SEQUEL: Deleted Scenes and Special Features
For those of you who have purchased a copy of Mark Allan Gunnells ode to slasher films, SEQUEL, the fun doesn’t stop there. In keeping with the movie theme, Mr. Gunnells has provided us with a plethora of bonus goodies to enhance our features presentation. Over the course of the next week, we’ll be posting commentaries, deleted scenes, and character interviews that will give readers more insight into the book and it’s characters.
SPOILER ALERT: The Special Features may give away key plot points and should only be read after you’ve completed the novel!
COMMENTARY: This scene initially took place right after the chapter where Mace and Taryn meet for the first time. In fact, she even eludes to the audio commentary event that is described here. I wrote this chapter because I am a lover of audio commentaries, hearing actors who maybe haven’t seen each other in years reminiscing, behind the scenes stories, that sort of thing, and I thought it could make for a fun chapter. And I do love this sequence, think it is full of humor, and it was probably the most painful cut of the book. However, for pacing it just didn’t fit. It just absolutely stops forward momentum of the plot without really providing anything useful for the reader. However, I am very excited to put it out there now for people to read.
They sat at a long wooden table, the type one might expect to find in an executive boardroom. They were lined up along the far side of the table, each with a small microphone and a glass of water. Facing the table on the other end of the room was a large, thirty-four inch television.
Between them and the TV was a small Asian woman in a pinstriped business suit, hair pulled up in a tidy bun. She paced as she spoke. “It’s simple enough. We’ll play the movie here on the TV, straight through without interruption. Watch the movie and just talk. Stories from the set, memories, explanations of why certain things were done the way they were. Anything that pops into your mind.”
“What if we can’t think of anything to say?” Felicia asked, sitting third from the left, between Mace Hunter and Peter Tuttles.
“You’ll find it’ll be easier than you think. Just relax and enjoy the movie. I think you’ll find you have lots to say.”
Felicia leaned over and whispered into Mace’s ear, “We could always tell them about that night at the Camel’s Hump.”
Mace sputtered laughter. “Oh, goodness, I’d almost forgotten all about that.”
“I haven’t. Drunk as I was, I still remember everything in vivid detail. Guess you don’t forget that kind of embarrassment easily.”
The Camel’s Hump was a bar on the outskirts of Sunset Ridge, a dive that sold the cheapest beer in the dirtiest glasses and played only the most mournful country songs on the jukebox. Ten years ago, it was all the cast and crew of Class of ‘93 could afford, and they had all spent a lot of their free time there. One night, about midway through the shoot, Mace had found himself at the Camel’s Hump with a very intoxicated Felicia Jennings. She’d made a rather crude pass at him, offering him her body in a humanitarian effort to reform him from his sexually deviant ways. When Mace had ever so politely declined the offer, Felicia had thrown the rest of her drink in his face, calling him every vile name in the book, before storming out of the bar. Mace had followed her out, finally convincing her to let him drive her back to the Budget Inn. They had barely been on the road when Felicia’s head fell back against the seat and loud, wet snores issued from her gaping mouth. He’d carried her into the room she shared with Kyra Ledbetter, one of the film’s grips. The next morning, a hung-over Felicia had apologized profusely for her behavior. Mace had assured her it was forgotten, but he had made a point of avoiding her for the remainder of the shoot. Ten years later, he found it was easier to laugh about.
“Offer still stands if you change your mind,” Felicia said playfully, squeezing Mace’s knee under the table.
“Don’t make me throw you over this table and ravage you right now.”
The two laughed and turned their attention back to the Asian lady. Felicia was looking very smart these days, a short blonde hairstyle that flattered her heart-shaped face, a body that was not trim but was shapely, clad in a lovely blue dress. He’d heard her husband had killed himself and she was raising a child alone. The strain of this did show a bit in the lines around her eyes and a tightness about her mouth, but there was still much beauty in her face and in her sweet smile.
“Okay then,” said the Asian lady. “Let’s get this show on the road. We’ll start recording when the movie begins playing on the monitor here. I suggest you start off by going down the row and saying who you are and what character you played.”
The Asian lady left the room, and a few seconds later the television flipped on and the movie began to roll. The opening credits, the school, the overly dramatic music. No one spoke, and everyone at the table looked around at each other. Finally Blake Thorne, who was sitting on the far left end of the table, said, “Hi, I’m Blake Thorne. I played Edward Yarborough, the school stoner.”
