Clear Cut

Sotha-wtn-frame

Genre: creature feature

Logline:

A martial artist who works for a logging company keeping radical ecology activists at bay discovers his humane side after he meets a beautiful tree-sitter at the top of a 200 foot redwood, and together, they must find a way to save themselves and the community when they are pursued by deadly prehistoric creatures that will stop at nothing to protect their forest home from clear cutting.

Theme: Protecting hearth and home. Survival.

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FADE IN:

EXT. OREGON – DEEP WOODS – NIGHT

Beautiful tree-covered hills under a glow of bright moonlight. In the distance a HIGH-PITCHED SOUND develops.

 

DIRT LOGGING ROAD

The road is peaceful, then, headlight beams arc across the tree trunks. A moment later, the whine of a fully revved motor reaches crescendo as a jeep leaps airborne from over a small grade.

It roars along at breakneck speeds, scattering dirt and gravel, skidding into and out of turns. The driver, MARTY (20’s), is having a hell of a good time. He sticks his hand above the windshield and presses a remote control.

The jeep skids around another corner heading for a slowly- opening electronic gate in a barb wire topped, chain-link fence. The headlights wipe over a sign that reads: ALL NATIONAL FORESTRY PRODUCTS, INC.

Just when the gate’s wide enough, the Jeep zips through, never slowing, heading straight for a construction trailer.

 

LOGGING CAMP

At the last moment, the brakes lock, skidding the jeep to a dusty stop, the front bumper tapping the side of the trailer.

A moment later, the trailer door bangs open and a wizened old MAN (60’s), jitterbugs out, hopping mad, carrying a rifle.

BUCK

Ya little turd! I told you ’bout that! I told you ’bout that! I could have shot your peach-fuzz ass.

Marty jumps from the jeep, all smiles and a wee bit loaded.

MARTY

What’sa matta, Buckbo. Ain’t ya got no sense of humor?

BUCK

(aims rifle at Jeep)

I’ll give ya a sense of humor, you hop-head, juiced-up, pill-poppin’ little snot! S’pose I just shoot out your headlights as a little joke, now? We’d all have a good laugh then, huh? Huh?!

Marty comes up the trailer steps, pushes aside the rifle, puts an arm over Buck’s shoulders.

MARTY

Come on, Buckbo, ya know I’m just playing with ya. Besides, who was’it shot himself in the foot last summer tryin’ to scare off the hippies?

Buck eyes Marty with contempt as he lowers the rifle.

BUCK

Quit calling me Buckbo, dipstick!

Marty starts into the trailer, but Buck stops him, hands the rifle over and goes down the steps.

MARTY

Hey, where ya goin’?

BUCK

(not looking back)

To bang your girlfriend. She’ll be all warmed up by the time your shift end.

Marty aims the rifle at Buck’s back.

MARTY

Pow.

He gives Buck one last scowl, then enters the trailer, the door swinging shut behind him. Buck saunters across the dirt construction yard, in and out of pools of crass yellow arc light and between huge tractors and other equipment.

As he comes across an open space heading toward an old pickup truck, one of the overhead spotlights EXPLODES!

Buck jumps, releasing a frightened SHOUT. He looks around warily, regains his composure and continues on, walking into another pool of light. The lamp EXPLODES, glass raining down on him.

BUCK

AAAhh shit! What the hell is this?

A loud clank resounds from nearby equipment. Buck stops.

BUCK (CONT’D)

Okay, you limp-dick fucker! That’s company property you’re fucking with. It’ll come out of your paycheck, ya know.

(to self)

What a tweezerhead.

He moves on. From behind him, the THUD OF HEAVY FEET landing in the dirt, then an odd, LOPING SOUND OF RUNNING. Buck stops, looks into the shadows.

BUCK (CONT’D)

You better cut it out, Martin! You won’t feel so playful after I put a bullet in your balls.

From out of the shadows comes a low, blood-chilling GROWL. Buck makes the last thirty feet to his truck in Olympic time. He jumps into the cab, locks the doors.

