We’ve decided to start a column/category for all the plots we wish someone would write into a novel. This one’s from a horror movie that had potential but failed with silly scare tactics and bad dialogue (The Other Side of the Door).
A couple move to India and start a family. They have two kids who grow to be about six and seven, a girl and a boy.
Then one fateful day, the mother drives off a bridge into a river. The car quickly fills with water and the three are drowning. Mom unbuckles with no problem, but both children are trapped. Mom can only save one. She saves the girl. Boy drowns.
Months later, the mother is still grieving and tries killing herself. Indian housekeeper tells her she knows of a place, a temple in a forest, where the line between this world and the next is thin. That night Mom and the housekeeper dig up the son’s body and burn it on a pyre. Mom takes the ashes and travels by train and bus to the temple in the middle of a lush forest. The husband knows nothing of this. All of the trees around the temple are dead. Mom pours son’s ashes on the ground in front of the temple, goes inside, and closes the door. She waits until it gets dark. Housekeeper told her no matter what don’t open the door. When night falls, everything inside the temple changes. The statue turns into a dead woman. The dead birds come to life. Suddenly hundreds of the dead are pounding on the door. They quiet and she hears the voice of her son crying. He wants her to open the door. She says no. So he leaves. She opens the door and runs into the forest, chasing him, but there is no one there. She turns around and a shaman is standing right there covered in ash. She runs and goes home.
At the same time back home, the family dog starts barking. The daughter wakes up and comes into the room asking where her mother is.
Mom comes home and the dog barks at something that is near her. He’s scared. The daughter starts playing in Oliver’s room, then the piano plays itself. The daughter says her brother is back. The stuffed animal he was buried with keeps appearing all over the house. All of the trees around their house die and so do the fish in the pond outside. Inside the house, their birds die. Then the daughter says she doesn’t like her brother anymore and she has bite marks on her shoulder.
Mom starts hallucinating and slowly going crazy. The daughter is meanwhile being terrorized by her dead brother. The housekeeper tries stopping the malevolent spirit of the dead boy by gathering all of his photos and belongings and burning them, only to be murdered by him.
In the end the boy inhabits his sister’s body and kills the family dog, followed by stabbing the father. The shaman appears and the mother invites the boy into her body so they can return to the temple. The boy moves to the mom’s body and the shaman stabs her. She wakes up on the other side of the door with her husband speaking to her through the door.
This plot has potential. Take a creepy location (an abandoned temple in the middle of a forbidden forest). Add a child’s death and a grieving parent. Add the supernatural. The synopsis for this reads similar to Pet Sematary, the 1983 horror novel by Stephen King, with a few notable exceptions like the exotic location and the means by which the child is resurrected (in this case, a door).
The idea of hallowed ground is not a new one. We bury our dead in hallowed ground. We believe that churches are sacred and protect us from evil. In fact, when major catastrophes occur, like hurricanes and fires, people flock by the thousands to churches.
Pet Sematary started a different trend, hallowed ground of the undead or unhallowed ground. In Pet Sematary the grieving father buries his son in the unhallowed ground and he immediately pops back to life like a daisy. It’s one of the most terrifying tales from the mind of Stephen King.
What I’d like to see, variations on this theme:
- Location: Borneo, the land of headhunters. A museum with shrunken heads is relocated to unhallowed ground. They pop back to life like daisies and start a killing spree. 🙂
- Location: Alaska, the Arctic Circle. A frozen mammoth, dinosaur, or alien creature is uncovered from the ice and transported to an Inuit village, the place of a former massacre by French or Russian settlers. The mammoth comes back to life and starts killing. Or dinosaur or alien.
- Location: South America, along the Amazon. A clearcutting crew accidentally kill a group of village children while clearing a field. They secretly bury the children in a nearby field, not realizing it’s unhallowed ground. The children pop up like daisies and start killing off all the clearcutting crew.
Add your own ideas to the comments.
Reviewed by Jill.