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Humpty Dumpty

Author: Billy Majestic
Genre: Horror/Comedy
Storyline: 2
Dialogue: 4
Characterization: 1
Writer’s Potential: 2

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Recommendation?

Pass

Logline:

When two Deep South hillbillies kill a pregnant alien, they have to face the wrath of the dead alien’s offspring.

Synopsis:

At a disgusting dump of a house in a backwoods swamp, PETUS (mid-30s, fat, dirty) and his mangy dog, JAYBO, are awakened by the sound of distant gunfire. Groggy, Petus calls for his brother Pervis as he groggily gets out of bed. First, he steps on a rusty nail sticking out of the floorboards. It pierces his toe, causing him to scream and fall backward onto a soiled bedpan. Petus removes the nail and stomps around, searching for his brother. Outside the house, Petus checks to make sure his elaborate moonshine still is secure. Confident that it is, he’s distracted by his pet pig, TRAVIS, and python, SAM. Sam is kept in a cage, Travis in a pen. Sam spends most of his time eyeing the pig hungrily. Petus taunts the snake, enjoying Travis’s terrified reaction. That out of the way, Petus resumes his search for PERVIS, whom he finds dragging alien creatures toward the house. Baffled, Petus asks what’s going on. Pervis exclaims he has a girlfriend, pointing at an alien female. There are two others — an injured male and a dead one, each bleeding blue blood — that don’t interest Pervis much. Strange alien specimen jars littler the ground around them.

Later, Petus and Pervis have all three aliens locked in the house. Petus burns the dead alien, using moonshine as an accelerant. He ties up the other two. In town, SHERIFF TRAVIS TERRELL an his deputy, JACKSON, are greeted by nine-year-old MILO PACKER. He shows Terrell a cell phone photo of a UFO, which Milo claims to have taken the night before. Terrell finds it unbelievable until he arrives at the sheriff’s office and discovers nearly everyone in town has called in with a UFO sighting. Terrell goes down to the market and asks if any of the employees heard suspicious talk. There, he witnesses Pervis buying a variety of cosmetics, which Terrell finds unusual. Pervis says they’re for the girlfriend he met last night, then leaves without further conversation. Back at the swamp house, the alien female uses some sort of mystical energy to heal the male by touching him. Once healed, they share a tender embraced — only to be interrupted by jealous Pervis, who beats the male to death.

Terrell and Jackson drive out to a farmhouse, where CLEERO (60s) is full of information. Inside the house, he has all the latest monitoring and computer equipment. He shows them clear, distinct video of the UFO, then points out some of its oddities — it travels at a 45¬∞ angle and looks oddly translucent. Cleero suggests these aliens have found a way to travel faster than the speed of light. Terrell and Jackson are shocked at Cleero’s level of knowledge and understanding. He tells them, based on the distance scale in the video, the crash most likely happened near the Brakks’ swamp house. This makes Jackson a little uneasy, as he finds the Brakks creepier than ever since their mother’s mysterious, unsolved death. Petus tries to eat a pork chop while dismembering the alien male’s corpse — right in front of the visibly anguished female — but he can’t manage and drops the chop. Petus prepares to duct tape the alien female to ensure she doesn’t get out of line again, but Pervis fights with him. After an argument, Petus uses a knife to cut the duct tape and tie the alien securely. Just as he finish, Terrell pounds on the door. As a distracted Petus leaves, the alien uses telekinesis to pull the knife out of Petus’s pants and float it toward her. She distracts Jaybo, instructed to watch her, with Terrell’s dropped pork chop, then makes the floating knife saw her tape off. Then, she kills Jaybo by shoving the knife into his mouth.

