Topic: Pitch: Blood Prize movie series

My What-if show pitch made me remember another idea I had that has a game element to it. It needs a better title, maybe, but the idea is that it is a series of horror movies in the Final Destination vein but with a back story and a thru-line more like Saw.

Now, I lack the gene that makes people enjoy splatter movies, so my initial try at an outline has a lot of blank spaces that say "And then XXX dies horribly somehow." But I thought this forum might enjoy helping to figure out the overall thru-line.

THE BACK STORY doled out over the first couple of movies:
1000 years ago, a South American Indian empire developed powerful magic to produce champions worthy of leading the empire... also: human sacrifices. This takes the form of contests in which several candidates activate a magic artifact that is conveniently shelf-sized and highly collectible by fans of the series.

Once they activate the artifact, the contest begins, and the candidates are supposed fight each other to the death. But whenever they aren't actively trying to kill the others, they also experience mortal dangers: falling rocks, cave in, animal attack, etc. The lone survivor gets a magical prize that depends on the artifact (picture these as small idols along the lines of the Raiders Hovitos fertility idol):

  • Tcholu—provides the survivor great wealth

  • Myamo—grants the survivor genius

  • Cozu—grants the survivor great fame

  • Tleza—grants the survivor irresistible charisma

  • Kpanyo—guarantees the survivor long life

The protagonists of the first movie just stumble across one of the artifacts when helping at an archaeological dig and activate it by accident. In later films, the characters sometimes purposely seek them out.

The interesting things about this are that A) there's an explanation for the predicament that can be figured out by the archaeologist. B) Some clues can be communicated by terrifying magic visions. C) The guarantee of a single survivor who gets a fabulous prize encourages the characters to turn on each other. There's fun to be had with:

  • Who is in the game and who isn't

  • Who knows the rules and who doesn't

  • What counts as playing the game the "right" way and avoiding mortal dangers

  • What counts as being "dead"

  • What happens if there are two games going at once

  • etc.

Since our heroes in the first film don't fully understand what's happening, most get killed by the mortal dangers before 1) they figure out they're supposed to kill each other and 2) someone gets greedy for the prize.

In later films, things get more interesting. The winning of the prize from the first or second movie doesn't stay secret. And a Richard Branson type gets some mercenaries to go after an idol of his own. Of course, he plans to ruthlessly kill off the other "players" immediately, but his plan goes awry....

In another case, maybe some soldiers stumble on an icon and make a pact to play the game "right". Or the winner of an earlier game comes back and purposely plays or intervenes in a later game. Maybe in the last movie, an ancient winner turns out to still be alive because his prize was long life; and now he's the president-for-life of the whole country. Maybe he's been in the series the WHOLE TIME.

So my question is: what is the overall thru-line for the hook in each film and the prize in that film? Should the first movie's prize grant money? Or fame? Is charisma not good enough for one group of players and they activate a second artifact and play two games at once? Should the prizes be changed?

Last edited by Zarban (2014-06-23 22:31:13)

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

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Re: Pitch: Blood Prize movie series

This is a cool idea. What if the challenges varied based on the powers of the idols? So in order to prove yourself "worthy" of the long life idol, you have to survive the deathmatch (this should be the first movie), but in order to get the wealth idol, you're stripped of all your belongings and thrown alone into the jungle to see how long you last. You could even do some fun Twilight Zone-style endings, like maybe the winner of the fame idol had to kill a ton of people to get it, and he/she becomes infamous across the world for their murder spree.

Maybe in the last movie, someone decides that they want all the idols so they engineer a massive mashup game with all the previous winners (and themselves) that they've rigged, and the other winners have to team up to stop him/her.

"The Doctor is Submarining through our brains." --Teague

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Re: Pitch: Blood Prize movie series

Ooh. I like the idea that the challenges are linked to the prize. The foundation of the idea is that it's a way of choosing a great leader, and the rest become human sacrifices, so as long as that stays intact, the back story would still make sense. The prize should really be a prize, but you're right that the ancient Indian idea of a prize could be very different from ours, and infamy is still fame.

And YES the last movie needs to bring back all the artifacts at once and go crazy. The fans should be like "But they used up all five artifacts in the first four movies, so what are they going to do now? Invent a new one?"

Last edited by Zarban (2014-06-23 23:59:08)

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries