"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]


Screenplay by

David Cronenberg




Starliner Towers is seen in LS through the windshield of a
moving car. The car approaches the complex and stops near
the main doors of the West Tower.

Out of the car climb Kresimir and Benda Sviben, a gawky newly
wed young couple. Kresimir elaborately opens the door for
Benda, his new wife, and they walk with hands intertwined up
the steps of the West Tower.


As the Svibens approach the main doors, the doorman leaps up
from his chair beside the intercom switchboard and opens the
door for them. The doorman, like most security guards, does
not look capable of handling a serious crisis. He is about
fifty, of average height but slightly built, wears thick
glasses and seems almost embarrassed by the revolver on his

Morning, folks. Can I help you?

Yes, please. I... er, we... are
looking for the rental agent here.
We have an appointment.

OK, I'll just give him a little buzz
and he'll come out and show you the
way in.

The doorman presses a button on the intercom board. As he
turns back to the Svibens, he catches his holster on the

(freeing holster)
Darned thing.

Do you ever use that?

This? No, never even had it out of
the holster. A rival company has
'em, so we gotta have 'em. Just an
advertising gimmick.


Dr. Emil Hobbes, a huge, florid, bearded man, is strangling
Annabelle Horsefield. Despite the difference in their sizes --
Annabelle is tall and slender, about seventeen -- Hobbes is
not having an easy time of it. Hobbes is wearing overlarge
blue jeans and a red plaid shirt; Annabelle is in a private
girls' school outfit -- white blouse, dark blue tie, blue
knee socks, pleated gray skirt.

Annabelle fights back fiercely; Hobbes has tears in his eyes.
The struggle takes them all over her apartment, which,
although sparsely furnished, presents enough objects in their
way to cause a lot of crashing around. At one point Annabelle
breaks loose and Hobbes has to chase her.

Annabelle slips and Hobbes manages to pin her to the ground,
where he has the advantage of leverage. He strangles her
quickly and with tremendous, crazy energy. Blood oozes from
her mouth. Hobbes places his hand over her mouth as though
trying to prevent her from speaking, or to prevent something
from leaving her body.

He reaches over to his leather doctor's bag, which has spilled
some of its contents on to the floor, finds a surgical clamp,
and clamps Annabelle's lips together. He then picks up her
body, carries it over to the dining-room table and sweeps
the few cups and bottles on it off on to the floor. He then
places her body with great tenderness on the table and begins
to undress it.


The doorman leaves the Svibens to open the door for the
Spergazzis, an elderly Italian couple who both use aluminum,
four-pronged canes to help them walk. The Svibens watch the
old couple as they enter and then glance at each other
significantly -- 'We'll be together when we're as old as
they are.'

Mr. Spergazzi tips his hat to the doorman, who opens the
inner door for him.

As the Spergazzis make their way shakily toward the elevators,
Mr. Merrick, the rental agent, appears from around a corner.
He is slick, mustachioed, and wears a wide paisley tie. He
extends his hand for a handshake even though he is still
fifty feet from the inner doors. The doorman keeps the door
open for him.

Here's Mr. Merrick. He'll take you
on in.

Welcome to Starliner Towers. And you

Kresimir and Benda Sviben.

Eh? Oh yes, of course. Mr. and Mrs.
Sweden. Come right this way. Sorry
to keep you waiting. Now, are we
talking about one or two bedrooms? I
assume we're not talking about
bachelors, eh? Ha, ha. Now, I have
several floor plans all laid out for
you, and all you have to do is take
your choice and we'll trot right on
up there and take a look at 'em...

The three disappear around a corner.

The doorman pulls a Harlequin Nurse Romance out of his jacket
and sits down to continue reading it.


Hobbes ties a green surgical mask over his mouth and nose,
snaps on rubber gloves.

He turns to Annabelle's corpse on the dining-room table,
legs hanging over the edge, now naked -- the private girls'
school clothes in a heap on the floor. Hobbes takes a scalpel
from the top of the radiator where he has laid out his
surgical instruments. He feels Annabelle's stomach until he
has found what he wants, then cuts her open with one smooth,
confident stroke of the scalpel.

He then quickly douses the inside of her abdomen with some
clear fluid in a squeeze bottle, lights a wooden match, and
drops it into her abdominal cavity. The corpse bursts into

Hobbes steps back to watch. Tears spring into his eyes. He
picks up another scalpel and perfunctorily sticks it into
his neck. Blood spurts into his mask and soaks through to
the other side. Hobbes sinks to his knees before the blazing
corpse and struggles to draw the scalpel through the tendons
of his neck.


