Phase Shift by CB Harvey
1) Ext. Mini cab. Two shot through the front windscreen, middle aged woman cab driver sitting in the front, Jonathan visible in the back, looking disinterestedly out of the side window. He’s twenty-eight, bespectacled, hair neatly cropped, wearing a neat tie.
CABBIE: YOUR MUM MUST BE DEAD PROUD. MY SON WANTS TO BE A SCIENTIST. LOVES EXPERIMENTING, KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
JONATHAN: I CAN RECOMMEND IT.
2) Ext. Wide shot of Knowlton Manor, a sprawling, Georgian-era pile replete with fluted columns. It’s clearly seen better times and there’s a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front. Jonathan is in the foreground, paying off the taxi cab, a wheeled suitcase on the ground next to him.
FROM TAXI: HOPE THE NEW JOB WORKS OUT!
3) Int. Long shot of Jonathan struggling to pull his suitcase through the heavy oak doors into a wood-panelled atrium. A blasé receptionist – a young woman in sombre jacket and skirt – stands behind a desk.
JONATHAN: HELLO? I’M DR JONATHAN NEWSOME. I’M HERE TO SEE –
RECEPTIONIST: YOU WANT THE MONKEY ROOM. FOLLOW THE NOISE, YOU CAN’T MISS IT.
4) Int. Long shot of a monkey in a cage, snarling in pain, to the fore of the frame, Jonathan in the distance, silhouetted in the doorway, suitcase beside him. Douglas Knowlton, a gangling, moustachioed man in his sixties dressed in protective overalls, is approaching the monkey, also inside the cage. He’s clutching a bizarre-looking, bulbous gun. Smoke curls from its nozzle.
CAPTION: SHE WASN’T WRONG…
KNOWLTON: THERE, THERE… I DON’T WANT TO HURT YOU…
JONATHAN [WHISPERED]: JESUS…
6) Int. Wide shot. The room is an arching hall, perhaps at one time a dining room, now converted into a makeshift lab, the cage in the centre. White-coated scientists are watching the cage apprehensively, some leaning over computer terminals. A succession of large, convex reflectors like satellite dishes on precarious poles are pointed toward the monkey. Knowlton continues his approach. A beam of energy crackles out from his gun, engulfing the monkey, which writhes in agony.
KNOWLTON: MORE VOLTAGE! IT’S WORKING!
7) Int. Two shot, Jonathan looking on in fascinated horror; Grove, a young female scientist beside him, a look of awe on her features.
JONATHAN: HE’S KILLING IT!
GROVE: NO – HE’S TRANSFORMING IT!
8) Int. Wide shot of the monkey suddenly exploding, throwing Knowlton back through the air, and knocking the other scientists and Jonathan to the floor.
NEWSOME: I BEG TO DIFFER!
1) Int. Medium Long Shot of Knowlton lying on his back, his protective gear covered in bits of exploded monkey, the strange-shaped gun still clutched in his hands. Jonathan is pulling himself to his feet in the background.
KNOWLTON: A VERITABLE SUCCESS!
JONATHAN: DEPENDS HOW YOU GAUGE SUCCESS, I GUESS…
KNOWLTON: WE’RE ALMOST THERE. THE CREATURE HAD BEGUN TO PHASE SHIFT – TO TURN FROM SOLID MATTER INTO GAS!
2) Int. Two shot of Jonathan helping Knowlton to his feet, the latter grinning broadly.
JONATHAN: YES, BUT YOU’RE DISRUPTING THE PARTICLES AT TOO HIGH A FREQUENCY. NO WONDER THE CHIMP WENT BANG.
KNOWLTON: YOU SEEM TO KNOW RATHER A LOT ABOUT THIS SUBJECT…
3) Int. Big close up of the men’s hands shaking.
KNOWLTON: …DR NEWSOME, I PRESUME!
4) Int. Wide shot of Knowlton’s sitting room. Jonathan perches in the centre of a settee, whisky glass in his hands while Knowlton stands, also holding a shot of whisky, prodding the fire with a poker. A set of different shaped photographs in frames, including an image of Knowlton’s austere, elderly mother, sits on a nearby table. There are numerous stuffed cats dotted around the room.
CAP: ‘WE SHOULD TALK.’
JONATHAN: MUST BE DIFFICULT MAINTAINING A PLACE LIKE THIS.
KNOWLTON: I TAKE IT YOU SAW THE ‘FOR SALE’ SIGN? KNOWLTON MANOR HAS BEEN IN OUR FAMILY FOR CENTURIES. I WON’T LET IT GO WITHOUT A FIGHT.
5) Int. Big shot of Knowlton’s mother’s framed photograph. She’s an emaciated lady wearing a floral dress.
JONATHAN [from 4]: I WAS SORRY TO READ ABOUT THE DEATH OF YOUR MOTHER, MR KNOWLTON. I THOUGHT SHE MIGHT HAVE BEQUEATHED THE PLACE TO YOU…
6) Int. Medium shot of Knowlton staring into his whisky glass, the ornate fireplace behind him.
KNOWLTON: SO DID I, DR NEWSOME. SADLY MY LATE MOTHER SUCCUMBED TO DEMENTIA. IT WAS ONLY AFTER HER DEATH THAT WE LEARNED SHE HAD CHANGED HER WILL AND GIFTED THE MANOR TO THE LOCAL CATS’ HOME.
