‘The Outbreak’ Screenplay
-Original screenplay by Richard Hine
EXT. A FIELD - Evening
A lone figure is dragging a bodybag along behind him in the light of the setting sun. He gets to a point in the field with a spade in the ground and then stops. He wipes his brow and begins digging.
VO (a grimly determined voice):
There were many victims of The Outbreak, but he was not one of them. He was a victim of human nature. Perhaps i should start from the beginning… (in a much less serious voice)I mean, the beginning is a good place to start. Technically, i think you always start from the beginning, because you’re starting, and the beginning is, by its very nature the point at which you start. So maybe I HAVE to start at the beginning; but even if i didn’t i would anyway…
We see a montage of newspaper headlines, accompanied by ‘disaster’ sound effects (alarms, shouting, general rabble). The headlines all read along the lines of ‘Outbreak in East London’ (with the subtitle of ‘Find out how it will effect Eastenders’). Preferably, show some serious looking newspapers with only faintly comical titles (as above), and then show some parodies of the Sun and the Star with titles like ‘The Last Pair of Uninfected Tits In London; Page 3!’ and ‘Arsenal Manager Threatens Resignation’ (with the subtitle ‘3000 More Dead In Outbreaks’).
(Other headline ideas:)
(For a trashy paper ‘How Our Love Overcame The Outbreak’ by S. Turner (dedicated in loving memory to the author and her husband), For a more highbrow paper ‘PM Speaks Out: “Outbreak Was Previous Government’s Fault”’, another highbrow paper title: ‘Outbreak Spreads To The North’ (subtitle ‘And Why You Shouldn’t Care’), ‘Britain’s Population Reaches 10% Of Previous Year’s’ (subtitle ‘But We Still Don’t Need Immigrants - Page 6’) concluding with ‘Britain’s Population Reaches Double Figures’ - ‘Find Out Why We’re Still Printing Papers’)
EXT. Various industrial landscapes - afternoon
No one knew how the Outbreaks started, and we never really got time to find out. The government spent so much time and money on public announcements, spin and political conferences, there was nothing left over for scientific research. The Outbreaks spread across the country, and people began dropping like flies. The flies began dropping too, but they’re flies - no one gives a shit about them anyway. Come to think of it, it’s strange the outbreak effected ONLY humans and flies, and nothing else. I suppose if we had done some research we may have found out why, but then again, i’m no politician - I don’t know what kind of expenditure that would require. Probably a lot. Anyway, everywhere got it, even Cornwall; but they claimed that their Outbreak had a different origin, and they should be considered, for all intents and purposes, a separate contamination zone to the rest of England. It spread to Scotland and Wales too - fortunately for them, however, Scottish Parliament had a load of extra money which they used to quarantine themselves from England, so by and large, they were okay. Sheep are immune to The Outbreak, so Wales only suffered a minor population drop.
As the monologue is being read, we see the protagonist walking through empty hallways of abandoned buildings and along empty roads, devoid of human life. Interspersed with this are shots of politician-type figures giving speeches from podiums and sitting around paper-laden tables having heated discussions. At the mention of Scottish parliament, we see the exact same thing, but all the politicians are wearing kilts and are ‘stereotypically Scottish’. At the mention of Wales there is just a shot of an empty field
So, now here I am; to my knowledge the final survivor, burying the last of my friends. For a while, it was alright - there was a group of us - the Immune.
We see the protagonist as part of a group of people walking along laughing and generally being cheery. As they’re walking, they step over a corpse which is lying face down on the ground, completely ignoring its existence.
But the Outbreak wasn’t all we had to fear… There was one amongst us who was a little… unbalanced.
At this, we see flashes of a hooded figure slashing with a knife, a person being strangled from behind, and a face, contorted in terror. These flashes are quick-fire, just long enough for us to catch a glimpse of them. This then cuts to a drawn-out shot of one of the group just walking along the street and they trip over the pavement and stumble a bit.
Int. A dark room - afternoon
There was a serial killer in our group, too. That sort of sucked. Soon, there was just me and Johnny. We were both getting quite paranoid. Johnny was convinced I was the killer, and I was convinced that Johnny dyed his hair.
At this, we cut to a shot of the protagonist and ‘Johnny’ huddled in a dark room.
It’s just that the roots are a different colour from the tips… You don’t have to lie to me, Johnny; it’s okay to let me in. I just want to know the truth Johnny, don’t you think you owe me that? After all our time together?
Stay back, you psychopath! And i’ve told you a million times; i went on holiday recently and it sort of bleached in the sun!
Bleached in the sun!? Johnny, the tips are darker than the roots! Explain that to me Johnny! Explain it! You’re a liar, Johnny! A liar!
At this, the protagonist leaps onto Johnny and begins strangling him. We cut back to the protagonist standing alone in the field, now without a bodybag.
EXT. A FIELD - EVENING
It turns out Johnny DID dye his hair. Oh, and also, he was a serial killer or something - he had a bloody knife and a lock of hair from each victim, so he was probably taking samples for when he next dyed his hair.
The closing shot is of a makeshift gravestone (by which i mean a piece of cardboard attached to a stick in the ground). It reads ‘RIP Johnny - You Weren’t Killed By The Outbreak, But By Your Own Pride’ (below this in brackets ‘(And you totally DID dye your hair)’).