Cellar Dweller (1988) Movie Script

(exciting music)
(distant barking)
(wolves howling)
(quiet folk music playing)
(suspenseful music)
Word balloon for you.
What's that?
(ominous music)
Let's see.
"He who has wisdom
wonders not of the Beast,
"for nothing in Hell lives
without man's consent."
"Woe unto you that
gives the Beast form.
"To contemplate evil
is to ask evil home."
To contemplate is to ask...
evil... home.
(low growling)
(growling intensifies)
(frightening music)
(screaming continues)
Good God!
(screaming and roaring)
(glass shattering)
(screaming continues)
(loud crashes)
(suspenseful music)
(wind howling)
(low growl)
(heavy breathing)
(low growl)
(growling intensifies)
(electrical crackle)
(man gasps)
(frantic music)
(pained grunting)
(rasping and choking)
(inhuman scream)
(triumphant music)
(screaming continues)
(gagging and wheezing)
(frightening music)
(distorted laughter)
(ominous music)
(birds chirping)
(soft rock music)
(wind howling)
This is it, lady.
Can I help you
with your things?
No thanks.
I've got it.
You know, there's a lot of
talk in town about this place.
Kind of creepy talk.
A lot of weirdoes, well,
they come and go.
- Know what I mean?
- Yeah.
A couple of people were
murdered here back in '55.
I was a kid then,
but I remember
like it was yesterday.
My mother,
she would just say,
"Stewart, you steer
clear from that place.
It's a bad place."
- The meter's-
- In fact, uh,
just a month ago I picked
a fellow up from here.
Well, he told me a hell of
a lot of bizarre stories.
Oh, hey, thanks.
Are you an artist?
Yes, yes, here you go.
I'm a cartoonist.
Ah, I see.
Well, listen, you just watch
out for yourself in there, lady.
This place attracts
all kinds of trouble.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
Sure you don't want
any help with that?
' NO. no, I got it.
- Okay.
Boy, those broads'll
chew your ear off.
(thunder crashing)
(eerie music)
(thunder rolling)
"WING! here?
Oh, I'm sorry.
Did I frighten you?
Yes, you scared me
half to death.
- You must be Mrs. Briggs.
- That's right.
Hi, I'm Whitney Taylor.
We met two years ago at the
Rhode Island School of Design.
You lectured on Classicism
and the decline of
pop art in America.
Oh, I remember.
You were the heckler
in the first row.
Well, actually
I was just offering you
a different point of view.
So to speak.
Well, shall we get on with it?
I'm sorry?
The interview.
Would you shut
the door, please?
I love to be frightened.
As a child I collected every
issue of Cellar Dweller
no matter how hard they
were to track down.
I'm not surprised.
Well, my parents disapproved,
so I had to hide the comic
books under my bed and...
I'd read them only late
at night by flashlight.
I'd read about towns
besieged by vampires and
men transformed
into hideous beasts
by the waxing
of the full moon.
How inspiring.
Exactly, well, that's how
I got into drawing.
So now you've taken it
upon yourself to
follow in the footsteps
of your idol, hm?
- Colin Childress.
- That's my dream.
As you can see the first
few sketches are just copies
of Childress' work.
I was just really
learning how to draw,
and the rest, of course,
are my own.
Mrs. Briggs, I want to create
a whole new comic book
in the tradition
of Cellar Dweller.
Well, what better place to
be inspired than here in the...
house that Colin Childress
lived and worked in?
And went crazy in
and killed himself in.
Let's not forget that.
Ms. Taylor, all of this
is very spine-tingling.
But what does it
have to do with art?
I'm sorry?
Let me be frank:
This facility's
admissions committee
has advised me to
find a place for you.
I suspect, however,
that in accepting you
my superiors are, well,
acting on some perverse
sense of nostalgia.
Colin Childress
was a cartoonist.
So are you.
That's the only
reason you're here.
If it were up to me,
you wouldn't be.
No need to mince words,
Mrs. Briggs.
Just tell me exactly
how you feel.
Well, please don't
There's nothing
personal in all this.
It's just that my only
concern is for the colony.
(Mrs. Briggs): See,
we have no telephones,
no television, no outside
ties to the world.
