Story By:

Josh Becker,
Sheldon Lettich &
Bruce Campbell


Registered With The
Writer's Guild Of
America, west

Copyright 1984 ©

Title: VIETNAM, 1969


La Chau Four is a small village of fifteen bamboo and thatch huts that form a circle.  A river runs along the north edge and rice paddies surround the other three sides.  Dense jungle surrounds the rice paddies.


A Marine Corps infantry squad moves stealthily along a well-worn jungle trail.  The squad is made up of twelve men dressed in camouflage fatigues, flak jackets and helmets, their faces smeared with camouflage make-up.

At the point of the squad is a young PFC who nervously scans the treetops.  His knuckles, tightly gripped to his M-16, are white with fear.  And 2nd LIEUTENANT GREEN, a clean-cut 25 year old.

Next in line is STAFF SERGEANT JACK STRYKER, a tall strapping man.  He is thirty years old.  An unlit cigar butt is plugged into the corner of his mouth like it was part of his face.

Next is SERGEANT WALKER J. JACKSON, (K.O.), a toweringly huge black man with the physique of a brick shithouse.  He is thirty years old.

Followed by LANCE CORPORAL TIM TYLER, (LOVE MACHINE), a tough fair-haired kid with a football player's body.  TYLER is the radio operator and has his radio strapped to his back.

The marines are spaced ten yards apart in a zigzaging line.  The nervous PFC walks to the right of a large leaf lying across the trail, which he does not notice.

2nd LIEUTENANT GREEN'S foot come right down on the leaf springing a booby-trap, a malayan whip, a device with four sharpened bamboo spikes that snaps up and impales GREEN through the chest.  Simultaneously, a line of bullets tear across GREEN'S stomach and chest, throwing him backward.

STRYKER snaps around and empties an entire twenty-round clip of bullets in the direction the muzzle flash came from and a Viet Cong Soldier, wearing black pajamas and a conical straw hat drops out of tree.  The Marines all hit the deck as bullets zing in from all directions.

A Medical Corpsman crawls forward to the 2nd Lieutenant, while TYLER speaks into the handset of the radio.

                                We need a medevac!  I repeat, we need an
                                emergency medevac, A.S.A.P.!

JACKSON crawls over to STRYKER, spraying an occasional burst of bullets from his M-60 machine gun.

                                There goes another 2nd Lieutenant

                                Yeah.  That's the 3rd one in two months.  2nd
                                Lieutenants ain't got much luck in our platoon.

                                I pity the fool that gets sent to take GREEN'S


                                Hey, Love Machine, Deedee-Mou us outa here.


TITLE SEQUENCE: A montage of VIETNAM newsreel footage -- Napalm strikes, Cobra gun-ships firing millions of rounds into the jungle, F-14 jets strafing villages, etc.


Hill 22 is a bunch of sandbag bunkers with corrugated sheet metal roofs surrounded by coiled concertina wire.


STRYKER, JACKSON and TYLER, drinking heavily, are on Rat patrol attempting to kill rats with bayonets and K-Bar knives.  They have cornered one.

                                All right, Motherfucker, I know you're the one
                                that ate my boot last night and now you're
                                gonna pay!

STRYKER pulls out a .357 magnum.

                                Stop crapping around, move out of the way!
                                I'll blow it's brains out.

                                No way he's mine.

                                Just stomp on him, K.O.

                                Fuck off, Love Machine.  Mickey's gotta learn
                                that payback is a Motherfucker!

He throws the knife and misses


                                Man this sucks!  We oughtta go down there and
                                kicksome ass!  All this reconnaissance shit is for
                                the birds.

                                Keep cool Jack.  What goes around comes

                                Fuck that!  I'm sick of sitting around.

                                So come on, let's do it.  I'll back you up all the

                                If I was the C.O. we'd be down there right now.

                                Man, you are the C.O.

                                Aw, Fuck!

                                Stryker, you poor son-of-a-bitch!  You been in
                                the marines too long.  The man says shit and you

                                What about you buddy?  I don't see you layin'
                                any of your bad ass shit on the gooks.

                                Yeah?  Well I'm layin it on the gook rats now,
                                the rest'll get theirs later.

                                Let's face it.  The man says sit in a hole, we sit
                                in a hole.  We're just livin' in a world of shit.

