The Magic Pantry
Published in

The Magic Pantry

Till Death Do Us Part

By Dzung Duong and Jason Hutchens

My girlfriend and I wrote this in November 2002, over a year before I proposed to her, for a short-film competition that had a theme of “Box”. We didn’t end up filming it, and it languished, forgotten, on an old laptop. Until now…

OPENING TITLES

Fade in to a shot of a windy, remote location, perhaps somewhere in the hills with lots of trees round about. Depressing music plays on the soundtrack (“Languid, Yet” by FourPlay; this is the “Threesome Theme”). Nothing happens for a short while. Then a lone car drives across the frame. Change to a shot behind the car as it winds along the narrow road, through the trees, splotchy light filtering down through the leaves. The title card appears over this, written in a cursive style similar to what you’d expect to see on a wedding invitation. It fades out, and the car continues to drive along. We use a variety of shots to give the impression that its unknown passengers are travelling to somewhere very out of the way. We see a lone house on the top of a hill. The car pulls into the driveway and comes to a stop. Three people hop out: CHARLIE (the driver), SUE (CHARLIE’s wife, in the passenger seat) and LAIN. Slowly they approach the front door, and knock, as the music reaches a crescendo.

THE ARRIVALS

CUT to an interior shot, door in centre of frame. DIANNE enters, but we only see her from behind. The camera follows her as she approaches the door. In her hand is a SMALL KNIFE. As she reaches for the door handle, she realises what she is carrying, and strangely decides to put it in the SMALL DRAWER in the side table near the door. DIANNE now reaches for the door handle.

CUT BACK to the exterior shot, which foreshadows the end of the movie (i.e. everyone is standing in the same place, the camera angle is identical). We see CHARLIE, SUE and LAIN. We then see the door handle slowly turn, and it begins to creak open.

BEAT.

CUT to a CLOSE UP of DIANNE, her expression quickly changing to a broad smile.

DIANNE
(calling upstairs)
Gordon! They’re here!

The visitors file inside one by one, the girls embracing DIANNE as they do so.

DIANNE
Hey everyone, come in.

The guests all greet DIANNE in their own way. LAIN is the last to enter. We see that she is absolutely gorgeous.

The music begins. “The Sweetest Perfection” by FourPlay. It’s spooky. This is the “Gang Theme”.

DIANNE
(to LAIN)
Hey, where’s James?

LAIN
I’ll tell you later.

GORDON
(walking downstairs, eyes flashing quickly to LAIN)
Hey everyone!

CHARLIE and GORDON slap backs.

GORDON
Hey Chuckles, how’s it hanging?

CHARLIE
Onya Gordo, you sly fox.

The girls look on, bemused at this insight into the male bonding ritual. Quick flash to their stunned mullet expressions.

GORDON then brushes past DIANNE; she moves to put a protective arm around him, but they end up holding hands as he leans forward to kiss LAIN on the cheek.

GORDON
(whispering to LAIN, David Lynch style — quite erotic — slo-mo — subtitled?)
I know about James.

CLOSE UP of LAIN’s poker face.

BEAT.

DIANNE
(frowning, and then breaking the ice)
Let me show you the rooms.

The three girls depart upstairs, GORDON looking up as LAIN passes. GORDON opens the fridge, grabbing TWO BEERS. On top of the fridge we briefly glimpse THE BOX. The music emphasises the fact that we’ve seen something significant.

The camera now CUTS TO the girls upstairs. They survey the room, look satisfied, and the three of them flop down on the bed for a chat.

SUE
Lovely place you’ve got here, Di.

DIANNE
Yeah, I like it…

LAIN
Doesn’t Gordon?

DIANNE
Well, you know … [men]. Couldn’t James make it?

LAIN
[Actually], we’ve just broken up.

BEAT.

DIANNE
Oh [Lain]! [I’m so] sorry, I had no idea…

LAIN
It’s okay, Di. I mean, I broke up with him. But he keeps calling and calling.

