The Celebrity Bimbo sneaked through the dark forest. Right on cue, the Wolfman popped out from behind a tree, a machete held high in his hairy paw. The Celebrity Bimbo assumed a fighting stance and let out a battle cry.
“Cut! You call that a scream?” the director bawled.
The crew cracked up. The Celebrity Bimbo gave them the stink-eye. “What’s so funny?” she said. The crew laughed twice as hard.
The director was the only one who was not amused. Eight crappy takes of the same shot. The actress wasn’t even trying. At this rate they’d be stuck in the forest until dawn. “Honestly, was that the best you can do?” he said.
“Alan, I feel that she wouldn’t scream.” She put her hands on her waist. “She’d fight him. Punch him right in the face.”
He leaned back in his canvas chair and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “It’s not in the script.”
“But maybe it should be.”
Here we go again. Time to massage the ego. He went over to her. “Everyone, take a break.”
Alan watched enviously as the Wolfman plopped a cigarette into his maw and flicked a Zippo, careful not to set his fur on fire. It had been two years since Alan quit, but now a coffin nail would be just what the doctor ordered.
The Celebrity Bimbo hissed, “second-hand cancer.” The Wolfman flipped her the bird.
Alan inhaled the drifting smoke and put his arm around her. “First of all, let Wolfie say his line. And then ... look, all I’m asking you to do is scream. Just a little scream. Like this: Eeee!”
“But, Alan, didn’t we discuss my back story?”
Oh God had they ever. Or, rather, she had rambled on forever about how she saw the character while he nodded patiently.
“Her father was a Marine,” she said. “He taught her how to survive.”
“Be that as it may, in this shot she screams. Just give me one good scream. Or I’ll have to cut your big dramatic scene.”
She stared at him, shocked. “You wouldn’t.”
She nodded timorously.
“And remember to let Wolfie say his line, okay?”
He went back to his chair. Action--take nine. She approached the tree. The Wolfman popped into view and growled, “I’m gonna make you my bitch,” a line that made Alan die a little inside, but the studio loved it, so ...
She gave a lackluster squeak.
“Better,” he coaxed her. “Maybe with a bit of fear this time?”
They took it from the top. She approached the tree, peered around and unleashed the scream of the decade. Alan grinned. Until he saw what she was seeing. A rangy beast held the Wolfman’s decapitated head in its claws. The Celebrity Bimbo fainted. And at that moment the lights went out.
People ran screaming into the woods. Alan scrambled out of his chair, slipped and fell on the wet grass. Hairy hands clamped around his neck and hauled him up. He stared straight into the creature’s fetid maw.
A voice as old as mountains whispered, “You know what you’ve gone and done? You’ve turned me into a joke.”
Alan struggled and squealed in animal panic.
“Once, we had power,” the werewolf said, eyes gleaming yellow in the inky blue darkness. “We were iconic.”
Things shuffled from the trees, wreathed in a charnel fog.
“Then you people started re-imagining us,” one of them hissed through a mouthful of razor fangs.
A chorus of voices joined in:
“Taking from us our poetry and tragedy.”
“No more sequels. No more remakes.”
“We’ve had enough.”
Alan saw his line producer, or rather what was left of him, in the hands of a brute swaddled in ancient bandages. Another monster wore the makeup artist’s face as a mask.
“It’s not my fault,” the director gibbered. “My hands are tied. Blame the studio, the writer ...”
“We’re going for them next,” the werewolf growled.
Red lights started blinking. Lenses came in for a closer angle. Camcorders.
The werewolf said, “Action!”
The monsters fell on Alan and tore him to pieces.
And then they set out to teach film executives the real meaning of fear. The Mummy insisted on taking the Celebrity Bimbo along, believing that he had finally found the reincarnation of his lover. She screamed all the way to Los Angeles.
Joe L. Murr has lived on every continent except Antarctica. He currently divides his time between Finland and the Netherlands. His fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Dark Recesses, Necrotic Tissue, Read by Dawn I & II, and other publications. Visit him online at http://joelmurr.blogspot.com