Author Topic: Kitsune Island  (Read 2599 times)

Offline MizukiUkitake

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Kitsune Island
« on: May 09, 2016, 08:18:33 PM »
This was copypasted from DubScript, the app on my phone I'm writing my screenplay with. It might not be perfect, but should still be fairly clear.
Right now, it's just the opening scene, but I figure it doesn't hurt to get some input before I get too far into it.
Fade in

Opening credits - smoke text effect

Ext - bird eye view of forest, panning

Ext - ground view of foxes wandering through forest

Ext - ground view of raccoon dogs (not raccoons!)


Int - college library

Mark sits at his laptop, watching Gegege No Kitaro, earbuds in, subtitles on. A moment passes before Damien drops his books down beside the laptop, making startlong Mark. Mark removes his earbuds, looking at Damien.

MARK: Hey, Damien... What's all this?

DAMIEN: Unsolved mysteries. My professor wants us to pick a mystery and write about how we would solve it, or something.

MARK: Oh, yeah, I heard some of the others complaining about that. (Lightly mockingly) Solve the unsolved mystery.

They chuckle, as Damien slides his books over and takes the top one, opening it to a random page. He begins reading. Mark cuts him off partway through.

MARK: Actually... I found something you might be interested in.

DAMIEN: Is it anime?

MARK: No. Well. Not really. Japanese.

DAMIEN: Of course it is. What did you find?

Mark minimizes his movie and brings up a bookmarked page regarding the Himuro Mansion.

MARK: There's this place in Japan that apparently was home to a really ritualistic family, that would sacrifice a young woman from the family every few years. One generation, the woman who they were supposed to sacrifice, met and fell in love with a man from outside the forest.

DAMIEN: So? What's wrong with that?

MARK: Well, the family law stated that the woman had to be unbound by anything of the earth, she had to be isolated from everything and everyone that was not within the house or immediately surrounding forest.

Damien pauses for a moment.

DAMIEN: So you're saying they were sacrificing virgins.

Mark stumbles over his words in disbelief over this conclusion.

MARK: Well, I, ah, uh.. Hm. yeah. Yes, I am. Essentially.

DAMIEN: So, this crazy family is  sacrificing their virgin daughters ... why?

MARK: Their belief was that it would seal away bad karma from the earth.

DAMIEN: ... crazy family is killing virgin daughters to prevent the end of the world. Alright. So where is the mystery?

MARK: So after the girl fell in love with the outsider, her father deemed her unworthy to sacrifice, and had a serious mental breakdown. Afraid the Earth would bring wrath upon him for failing to properly prepare the sacrifice, he killed his entire family, then himself.

DAMIEN: Holy crap. But where do I come in?

MARK: nobody actually knows if the place exists. It's been mentioned in video games, and all across the internet, but nobody has any proof one way or the other.

DAMIEN: You're saying we could go and be the first people to discover the truth?

MARK: yeah! No, wait, we? No, no no. There is no we. I'm staying right here, in my library, with my talking fox people.

DAMIEN: No way. Mark, if it weren't for you, I wouldn't even know about this place. Plus, you're fluent in Japanese!


Plot: A young American man and his friends set off to Japan to prove the existance of a haunted house in the middle of a forest. Upon getting there, one friend gets sick and stays behind in a hotel, while the other four go into the forest without him. There, they're faced with oddities and dangers they have trouble explaining, as well as strange creatures they never imagined before in their lives, most of which are trying to kill them. The beings behind these strange happenings are kitsune and tanuki, Japanese demons known for their shapeshifting powers and trickery.
Kitsune, however, are far more ruthless, and take pleasure in tormenting and killing humans. Tanuki are lazy and silly, preferring to drink the day away than harm a person for no reason. The kitsune go so far as to kill off one of the characters, just to replace them later by transforming into them, and leading them further and further into trouble, while also pushing the friends apart.
As the group gets nearer to the house, the kitsune become more rutheless, until it's discovered that the house does indeed exist, and holds an ancient gem orb. It soon turns out that the kitsune are the ones behind the legend of the massacre, and trap the group. The one who stayed behind realizes through intense local research, that going to the house was indeed a fatal mistake, and rushes to the scene to save his friends. Believing it would help save his friends, he grabs the gem as well. As they flee, the friend who came to the rescue grows weaker and weaker. The treasure is actually a soul gem, used for sucking out human souls and storing them for the kitsune to consume.

Damien - Main male protagonist, outgoing, natural leader, can be too perservering for his friends to handle
Mark - anxious best friend, watches a lot of anime, likes libraries, reserved but not unfriendly
unnamed 1 - Family owns a business, funds the trip, easily annoyed by his peers but tries hard not to explode at them
unnamed 2 - Eccentric girl, has a crush on Damien, seems helpless but shows great determination
unnamed 3 - underhanded snob, secretly takes pleasure in the suffering of others, tries to act sweet around the boys

I'm a huge fan of anime, and while there are lots of anime surrounding the myths of kitsune or tanuki, there's no live action films that I have found regarding the same subject. This strikes me as strange, since it is a big part of Japanese culture. Since I love horror films, I thought it would be a good way to bring out the darkness of kitsune lore, as most anime show them as the good guys, and tanuki as the bums. I originally wanted the tanuki to be killers as well, but since their lore says they don't attack for no reason, I devolved them into more of a neutral-ish median between the kitsune and the humans, bordering on good guys much of the time. They try to warn the humans, but don't intervene.
As for the characters, I thought four going into the forest would be an interesting, subtle bit, as four (shi) is seen as a number representing death in Japan. I want layer to the movie, things that people can point at the screen and say "I know that reference!" or "Hey, that's a clever thing to sneak in there". And despite being a horror film, I want my characters to have depth. I want them to seem like real people you might know, not just tropes. People you see and think, "I connect with that character's mannerisms", only to see him or her get killed. Trope characters are too easy to predict, and I don't want someone to watch three minutes and go "He's dead, he's dead, she's dead, he lives".

Offline To a T

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Re: Kitsune Island
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2016, 10:14:13 PM »
Hi Mizuki -

I live in Japan so I am very familiar with your characters & background story.
However, I am unique.  Meaning it is a lot to present to an audience unfamiliar,
and I too struggle with how to present the East to a Western audience.

Perhaps in bites - if you were to initially focus on characters or plot/setting
and by draw your readers in.  Consider how the masters do this
- What has Ghibli done in introducing his audience to his world of kitsune & tanuki?
-How did Kurosawa portray the Kitsune Yomeiri scene in the forest - it is a true favorite of mine.
Life isn't always pretty,
but colour won't hurt you

Offline C-hat

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Re: Kitsune Island
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2016, 05:29:16 PM »
 Hey Mizuki-

I noticed that you are familiar with panning shots and opening sequences. For those who are familiar with that, it makes it a lot easier to imagine what is going on in your mind in terms of placement. However, a bit more explanation is needed (I feel) for describing exactly where the raccoon dogs are. Are they on the same side of the forest as the foxes? Are they ravenous, or just going about daily life?

Other than that, your reasonings behind the story are very well thought through. I like that you tied Japanese culture in with American culture, and how dangerous it is to "not know your stuff". I feel with a bit more information to fill in the blanks, and not have it feel like, " Hey, let's all take a random trip to Japan!", it would stand out. A lot of horror movies tend to separate from reality, and that's what makes the audience lose interest, especially when not connected to how they even got to that point... But so far, you are doing a fantastic job of keeping the storyline consistent.