Merrick and the Svibens sit across from each other at a long
table strewn with floor plans and maps. The river which
surrounds the complex can be seen through the glass walls of
the office. Merrick taps one plan with his finger and slides
it over to Benda.

Now you take a look at that one,
Brenda, and tell me if it doesn't
suit you down to the ground. That
one has the big view, the panoramic


In his bathroom, Nicholas Tudor is cleaning his teeth with
microscopic attention to detail using an elaborate compressed-
water device called a water-pick. Tudor is thirty-nine, not
happy with his work as an insurance appraiser, and has
recently adopted a general air of terse, sullen desperation
as his primary mood.

His wife, Janine, calls to him from the kitchen, where she
is just putting the finishing touches on breakfast.

Breakfast is just about ready, Nick.

Tudor pointedly doesn't answer, but continues with the water-
pick until he is completely satisfied. He carefully packs
the machine away, then leaves the bathroom.

In the dining room, Janine is putting breakfast on the table.
Tudor sits down without a word and begins to eat. Janine
returns to the kitchen and comes back with a cup of coffee
in each hand. She puts one cup in front of Tudor, sits down,
starts to drink the other one. After a pause, she speaks.

Can I call you at the office?

What do you want to call me at the
office for?

I don't know. I just thought I might
want to call you. I don't know.

I won't be at the office except to
sign in.
(he eats heartily,
not looking directly
at Janine)
I've got a lot of claims to check
out. All over the place. Garages and
more garages.
(noticing Janine's
silence, he finally
looks up)
I'll come home right after work.

Janine continues to toy with the food in her plate. She shrugs
once, as if to say, 'Big deal, so what?' Tudor ignores her
and finishes breakfast.


Tudor leaves his apartment, closing the door behind him (we
see the number clearly).

He walks down the hallway on automatic pilot, obviously
preoccupied, turning the corner leading to the elevators
without perceiving what he is seeing.

At the elevators he hesitates for a moment, then presses the
UP button. When the door opens, he steps in.


In the elevator are Merrick, the rental agent, and the

We're going up.

Oh. Well, I'll go along for the ride.

(after a pause, to
the Svibens,
indicating the
Wood-grain paneling, strong, silent,
fireproof, fast, cushioned ride.
Everything you could want in an

Nobody says another word until the doors spring open and
Merrick, after a wink at Tudor, hustles the Svibens out of
the elevator.

As the doors close, Merrick's voice floats back to Tudor.

Notice how the entranceways to all
the apartments are recessed and
individually lit... Nope, it's down
that way, Brenda. That's it...
Recessed and individually lit...

Once the door has closed, Tudor presses the button for the
top floor. As the elevator ascends, he takes out his wallet
and removes a key from a zippered compartment.


Tudor fits the key into the lock of Annabelle's apartment.
He knocks gently and then opens the door. After a pause he
steps in and closes the door behind him, not wanting to be
seen by anyone who might know him.


As soon as he is inside the apartment, Tudor knows that
something is seriously wrong. Smoke hangs in the air and the
smell of burned flesh attacks Tudor's nostrils. He is on his
way to the bedroom when he sees Hobbes's foot around the
corner of the dining room.

Tudor approaches the dining room with his hand over his nose
and mouth.

Annabelle's corpse is still smoking where it lies on the
dining-room table. Hobbes's body is twisted into the fetal
position at the foot of the table, one hand still clutching
the scalpel stuck in its neck, the floor beneath it bright
with blood.

Tudor winces as though stuck with a pin. Blinking rapidly,
he edges around the room until his angle of vision is such
that he can see the head of the corpse on the table. It is
definitely Annabelle, eyes still staring, surgical clip still
attached to her lips, purple bruises on her neck.

Tudor turns, his body contracting around the pit of his
stomach. After a moment he manages to straighten up and
stagger from the apartment, having at least enough presence
of mind to take his attaché case, which he left by the door,
and to close the door behind him.


Dr. Roger St. Luc, tall, thin, dark, not bad-looking, stands
over the table staring at the corpse of Annabelle. As he
watches, two ambulance men throw a sheet over her and begin
to lift her down on to a stretcher on the floor. The voice
of the superintendent of the building drifts over to him
from the other end of the apartment.

Like I said to the police officer,
he paid the rent, Dr. Hobbes did.
And he came around and chatted a lot
with everyone here, the staff, I
mean. Nice guy. Not a high and mighty
type. But it was her name on the
residency list and the buzzer board:
Annabelle... what was it again?...
Annabelle Horsefield. She never
complained about anything, not to
me, anyway.