INT. BUCK’S PICK-UP – NIGHT – CONTINUOUS

Immediately, the truck rocks violently, tossing Buck around on the seat. He grabs at the headlight knob, flooding the area before him in light. The rocking stops.

Buck sits petrified, scanning the yard in front of the truck and looking out the other windows into darkness.

He suddenly lunges for the glove compartment, yanking it open and pulls out a .357 Magnum.

At that instant, a huge ANIMAL/MAN SHAPE lands heavily on the hood. The CREATURE is back-lit and wildly furry.

It crouches down as it slams it’s paws onto the roof. Buck lets out a high octave yelp and drops the gun as two ham-sized dents crush down to his head.

The shape drops off the front of the truck and out of sight. Everything is calm. Buck moves his eyeballs around, scared shitless he might see something. He eyes the gun on the floor and grabs it up.

Then he notices his CB and flicks it on, clicking around the dial.

BUCK

(frantic whispering)

Mayday! Mayday! Fucking Mayday!

He releases the button, only static crackles back.

SUDDENLY, the creature rises up in front of the truck. Buck lets out a terrified squeal, as a VOICE breaks through on the CB.

CB VOICE

Come back, Mayday, come back. What’s your twenty?

The creature jumps onto the bumper, grabs hold of the hood and without hesitation, rips it clean off, sailing it out of sight.

It springs onto the fenders, reaches down and with a great roar, yanks the radiator clear out and tosses it back over the top of the cab.

Now, it turns to face a petrified Buck.

CB VOICE (CONT’D)

Mayday, come back once again. Mayday?

The creature leaps into the air and comes crashing down on the roof. Buck shrieks, the gun fires, the bullet explodes his CB.

But now, Buck’s trigger finger is on a mission and the bullets are flying: into the dashboard, through the windshield, up into the roof…

The creature bounds from the roof to land in the headlight beams in front of the truck, then dashes away in obscuring dust to the perimeter fence, where it effortlessly pops the links apart.

Mesmerized, Buck stares at the creature as it retreats through the rent in the fence. It stops a moment, turning back to face Buck. It looks oddly familiar.

 

EXT. OREGON – DEEP WOODS, ANOTHER LOCATION – DAY

AERIAL – MOVING

Morning breaks over a vast expanse of tree-covered hills. The chatter of the forest coming to life. Then, HUMAN VOICES, vague.

Dropping down into the canopy of treetops, the voices pick-up: frenzied, shouting.

 

TREE PLATFORM

High up in a massive old-growth Redwood tree are a HALF-DOZEN HIPPY TREE-HUGGERS scurrying around on top of a makeshift platform throwing whatever is at hand–eating utensils, foodstuffs, books, etc–over the side while SCREAMING at each other and whatever is below them.

Suddenly, something arcs up from below, sails over their heads, and lands with a heavy clunk on the platform deck. All heads jerk toward the cylindrical object just as it goes off–tear gas.

A FACE IN A GAS MASK looms up from the side of the platform and a hand grabs one SHAGGY-HAIR MAN by the ankle. He lets out a blood-curdling scream, but before he can react, the MAN IN THE MASK swings up onto the deck.

In a few masterful martial arts movements the attacker has the man’s arms secured tightly against his sides by a length of rope.

A WELL-BUILT HIPPY comes at the attacker with a series of Karate kicks and punches, but loses control and falls over the edge. The masked man grabs his shirt just in time, swinging him back up onto the deck and into the remaining men advancing on him.

With the grace of a dancer, the masked man moves among the clumsy men, turning, twisting, and folding them in and around each other until all are bound in lengths of rope, YELLING EPITAPHS at their faceless nemesis.

 

BASE OF TREE – MINUTES LATER

The half-dozen tree-huggers are entangled in a cargo net being lowered gently to the ground by their own pulley system. The gas masked man, DENNIS "DENNY" DECARLO, lowers on repelling gear to the applause of gathered loggers and police. He scowls back at his appreciative audience.

SHERIFF EDGER, a robust man (mid-40s) approaches as Denny pulls off his mask revealing a good-looking, but rugged man in his late twenties.

SHERIFF EDGER

Well, I have to say, Dennis, you certainly earn your pay. How much is that, anyway, for twenty minutes work?