                                There it is G.I.

JACKSON and TYLER go back to the rat while STRYKER drops back on his cot and flashes back.


STRYKER, who is six years younger and wearing civies, sits in the cab of a pick-up truck with a lovely, 17 year old girl named SALLY.  The truck is parked at a A&W drive-in restaurant.

SALLY snuggles up to STRYKER in the car.

                                Oh, Jack, it's so good having you back.  I
                                missed you so much.  It was getting so I could
                                hardly remember what you looked like.

                                                           (He reaches into his pocket)
                                Here, I got this for you in San Diego
                                                           (He hands her a bottle of
                                                           Channel 45)

                                                           (Taking the bottle, unscrewing
                                                           the cap and smelling it)
                                It's wonderful, I love it.
                                                           (They kiss)

                                Well ... I wasn't sure whether to get you this or
                                a doll.  I guess I made the right choice.

                                                           (She slaps him on the
                                A doll, how old do you think I am?  Ten?

                                No, but the last time we saw each other you
                                were still a little girl, or, at least, you weren't
                                as grown up as you are now.  You really are
                                looking good.

                                Thank you.  And so are you. can't wait until all
                                of my friends get to meet you, they'll just die.  I
                                hope there's a tuxedo here big enough to fit you.

                                Tuxedo?  What would I be wearing a tuxedo

                                For the Prom, of course.  It's next Friday.  I've
                                already got my dress, you'll just love it.

                                The Prom?  You expect me to take you to the
                                Prom?  What made you think that?

                                                           (Straightening up)
                                Well, when I got your letter saying that you'd
                                be home this week I just naturally assumed
                                you'd take me.  You mean you won't?

                                Hell no.  I'm not going to any stupid High
                                School Prom.  I never went to my own and
                                that was almost ten years ago.

                                But you have to.  Everything is all arranged.

                                It wasn't arranged with me.  I've got to be back
                                in San Diego by Saturday, there's no way I can
                                be here on Friday night.

                                                           (Very hurt)
                                But ... What'll I do?  I won't have a date for
                                the Prom.

                                                           (Trying to hug her)
                                Oh, come on.  It's not that big of a deal.  You'll
                                find someone.

                                                           (Pushing away)
                                It's not that big of a deal to you maybe, but it
                                means everything to me.  I'm going to be the
                                laughing stock of the school now.  I can't believe
                                you'd do this to me.

                                I'm not doing anything to you.  I'm just home for
                                a week on liberty is all and now you've made me
                                out to be some kind of culprit.

                                I'm telling you, Jack Stryker, if you're not here
                                on Friday night to take me to the Prom, I never
                                want to see you ever again in my whole life!

                                You think my being in the Marines is some kind
                                of joke?  That I can come back any time I want
                                to?  Now I already told you, I'm not gonna be
                                here on Friday, so you'd better make other plans.

                                I already have!

She gets out of the car, slams the door and leaves.  Stryker is left alone.  The waitress arrives with the food.



STRYKER is jolted back to reality as Jackson hoists an impaled rat up on his bayonet.

                                That sucker's confirmed!  Payback is a

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


A huge CH-46 helicopter sets down and one officer quickly gets out.  He is 2ND LIEUTENANT DAVID MILLER. The CH-46 immediately takes off.


STRYKER, JACKSON, TYLER and the PFC are returning to the hill, battle-weary with several walking wounded.  Medical Corpsmen and stretcher-bearers come dashing up.  STRYKER sees the officer and salutes.

MILLER looks at his notes.

                                You must be staff sergeant Stryker.

                                Yes Sir.

                                I'm 2nd Lieutenant Miller - the new C.O.
                                Seems like you ran into some trouble.

                                Yes Sir.  Right outside La Chau Four.

They walk toward one of the bunkers.

                                Right.  I just finished reading all the reports on
                                La Chau Four.

                                Then you gotta know that anytime we get near
                                that damn ville we get our ass kicked.  Some-
                                thing's gotta be done about it, sir, and soon.

They enter the communications bunker.

                                As the new platoon commander, La Chau Four
                                is my first order of business.  I have a plan that I
                                think shouldnip this problem in the bud, Stryker.

                                Yes Sir.


STRYKER and MILLER sit at a table with a map spread out before them.

