THE ORIGINAL SCRIPT
The differences in the first drafts of the
shooting script are as follows. The year is 1983 not 1984. The opening scene
takes place at 5:30 P.M. Some character names were different: Burt's last name
isn’t Wilson, but Penrod. In the first few pages he is referred to as
"Boss" in the beginning. Spider is called Meat. Trash is actually Dede.
She was renamed Legs in the March 1984 shooting draft.
Frank shows Freddy gurneys and the surgical equipment, and oxygen tanks, which
he warns Fred not to smoke around. After explaining about overstocking
cadavers in the cold locker, Frank asks for help in nailing the lid on the
skeleton. He also notes the door to the locker must be closed good because it
tends to pop open, which after he slams it and walks away - it does. Walking
back to the office, Freddy asks how late they’re going to work, reasoning he
has a date at eight. Frank replies "ah youth!".
Tina is wearing a red plastic mini-skirt rather
than a striped jumpsuit. Dede proposes that they go to the Rat Club. Scuz
replies that it is closed down and you got to be 21 now to get into Head Cheese.
Tina mentions that she is taking a bus to meet Freddy when Chuck reminds
everyone that Suicide has a car.
When asked if he ever saw Night of the Living
Dead, Freddy says sure, adding it was one of the finest movies ever made. Frank
agrees. Freddy says if it is true, if zombies really took over the world
as in the film he would have heard about that. Frank recalls it happened
about 1966, not 1969 as in the movie. He also specifically says it happened at
the veteran's cemetery not a veterans hospital morgue. In the basement, Frank
also says the tanks have been there 18 years not 14. In production, Dan felt it
would be better if Frank's facts sounded more unreliable, from a casual
After the main titles there is a shot of the
sea. The script describes the ‘cradle of life’ with a surf washing in
seaweed and jellyfish onto the shore. O’Bannon even wrote in a crab scuttling
across the rocks leading to a cliff on which stands the Colonel’s Mansion.
During the yellow cadaver struggle in the warehouse, Burt is actually bitten by
the thing on the ankle. When Burt looks out the window we were to see his P.O.V.
across the street where he sees the light is on in the back of Resurrection
Opening the 7: 33 P.M. scene in the graveyard is
a radio DJ's voiceover: ‘This is W.A.R. slash and gash radio, music for the
Immoral Minority. Don't spin that dial, 'cause we're bringin' you "Stomp On
My Face" by the Nurds.’
A large chicken walking down the road is nearly run over by Suicide who even
crashes across the other divider. It escapes by flying over a fence.
In the movie, he tried not to think about dying but originally Meat
tells Dede in graveyard that the worst way to die would have to be burning to
death. When stripping, Casey asks what she is high on and Dede answers
At the mortuary, the scenes of Ernie stapling
the eyes and mouth
are not written in. In the graveyard, Dede is
making love to Suicide. Scuz and Meat are standing drinking beer.
When the cadavers are cremated, black (not
green) smoke escapes from the smokestacks. Ernie looking out the window at the
rain, remarks that it's coming down "like a bastard."
Ailing and ‘gravely ill’, Freddy complains that his arms feel like they’re
made of lead and that he has "a terrible chill".
Tina in the basement of Uneeda actually remarks to herself about the awful
smell. In the film, we have only her reaction to the putrid opened tank. Meat
hurls a brick not a can at Tar Man after it kills Suicide.
The door to the cellar successfully boarded up by Meat, the teens discuss what
to do next. Casey thinks that was indeed Freddy going into a funeral parlor but
that Scuz didn’t think so (Chuck didn’t think so in the film). Meat says
they should all go back to the funeral and see if anyone is there to help.
A tree limb lies across the middle of the street – an idea left out of the
film. Dede stumbling through graveyard cries for the others to wait and that she
has no shoes.
In the embalming room at the mortuary, the paramedics arrive and besides the
vital signs they check Frank and Freddy's knee reflexes.
When the teens arrive at the mortuary screaming and pounding on the door, they
tell Ernie the screaming is coming from ‘monsters’ coming from out of the
ground. In the next scene where Casey and Chuck find refuge in Uneeda and ask
where Dede is it cuts to the cemetery again where we see she is now surrounded
by the living dead.
Before their deaths, the paramedics lines are switched back. Paramedic #2 refers
to his partner as Gerry. Medic 2 was to be shown getting his brain eaten.
Burt refuses to call the cops when Meat suggests it. Tina insists he should,
telling him there's a hundred of those things out there but here only Burt
questions "a hundred?"
