Friday, January 17, 2014

TODAY'S 2nd NUGGET: Dreamcatcher (2003) Part IIIB - Make 'em Laugh & Scream at the Same Time

[Quick Summary: During their annual hunting trip, four childhood friends encounter an eerie being.]

2 - TONAL CHANGES (Make 'em Laugh and Scream at the Same Time)

Tone is hard to explain.

How to change a tone is even harder.

However, a light bulb went on when I read "make 'em laugh and scream" at the same time in Stephen King's forward.

The book has several chapters to get the reader to that place.

However, a script must get there in few scenes.

I thought the writers did a nice job of capturing funny with scary:

ex. In this scene, Pete and Henry nearly run over a woman at the side of the road: 

"HENRY: Hello.

Nothing.

PETE: Forget it, H., she's gone.

Pete pulls his gloves off and leans down close to her face, where he CLAPS his hands loudly in front of her nose.

PETE: Hello!

Suddenly the woman's hand shoots up and grabs Pete's leg! Henry jumps, but Pete SCREAMS, pulling away in terror and falling on his ass in the snow. Henry drops down in front of the woman.

HENRY: Ma'am, can you hear me? Are you okay? Hello!

In reply, she FARTS deafeningly. Henry has to back off.

HENRY: I wonder if that's how they say 'hello' in these parts?

PETE: Phew! Listen, Miss Roadkill, you almost got us dead...say something.

The woman, BECKY, turns, registers them as if for the first time.

BECKY: I have to find Rick."

[FYI: The farts aren't just funny here; they're an important indicator.]

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I could sense the tonal change, even if I couldn't explain it at first.

Dreamcatcher (2003)
by William Goldman & Lawrence Kasdan
Adapted from the novel by Stephen King

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