DIANNE
(spooky expression)
It’s best to make a good clean break.

BEAT.

LAIN
So … how are things with you and Gordon?

DIANNE
(casts her eyes downwards)
Well…

Camera TILTS DOWN. CUT BACK to GORDON and CHARLIE drinking their beers downstairs. Camera is pointed at the ceiling, and TILTS DOWN to reveal GORDON looking upwards.

GORDON
(depressed, looking down again at CHARLIE)
Aw man, I gotta get out of this place. Let’s take a walk.

The boys clink their bottles and drain their beers.

CHARLIE
(calling upstairs)
Oi, [Sue], you girls wanna go exploring?

THE WALK

LONG SHOT of the five walking along, the guys in front, the girls behind.

GORDON and CHARLIE have been talking about LAIN’s breakup.

CHARLIE
(looking back)
Poor Lain. Things look pretty good with you and Di, though.

GORDON
(slowly)
Yeah … [but]

CHARLIE
(concerned)
Hey, what’s up? Gordo?

GORDON
Well … Di’s been hassling me about getting m-married. She can be a bit … forceful, sometimes.

CHARLIE nods sympathetically. He knows what GORDON is telling him.

GORDON
How do I deal with it, mate? You know how sensitive she can be…

CHARLIE
(supportive, patting GORDON on the back)
Man, I been through all that before. It’s a toughie. What you gotta do is this…

CUT TO the group of girls. They’re walking along, looking happy and carefree, sharing a special moment together.

LAIN
… and he started crying like a baby.

SUE and DIANNE
(half in sympathy, half mockingly)
Awwwww… the poor thing.

SUE
Di, what would you do if Gordon wanted to break up with you?

DIANNE
(stopping, and staring out at the surroundings, seriously, close-up on her eyes)
I’d kill him. I’d make it hurt, too. Make him regret it.

We hear the spooky “Gang Theme” on the soundtrack.

SUE and LAIN quickly exchange strange looks.

DIANNE
(noticing the looks, she becomes exaggerated, and motions a knife across the neck)
Yeah, and it’d be off with his head!

The girls, now relaxed, join in the fun and laugh loudly. The guys, walking in front, hear the laughter. They turn around and shade their eyes.

GORDON
Wonder what they laughing about?

CHARLIE
Secret women’s business, I’d say.

GORDON
Huh. Well at least you and me can have an intelligent conversation, Chuckles.

DINNER PARTY

SUE and GORDON sit at the table. It has been set for dinner. There is a dinner party atmosphere. LAIN and DIANNE are in the kitchen, preparing the last of the food.

CHARLIE enters from the front door.

CHARLIE
(relieved)
Man, I really needed that [smoke].

SUE
(to Charlie)
You stink, have a coffee next time.

CLOSE UP of DIANNE chopping up some herbs with a MEDIUM KNIFE. This shot is complemented with swishing sound effects, much like in a HONG KONG film. You get the impression that you are watching a master at work. FAST MOTION is used to emphasise the speed and skill with which the herbs are being chopped.

CUT TO a follow shot of DIANNE transferring the herbs onto the dish, and bringing the dish to the table. LAIN follows her with another dish. They set them down on the table to complimentary “Ooohs” and “Aaahs”. The guests start serving themselves.

LAIN
(to DIANNE)
You handle that thing pretty well…

DIANNE
Yeah, all my time spent helping at the restaurant. Trick is a sharp knife.

CHARLIE
(to everyone, laughing)
Hey, speaking of knives, have you heard this one? This girl’s mum dies, right, and at the funeral she sees this guy and immediately falls in love with him. He’s the most perfect guy in the world, and she wants to spend her life with him. The following day, the girl stabs her own sister to death! Why?

GORDON
Well, what did the mum die of?

CHARLIE
Doesn’t matter. Just what is the first thing that comes into your mind?