“Mace Hunter, played Clark Stone, school geek.”
“Felicia Jennings. I played Helen Glutt, ‘the fat chick.’”
Slumped back in his chair, it seemed Peter Tuttles wasn’t going to say anything. Then he leaned toward the mike, and said, “Peter Tuttles, I played Lester Freckles. I kill everybody.”
“Keith Simmons. I played Franklin Turner, the school athlete.”
“Gwen Silkwood, played Yvonne Laughlin, the most popular girl in school.”
On the screen, the credits had ended and the first scene was playing out. Franklin Turner and his football buddies had Clark Stone cornered in the bathroom and were about to start dunking his head in the toilet.
“Remember this scene, Mace?” Keith said, laughing. “Wasn’t this your favorite scene to shoot?”
“Oh yeah, most definitely. Loved having my face shoved repeatedly into the freezing water of that toilet. We spent an entire day filming this scene. I was beginning to think I was being punished for something.”
“You were a good sport about it, though. Didn’t complain one bit.”
“How could I complain with my head underwater? And if I recall correctly, you enjoyed filming this scene just a little too much.”
“Who, me? You must be thinking of someone else.”
On screen, the jocks had left Clark in the bathroom and moved out into the hallway, throwing the nerd’s books and papers all over the place.
“This was filmed on location,” Felicia said. “In Sunset Ridge, South Carolina, for those who don’t know. This school we filmed at was actually a junior high school, Weblin Junior High.”
“That’s right,” Blake said. “The administration was kind enough to allow us to film there while the school was out for summer vacation.”
“Which meant we couldn’t go over schedule,” Keith added. “School started back on August 29th, and we had to be out and have the placed cleaned up by then. If my memory serves, I think we finished shooting at that location on August 27th.”
Blake laughed. “We don’t have to worry about that this time around. Weblin Junior High closed down about three years ago, and the building has just been sitting there. We have free reign for The Reunion.”
* * *
On the television monitor, Yvonne Laughlin had pulled Clark Stone into the janitor’s closet and was rubbing her scantily clad body up against his. What the poor nerd didn’t know was that this seduction was part of a plan to humiliate him.
“God, this is so embarrassing to watch,” Mace said, covering his eyes with his hand and peeking through his fingers.
“Oh, it’s not so bad,” Gwen said. “What I remember most about this scene was a sense of disappointment. Usually when I did a scene like this, I could feel that the actor opposite me enjoyed the scene. I got no sort of anatomical approval from you.”
“Well, sorry, but you know I don’t swing that way.”
“I know, but still a girl can dream of turning a gay man. What higher achievement of sexuality can one hope to attain?”
Mace and Felicia exchanged a knowing glance and giggled.
On screen, Yvonne had stolen Clark’s pants and underwear, leaving him naked from the waist down in the janitor’s closet. She met up with Franklin Turner under the bleachers in the gym and the two began ripping each other’s clothes off, providing the first tit shot of the film.
“Now, I certainly got a reaction out of this scene,” Gwen said.
Keith wrapped an arm around Gwen. “You sure did, baby. We met and fell in love on this film. We’ve been partners—in life and business—ever since.”
Mace smiled. He’d got the lowdown on Gwen’s experience in the adult movie industry from Gwen herself. She did in fact star in porno films, which her husband produced. They ran their own porno production company called The Old In-and-Out Productions. Apparently Gwen had even started doing some live performances on the Internet.
* * *
The current scene was of Helen Glutt and Lester Freckles, sitting together in the janitor’s closet. Helen had just had a run-in with Yvonne and was crying, the janitor comforting her and offering a shoulder to lean on.
“I love this scene,” Felicia said. “I think there’s such sweetness to it, it really offsets the violence of the rest of the film.”
Mace glanced over at Peter. He was leaning back in his chair, cleaning out under his fingernails with a pocketknife. He’d yet to say a single word during the entire movie. Mace decided to try to get him involved.
“So, Peter, what do you think of this scene?”
“Is what it is,” he said with a shrug, not even bothering to look up.
“I thought you were great in it,” Felicia said. “I was so excited to be working with you. I had just watched you in that miniseries about the Lewis and Clark expedition, East to West, and you were absolutely exceptional in it.”