Petus greets Terrell with disdain. He ridicules the suggestion of a UFO. The alien female huddles on top of Jaybo and gradually morphs into the dog, with subtle alien differences. She begins barking. Terrell and Petus hear alien Jaybo’s distressed barking and wonder what’s wrong. Petus tries to ignore it, but Pervis checks the locked room. Alien Jaybo scurries past as Pervis enters. He starts screaming that his girlfriend is gone. Terrell are intrigued by this girlfriend of his. He and Jackson follow Petus into the captivity room, where they see blue blood all over the place. Petus tells them it’s paint. Things get more confusing when they see the dead Jaybo on the floor. Petus explains they had two Jaybos but had to put one down when it attacked them. Pervis is going wild about his girlfriend, so Petus tells Terrell and Jackson that he was having sex with the dog. Terrell and Jackson are disturbed but believe it. As they prepare to leave, a neighbor returns alien Jaybo. Terrell notices Jaybo is a male and asks Petus about this. Attaching alien Jaybo to a chain, Petus says Pervis doesn’t care — male or female. Jackson vomits. Left outside, alien Jaybo morphs back into the alien female. That night, Pervis snatches her and takes her back to the captivity room, where he sloppily applies her makeup. Meanwhile, Petus buries Jaybo next to a tombstone labeled “Mama.” Pervis prepares to have sex with the alien female.

Four months later. The alien female, still captive, is now pregnant but bruised. Petus goes to her, claiming he’ll protect her from Pervis, because he finds pregnant women oddly attractive. Pervis catches Petus fondling her, and they start brawling. They get so distracted, they don’t notice the alien female slink away and escape through the swamp. The stress and exercise force her into labor, but giving birth to the half-human, half-alien creature kills her. She gives birth to something resembling a football-sized egg with deformed chunks of flesh protruding from it. Later, raccoons devour this flesh as the living newborn squirms. The raccoons sever the umbilical cord, causing the baby to fall into the swamp water. The egg-newborn continues to develop into an inhuman, unimaginable monster, with vaguely human, Pervis-like features. This is HUMPTY DUMPTY. Because of all the fish surrounding him, Humpty develops gills. Humpty uses an odd tongue with a small, human-like hand at the end of it. He feeds on bullfrog tadpoles. The huge bullfrog mother is not pleased with him eating her children. She eats Humpty, but Humpty manages to eat the bullfrog from the inside out. He grows frog legs and arms, along with thick black hair, and increases in size until he’s about feet tall. Then, Humpty emerges from the water.

Humpty finds his dead mother and tries to revive her. Failing, he creates a nest for her under a tree and leaves her. At the local diner, Terrell tells Jackson he sent some samples of the blue blood to an Air Force lab and finally got the results. They don’t know what it is, but they know it’s DNA that’s unlike anything on Earth. In the woods, Humpty stalks a rabbit. He’s about to eat it when he decides it’s adorable and cuddles with it. A crocodile snatches the rabbit away and kills it. Humpty does battle with the crocodile, eventually ripping its heart out, which he eats. Nearby, Petus and Pervis hunt and discuss Petus’s bowel problems. As they move around the woods, Petus discovers the alien female’s body. Pervis is angered and starts kicking the body. Petus pulls out his knife and begins to dismember the body, so he can feed it to his pig. Humpty sees them and attacks Petus. Pervis starts their ATV, but he doesn’t know how to drive it. It ends up hitting Humpty, knocking him off Petus and pinning him to the ground. The brothers escape.

Pervis has a nightmare about someone stalking him and Petus in their own home. While we’re first led to believe it’s Humpty, it actually turns out to be MAMA BRAKK — scarred and disfigured, as if she’s been cut into tiny pieces and reassembled. She kills Petus and accuses Pervis of killing her. He wakes up, terrified and screaming. This wakes Petus, who has to shout to calm Pervis down. When he finally does, they hear strange sounds coming from outside. Humpty attacks them. Petus tries to shoot it, but Humpty’s body opens up in the back to avoid injury. Petus begins beating Humpty with the rifle-butt as Pervis erects barricades to keep Humpty from getting back in the house.

Meanwhile, 13-year-old BOAZ hands Terrell one of the strange, alien specimen containers. Terrell doesn’t know what it is, but he knows it has something to do with the UFOs. Petus hears Humpty doing something to his pig to make it wail in terror. Deciding Humpty has gone too far, Petus goes down in the cellar and combines a motorcycle exhaust pipe, shotgun, and moonshine jug to create a flamethrower. Outside, Humpty has ripped out one of the pig’s eyes. His tongue-hand absorbs the eyeball, allowing him to see with it. He uses it to peek into the house. After Petus finishes his flamethrower, he goes to the bathroom. While Petus relieves himself, Humpty stalks Pervis. They fight while Petus struggles to evacuate his bowels. Humpty bites off Pervis’s penis, just as Petus emerges from the bathroom with his flamethrower. He fires at Humpty, accidentally setting Pervis on fire. Pervis runs outside burned to death.