                                Now what I have in mind here is a variation on
                                the double envelopment strategy, I'm sure you've
                                used this numerous times.

                                No, not really.

                                That's okay, I'll explain.  What we'll do is break
                                the platoon up into four squads.  The second
                                and third squads will be stationed in the jungle
                                and across the river . . .

He points out the various positions on the map.

                                The fourth squad will be in the jungle across the
                                ricepaddy and the first squad will be broken into
                                two, four-man attack units which will attack the
                                village from either side.

                                If you'll excuse me, sir, why don't we get the
                                whole platoon, march right in there and clean
                                'em up?

                                No, no.  Surprise is the key element here.

                                I know I'd be a whole lot more surprised by a
                                platoon than eight guys.

                                I'm certain that the four man attack units will be

                                If you'll excuse me one more time, sir, one of
                                those attack units, probably both, is gonna get
                                totally wiped out while forty Marines sit in the
                                jungle playing with their dicks.

MILLER is now angry.

                                I didn't ask for your opinion, sergeant.  Now go
                                choose the men for the attack units.  You'll lead
                                one, I'll lead the other.


                                -Have you got anything else to add, sergeant?

                                No, sir.

                                That's fine. Dismissed.

STRYKER salutes and leaves.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


The small village of thatched huts sits peacefully in the moonlight,


In full battle gear and camouflage make-up, STRYKER, JACKSON, the PFC and another Marine low-crawl through the mud toward La Chau Four.  When they get a little way out STRYKER stops and motions for the others to do the same.  STRYKER takes out his canteen, takes a swig and hands it to JACKSON.

On the opposite side of the village MILLER, TYLER and two other Marines are also low-crawling through the mud toward La Chau Four.

With each movement forward MILLER's pack gives off a metallic rattle.  TYLER winces every time he hears it until finally he grabs MILLER by the seat of the pants and yanks him down into the mud.  TYLER crawls onto MILLER's back, reaches into his pack and pulls out a mess-kit which he sets on the ground. MILLER is burning with rage.

                                It's okay, you can pick it up on the way back.

MILLER restrains himself and motions for his attack team to halt.  MILLER takes the handset of TYLER's radio and whispers into it.

                                India two bravo, this is India six.  Situation
                                report.  Over.

STRYKER takes the handset of the radio from the guy beside him and keys the microphone.

A very quiet static comes out of the radio on TYLER's back.

                                India two Charlie - sit rep.  Over.


Twenty Marines lurk at the edge of the jungle across the river.  One of them keys the mike of their radio.

Static comes out of TYLER's radio.

                                India two delta.  Sit rep.  Over


Twenty Marines crouch at the edge of the jungle.  One of them keys the mike.


Once again static comes through TYLER'S radio.  Now they all wait breathlessly for the sun to rise.


The sun gleams down through the morning mist on the village and all of the inert, tense Marines.  MILLER swallows hard.  He is frightened and shaking and trying hard not to show it, although the three Marines beside him are perfectly aware of his state.

TYLER takes the handset of the radio and holds it out to MILLER.  He takes it, swallows again, quietly clears his throat, keys the mike and whispers.

                                Let's go.

MILLER'S attack unit rises to their feet and begin moving in on the village.

STRYKER, JACKSON, the PFC and the other marine also approach the village.  When they are twenty yards from the village's perimeter, two sleepy Viet Cong soldiers appear from behind a hut.  All four Marines immediately open fire and gun them down.

Hearing the shooting, MILLER gets angry.

                                They're not supposed to be shooting yet, what's
                                wrong with them?

STRYKER's attack unit continues to advance when suddenly ten more Viet Cong soldiers armed with AK-47 rifles appear around the same hut where their two dead comrades lay.

                                Oh shit!

The Viet Cong open fire and before the Marines can dive to the ground, a line of bullets tear across the torsos of the PFC, the guy beside STRYKER, then veer down and across STRYKER's right leg.  Screaming in pain, STRYKER drops into the mud beside JACKSON who blazes away with his M-60, keeping cover behind the dead PFC.

The VC turn and see MILLER's attack team approaching and begin shooting as they run over to the other side of the village.

With bullets landing all around them and more and more vc appearing around the huts, MILLER and his unit turn and run for their lives.  The Marines beside MILLER turns and looks back as he's running and takes a bullet in his right eye.  When the bullet exits the back of his head blood spatters MILLER.

