Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 18:46
Hello there, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
It has been another quiet week here on the Elder movie. I am steadily moving forward with the screenplay, like an icebreaker grinding its way through the frozen Arctic Ocean to the North Pole. At the moment this is a pretty isolated experience, as our crew are currently busy on other frankly more profitable vessels, working hard for their living, while our boat, a boat whose crew receive no wages, only violent abuse and the occasional tot of rum, struggles on singlehandedly. David Bailey, our art director, has a fabulous commission to redesign the BBC's incredibly popular preschool TV channel CBeebies, which is asking up all his time, whereas webmaster Colin has had a bit of a rug yanked out from under his professional feet, and thus is crazy busy firefighting to maintain his company turnover. David Knox-Williams, Father Cerberus in our film, is busy putting together his theatre company's latest production, a new play written by David and his writing partner Adam White entitled NETHERWOOD, which is a wonderful SATANIC FARCE all about The Beast 666 himself, Aleister Crowley. They've for a cast and a crew, all they need now is a venue to put this on at. As soon as that happens I'll be sure to let you know. Owen, our producer, has, it seems, simply died.
But there is still me, bitches.
And I am still writing this BLOODY screenplay.
Someday soon there will be a blogpost in which I do not say "I AM STILL WRITING THE SCREENPLAY".
Actually, fuck it, shall I post the movie context document? Might as well, eh?
OK here it is. This is the film we are making! Sorry it's a bit long.
THE CONTEXT / BACKSTORY
The film is set entirely in Wessex and the Isle of Wight
Ten years ago a deadly synthetic (man-made) virus was released into the atmosphere, wiping out 99.9% of the UK's mainland population.
The virus was developed by American pharmaceutical giant Blackwell Corp, and released into Southern England late in 2012. Released on purpose? By accident? Only Blackwell himself knows.
Blackwell is a cross between Hitler, Joseph Mengele and Robert Mugabe - a paranoid, delusional fantasist hell bent on 'perfecting' the human genome. He has a loyal band of scientists, 'priests' and hangers-on, all living on the highly-defended fortress which is the contemporaneous Isle of Wight. Blackwell himself lives inside a sterile virtual bubble, as although all of his staff are of the surviving 0.1%, Blackwell himself is not immune, and so is terrified of ever coming into contact with it - hence his perpetual state of highly medicalised quarantine. Little does he know that, in fact, since the virus occurred a decade ago, it is now harmless, and bears no threat to either him or anybody else.
The Isle of Wight is his 'factory' for these genetic experiments; it's also his base - for the righteous Priesthood, home for his army of scientists, as well as functioning as a new home for the Blessed Citizens, or rather lab rats - a perhaps more pertinent description of their role.
The Wessex mainland is Blackwell's 'farm' - homeland of the Citizens. These are the 0.1% - the remaining population, following 2012's Cleansing. The 0.1% who were genetically immune to the synthetic Blackwell virus. Every large village and town has its own family of Citizens, supported by regular visits from the always-on-the-move, roving Priesthood.
On the mainland there is no centralized support network, no government, no electricity, no rule of law. What law there is is aggressively overseen by the heavily-armed Priesthood, who travel the countryside on rickshaws and bicycles (the Priesthood finally gave up on the internal combustion engine in 2015, after the remaining refined gasoline ran out and further extraction proved impossible with the resources at their disposal), tending their flock and supplying their Citizens with batteries, ammunition and medicine.
Ammunition because as well as Citizens, there is also a raggle-taggle, decentralized Resistance, all of whom are of the surviving 0.1%, and who have decided to attempt to live their lives outside of the comforting yoke of the Citizenship. These people seem to be peripatetic and disorganized - unstructured. The Priesthood's primary function is to keep the Citizenship terrified of these 'freaks' at all times, and to encourage their violent elimination. These people - Resistance/freaks - are 'the threat' which must be guarded against at all costs. The Citizenship are thus all armed to the teeth, by the Priesthood, in order to defend their homesteads/towns from this perceived threat.
The benefits of Citizenship are multifold. Blackwell's Priesthood offer peace and security; medicine; practical help and support of all shades, plus a constant supply of batteries (for small-scale electrical appliances - luxuries here in 2023). To qualify as a rightful Citizen one must wear a Bond, at all times, around one's wrist. This is a battery-powered bracelet which functions as a radio and tracking device for the Priesthood, so that Citizens' whereabouts are constantly monitored. Blackwell broadcasts music, practical information and 'inspirational' messages to the Citizenship over the radio. Each Bond has a small keypad with which can select one of five available radio stations. Anti-'freak' propaganda is a regular part of Blackwell's broadcasting - constantly stoking the fear of the unknown; exhorting vigilant defense of homesteads, etc. 'All freaks must be shot on sight, or they'll kill you first...'
The reality is very different. These 'freaks' keep themselves to themselves, and hold the Blackwell Priesthood and its Citizenship in contemptuous disregard. They are happy to lead their lives independently, free of the 'yoke of Blackwell' and the rigid rules (and fierce freedom of movement restrictions) that come with it.
