The Raven (2012) Script

(CAWING)

(WOMAN SHRIEKS HYSTERICALLY)

Someone help us!

Giddap!

It's the fourth floor, upstairs. Yes, sir.

Come on.

(WOMAN SHRIEKS)

No!

Not my daughter! Mercy!

Give us room.

(WOMAN SCREAMS)

Stay there. Come on.

(WOMAN) Not her!

(WOMAN SCREAMS) (SWISH / THUD)

(FOOTSTEPS)

Break it down. Yes, sir.

Baltimore Police!

Give me some light.


Oh, no.

It's empty. That's impossible.

We heard a door lock.

(CREAKING)

Damn it, the window!

It's nailed shut.


Dear God.

(FOOTSTEPS) (CAWS)

(CAWING)

Phylum Chordata...

Subphylum Vertebrata.

With kittens...

The ways of God in nature, as in providence, are not our ways.

(GLASS SMASHES)

(IRISH REEL MUSIC)

Lovely to see you all again.

Hello, Reagan. Did you miss me?

I'm naturally delighted to be back in Baltimore, but in all honesty I'm feeling a bit under the weather.

However, it has been said that what brandy cannot cure has no cure.

So what say you to a snifter for an old, ailing friend?

I'm sorry. What?

Nothing.

I can assume, then, that you're out of brandy?

We've got many bottles back there. So it's a question of finances.

I don't mean to shock you, Poe, but we haven't seen you in a while.

Last time you were here, well, things got rather ugly.

Been back in town only a few days to find quite shockingly, I seem to have exhausted any sort of credit I once had.

Fine, fine. If it's money you want...

Try not to shit yourself.

That's real.

Spot these sailors a round, too, on me.

Christ, man, now what?

That'll just about cover the last tab.

Are you really gonna be this cruel?

The "Patriot" is publishing a review tomorrow. I'll be flush by dawn.

If the paper publishes anything you write, you come back tomorrow, I'll buy you the shot.

Tomorrow? Tomorrow I might be dead.

Or you might be.

I'll risk it. How's this?

I get a drink for any man here who recognises me or one of my poems.

Better get to the door before I split your head open.

My head is already split open, you overgrown mouth-breather.

So show me some respect or I'll give you a personal tour.

I'm an internationally lauded poet.

That's why you've got no money.

I am Poe. That's what I said.

Not poor, mouth-breather! Poe!

Poe! Edgar Allan Poe! Does it ring a bell?!

No.

A drink to any man in this room who can finish this line!

"Quoth the Raven..."

Piss off! By IP Daley!

(LAUGHTER)

I repeat: "Quoth the Raven"!

"Nevermore!" Hah! Hah!

(FRENCH ACCENT) It is a very favourite poem.

Vive la France! (GLASS SMASHES)

Slobs!

Philistines!

You wouldn't recognise an authentic American literary voice if it hissed in one ear and slithered out the other.

We know it hurts to pick your teeth up with broke fingers.

Is that your imagination's limit, you mental oyster?

I can conjure a multitude of more exquisite torments.

Your eyeballs dissolving in a teaspoon of lye!

Your tongue torn from your throat with a blacksmith's tongs!

An enema of boiling tar! A testicle impaled on a kebab skewer!

Get out, you shit!

Slowly. Here.

Put her down.

She's just a girl.

What kind of monster would do this?

(BELL TOLLS)

Katherine LaForte, 36.

Her daughter Anna, 12.

She was strangled.

She's so young.

He was a large man.

By the extent of his grip, over eight inches from thumb to forefinger.

You agree someone locked the door from the inside?

Absolutely. We heard the door lock as we arrived.

And by the time you broke down the door, the murderer was gone.

Not a trace.

The window was closed when you came into the room?

Not just closed, nailed shut.

Tell me, how does such a large man escape so quickly from a room in which the door has been locked from the inside... and the window nailed shut?

I'm not sure, but the mayor wants results this time, Inspector.

Question the neighbours.

I want a list of all the men who visited these premises.

Yes, sir.

A lock... triggered by a spring.

But the nail had...

Cut, mid-shaft.

I checked the window ten times and never found a spring.

I wouldn't have found it either except"

What is it?

This crime is familiar to me.

Giddap!

Whoa!

Not again, Mr Poe.

Christ.

Good morning, Percy.

Contrary to precedent, Captain Hamilton, I've no intention...

(SIGHS) ..of asking for money.

What do you want, Poe?

I've come back to town for your daughter.

Over my dead body. Is that an option?

Poe, please.

You know I find you as revolting as some of your stupid stories.

Some, but not all.

You look lovely today.

Get out, Poe, before I shoot you where you sit.

And risk splattering blood and brains over your daughter's fine silk dress?

Out. Is an invitation...

...to the costume ball out of the question?

(COCKS PISTOL)

Father, don't. Sorry, Charles.

See you at the track. See you, Edgar.

Giddap!

Another abject humiliation.

Please! Mercy!

I have children!

Why are you doing this? Why?!

I'm only a critic!

(GRUNTS)

(SWISH-l)

(CHOP) Aaaaarghhh!

Good morning. "Baltimore Patriot."

Mr Poe! Your clothes.

Just beating the mudslingers to it.

Fortitude, Ivan, fortitude.

I'm afraid you might need more than this, Mr Poe.

Why? It's a crime, a terrible crime.

Out with it, man. What is it?

Did that marsupial of an editor dare to change my review again?

I told him not to touch it. I told him, Mr Poe.

Where's my review? Where is it?

