Episode 10: The Last Bear
Host Dave's notes on his Halloween Special horror movie pitch for Episode 10 of Let's Make a Horror Movie podcast... Set in a sleepy village near Cirencester, England.
A rural woman in the edge house of a new housing development, is expecting kids to come on halloween, trick or treating. She lives with her husband in a wild plot on the edge of a town, backing onto fields, farmland and rolling countryside. Further down the lane towards the main town, we can see more of the new development at the far left edge of the lane, and on the other side, a building site quickly giving way to the fields & countryside. We're getting some early evening shots of the couple decorating the front garden & porch halloween-y. You never know, they might see a Wisp if they're outside long enough - all this used to be marshland, and they're still largely surrounded by the countryside (and the town did used to be well known locally for it - hence the signs up for halloween etc). A couple of badgers scoot across the monoblock paving into the undergrowth.
She and her husband have pictures of & reference a child but in the past tense.. He loved Halloween,it was always his favourite. Anway thats a long time passed and there's still a building site there now,but they did finish the other 3/4 of the delvopments.. 'Its like a different village than it was then'.
We also get some scenes with another family (Nick & Claire) & their kids. Its a big, grand house - clearly they are wealthy, and via some exposition we understand this couple are largely responsible for the new housnig development (money money money!), or at least were,as it started 10 years ago. We join this family as they are getting ready for trick or treating with the parents (nick & claire) talking about the same historic child disappearance mentioned by Shirley - and warning their kids to be careful. We also get some more suggestions that there were other instances but this is throwaway commentary. They make a big deal of getting their kids to promise to be back by 9 o'clock. A few small animals skitter around the corner of the house..
A couple of expositional shots around the town 'Welcome to the home of Will o' the Wisp' sign with a spooky entity on it etc.
Back with Shirley & After some time she realises that though she'swell prepared, no kids have come by yet.. so she keeps an eye out on the lane to see if she can see any.. Other parents in the village tend to ask their kids to swing by out of sympathy (maybe N&C menion this).
Spooky happenings? Anyway, eventually she sees a couple of children coming down the lane ("Hey Bill, i can see doug and melrose's kids!"to her husband) however when they're about halfway there, only partially visible outside of the streetlamp light (but these are country kids so they're carrying a lantern or something).. [at this point do an 'imagine your standing on Xs porch,this is what you can see .. orientate people to the lane, house, building site right of lane and new development at the topleft of lane where it meets other road, distant to us, probs about 1 km - 1000m away] Either way, we see them stop at something, perhaps point off to side of the road and, having stood stock still for amoment, then as if it were perfectly normal, they walk off the road into the darkness - the building-site part of the development and towards the darkness of the woods/countryside... A couple of other kids from the same group are following not far behind and we all watch as they stop in the same place.. Shirley begins to be visibly worried as if she's seen something terrible. Its a realisation that something bad is happening (though she & we can't put our finger on it), and as she starts to shout for Bill that she thinks 'somethings happening again' and bolts through the house towards the front door.
Frenetic scenes as she gets to where the kids had been at, further down the lane, and we had seen the second set do the same as the first kids, whilst we were following Shirley run towards them.
Bill catches up with her at the spot and shes's frantic about where they've gone. We can see nothing as we stare into the blackness..
Bills got Shirley back to the house & is calming her down & trying to discuss what she saw and how she thinks it relates to their kid in any way etc (i.e. the 'its happening again' comment'). So we get some scenes here giving us a bit more detail into their kids disappearance and what she thought might have happened, but there's no time to dwell to long on this in her opinion because what did she see happen just now? Were'nt those kids coming here and what stopped them? why have they just gone off into the darkness - where could they possibly be going? Something is definitely amiss.
Bill is trying to be a bit more pragmatic but is clearly rattled because he trusts his wife's judgement absolutely, and yet what is she suggesting?! that they're following something? They're probably on their way to some party or something! . So he's devils-advocating the shit out of the situation.
After a few drinks they decide to keep and eye on the lane from the porch, both of them deciding that they're probably just a little sensitive to odd events due to their tradegy on this night in the past. though something does feel a little off tonight none the less.
Act 2 culminates with Bill & Shirley sitting on the porch and in a moment of silence, Bill sees something and taps Shirley... we follow their gaze into the darkness in the distance and we see a small green light appear (or, from this distance, thats what it looks like, but we're probably about 500 metres or more away).. we can't really see, but we can see its bobbing linear movement. As if it might be someone carrying a light or a lantern. also it appears to disappear behind things momentarily (trees and such).
