Chad Michael Ward
This listing has expired.
Chad Michael Ward
When a brilliant but obsessive scientist goes to extremes to develop a universal cure-all, he finds himself infected with a bizarre parasite that begins to transform him into a blood thirsty madman. With time running out, he must find a way to stop monster that is growing within and prevent the rest of the world from being "cured".
This is a "body horror" film, similar in tone to the early works of David Cronenberg (Videodrome, The Fly, Crash).
STRANGE BLOOD is directed by acclaimed music video director and photographer Chad Michael Ward and produced by Pearry Teo (Necromentia, Dracula: The Dark Prince)
Rehearsal and Production Dates & Locations
Shoots December in Tucson, Arizona.
Side #1 (Henry/Gemma)
INT. THE LAB
Behind the giant metal door, the lab is revealed to Gemma’s camera. Unlike the organized, softly lit coziness of Henry’s workspace, the lab is a bright cacophony of buzzing machines, vials, shelves, tables and research equipment: monitors, microscopes, centrifuges. Arrays of glass equipment, all second hand. A well put together but improvised space; a place where Henry’s mad scientist vibe truly shines through.
A large industrial refrigerator sits against one wall. Heavy duty hooks hang from the ceiling, many suspending very thick electrical cables, others are unused.
At the center of the room is a large opaque glass box, monolithic in appearance. A series of heavy tubes run into ports on the top of the box and two gloved ports, similar to that of an incubator, sit at the front of the unit.
Henry stands in front of the glass box and makes a big swooping motion with his arms, as though to present the box.
Hello, I’m Dr. Henry Moorhouse.
During my tenure at Baxter Pharmaceuticals I was on the brink of developing the basis for a genetic-level vaccine that could provide the human body with a type of blanket immunity.
Henry smiles at the camera with restrained excitement.
What I’m about to show you is all of my research manifested into a singular quantifiable biological entity.
So this is, what, a cure for...cancer?
Henry is distracted and flustered by Gemma’s interruption.
No. I mean yes. Maybe. Think bigger.
Lost me, Doc.
Henry approaches her, invades her personal space. His manic eyes stare through the lens at her.
This is the cure...for everything. Hepatitis, rabies, influenza, HIV...
...even cancer. A universal cure that would save millions of lives every year.
Henry moves to the computer array near the glass box, firing up monitors and data screens along the way.
Henry scowls at her disapprovingly.
Baxter didn’t believe me either.
Henry paces back and forth.
“Waste of time and money”, I believe was their exact wording.
So you left.
I didn’t just leave.
Henry gives her a wry smile.
I took what was rightfully mine.
Henry approaches the box and cranks the pulley system; the opaque glass box rises to the ceiling, revealing a second, transparent box. Inside--
What the hell is that?
Say hello to ELA.
“ELA”: a grotesque, medicine ball sized spheroid; like a gigantic, festering, slimy, glistening, red-pink tumor shot through with throbbing veins. Slickly lubricated, it pulses as if breathing. A cross between a heart, a crenellated brain and a monstrous bloated testicle--stomach-churning, cutting-edge guerilla biotech.
Henry beams over the fleshy thing in front of him as though it was his newborn baby.
ELA. Encapsulated Living Anthropod. I designed her myself while at Baxter.
Gemma zooms in closer on the disgusting creature.
THIS is the cure for cancer?
No, of course not. Don’t be silly.
Henry presses his fingers against the glass, almost lovingly.
ELA is a living incubator, in vitro AND in vivo. She’s a breeding ground for a metavirus with a unique genetic signature that absorbs, replicates and re-codes any viral load introduced into her system.
ELA is connected to an ARRAY of wires and feeding tubes -- Plasma Bags hang above, siphoning BLOOD into and out of the Living Death Incubator.
(tweaks feed tubing)
From that metavirus I can engineer a retrovirus and from that, a universal vaccine. In theory, anyway.
Gemma gets a closer look at the pulsing mass.
Is it alive?
In the strictest biological sense, yes. But she’s is simply a cohesive bundle of designer cells. There’s no sentience.
Side #2 (Henry)
INT. THE LAB - CONTINUOUS
Gemma enters the lab and flips on the lights.
Henry is sitting beneath SB21’s containment box, still in his pajamas. Flecks of blood are spattered across his soaked shirt. An near-empty bottle of vodka sits next to him.
His wound has been re-dressed with fresh bandages.
His glasses are missing from his face. We don’t see them again for the remainder of the film.
Gemma looks first at Henry, then over at the counter top, which is a mess of blood, broken glass and the destroyed remains of the pustules formerly in Henry’s arm.
She rushes to his side.
Jesus, Doc. The hell happened in here?
Henry stares blankly ahead, his face dripping with alcoholic sweat.
Gemma crouches down and places her hand gingerly on his shoulder.
Henry doesn’t look at her.
I had a son once.
A beat of silence. Gemma isn’t sure how to respond.
Henry pats the ground next to him.
It was a lifetime ago, really. I had just finished at Stanford and started a residency at Baxter. Married a truly awful girl that I had no business being with.
Henry rubs his wounded arm absentmindedly.
I was young and dumb when it came to that sort of thing.
