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 E. A. Poe's 'The Raven' [A Screenplay]

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Rob_Macabre
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PostSubject: E. A. Poe's 'The Raven' [A Screenplay]   Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:21 am

SCENE #1 UPON A MIDNIGHT DREARY


The scene would open to the study room of Sordes Corvus, with Corvus found nodded off, laying on an open book, and surrounded by other books. He sat a large oak desk, upon a high-backed, black leather chair. Around him were books of every size and shape, many of them copies of various classics. Prominent among them are 'Grimm's Fairy Tales' and 'The Divine Comedy'

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door."

At the sound of rapping, Sordes Corvus rose from his seat, looking around himself in confusion.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door - Only this, and nothing more.'

Sordes rubbed his eyes nervously, showing signs of stress upon his features, and shook his head as he returned to his seat, and was soon dozing again.

Fade to black

The scene opens upon a disheveled bed, with a doctor's bag next to it. Lenore lay in the bed, looking even more pale and ashenfaced than she normally did. A Doctor is present, but off screen.

DOCTOR

"She will not make it, Mr. Corvus."

A sweep of the camera shows Sordes to be sitting alone in the room, sitting in a chair next to the bed which now holds no doctors bag nor Lenore. The room seems like it has been out of use by some time. Undisturbed dust coats all, and the bed lay neatly made. The doctor's last words seem to echo dementedly around the room.

LENORE LUGERE

(Off Camera, in a morbid, undramatic monotone.) All will be well, love.

THE RAVEN

(Off camera, in a cryptic whisper)"Lenore!"

Sordes's hands move through his chin-length black hair, tugging upon it in distress, as he shakes his head violently against the repeating word "Lenore!"

Fade to Black

SCENE #2 THE BLEAK DECEMBER


The shot returns to Corvus as he sleeps in the study. As the narrator begins to speak, the shot moves around the room, revealing a variety of cryptic book titles, a bust of Pallas that stands above the door of the chamber, a roaring fireplace, and a worn, white blanket stained nearly gray with use, among other curiosities.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore - For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore - Nameless here for evermore.

Wind billows in from outside a partially open window, rustling deep purple curtains that lay behind Sordes' high-backed black leather chair. Sordes was now awake, leaning back against the chair, his eyes wide as though something was deeply troubling him.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating `'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door - Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; - This it is, and nothing more'.

Sordes rose and walked in long, measured strides to the door of his reading chamber. His face contorting oddly as he battled fervently with the fear that seemed to grip him.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, `Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; - Darkness there, and nothing more."

Sordes threw the door open as he said he did, seeing naught but dancing shadows caused by his fire's light. These shadow's contort themselves into odd shapes before the camera. Screaming specters, monsters of all shapes and sizes, bats, screeching cats, and other things danced across the gloomy wall, made of shadow.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'"

THE RAVEN

(Off camera) "Lenore!"

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!' Merely this and nothing more."

Sordes is again asleep, face down upon a book, shaking and pulling at his hair in his sleep.

SORDES CORVUS

(Muttering.) "Lenore!"

Fade to black.

The scene opens upon a decaying Christmas tree, one which has obviously stood well past Christmas. Next to it sits Sordes, enwrapped with the worn blanket seen before in his library. The camera pans around the decaying room, only to see it fleshed out and living once more. Lenore and Sordes stand beneath mistletoe, breaking a kiss. From behind her black dress, Lenore takes out a flattish, rectangular package, and hands it to Sordes, who unwraps it to reveal a leatherbound copy of Dante's 'The Divine Comedy'. Sordes gasps.

SORDES CORVUS

(Exited) "That book! The one I wanted from the shops! But, we can not afford things like this, love..."

LENORE LUGERE

"Do not think on it, dear..."

SORDES CORVUS

"But I shall! You did not need to spend this much on me..."

LENORE LUGERE

(Playfully accusative) "And what did you get me, this yuletide's eve, Mr. Corvus?"

A smile lit the face of Sordes as the camera switches its focus to the wall opposite the fireplace, where their shadows tell their story. Sordes is knelt upon one knee, holding out a ring box towards Lenore, who has her hands upon her face, fighting tears.

LENORE LUGERE

"And you sought to accuse me..."

Fade to Black

The scene opened upon the pair of them, dressed in elegant black, holding each other's hands as they stood before a minister beneath a weeping willow tree.

LENORE LUGERE

"For love eternal, I take thee."

