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September 26, 2005

Filed under: fiction»screenplay

Baby Teeth

In order to move the previous self-promoting post down the page, I now submit the following script, which I wrote about a year ago after watching Darkness Falls. The movie was so bad, and so ruined its premise of the Tooth Fairy gone bad, that I decided to redo the first scene my way. I called the result "Baby Teeth."



The kids are at recess. A number of them, six or seven, have gathered by the slide, which is not much used, because these are fifth graders and they are getting a little big for it.

As the camera moves closer, we see that the group arranged in a semicircle, focusing on one girl with bright red hair and a deadly serious expression. One of her eyes is just enough off center to make her gaze difficult to meet. Finally, the camera drops level with her head--we are now one of the kids hanging on her every word.

I know why Edward's not here today. I heard that yesterday, he lost a tooth. And last night he put it under his pillow.

BOY #1
So what? The tooth fairy came and took it?

No. She came and took him.

BOY #1
That's stupid, Melanie.

(ignoring the comment) My mom says the Tooth Fairy used to leave money when you lost a tooth, but then she ran out or something. Now she leaves the teeth, but she takes you.

What does she do with all the kids?

(conspiratorial) No-one knows. But Mom says that when she takes a kid, the rest of the family has extra-good luck for as long as he would have lived. It's still a trade. It's just... Bigger now.

BOY #2
Whatever, Melanie. My dad says your mom's just a hippy anyway.

He punches another boy on the sleeve and runs, taking most of the group with him. Melanie stays by the slide, watching them with her off-center eyes. As one of the boys runs by the swings, he trips on a loose patch of gravel and face-plants. We get a close-up view as he lifts his head, an expression of shock on his face. He looks down. A single tooth lies between his hands, and a shadow falls over him. It's one of the teachers supervising recess.

Oops! Guess you'd better put that under your pillow now, Robert!

The blood drains from Robert's face. He gets up, cradling the tooth and stares up at her.

Mrs. Humphrey, could the Tooth Fairy run out of money?

(laughs) Only if she worked for this school in the Bush economy. (Robert clearly doesn't get it) Never mind. Run on inside and get the nurse to wrap that up for you.


Robert climbs into bed, looking very small compared to the room. His parents say their goodnights and hit the light switch, leaving the room only half-lit. The room is a mess of dark shapes against the white wallpaper. Against the wall opposite the door is a giant toybox, not a solid cube, but made of sturdy wooden rods. It is half-full of stuffed animals. Robert rolls over, clearly trying to force himself to sleep. One hand reaches under the pillow, Robert stiffens, and the hand re-emerges with a single tooth in it. He stares at it, then closes it tightly in a fist and clenches his eyes shut. We pan upwards, first looking barely over the boy's head, and watch the door swing silently shut. As we continue upward, we gradually reveal a dark, hunched figure standing in front of the doorway.

The shape begins to move forward. We can't see much--it's scarier that way. We can hear something soft and almost insectile, but the outline of the shape flutters and moves, as if loose cloth is draped over it. Robert's eyes flash open. He bolts upright and SCREAMS as he catches sight of the thing. Reflexively, his hand flies open, launching the tooth across the room. The shape moves, as if following its trajectory, and launches itself after the tooth. Robert leaps in the opposite direction, a quick close-up flashing his panicked eyes to the camera as he searches for refuge.

There! The toybox! Robert flings open the top, which has a strap running through the bars for a handle, and crawls inside, pulling the lid shut over top of himself. He clings desparately to the strap.

BAM! The dark figure drops in front of him. It is only slightly bigger than he is, and we can see its shapeless form a little more clearly now, but it only confirms that whatever moves under the torn and tattered shroud is not remotely human. It sniffs at the bars of the toybox. One claw is extended, and in a mocking gesture taps on the lid. Robert shakes his head.

(hoarse whisper) No...

The shape cocks its head, and a stray beam of light falls across the lower part of what should be a face. The surface is mottled, grimy, and slick, but then it cracks and we see--with growing horror--that the thing is SMILING. Its smile has far too many teeth, some new and some decaying, but clearly they are all different, as if from different mouths. Prominently displayed in front is Robert's lost tooth, now wedged into the maw.

The shape taps the lid again, then turns and vanishes in another swift leap. There is a pause, and the camera moves in on Robert as he tries to sink into the toybox. In the background, we hear that odd insectile movement, a door opening, and the mixed screams of a man and a woman in horrible pain. The door slams, but the screams continue. We pull in on Robert as he pulls his eyes tightly closed, choking off the sobs that are coating his cheeks in tears. Finally, the screams end, and a low, inhuman chuckle rings through the house.


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