[Quick Summary: A timid ventriloquist just might be possessed by his bawdy dummy...or not.]
Bad news: Psychological horror/thrillers are hard to write.
Good news: There's a high demand.
Bad news: Most psychological horror/thriller spec scripts don't know how to blur the line between reality and the bizarre/fantasy.
Good news: Magic does blurring very well.
So how did Goldman do it?
#1 - The script takes time to establish:
- Who Corky is (awkward ventriloquist, loyal, fears success)
- What he wants (to be with Peg, his childhood fantasy girl)
#2 - The script makes Fats (the dummy) a crutch in Corky's world.
ex. Fats expresses Corky's deepest, unspoken feelings.
ex. Fats is the reason Corky gets jobs.
Weird becomes "normal" for Corky.
#3 - To be with Peg (goal), Corky must break up with Fats (face his demons).
The psychological horror/thrill comes from the fact that it's darned near impossible now to tell where the demons are coming from:
- Is Fats is real?
- Or has an evil dummy possessed Corky?
- Or is it all in Corky's mind?
The torment is that Corky has melded to his crutch/demon.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: To blur reality vs. non-reality, justify both sides.
ex. Reality = Peg
Non-reality = Fats
Corky wants both but can only have one, so he vacillates.
by William Goldman (from his novel)