Peter closed his pocketknife and looked up, showing the first spark of interest. “You thought I was exceptional?”
“That miniseries was quite a critical success, wasn’t it?” Mace asked, feeding the man’s ego in an effort to get him talking.
“TV Guide called it ‘the most powerful piece of television all year.’ And not to brag, but I did receive an Emmy nomination for my portrayal of Meriwether Lewis.”
“Well deserved,” Felicia said. “It was quite a coup getting you for this film.”
“Yeah, well, my wife talked me into it.”
“And we’re all lucky she did,” Felicia said with a smile.
“Lucky? I guess that’s one way to put it.”
Peter leaned back, took out his pocketknife once again, and returned to his own private world that did not contain the other actors or the movie playing on the monitor. Felicia and Mace looked at one another and shrugged. If Peter wanted to be a dick about this, that was his business.
* * *
High-pitched screams filled the room. On screen, the masked killer had wrapped Franklin’s graduation gown around his head and was smothering him with it while Yvonne—wearing only a pair of thong underwear—looked on and screamed. When the killer was finished with Franklin, he dropped the body, grabbed a ruler from a nearby desk, and advanced on Yvonne. Instead of running, Yvonne just cringed into a corner and continued her not-quite-convincing screaming.
“Oh, I remember this scene like it was yesterday,” Gwen said. “For days I was covered in that sticky fake-blood mess.”
“What did they use for the blood?” Felicia asked. “I don’t remember.”
“I think it was some kind of syrup mixed with red dye. All I know is that it was weeks before I could get that shit out of my hair. And it got up into places … well, I’ll let your imagination run with that one.”
Keith laughed and said, “All I really remember about this scene is that my graduation gown stank to high heaven. The costume designer got all our costumes from secondhand stores and Goodwill because it was all the production could afford, and that gown, which was wrapped around my head for quite some time, had a very pungent odor of mildew and cat piss.”
“Ah, what a glamorous life we movie stars lead,” Blake said.
“Yep,” Mace said, “when I write my tell-all bio, that’s what I’m going to name it. Mildew and Cat Piss: The Mace Hunter Story.”
“Now that’s got bestseller written all over it. I hope there are parts for all of us in the television production of it.”
“Of course, mildew and cat piss for everyone.”
Everyone laughed while Yvonne was hacked to death with a ruler onscreen.
* * *
On the monitor, the graduating class of ‘93—those that were still alive—had gathered in the gym’s locker room for rehearsal. They were all adjusting their caps and talking excitedly. Someone had taken Clark’s honor’s medallion and thrown it into the showers. When he went in after it, someone else turned on the water, soaking the nerd good.
“Do you guys remember this?” Felicia asked. “We shot this scene at about 2:30 in the morning.”
“That’s right,” Mace said. “We’d started at six the previous morning on some other scenes, and then we tacked this scene on that night and worked straight through ‘til morning.”
“Yeah, this was near the end of the shoot. We were so behind schedule that the director, James Dallas, was getting desperate. There were several all-nighters after this point. In fact, we ended up having to do a few re-shoots at another school in Los Angeles.”
“God, yes,” Keith said. “I’d forgotten about that, but Gwen and I had to fly to LA and redo a scene.”
“Yeah,” Gwen said, “it was the scene where we have our little encounter under the bleachers. That wasn’t at Weblin at all.”
“And if you really pay attention, you can tell it’s a different gym. Hell, the walls are painted in different colors and the layout is different. We didn’t even try to match.”
Onscreen, a fight had broken out between two seniors. They were rolling around on the floor in their gowns while the rest of the class formed a tight circle around them and watched.
“Jesus, do you guys remember this?” Mace laughed. “This fight wasn’t scripted.”
“Yes, yes,” Blake said. “We were all pretty irritable and somewhat delirious by this point, and these two guys—who had non-speaking roles—started arguing about who got more time in front of the camera. The argument heated up and turned into this.”
“And the director, in his divine wisdom, decided to keep the cameras rolling,” Mace said, not quite bringing himself to say James’ name. “A little touch of realism, I guess.”
* * *
Edward Yarborough was running through the darkened halls of the school, being pursued by the killer. All the doors were locked and the school was deserted, everyone gathered in the gym waiting for the graduation ceremony to begin.
