Teenagers from Outer Space - 1959

The Edge of Earth

I’m writing a script for a 50’s inspired science fiction short film, that me and some friends are going to hopefully start filming in January! Here’s the treatment that I wrote as a starting place before I get going on the script. I am beyond excited for this – this is how I used to feel about starting a new play. Lots of questions, lots of things to figure out, lots of uncertainty – this is only a starting point, so much to explore and develop before we film a thing.

Working Title: The Edge of Earth

Teenagers from Outer Space - 1959
Teenagers from Outer Space – 1959

A proper SCIENCE FICTION movie from this period must contain:

  • aliens masquerading as humans (cheap costume)
  • a preposterous monster
  • a professor or scientist who is sought for wisdom
  • THEMES – racism, overpopulation, ecology, etc.
  • unnecessary monologues about THEMES
  • unlikely but palatable science
  • sexually attractive but chaste love interest (Pure One)
  • paragons of society: Manhood, Authority, Faith, etc.
  • aliens encountering children, familiar societal locales and institutions
  • sense of dread
  • slow pace

Touchstones: The Day the Earth Stood Still, Teenagers from Outer Space, Forbidden Planet


Act One

A spacecraft crosses the emptiness of space, a figure sits in an strange cockpit filled with screens and light. The figure wears a helmet or flight mask, obscuring their features. A screen fills with strange symbols and we hear a strange voice speak in an alien language. The figure nods, then pushes a few buttons and descends to the planet below. Earth.

The figure emerges from the craft, holding an instrument. They take readings, then hook the instrument directly into their flight suit. The figure writhes as if in pain, then straightens – some change has occurred within the flight suit. The figure pulls free its helmet to reveal the long tresses of a human woman. The woman uses a reflective surface to inspect her face with curiosity, then turns back to her tasks. The craft is closed, but some extra care is taken with an odd section near the back. The woman rests her naked hand on it for a long moment before departing.

The woman walks down an empty road, stopping several times to inspect local flora and various street signs with equal curiosity. A few cars pass as she comes into town, but none stop or take any notice of the traveler and her strange clothing.

The woman approaches a shop of some sort, her face focused with concentration. An encounter with a customer or server reveals that the woman speaks English, though in a stilted and formal manner. The encounter is heading towards some uncomfortable or awkward crisis when a young woman named Natalie Marlowe intervenes. A few kind words, perhaps some money – the moment is smoothed over and Natalie takes the traveler by the hand and leads her outside the establishment.  The traveler seems touched by these gestures and through conversation reveals that her own name is Nora.  Natalie leaps to the conclusion that Nora is a foreign traveler in need of a guide and quickly volunteers, pulling her off deeper into town.

Meanwhile…two policemen/park rangers/authority figures discover Nora’s spacecraft. Their caution turns to terror as they trip some sort of proximity alarm, firing their weapons at the strange craft. The bullets hit the rear section of the craft, causing an immediate reaction of great violence. The two humans flee as something large and angry breaks free from the rear section of the craft. The last thing we see is a warning light flashing on the console of the craft.

Act Two

A light flashes from a device on the belt of Nora’s gear – but she has not noticed it, being completely wrapped up in exploring the town with Natalie. Natalie and Nora walk hand in hand, in a sequence of discovery – local customs, places of interest. Some flirtation occurs, initiated by Natalie, but it is chaste. Nora seems fascinated by all that she is shown, but not least of all by her new companion.

At last, the two take a break for short conversation where the subject turns to Nora’s home. She is evasive but does not directly lie. Natalie, with some trepidation, brings up the Polaris Sweetheart Dance. Nora is interested in this local custom and immediately accepts her companion’s invitation, but is confused by Natalie’s excitement at her acceptance. Some query of Natalie’s prompts the traveler to reach into her pack to show off something, which is when she discovers the flashing device warning of an attack on her craft. Abruptly Nora departs with little explanation, Natalie shouts directions to the dance after her – hoping that the two can meet back up later that evening.

Meanwhile… the two policemen burst into the local establishment that Nora visited earlier. They quickly commandeer the phone, informing the startled server that their own radio stopped working on the drive back to town. They begin to dial for Local Authority – when the line suddenly goes dead. Something large and angry bursts through the window – we only see the screaming faces of the policemen and other humans as they are destroyed.

