INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY

Aaron sits down in front of his computer and switches it on. It beeps and clicks and the monitor fades in. He takes a big slug of coffee, lights a cigarette, cracks his knuckles, poises his fingers over the keyboard, then sighs and throws his hands in the air.

                                                                 AARON
                                I don't even remember what I pitched her.
                                                           (the phone rings)
                                Saved by the bell.
                                                           (he answers)
                                Hello?

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Aaron?

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (brightening)
                                Cathy. How are you?

                                                                 CATHY
                                Fine. How're you?

                                                                 AARON
                                Fine.

                                                                 CATHY
                                How are you really?

                                                                 AARON
                                What'dya mean?

                                                                 CATHY
                                I mean... Medically?

                                                                 AARON
                                Oh, that. Better. It's gone. How about you?

                                                                 CATHY
                                Fine. I went to the women's center and they
                                prescribed some pills and I'm taking them.
                                Apparently, it's much harder to diagnose in a
                                woman.

                                                                 AARON
                                Uh-huh.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Anyway, what're you doing right now?

                                                                 AARON
                                Ostensibly writing, but nothing really. Why?

                                                                 CATHY
                                Wanna go to the beach?

                                Aaron glances at his blank monitor, the cursor flashing.

                                                                 AARON
                                Sure.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Great. I'll come and get you right now.

                                                                 AARON
                                Terrific.

                                                                 CATHY
                                See ya in a few minutes.

Aaron hangs up. He reaches over and switches off the computer.

EXT. BEACH - DAY

Aaron and Cathy stroll up the beach with Harold on a leash. They both wear sweaters. The sky is turquoise and cloudless, seagulls caw and swoop and waves crash against the rocky breakwater. It's calm and peaceful. Harold pulls against the leash and stops every two seconds to sniff things.

                                                                 CATHY
                                I'm sorry I've been so mean to you over the
                                last week, I just wasn't sure I wanted to get
                                involved.

                                                                 AARON
                                But we're already involved.

                                                                 CATHY
                                I know. You see, I just broke up with a guy I
                                was going with for over a year.

                                                                 AARON
                                The Australian production designer from the
                                movie?

                                                                 CATHY
                                Yeah. How do you know?

                                                                 AARON
                                It's not a secret. Everybody on the movie knew,
                                and I know everybody on the movie.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Oh, yeah, right. Well, anyway, it ended very badly.
                                He turned out to be a real creep.

                                                                 AARON
                                What happened?

                                                                 CATHY
                                Well... Among other things, he slept with my best
                                friend who happened to be my assistant. How am
                                I supposed to handle that?

                                                                 AARON
                                Dump him. Get rid of him. It wasn't meant to be.

                                                                 CATHY
                                But how do you know if something's meant to be?

                                                                 AARON
                                I don't. But I guess you know when it's not meant
                                to be.

Cathy steps up to the water's edge. She watches the waves slide up to her toes, then roll back.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Like us?

                                                                 AARON
                                What'dya mean?

                                                                 CATHY
                                I mean, maybe we weren't meant to be. We sure
                                got a sign.

Aaron waves his hand.

                                                                 AARON
                                Anything that ten pills can cure can't be that big
                                a deal.

                                                                 CATHY
                                That's one way of looking at it.

                                                                 AARON
                                Sure it is.

Aaron picks up a stick and begins drawing in the wet sand. He writes, "Cathy + Aaron" and draws two stick figures dancing. She smiles. He puts his arms around her and hugs her. Cathy and Aaron kiss. Two lone figures on a vast empty beach. Harold tugs at his leash.

                                                                 CATHY
                                But history just keeps repeating itself.

                                                                 AARON
                                It doesn't have to, not if we don't want it to.
                                We're the masters of our own fate.

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (smiles)
                                Are we?

She takes Aaron's hand and leads him toward the scrubby hills that run parallel to the beach. They begin following a little path into the hills.

                                                                 AARON
                                Where are we going?

                                                                 CATHY
                                I know a secret place.

Aaron's eyes widen. This has happened before. It's just like his wet dream in the car.

EXT. HILLS - DAY

Cathy leads Aaron to a grassy open area not visible from the beach. Cathy sits down and pulls Aaron down beside her. She lets go of Harold's leash and he wanders a few steps away. She takes off her sweater revealing a tight, semi-transparent cotton tank top beneath. Her nipples are visible through the sheer material. She lays the sweater on the ground behind them. Aaron takes off his sweater revealing his "Raging Bull" baseball shirt. He lays his sweater beside hers. They lean back and kiss. After a moment of passionate kissing and groping, Cathy reaches down and begins undoing Aaron's jeans.

