I Would So Watch That! — “The Grand Ball”: Part I

Finished re-reading The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov—which if you haven’t read it, either ever or recently, should be moved post-haste to the top of your to-read list—and during the reread I recalled a horror movie plot I thought up long ago. And since this site seems to be collecting, among other things, plots for movies I will never care enough to write, I think I’ll add this one to the mix.

Fall: a woman and her family prepare for dinner. Everything is warm and friendly. A knock at the door. It’s a man, with so much unplaceably off about him—as if there are minor glitches throughout his genes that make his face ever-so-slightly uneven and twisted, his speech occasionally halting and jagged. After some aimless conversation that leaves them wondering what he wants, he admits that he has something to offer the woman. He assures her that he isn’t selling anything, merely presenting her with an opportunity.

They bite: “What opportunity?” “To…how do you put it…accompany me to a ball, my date as you will. You would look most envious on my arm.” She doesn’t respond, sure she is dealing with a madman. “Of course, you will agree. Right?” Her husband, an imposing man, rises to his full height and threatens the man to leave or else. Which he does, though not before reiterating with a wicked sneer, “You will agree.”

The man begins showing up everywhere—at her office, the grocery store, her son’s soccer game—making subtle threats when alone with her—“What a lovely little boy, do you ever worry about him getting hurt playing this silly little game?” Stuff of that sort. And bizarre things start happening around the house as well: things missing, objects broken, scratching in the walls. Constantly escalating. Until…

At home, doors bolted, they are getting ready for bed. She opens the door to check on her youngest. The man is standing there in the dark. She screams for her husband who takes up a baseball bat and charges in. The man seems unfazed by her husband’s threats, still doing all he can to provoke their fear and rage. Her husband breaks down and starts hitting the man with the bat, the high and hollow plink of aluminum bat on bones. But the man just laughs and laughs. The husband finally stops. The man, unhurt and still laughing, calmly steps around their frozen bodies and walks out of the room.

And then the movie warps to the surreal. Objects start falling out of the ceiling—the objects that went missing, rotten food, the corpses of small animals—the walls bend and thrum in a deep bass. Their little girl climbs out of her bed, which immediately catches on fire. The man walks back in holding their dog, a hideous smile slashed across his face. “Stop it!” she shouts. The dog writhes and twists and explodes—an unrecognizable heap of gore. She screams. His smile widens impossibly. He walks up to her daughter, frozen in the midst of running to her mother, placing his hands on either side of her little head. She breaks down, “Yes. stop. please! I’ll do it. stop. don’t. please?”

“Good.” And in an instant she is transported away.

(Tomorrow, the exciting conclusion. Or, a conclusion at the very least…)

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