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Two psychics meet.

One, a serial killer.

The other, walking wounded.

In the heat of a killing spree

they duel over the life of a woman

who hides a secret

that threatens to destroy them both.

Psyche swirls around life and death

like smoke around a fire,

twisting and undulating

in a dance of psychic possibility.


Sometimes screenplays are just ideas. This screenplay started with what was then, in the mid-1980s, a pretty fresh one. There's a police psychic who is tormented by his seer talents who is called in to investigate a sequence of gruesome murders only to learn that the killer is himself a psychic, an even stronger psychic, and the two begin a duel for the soul of a woman whose terrible secret is the source of her value to the killer. I told my idea to Richard Anderson, an Academy Award winner for Sound Design, Raiders of the Lost Ark. I didn't have to be psychic to know that Richard might be interested in making the leap to the director's chair. He was. He read my detailed treatment, made a few suggestions (most notably replacing the bloodless duel with a bloody one) and I wrote a short script that he ultimately filmed on 35mm. The film came in at roughly forty minutes. He intended it as his calling card, and I intended to ride his coattails to fame, fortune, and celebrity. Alas, it was not to be.

During this period I went in to pitch ideas to the writing staff of The Twilight Zone which was then making its network return (that's several returns ago, by the way -- those boys can't seem to get it right). During the preamble leading up to the meeting the story editor asked me what I was doing and I told him my idea which was at that moment being filmed by Richard Anderson. The story editor was very impressed with the idea. Several years later he made his directorial debut with a movie that was, well, to be kind, very, very similar. Did he steal the idea? I chronicled this issue very extensively in the introduction to 3 Screenplays in Search of a Lens (published in 2000, iUniverse), a collection of three of my screenplays including Psyche. I refer you there to learn more about Hollywood thievery in general, and this case in particular.

In the meantime Richard Anderson's career as a sound designer and business owner kept him working twenty-hour days. He met up with an old college sweetheart and romance filled every other waking hour. Time passed. Actors aged. One lead actor died of Lou Gehrig's disease (meaning beyond immediate tragedy that his role would have to be recast and reshot if the film were "finished"). The full-length script I wrote based on the short screenplay Richard shot gathered dust, and more dust, until it was indistinguishable from the dust of ages. The likelihood of finishing the short movie drifted away, but because the script was "encumbered" by Richard's short film, neither could I market it elsewhere, and so it was not marketed. In 2000 I included it along with Unknown Causes and American Mythic in 3 Screenplays in Search of a Lens. I present it here now for your entertainment. Please be entertained.

Richard Taylor, Cambria, California, August 2010


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Read the Introduction Below