What has he done?

He said there was no more room in the layout.

No more room? No more room?

Pray tell, what fine twat did he deem more worthy?

Longfellow!

Longfellow?!

Longfellow!

Where is it?

Where is what? The trash bin.

That is where all this brain-sucking, soul-warping fish wrap should be put!

That's lovely, Eddy.

A real show of adjectival fireworks from the great Poe himself.

Not only do you refuse to print my review of Longfellow, but you run his third-rate poem instead!

People like Longfellow. Editors like you tell them to.

Have you no soul, Henry?

Does the artistic enrichment of your readers mean nothing to you?

Artistic enrichment?

You've got some gall, barging into my office and lecturing me when all you do is criticise others' work!

Not true. Not true at all.

You called Emerson a "sad, festering literary whore".

Because he is precisely that.

Is honesty now a vice, or do you prefer that jaded hack, Griswold, fawning over some steaming mound of hackneyed tripe?

Doesn't think much of YOUR stuff. He's an intellectual nonentity.

He's a buffoon, which is probably why he's so at home here with you.

Aw, you're out of control.

I'm broke.

Then try writing another "Tell-Tale Heart".

People love blood. They love death.

If I couldn't churn out a "Tell-Tale Heart" or a "Pit and the Pendulum", I'd indenture my very soul to the devil.

You've got to publish my review. I'm desperate.

I need stories. Gripping stories.

I've got nothing left.

I've used up all my tricks.

Try laying off the liquor and tinctures. It's rotting your brain.

I only drink occasionally, to be social, to alleviate my shyness.

And the tinctures are purely therapeutic.

A slight palliative against the chill of an orphan's despair.

Write me something I can sell. You're a real bastard, Henry.

Why are you doing this?! Why?!

What have I done?!

Please!

No!


Aargh!

Agh! Argh!

Aaaargh!

AAARGHH!

Consider, Carl, if you will, the human heart.

This small chamber, a vacancy, where gases are wed to fluids and all the secrets and mysteries of our species are hidden.

(SIGHS)

Write another "Tell-Tale Heart".

(KNOCK AT DOOR)

(KNOCKING)

You think you're so clever, don't you?

Miss Hamilton.

"The angels,

"not half so happy in heaven, "Went envying her and me -

"Yes - that was the reason, "as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea, "That the wind came out of the clouds by night

"Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee."

Continue.

"But our love... it was stronger by far than the love

"Of those who were older than we -

"Of many far wiser than we -

"And neither the angels in heaven above, "Nor the demons down under the sea, "Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

"Of the beautiful Annabel Lee."

Do you like it?

I think that it is the most romantic thing I've ever read.

So, I had to hear about your stunt all afternoon.

I wanted to see if I could get that vein on the side of his neck to finally explode. (GIGGLES)

I think Father has begun to suspect.

Yes, and I consider it my duty to wrestle you away from that gun-toting Philistine.

And into the arms of you, of all people?

Who better? Then why antagonise him?

I can't help it. I despise people who despise me.

Edgar, we need to talk.

What is Carl eating? A heart.

A human heart? Mm-hm.

How in heaven did you come by it? An admirer works at the morgue.

I was searching for inspiration.

So tell me again exactly... how much...money you made from your self-proclaimed world-famous poem about that bird?

Raven. $9. But did I mention that it's world-famous?

Edgar... Edgar.

We can't go on like this.

Emily, what do you want?

I want you to get up off your knees unless you intend to use that position for another purpose.

The imagination reels with possibilities.

But what did you have in mind specifically?

A proposal.

You mean marriage? (SIGHS)

It's not such a horrible thought. People still do it from time to time.

Really? When? When they're in love, I suppose.

If I were in love with that person, would I think about her all the time?

Most likely.

And would I spend every waking moment desiring to smother the other with affection?

It has been described as such.

Emily, you are my greatest- and only - inspiration.

Emily Hamilton, will you be my wife?

Yes.

I love you.

You ridiculous man.

Now, what do we do about your dear, dear, gun-toting father?

I've been thinking about that.

We'll tell him at my birthday ball, in front of all of Baltimore.

If I were a better man, I'd forbid it.

(CHUCKLES) But you're not. I know.

I found some possibilities for you, Inspector.

All are gruesome, if you ask me.

"A careful search soon brought to light the hidden spring.

"I pressed it, and, satisfied with the discovery, "forbore to upraise the sash."

That's it.

Edgar Allan Poe.

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On that pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him steaming throws his shadow on the floor;

My soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted... nevermore..

Who's next?

(CLEARS THROAT)

It's called "The Butterfly and the Bee".

An exquisite title, Mrs Bradley.

"The butterfly to her brother bee did sing a song of spring.

"'Come, listen to my ode of thee, thou honey-making thing..."

Stop, please.

It's terrible. I suspected it was.

"Thou honey-making thing"?

I attempted to rhyme the lyric. You've succeeded.

The juxtaposition of the beauty of nature with the whores of our recently mechanised society, reducing brother bee to nothing more than a "honey-making thing", a meaningless cog bound for destruction within the machine of nature.

It's brilliant, Mrs Bradley! It's terrifying, but it's brilliant.

I'm so sorry to interrupt.

Someone's here to see you. Excellent. Who?

Mr Poe?

(MUTTERS) Barbarian with a badge.

What's going on?

Why is hair attracted to a magnet? What?

Soot is merely carbon residue from coal and wood.

Am I under arrest?

I'm Detective Fields. Please, sit down, Mr Poe.