SORDES CORVUS

"For love eternal, I take thee."

Fade to Black

The scene opens once more the book filled library, where Sordes Corvus sat. He shook his head, as though bothered by an abnormally large insect flying about him, but slipped further still into memory.

Fade to Black

The scene opened upon the bed, once more unkept, ad the doctor spoke from off camera.

DOCTOR

"She has passed, Mr. Corvus. I am so sorry..."

Sounds of squawking and panicking are heard, as well as sound of a large man chasing something far more agile than himself.

DOCTOR

"How the hell did that bird get in here?"

The words 'Hell' and 'Bird' seem to echo throughout as the bed was shown made again, and Corvus sat upon it rocking violently back and forth, clutching a white blanket to his chest as voices rang in his head.

Fade to Black
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Rob_Macabre
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PostSubject: Re: E. A. Poe's 'The Raven' [A Screenplay]   Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:28 am

SCENE #3 THE SAINTLY DAYS OF YORE


The scene opened as Sordes turned back into his chamber, confusion and fear written plainly upon his face. A tapping then comes from the window on the other side of the room.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. `Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore - Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; - 'Tis the wind and nothing more!"

Sordes walked to the all ready opened window, and threw it open the rest of the way, and in swept a large, black bird, who flew directly to the white marble bust of Pallas that lay above the entryway to the chamber, and pecked lightly at the figure's head.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore. Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door - Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door - Perched, and sat, and nothing more."

Fade to Black

The scene reopens upon Sordes Corvus, sitting in front of a fireplace with no fire in the hearth, still clutching the blanket to his chest, and rocking back and forth dementedly as voices rang around his head.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"If I were to die right now, I would die the happiest man on this earth."

LENORE LUGERE (voice only)

"And if I were to die right now, I would be the happiest woman."

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"Nay. Lenore, if you were to die this day, I would surely fade."

LENORE LUGERE (VOICE ONLY)

"Then do not be bothered, for I live this day."

Sordes' rocking grew faster, and his hands ran through his hair, actually managing at this point to pull out several fistfuls of his ebon hair, though he did not notice in the slightest as the voices continued.

DOCTOR (Voice Only)

"She has a sickness of the blood. She will not, can not, make it through year’s end."

Sordes sat up straight, staring blankly off into space as a single tear rolled down his cheek, and he readjusted the blanket as he pulled it closer to his chest, revealing a large bloodstain upon it, ironically resembling a bird with out-stretched wings.

Fade to Black

SCENE #4 THE NIGHT'S PLUTONIAN SHORE


The scene opened upon Sordes pacing in his study, staring malicously at the bird that had taken up residence upon the marble bust above his chamber door.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, `Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven. Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore - Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!' Quoth the raven..."

THE RAVEN

"Nevermore."

Sordes regarded the bird with a calm kind of shock, and the speed of his pacing increased ever so slightly as he became increasingly troubled by the appearance of this raven.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door - Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as `Nevermore.'"

THE RAVEN "Nevermore."

Sordes turned to fade the bird once more, walking a bit closer towards the statue upon which it perched and leaned against the wall, regarding the thing with a look of demented curiosity.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only, That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered - Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before - On the morrow will he leave me, as my hopes have flown before.' Then the bird said..."

THE RAVEN

"Nevermore."

Fade to Black

SCENE # 5 A PAEAN


The scene opens upon Sordes kneeling on top of a grave marked with a plain gray stone, reading 'Lenore Lugere-Corvus' crying and speaking to himself in the dead of night.

SORDES CORVUS

"What shall I do Lenore? What shall I do in my loneliness? How can I brave the terrors of this life I lead without thy supporting arm? In the same vein as my confession one year ago on this day, You have perished, therefore, I, without thy comfort, without thy support, without you, Lenore, my love, I shall surely fade. "

THE RAVEN (voice-only)

"Nevermore!"

SORDES CORVUS

"But, despair not, love, for it is my fear that that same hell borne beast as took you from my arms, now seeks to make a pair of us."

Sordes looks around himself in a very paranoid fashion, before he bows his head and begins to speak.

SORDES CORVUS

(Lenore by Edgar Allan Poe)
"“Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll!- a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;
And, Guy de Vere, hast thou no tear?- weep now or nevermore!
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! let the burial rite be read- the funeral song be sung!-
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young-
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young. "

[Vision sequence shot with a red and blue camera filter.]