“Do you guys remember the part of this scene that was cut out?” Blake asked.
“Oh, the cymbal thing?” Felicia said. “Vaguely.”
“I don’t remember that,” Mace said. “What happened?”
“Originally, before the killer corners me in the cafeteria and shoves my roach-clip through my eye, there was this whole sequence where he chases me through the band room. He almost gets me in there, but I pick up these cymbals and crash his head between them. Stunned, he does a comical little jig around the room, giving me time to get away.”
“I do remember that,” Mace said, laughing so hard tears were squirting out of the corners of his eyes. “It looked so ridiculous, like something out of a cartoon. Is that why it was cut?”
“Actually, I think it was cut just for time. I think Mr. Dallas wanted to get to the big showdown in the gym as quickly as possible.”
“I would pay good money to see that scene again,” Felicia said, laughing almost as hard as Mace.
“Maybe you will,” Keith said. “I hear this DVD will have some deleted scenes, that just might be one of them.”
* * *
Onscreen, a dozen students in their cap-and-gowns were running around the floor of the gymnasium while the killer chased them with a fire ax. Helen Glutt was screaming up at the family and friends in the bleachers for help. The onlookers just laughed, pointed, and applauded. Edward—left for dead in the cafeteria—burst through the gym door, roach-clip dangling from his left eye, and collapsed to his knees.
“That was a re-shoot,” Blake said. “We filmed that a month after the rest of this stuff. Notice how the black-and-gold walls were suddenly red-and-purple, and the gym doors which usually opened inward opened outward when I burst in.”
“Because you were supposed to have died, right?” Mace said. “In the original script, you didn’t survive.”
“Right, but Mr. Dallas said that my character rated so positively during a test screening that he decided to let me live. I flew out to LA—at my own expense, might I add—for a full day of shooting this pickup of me coming through the door.”
“And thank God,” Felicia said. “Otherwise, you wouldn’t get to be in the sequel.”
“Like us,” Gwen said. “Poor Keith and me, dead and buried.”
Onscreen, Clark and Helen were both wrestling the ax away from the killer. Clark finally succeeded in pulling it loose from the killer’s grasp, sending the masked maniac crashing to the floor.
“I hated doing this scene,” Peter said, surprising everyone.
“Why?” Felicia asked.
“That damn director made me do my own stunts. You kids were beating the crap out of me, and I just had to take it. I can’t tell you how many scrapes and bruises I ended up with after this scene. When you take the ax from me and I fall back, I really knocked the hell out of the back of my head on that hard floor. I kept saying, ‘Look, I’m wearing a mask for fuck’s sake, what’s the difference if it’s really me in there or you get someone else to do it.’ That damn director would say, ‘But each person has a unique stance and walk and body posture. The audience will know it’s not you.’”
“Sounds like James,” Mace said, an affection smile curving his lips before he could stop it.
“Like he’s fucking Scorsese or something.”
On the monitor, the killer had lost his helmet, Lester Freckles revealed. Helen was kneeling next to him, disbelief in her eyes. She was not moving as Lester brought out a knife and made to stab her, but Clark came up behind him and swung the ax with all his might, severing the janitor’s neck. The severed head flew into the bleachers, knocking a lit lighter from someone’s hand and into a tapestry hanging from the wall. The tapestry went up in flames as if it had been coated in gasoline. Everyone started to scream and run for the exits.
* * *
The last of the credits were rolling against the backdrop of the burning model.
“I built that model, you know,” Blake said.
“Really?” Mace said. “I never knew that.”
“Yeah, just a little cardboard papier-mâché thing. Took me about a week and a half. Mr. Dallas gave me a whole extra twenty-five dollars for it.”
“Well, movie’s over and we all survived,” Keith said.
“I hadn’t watched this thing since it came out ten years ago,” Felicia said.
“Me either,” Mace said. “But I enjoyed it, I really did.”
And he was surprised to find he meant it. Despite all his trepidation, he’d had a blast watching the film. The movie still sucked, that hadn’t changed, but he’d been reminded of something he’d forgotten. The experience of making Class of ‘93. As a young man, out on his own only a few short years, making a movie. Not a big budget movie, but a real goddam movie. He and the other actors had had such fun. That was what he had forgotten. The fun. He’d rediscovered it here, and he was now more excited than ever to start filming Class of ‘93: The Reunion.