With The Phantom in the Pit finished and the novel undergoing its final edit, it is time for me to look for the next writing project.
I found a candidate in the monster story Abyssus. Not only will this be a good opportunity to finish a project that has been sitting for the past few years, but I can also use it as an opportunity to write another short story.
Let me start this by saying that horror was my first love in stories. The imagination of tales meant to frighten and chill was always a refreshing thrill, and it was through exploring the horror genre that I grew to appreciate and love retro cinema, and see that horror is not a dirty little secret of art, and can instead provide some of art’s greatest triumphs.
Abyssus has a very interesting origin, its conception dating back to when I was in high school. One day while going to a Spencer’s Gifts, I swung by the figure section to check out McFarlane’s latest collectibles. They had an interesting assortment of modernized monsters, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, Dracula and more, all given updated appearances for the modern age. The one that struck me as the most creative was their new Sea Monster.
This thing right here immediately caught my eye. What a gorgeous and unique looking monster. Just the kind of thing I always wanted to see in a movie. So of course being an ADHD ridden mess, I came up with one.
Abyssus tells the story of an EPA inspector going to a newly commissioned oil platform to meet the twelve man skeleton crew overseeing final preparations and make sure the structure meets safety standards. Soon however, things start happening. Several members of the crew report strange sightings, puddles of sea water are found below decks, and something begins picking off the crew one by one. With the crew isolated from civilization in the middle of a storm, it becomes clear that something malevolent has snuck on board.
Several of my favorite horror films inspired this one, most notably The Thing and Alien.
What is so genius about these two movies is they use their very settings to create a sense of dread. In The Thing, the crew of outpost number 31 have no escape. They are in the middle of Antarctica in the winter, with thousands of miles of desolate snow in every direction. The crew in Alien has it even worse, on a ship drifting silently through space with a deadly stowaway picking them off one by one. Abyssus follows the same trend, cutting off the characters on an oil platform in the middle of the sea during a storm. No one is coming to help them.
It is also my first monster story, and though the design inspiration originally came from McFarlane, I am very happy with how the creature turned out. It is not just a hulking beast, but a character. Firstly, it is bioluminescent, its pulsing light being its signature, much like the Predator’s cloaking device. Whenever it gets pissed off, it glows.
Better yet, the creature isn’t stupid. It not only uses its claws and teeth, but employs a wide variety of weapons to dispatch the crew, including harpoons, axes and meathooks. It even learns how to use a pistol it steals from one of the crew members, which should make the final act of the story very interesting to revisit.
I should also note that though the character’s design originated from the McFarlane figure, it will likely change a great deal. As a naive child, I didn’t have concept of copyright when I came up with this.
Finally, the creature speaks, delivering its dialogue in fluent Latin. It gives the character a certain feeling of antiquity. Not only that, it is this character trait that provided the story with its title. Abyssus is Latin for The Deep.
A first draft of the script, clocking in at 94 pages, has already been written. Now it is time to finish the second draft and get this tale of ocean terror to be more presentable.
Not only that, but I have also felt a brief tinge of inspiration for a short story that will serve as a prequel to the feature script. This short will give me opportunity to hone my more novelistic writing, and help me get in the mood for the story better. Perhaps even get a few new ideas for the mythos.
This short story, titled Mare (The Sea in Latin), will tell of the four man crew of the fishing trawler The Carpenter and their fatal run in with the monster that will eventually attack the oil rig in Abyssus. I plan to complete that short story first, and will likely begin writing this weekend.
In the meantime, here is a little doodle I drew for Abyssus, showing the moment when the creature gets the idea to steal the crewman’s gun. It must have been two years since I laid eyes on this, but it was a joy to dig it up and share with all of you.
Well, I got some time to kill. Better get that horror groove on.