                                                                 AARON
                                Aren't you a little bit concerned?

                                                                 CATHY
                                Uh-uh. We both have so many antibiotics in us
                                that nothing impure could survive.

Aaron pulls off her tank top exposing her perfectly proportioned breasts. He brings his mouth to one of her nipples and runs his tongue over it. She reaches both hands into his open jeans.

EXT. BEACH - DAY

Harold runs as fast as he can up and down the beach by himself, the leash trailing behind. He stops every now and then to challenge the crashing waves, then runs off.

White foamy salt water covers "Cathy + Aaron" and the two dancing stick figures in the sand. As the water recedes the sand is washed clean.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

INT. AARON'S APARTMENT - DAY

Aaron sits on the couch talking on the telephone. As always, he's talking to Sandy.

                                                                 AARON
                                You know, Maybe I could write a romantic comedy
                                now.

                                                                 SANDY
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Oh, Really? What makes you think so?

                                                                 AARON
                                I don't know. I just feel like I understand it now.

                                                                 SANDY
                                You're in love. I can hear it in your voice.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Maybe I am. I sure feel good.

                                                                 SANDY
                                It's certainly a pleasure to hear you this way. How's
                                the science fiction story going?

                                                                 AARON
                                What science fiction story?

                                                                 SANDY
                                The one with the aliens and the dreams?

                                                                 AARON
                                Oh, that. I haven't written a word.

                                                                 SANDY
                                Then get on it. Or get on this romantic comedy.

                                                                 AARON
                                Right. Talk to you tomorrow.

Aaron hangs up and there is a knock at the door. He opens the door and it's Cathy. She looks worried and forlorn. Aaron is very happy to see her.

                                                                 AARON
                                Cathy! What a surprise. I'm so glad you came
                                over.

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (flatly)
                                Can I come in?

                                                                 AARON
                                Of course. Welcome to my humble abode. You've
                                never been here before. Let me show you around.
                                                           (he leads her into the apartment)
                                This is the living room, office, and bedroom and that...
                                                           (he points)
                                ...is the kitchen. What'dya think? Spacious yet
                                compact, huh?

                                                                 CATHY
                                I'm pregnant.

The wind goes right out of Aaron's sails. He stands at the center of the room utterly depleted.

                                                                 AARON
                                What?

                                                                 CATHY
                                I'm pregnant. I just got back from the doctor. It's
                                for sure.

Aaron's mouth hangs open. His arms dangle limply at his sides. He looks like he's had a lobotomy.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Don't get too happy.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (stuttering)
                                I... I... I...

                                                                 CATHY
                                Yeah?

                                                                 AARON
                                I don't know what to say.

                                                                 CATHY
                                That's obvious. You could say, "Let's keep it."

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (shocked)
                                What!?

                                                                 CATHY
                                I guess not. Don't worry about it, I've already
                                scheduled an abortion. It's next Tuesday at eleven
                                A.M. Will you drive me? I hate to bring this up, but
                                it's going to be three hundred dollars. Will you pay
                                half?

                                                                 AARON
                                Of course. I'll pay the whole thing.

                                                                 CATHY
                                That's not necessary. Could I get it now?

                                                                 AARON
                                Yeah. I'll have to write you a check, though.

                                                                 CATHY
                                That's fine.

Aaron gets his checkbook. He writes out a check and hands it to her. She puts it in her pocket. Aaron reaches out to touch her arm and she pulls away. She turns and walks to the door.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Thanks.

                                                                 AARON
                                Hey, wait a minute. That's it?

She turns and faces him.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Aaron. Some things were just never meant to
                                be. This is one of them.

She opens the door and leaves. Aaron slowly lowers himself into his desk chair. He glances at the flashing cursor on the monitor. After a moment he reaches over and switches the computer off. The cursor disappears.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. CATHY'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY

Aaron pulls up in front of Cathy's apartment.

INT. AARON'S CAR - DAY

He glances at the digital clock on the dashboard. It's 10:30. He steps out into the warm sunshine and crosses the street.

EXT. CATHY'S COURTYARD - DAY

When he arrives at her apartment door he finds a note taped there. It says, "Aaron, Shauna is driving me. Cathy." Aaron's eyes grow steely. He tears the note from the door.