Yes, the infamous Detective Fields. Am I under arrest?

No. Not as yet.

Then I'd rather stand. It makes it easier to leave.

I am...

I'm a reader of your work.

I admit my admirers have gone to great lengths to meet me.

I didn't say I was an admirer.

And yet you read them.

The night before last a girl and her mother were found murdered, the daughter lodged in a chimney, the mother's head nearly severed with a straight razor.

The killer fled through a window in which a lock was feigned with a nail sawn in half.

Does any of this sound familiar to you, Mr Poe?

But you're talking about my story.

A work of fiction.

I'm afraid I'm not.

According to various witnesses, you were seen drunk two nights ago in a tavern near the harbour.

What time did you leave?

I don't remember.

My leaving was...involuntary.

Do you actually think that I murdered these people?

May I see your hand?

Which one?

Either will do.

Perhaps with the aid of accomplices such a scenario might be conceivable, however improbable.

Yet what cannot be disputed is the fact that your imagination has inspired a horrendous crime.

Am I to be charged, then?

Is imagination now a felony?

(KNOCKING AT DOOR) Come!

Inspector, can I have a word?

(WHISPERS)

(GAGGING)

This is Henry Maddux, editor of the "Baltimore Patriot".

He was brought in to identify the body.

His name is...l mean, was... Gris...Griswold.

Ludwig Griswold. He worked for you?

Freelance writer. What things did he write?

Some poetry. Mostly criticism. You know, the easy stuff.

Did he have a relationship with Edgar Allan Poe?

Of course. They hated each other. Had a vicious feud a year ago.

Sold a lot of papers.

How long have you known Mr Poe? Edgar? Well, the past ten years.

You published his story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue".

He wrote that several years back in Philadelphia.

I reprinted it a couple of times here.

People love the gory ones.

So they do.

Edgar isn't a suspect, is he, Inspector?

At this point everyone is a suspect, Mr Maddux.

Forgive me.

I know there is a darkness to Edgar, but... they're all up in here.

Every woman he's ever loved has died in his arms.

I believe that God gave him a spark of genius and quenched it in misery.

But as far as something like this...

The only thing he's ever killed is a bottle of brandy.

Thank you for your time, sir.

This may come as a shock to you, Mr Poe, but we are in dire need of your unwholesome expertise.

(THUNDER RUMBLES)

(POE) I really hadn't imagined the counterweight to be...so large.

We have reason to believe you knew the victim.

Really? If you would?

I don't believe I know him.

Then perhaps this will jar your memory.

"Never has the perfunctoriness of plot

"been so mechanised and twisted by soulless contrivance..."

Griswold. So you do know him.

Yes.

We traded barbs, as in words - not actual weapons of any sort - as writers do to sell a few newspapers.

"The Pit and the Pendulum", when was it published?

'42. "Tales of Ratiocination."

Are there other stories in the collection?

Many. Specifically about murder?

I'm afraid so.

As unfortunate as this is, you may be uniquely qualified to cast light on our killer.

There is logic underlying these deaths.

Do you think this comes from a logical mind?

A man who carves a human being in half doesn't come from a place of logic.

Then from where? Mental disease. Obsession.

Passion.

I believe the killer is taunting us.

He wants us to know he's gonna strike again.

What do you make of this?

It was covering the victim's face. "The Masque of the Red Death."

What is it?

The quote from the story mentions Prospero, a character I created to symbolise man's arrogance even when confronted with certain death.

Prospero hosts a costume ball where Death comes in disguise.

Charles Hamilton is hosting a ball tomorrow night at the museum.

(FIELDS) "And one by one dropped the revellers

"in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel. "

If "The Masque of the Red Death" is his next intended story, we must use this opportunity to capture this man at your ball.

Too harsh. I want something older.

"And Darkness and Decay..."

Six cases should be enough.

"And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death

"held illimitable dominion over all."

So this gentleman dresses up like a...what? Like a...

The figure was shrouded "head to foot in the habiliments of the grave".

Like a corpse, or a skeleton?

Then, at the stroke of midnight, he comes in and kills everybody?

Poe is a damn viper. I ordered him away from Emily.

Now he's trying to... Sir...

The similarities are too coincidental.

I'm asking you again.

Allow me to have my men scattered about your ball, in costume, so we can hopefully catch this monster.

I'll hire extra security myself, but I will not have this turned into a policeman's ball.

Understood?

I've seen the effects of this man's determination.

If he has chosen your gathering to...

You will not destroy an evening Baltimore looks forward to each year.

Then I insist my officers be present.

Fine. Just make sure they scrape the shit off their boots.

Who was Prospero?

He was the host of the ball.

And the first to die.

(GENTLE PIANO MUSIC: CHOPIN'S "NOCTURNE")

She's so wonderfully full of life.

(MUSIC ENDS)

I've been reading... What's he doing here?

He's with me. We were just leaving. Captain.

Just proving how easy it is to penetrate the breach.

I presume the police are here to keep me out.

Mr Fields, if Mr Poe is a part of your investigation...

Mr Poe has a unique perspective on aspects of this crime.

Why? ls the killer an alcoholic, an opium addict and atheist?

An atheist? You misconstrue me, sir.

Poe, you stay away from my daughter.

Father, I've decided to change my costume for the ball tomorrow.

No.

Mr Fields, I'm happy to indulge your request for security, but if I see him tomorrow night, you'll have to protect him from me.

Why do we need security?

My writing has become the inspiration to an actual killer.

Quite gruesome, really.

If I'd known my work had a morbid effect on people, I'd have devoted more time to eroticism.

You're a vile little man.

As I said, we were just leaving.

Yes. Percy, show this man to the door.

Mrs Bradley, could you join me in the other room?

(WHISPERS) What is going on?

Emily.

We should reconsider our announcement.

Why? Are you backing out? No, never.

If your father sees me there, he may have me shot.

And a depraved killer may be on the guest list.

It's a bit much for one night, don't you think?

I think it sounds thrilling.

Does it? Why?

How else should Edgar Allan Poe commit himself to eternal love other than under threat of death?

(WALTZ MUSIC)

The Grim Reaper. A ghost. The Headless Horseman, if you like.

He should be easy to spot.

Elderidge, take some of these men and patrol the back.

Sir.

You must be selling a lot of newspapers. Two murders in a week.

Circulation has indeed improved, despite unfortunate events.

Time for a piss.

May I have this dance? Father.

Not now.

I'm not sure what's troubling you, but your future happiness means more to me than I could possibly describe.

I really hope you feel that way at the end of the evening.

Whatever this is about, I need you to be more social.

It is an important gathering for me and for us.

Father, I know what's expected.


Excuse me! Please.

Please, step aside.

Step aside!


Fields' men aren't causing any trouble?

No, sir.

What of Poe? Any sign of him?

Not so far.

A glass of wine, sir?

(GLASS SMASHES)

You look just stunning, my dear.

(WHISPERS) Nevermore.

"..Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

"Of the..." I'm sorry, I'm waiting for someone.

"Of the beautiful Annabel...Lee."


You dance passionately, sir.

If I could, I would dance with you throughout time.

I love you, Edgar. And I you.

You really are a reckless girl... (GIGGLES)

...to dance with a stranger with a mask, with a murderer in our midst.

Speaking of which... (CRASH)

Courage, Edgar. (HORSE NEIGHS)

(SCREAMS) It's happening! This way.

Oh!

(POE) Emily!

(WHINNIES)

Agh!

He told me you'd ordered it for the party.

Who? Who ordered it? I'm supposed to deliver this.

My daughter. He has her.

Percy! Seal off this building! Find her!

Come on! (CLOCK CHIMES)

"I challenge the brilliant detective mind of Edgar Allan Poe.

"A game of wits with Emily's life in the balance.

"You will immortalise for the exquisite pleasure of your readers

"this, your very own 'Descent into the Maelstrom', "which shall appear in serial form in the 'Baltimore Patriot'.

"Know that I will kill again, and on that new corpse

"I will leave you clues that will lead to Emily.

"If I do not read a vivid accounting of this convergence

"of fact and fiction, then dear Emily will die.

"Your only hope is to imagine a way to save her.

"I dare you to try to conceive of the painstaking care

"I have taken to secure her

"and the elegant means leading inexorably to her end.

"Are you up to the task, Mr Poe?

"Are you even capable of imagining

"the means to save your beloved's life?

"Or shall this tale end as all your stories do, "with Madness, Sin and Horror the soul of the plot?"

Your men are right. I've killed her.

We must assume Miss Hamilton is still alive.

Why must we assume that? Because it's more convenient to do so?

Why am I to blame?

Where were all these officers last night?!

Where were you?!

He told you he was coming!

Mr Poe, listen to me.

This killer is methodical.

He will keep her alive to keep you involved.

It's part of his game and that's the logic that will trap him.

It's the facts of this case that give us the advantage.

Did you tell your people to familiarise themselves with my face?

They'll see it every hour till my daughter is returned to me.

Mr Hamilton, I'm very sorry.

As well you should be! She was taken under your watch.

Sir, if you would please... What the hell is HE doing here?

Bastard! Hey!

Arrest him. It's his fault.

There is plenty of fault to be passed around.

I'm sure you understand what I mean by that, Mr Hamilton.

Mr Poe here is our only connection to the man who has your daughter.

I suggest you remember that.

(GROANS)

Out of the way.

We will reconvene in two hours.

Until then, I want every street in Baltimore manned. Understood?

(ALL) Yes, sir.

Lord help my poor soul.

(DIRT BEING SHOVELLED)

Oh. Oh, Lord.

(DIRT BEING SHOVELLED AND THROWN)

Wait. No. No...

Wait... Please... (SOBBING)

(THUD) Help! Let me out!

Let me out of here!

(DIRT BEING THROWN) (SCREAMS) No, stop! Stop!

(MAN) Shut it, Emily, or I'll shut it for you.

(MAN BREATH ES HEAVILY)

OK.

OK. I'm sorry.

(SHOVELLING CONTINUES) Sorry.

(DIRT BEING THROWN)

The human body is to be revered.

We must at all times be respectful and remember that a cadaver is more than a mere learning tool.

We shall examine the lungs.

This man is an alleged victim of consumption.

(THUMP FROM INSIDE COFFIN)

(MOVEMENT)

Professor? What is it?

Dear God.

(CAWING)

(RAVEN CAWS)

(VOMITS)

(RAVEN CAWS)

She could be a prostitute, the way she's painted up.

Did you open this?

Were your hands clean'?

Yes. I don't believe I left that smudge, Inspector.

She must have fought him or scratched him.

She didn't fight him.

There are no wounds on her wrists. It can't be her blood, Inspector.

He came at her from behind.

(POE) Strangled.

(FIELDS) Another of your stories?

Mr Poe, I asked is this another of your stories?

"The Mystery of Marie Roget."

