SUMMONING TSATHOGGUA a short film teleplay by Ran Cartwright Third Draft 07/19/02
FADE IN EXT. BEAVER CREEK, OHIO - DAY Nice day, sunny, blue skies. Leaves on trees rustle in a slight breeze, sunlight cutting through the branches. SLOW PAN on creek; we see and hear the water running over rapids. ELSEWHERE ALONG BEAVER CREEK, the remnants of the old suspension bridge span the creek near Elkton. ELSEWHERE ALONG BEAVER CREEK, SLOW PAN along the creek bank from water POV, we see Lusk’s Lock as we pass by. ELSEWHERE ALONG THE CREEK, at Beaver Creek State Park the water rolls under the Echo Dell Road iron bridge. ELSEWHERE ALONG BEAVER CREEK, the water trickles over rapids along the bank. PAN IN CLOSE ON a frog that sits near the water’s edge. The frog suddenly hops into the water. EXT. EDGE OF WOODED CLEARING - DAY Near the edge of the woods stands a tall black stone obelisk partially obscured by brush, weeds, and creeping vines. Strange symbols are carved over the face of the stone. FADE IN CENTERED TEXT. For Clark and Howard... FADE OUT TEXT. FADE OUT
ACT ONE FADE IN EXT. WOODED AREA - DAY NANCY HOLLAND, a young woman in her early twenties, walks through the woods, a pack slung over a shoulder, a piece of folded paper in hand. She stops, opens and glances at the paper, then peers around the woods. NANCY (thinking aloud) It’s got to be around here somewhere. She continues on. TIME FADE ELSEWHERE IN THE WOODS Nancy still searches. She pauses and sits on a fallen log, sighs as she peers around. Her gaze suddenly locks on an object she sees through the trees. Her eyes go wide. NANCY That’s it! It has to be! She jumps up and starts to run through the woods. ELSEWHERE, AT THE EDGE OF A SMALL CLEARING, Nancy suddenly breaks through a line of trees into the clearing and stops. Her eyes are wide and staring as she looks across the clearing at the tall black stone obelisk nearly obscured by weeds and creeping vines. A wide grin crosses her face. NANCY Yes! She runs to the obelisk, rips away some of the weeds and vines. She lightly touches some of the strange symbols, then closes her eyes and smiles as she hugs the obelisk.
EXT. LOCK 24 RESTAURANT PARKING LOT, ELKTON, OHIO - DAY A car pulls into the parking lot and parks. DALE CHAMBERS, a young man in his early to mid-twenties, jumps from the car. He glances around the parking lot. With a passing glance at Beaver Creek slowly rolling past behind the restaurant, he starts toward the restaurant entrance. INT. LOCK 24 RESTAURANT Nancy sits in a booth, her pack beside her, coffee on the table. A burning cigarette rests in an ashtray, smoke curling into the air. She reads a xeroxed newspaper article, making notes and diagrams in a notebook. Dale suddenly appears, plopping down in the booth opposite Nancy. DALE Hi Nance. She looks up, smiles, and takes a drag of her cigarette. NANCY Dale. She lays the cigarette back in the ashtray. Dale glances at her notes. DALE Still on the frog stuff, eh? NANCY Just making some notes. She pauses and smiles. NANCY I found the Black Stone! Just like the one at Stregoicavar... DALE (interrupts) The what?
NANCY The Black Stone! It’s identical to the one at Stregoicavar in Hungary. The cult... She falls silent, noticing Dale’s disapproving frown. DALE Nance, it’s all fairy tales. I thought you’d have given up on it by now. Angered, Nancy gathers her things, stuffs them into her pack, and stubs out her cigarette. NANCY We started this together. You just gave up on it too easy. She rises from the booth. Dale rises and grabs her by the arm. She spins to face him. DALE Nance, I... NANCY (interrupts) Maybe I’ll just give up on you! She pulls free and storms away, Dale watching her go. EXT. BEAVER CREEK - DAY The water softly rolls over some rapids. CLOSE ON a frog that suddenly leaps into the water.
