Yesterday I brought you the startling statistic that more seaside deaths in the USA are caused by sandcastle accidents that by shark attacks, with more people being sucked into the sand than dragged away by killer sharks.
Which means only one thing. They never needed to make a film called “Jaws”. There was a far scarier film waiting to be made. And still is. It would be called “Turrets”, and it would introduce to the silver screen the world’s first man-eating sandcastle.
Well, it’s never too late, and so I have already started work on the screenplay of “turrets”, of which I bring you the opening sample now, to establish my rights in the field.
Exterior shot, of a road entering a small American seaside town. Clouds. Wind whipping silently at the palm trees. A sign reading: Welcome to Drawbridge, Home of the American Sandcastle Tradition!”
Cut to a long shot of beach, showing remnants of recent sandcastles. Close up of collapsed battlements, plastic men-at-arms lying on their backs, etc.
Cut to Drawbridge Town Hall, interior where a committee meeting is about to get under way, chaired by Brad Pitt, or George Clooney, if we can’t get Brad Pitt.
Chair: Well, thanks, everyone for coming to the first planning meeting in advance of this year’s Sandcastle Building Contest. As you know, Drawbridge has the nation’s most prestigious Castle Contest, and we want to make this the best one ever!
Someone raises their hand. It is the trouble-maker. Every committee has a trouble-maker. This is ours, Nat Whiteley. He is young and anxious and means well. They are the worst.
Nat: Shouldn’t we wait till Sheila gets here?
Chair: She’s ten minutes late already. We can’t wait for ever.
Nat: I know, but she is the one that gets everything done, and does all the hard work. It wouldn’t be right to start without her…
Chair: Give her another five, then.
Cut back to seaside. A woman is hurrying along the sand towards us, through the wreckage of yesterday’s sandcastles, which she ignores. Suddenly she slows down, looking puzzled.
Close –up Sheila’s face. She is looking down at something on the beach. She can’t believe what she sees.
We look too. It is a beautifully finished sandcastle, with four machicolated walls and inner keep. Flags flutter from each corner tower. It looks suspiciously immaculate.
Cut back to the meeting. The elder statesman, Simeon, has the floor. All committees have an elder statesman. Either because they are very wise or because they refuse to resign.
Simeon: As we all very well know, sandcastles are not the only reason that Drawbridge gets in the new. What about all those serial murders?
Chair: Not murders, Simeon. Only disappearances. They haven’t proved they are murders yet.
Simeon: Oh, come on! How many disappearances does it take to make you suspicious? What else could they be but killings?
Cut to beach, where Sheila is still admiring the mystery sandcastle. She decided to have a closer look. Delicately, she lifts one foot and steps into the inner courtyard…
Cut back to meeting, where Nat is trying to make more trouble.
Nat: While we are waiting for Sheila, may I just put forward an idea which I know some people here agree with, and that is that it may be time to move on from sandcastles. What about some sand-building concept more in tune with the times? Sand sculpture, maybe?
Simeon: Hogwash, Nat, hogwash. Sandcastles is what made Drawbridge famous. It’s what we’ve always done. It would be death to change it!
Cut to beach. There is no sign of Sheila. Close-up of the immaculate castle. The surface of the inner courtyard is shimmering slightly. There is a pair of glasses floating in one corner. As we watch, there is a passing tremor in the soft sand, like a big burp, and there floats to the surface the tiny masked figure of an executioner, holding an axe…
Film people with lots of money who are looking for a sure-fire Oscar-winning concept are invited to get in touch with me as soon as possible.
The Independent Tuesday Sept 25th 2007