- It's a unique situation.
- What's all this?
Our most promising
resident does some
highly innovative
work with video.
This is her
Video Verit project.
It's an effort to
reflect our world...
as precisely as possible.
You could learn
something from her.
(eerie music)
Oh, by the way,
that is where your idol
concocted his last and
most notorious work.
The murder of an
innocent young woman.
A promising musician with
her entire career ahead of her.
Oh, and don't even think
about going down there.
That door is off-limits.
(mysterious music)
(heavy breathing)
(frightening music)
As you can see,
this is our kitchen.
We all take turns
preparing the meals.
This is Whitney Taylor,
our newest resident.
Lisa is a performance artist.
And Phillip
paints abstracts.
I would think that you would
discourage this kind
of work, Mrs. Briggs.
Not all contemporary art
is populist tripe, Ms. Taylor.
Come along.
(thunder rolling)
(Whitney): Yep?
(Phillip:) Hey.
What do you think?
(Whitney): It's...
It's very nice, that's...
That's a cow in there,
It's very nice.
It's angst.
- Phillip Lemley.
- Whitney Taylor.
Aren't you a little old
for comics, Whitney?
Aren't you a little young
to be a critic, Phillip?
You're right.
I'm sorry.
So I guess we have
something in common, huh?
What's that?
A great big thorn
in our side: Mrs. Briggs.
She doesn't think
much of me, either.
Why not?
Because I'm brilliant.
But alas, my lady,:
I am just a mere
child and a
pawn of the cruel trappings
of our Mrs. Briggs.
- Come on.
- Where?
To my opening.
- Your opening?
- Yes.
Every evening
a group of us gather
to critique each
other's work.
It's the one time we're supposed
to share what we're doing.
And I'm sure you'll find the
comments most enlightening.
(Mrs. Briggs): The excess
of flamboyance of the
coloration of your
painting detracts
from the power
of the narrative
and the true glory
of the painting.
Could you repeat
that in English?
It's elegant.
And deceptively simple.
It has this
amazing otherness.
Alright, give me the paintings
or the broad gets it.
I'm flattered; you really think
they're that valuable?
What on earth
are you doing?!
Can it, lad?!
Now hand them over.
I really mean business.
Jesus, Phillip,
give him the paintings!
No, he's bluffing.
Don't count on it, lady.
You're not going
to shoot her.
You want to take that chance?
That gun you're so proud
of is a .357 Magnum.
Give the lady a cigar.
- Sn whit?
The cylinder
holds six bullets.
You just fired one.
The rest of the
cells are empty.
That gun isn't even loaded.
You are very observant.
I want to thank
you all very much.
I can continue with
my scene now.
You've been very,
very helpful.
- Thank you.
- Oh, Norman, you fool!
(Mrs. Briggs): You've
destroyed a work of...
- Lisa, what is that-
- That's Norman Michelsky.
Ex-private eye and
tomorrow's Raymond Chandler.
Sometimes he gets
blocked and he says
it helps to act things out
so we humor him.
I just treat it as an exercise.
Well, Whitney Taylor,
it's been a long time.
Not nearly long enough,
Still drawing the funnies?
Some people never
outgrow certain things.
Some things get
better with age, Amanda.
I've stuck with the drawing.
Of course you have.
I always knew you would.
You had such
a knack for kitsch.
I see you've changed
directions again.
When our paths
first crossed
you were, what, the reigning
queen of the sculpture world?
Then it was action
drawing, and, oh,
we can't forget your
stint as actress, can we?
You are a real Renaissance
woman, Amanda.
Well, careers are
organic, Whitney.
(ominous music)
What the hell is
she doing here?
The board of directors
fell in love with her.
We'll have to do something
about that, won't we?
You bet.
(thunder crashing)
(footsteps and snarling)
(frightening music)
(distant screaming)
(screaming intensifies)
(suspenseful music)
(screaming continues)
(screaming continues)
I'm sorry.
Did I wake you?
It's a great way to try
and cleanse out all the...
tension in my body.
I guess the others
are just used to it
and I'll have to he a little
bit more quiet for you.
(thunder rolls)
So what do you think
of our cosy college?
Well, the atmosphere
is nice, but, uh,
it's a bit stuffy
for my taste.
