy with a hatchet, brings him into the house and tells him that the killer is actually a 500 pound Bengal Tiger with PTSD named Catherine that he had taken as a harassed cub from the old zoo and raised in the backyard before releasing her back into the park, thinking she would only go after “small game” as she had been raised to do. But nooooo …

Among her other victims, Franz says Catherine also killed Bruno in the park. While looking for the tiger, Franz recovered Bruno’s body and buried it in his backyard – wanting to protect her. He says Catherine only attacks people displaying anger – as was true of all the victims, including Bruno who was stabbing holes in a picture of Sally with his knife and screaming in rage when he was attacked.

But when Jimmy and Sally and the city coroner Alex Adams - confront Inspector Miles Taylor with their revelations they are laughed out of his office.

Jimmy does some hard thinking about the situation and concludes that Franz and Bruno were both in on the killings – and had a falling out - and that the tiger is a made up story. He further implicates Sally to her face, saying that she is the only person involved who already knew both suspects. Sally does not take this well.

Jimmy gives everything he knows to LAPD and Franz is arrested and charged with the killings. The case is for all purposed closed – but cops would still like to nail it with the witness testimony of Faye who saw the killer but is still incapable of speaking.

Leaving the park command post for the last time, Jimmy and Inspector Miles head out for a drink after congratulating themselves for arresting Franz and solving the crime, when they witness a road rage incident in the park – featuring a 500 pound Bengal Tiger who leaps out of the woods in front of them and drags away the main instigator by the neck. It seems the killer has not in fact been captured.

A stunned Inspector Miles enlists a famous tiger hunter Clive Barrett to end the career of Catherine. Miles struggles to keep the public in the dark, but when Catherine drags off an angry mime near Hollywood Blvd. – the city is plunged into mayhem.

Meanwhile Sally brings in a famous “tiger whisperer” Anya Bhakta from India, who specializes in retraining man-eaters, ( a welcome profession in a place where tigers have consumed hundreds of innocent civilians). Anya - who has a lot of backup - first visits Faye, gets her to speak privately to her and plans to take her along on a quest to secure Catherine and with the help of a tranquilizer dart - get her onto a helicopter and thence on a plane to India for rehabilitation.

By now, Jimmy and Sally are reconciled and join the expedition to save the tiger along with Franz who has been released from prison. It comes down to a face off between the great hunter and the “tiger team” on a dark night in Griffith Park – with Inspector Miles and his officers hot on their trail. And everybody has just one shot at closing this case for good.

I would say this is a medium to low budget film - could be a very fun shoot with all L.A. locations, mostly in Griffith Park and other spaces such as offices, bars, home interiors. it would require the services of a trained tiger and related effects/editing to pull of convincing attacks.

Submitted: May 12, 2022
Last Updated: May 26, 2022

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Jim Sheehan's picture

The Writer: Jim Sheehan

Writer/producer for news, documentary and entertainment shows out of New York and Los Angeles - including Paramount TV, Showtime, ABC Network, Fox Network, CNN, Discovery, Science and History Channels. I am refocusing my career and have several feature length scripts on the market in crime, comedy and drama genres. My various IMDB credits which are comprised of several "Jim Sheehan's" and one or two "James Sheehan's", I promise, all of whom are me. I have looked into how to consolidate all the IMDB profiles but it seems that actually writing another script or two is easier - and much more therapeutic. Life is short. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3751814/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_3 https://www.imdb.com... Go to bio

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