Denny slants an eye at him.

DENNY

I’m sure not as much as you make under the table.

The sheriff flusters, pointing a finger at Denny’s face, as Denny turns away.

DENNY (CONT’D)

I’ll be going, now.

The sheriff stops him with hand to shoulder.

SHERIFF EDGER

Now, hold on, son. If you’ve got something to say, just come out with it.

Denny glances at the sheriff’s hand on his shoulder, and it’s removed.

DENNY

I got nothin’ to say.

SHERIFF EDGER

Look, if there was another way to remove these kids, we’d do it, you know that. You save a lot of people from getting hurt, or worse. You should be proud of that.

DENNY

Well, golly, sheriff, I’m sure the American tax payer is damn glad all my Gulf War experience is paying off.

A logging company MAN IN SUIT, holding a video camera with a telephoto lens, comes up, hand extended.

COMPANY MAN IN SUIT

That sure was some show, Mr. DiCarlo. Quite entertaining.

He pulls his hand back when Denny doesn’t take it.

DENNY

(dully)

Happy you enjoyed it.

Denny starts off again, but the company man takes his arm. Denny stops, but doesn’t turn around. The man gets the unspoken message and lets go.

COMPANY MAN IN SUIT

Look, we have another job for you. Should be a piece-of-cake.

DENNY

It’s all a piece-of-cake for you guys.

COMPANY MAN IN SUIT

Well, this one really is. It’s just one person. It couldn’t get any easier. It’s just a girl.

Recognition comes into Denny’s eyes.

EXT. OREGON – LOGGING CAMP – AERIAL VIEW – DAY

AGENT BLAIR (V.O.)

What a bunch of yahoos.

AGENT DAMERON (V.O.)

Hey, it’s a change of pace.

 

LOGGING CAMP – GROUND VIEW

FBI AGENT PAULA BLAIR (30’s), a black woman, and her partner, AGENT GRAHAM DAMERON (30’s), stand in front of the torn chain-link fence. Agent Blair stoops down for a closer look.

AGENT BLAIR

Look at this.

Agent Dameron feels the broken links.

AGENT DAMERON

Bolt cutters.

Agent Dameron takes a deep breath of pine-scented air.

AGENT DAMERON (CONT’D)

Look at it this way, Paula. We got a nature break for a few hours.

AGENT BLAIR

Thank you very much, but I prefer my nature paved.

They go to Buck’s battered truck, parting through the surrounding police and loggers. Denny, the climber, stands at the back, smirking. Agent Blair looks over the exposed engine, then feels down inside, goes to one knee, peers under the truck, then reaches underneath. She stands, and turns to Sheriff Edger.

She holds out her hand. Everyone leans forward to see. She unfurls her fingers. Several greasy nuts and bolts sit in her palm. Sheriff Edger shakes his head in agreement and looks her straight in the eye.

SHERIFF EDGER

I’m sure you think we’re all just a bunch of yahoos up here.

The agents glance at each other.

AGENT DAMERON

Never crossed our minds.

SHERIFF EDGER

Look, I’ve dealt with you guys before. I just figured to let you draw your own conclusions.

AGENT BLAIR

You mean you knew all this was rigged?

SHERIFF EDGER

Told everything to an Agent Curtis when I phoned it in last night.

Both agents look at one another again.

AGENT BLAIR

Thanks for your cooperation, Sheriff.

SHERIFF EDGER

Sorry to have inconvenienced you.

AGENT BLAIR

(to Agent Dameron)

Come on.

The crowd parts again to let them through. The sheriff holds out a photo.

SHERIFF EDGER

We did manage to get a picture of the perp for you to take along.

AGENT BLAIR

(irritated)

Well, that would help.

The agents stare at a classic blurry shot of BIGFOOT. The steam practically shoots from Agent Blair’s ears. MUFFLED LAUGHTER follows them as they stomp to their car.

AGENT BLAIR (CONT’D)

(to Agent Dameron)

I’m going to kill that son-of-a-bitch, Curtis, after I turn his balls into a change purse.

 
 

end of sample CLEAR CUT

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