(FIELDS) It's a sailing knot.

It's a bowline knot, to be exact.

Just as it was in the story.

All right. Then what of it'?

Who was she?

She was a girl... who worked in the stores in Paris near the Quais.

She drowned. There was no mention of blood on her hands.

He added that detail.

You must write it now. Every detail.

The knot, her dress, her hands.

Her eyes. Her end.

(LAUGHING)

Her smile portended nothing.

Her innocence was the first part of her soul to die.

And while it happened, he stood still, watching to fully enjoy the dreadful metamorphosis from a life full of hope to death without purpose.

(KNOCK AT DOOR)

Mr Poe.

I've been, erm...

I'm sorry to disturb you but...

I was a little concerned about your...

My progress? Yes.

I feel as if I've gone from author to character in one of my tales.

As trapped and bedevilled as any of the hapless bastards I ever created.

I can appreciate that.

Regardless of what you think of me, Fields, I am a master of my art, and I will not fail her.

I know that.

Look, I... I think I was overly harsh with you the other day, and for that I'd like to apologise.

My wife was singing at the piano when she first coughed up blood.

I prepared myself for the worst, but Virginia seemed to recover, and foolishly I succumbed to hope.

But by year's end the blood came again... and again.

Great effusions of blood.

Raging fevers, her sheets spattered with crimson, drenched with sweat.

I often thought I could hear the sound of darkness as it stole across the horizon rushing towards me.

But here I...

I was overwhelmed by a sorrow so poignant, when she finally died I felt in all candour a great release.

But it was supplanted by the return of that dark and morbid melancholy that followed me like a black dog...

all my life...

until I met Emily.

Time is running out, Inspector.

Do you really believe she's still alive?

I'm sure of it.

(BREATH ES SHALLOWLY)

(SIGHS)


(SIGHS)

Magnificent.

Poe, you have done it again.

The invention is...breath-taking.

The line of truth and fiction has never been so...

SO...

I'm not sure about your headline.

Henry, you will not change one word.

Fine. Ivan? Ivan...

Reset page one immediately.

(POE) ..melancholy that's followed me like a black dog all my life...

(EMILY) I love you, Edgar.

(POUNDING ON DOOR)

(DISTORTED HOWLING)

Fields!

The blood, Poe, it's fake! The blood?

The prostitute. She's no prostitute. It's stage blood. She's an actress.

The blood on the hands. "Macbeth." Exactly.

Poe's like the hangman, the bastard, making money off the dead.

Get your paper! About a serial killer on the loose!

(FIELDS) Cantrell is at the theatre. All the exits are secured.

The Imperial, I'm assuming. My mother's playhouse.

The victim was still in her costume, which suggests she was abducted directly from the theatre.

We'll find her.

I would gladly give my life for hers, Mr Fields.

I know you would.

Out, damned spot. Out, I say!

One, two...

...then, 'tis time to do it!

Hell is murky!

Who are you?

Police. I have a warrant to search these premises.

What for? There's a show on!

Bring all stagehands now. They have to man the ropes.

First Lady Macbeth takes a powder, and now you bastards...

Ten seconds.

(SPITS)

Put out your hands.

(MAN) Ladies and gentlemen, the play will resume shortly.

Please take your seats.

You, step forth. Take off the gloves.

Is this your entire crew? Yes.

Are you sure? I am.

Count them again. (PLAY RESUMES ON STAGE)

What are you doin'?!

We've got seven minutes before the act change.

You, where are you from? Liverpool.

Got three days' shore leave to make extra scratch.

So if you don't mind, please... Read it.

It's "Macbeth". I know the play.

Someone's missing. Who?

Maurice. Where is he?

I don't know, but nobody's allowed to leave until the show is over.

He's here.

If any of them try to leave, shoot them.

Yes, sir.

(PLAY CONTINUES ON STAGE)


...put on your nightgown...

(FOOTSTEPS)

(CLATTER)

You there, come out. Show yourself.

Stop!

Show yourself!

I Will kill you!

I have a pistol aimed on you.

Come out now. Put your hands where I can see them or I will fire.

(GASPS AND GROANS)

(GUNSHOT)

(SCREAMING)

(CHILD) Don't shoot me! I'm in the play!

You're all right. You stay here, OK?

What happened? My pistol, I lost it.

I saw him. Damn it.

Seal the doors! He's here! Yes, sir!

The missing stagehand, what was his name?

Maurice.

Hey! Where do the crew keep their things?

We have lockers downstairs.

Here. Poe!

Fields, up here.

What is that?

Looks like a piece of fish.

That is a human tongue.

What does it mean?

Wait. Yes. "The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar."

A man's suspended between life and death by mesmerism.

A living corpse who can only speak via the vibrations of his tongue.

It's a bit of burlesque.

But the tongue wasn't severed.

Mr Poe! Sir, there's been an accident.

Put your backs into it!

Come on! Keep it going! We're gonna need more!

The fire's not going to put itself out! Come on!

Jack, get all those people back from the building!

Please, step back! Move back! It's not safe. Get back, sir.

Everybody, get back!

A damnation on earth.

Hell's brimstone his food, consumed from birth, in solitude.

Let's go, men! Move it, move it!

The windows were shattered first. I don't think it was an accident.

I'm certain you're correct.

Sir, we also found this. (CHITTERING)

I'll take it if it's not yours. He's stuck with us since we got here.

I can tell from the sound of his voice he's mine.

Thank you, Officer.