'Its a Will o' the wisp'.. Shirley whispers.. To which Bill replies they're just methane setting off phosphate gases. Beautiful really. Nature at its most mysterious! Shirley replies, well.. look at it. And as we watch, now that we've heard that explantion it does appear to look like that. "But why is it moving in one direction like that..? it's movements look dedicated, purposeful"
...as we watch it draw nearer, from the blackness of the countryide towards the all-to-near lane, bill & Shirley start to becoming uneasy again.
We cut back to Nick & Claire who are just arriving back at their house. No sign of the kids, though they're not hugely worried intially.. Though the converation about where they are, is why we're with them for this scene. Maybe we get some more exposition around the event they've been too.. Nick is keen to see if they cen't secure another big swathe of land and push through some planning permissions. The previous one, though it made them money,was marred by unconnected tradgedy & never completed. left a bad taste, but after tonight's soiree he finally has that taste back again!
Back with Bill & Shirley... we're seeing the green light again and as we see it disappear behind what is the intial stages of unfinished construction of the new development (where we saw the kids go), we also see another pair of kids coming down the lane. On a roughly intersecting course with this new cohort of kids..
The second act culminates in Bill heading offdown the lane towards the boys, as Shirley heads inside to grab another drink & throw off what she considers to be overreaction & paranoia.
Shirley is inside,visibly worried, fixing herself a nice drink to take the edge off. Just as she's finished it, Bill bursts in through the front door. "It was Nick & Claire's kids & i couldn't stop them..i didn't get there in time.. just couldn't get to them in time.. " etc. Now its Bill thats rattled.. really rattled, way more than Shirley was. Something about what he saw & the fact he was unable to get the kids attention despite being only a hundred feet from them,shouting & yelling..
"i'll call them now" (N & C) - just in case.
Cuts to other family's parents house - no they don;t know where there kids were headed, and they don't like the sound of that - they're coming over. Not liking the sound of what Shirley was saying.
Bill & Shirley decide to go up the lane to see if they can figure out whats going on.. We wait with them for a little bit until they decide maybe they should hide themselves just out of sight( who knows, so why not!), in the field on the left of the road. However instead of kids coming down the lane, there's a commotion coming from the darkness opposite them, from the direction the kids went.. As we see Nick & Claire turn down the lane (they're on foot, they don't live far away) along with 4 young men, we see one of their kids come tumbling out of the darkness, clearly in an injured & panicked state..
[are there more parents,or perhaps an older brother & friends looknig for other kids that should have been home & bumped intoOther Family parents on the street..?]
Shirley & Bill run towards the kid, and after assessing him for a second, Shirley runs to meet the N&C who have started to run down the lane. Shirley starts to speak to N&C as they all turn back towards Bill & the kid... (the 4 young men with them are looking for 2 kids they're supposed to be looking after, but they've lost them) We see a pop of green flare up out towards the edge of the building site & the kid pushes away from Bill & starts running helplessly towards it..
all the adults start to make chase, and as they pass Bill, a cloud of green pops up in front of them, the flash of the outline of a figure briefly appears, only enough for us to see a horrific grimace and a huge claw shape tear the entirity of Nick's stomach and neck out.. literally dropping large chunks of meat to the foor (the green light gutters out back to nothing). There's only a few spurts of life left in the fella before Claire is left with the dilemma of chasing her kid or staying with her deceased husband.. After what we'vejust seen, the desperation takes over and they all continue to chase. What choice is there? One of the 4 young men stays with nick's lifeless body, calls an ambulance anyway etc. Everyone else bolts after the kids.
We're flying into the night at this point, panic and frenzied scenes take over as we see another green burst further away and what looks like kids shadowy outlines, so everyone belts at full pelt in that direction. We're careening over black fields at this point, only a touch of moonlight to go by..
We reach the darkness of the woods & we turn to see the 2 young men had fallen a little behind.. , Shirley,Claire & Bill pause to take a breath,allowing them to catch up & as we wait for a beat, with no warning we see a burst of green flame peel into life across the body of one of the young men, immediatly immoliating him.. No figure in the flame this time, just green flame. Cue screaming, running, flailing, but it does end in his death & they have to carry on. This is not a pleasant scene & all bets are off now.. anything can happen. Was it intentional or did the bog & methane just do this by accident..a result of their footsteps? We find out that the remaining 2 young men are called Dougie & Clive. They're respectively looking for 1)a younger brother and 2) a younger sister & friend.
The remaining people regroup and head towards the latest green flare deep in the woods.. At this point our senses are being abused by fast panicky cuts and noises assaulting us from all sides - we don't know what but they sound animalistic. Everyone is tearing through the trees trying to get to the green light. Half the people don't even really know whats happening but they saw what happened to clawed-guy, and immoliated-guy, so they know shits going down.