The super, a small, unshaven, harassed little man with a lot
of energy, is talking to a large beefy detective who writes
everything down in a notebook.

(pointing to
Annabelle's corpse,
which is just being
carried out the door)
And that was her. Annabelle Horse...

Far as I know, yeah, that was her.

The detective now turns to St. Luc, who is crouched on the
floor examining the chalk outline around where Hobbes's body
had lain.

Is that the man who called you up

Yeah, that's Dr. St. Luc. He's the
head of our little medical clinic

Medical clinic?

Yeah. This is an island, you know?
Takes too long to get into the city.
We gotta have everything right here
or somebody complains.

Well, let's go talk to your doctor.

The detective walks over to St. Luc and the super follows.
St. Luc rises to meet him. He is wearing very informal summer
clothes, a bit rumpled.

Dr. St. Luc? Detective-Sergeant
Heller. I'd like to ask you a few

(obviously a bit dazed
by what he has been

You're the one who found the bodies?


Did you touch anything? Move anything
before we got here?

No, nothing.

You knew these people?

I knew the man, Emil Hobbes, a doctor
and a professor at university. I saw
the girl around the building but I
didn't know her. She never came to
the clinic.

So you just came up to visit this
Hobbes and you found them like that?

Oh, no. I haven't seen Dr. Hobbes
since I was in medical school. He
taught me... he was my prof in urology
and... I think he conducted a few
seminars in psychopharmacology. That
was it. I had no idea he'd ever set
foot in Starliner Towers until today.

I see. Then what brought you up here?

St. Luc begins to pace about as he talks.

It was very strange. He called me at
six this morning. Hobbes called me.
I thought I was dreaming. I haven't
heard that voice for so long. He
told me who it was, then he said
something like, 'Meet me at apartment
1208 at noon. I want you to go out
for lunch with me. It's time you
furthered your education.' Then he
laughed and hung up. I went back to
sleep. He called me again at eight
to remind me to come.

How did he sound this time? Was he
nervous? Depressed?

He sounded fine.

The telephone rings. The super, who has been fiddling with a
window with a cracked pane of glass, grabs the phone
instinctively without looking at the detective, who probably
would have answered it himself.

Who? No, that's not me. You got the
wrong guy. Just a sec.
(looks up at St. Luc
and holds out the
phone to him)
It's for you. Somebody wants to know
how come you didn't show up for lunch.

The detective looks suspiciously at St. Luc, who simply looks


Next to a shallow porcelain tray full of immense and grotesque
marine worm specimens lies a large parcel wrapped in brown
paper. Rollo's plump fingers eagerly open the package to
reveal a large variety of delicatessen sandwiches and

Rollo offers some to St. Luc while stuffing one in his own
mouth. There are Cokes and old coffees everywhere, plus
mustard, relish, and ketchup dispensers of all kinds. Rollo
and St. Luc sit around Rollo's desk, a very sleek metal

Rollo's lab itself is a combination of modern office and
biology room in a museum of natural history. Specimens of
all kinds, in bottles and cases, mounted on glass and wood,
floating in preservative baths, are everywhere. There are
also a few cages of living insects, moldy aquaria and lab
cultures in various stages of neglect.

There are also clippings from magazines and newspapers
sporting furious underlinings and circlings in red ink which
are stuck to walls, doors, bookshelves.

Despite the potential for chaos, however, there is an
underlying order which reflects Rollo's own real discipline,
which is not always immediately apparent. And the microscopes
and glass slides, the stainless-steel gynecological table
complete with stirrups, metal drug and instrument cabinet,
etc., are spotless and in good shape.

Rollo is rotund, soft-faced, and a manic-depressive. In his
manic phase he is a joker and an elbow-nudger, and his general
style, even when discussing medical matters in medical jargon,
is broad North-American Jewish. In his depressive phase, he
becomes a sullen kid who has an oddly sinister aspect to his

Rollo detaches himself from his baby beef in order to comment
on the food that, not so secretly, he loves best of all.

Not exactly the kind of lunch Hobbes
would have laid on you, Rog, but
it's all I got, and...
(places hand on heart,
leans over
...all I got I share with you. Go
ahead. Take all you want.

You touch my spleen, Rollo.
(they giggle at an
old medical-school
And here all the time I was thinking --
if I ever bothered to think about
the good old days -- well, at least
there's Rollo. He's in VD and he's

I'm still a VD man under the skin,
Rog. You know me. I'm a down-to-earth
kinda guy, right?

Well, at least you still talk the

So who changes?