(RACCOON CHITTERS)

(THUNDER RUMBLES)


(BREATH ES IN DEEPLY)

(WHIMPERS)

(THUD) (CRIES OUT)

(BREATHES HEAVILY)

Why are you doing this to me?

Please let me out.

I can't.

Yes, you can.

You can.

Please.

I'm so cold.

(SNIGGERING)

(MAN CONTINUES TO SNIGGER)

Why are you doing it?

Please don't let me die in here.

Miss Hamilton...

(WHIMPERS)

(SNIGGERS)

(BLOOD-CURDLING SCREAM)

No!No!No!

(HYSTERICALLY SCREAMING AND SOBBING)

(DIRT BEING SHOVELLED AND THROWN)

(PANTING HYSTERICALLY)

(KNOCK AT DOOR)

(COCKS GUN)

Mr Poe.

I'm afraid I found myself without lodgings.

Yes, I heard.

I don't mean to impose.

Oh, yes, of course. Forgive me, please. Come in.

It appears to Baltimore I've become one of the very demons I conceived.

The fire was intentional. Yes, I heard.

The town is angry. The mayor wants results.

Another set of unsolved murders? Is that it?

(THUNDER RUMBLES)

He was inches away. If I hadn't dropped my weapon...

Perhaps.

But we have made some headway.

According to theatre records, the sailor's name is Maurice Robichaux.

Does that mean anything to you?

No.

Cantrell and I made some inquiries at the docks.

He was signed on to a trading vessel which made port five days ago.

The start of the murders.

And, like many sailors, he took employment in the theatre, working the backstage riggings.

But, as we know, he wasn't there today.

Everything down to our entrance was prearranged.

Look, it may be arduous, but I've learned, in order to find a needle in a haystack, you have to go through the hay.

These ship's records I think... Ship's records?

I must remind you, Mr Poe, every detail here is essential.

Tell me, are you not piqued by your abject failure to ferret out this assassin?

Your reputation is at stake. Look at me.

Four people are dead!

An angel breaks on the rack of some depraved beast, but this clerk squints over his eyeshades at ledgers and timetables!

Is this a fucking joke?!

What else should we do?!

Run around all of Baltimore screaming out her name?!

(CRASH OF THUNDER)

(RAIN FALLS HEAVILY)

Now, please, think.

Start with the sailor.

Have you ever written anything about a sailor?

No.

Did you speak with the ship captain?

I did. And?

Robichaux was a valued crewman. Well liked.

Had a family back home.

Where? In France.

Nîmes.

Anything? No.

Yes. Possibly. Who knows?

You see, what I keep asking myself is...why Baltimore?

The Fortunato had docked in ports around the world.

The what? All over the world.

The name of the ship, say it again. Fortunato.

"The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could."

What is that?

The first sentence of "The Cask of Amontillado".

Go on. A story I wrote about revenge.

A man kills his rival by walling him up. Fortunato is entombed alive.

Where? In the catacombs of a palazzo.

The story is set in Italy. There are no catacombs here.

No, but there are tunnels underneath the city.

Tunnels?

The waterworks.

You are looking for anything that would indicate recently laid masonry.

We will be timing this.

I will blow my whistle as such... (WHISTLE)

We will then shout her name in unison from all areas of the tunnels.

Emily!

There'll be a pause of ten seconds of absolute silence when we will listen for the smallest sound.

Anything to indicate movement from behind the walls.

If an officer detects something, he will blow his whistle and we will examine the wall at that point.

Are we clear? (ALL) Yes, sir.

Then move out.


(FOOTSTEPS SQUELCH IN WATER)

(WHISTLE)

(WHISTLE ECHOES)

(POE) Emily!

(OFFICERS) Emily!

Emily!

(FOOTSTEPS) Shh!


Emily!

Emily! (WHISTLE)

EMILY!

(WHISTLE) (OFFICERS SHOUT TO EACH OTHER)

(OFFICER) Over here. They're down here.

The mortar's a different colour. Look.

Hold that.

Here. Stand back.

What is it? Do you have her?

Give me that. What is it, Inspector?

Keep digging. Yes, sir.


(REVERBERATION)

(SWINGING PICKAXE)

Halt!

Aaarghhh!

Get the doctor. (GRUNTS)

"Do not bemoan the sailor's life.

"He was always sure to die anyway.

"But his demise did serve a purpose of leaving you clues.

"Godspeed, Poe. Emily weakens by the hour, "both physically and spiritually."

I Will kill him.

No matter how this ends, I will kill this perversion of a man.

"Godspeed"? Even his prose is barbaric.

Why dress him up like Miss Hamilton?

For the thrill of watching me suffer.

Here, John. Bring the light closer.

I think I've found something.

What is that?

Help me turn him over.

I think we've found our missing sailor.

It's a sextant.

Natural choice for a seaman, I suppose.

My brother, he went to sea.

A lot of men, they get these in the Orient.

This notch in the flesh is fresh. It's still clotted.

The killer did this.

Think it was part of the struggle?

Too deliberate. It's a latitudinal co-ordinate.

If you mark the angle of the sun at its highest point it shows you how far you are from the equator.

It's useless without longitude.

Even in the army they teach basic navigation.

I went to West Point.

I was expelled, don't worry.

Fields, look there.

Get me a scalpel.

Here.

His tongue has been removed.

And this... has replaced it.

What's it for?

Longitude.

Pen and paper.

He's giving us a location.

(POUNDING) Open up! Open the door!

Where's Hamilton?

Hamilton! What's happened?

We need your navigational maps and celestial almanacs.