- You mean Amanda?
- Mm-hm.
I take it you two
are old friends.
I think that if I ever
had an enemy
in this whole world,
it would be Amanda.
We knew each other
in art school,
and she made every minute
of my first year miserable.
What do you mean?
Well, Amanda was the
hot thing on campus
when I first entered
the school.
Not that she was
very talented.
She was just great
at dazzling people
with all the bullshit.
Even though I was only
a first-year student,
my work ended up in
the same gallery show
as Amanda's and
I guess you could say
I garnered a bit more
attention than she did.
Amanda always
wanted everything,
even if it wasn't hers,
and, um...
she had a way
of taking things
that didn't belong to her,
and getting things that
she really did not deserve.
Mrs. Briggs has sure
warmed up to her.
Yeah, well like they say,
birds of a feather.
Anyway we're
not all that bad.
You get a chance to
talk to Phillip yet?
Yeah, he's a sweet kid.
(thunder crashes)
Oh, don't worry
about Mrs. Briggs.
Don't worry about Amanda.
Just keep busy and your
work will speak for itself.
Thank you, Lisa.
(eerie screech)
What is that?
That's the ghost
of Colin Childress.
Seriously, that's why the
cellar door is off limits,
is because he haunts the
scene of his gruesome crime.
Stop it.
Listen, I'm beat.
I'm gonna go to bed.
- Okay, good night.
- Good night, kiddo.
(eerie moan)
(thunder crashes)
(suspenseful music)
(eerie music)
(Phillip): Boo!
(Whitney screams)
on, God, Phillip,
you little shit!
I heard you love
to be frightened.
What are you
doing down here?
SWINE fin you.
Phillip, isn't it
past your bedtime?
What are you
doing down here?
What the hell is this?
Phillip, this is the place
where Colin Childress
lived and worked.
Now according to the police,
thirty years ago he
butchered a woman
with an axe,
and then set
himself on fire.
And this guy's your idol?
Well, Phillip, I don't
believe he did that.
Then what happened,
- They were murdered.
- How do you know that?
It's the only
logical explanation.
(eerie moan)
That must be, the, uh...
Pines, right?
It's the ghost of Colin Childress.
(Phillip chuckles)
Look, let's just
get out of here-
- No.
- okay, really.
No, Phillip, come on,
this place is great.
I think I just found the
ghost of Colin Childress.
(ominous music)
Look at this.
What are you doing?
Don't open it.
(Phillip): You never listen.
So much for this ghost.
This must have been
vacuum packed... Oh.
Oh; m?'
All this must have
belonged to Colin Childress.
Why do I have this feeling
that at any minute
he's going to come
back and claim it?
(Whitney gasps)
(mysterious music)
"of the Ancient Dead."
All the pages
are stuck together.
- Is... Is that...
- It's blood.
"He who has wisdom
wonders not of the Beast,
"for nothing in Hell lives
without man's consent.
"Woe unto you who
would give the Beast form.
"To contemplate evil
is to ask evil home."
I'm out of here.
That's it.
I don't see how anyone could
spend ten minutes down here,
let alone work down here.
(Mrs. Briggs): No.
Absolutely not.
Why not?
Because I said so.
Well, that's not good enough.
You sneak around here
in the middle of the night
and invade an
off limits area
and you expect me
to grant you favors?
My dear, what you lack in
talent you make up for in nerve.
Mrs. Briggs, be reasonable.
Nobody is using the
cellar right now.
It's just collecting dust.
We can both benefit
if I work down there.
The room I'm using
now will be empty.
Then you can bring
in someone else,
and you won't
have to worry
about my displacing
a real artist.
Alright, Whitney, you win.
But if you don't like it
once you're down there,
you can only
blame yourself.
I won't change my mind.
(Amanda gasps)
Whitney... Hi.
(Mrs. Briggs): Amanda.
I have a little
video project...
I'd like to
commission for you.
(upbeat music)
I've never done a
restoration before.
What do you think?
It's great.
- Yeah?
- It's great, yeah.
It's terrific.
Phillip, listen to this:
"It's part werewolf
and vampire,
"demon and ghost.