But you gave up your private practice.
Suddenly you're into pure research
and you... you're what, a

That was my father's idea... private
practice. He wanted to set me up --
I couldn't say no. But he's dead
now. And me, I'm still a snoop, I
gotta do research. Look at that
beautiful stuff...
(gestures everywhere)
...lookit it!

He jams a final piece of sandwich into his mouth and jumps
to his feet, smiling broadly.

(with great enthusiasm,
indicating the entire
This is the 'Satyr's Tongue'!

He pulls a book off a shelf with a bookmark in it. He opens
the book at the marked page and hands it to St. Luc. As St.
Luc looks at the picture of a satyr with his tongue hanging
out and reads the brief note on how medieval alchemists
thought the ground-up tongue of the satyr could cure any
disease, Rollo continues to talk.

The note includes a warning against
swallowing the tongue whole, but we
don't see the rest of this caution.
'Satyr's Tongue' was Hobbes's code
name for our project. What we were
trying to do was to find an
alternative to organ transplants.

As Rollo speaks, he walks all over the place, picking up and
discarding various charts, specimens, bottled and diseased
human organs, etc.

As he moves around, we catch glimpses of Letrasetted signs
that Rollo has tacked up: 'Sex is the invention of a clever
venereal disease -- Hobbes'; 'Dr. Hobbes's prescription:
starve a fever, feed an obsession'; 'The road of excess leads
to knowledge'; plus several pictures of satyrs with their
tongues sticking out, being cut off by alchemists, etc.

I know. You're bored already.
Transplants are yesterday's kishkas,

(shaking his head in
Did I say anything?

(excited, waving
specimens of parasites
and diseased organs
Look. You got men, you got parasites
that live in, on, and around men.
Now. Why not breed a parasite that
does something useful? Eh? Why not
breed a parasite capable of taking
over the function of any one of a
bunch of human organs? Why not, for
example, a parasite living in the
human abdominal cavity that plugs
into the circulatory system and
filters the blood like a kidney? If
it takes a little blood for itself,
so what? Be generous! You can afford

He is now in full flight. He leans over St. Luc and begins
to demonstrate what he says by drawing things on St. Luc's
stomach with his fingers. St. Luc can't hide his amusement.

You put the bug into the body of a
man with a diseased kidney, the bug
attacks the bad kidney, dissolves
it, it's assimilated by the body,
and now you got a perfectly good
parasite where you used to have a
rotten kidney. I know what you're
gonna say. You're gonna say it's

It's crazy.

Rollo throws himself back into his chair and grabs a pickle.

Right. It's crazy. But here's the
beauty part. Ready?
(leans forward for
Who cares?

I don't get it.

You know and I know that Hobbes was
a lousy teacher, eh? Lousy. Dry,
academic, afraid of women, lousy.
But he was always a genius at one
thing -- getting grants. Could he
get grants for crazy projects?

St. Luc is about to say something, but Rollo answers his own
rhetorical question with a flip of the hand, effectively
silencing St. Luc.

You know who pays the rent here? Eh?
The Northern Hemisphere Organ
Transplant Society. And that's for
something that's supposed to put
them outta business. And they're not
the only ones. We got grant money
coming out of our ears.

He leaps up again and pulls a sheaf of reprints from medical
journals like the Journal of Venereal Disease, etc. He shoves
them under St. Luc's nose, then grabs a jar with a
disintegrating octopus-like creature in it and a sandwich at
the same time. He smacks down the sandwich in front of St.
Luc by mistake, then retrieves it and substitutes the jar
with the specimen.

St. Luc sifts through the papers and glances at the specimen.

As St. Luc looks at the papers, Rollo breathes heavily down
his neck and points out things of interest.

See? There? You take a little of
this... that's a very rare venereal
disease you get in the nomadic Crinua
people, Northeast Asia and Japan.
(points to a sexy
picture of a Japanese
lady in heat)
Oo. That one's got it bad. They call
it Batinh. That means 'kiss' or
'caress.' When you get it it makes
your lips itchy, ya wanta kiss
everything. I even had it once. I
always get everything at least once
so I know what the patient's talking
(he laughs but he's
And there... you take a little of
that... that's beautiful, isn't it?
That's Flexipes, the world's only
cephalopod parasite.
(indicating the jar)
That's him right there. Not a very
good specimen. Related to squids and
octopuses. See? He lives in the guts
of whales and big dolphins.
(wiggles a finger at
the specimen)
Ya like 'em big 'n hot 'n wet, don't
ya? Yeah.

He walks away from the desk. His manner is now more subdued
and reflective. It seems as though everything he says provokes
a dozen unspoken thoughts. His depressive phase is beginning.