When Ernie sees a corpse eating on a medic's head, his cheeks puff out with
vomit. A few moments later, back inside, Ernie looks out the window and sees
several corpses using a tree to get up to rip out phone wires of the mortuary.
He explains that they can’t get to the electric wires because they are buried.
After diagnosing Fred with rigor mortis he stands back fascinated rather than
concerned as in the film. Scuz fears Freddy will become "one of those
things out there" and Tina defensively shouts back if you're going to be
scared of Freddy, you'd better be scared of me too, since she took a whiff of
the gas in the basement. Freddy assures her the pressure was all gone by then.
After the medic attack, the same first radio corpse calls for even more
Burt proposes locking Frank and Fred up. Fred reveals that Burt got bit making
the others curious about the wound and whether Burt is safe to be around. He
shows his ankle, greyed, swollen with visible bite marks but insists that he is
not dangerous because he didn’t breathe the gas. He assures them that if he
does start to act funny to lock him up with Frank and Fred.
After the half corpse is dragged from out of the room, Meat nails the door in
the hall outside the coffin storage. Then is the process of wrapping rope around
the corpse and shining a bright light over it while it is on the table.
Trash rises and attacks a transient but no shopping cart is mentioned. At Uneeda,
Casey tells Chuck that she never did like his face, but under the
circumstances, to "hold her tight."
After the cops are attacked, the dangling microphone was to be shown picking up
the screams of the dying officers right before the corpse comes on requesting
more cops. The conversation in the mortuary continues. Frank escapes the chapel
while the Freddy fight is going and locks himself in Ernie's office.
After this scene it cuts to the action with Burt
directing everyone back to the embalming room. Ernie attempts to comfort Tina by
saying that Frank and Freddy have gone to Heaven and their dead bodies that want
to eat our brains.
Frank sees a rathole and a big brown rat poke its head out. They make eye
contact and Frank as quick as a snake, bites its head off. After feeling better
with a rat's brain in his system, Frank throws his weight against the office
window after it wouldn't open. With shards of glass all over him, he runs across
the graveyard. A moment later, a corpse tries to jump him.
Burt and Meat take Ernie’s car instead of the police car. Ernie tells Burt
"that favor you owe me…no matter what happens, don’t name it after
me." Meat was concerned about Burt’s leg and offered to drive but when
Burt insists he does, Meat doesn’t retort as he does in the film. The car
speeds out of the graveyard but there's no army of zombies awaiting them outside
the cemetery. One zombie does throw itself on the car before arriving to the
Ernie and Tina in the attic hear the sound of a helicopter. After this would
actually be the Frank cremation scene but instead written in is the searchlight
and many sirens in the distance. At the cemetery wall Frank tries to climb over,
falls nine feet down to the ground and limps across the street where he goes to
a phone booth and calls....a taxi.
In the zombie riot, the head coming off a corpse
is described but Dede is not written in as attacking the Squad Captain with a
horde of ghouls. In fact only one ghoul attacks the Captain.
When Burt makes the call to the military, we see
an army officer in a room that appears to be part of a missile silo (concrete
walls, cheap red plastic chairs). The clock reads 3:43 A.M. He is reading Vol. 4
of Remembrance of Things Past, feet up on console, smoking, drinking
coffee. A red light flashes and a buzzer sounds. He grabs the phone almost in
disbelief. He identifies himself as Captain Turner, whose voice is only heard
in the film. The rest of the call is voiceover as it appears in the film.
Dede and the zombies are looking up at the incoming missile in the dawn sky.
Frank is still by the pay phone as he shades his eyes looking up also. A taxi is
coming up behind him. The ending narrative went something like this:
‘The image you are seeing is the fireball cast by a one-half kiloton tactical
nuclear artillery shell fired from a distance of thirty-four miles. More than 20
square blocks of industrial Louisville were destroyed in this explosion which
was officially described as a "Chemical Refinery Accident". Over 4000
persons died from the immediate effects of the blast. Studies by the Department
of Health Education and Welfare as well as the Jefferson County Health Inspector
have shown a 1200% increase in the incidence of leukemia and infant mortality
among residents of the area. These and other complaints from survivors in the
July 4th Louisville Refinery Disaster has led the Environmental Protection
Agency to order 900 tons of soil removed from the area. At the time of this
filming, that soil is residing in 175 railroad cars parked on an unused railroad
line in South Dakota.’