BACKGROUND: STEVE - kicking and screaming on his way to salvation - and MORTY - the stone the builders rejected - have joined forces to embark on a mission to find out if life has more to offer than the hopeless hell deemed by Man. STEVE had been sentenced to the Factory Grind, mind numbing monotony enforced by the blackmail of facing life in the Alley. MORTY, having refused the judgment of men, was crippled with rage of having been trapped in the Alley for committing no crime. Together they find the courage to risk life and limb in hopes of escape.
Having come across many false hopes in the Land of Sir Real, they are reaching the edge of the Land with no place yet having a future.
The BACKDROP: An older ranch style house on the edge of a small city. It's warm, cozy and well lived in. A fireplace is going, as much for a utilitarian aspect as for aesthetics. Cut to a middle aged MOTHER - no better and no worse than anyone else, average in all aspects - hand washing and drying the dishes. She is neither annoyed nor enjoying this chore. It is simply something one does.
Scene 1: But her underlying irritation with her life is revealed when she hears a breakable break in the other room. We pass out of the kitchen and into the room with the fireplace to see a guilty little BOY standing in front of the shard pieces.
Scene 2: The MOTHER is scooting the boy out the door. The BOY has been dressed in winter clothes and is clearly not happy with what's transpiring.
Out you go! You're not breaking anything more of mine! Stay out there until you can learn to calm down!
Out! You brought this on yourself! Your own decisions got you where you are.
Scene 3: As the boy scoots out into a tree filled yard that is merely a prelude to a full forest further on, we see the MOTHER framed in the doorway who suddenly realizes on some level the words she just spoke to her BOY were really words she has been silently chastising herself with for quite a while. She shuts the door on this thought.
The BACKDROP: Winter's fading light in a yard at the edge of all civilization. We feel the coldness and the looming inevitability of the coming darkness. There's nowhere to go.
Scene 4: The BOY tramps through some leftover snow around the house to the kitchen window. He's separated from his MOTHER and the warmth of a home. He spies her through the window as she has returned to what is now open drudgery. The BOY approaches the window.
Scene 5: Looking down from the roof, we see and hear the BOY matter-of-factly pleading his case.
But Mommy, [He finally gets to finish his sentence from when he was pushed out] it's cold out here.
Scene 6: The camera swivels and peers back towards the city, skimming over the rooftops to see the glow of distant hubbub in the dying light. But we are not going there as no little boy alone can either. The camera swivels once more towards the dark and ominous trees of the forest and makes a beeline going up and over the treetops. The camera races over the landscape, trying to catch a sun that has set. All signs of civilization disappear - the lights, the telephone poles, everything. We hear the opening eerie whistle of Lunatic Fringe, foretelling the destination of our journey.
With each guitar burst, we flash forward to a different face of the SEVEN MEN of the axe. Their grimacing faces reflect the clear light of a dying sunset, alluding to the fact the earth has not rotated to darkness on their landscape. The landscape is brutal, uneven and barren. It's the Sadlands. Each man carries a large, burdensome axe in a fashion reflecting each one's personality. A red glow of hate emanates from the heads, clearly hating the circumstance of the burdens they carry and the barrenness of their existence. Somebody's got to pay!
Here is what we see them chant:
"Seven Men of the Axe are we,
We chop all who disagree,
It is you we will deceive,
We will make you to believe,
And if we don't see eye to eye,
We will chop and watch you die."
The Seven Men:
PRIEST OF DOOM: Arms crossed over his axe, pressed flat against his breast. To him the axe is holy and kills in righteous fury.
CARE-NOT LUMBERJACK: Drags axe head along the ground. A man who chops for chop's sake.
MASOCHISTIC WARRIOR: Fanatic who holds his axe with his teeth, Rwanda madman
RUTHLESS BUSINESSMAN: Smiles up front, axe in back.
BLIND SOLDIER: Sees not and knows not who he kills. It's the orders that count. Carries his like a rifle.
WILLFUL SLAVE: Axe carried across his shoulders. He's bitter at having not chosen freedom. Make him Arab.
BOLD EXECUTIONER: Perhaps the scariest of all. Society's sanctioned murderer holds his axe held high ready to chop at a moment's notice
As the guitars start in full force, the camera catches up to them and we know all signs of civilization are long gone. It passes over them and circles them and zooms in on them. They are chanting something in unison but it's not a happy song. We cannot hear it but we fear it because it's plain to see they are in their own little world and care nothing for the rest of it. Each one tells his story of terrorism as we focus in.
[Order to be determined]
PRIEST OF DOOM: Burning people at the stake. Gothic church symbols. Jesus on the cross, implying these are his crucifiers, not his followers.
BLIND SOLDIER: Nazi raids. When we hear the words "final solution" we see a stark black and white picture of Dachau against a dying sky.
RUTHLESS BUSSINESSMAN: Evicting families, followed by homeless families. Factory Grind shots.
RAGGED SLAVE: Walks right by needy, never helping, always playing the martyr.
CARE-NOT LUMBERJACK: Environmental disaster. As he rapes himself he rapes the world around him.
Eventually, STEVE and MORTY see the approaching marauders. As it dawns on MORTY what they are doing, he at first grins and then outright laughs. Nothing amuses MORTY more than those who so clearly do not do what they want to do. STEVE, of course, is terrified as feels his own guilt and instinctively knows they'll blame him for their unhappiness - something he has done many times with Debby. One by one the SEVEN MEN form a circle around Steve, drilling into him with accusatory eyes.
I know you're out there
You're in hiding
And you hold your meetings
We can hear you coming
We know what you're after
We're wise to you this time
We won't let you kill the laughter.
In the twilight's last gleaming
This is open season
But you won't get too far
We know you've got to blame someone
For your own confusion
But we're on guard this time
Against your final solution
We can hear you coming
(We can hear you coming)
No you're not going to win this time
We can hear the footsteps
(We can hear the footsteps)
Way out along the walkway
We know you're out there
But in these new dark ages
There will still be light
An eye for an eye;
Well before you go under...
Can you feel the resistance?
Can you feel the thunder?
The BACKDROP: The sun has set and risen once more. STEVE, frayed and broken, has spent the night in living horror. Somewhere, MORTY is eating popcorn and watching in amusement.
"Alright!" he screams, "Just go ahead and do it! Chop away, I don't care!"
The circle tightens. "But before I go, I'm going to say one thing: You whackos-" STEVE rears back with all the spite he could summon, "You people look like the biggest bunch of freaks I've ever seen! What's wrong with you? Not a one of you carries his axe like a normal person!"
The protests are immediate.
"How else can I carry it?" whines the slave.
"I carry it the only proper way," defends the soldier.
PRIEST OF DOOM
"Mine is carried God's way," the priest proselytizes.
"Only a fool carries it out front," secretly speaks the businessman.
"What difference does it make?" the lumberjack wants to know.
"I carry it like a true warrior," says the warrior, cutting his mouth.
"Mine is the best way to chop!" proclaims the executioner, who had never been questioned before.
[A livid and vigorous argument ensues among the Axe Men. It is the politics of insanity - no one is right. Steve crawls out through their legs. He gets up and meticulously brushes off his worn garments.]
[MORTY's happiness openly gushes as he approaches.]
"That's the problem with terrorists," he cracks. "They always worry too much what other people think!"