                                                                 AARON
                                Unfuckingbelievable!

He crumbles the note and throws it on the ground. He hears Harold bark inside the apartment.

                                                                 AARON
                                Adios, Harold.

Aaron walks away.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. HIGHLAND AVENUE - DAY

Aaron and Ben, both wearing soaked sweats, jog up the palm-lined median at the center of Highland Ave. in Hollywood. They pass many other joggers. Most of them wear walkmen, oblivious to the world.

                                                                 AARON
                                ...And then I get to her apartment and there's
                                a note on the door that says Shauna drove her.
                                Can you believe that?

                                                                 BEN
                                Yep.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (surprised)
                                You can? How?

                                                                 BEN
                                'Cause I worked with her for twelve weeks. She's
                                probably still caught up on Patrick Foley.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (he shakes his head)
                                She's only treated me like shit, but I can't stop
                                thinking about her. And she really turns me on.

                                                                 BEN
                                Maybe she wasn't really pregnant. Maybe she
                                just needed the money.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (shocked)
                                What?
                                                           (waves his hand)
                                Naw, she makes way more money than me and
                                she works all the time. Besides, I offered to pay
                                the whole thing and she only took half.

                                                                 BEN
                                Ya know, it's actually pretty funny. You have sex
                                twice, and the first time you get the clap, and the
                                second time she gets pregnant. It might make a
                                good script.

                                                                 AARON
                                You think so? Doesn't it seem kind of heavy and
                                depressing?

                                                                 BEN
                                Make it funny.

                                                                 AARON
                                But she's not a very likable character.

                                                                 BEN
                                I don't know that she has to be. I mean, she
                                is beautiful.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (frowns)
                                It still seems depressing.

                                                                 BEN
                                So give it a happy ending.

                                                                 AARON
                                But it doesn't have a happy ending.

                                                                 BEN
                                So make it one. This isn't a documentary.

Aaron considers this.

INT. AARON'S APARTMENT - DAY

Aaron is on the telephone listening.

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Hi, this is Cathy. I'm not home right now and
                                I may never return, but please leave a message
                                anyway. Bye.

                                                                 AARON
                                Hello, Cathy. Remember me? We met on the set
                                of "The Dead Don't Die." Well that same motion
                                picture happens to be premiering next Friday.
                                Would you like to go with me? I'm hoping that this
                                may actually compel you to call me back this time.
                                So, uh, I'll talk to you later. Bye.

He hangs up.

EXT. THE PARAMOUNT THEATER - NIGHT

On the marquee of the Paramount Theater on Hollywood Blvd. it reads, "KROQ Radio presents THE DEAD DON'T DIE, World Premiere." In front of the theater is a KROQ van, a KTLA van, two spotlights, and an ambulance. Waiting at the door is a long line of extreme-looking punks and bikers. There are also people dressed like zombies, people with fake cuts, people covered with fake blood, people with fake cleavers and knives stuck in them. A TV video crew is going through the line interviewing people.

A limousine pulls up in front of the theater. Everyone in line turns and watches as Tom, the producer, wearing a tuxedo, gets out of the limo with a woman in an evening gown. A voice comes through the P.A. system.

                                                                 ANNOUNCER
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Just arriving is Thomas Kidd, producer of "The
                                Dead Don't Die."

The people in line clap rather halfheartedly. The limo drives away.

EXT. SIDE STREET - NIGHT

The limo turns down the side street beside the theater. It stops and picks up Loren McCay, the dark-haired star of the movie, who is also wearing a tuxedo, and his girlfriend. The limo then goes around the block.

EXT. PARAMOUNT THEATER - NIGHT

The limo pulls up in front of the theater.

                                                                 ANNOUNCER
                                Now arriving is Loren McCay, star of "The Dead
                                Don't Die."

The punks, bikers and zombies clap twice as hard for Loren. He waves as he goes into the theater. The limo drives away.

EXT. SIDE STREET - NIGHT

The limo picks up Ben and Sheree, the blonde female star. Ben is also wearing a tuxedo.

EXT. PARAMOUNT THEATER - NIGHT

The limo pulls up in front of the theater.

                                                                 ANNOUNCER
                                And now, Ben Stone, the director, and Sheree
                                Williams, the star of "The Dead Don't Die."

Everyone in line is clapping, whistling and screaming. Ben bows to them and his glasses drop out of his pocket, hit the cement and break.. He scoops them right up, takes Sheree's arm and escorts her into the theater.