GORDON
Ummm… the sister killed the mum and she’s getting revenge?

CHARLIE
Nuh.

SUE
The sister fell in love with the guy too and she got jealous?

CHARLIE
Nuh.

LAIN
The guy was already going out with the sister?

CHARLIE
Nuh.

CHARLIE
Anyway, they asked this to murderers in prison, and the majority of them gave the same answer.

LAIN
So what was the answer?

GORDON
Wait a sec, Di, what do you reckon?

BEAT.

DIANNE
(thinking carefully, underscored by the “Gang Theme”)
She wanted to see the guy again … so she killed her sister because she knew he’d come to her funeral.

BEAT.

CHARLIE
Eh, you heard this one before!

Everyone laughs, DIANNE shrugs it off, smiling innocently.

GOODBYE

CUT to a panorama of the house on the hill, with the car parked outside and two figures standing next to it. It is the FOLLOWING MORNING.

CUT to a closer shot. Everyone is ready to depart. CHARLIE, SUE and LAIN are in the car, windows rolled down. GORDON and DIANNE are waving goodbye.

GORDON
Sure you’ve got everything?

CHARLIE
Yep yep. So what are the two lovebirds doing today?

GORDON
(winking)
Ah, we’ll work something out!

CHARLIE
Onya, mate. Thanks for a great weekend. We’ll see you around, eh?

The car drives off. Everyone waves and yells their goodbyes.

CUT TO car interior.

The “Threesome Theme” starts up once again.

LAIN
Don’t Gordon and Di make a fantastic couple?

CHARLIE
(grunts, rolls eyes)
Show’s how much you girls know, think you’re so perceptive.

LAIN
Huh?

CHARLIE
He’s going to break up with her.

LAIN
Oh, no!

SUE
(surprised)
Really?

CHARLIE
Yeah. (smugly) Been giving him a bit of advice on how to do it.

SUE
How’s that?

CHARLIE
Told him to take her somewhere secluded. You know, so there won’t … be any witnesses.

SUE
(whacking CHARLIE over the head, sarcastically)
You men are so romantic.

THE PICNIC

In the middle of the bush, no sign of civilisation. We see a picnic blanket spread out, wine glasses, French bread, olives. Wind blows in the treetops. Spooky music. Sounds of the bush: crickets, flies, birds. We hear the “Murder Theme”, which is “The 2 of Us” by FourPlay.

CLOSE UP of a cheese knife cutting into a whole CAMEMBERT. Reveal that DIANNE is doing the cutting (of course).

GORDON
(breathing deeply, getting his courage up)
Well, it’s pretty nice out here, huh?

DIANNE
(continuing to cut the cheese)
Yeah.

GORDON
(starting his spiel)
Dianne, you know that … conversation we were having?

DIANNE
(her cutting becomes more focused and deliberate … she frowns)
Yes?

She finishes her job, and moves to return the knife to the picnic basket. But she hesitates, gripping the knife more firmly in her hand.

BEAT.

The spell is broken. She returns the knife to the picnic basket.

GORDON
Well…

GORDON clears his throat. He is obviously very nervous. His manner towards DIANNE is ???. He can’t bring himself to say what he wants to say.

DIANNE
(ignoring him)
It’s got really hot all of a sudden…

DIANNE turns away from camera. We see THE BOX for the first time. What could be in it? GORDON appears to notice it for the first time, too. He seems a little frightened by its presence. DIANNE picks it up and moves it in front of her. She slowly opens it up. Suspense. She reaches inside … GORDON is sweating, his eyes have grown large. DIANNE pulls out a large WATERMELON, about the size of a HUMAN HEAD.

DIANNE
Here, this will help cool us down.

GORDON
Di, this isn’t turning out the way I planned.

CUT TO an imagined scene. DIANNE screams, raises the WATERMELON above her head, and bashes GORDON to death with it. He lies still on the ground, covered with red WATERMELON pulp.