Nora arrives back at her craft, breathless. She goes immediately to the shattered rear section and sees that SLAA has escaped. The sun is setting, Nora reaches into the cockpit and pulls free what we assume is a weapon. The lights and voices coming from the cockpit are insistent, but Nora ignores them. She says aloud ‘Natalie’ then holsters her weapon and heads out into the dark.

Act Three

The young people of town gather for the Polaris Dance, none suspecting that SLAA lurks in the shadows nearby. The creature picks off a few dance-goers in gruesome fashion, but remains unseen by the audience. The creature seems to hesitate as Natalie arrives, dropped off by her father, Professor Marlowe. He bores his daughter with tales of his research into the vast unknown reaches of space, but she is far too excited at the prospect of seeing Nora again to pay much attention. She kisses her father goodbye, and he grouches and pulls out a newspaper to read as he waits to pick up his daughter when the dance ends.

Natalie waits outside the dance for quite some time – but finally growing cold she enters alone. The SLAA follows.

The dance is wild and exciting, happy faces, movement. Natalie shakes free of her sadness and finds some friends nearby that she greets, and begins to dance. An overlong sequence of young people dancing and the SLAA growing closer.

At last ,the SLAA reveals itself to screams of terror from the gathered dancers. The SLAA is a monstrosity, terrible to behold – but pieces of it seem to drop away as it advances. It’s target seems to be Natalie, who stumbles and falls in the center of the dance floor. The SLAA closes on her, seeming unsure. At last, Nora appears heroically brandishing her strange weapon – putting herself between the SLAA and Natalie. The terrified townsfolk look on in transfixed horror at this standoff, soon joined by Professor Marlowe – brought in by the screams.

More and more of the SLAA falls away, revealing a figure that is a dark mirror to Nora. Nora explains tersely to Natalie that her race learned long ago that to prosper and grow they would need to remove and exile the dark parts of themselves, but they could never completely break the link. She and the SLAA are one being, and she is complicit in all of its crimes. She believed that she could keep it contained, but knows now that it is too dangerous a beast to inflict on the primitive Earth.

The SLAA howls in anger and grief, but is held back by Nora’s weapon. Nora bids farewell to Natalie with a kiss. Then at last, she activates her weapon destroying the SLAA — but at the same time destroying herself.

Natalie weeps, surrounded by the ashes of the traveler. Her father comes forth to comfort her and offers what consolation he may.

“If such wonders can exist out there among the stars, beyond the edge of the earth — who knows what greater wonders await us? If such a being can walk among us, one who seems to have all but mastered the darkness within – perhaps they too have mastered death?” – Professor Marlowe

Natalie weeps on and ashes blow across the dance floor.


The Unquiet Streets and the Fear We Cannot Name

Edward Felspar

Crime Desk

Vyle Tymes – 15th of Psydros, 2015

We live in two cities. Though they share the same streets and the same names and the same buildings proud and tall. Cerulean street lights, crimson flags, the moonsilver steel of the Rail – all the same.  The city of Vyle: serene and shining, as clean as fresh clockwork.  Every citizen, no matter how mean, holds their head a little higher to count themselves a trueborn son or daughter of Vyle. We know our city, we love our city. But, of late, we all have begun to see a second city, a darker one, one that we do not recognize, one that we are not so proud to bear in our blood. One that we walk a little faster from to put lock and key between us and this second city, the hungry city that appears when the sun goes down.

The Constant Reader is familiar with the litany of crimes that have become common in the midnight streets of Vyle. The kidnapping of Haley Westermont this summer. The brutal pillaging of the Veritas Freight shipment. The invasion of homes for petty theft and larceny, the accosting of ladies after dark for nefarious purpose, the bodies found washed up in the harbor come dawn. Over these past many months the rate of crime has accelerated. The hungry city has streets made of teeth and there are few among us who have not felt the bite in our own families.

The question must be posed: why in the largest city on the continent, the home of

Tagma Brass HQ - Staff
Tagma Brass HQ – Staff

the most potent military force ever devised by the will of mortal men, has this quiet harvest of its citizens gone unchecked? This question has been posed, again and again, by this reporter and by many other frightened and concerned Vylians. Poliarchos Winston Gage of Tagma Brass has responded only with the most terse and unfulfilling of statements. “Patrols will be doubled during nighttime hours.” “Tagma Brass investigates every criminal report and does not rest until the guilty party is brought to justice.” “We have some reports of isolated incidents near Flux St. and the more unsavory corners of the city, but the vast majority of Vyle is completely safe at all hours.”