Totally sickened, MILLER stumbles and falls on his face.  Without a moment's thought, TYLER and the other Marine grab MILLER's arms and drag him back to the safety of the jungle and the waiting fourth squad.

The Viet Cong soldiers now turn all of their attention back to JACKSON and STRYKER, lying in the mud behind the two dead Marines.  STRYKER's leg is nearly blown apart and bleeds profusely onto the ground around him.  With a piece of rope from his belt STRYKER applies a tourniquet to his thigh.

                                Man, we are fucked!

Bullets rip into the ground all around them.  Every now and then JACKSON raises his M-60 and let's off a few rounds, then quickly flattens back out.  STRYKER snarls through clenched teeth.

                                Get the hell outa here!

                                Oh yeah, where would you like me to go?

                                Move your ass into the jungle!

                                Marines don't leave their wounded, you know
                                that, besides, I wouldn't get five feet.

JACKSON gets off a few more rounds and wastes a VC.

                                Get out of here!  That's an order!

                                We'll talk about it later, right now you're goin'
                                for a ride.

In one quick movement JACKSON pulls STRYKER onto his back, stands up and begins firing his M-60 from the hip like a madman, expended shells flying everywhere.

The Viet Cong soldiers hit the deck as JACKSON, with STRYKER on his back, attacks the village.

JACKSON runs into the midst of the VC, the M-60 blazing fire, and begins spinning in a circle, blasting the shit out of the huts, the VC who aren't crouched low enough and taking the head off the stone Buddha in the center of the village.

After making three complete turns, JACKSON throws the M-60 and hauls ass out of the village, across the rice paddy toward the jungle where the fourth squad is waiting.

The Viet Cong quickly get to their feet, run to the edge of the village and begin firing at JACKSON who is weaving and swaying like he's running for a touchdown.

The fourth squad spots JACKSON and STRYKER and they all hoot and cheer raucously as they adeptly pick off the visible VC at the edge of the village.

Bullets land all around his feet as JACKSON runs like the devil is after him, with STRYKER squeezing the hell out of his throat.  With a tremendous final leap, JACKSON throws himself and STRYKER headlong into the foliage.

The two Marines hit the ground with a thump beside the fourth squad.  STRYKER gasps in pain.  The Marines go crazy.

A Medical Corpsman rushes over to STRYKER who reaches out and grabs JACKSON by his flak jacket.  JACKSON is gasping and sweating, but grinning wildly.  STRYKER is nearly blind with pain and speaks through clenched teeth.

                                Thanks.  I owe ya one.

                                No prob, Jack, don't worry about it.

The medical Corpsman injects STRYKER with morphine, then attends to his shredded leg.

MILLER approaches looking very shaken and overwhelmed with guilt.

                                I had no idea . . . you gotta understand, I
                                didn't know there'd be so damn many of them.
                                I know you told me, but how was I supposed
                                to know?

The morphine kicks in and STRYKER blacks out.

                                                                                                       BLACK OUT:



The CULT LEADER's face appears in a distorted fish eve view against black.  He smiles revealing dirty, crooked teeth.


An eye looks through the viewer in the door.  The fellow whose eye it is turns and calls.

                                                                 MALE VICTIM
                                Hey, does anybody know a goofy looking
                                hippy with bad teeth?


A guy and a girl sit at the table playing poker.  She gives him a card which causes him to have a straight flush.  They both shrug in relation to the question.

                                                                 FEMALE VICTIM # 1
                                Not me, he's probably one of Steve's friends.


Two guys and a girl sit in front of the fireplace, lit candles all around, smoking a joint.  The woman-turns to one of the men.

                                                                 FEMALE VICTIM # 2
                                You expecting someone?

                                                                 MALE VICTIM # 2
                                Hell, 'spect me to remember.

                                                                 FEMALE VICTIM # 3
                                                           (calling out)
                                Find out who it is.


The fellow at the back door turns back to the door.

                                                                 MALE VICTIM # 1
                                Hey, what's your-

He looks through the viewer and no one's there.  He puts his hand on the door knob, turns it and the lock pops out.


tears through the door and comes out his back.


and falls to the floor the door bursts open and five crazed looking hippies, including the CULT LEADER, burst in.  As the CULT LEADER slowly walks up the hall the rest of the gang runs up the hall and into the kitchen and family room.