We lose Clive in these scenes as different green lights pop in different places,confusing us,losing our sense of direction & for the nearer ones, we occasionally glimpse a figure holding a lamp within the green flare.. Not sure how Clive gets taken down, but it would be Wisp related, or accidental panic-induced.
Following Shirley now, and she's stopped running & is gathering her breath.. Bill stumbles up to her & we get Claire and a Dougie arriving too. 4 of them. Claire is beside herself with panic (husband dead,kid missing), Bill & Shirls are just running on adreneline, they don;t know whats going on either & Dougie saw his friend immoliated a few mins ago so is just functioning on fear & shock... barely functioning at that.
In the relative calm, before anyone can cohrently try and communincate a plan, we see a green flare through the trees.. and as it fades & moves, we see firelight behind it. Claire insitinctively bolts straight towards it, leaving Bill, Shirley & Dougie to follow.. we're all running again as we see Claire, in front of us, go down in a nasty looking tumble (its dark, so we may not see much). As the 3 reach her, they instinctively crouch to help her up. As they do so, there's a green flash behind them, and as Claire is looking directly at it, her eyes glass over with green, she bolts upright, throwing the 3 aside and storms up over the immediate slope, into the firelight beyond.. as we follow X's gaze back around the green light behind us has guttered out, but we see that Bill and Dougie have got the glassed over green-eyes as well, as they thunder past her pleas, up and towards the firelight...
We have a few moments of Shirley trying to just grab a breath, & gather herself, she's in shock now.. proper, but Bills gone over the edge, so she can't really cut n' run. Plus there is a strong suspicion this is what happened to her kid, so thats tugging at her too. She bolts up and over the top,into the firelight.
the scene we're confronted with is roughly as follows: A large circular depression in the woods, a clearing like a large bowl or natural amphitheatre, surroundded by the black forest lit only from a large fire in the centre of the bowl. In the middle of the fire is stood a flaming figure, we can only see the outline, but we can see it is someone burning alive. Next closest in proximity to the fire is Dougie and then Bill, lined up, both standing stock still. Scattered around the edges of the bowl, lit occasionally by the firelight, are a host of woodland & countryside creatures.. we glimpse a few badger faces, some fieldmice, the ocassional owl, the passive eyes of a deer etc..
Leaves rustle, things move..
the figure in the fire collapses into the flames, and without missing a beat, Dougie takes a big step right into the flames and walks straight into the place where the figure had been standing, and starts burning to death. Shocked out of her momentary pause on the edge of the bowl, Shirley runs towards Bill on the far side, screaming to him as she goes...
She reaches him & starts wrestling with him and screaming at him to break the stupor..
A cleft in the ground opens wide under the roots of a great oak tree standing on the edge of the clearing... Within the darkness and amongst the entangled, exposed roots of the tree, we see a what looks like a rudimentary throne.. the firelight throws its light down the shaft revealing a large, ancient, mud-encrusted bear, curled up on the throne within the roots, wearing a crown of roots with small leaves eminanting from it so it looks like a laurel wreath (like a ceaser or such would wear), and what looks the remains of an armoured breastplate... The roots of the tree are weaving in & out of the bear, like its a symbiotic relationship in some way.
At the screams, the bear slowly turns its head enough to set an eye on Shirley, ..after a beat, with a pulse from the bear's great belly, the Bill walks straight into the flames and stands there burning alive..
final shot is a close up X screaming, before a flash of green and as the flash subsides we see her eyes have also gone green (and the fire is still burning away behind her.. so, y'know).
-----Thoughts on the BEar----...and such----
So, its a bear from the roman era of Britain, surviving only through its symbyosis with the ancient tree and perhaps, in a wider sense with nature itself. The exactly hows and whys are sort or irrelevant. Ultimately whatever consciousness it still retains in this form is essentially utilising nature to take some revenge on humanity in any small way it can. The fact that a lot of kids go missing is because this tends to only occur on, say, one all hallows eve in every decade and thus its mostly kids out & about.
The wisps - caused by Phosphine & Diphosphine gasses mixing with methane & igniting. In folklore they were largely considered to lead people to their deaths (same theme across different continents and cultures). Here the bear uses them in different ways - a physical manefistation of him to kill Nick, a series of normal flares but with deeply hypnotic & supernatural capabalities, and as flame to immoliate someone.
The animals gathered aren't necessarily meant to represent support for these actions, but rather, they recognise there is no threat here for them and thus are curious at the very least..
- The Last Bear
- Royal Oak
- The Wisps of Cabley Grange (?!)
- All Willows Eve
..Who will be played by Sean Pertwee? Tweet us your thoughts!
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