Why? He gave us the location of Emily.

This watch is mine.

I thought I'd lost it.

The killer left this? On the dead sailor.

In, to be more exact. The utter gall.

Along with the latitudinal co-ordinates.

Incredible.

Forgive me. I have no background in navigational techniques.

To plot an exact position, you need three things: a sextant, an accurate chronometer and a celestial almanac.

The almanac tells the exact time at which the sun hits its zenith.

Exact noon. Shall I bring more?

Leave it! Please.

It's all right, Percy. Get another.

If your watch is set to Greenwich Mean Time, you can calculate how far east or west of Greenwich, London you are.

Twelve. . .twenty-seven. Twenty-eight, rather.

Which one, damn it'? Twenty-eight.

Twelve twenty-eight, right? Yes.

Longitude is a measure of time east or west.

Latitude, distance from the equator. That's north or south.

Seventeen degrees north.

The West Indies? It can't be.

He couldn't have transported her that far.

Here. St Croix.

That's impossible. The Danish West Indies is a two-week journey.

It's not an island, St Croix.

Holy Cross.

Holy Cross!

Holy Cross Church. That's our parish.

Giddap!

Cantrell, you and the others around back.

Spread out. If need be, break a window. We must get inside!

Emily! Come on!

Emily!

(CLICK FROM INSIDE)

(PLASTER DROPS)

North-west corner!

(CHOKING / GURGLING)

John!

Don't move, John. (GASPING FOR AIR)

(GUNSHOT) Argh!

He's over here!

There! Black horse!

(GUNSHOT)

Steady.

Fields? Get him!

Find him, Edgar! Go!

(HORSE WHINNIES)


(BIRDS CALL)

(HORSE NICKERS)

(GUNSHOT)

(HORSE WHINNIES)

(TWIGS SNAPPING) Your name!

You coward!

(GUNSHOT RICOCHETS)

Who are you?!

(GUNSHOT)

(HORSE HOOVES) (GUNSHOT)

(HORSE HOOVES RECEDE)


(HAMILTON, IN DISTANCE) Poe!

Poe!

The killer escaped.

My horse is gone.

What about Fields? He was shot.

He's at Doc Clements'.

What of you?

The paper goes to press in three hours.

There was an empty grave. It had Emily's name on it.

That was his clue. That's why he sent us there.

Perhaps, or to kill again.

I'm sorry, Poe. This is my fault.

I should never have gone ahead with the ball.

These were my stories.

Your daughter's love for me is the reason another man's dead.

Go to Doc Clements.

I have one more story to write.

Edgar for today, she's still alive.

(YELL OF PAIN)

(FIELDS) Doctor, let me go!

(GRUNTS) Let me go! We're running out of time!

For God's sake, a bullet is in your chest!

Lie down and let me do my job before you bleed to death.

The son of a bitch is gonna kill her today.

So you cut the bullet out and you patch me up now!

There's a bottle of whiskey in the kitchen. Bring it here.

What the hell is that? A magnet.

To find the bullet to cut it out.

Soak that pillowcase in the whiskey, and give him the rest. He'll need it.

(GRUNTS)

(YELLS IN AGONY)

The gossamer white of bone was now visible beneath the tattered meat of her fingertips, as Emily clawed madly at the wooden slats of her coffin, a desperate, drowning animal.

The dirt rose around her, the inescapable sand of an hourglass, as her final breath of air slipped her into the twilight of consciousness until...

(EMILY WHIMPERS)

(SIGHS WITH RELIEF)

(GASPS FOR AIR)


(WHIMPERS)

(RETCHES)

(MUFFLED SCREAMS)

He knew now that all hope was lost.

He had failed his beloved, and there was one last thing left to do.

One last act.

"A final desperate plea: one life offered for another's."

Oh, Mr Poe, no... No, you can't!

Set the print, Ivan. But, sir...

Do it!

You can't take it as your fault, Mr Poe.

Is there someone else you'd blame?

It's the killer who's to blame, sir.

Let me read that. Sir, I need to...

"Poe could feel the poison already feeding on his blood, "as the maggots were soon to do."

Jesus, Edgar...

Making enough money, Henry?! Mr Poe, don't! Mr Poe!

Will it sell?!

Will it?! Mr Poe!

You madman!

I'll have you thrown in jail, you damned animal!

I'll send you to hell! Huh?! Hell!

Mr Poe, don't. It's not worth it.

(CRIES OUT)

(GRUNTS)

(GROANS)

Clements!

(BELL TOLLS)


I'm sorry, Mr Poe. I fell asleep waiting for you and the inspector.

What time is it? Just past six, sir.

The paper's here for you.

Rather remarkable seeing that people are stealing others' papers.

They can't print enough, with the election today and this horrible killing they keep writing about.

Here's something else for you, Mr Poe.

"It is a masterpiece, Mr Poe. An epitaph worthy of your gifts."

When did this come? I don't know, but before the paper.

How do you know that? It was under the paper.

Impossible. Look at the streaks in the ink.

I don't understand. It's been rained on.

It rained last night before dawn. But the newspaper is bone dry.

I'm not sure what...

The paper was delivered later, after it stopped raining.

This note was written in response to what I wrote in this newspaper.

He delivered the note before the paper.

So he knew the story in advance.

He'd already read it.

Where's my gun?!

Damn it.

The ink.

It's printing ink.

The "Patriot".

Henry, you're gonna tell me where she is.

(COCKS GUN) Henry!

Tell me, where is sh...?


Ivan.

