Sunday, May 23, 2010


So here it is: the trailer for my made-up SyFy schlockfest TOXIC SHARKODILE Vs. DOLPHIPOTAMUS. Wondering what the eff I'm talking about? Go here to get the deets. (Did I just say "deets"? Ugh. Sorry.)

First, a couple caveats. Caveat The First: Dan O'Shea prefaced his stellar entrant in the challenge (PUGRAHNA!) by saying all he knew of writing scripts he learned in sixty seconds before writing his. Well, all I know of writing scripts is nothing, so, um, I didn't. And Caveat The Second: astute readers may note my title's changed since I issued this ridiculous little challenge. Just one more case of network suits meddling with an artist's clarion vision. That, or I couldn't make any sense of my original premise. Anyway, here goes:


We open on a beach, a cloudless night (or the filtered high noon that, in B-movies, passes for cloudless night). A teenage couple in their late twenties stagger drunkenly arm-in-arm across the sand. Kissing. Laughing. Passing back and forth a flask. Because an earthen jug with three Xs on it was presumably unavailable.

"Wanna go for a swim?" the boy asks.

"I dunno. The ocean's creepy at night."

"Oh, c'mon," he says, stripping down, "what's the worst that could happen?"

He splashes out into the surf, paddles out a ways. Then he turns and calls back: "Come on in -- the water's fine!"

The girl considers it, but hesitates, unsure. "But what if it's not safe?"

"You watch too many movies; it's perfectly --"

His head dunks under. Then he surfaces, tries to speak, but gets dunked under again. He's thrashing now, trying desperately to escape, his girlfriend screaming all the while. But eventually, he stops thrashing. All is quiet and still.

The girl calls to him from shore. "Bobby?"

No reply.

"Damn it, Bobby -- I told you not to go in there! You should've stayed up here, where it's safe!"

Then something bursts from the water -- massive, primordial, and vaguely gelatinous in the way of half-baked CGI -- and races up the narrow strip of shore toward her. She shrieks. The light glints off of teeth and claws and dorsal fin as, with a vicious snap, hers cries are suddenly silenced.


It's early morning. A gleaming laboratory. Empty, but for one woman, beautiful in her lab coat and glasses. Her lustrous blond hair is tucked behind one ear as she peers into a microscope, lost in whatever nebulously sciency things beautiful, faux-bookish types do for a living in these sorts of movies. Biogenetiphysigeology or something. Point is, she's smart and pretty. I mean, just look at those glasses, that hair! (Also, said beautiful scientist totally looks like the girl who was in that thing you used to watch when you were little. You know the one I'm talking about.)

A harried grad student bursts through the door, panting and waving a stack of computer printouts and impossibly detailed satellite imagery that looks like it was taken from about four feet above last night's attack. A vaguely sharkodilian blob can be seen noshing on a twenty-something teenage girl.

"Dr. Splyce!" he calls. She looks up from her microscope. "It's begun."

She frowns, and pounds the bench top, so you can tell it's serious.


A different beach, this one bathed in afternoon light. A small wedding ceremony is taking place. A handsome couple, he in a linen shirt and rolled up pants, she in a diaphanous white dress. Maybe twenty people are watching the ceremony from folding chairs just up the beach, and to the right of the couple is a string quartet, silent during the ceremony.

The reverend says, "If anyone objects to this lovely man and woman being joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace."

All is, of course, silent as their family beams on. That is, until the sharkodile bursts forth from the water, launching itself at the groom and biting off his head. The crowd screams, the bride runs -- and the reverend, too stunned to move, is swatted aside by one gray-green clawed flipper thingy.

Wait -- did the cellist just play half a bar of the Jaws theme? 'Cause that's just tacky. Probably happened accidentally during all the panicked fleeing.

The reverend regains his senses, and scrambles away from the feeding beast. But his limbs are heavy, and his eyelids, too. As paralysis creeps through him, emanating from the sharkodile's scratch, he mutters, "My God, it's toxic... for some reason." Then he collapses, and all fades to black.


Our lovely protagonist, Dr. Jean Splyce, is sitting, hair tousled, in the lab, laboring over calculations. "Oh, if only I could find a way to reverse the process that my mentor Dr. Cronenberg used to create the toxic sharkodile only to have it escape from the lab and kill him, at which time I dedicated my life to stopping it from killing again," she exposits awkwardly.

Once more, her harried grad student bursts in -- you know, all harried and stuff. "It's getting worse," he said. "There are attacks all along the eastern seaboard. Why just today, a hippo from the zoo was mortally wounded, and an injured dolphin washed up on shore three miles from here. Also, there was that wedding party the sharkodile ate."

"Wait -- did you say dolphin and hippopotamus?" She thinks a moment, all frowny and cute. "That's it!"

"What's it?"

"Well, apart, they wouldn't stand a chance, but together... they'd be a sharkodile's natural enemy."

"Uh, I'm not sure you know what natural means."

She ignores him. He's just a grad student, after all. "Call the military. Tell them we need those animals. Tell them we can save them. Tell them we can save us all..."


A shot of a helicopter, airlifting in a hippopotamus. Another of a dolphin, transported by ambulance. Then a chamber -- iron, portholed, and apparently occupied by a floodlight and a smoke machine.

The chamber hisses open. Dr. Splyce and her harried grad student wait, expectantly, for the smoke to clear. And when it does, they see a magnificent beast, its eyes full of intelligence, its face all cute and cuddly -- its blowhole glistening majestically in the chamber's light.

But Killjoy the harried grad student is having none of it. "How do we know we haven't simply created another abomination?"

"The toxic sharkodile is the abomination," Splyce replies. "And our dolphipotamus is the perfect antidote."

"Abomination? Antidote? I think your metaphor's a little jumbled."

But Dr. Splyce doesn't care about metaphors: she just made a freakin' dolphipotamus.


Showdown time. The streets of Vancouver New York. Splyce and dolphipotamus track down the toxic sharkodile, corner it in an alley.

Before she sics dolphipotamus on the sharkodile, Splyce calls, "This is for killing my mentor, you son of a bitch!"

But the sharkodile opens its mouth. A creaky, inhuman voice says, "No. I did not kill Dr. Cronenberg. I am Dr. Cronenberg."

"NOOOOOOOOO!" shouts Splyce, as the sharkodile charges. Dolphipotamus follows suit.





Sharkodile and dolphipotamus, together finally in the same shot, about to collide in a tangled mess of poorly rendered CGI.

And... title card.