CLOSE UP of DIANNE’s furious eyes. She blinks, and is back to normal.

DIANNE
Just… pass me the knife for this thing, would you?

GORDON hesitates, clearly wishing that he wasn’t such a coward. He reaches into the picnic basket. CLOSE UP of his hand pulling out a MASSIVE BUTCHER’S KNIFE.

BEAT.

GORDON motions to give the knife to DIANNE. She’s impatiently holding her hand out. CUT to a shot of the bush. We hear a bird scream. The audience jumps!

THE PHONE

Fade in to SUE, CHARLIE and LAIN at a rest stop, having some lunch.

LAIN
(suddenly remembering)
Oh, shit! I left my phone at Di’s!

SUE
Oh, no!

LAIN
We have to go back for it!

CHARLIE
(sceptical)
We’ve been driving for two hours already. Get them to post it back to ya.

LAIN
(begging)
Charlie!

CHARLIE
They’ll have just broken up. Di will be in PIECES.

SUE
(sternly)
Charlie!

CHARLIE
What do you need the phone for anyway? It’s not like you’re going to miss James’ calls.

LAIN and SUE
(insanely)
Charlie!

BEAT.

CHARLIE
Awwwwww!

THE BOX

The car pulls into the driveway, reminiscent of the opening scene. They notice DIANNE’S CAR parked in a slipshod fashion, like someone was in a hurry. The three hop out. CHARLIE knocks on the door. We hear footsteps, keys in the lock, the door opens, but we don’t see who it is. The handle turns. The door creaks open.

CUT to a shot of the three looking towards camera.

CHARLIE
(slightly flustered)
Hey, Lain left her phone…

LAIN
(confused)
What’s in the box?

BEAT.

SUE
(suspicious)
Where’s Di?

CUT TO GORDON standing in the doorway, box under his arm. He quickly glances down at it, (seemingly) answering both questions as he does so.

BEAT.

GORDON
(suddenly very menacing, whispering to all three)
Come in, you’ll see.

Fade to black as GORDON opens the door wide and the three slowly walk inside. This last scene is shot like the Miranda scene in Picnic at Hanging Rock. Slow motion, filmed from behind, the three characters cannot hear the audience’s cries of “Don’t go in there!”

THE END

The door slams shut, and “THE END” appears. The picture fades out, but the text remains. “My Baby Just Cares For Me”, by FourPlay, starts on the soundtrack. This lighthearted end to such a grisly tale should get a chuckle from the audience. We fade totally to black.

BEAT.

And then, completely unexpectedly, we FADE IN to the interior of the house.

GORDON
(apologetically)
I’m afraid I’ve just done something I think I’ll gonna regret. Di’s lost her head! Well, she asked for it, let me tell you. Just remember that it was her made the first move.

The three react with shock. Their expressions freeze. They look upwards.

DIANNE walks downstairs. She looks different. She’s dressed up, she’s wearing makeup, she looks sensational. She has the widest smile on her face you’ve ever seen. When she sees her friends, she jumps with joy and runs over to them.

GORDON is beaming. The three are confused. DIANNE holds out her hand, and we see a sparkling ENGAGEMENT RING. Suddenly everyone gets it! They embrace, laughing, they all look so happy. CHARLIE gets hassle for totally misreading GORDON.

GORDON puts the box down, opens the lid, and removes a Magnum of Champagne.

Everyone dances around. GORDON pops the bubbly. Everyone toasts the happy couple. It just goes berserk. GORDON sheepishly reaches into his pocket and hands LAIN back her phone. We get a quick glimpse that there are 76 missed calls, or something like that.

Quick CREDITS roll over the top of the celebration. We end with the party just beginning. We fade out as the music concludes, and display the copyright notice.

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The Online Weblog of Lloyd Kranzky

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Jason Hutchens

Jason Hutchens

Procrastinating perfectionist.

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