Gunshots flash through the windows, the sound muffled and distant.


The needle has reached the end of the record and clicks against the label.


lay strewn across the floor.  Blood drips on them.


is splattered with blood which slowly descends through the water.


sits in a pot of boiling water on the stove.

A music box version of Brahms' "Lullaby" is heard.


and turns his attention to it.


The darkened room is illuminated by the beam of light coming through the slowly opening door.  The Cult Leader enters the room and his shadow moves forward toward the baby's crib.

The Cult Leader stands over the crib and looks down at the crying baby, a motionless mobile hanging over its head.  The Cult Leader taps the mobile with his finger and smiles, then his shadow envelops the infant in darkness.

                                                                                                       BLACK OUT:


Title: USA, 1969


STRYKER exits the front door dressed in an ill-fitting black suit with a white shirt.  He is unshaven, has a cigar butt clamped in his jaw and walks with the assistance of a cane.

On the sidewalk he passes two fourteen year old boys in the midst of an animated conversation.

                                                                 KID #1
                                . . . So then she goes up to the crib, yanks
                                back the blanket and the baby's got yellow

                                                                 KID #2

                                                                 KID #1
                                Yeah, it's so scary.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


STRYKER hobbles up the street and stops before an old house with a sign hanging in front reading, "Happy Valley Kennels."  He goes up to the front door.


There is a lot of barking from a multitude of dogs coming from the fenced-in area behind the house.  STRYKER knocks on the front door and after a short pause the door is answered by a short, bald man in his early sixties with pince-nez glasses.

                                                                 BALD MAN
                                May I help you?

                                Yeah, I've come for my dog.

The man blinks several times and looks closer at STRYKER.

                                                                 BALD MAN
                                Sergeant Stryker?


                                                                 BALD MAN
                                I'm sorry, I didn't recognize you out of uniform.

                                Well, that is . . .

The BALD MAN ushers him in.

                                                                 BALD MAN
                                Come in, come in.


The house is decorated in spotted carpeting, shredded furniture and photos of prize-winning dogs.

The BALD MAN notices STRYKER's limp, but says nothing.

                                                                 BALD MAN
                                It's been quite a long time, Sergeant.  I've
                                come to look upon Whiskey as my own dog.
                                I'm sorry to have to give him up, but . . . I'll
                                be back in a moment.

The man heads down the hall and out back.  An old radio is on and STRYKER listens to the news report.

                                                                 RADIO ANNOUNCER (V.0)
                                Judy Garland was forty-six years old and best
                                known for her role as Dorothy in "The Wizard
                                of Oz."  Judy Garland's death comes right on
                                the heels of actors Robert Taylor and Boris

                                On the homefront -- five victims of a grisly
                                mass murder were discovered late last night
                                in a luxurious Bloomfield Hills estate.  The
                                victims were identified as wealthy industrialist
                                Vito Rossano, his five month pregnant wife,
                                Estelle, and three visiting friends . . .

The BALD MAN returns with a medium size, brown and black mutt -- WHISKEY, who trots casually.  WHISKEY stops, catches a familiar scent, sees STRYKER and makes a mad dash for him. STRYKER drops to his good knee grinning.

                                Whiskey, you old sonuvabitch!

Whiskey jumps into his arms and he happily hugs the dog.  WHISKEY ecstatically slobbers all over STRYKER's face.

                                                                 RADIO ANNOUNCER (V.0)
                                . . . The bodies were found to have over fifty
                                bullet and knife wounds each.  Police coroners
                                state that the cryptic messages found scrawled
                                on the walls were written in the blood of the
                                deceased . . .

                                                                 BALD MAN
                                That's pretty terrible about those deaths, huh?

STRYKER looks up.

                                I'll say, I really like Boris Karloff.


STRYKER and WHISKEY walk up the sidewalk away from the kennel.  STRYKER has WHISKEY's leash wrapped around the hand holding the cane.  Every couple of seconds WHISKEY stops to sniff a rock or pee on a bush.

                                Well, pal, we're damn near broke.  Next time
                                I'll put ya up at the Hilton, probably be

WHISKEY pees on a tree.

                                The way I figure it we're gonna have to hitch


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