Logline: An African warlord seeks a bride to bear him a son, leaving a trail of pain and misery along the way.
I wrote this in one week for round 1 of the NYC Midnight Screenwriter’s Challenge (2013). The writers in my heat had eight days to write a horror short about a wedding engagement, featuring a warlord as one of the characters.
Now I love Game of Thrones as much as the next geek, and these parameters REALLY sound like they were pulled from the Red Wedding incident. Since tens of millions of people have either read the books or seen the HBO series, I thought I’d take a different approach to the story.
African warlords are, in general, pretty sick bastards. Amin was responsible for over half a million deaths. Qadhafi gave his soldiers rape drugs. Mugabe burned people alive. Bokassa beat children with a cane and possibly ate people. And Kony… damn…
I was looking for a character for my horror story, and history gave me what I needed.
When it comes to writing horror, though, I almost always include a supernatural element. It just feels… right. I set the tone with the opening scene of Reign in Hell, and I tapped into West African symbolism to help me dig my claws into the story.
The one challenge I had was the five-day gap between when NYC Midnight posted the parameters and when I sat down to write the screenplay. Family trip to Chicago (Father’s Day weekend), combined with a client gig, and my eight-day window was reduced to three. I work better under tight deadlines, anyway. ;]
Hope you enjoy Reign in Hell!
Download screenplay: Reign-in-Hell-script