The Citizenship is encouraged to procreate as much as possible - ostensibly to increase population levels on the mainland, but in reality to provide Blackwell with a theoretically endless supply of the original 0.1% of humans genetically immune to the 2012 virus, on whom Blackwell continues to obsessively hone his theoretical human genetic 'perfection'.
Thus, periodically, specific Blessed Citizens are 'chosen' to go to live on Blackwell's Island, from which of course they never return. These lucky 'chosen ones', after much bittersweet celebration in their homesteads, are transported by the Priesthood to the Isle of Wight where they are ensconced in relative luxury while they unknowingly wait their turns to be experimented upon by Blackwell's scientists.
While they wait, their newly luxurious standards of living are captured on video and replayed to their families by their local Priest. They are put to work on the Island, but the work is gentle, and 'for the common good' (the work mainly involves the process of recharging empty batteries from huge, dynamo-powered generators; also powering these generators themselves via rows and rows of pedal machines). After a few months of this, however, one by one the Blessed eventually disappear into the huge Laboratory over on the East side of the Island, never to emerge. It's inside this vast Laboratory that Blackwell and his minions obsessively whittle away at the viral percentages, chasing their ideal of a 'perfect genome' (read of course: 'perfect race') which he would (notionally) be able to control absolutely. The 0.1% was only the initial culling. There is yet more fine-tuning to be done. His fleet of scientists and priestly evangelists/enforcers fully believe in the essential righteousness of Blackwell's mission - that in order to survive in perpetuity, and to avoid repeating the manifold errors of History, such a drastic, 'perfect solution' is necessary by whatever means.
The Citizenship, whose families never come into contact with one another - indeed such contact is expressly forbidden - gradually come to accept the permanent disappearance of their Righteous Departed. The video messages dry up, and all that remains are the verbal reports given by the Priesthood, all of which eventually revert to stock 'yes, he/she is well, still hard at work for Mr Blackwell, he/she sends his/her regards, as ever'. Thus when a member of your family is Chosen, The event is at once the highest possible honor bestowed upon a family, and also, eventually, its most ultimately heartbreaking.
The 2012 virus also affected non-humans. The animal kingdom suffered comparable levels of destruction. This means the the population leads a primarily vegetarian diet (all homesteads feature extensive vegetable plots), supplemented by the recovered fish stocks in the rivers. These rivers provide all of the fresh water required for both Citizens and Resistance. Cows, chickens and occasionally sheep are often reared by Citizens in their homesteads, but rarely end up as foodstuffs - they are more providers of milk/butter/ cheese, eggs and wool, for use in textiles and clothing. Home-made clothing is still rare, but encouraged by Blackwell, as left-over clothes in abandoned stores will run out one day, though there is still currently plenty for everybody. Department stores and clothes shops have been functioning for years as huge de facto wardrobes. Blackwell rewards homestead endeavor in local textile manufacture, cheese-making, leather-making, beer-brewing - basic Dark Ages peasant skills - with extra batteries. Basic veterinary advice is broadcast over the radio, along with other, miscellaneous practical advice.
Electrical devices Citizens regularly use - apart from their Bonds, whose batteries the Priesthood always ensure regular replacement of - are generally light and heat-generating devices. These become increasingly more coveted during the winter months, when batteries become even more coveted than usual.
The self-sustaining, heavily-armed large family unit is the ultimate ideal in the Citizenship - protecting their land, their territory, their towns (and their remaining plunder) from the 'freaks' at large in the countryside. Violent incidents are in fact very rare. The Resistance leaves the Citizenship alone and the Citizenship dares not leave the limits of their towns or villages, so the two rarely come into contact with one another.
The Elder movie follows the odyssey of a 15-year-old boy named Grigorss, the oldest child of a family in the South Western town of Plymouth, who sets out with his local priest, Father Morpheus, after the boy has apparently been Chosen to travel with Morpheus to Blackwell's island - mark of the highest distinction among the Citizenship. Morpheus, however, turns out to be not quite what he appears. As the pair head East, Morpheus starts to torment the boy with allusions to an alternative way of life, to something called the Order of the Rose, an umbrella Resistance organization dedicated to fighting against the stifling dogma of existence under Blackwell. The Order of the Rose - according to Morpheus - prescribes freedom for remaining humanity, and a nascent societal unity, after these many years of isolation and fragmentation under Blackwell. And Morpheus says he knows where to find these Elders - that he is, in fact, leading the boy to meet with them now. But can Morpheus be trusted? Is he an agent of Blackwell, testing the boy's loyalty? Or could his claims simply be the demented, deluded ravings of a priest driven to madness by this lonely, brutal New World Order? To discover the truth, Grigorss finds he has no choice but to go along with Morpheus - wherever he's decided to take him - wherever this road might lead...
LIFE IS PRECIOUS.
YOU'VE GOT TO KILL TO PROTECT IT.