"It would tear your throat
open then drink your blond,
"and feast on your
still-warm brains."
- That's sick.
- It's terrifying,
but it's going to make
a terrific comic book.
In fact, I'm certain this is
what Childress was
working on when he died.
The roughs were probably
destroyed in the fire.
Thank God for
small favors, huh?
With the inspiration
of this ancient curse,
Whitney Taylor is going to
create the ultimate monster.
Good luck.
I'm off to create the
ultimate finger painting.
(faint growling)
(heavy breathing)
(suspenseful music)
(heavy breathing)
What the hell are you
doing down here?
I just wanted to see
what you were up to.
You've been so
secretive about it.
Since when have you
been interested in my work?
(Whitney): And you
know the rules.
Ho one is allowed to look
at anyone else's work
without an explicit invitation.
It's your work;
I'm sorry.
I don't know what
you're up to, Amanda,
but if I ever catch you
down here again, I will...
hang you up by
your eyelids and
wrench out your fingernails
one by one, you got it?
Yeah, I do.
I'm really scared.
(Whitney): Amanda...
Haven't you caused me enough
trouble for one lifetime?
I really don't know
what you mean.
You know exactly
what I mean.
I still can't seem
to forget about
a certain fellowship that
was supposed to be mine.
Well, the committee seemed
to have thought otherwise.
Yeah, after a little monetary
persuasion from you.
Whitney, you've always
been such a sore loser.
Get out of here before
I really lose my temper.
(wind howling)
(melancholy music)
(thunder crashing)
(ominous music)
(heavy breathing)
Whitney Taylor
is a plagiarist,
as this videotape so
clearly demonstrates.
She cloistered herself
in the cellar and
stole another artist's work.
(low growling)
Now I am certain that the
Throckmorton Institute
for the Arts has no place
for an untalented hack
like Miss Taylor.
It is with true-
(growling intensifies)
(Amanda screams)
(distorted laughter)
(Amanda): Oh my God!
(Amanda): Oh dear...
(Amanda gasping)
(screaming continues)
(loud growling)
Will somebody help me?!
(Amanda shrieks)
(bones crunching)
(grunting and chewing)
(Monster): Who's next'?
(melancholy music)
(frightening music)
(growling intensifies)
(Phillip): Wake up.
It's a beautiful day
in the neighborhood.
(Whitney groans)
Come on.
Time to go to school.
(Phillip chuckles)
You know, you really
disappoint me.
I've always heard grown
women sleep in the nude.
(Whitney scoffs)
At least that's the way
it is in my dreams.
What time is it?
If we hurry we can
still make breakfast.
(Whitney): What do you think?
(Phillip): Hmm.
I think I'd hate to get
on your had side.
(Mus. Briggs): Amanda?
(ominous music)
Well, so this pet care products
company wants to know
the formula of their newest
competitor's flea collar.
So they hired me to
dig out some info.
I find out that the competitor's
top-of-the-line model,
the Peppy Puppy Deluxe, is gonna
put the guy out of business.
I gotta get my hands
on the formula.
But the competitor,
he's shrewd.
He puts the formula in code.
It's no good to my man.
To make a long story short,
I end up tailing
a German Shepherd
halfway across the country.
Has anyone here
seen Amanda?
Well, not since last night.
- Maybe she went out.
- Get real.
We're hundreds of miles from
the nearest shopping mall.
Where's she gonna go?
She's been missing all morning
and I'm really worried.
I'm not.
In fact, I don't care if
I ever see her again.
Hey, kid,
did you ever hear
Amanda and
Whitney arguing?
Who hasn't?
They're at each
other's throats.
(Phillip imitates cat yowling)
Whitney really hates
that bitch, doesn't she?
I'll say.
You should see this cartoon
she drew of her last night.
What about it?
- She drew Amanda.
- What?
Sorry, I can't tell you.
Why not?
Because it's Whitney's work,
and if she wants
you to see it...
she'll show it to you herself.
I got a funny feeling
we're not gonna...
be graced by Amanda's
presence much longer.
(languid jazz music)
The tension between
the two girls was
thick enough to
cut with a knife.
But was Whitney Taylor...
capable... of murder?
(upbeat music)
(Lisa): Death.
- What the hell...