EXT. LOCK 24 RESTAURANT - DAY Dale comes out of the restaurant. He pauses in the parking lot, glances around, then turns his eyes to Beaver Creek behind the restaurant. ELSEWHERE, BEAVER CREEK BEHIND LOCK 24, Dale walks to the creek bank and stares at the water. A movement catches his eye. He looks down to see a frog. As he watches, the frog leaps into the creek. EXT. DIRT PARKING LOT NEAR BEAVER CREEK - DAY A car pulls to a stop. Nancy climbs out with her backpack. She closes the car door and starts toward the creek. EXT. BEAVER CREEK BANK - DAY Nancy walks to the creek and peers down at her reflection in the water. A toad appears, croaking its song. She smiles at it, then starts to walk down a path along the creek. INT. LIVING ROOM/KITCHEN IN NANCY’S SMALL MOBILE HOME A small mobile home, the living room and kitchen one joined room. Notes and books are scattered on the small kitchen table, a small lamp perched on one corner. A soft knock on the door, then another. The door creaks open. Dale hesitantly enters. He peers around, sees the scattered notes and books on the table. He walks to the table, shuffles through the papers and notes. He pauses as he picks up a xeroxed diary and begins to read. DALE (v.o.) The air was thick with electricity. Lightning flashed across the sky and the peel of thunder was deafening. I heard them and crawled from tree to tree to get as near as I could. He pauses, stares off into space, then begins reading again.
DALE (v.o. cont) They call me crazy, but I saw what I saw. They danced around the great black stone, chanting their strange words to their god. There was something evil in the air, I could feel it. Blasphemous! He pauses as he sits at the table, then continues. DALE (v.o. cont) The little black shapes twisted and whirled to the chanting and music...if music it was... TIME FADE EXT. NANCY’S MOBILE HOME - DUSK The sun setting on the quiet countryside, a number of toads and frogs hop in the driveway and yard of Nancy’s country mobile home. DALE (v.o.) It was chaos in a cacophony of sight and sound - the thunder and lightning, the chanting, the strange music, the bestial worshippers, the black stone with its strange hieroglyphs, and the black cult calling to their god. INT. MOBILE HOME LIVING ROOM/KITCHEN Dale still at the table, still reading, the lamp now on. DALE (v.o.) A crackling hiss split the night and a roar of thunder. In a flash of lightning I saw their god had come in the dark. There it sat, perched atop the great black stone the horrendous black furred toad god, Tsathoggua. Mercifully, I lost consciousness...
Dale pauses, staring into space. He slowly shakes his head. DALE (thinking aloud) She’s gone way too far. There’s a sudden sound at the door as though something hit it. Dale looks at the door. He lays the diary down, turns off the lamp, and walks to the door. He slowly opens the door, looks out to see a few toads and frogs, one large toad hopping down the short flight of steps. Dale leaves, closing the door behind him. EXT. NANCY’S MOBILE HOME - DUSK Dale slowly descends the small staircase, glancing at the toads and frogs as he walks to his car. He gets in, backs out, and drives away. EXT. EDGE OF WOODED CLEARING - DUSK The brush, weeds, and vines have been cleared from the obelisk. Nancy leans with her back against it, head upturned, eyes closed, arms splayed out from her sides. Her body glistens perspiration, her long hair wet and matted with sweat and soil. Seemingly in a trance, she mutters an unintelligible chant as she rolls her head side to side. NANCY (soft) Ia. Ia. N'ggah-kthn-y'hhu. (pauses, cackles) Ia. G'llh-ya, Tsathoggua. She pauses again, cackling, then sighs. NANCY (soft) Y'kn'nh, Tsathoggua. G'noth-ykagga-ha.
She stops, slowly opens her eyes, and stares at the night sky. NANCY (soft) A sacrifice... She starts to laugh haltingly in a soft maniacal voice. NANCY A sacrifice! She continues her mad laughter as she slides down the face of the obelisk to the ground and rolls over on her back, staring up at the night sky. EXT. BEAVER CREEK - DUSK The moon reflects off the creek. We hear night sounds, including the songs of toads and frogs. CLOSE ON a frog on the creek bank. It leaps into the water. ELSEWHERE ALONG THE CREEK another frog leaps into the water. ELSEWHERE ALONG THE CREEK more frogs and toads are singing their songs and leaping into the water. Suddenly we hear Dale’s voice calling from a distance. DALE (o.c.) Nancy! Nancy! Where are you!? (pause) I know you’re here! Nancy! ELSEWHERE ALONG THE CREEK we see more frogs and toads. DALE (o.c. cont) Nancy! Nancy! ELSEWHERE ALONG THE CREEK there’s a rustling of brush as Dale breaks through the undergrowth. He pauses, looks around and up at the night sky, and sighs.
