-hellraiser meets hereditary-
An outcast night shift security guard desperate to find his missing heroin addict mother, summons demons from the world’s most dangerous conjuring book, The Goetia, to help him locate her with their supernatural powers.
*Inspired by actual events.
Story behind the screenplay
Inspired by my well-reviewed horror story, Tales of Demon Conjuring, Mind Control, and Madness – NIGHTSIDE OF EDEN follows an outcast night shift security guard through a spine-chilling paranormal odyssey.
This is a visceral, character-driven, and fresh take on the age-old cautionary tale about attempting to control malevolent forces. I’ve been there myself, so this is quite a personal story for me.
Coverage excerpts –
‘I really enjoyed reading Nightside of Eden – well, enjoy might not be the best word to describe the anxiety and the fear and the trepidation and the excitement I felt as I read (). On the title page you indicate Nightside of Eden is based on your Tale of Demon Conjuring, Mind Control, and Madness, and in your note to the reader you state it is based on the first two chapters. You have successfully translated prose into a screenplay. This is not as easy at it would appear to be. All of the elements for a terrifying horror story are in place here.
You do something really interesting: You present these characters in a way where not quite sure about them – do we like them; do we trust them – and then you begin to make us care about them and the wham! you kill them off. This is very good storytelling and creating character arcs. The development of the shadow and the woman with the red hair and concave breasts is one of the strongest elements. The mystery and fascination for this character continues to build and build. We are frightened by her but intrigued. Our engagement with her deepens as she reveals her identity to Alex. The sustained tension within this development is expertly achieved.
You use time in a very interesting way. On Page 12 “all hands on the clock behind him are at 12.” The fact that “all hands” are on twelve draws our focus to this fact. We sense foreboding and the importance of the number twelve. We don’t know what this importance is, but we are on alert and in search of more clues. Your use of the ticking clock throughout is really well done; and in a horror story the countdown to doom is crucial to keeping the dramatic tension alive and well on the page and inside the audience’s gut.
The black mold motif is really well developed. The black mold begins as specks. Alex doesn’t see the black mold, but we sure do! The progression of the black mold helps structure the story in an intriguing and compelling way. We know that this black mold is an important and crucial element, and we wait with anticipation to see how it develops and unfolds. And the black mold does not disappoint!
The concept of a young man conjuring the other side with the hopes of finding his missing mother is a perfect vessel for the horror genre. In a way this is a coming-of-age story and a love story between a son and his mother. But Nightside of Eden takes these rather common themes and pushes them to the edge, and then pushes them some more. There are some moments we want to look away from what is happening on the page because we fear what is happening on the page. That is terrific writing and storytelling.
Your relationship to language enables you to use the screenwriting language uniquely. Weaving a staccato rhythm with a more mundane rhythm throughout the narrative/action adds another layer and element to the story and the horror elements. The title is wonderful. There is the feeling of wonder and mystery, and almost a holiness surrounding the name Eden. Yet nightside conjures another feeling of doom and danger. Alex evokes his mother’s name on the first page, but we don’t quite associate Eden Jacobs with Alex, not yet anyway. But then on Page 43 he asks the female with the breasts scooped out where is Eden Jacobs – and it is at this moment we connect his mother to the title. This works really well; it is actually one of the most poignant moments in the script.’
NIGHTSIDE OF EDEN (set in 1994 Boston, Massachusetts) is the story of bullied, loner security guard ALEX JACOBS (22) in crisis after finding out that his heroin addict mother, EDEN (early 40’S) has gone missing after just being discharged from rehab.
Given that Alex’s mother is a habitual offender and the police have already been alerted (to no avail) Alex’s supervisor suggests a psychic reading and sends him to Seven Stars occult bookstore. Desperate to find his mom, Alex rushes to the bookstore and meets CARRIE (28) the shop’s badass yet caring, tattooed clerk. She’s a positive force as evidenced by two prominent angel tats, one on each shoulder.
Alex also briefly bumps into a mysterious occultist nicknamed THOR (50’s) who frequents Seven Stars and knows Carrie. Instead of getting a psychic reading, Alex buys one book, finishes it in a single day, and returns to the store determined to contact spirits directly to find his mother.
Carrie reluctantly agrees to show Alex a selection of Grimoires (magical texts) and Alex returns home with a handful of books and a Ouija board. He rushes headlong into ghastly rituals which spill over into work and frighten both his roommates and colleagues. During this time Alex befriends KAY (mid 40’s) a damaged, alcoholic office worker who’s struggling through a recent tragedy. She senses Alex’s trauma and strikes up a friendship with the hesitant young man. Alex’s rituals center around a MYSTERIOUS COVERED OBJECT and he’s soon alarmed to find that those who bully him at home, work, and the gym are beginning to die horrific deaths. As the body count rises and supernatural chaos ensues all around him, Alex seeks help.
He returns to Seven Stars and Carrie explains the sinister history of one particular Grimoire that has been Alex’s primary focus. She tells him that GOETIA (a very real conjuring book) is the most notorious work of ritual occultism ever created. She suggests that Thor can help but he cannot be reached and sends Alex home to wait.
Thor finally arrives and the entities make it clear that they don’t want him there. We learn what the demons have in store for Alex and that his mother, Eden, is somehow more directly connected to the hellish infiltration. Thor attempts to banish the spirits but is attacked and dies. Alex tries twice but is soundly defeated by the potent demonic forces and flees to work. He finds that Kay, someone who never wronged him, has been killed in a grisly accident.
Alex returns to the apartment full of rage and after a violent, shocking struggle (trust me, you’ll be shocked) Alex apparently vanquishes the demons. We also find out what’s inside the MYSTERIOUS OBJECT. In addition, Eden’s fate is revealed and so is Alex’s as he settles back into a seemingly normal life.