Screenplay Fragment: Untitled “Dunwich Horror” Adaptation (Horror/Thriller/Mystery)

INT: STATE POLICE HEADQUARTERS – CHAD’S OFFICE – DAY

The massive, crumbling BOOK that was found in the Dunwich house raid is spread on the desk.  Police analyst CHAD, 20s or 30s, pudgy and frumpily dressed, sits behind the desk, addressing FBI SPECIAL AGENT FRANCES “FRANKIE” MORGAN.  A small POMERANIAN DOG named Pablo yips around Chad’s feet.

 

CHAD

It’s called the Necronomicon.  Heard of it?

 

FRANKIE

From the Evil Dead movies?

 

CHAD

Naw, that movie was bullshit.  This one’s O.G.  Written circa 738 A.D. by Abdul al-Hazared, the so-called “Mad Arab.”

 

FRANKIE

A mad Arab?  Homeland Security is going to love that.  So this book is over a thousand years old?

 

CHAD

It’s a copy.  No originals exist.  It was written in Arabic, but this is a Greek translation.  Super rare.  Scribes and printers had a way of dying mysteriously and awesomely in the process of reproduction.

 

The Pomeranian yaps loudly.

 

CHAD

Hush, Pablo!  Eat your food …  This copy, though?  It’s jizz-worthy.  Great condition, no missing pages, illustrations from hand-carved wood-cut, dating back to 1850-something, and – wait for it – bound in human skin.

 

FRANKIE

… Really?

 

CHAD

Ha!  I’m just fucking with you.  Calfskin.  But there was never a market for a book this wacky, so every print was a custom job.

 

FRANKIE

What’s it about?

 

CHAD

Mostly spells and legends, but a few parts of it are super weird – whole pages of text in a language that no one has ever identified, not even down to the language family.  Plus pages and pages of Arabic numerals, like math equations or something.

 

FRANKIE

Do we know where this one came from?

 

CHAD

Actually, you’ll like this.  It was stolen from the John Hay Rare Books collection at Brown University a few years back.

 

FRANKIE

Is there security camera footage of the theft?

 

CHAD

I asked.  They’re looking.

 

FRANKIE

Does the library keep records of who’s looked at it recently?

 

CHAD

They keep better records than we do.  Same guy was looking at it repeatedly in the year leading up to its theft.  Henry Armitage, Ph.D., associate professor of astrophysics.

 

FRANKIE

Astrophysics?  Why does an astrophysicist care about an ancient spellbook?

 

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