DALE (thinking aloud) Well Nance, guess you’re gonna have to find out the hard way. He shakes his head and continues along the creek. EXT. BANK OF BEAVER CREEK - NIGHT A surreal scene under the moonlight as we hear the water trickling by. Nancy sits cross legged on the bank, facing the water, eyes closed, hands in her lap. She’s smudged in sweat and dirt, the moonlight glistening on her skin, her hair stringy and matted. A pair of frogs disengage from the darkness, hopping to Nancy. Then another, and more, all croaking their songs. EXT. BEAVER CREEK - NIGHT Dale walks along the creek. DALE Nancy! Nancy! EXT. BANK OF BEAVER CREEK - NIGHT Nancy sits on the creek bank, eyes still closed. More and more toads and frogs appear from the brush and water, gathering around her, croaking their songs. EXT. BEAVER CREEK - NIGHT Dale walks along the creek. DALE Nancy! Come on, dammit! He pauses, peers around, then continues on.
EXT. BANK OF BEAVER CREEK - NIGHT Nancy sits on the creek bank; a sea of croaking toads and frogs swarm around her. There’s toads and frogs in her lap, one on her shoulder, another on her head. She opens her eyes, the light of the moon sparkling in them, and stares out across the water. She cackles softly, insanely. END OF ACT ONE FADE OUT
ACT TWO FADE IN EXT. BEAVER CREEK BANK - DAWN Seventy year old CHARLIE LEWIS stands on the creek bank, fishing rod, tackle, and bait box in hand. He peers about, glancing over the placid water. CHARLIE (thinking aloud) Well, I best git to it. He sighs as he turns to a small row boat beached nearby. He lays his fishing gear in the boat, pushes off the bank, and climbs in. Charlie shifts the oars, rows to the middle, then pauses as he looks around. He nods, seemingly satisfied. CHARLIE (thinking aloud) Yeah. Yeah, I’ll bring me sumthin up outta here. He starts to row again. ELSEWHERE, NEARBY ALONG A BEND IN THE CREEK, a frog sits at the water’s edge. It suddenly leaps into the water. ELSEWHERE, NEARBY ALONG THE CREEK, another frog perched at the water’s edge suddenly leaps into the water. ON CHARLIE as he pauses rowing and looks around, a sound having caught his ear. Suddenly, all seems to fall uncannily silent as we hear Nancy’s voice slowly chanting something strange, ethereal. NANCY (o.c.) Ia! Ia! N'ggah-kthn-y'hhu! Ia! ELSEWHERE ALONG THE CREEK, a dirt smudged Nancy stands on the bank, her hair dirty and matted, her arms outstretched, head tilted back, eyes closed.
NANCY (soft) Ia! G'llh-ya, Tsathoggua! ELSEWHERE, IN THE BOAT ON THE CREEK, Charlie listens, his eyes falling on Nancy as she comes in visual range. NANCY Y'kn'nh, Tsathoggua! G'noth-ykagga-ha! Ia! Ia! Tsathoggua! Nancy opens her eyes, slowly lowers her arms, and smiles at Charlie. He stares back, wide eyed. ELSEWHERE, NEARBY ALONG THE CREEK, another frog leaps into the water. ELSEWHERE, NEARBY ALONG THE CREEK, another frog leaps into the water. ELSEWHERE, NEARBY ALONG THE CREEK, another frog leaps into the water. ON CHARLIE as his gaze darts from splash to splash as he hears more frogs leap into the water. The splashes stop. Charlie slowly turns his gaze to Nancy who’s now laughing. Charlie hurriedly starts to row back the way he had come. ON NANCY as she watches Charlie row away. Her laughing stops and she smiles. NANCY (thinking aloud) There WILL be a sacrifice. She turns from the creek bank and walks into the woods.
INT. DALE’S APARTMENT - DAY A staring, thinking Dale sits in a chair in his old dim and gloomy apartment. He glances at a bookcase spilling over with haphazardly placed books and papers. Against the bookcase rests a battered old briefcase. He gets up, walks to the bookcase and grabs the briefcase. He sits on the floor and digs into it, pulling out papers, tossing them aside after glancing at them. DALE (thinking aloud) I could of sworn I had something... the black stone... The briefcase empty, a disgruntled Dale throws it aside. He pauses, then jumps to his feet and leaves the apartment. INT. SMALL TOWN LIBRARY - DAY Dale stands at the counter. The LIBRARIAN, an elderly woman, smiles as she approaches. LIBRARIAN Can I help you find something? Dale is visibly uncertain, frustrated. DALE Yes, no...Hell, I don’t know. (throws his hands up) I don’t even know why I came here. He pauses, glances at the floor, then peers around as though he wishes not to be seen before turning to the Librarian. DALE This may sound crazy, but... (sighs) ...there’s a black stone with strange carvings...