Henry smiles to himself.
But Jacob, he was something else. There was a light in his eyes, I...I can’t really explain it.
He searches, looking for the words.
It’s called lymphocytic choriomeningitis. Horrible thing.
We did all we could, but...
Henry takes a last big swig from the vodka bottle.
She blamed me for his death, if you can imagine that.
I guess maybe I did too.
He straightens up, regaining a small bit of his composure.
Shortly thereafter, she left me and I was transferred to Baxter’s Special Biologies division to head up a new experimental project.
Well, she was still just a hypothesis back then, but eventually, yes.
Henry lets the empty bottle fall to the ground.
If there was a way to prevent what happened to Jacob, to prevent ANY illness at all...
Henry tosses his head back.
And here we are today, right?
Side #3 (Gemma)
I lied to you earlier.
Henry turns to look at her for the first time.
About my father.
She pauses, trying to gauge his reaction. There is none.
He’s still alive, that part’s true.
She pauses again. Trying to find the courage to say the words.
Dad was a scientist like you once. Well, not exactly like you. Worked with nuclear fission, mostly.
Henry stares at Gemma as her eyes begin to wet.
Dad was a really, really smart guy, y’know? You remind me of him so much sometimes it makes me want to scream.
Henry takes Gemma’s hand in his own.
After mom died, he threw himself into his work. Sometimes he’d go days without coming home. It got so bad that I started telling people at school I was an orphan.
Gemma lets a brief smile pass her lips.
Then it started. First it was small things--he’d be absent minded, lose track of time. Started talking to himself, to people who weren’t there. After that, the tremors started.
Henry nods with realization.
Henry squeezes her hand tightly. Gemma gives him a sad smile.
Some days he can’t--
--sometimes he doesn’t even remember who I am.
The tears are flowing freely now.
I’m losing him, piece by piece.
His face is close to her’s now. His drunken eyes scanning her face.
Gemma leans into him, her lips nearly on his but unable to complete the connection.
They linger like that for several beats, before Henry pulls back suddenly, recomposing himself.
Help me to bed. Bring the laptop.
Gemma’s shoulders sink. She quickly stands up, wiping the wetness from her eyes and helps Henry to his feet.
Beverly Faraday Scene
Henry is dressed casually but nicely; camouflage for the beast that lurks beneath his slick taut skin.
He is sitting down at the table with BEVERLY FARADAY (late 20s), a beautiful young woman dressed attractively but smartly. Interview attire.
HENRY So tell me a little bit about
yourself, Ms. Faraday.
BEVERLY Please, it’s Beverly.
HENRY Of course. Beverly.
BEVERLY Well, as I mentioned on the phone,
I just finished my undergrad studies last semester. This autumn internship would be a great--
HENRY How do you feel about blood?
HENRY Are you squeamish?
BEVERLY Well no, I wouldn’t consider mysel--
HENRY Good, good. Blood is the key.
Henry scratches some notes on the paper pad in front of him.
BEVERLY I’d like to think I’m a quick
understudy and a very proactive type of p--
HENRY And your health? Any major
illnesses I should be aware of? Beverly’s practiced smile falters.
BEVERLY Uh, n-no. Not that I can recall.
HENRY No STDs? Are you currently
HENRY How many partners would you say
you’ve had in the past year. Beverly shifts uncomfortably.
BEVERLY I’m sorry, I don’t think that’s
appropriate... Henry sets his pen down. Precise and mechanical.
HENRY You’re right.
Henry stands abruptly and retrieves a canned soda from the fridge and a glass tumbler.
HENRY (CONT’D) Please, forgive me. Too many late
nights in the lab can make one forget his manners.
He fills the glass full and sets in on the table in front of Beverly before sitting down again.
Beverly looks at him, confused.
Henry leans in, his gaze capturing hers.
HENRY (CONT’D) Please. Drink.
The two stare at each other for several beats before Beverly relents and take a long deep sip from the glass. Her eyes remain transfixed on Henry’s as she takes a second drink, finishing the contents of the tumbler before slamming the glass down on the table.
Henry snaps out of their shared gaze. He stands up abruptly and extends his hand. Beverly follows suit.
HENRY (CONT’D) Ms. Faraday, it’s been a pleasure. I think I have all the information
I need. Thank you so much for coming out today.
Beverly takes his hand.
BEVERLY Thank you for your time--
Her stance suddenly weakens and she grabs the chair to steady herself.
Oh. I... She starts to collapse, but Henry is there to catch her.
HENRY Careful now.
Henry guides her limp body to the nearby couch.
HENRY (CONT’D) There we go. What you’re feeling is
a my own special blend of Ketamine and Propofol. I laced your glass with it.
Henry strokes the hair from her face and neck.
HENRY (CONT’D) Don’t you worry, its effect is
quite temporary. Just long enough for us to finish our business here.
Beverly’s eyes are wide and fearful. Henry retrieves a transfusion kit from a nearby table.
He tears open her blouse with one hand and positions the needle against the vein in her throat.
He leans in and licks the length of her lips before whispering into her ear.
HENRY (CONT’D) Don’t be scared now. You won’t
feel a thing.