7) Int. Two-shot from behind the mantelpiece favouring Knowlton as he stares into the flames, caught in reverie, Jonathan still on the sofa, leaning forward.
JONATHAN: I’M SORRY, THAT MUST HAVE BEEN HARD. AND THE WAY IN WHICH SHE DIED…
KNOWLTON: I TRIED TO EXTINGUISH THE FLAMES BUT ALAS WASN’T FAST ENOUGH. YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES I FEEL HER SPIRIT IS STILL WITH US…
JONATHAN: IS THAT SO? IT MUST BE VERY DIFFICULT FOR YOU…
1) Int. Close up Knowlton, eyes glittering.
KNOWLTON: NO MATTER! IMAGINE THE COMMERCIAL POSSIBILITIES OF WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE – THE ABILITY TO TURN SOLID MATTER INTO GAS AND BACK AGAIN!
LINK: AND YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE!
2) Int. Mid-shot, Jonathan and Grove inside the cage, being thrown backwards as another monkey explodes, Jonathan wearing the backpack and clutching the bizarre-shaped gun.
CAPTION: OVER THE SUBSEQUENT MONTHS NEWSOME PLAYED HIS PART, ENDURING FAILURE AFTER FAILURE…
3) Int. Mid-shot, a monkey turned translucent, Jonathan, Grove and Knowlton looking on amazed.
CAPTION: UNTIL FINALLY —
JONATHAN: MY GOD… IT’S ACTUALLY WORKED!
KNOWLTON: YOU’VE DONE IT, JONATHAN… IT’S STABILISED!
4) Int. Big close-up Knowlton, his mouth twisted.
KNOWLTON: NOW TURN IT BACK.
5) Int. Medium shot Jonathan clutching the smoking gun, an ecstatic Knowlton looking on at the solidified form of a cowering monkey, just as a tousled-haired scientist bursts in on them.
CAPTION: THE REVERSAL PROCESS TOOK THEM SEVERAL MORE MONTHS BUT IN THE END THEY DID IT…
KNOWLTON: FROM GAS TO SOLID AND BACK AGAIN! CONGRATULATIONS, JONATHAN!
SCIENTIST: IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN, SIR!
6) Int. High angle of Jonathan and Knowlton running along a hallway, Jonathan clutching the gun.
KNOWLTON: QUICKLY, JONATHAN! SHE MUST HAVE SENSED WHAT WE WERE UP TO!
JONATHAN: I DON’T UNDERSTAND – WHO? WHO’RE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
7) Int. Wide shot of Knowlton’s sitting room as Knowlton bursts in, Jonathan behind him. A deformed figure, wearing a tatty, burnt floral dress, is hunched on her knees in the centre of the room, head bowed.
KNOWLTON: MOTHER, OF COURSE!
1) Int. Close-up favouring the gnarled, translucent ghost of Knowlton’s mother, Knowlton and Jonathan in the background. Mother’s head is lifted now, so we can see the features hideously deformed by fire, portions of her burnt face peeled back to reveal the skull beneath, teeth, nostrils and one eyeball exposed, hair singed and matted. She is reaching a hand tentatively toward her own photograph on the table in front of her.
KNOWLTON: IT’S HER GHOST, JONATHAN! BUT NOW WE CAN MAKE EVERYTHING RIGHT AGAIN!
2) Int. Wide shot Knowlton, having wrenched the gun from Newsome’s grip, sending a surge of crackling energy into the apparition, who twists and turns in agonised silhouette, knocking over the table of photographs.
KNOWLTON: MOTHER DEAR, I’M TURNING YOU BACK!
3) Int. Medium shot Mother, now solidified, pulling herself upright using the overturned table. Knowlton slowly approaches, a petrified Jonathan to the back of the frame, the gun still smoking in Knowlton’s hands. The smashed photographs lie all around Mother.
MOTHER (wobbly): WHAT… HAVE… YOU… DONE… TO… ME?
KNOWLTON: WE’VE BROUGHT YOU BACK, MOTHER! MADE YOU SOLID AGAIN!
4) Int. Two shot in profile of Knowlton and Mother, the former’s face cracked by a lopsided grin, the latter’s bulging eyes flashing with incomprehension and hatred.
MOTHER (wobbly): WHY? WHY DID YOU DO THIS?
KNOWLTON: THE WILL, MOTHER! I JUST NEED YOU TO CHANGE THE WILL, THAT’S ALL!
5) Int. Two shot in profile as a leering Mother reaches forward and throttles her son.
MOTHER (wobbly): YOU LET ME BURN! YOU MADE ME BURN!
KNOWLTON: NO, MOTHER – !
6) Int. Medium shot of Mother standing over the corpse of her son, Knowlton’s eyes bulging and lifeless. The bulbous gun is in Mother’s hands, her disfigured face caught in a hideous leer.
MOTHER (wobbly): AND YOU! THIS IS YOUR FAULT!
7) Int. Mid shot Jonathan Newsome, glasses cracked and tie askew, slumped on his knees and holding up his hands in horror. The rest of the room is visible through his now transparent form. The monstrous figure of Knowlton’s mother stands cackling in the background, the gun clutched in her hand.
JONATHAN: NO, PLEASE, DON’T – !
MOTHER (wobbly): OH YES.
LINK: YOU MADE THIS POSSIBLE…
DTP: THE END