The Librarian nods. LIBRARIAN (interrupts) Yes yes, the Echo Dell Obelisk. Dale’s eyes go wide. DALE Echo Dell Obelisk? The Librarian nods. LIBRARIAN Yes, that’s what it’s called. That’s because it’s just off Echo Dell Road. The Librarian frowns as she leans forward over the counter. LIBRARIAN (soft warning) You’re not going to try anything there, are you? DALE Try anything? No, why? LIBRARIAN Good. She pauses, standing straight again. She peers around, then looks at Dale. LIBRARIAN I remember the first time...50 year ago it was. A couple of young people were doin no good there. Don’t know who they were, but people whispered. (pauses, whispers) And those people that whispered, they disappeared. (pauses, sighs) But then it stopped.
She pauses, her voice growing softer, eyes wider. LIBRARIAN The sheriff and his deputies tried to destroy the obelisk, but it wouldn’t let ‘em. DALE You said it’s off Echo Dell Road... The Librarian nods; Dale waves as he steps away from the counter, turning toward the door. DALE Thanks. LIBRARIAN Now don’t you go gettin yourself mixed up with that black stone! EXT. BEAVER CREEK - DAY A number of toads and frogs hop along the creek bank as though they are going somewhere. EXT. WOODED AREA - DAY More toads and frogs move through the undergrowth. ELSEWHERE IN THE WOODED AREA, frogs and toads move along a narrow worn path. INT. NANCY’S MOBILE HOME - DAY A dirt smudge ragged Nancy hurriedly gathers her material from the kitchen table. Cradling an arm load of books, papers, and notes, she leaves the mobile home. EXT. BEAVER CREEK - DAY More toads and frogs are on the move along the creek.
EXT. NANCY’S MOBILE HOME - DAY Nancy lights a bonfire in her yard, burning her books, notes, and papers. She steps back, smiling at the crackling flames. Suddenly she looks up, knowlingly, her eyes wide. NANCY (soft, thinking aloud) Dale. She pauses as a slow grin crosses her face. NANCY (soft, thinking aloud) You can’t stop it now. EXT. WOODED CLEARING - DAY Dale slowly walks across the clearing, his eyes staring. He stops. CIRCLE PAN to see the obelisk as Dale stares at it. EXT. BEAVER CREEK - DAY Toads and frogs are on the move along the creek. EXT. OPEN FIELD LINED BY WOODS - DAY Toads and frogs hop through the grass. EXT. WOODED CLEARING - DUSK Dale hears croaking frogs and toads. He slowly turns to see a dirt smudged ragged Nancy staring at him from several feet away, a horde of toads and frogs surrounding her. DALE Nancy, this has got to stop. Look what it’s done to you.
She slowly shakes her head no. NANCY It’s no fairy tale. Dale points at the obelisk behind him. DALE I’m going to destroy that thing. Nancy cackles insanely. NANCY You can’t. No one can. She crosses the clearing toward the obelisk, leering at Dale the entire time. The croaking toads and frogs follow. Dale turns where he stands, watching her as she passes him and continues to the obelisk. ON NANCY as she stops at the obelisk and lightly touches the symbols. A light wind begins to pick up. We hear very soft strange and unearthly flute music. Thunder rumbles softly and lightning flashes in the distance. Nancy splays her hands against the obelisk, tilts her head back, closes her eyes, and softly begins to chant. NANCY Ia! Ia! N'ggah-kthn-y'hhu! Ia! Ia! G'llh-ya, Tsathoggua! EXT. BEAVER CREEK - DUSK There’s a sloshing sound along the creek, then the rustling of vegetation and pounding footfalls as if some huge unseen thing moves from the water into the woods. SLOW PAN TO CREEK BANK where we see a huge toad footprint in the mud.