Shots of of the somber funeral of Lenore (Shot in blue) play across the screen mixed with scenes of Lenore and Sordes in the better part of their lives, shot in a red lens, as the poem continues.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

[Continuing 'Lenore' by E.A. Poe]
"Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride, And when
she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her- that she died!
How shall the ritual, then, be read?- the requiem how be sung
By you- by yours, the evil eye,- by yours, the slanderous tongue
That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?"

Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song
Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong.
The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside,
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride.
For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes
The life still there, upon her hair- the death upon her eyes.

Avaunt! avaunt! from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven-
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven-
From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of Heaven!
Let no bell toll, then,- lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damned Earth!
And I!- to-night my heart is light!- no dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days!

Avaunt! avaunt! from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven-
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven-
From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of Heaven!
Let no bell toll, then,- lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damned Earth!
And I!- to-night my heart is light!- no dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days!

Let no bell toll! -lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
Should catch the note, as it doth float up from the damned Earth.
To friends above, from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven -
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven -
From grief and groan to a golden throne beside the King of Heaven
Let no bell toll, then,–lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damned Earth!
And I!–to-night my heart is light!–no dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days!"

Fade to Black

SCENE #6 UNMERCIFUL DISASTER


The scene opens back upon Sordes, pacing in his study, talking to either himself or that ebon bird weighing so heavily upon his mind.

SORDES CORVUS

"Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, `Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore - Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore Of "Never-nevermore.""

Sordes moved a wheeled chair from an out of the way corner of the room, and wheeled directly in front of the bird and the bust it stood upon, straddling the chair in a preoccupied daze, a dementedly crooked smile upon his face as he regarded the creature before him.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore - What this grim, ungainly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'"

The camera moves around the room, revealing many more odd trinkets as Sordes remains seated upon his chair, staring intently into the eyes of the raven still sitting upon the marble bust.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er, She shall press, ah, nevermore!"

More shadow-creatures danced across the wall that stood beyond Sordes and the raven. Shadows swirled up to form a man and a woman who danced within each others arms.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. `Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'"

THE RAVEN

"Nevermore."

The woman shadow turned to a skeleton in the male's hands, and then into dust, falling away in tiny fleck of shadow as the man turned first into a horned demon, then to an angel, who vanished in whisps. Sordes stood, roughly kicking the chair out of his way, as he began to rave madly at the bird before him.

SORDES CORVUS

"`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! - Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted - On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore - Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!"

THE RAVEN

"Nevermore."

SORDES CORVUS

"'Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore - Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore - Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?"

THE RAVEN

"Nevermore."

Sordes grows more insane looking, physically he began to squint his eyes in anger, and an excessive amount of saliva burst from his mouth at the formation of harsh syllables.

SORDES CORVUS

"`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting - `Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'"

THE RAVEN

"Nevermore!"

Sordes, in his growing hysteria, coughed into his hand after speaking to loudly for his lungs, and regarded his hand with horror as he looked down to see his own blood spattered upon it.

Fade to Black.

The scene shifted to a small room, where the doctor sat at a desk instruments of his trade circa the 1800s stood upon it as he cast sorrowful eyes upon Sordes, who sat opposite the desk.

DOCTOR

"She has a disease of the blood, Mr. Corvus. We do not know much about it at this time, but it doesn't appear that she's had it too terribly long. Though she is not long for this world, her frailness would not have been able to fight it for long."

SORDES CORVUS

"How...how did this happen?"

DOCTOR

"She was likely infected by one she is close to. It could be anyone, a friend, or relative. They may not even know themselves to be infected, should they be sturdy enough not to show any symptoms as of yet."

The image of Sordes' horror-struck face as he hears this is superimposed upon his horror struck face as he regarded his own blood inside his study, as the scene fades.

SCENE #7 NEVERMORE


The scene reopens upon the study fully, Sordes standing in terror as he realized it was he who caused his own loss. He then regards the bird with a mixture of insanity and horror as he backs away from it's form as quickly as he can, as the shadow creatures dance around him on the walls, and the shadow-woman stands on the wall behind him, ready to greet him as he collapses to the floor.

SORDES CORVUS (VOICE ONLY)

"And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted - nevermore!"

The raven squawks as if to harken his own mention as the final verse is spoken, and as it is a second shadow rises up from the wall nearest Sordes' lifeless body to join with the shadow of the woman, and the raven makes his distinct call several times more as the scene comes to a close.

THE END

© 2008 Rob Macabre (R.D. Ward)
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