EXT. SIDE STREET - NIGHT

Aaron and Cathy watch as the limo approaches. Aaron wears a big-shouldered white suit. Cathy wears a very sexy tight black dress with sections of the midriff cut out and black and white polka dot high heels that look like Harold.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Is this necessary?

                                                                 AARON
                                It's the opening of my first movie.

                                                                 CATHY
                                It seems silly.

                                                                 AARON
                                Life is silly. Why not give the people what
                                they want?

                                                                 CATHY
                                I really want to talk to you after the movie. Could
                                we go out by ourselves somewhere?

                                                                 AARON
                                There's a party afterwards.

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (nods)
                                Yeah. Of course.

They get into the limo.

EXT. PARAMOUNT THEATER - NIGHT

The limo pulls up in front of the theater.

                                                                 ANNOUNCER
                                And finally, Aaron Brooks, the writer of "The
                                Dead Don't Die."

The people in line scream and applaud. One PUNK turns to another and says loudly.

                                                                 PUNK
                                Who's gonna pull up next? The extras and
                                the grips?

Aaron and Cathy smile expansively as they enter the theater.

INT. PARAMOUNT THEATER - NIGHT

They are greeted by Ben, Tom, Loren, Sheree and the other two women. Everyone kisses and shakes hands and slaps each other on the back. Tom turns to Aaron.

                                                                 TOM
                                How come you're not wearing a tuxedo? Ben,
                                Loren and I are.

                                                                 AARON
                                I bought this suit and I've never had a chance to
                                wear it.

As the people stream in, Loren sits behind a table and signs posters and gives them away. The poster, which is on the wall behind Loren, is of him with a skull instead of a head. Several people comment, "It looks just like you."

Aaron is stopped by the production assistant from the beginning who tried to stop him from getting on the set.

                                                                 P.A.
                                You're Aaron Brooks, right? You wrote this film.
                                Congratulations.

                                                                 AARON
                                Thanks.

INT. AUDITORIUM - NIGHT

The filmmakers all sit in the same row, halfway down. They are joined by several other members of the crew, including Ace, the production manager. The theater is filled to capacity. Ben stands up in front of the audience and they quiet down.

                                                                 BEN
                                Thank you for coming to the world premiere of
                                "The Dead Don't Die."
                                                           (applause)
                                What you are about to see is the ultimate experience
                                in grueling terror. For those of you with weak hearts
                                we have supplied, free of charge, an ambulance to
                                take you directly to the cardiac ward at the hospital.
                                I hope none of you have just eaten, that way you won't
                                have anything to lose. And now... The Movie!

The audience clap and cheer. The lights go down and the film begins.

On screen: The title, "The Dead Don't Die," appears in red on a black background. The letters drip down like blood. Fade in on Loren. He is wandering alone through the woods. The ground beside him cracks open, a hellish red light glows and noxious fumes spew out and engulf him. When the smoke clears he is possessed with evil-he howls in pain, his forehead grows and throbs with a pretty good bladder effect, his teeth sharpen to points and steam begins pouring out of his ears.

The audience begins to howl with laughter, whistling and hooting.

On screen: Loren begins repeatedly pounding his own head against a tree. The audience can't stop laughing. It's like they're watching a slapstick comedy. Aaron, meanwhile, is amazed at the response the film is getting. He keeps looking at the people all around him convulsed in hysterical laughter. He turns to Cathy and she is scowling. She whispers in Aaron's ear.

                                                                 CATHY
                                What's going on?

Aaron shrugs.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

On screen: At the end of the movie, Loren stands on the pedestal in front of the castle, dressed in rags, a bloody sword in his hand, surrounded by all of the extras and horses in armor, and looks into his soul and sees pure evil.

The audience thinks this is the funniest thing of all.

On screen: All of the warriors go charging up the hill toward the castle. The shot swoops into the air taking in the full expanse of the scene and fades out. The credits roll.

The audience stands and applauds, cheering and whistling. Cathy has a truly awful expression on her face. She turns to Aaron.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Let's get out of here.

                                                                 AARON
                                Don't you want to see your name in the credits?

                                                                 CATHY
                                No!

She stands and Aaron follows her out into the lobby.

INT. LOBBY - NIGHT

Cathy shudders.

                                                                 CATHY
                                I feel like I've been raped. I feel soiled and dirty.

                                                                 AARON
                                What are you talking about?