Surprised?

Where is she?

Dying.

More quickly than I expected.

So I had to speed things along and deliver the morning edition so you could finally realise it had to be... none other than your humble typesetter and biggest fan.

A drink?

You don't know how I've looked forward to this moment, sir.

To sit here like this, no more masks, artist to artist.

Artist to artist.

Though I admit, as I read your final chapter, I felt more muse than artist.

You're mad.

Really, Mr Poe?

You're one to talk.

Where is Emily?

Just like that?

No probing the devious twists and turns of man's darkest motives?

No prying into the mysteries of his conscience?

So very unlike you, Mr Poe.

Where is she?!

Ow!

A rather disappointing denouement, I have to say.

But that's life, isn't it?

So much less satisfying than fiction.

It's time this story comes to an end.

Very well.

Give me the gun.

You've come this far, Mr Poe. Are you really gonna back out now?

You know what happens next. You wrote it, after all.

You either pull that trigger and kill me and young Miss Emily or you give me the gun.

She will live.

That was your solution, right?

I have to admit, I don't cry easily, but you had me bawling like a baby.

And I've always had a fancy for poisons.

That's how I done my dad.

The idea of drinking something that will kill you but having time to carry on a conversation is, as they say, fraught with dramatic possibilities, right?

Listen to me, talking about dramatic possibilities with one of the greatest writers of our time.

I must say, it has been a profound honour working with you, sir.

Working with me'?

I know they're your ideas. I'm just borrowing.

Except for Valdemar's tongue. That was me.

Quite a subtle metaphor, I thought. Subtle?

It made no sense at all.

Even in the end, I'm confronted by a plagiarist without even the originality to invent themselves.

I've concocted you.

I couldn't agree more.

I am your crowning achievement.

Your masterpiece.

In whose world do we each exist right now, Edgar?

Mine, or yours?

I don't really know the answer.

It's quite brilliant.

Well...go on, sir.

Bottoms up.

I need a carriage now!

Inspector! I need a carriage.

And send a messenger to Charles Hamilton's house.

Tell him to get to the "Baltimore Patriot". Do it!

(POE) So it has been written: I will die today.

A hole of mouldering earth awaits.

It is a just end to a man consumed by death his entire life.

Emily, take this kiss upon thy brow.

Really good stuff, sir.

A poet to the end.

I suppose this bit is for Miss Hamilton.

Where is she?

Where is she? I tell you, Mr Poe, I used to live for your stories, just live for them.

When you stopped writing...

I guess I went a little nuts.

But I kept on believing, even when you closed me out.

I still believed in your vision, in a future where people would stand in lines to see the kind of things that only people like you and I could see.

I knew you had one more in you, sir.

No one will ever forget you.

Have you ever been to France?

There's a young writer over there - Jules Verne.

You heard of him? What?

Paris.

He really reminds me of you, sir.

Where is she? You owe me! Where is she?!

"Anything was better than this agony.

"Anything was more tolerable than this derision.

"I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer."

"The Tell-Tale Heart."

She's here... She's here.

(KNOCK AT DOOR) Carriage for Mr Reynolds!

On my way in just a moment!

Goodbye, Mr Poe.

I've enjoyed our time together.

Reynolds...

Almost...


Emily!

(LABOURED BREATHING)

Emily?

Answer me.

Emily! Please, answer me!

Oh, my God.

(MUTTERS)

Emily...

(BREATH ES RAGGEDLY)


Emily... Emily...

Emily.

Open your eyes.

Emily, open your eyes.

Yeah.

Oh, yeah.

Is it really you?

(SIGHS WITH RELIEF)

I love you. I love you.

I'm here.

I came for you.

Okay.

Stay awake.

I have you, always.

We're going home.

You did mean it? Mean what?

When you said you would marry me.

In this life and the next.

Clear the way! Clear the way!

What's wrong with you? Make way!

Where's Poe? He was here a moment ago.

Poe!

Hurry!

Where is Edgar? Where is Edgar?

(HAMILTON) Now, be careful.

Go, go, go!


Sir?

You are Edgar Poe, correct?

I am.

For a few more minutes, anyway.

Are you all right? You look a little the worse for wear.

Is there someone I can call for you?

Reynolds. You want me to find Reynolds?

Does he have a first name?

No.

Tell Fields... his last name is Reynolds.

I'm sorry, sir, you're not making much sense.

Tell Fields.

The Lord help my poor soul.

(EXHALES SLOWLY)


Mr Fields?

I'm Dr John Morgan. Doctor.

Do you have a cause of death? I'm sorry, I don't.

I have a few ideas but...

As you know, he was brought in in a very deranged state.

I'm told he was ranting.

Yes.

He kept going on and on about telling you that your last name is Reynolds.

Is that helpful, or just gibberish?

Maybe both.

Well, thank you for your help, Doctor.

I'd be interested in hearing your final analysis.

(POE) Take this kiss upon thy brow, And, in parting from you now, Thus much let me avow -

You are not wrong, who deem That my days have been a dream.

All that we see or seem ls but a dream within a dream.

(TRAIN ANNOUNCEMENT IN FRENCH)

Mr Reynolds, please follow me to your carriage.

(TRAIN WHISTLE)


Merci pour votre aide.

(GUN COCKS)

Hello, Ivan.

(GUNSHOT)

(MUSIC: "BURN MY SHADOW" BY UNKLE)

# I have burned my tomorrows

# And I stand inside today

# And burn my shadow away


# And burn my shadow away

# And burn my shadow away #