EXT. WOODED CLEARING - DUSK The lightning and thunder are closer, more violent. The wind has increased, the flute music and Nancy’s chanting more fevered, orgiastic, frenzied. NANCY (shouting) G'llh-ya, Tsathoggua! Y'kn'nh, Tsathoggua! G'noth-ykagga-ha! Ia! Ia! Tsathoggua! Ia! Ia! (pauses, gasping) N'ggah-kthn-y'hhu! Ia! Ia! G'llh-ya, Tsathoggua! DALE Nancy! NANCY! Stop it! Still shouting the chant, Nancy starts to dance wildly around the obelisk, whipping her head side to side, her hair arcing through the air like a great dark wave. NANCY (shouting) Y'kn'nh, Tsathoggua! G'noth-ykagga-ha! Ia! Ia! Tsathoggua! Ia! Ia! EXT. BEAVER CREEK - DUSK The footfalls pause, then the unseen thing moves on with a guttural grunt and rasping breath. The footfalls crash through vegetation, snapping twigs and small trees. EXT. WOODED CLEARING - NIGHT The thunder, lightning, wind, and songs of the toads and frogs rage around the clearing. Dale stares at Nancy as she suddenly throws herself against the obelisk, back first, arms and hands reaching to its top. Her face upturned, eyes still closed, she calls at the top of her lungs to her god.
NANCY Tsathoggua! Tsathoggua! Come to me! DALE That’s enough! Dale steps toward her, then stops. In a flash of lightning he sees the shadow of the huge black furry toad now perched atop the obelisk. He starts to back away. ON THE OBELISK, Tsathoggua glances at Dale then down at Nancy. ON NANCY, Tsathoggua’s long tongue darts down the side of the obelisk and licks Nancy’s upturned face; she smiles wide, orgasmic, her eyes still closed. A terrified Dale turns and runs into the woods. EXT. WOODS - NIGHT Dale runs through the woods, tree branches slapping at him, the storm and the singing frogs and toads roaring about him. ELSEWHERE IN THE WOODS Nancy walks purposefully after him, toads and frogs croaking all around, the pounding footfalls of Tsathoggua following. NANCY You can’t hide from Tsathoggua, Dale! ELSEWHERE IN THE WOODS, Dale still runs, his eyes wide with fear, occasionally glancing over his shoulder. ELSEWHERE IN THE WOODS, a determined Nancy pursues Dale, the croaking of frogs and toads and Tsathoggua’s footfalls echoing in the night. ELSEWHERE IN THE WOODS, Dale still runs, his eyes wide with fear, occasionally glancing over his shoulder. ELSEWHERE IN THE WOODS, a determined Nancy pursues Dale, the croaking of frogs and toads and Tsathoggua’s footfalls echoing in the night.
NANCY I promise, Dale, it’ll be over quickly! EXT. SMALL CLEARING - NIGHT There’s a small wooden dilapidated shack. Dale suddenly bursts into the clearing. He stops, his eyes wide, stares at the shack, then hurries toward it. NANCY (o.c.) You can’t hide from Tsathoggua, Dale. Dale freezes, then slowly turns to find her standing across the clearing. NANCY My master requires a sacrifice. Suddenly all goes silent; absolute stillness - no thunder, no crackling lightning, no howling wind, no strange flute music, no croaking of toads and frogs. Puzzled and terrified, both Dale and Nancy glance around to see a shadow at the edge of the clearing. It steps into the moonlight. Charlie Lewis shakes his head, glances at Nancy and sighs. CHARLIE Been 50 year; didn’t ‘spect no one else’d try. Me an’ ole Pete was th’ last that did. He pauses as he slowly ambles into the middle of the clearing, then turns his glaring eyes to Nancy. CHARLIE (soft) Wish ye wouldn’t ‘ave. He stares at her a moment, then chuckles.
CHARLIE But yur right, missy; once called ‘pon, he needs a sackerfice. Charlie nods and points at Nancy. There’s a sudden gutteral growl, then the toad’s great tongue erupts from the edge of the woods as Nancy slowly turns. She screams. ON EDGE OF WOODS, Tsathoggua’s great black furry face pokes through into the clearing, Nancy's feet and lower legs dangling from the side of toad's mouth. It’s mouth closes, bones snapping and crunching. ON CHARLIE as he smiles at Dale. CHARLIE She was up t’no good. Didn’t knowd it til this mornin’ when I seen her at th’ creek. Charlie pauses. He slowly approaches Dale and stares him in the eye. CHARLIE (soft warning) Ye just go ‘bout yur business an’ mind me, don’t ye ever come back here. Dale hurriedly nods. CHARLIE Git! Dale disappears into the woods. Charlie looks back to where Tsathoggua waits in the shadows. CHARLIE (thinking aloud) Best I send ye back where ye come from. He sighs and starts across the clearing toward Tsathoggua.
INT. DALE’S APARTMENT - NIGHT The air alive with thunder, lightning, the piping of toads and frogs, Dale sits in the gloom, trying to write his experience. PAN IN CLOSE ON PAGE HEADING reading Summoning Tsathoggua. THE END FADE TO BLACK