Safe where he lives, perhaps this is what Poliarchos Gage means.

Though there are no sources willing to go on record to the following information, the lapse in journalistic diligence can perhaps be forgiven. Most sources who have reliable information are terrified for their lives and livelihood, and what is proper to print here can safely, and sadly, be considered common knowledge to most citizens of Vyle below the rank of demiarchos. This increase in criminal activity and the furor and intensity that has been visited upon the citizens of Vyle can be tracked to one organization: the Black Cross Gang. Their base of operations is unknown, their full number is unknown, even the origin of their crude symbol and moniker remains under a deep cloud. What is known is their cruelty, their fierce despite for the law, and their unending avarice. Recognize them by the black bandannas they wear, and the all too often sign of a black cross or ‘X’ daubed on their clothes with coal or tar.

If you encounter them in the daylight city of Vyle, avoid if at all possible. If you encounter them in the midnight streets, only your own skill and the gods’ love walk with you as Tagma Brass will not stir to defend its citizens.

Whispers have also reached this reporter’s ears of the purported head of this vicious cadre of thieves and murderers, a person known only as ‘White Crown’.  No verifiable reports have been made of anyone seeing this person, it is not uncommon for criminal groups like this to create a fictional figurehead — a ‘boss’ figure that both lends to their mystique, and also allows for a ‘monster in the shadows’ to lean on as a negotiation or intimidation tactic.

This newspaper will continue to report as accurately and as fully as we can about these true events and fierce dangers that grow ever more present in our city. We live in two cities now, haunted by a Beast that we cannot see and we are not even given the privilege of calling by name. The fear that grips this reporter is: will there always be two cities? Or will we wake one morning to find the jaws of the midnight city has closed over our peaceful home forever, beyond all reclaiming?

E. Felspar is a staff writer for the Vyle Tymes. Communication may be sent to his box at the Vyle Tymes Offices with further reports and news of criminal activity.


Three-Syllable Gospel – Notes II

There is the same power also in the serpent called the basilisk. It is produced in the province of Cyrene, being not more than twelve fingers in length. It has a white spot on the head, strongly resembling a sort of a diadem. When it hisses, all the other serpents fly from it: and it does not advance its body, like the others, by a succession of folds, but moves along upright and erect upon the middle. It destroys all shrubs, not only by its contact, but those even that it has breathed upon; it burns up all the grass, too, and breaks the stones, so tremendous is its noxious influence. It was formerly a general belief that if a man on horseback killed one of these animals with a spear, the poison would run up the weapon and kill, not only the rider, but the horse, as well. To this dreadful monster the effluvium of the weasel is fatal, a thing that has been tried with success, for kings have often desired to see its body when killed; so true is it that it has pleased Nature that there should be nothing without its antidote. The animal is thrown into the hole of the basilisk, which is easily known from the soil around it being infected. The weasel destroys the basilisk by its odour, but dies itself in this struggle of nature against its own self

Pliny the Elder‘s Natural History, written in roughly 79 AD

Nostos No. 6


Lines of steel, smoke and shout
Metal church and earnest lout.
Darkness wither, ivy-heart beat
The cinder revival is button-stone feet.
Remember the gods, count up their names
titan-bone memory stokes up the flames.
The violet leaf and the shining thorn
All’s forgotten on seven-pence morn.
Circle of Six, five and the shadow
Beggars are princes in the ettercop’s barrow.
Keep a hand on the rail, and your stone on the blade.
Greenglass coffins wait in the shade.
Heroes or Fools or cannon-shot spite
All Time is stolen from the fingers of Night.

Three-Syllable Gospel – Notes

As therefore it was not impossible to God to create such natures as He pleased, so it is not impossible to Him to change these natures of His own creation into whatever He pleases, and thus spread abroad a multitude of those marvels which are called monsters, portents, prodigies, phenomena, and which if I were minded to cite and record, what end would there be to this work? They say that they are called monsters, because they demonstrate or signify something; portents, because they portend something; and so forth. But let their diviners see how they are either deceived, or even when they do predict true things, it is because they are inspired by spirits, who are intent upon entangling the minds of men (worthy, indeed, of such a fate) in the meshes of a hurtful curiosity, or how they light now and then upon some truth, because they make so many predictions.

Saint Augustine, City of God, Book XXI, Chapter 8

Just a little something from researching next project. PAY NO ATTENTION.