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (really intense)
                                What do you mean what am I talking about? I
                                thought this was supposed to be a horror film. A
                                scary movie. They laughed all the way through it.
                                It turned out a fucking comedy! And I'm completely
                                sure that most of those laughs were not intended!
                                Did you write it as a comedy?

                                                                 AARON
                                No, but --

                                                                 CATHY
                                -- But nothing! They were laughing at us! This is
                                the most humiliating night of my life.

                                                                 AARON
                                But the audience loved it.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Who cares? If you mean one thing and they think
                                you mean something else, it's a failure!

At that moment the auditorium doors swing open and the sound of applause and cheering fill the lobby. Cathy winces. Aaron shrugs.

                                                                 AARON
                                It sure doesn't sound like a failure.

The video camera crew is waiting as Ben, Tom, and Loren, all in their tuxedos, step into the lobby. The camera, a bright light and a microphone are shoved in their faces. They have dazed expressions. The INTERVIEWER asks...

                                                                 INTERVIEWER
                                This is the funniest horror parody I've ever seen.
                                What inspired you?

Ben, Tom and Loren all look at each other in bewilderment. Tom and Loren look mortified. Ben smiles.

                                                                 BEN
                                Well... When we decided to make the film a parody,
                                we thought to ourselves, what're the funniest aspects
                                of horror films? And that's what we got.

                                                                 INTERVIEWER
                                This could be the comedy sleeper of the year. What
                                do you think?

                                                                 BEN
                                Well... What we intended to make was a true comedy,
                                a pure comedy, a comedy of grueling terror.

Cathy is disgusted. She turns and walks out of the theater. Aaron watches as Ben, Tom and Loren, three long-stemmed glasses of champagne in their hands, toast for the camera. Aaron heads outside.

EXT. PARAMOUNT THEATER - NIGHT

Cathy is waiting beside the spotlights and the ambulance.

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (sneering)
                                They're very light on their feet.

                                                                 AARON
                                At least Ben is.

                                                                 CATHY
                                They could use this ambulance to take away the
                                people that laughed themselves to death.

                                                                 AARON
                                Hey! Worse things could've happened. They could've
                                just sat there completely bored. They didn't. They had
                                a good time. That's why they go to the movies.

                                                                 CATHY
                                You're as bad as them. It's all rationale, excuses and
                                lies.
                                                           (she walks away and Aaron follows)
                                Take me home.

                                                                 AARON
                                What about the party?

                                                                 CATHY
                                Fuck the party!

Aaron grabs her shoulder and turns her around.

                                                                 AARON
                                What's wrong with you?

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (shakes her head)
                                I'm sorry. I overreacted. I just wasn't expecting
                                that.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (angry)
                                What the hell is going on? Why are you acting
                                like this?

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (frowns)
                                You don't know what I went through.

                                                                 AARON
                                Went through about what?

                                                                 CATHY
                                Maybe you don't recall, but I had an abortion two
                                weeks ago.

                                                                 AARON
                                And that's why you don't like the movie?

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (a pause)
                                I saw Patrick again. A couple of times, actually. We
                                slept together.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (sarcastically)
                                I hope for your sake he's seen a doctor.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Aaron, I just don't want to see you anymore.

Aaron's face drops.

                                                                 AARON
                                Ever?

                                                                 CATHY
                                I don't know about ever, but not for a while. It didn't
                                work, can't you see that? We sleep together twice
                                and get the clap and I get pregnant. This relationship
                                didn't work in a monumental way.

                                                                 AARON
                                Only if you say so. If we say we have a chance then
                                we have a chance.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Then we don't have a chance. We crashed and burned.
                                And that's all there is to it.

EXT. CATHY'S APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT

Aaron's car pulls up and stops.

INT. AARON'S CAR - NIGHT

Aaron and Cathy sit for a moment in silence. She reaches for the door handle.

                                                                 AARON
                                Kiss me one more time.

                                                                 CATHY
                                What's the point?

                                                                 AARON
                                The point is that I asked you to kiss me one more
                                time.

                                                                 CATHY
                                I don't think it's a good idea.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (intense)
                                I don't care what you think is a good idea anymore!

He grabs her by the shoulders, pulls her to him and kisses her. And keeps kissing her. In a moment she starts kissing him back and brings her hands up around his neck. When they finish, Cathy runs her fingertips over his cheek and lips.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Goodbye, Aaron.

                                                                 AARON
                                Goodbye, Cathy.

Cathy opens the door and leaves. Aaron watches her cross the street and go through the gate.

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