- Shh!
Death is sad.
It's a death knell.
A lament to the
brevity of life.
It was interesting.
It was very moving, Lisa.
You must have put
a lot of work into that,
because it was
very hard on me.
(discordant music)
(ominous music)
I've got you now, Whitney.
I've got you now.
(Amanda): Whitney
Taylor is a plagiarist,
as this videotape
so clearly demonstrates.
She cloistered herself
in the cellar and
stole another artist's work.
Son of a bitch.
She killed her
for revenge.
The motive was revenge.
It is with...
(law growling)
(distorted laughter)
(frightening music)
(ominous music)
(heavy breathing)
(bones crunching)
(Monster): Shop me if you can.
Damn her.
- What's wrong?
- Amanda, who else?
Who else?
(Phillip): What are
you talking about?
(heavy breathing)
(wind howling)
(Whitney): Amanda!
I just knew it!
What the hell
is she up to?
You tell me.
I don't know.
I don't know,
but I swear to God,
I swear to God
I'm gonna kill her.
Amanda stole my work
from the cellar,
but how did she get
a hold of my portfolio?
- I'm sure I don't know.
- Bullshit.
You gave it to her.
Now both of you
had it in for me
from the moment I got here.
Now what the hell is going
on and where is she?
I assure you I don't know
where Amanda is.
Well, maybe she's
playing a joke on you.
Come in.
Another interesting
Michelsky's nowhere
in the house.
- Are you sure?
- Yeah.
Unless he's suddenly developed
a passion for hide-and-seek.
Well, you see?
Norman is probably
working on an
elaborate scenario and he's
stuck on one of his scenes,
and he and Amanda
are testing it out.
If I find out that you're
trying to hurt me,
I'm going straight to
the board of directors,
and that, Mrs. Briggs,
is a promise.
You know, usually
when I'm angry
I can channel it
into my work.
So I've noticed.
I am so upset I feel
like I'm paralyzed.
Come on, let's hag the
work and get out of here.
Go for a walk
or something.
Oh, I can't do that, Phillip.
Come on, you're not getting
anything done here anyway.
I'll tell you my life story.
- Really?
- Uh-huh.
This I've got to hear.
- Your life story, huh?
- Absolutely.
Is it interesting?
It started back in the,
uh, early 1930's...
(Whitney laughs)
(upbeat music)
Have you seen
Norman or Amanda?
For the last time, no.
Well, I am worried about-
Oh, who are you kidding?
Whitney told me that
Amanda stole her things.
It's a cinch, the two of
you are in cahoots
plotting something
against Whitney.
- That's absurd.
- Oh, is it?
You just didn't expect
Whitney to find out.
My only concern-
(mockingly) Is for the
reputation of this colony!
Well, Mrs. Briggs,
you just might
have something to be
concerned about now.
(laughter and footsteps)
(Whitney): Now, the
real challenge for me
is to come up with interesting
ways to kill people.
You're an authority
in that area, right?
Yeah, lots of field work.
Plus, I have some great
research material.
I see what you mean
by interesting.
(Whitney): Huh?
You have really outdone
yourself this time.
What are you
talking about?
Your latest masterpiece.
It's very intense.
(ominous music)
I didn't draw this.
Oh, come on,
don't be embarrassed, Whit.
It's your way of dealing
with aggression, right?
At least it's constructive.
It's okay.
I'm serious, Phillip.
I've never seen this before.
(suspenseful music)
Whitney, it's really not
like you to be modest.
I'm telling you, Phillip,
I did not draw that.
Then who did?
- Childress's ghost?
- Shh. Listen.
Okay... "He who has wisdom
wonders not of the Beast,
"for nothing in Hell lives
without man's consent."
God. "Woe unto you who
would give the Beast form.
"To contemplate evil
is to ask evil home."
(frightening music)
Is somebody there?
Not again.
Phillip, is that you?
Alright, you little maniac,
I know you're out there.
Come on, kid, game's over.
I need my towel.
My hair is wet.
Okay, Phillip, ready or not,
here I come.
Whitney, come on now.
What are you talking about?
Phillip, the curse is real.
What curse?
What are you saying?
It threatens anybody
who dares to give
the Beast form.
