Winning 1st Scene Reading – MONSTER MURDER MYSTERY, by Arran McDermott

Written by Arran McDermott


NARRATOR – Frances Townend
DRACULA – Peter Mark Raphael
ERNIE – Jonah Akler-Silliman
THE BUTLER – Charles Gordon
LADY MACBETH – Vanessa Quagliara


Genre: Horror, Comedy, Mystery

A collection of famous fictional villains (and one lawyer) find themselves trapped in a mysterious house with a killer on the loose.

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

Monster Murder Mystery is (surprise, surprise) a murder mystery featuring public domain characters such as Dracula, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Frankenstein (the guy, not the monster). These infamous villains are trapped one night in a mysterious house, along with a seemingly average guy who serves as the audience surrogate. They quickly learn there is a killer among them and only those who survive until the morning have a chance to learn the truth about the house and how to escape.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror, mystery, and comedy.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Aside from being a fun mystery featuring popular characters, this screenplay also serves as a commentary on Hollywood’s obsession with reworking existing stories and refusing to let characters stay dead. I also think the interplay between Ernie (a modern day guy) and the other guests who come from various times in history will make for a very amusing short film.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Clue: Monster Edition. Wait, that’s three words. How about Monster Whodunnit?

What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Probably Star Wars. Not sure which episode, though. I grew up with the original trilogy but I’ll watch any of them whenever they come on.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

About two years, and an obsessive number of drafts.

How many stories have you written?

46 short stories, 22 screenplays, 2 novels, and a partridge in a pear tree. I’ve had one short screenplay produced and I’m working on getting more to the screen.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Smells Like Teen Spirit.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The main challenge was finding the right mix of characters that were both familiar to the audience and fit the story. Originally I had more obscure characters like Princess Langwidere from The Wizard of Oz and Herbert West:Reanimator, but early feedback convinced me to change them to more famous villains.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Travel, cats, my family, collecting movies, and telling bad jokes.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

My main interest in entering the festival was to have my script read by professional actors, since it will give me a much better idea whether the dialogue is working and if the jokes land. The feedback I received was very useful, especially in tightening up my script. I have a tendency to include every detail possible when I write a story, so it’s always good to hear from a reader if I’m overdoing it.

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Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo

Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Kierston Drier

Casting: Sean Ballantyne


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