Terrell receives a call from the dispatcher, announcing some serious, angry people from the Air Force want to know where the Brakk property is, immediately. Terrell says he’ll meet them there. Petus continues to fire at Humpty, but Humpty’s too fast. He ends up setting a tree on fire (which spreads to other trees), along with the woodshed and his elaborate moonshine still. He also blows up his pickup shed, causing the flaming moonshine still to collapse on top of Petus. It would kill him if not for the fact that Humpty jumps on his head and uses buzzsaw-like teeth to kill remove Petus’s still-living head. He grafts the head onto Travis the Pig’s body. “Petus the Pig” is confused and terrified. Humpty opens Sam the Python’s cage and allows him to go wild on Petus.

Terrell calls for the fire department as he and Jackson pull up to the swamp house. They see Humpty and are puzzled. Puzzle turns to discuss and terror when they see Petus the Pig getting strangled by Sam. A group of people in HAZ MAT suits arrive. They take over the situation. They fan out in search of Humpty. Humpty has absorbed the DNA of a bat, causing him to grow bat wings. When one of the Haz Mat team finds Humpty, the group uses a bunch of strange, high-tech lasers and lights to trap him. They lower him into a futuristic, secure RV. Terrell realizes the Haz Mat team isn’t with the Air Force. One of the men explains that they’re part of a group so top secret, everyone on Earth thinks they’re dead. He tells Terell nobody will believe him, as they clean up the area and destroy all evidence of the alien encounter.

Driving home, Terrell speculates they haven’t seen the last of whatever was in the UFO. Jackson changes the subject to a local who broke his arm at a truck pull. The conversation wanders, until Terrell realizes he still has the specimen container given to him by Boaz. Chuckling, Terrell realizes he has proof that the incident took place. After it fades to black, smash to Humpty growling in full rage, then smash to black yet again.

Comments:

Humpty Dumpty tries to marry a Farrelly Brothers gross-out comedy with a gory horror movie. This uneasy mix of genres contains more than its fair share of disgusting shocks, but the script suffers from a weak story and horrible characters. As written, it merits a pass.

More than anything else, the characters ruin this. The script lacks a clear protagonist. The usual tropes of the genre suggest it should be the sheriff, but Terrell has no meaningful impact on the story. Sure, he’s in a number of scenes, but he does little more than uncover exposition and watch with surprise as the Haz Mat team saves the day. It’s also unclear whether or not Humpty Dumpty is supposed to be good or evil. He wants revenge for what happened to his mother, a goal that would be empathetic if not for the fact that he doesn’t just seek revenge. He turns into a sadistic ball of teeth whose methods for exacting revenge make him creepy and unappealing. Speaking of creepy and unappealing, Petus and Pervis might be the two most disgusting characters ever created. This would be a triumph, except they’re the focus of roughly 70% of the story. Their behavior grows tiresome long before the second act, and the strange attempt at pathos — Pervis having a guilt-stricken dream about the mother he killed — ironically makes them less compelling. With these guys, less is more.

The story does start with a few kernels of goodness. The initial UFO sighting and the presentation of the alien captors in the first act create a lot of possibilities, but with the introduction of Humpty Dumpty comes the realization that the first act spends far too much time on the creature’s origin. Humpty doesn’t show up until halfway through the script, which contributes to the overall lack of narrative momentum. The entire first act is devoted to setting up Humpty’s origin, the bulk of the second act is spent showing — in tedious detail — how his alien powers work. The third act is dominated by Humpty hunting and torturing Petus and Pervis, but it would be more satisfying if he just straight-up killed them instead of lingering and taunting them. The Haz Mat team saving the day at the end is the worst kind of deus ex machina, only topped by the writer’s clumsy attempts to set the stage for a sequel.

Humpty Dumpty will have a hard time succeeding even if it’s blessed with unsurpassed visual effects and a skilled cast and crew. Its story and characters are too problematic for audiences to ignore. It will disappoint and disgust instead of amusing and scaring.

Posted by D. B. Bates on April 27, 2009 6:55 PM  |   | Print-Friendly  | Professional Script Coverage

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