Don't you see?
I drew it.
I gave it life and now...
and now Amanda is gone
and Norman is gone.
Wait a minute.
Are you trying
to say to me
that a monster you drew
just stepped off the page
and devoured Amanda
and Norman?
That's right.
God, Phillip,
that's what...
That's what killed
Colin Childress
O years ago,
he probably...
(ominous music)
Oh NY"
Oh my God, Phillip.
(Whitney): It's Lisa.
It's Lisa!
(Phillip): Wait!
(suspenseful music)
Where are you?
(low growling)
(Lisa): Hey, this isn't
funny anymore.
(screaming and snarling)
(bones crunching)
(distorted laughter)
(frantic music)
Wait, wait, wait,
stand back.
(Whitney): Lisa!
(Whitney screams)
Time to go, Whit!
(Whitney screams)
Oh, God.
Phillip, it's not gonna
let us out of here.
I hate to tell you this but if
we don't get out of here
- it's over for us!
- I know.
There's only one chance.
There's only one chance.
We have to get rid of it.
(Whitney): Shit.
(thunder crashing)
on, God, Phillip,
Phillip, it makes sense.
Childress made the same
If I... By giving that monster
a physical presence,
even a two-dimensional one,
we offered it a vessel
that it could occupy
in the real world.
- That's great.
- Oh, God. Okay.
According to the curse...
the Beast is spawned
by man's imagination.
Oh, God, it's literally been
ingesting creative energy
to keep itself alive.
Michelsky's, Lisa's,
and Amanda's.
She's gonna give
that thing diarrhea.
Wait, what are we gonna do?
What are we gonna do, Phillip?
We're gonna...
We're gonna destroy
its physical form.
(frightening music)
(heavy breathing)
(Whitney shrieks)
Oh my God.
Oh, no.
(Mrs. Briggs): Hello?
Anyone down there?
(frightening music)
(Whitney): It was the
creature all along.
It killed Amanda and
Norman and Lisa
and now it's got Phillip.
We've got to do something.
Slow down, Whitney.
You're not
making any sense.
Look, I have searched high
and low for all of them.
But they'll he back.
Haven't you been
listening to me?
I certainly have.
Comic books and
monsters and... oh.
That's a nasty cut.
I have some disinfectant
here somewhere.
I'll look for it.
(Mrs. Briggs): You know,
I changed my mind
about those comic hooks.
I've been going through
a lot of changes lately.
(suspenseful music)
(Whitney shrieks)
(bones snapping)
(monster laughs)
(Monster:) You're mine now.
(Whitney): No...
(distorted laughter)
(Whitney shouting)
(distorted chuckling)
(Monster): Whitney...
(monster groans)
(ethereal hum)
(monster screams)
(melancholy music)
on, Phillip.
Phillip, I'm sorry.
Oh, Phillip...
(chains rattling)
I'm sorry, Phillip.
I'm sorry.
You call that a kiss?
I'm not talking about some
quick peck on the cheek here.
I'm talking about a real kiss.
(triumphant music)
Now that's more like it!
Hey, hey, hey.
Do you mind?
On, Phillip,
thank God you're back.
Thank you.
You're the one that did it.
Now look:
I don't want you to think
this means you own me
or anything, okay?
- I'm still my own man?
- What a guy.
What a guy-
So what's next?
I mean,
what about the others?
Looks like the
hall's in your court.
Or in your case,
the pen's in your hand.
What about that thing?
Alright, one step at a time,
I've only got two hands.
- Okay,
- Okay?
Hey, hey, hey',
get some mouthwash
or something.
Who first?
Not Amanda.
(happy music)
(exciting music)
If I don't destroy him like
they did 30 years ago,
he's gonna do it again.
Trashcan's right over there.
Oh, I'm gonna burn you,
you bastard.
We're gonna make you burn.
(monster moaning)
(monster screaming)
(triumphant music)
(distorted laughter)
(Lisa whimpering)
(Amanda screaming)
(Mus. Briggs): Mo! No!
(Phillip screaming)
(monster snarls)
(sad music)
(distorted chuckle)
(Monster): Wherever
there is imagination,
I will dwell.
(frightening music)
(monster roars)
(bones crunching)