We don't do it all here, we send out
to have tricky stuff done... the
cell fusion, enucleation, chromosomal
fission, all that fancy close work.

Rollo sighs heavily. St. Luc gently shoves all the papers

Rollo, how come Hobbes killed himself?

Rollo toys with the gynecological examination table, sliding
the stirrups in and out on their adjustment bars.

Funny in the head. High suicide rate
in the medical profession. Too much
body, alla time bodies, bodies.

He now gets close to St. Luc, putting an arm around his

Rog, I gotta talk serious to you.
Really. Listen. Ya listening? OK. I
want you to come into this with me.
To tell the honest-to-God truth, I'm
(begins to pace around
All Hobbes ever did was run around
getting money and phone me in the
middle of the night. He wanted you
in anyway. That's why we were gonna
get together, the three of us. We
would have enough to keep us going
for at least five years, even with

(a bit uncomfortable
being put on the
Rollo, you know me. Once a GP, always
a GP.

(almost angrily)
You want to help sick people for the
rest of your life? God forbid I should
talk you out of it.

You oughta be careful yourself. Might
end up cutting your throat.

It was women did it to Hobbes.
Couldn't handle them. That girl,
that Annabelle -- talk about crazy

Who was she?

(reluctant to talk)
Aw, he met her when he was lecturing
at some private girls' school. They
caught him examining her little tits
for breast cancer in the faculty
lounge. She was twelve. Don't ask.
It was craziness, believe me.
(indicating the
gynecological table)
They used to come here sometimes.
(shakes his head)
Don't ask.

He starts to run down like a spring-wound toy at the end of
its run. He glances at a picture of Annabelle stuck in a
corner, which St. Luc just notices for the first time.

I'll never really understand how he
could do what he did to her.

St. Luc looks at his watch and gets up out of his chair for
the first time.

Well, Rollo Linsky... I gotta go
open up the store. It's been great
to see you again.

He moves toward the door. Rollo trails after him, head down,
obviously dejected.

Yeah, sure.

They shake hands. St. Luc has to open the door himself --
Rollo is really preoccupied. Finally he looks St. Luc in the

But you'll think about what I said
about working together, huh?

OK. I'll think about it.

Rollo manages a smile. St. Luc leaves, closing the door behind


In his bathroom, Nick Tudor cleans his teeth with the water-
pick as usual. The sounds of Janine bustling about with
breakfast filter into the bathroom. Tudor hums tunelessly.

Suddenly, he doubles over in a soundless spasm of pain. The
water-pick writhes in the sink, shooting water on to the
mirror and over the floor.

After a moment he straightens up and begins to press around
the area of his navel, obviously looking for lumps which it
seems -- from his expression -- he has already found and is
overly familiar with.

The water-pick continues to rattle around in the sink. Janine
pokes her head around the corner to investigate. Tudor tries
to cover up, grabs the water-pick, and begins to work on his
teeth again, hiding the occasional twinge that hits him.

You say something?

Nope. Damned thing wriggled out of
my hands. That's all.

Janine waits for Tudor to say something else. He ignores

(after a pause)
You sure you're OK, Nick?

Tudor continues to ignore her. Janine sighs in a very obvious
way and disappears. Tudor waits for a second, turns off the
water-pick, then checks out his stomach again.


Janine sits in the middle of a bench, towel around her head
and middle. Next to her sits Betts, who is in her early
forties, attractive in a tough kind of way, and wears her
hair short for efficiency's sake. In her relationship with
Janine she plays the role of tough, worldly older sister.
She has the poise and confidence of a woman who has created
her own success and position in life, a marked contrast to
the neurotic vivacity of Janine, who is ten years her junior
and has never known independence.

They are both watched by the only other occupant of the sauna,
Benda Sviben, now a full-fledged resident of Starliner Towers.
She is huddled in a corner, very shy and looking particularly
thin, mousy, and ineffectual in the presence of the other
two full-bodied women.

Betts is in the middle of giving Janine advice about Tudor's

...probably nothing at all. It's
probably just a bunch of, I don't
know, fatty cysts. You can have them
removed in a doctor's office. Has
Nick seen a doctor?

He hates doctors. Doctors and lawyers.
He never goes to doctors.

Well, look. How's this? You go on
down to the clinic and tell that
nice Dr. St. Luc...
(pauses to work it
...you tell him that Nick's ill,
he's got these lumps, and he can't
get out of bed. Tell him to come
when you're sure Nick'll be home.
And don't tell Nick anything. Let
the two of them fight it out.

(not displeased with
the idea)
He'll be really mad.

(with a conspiratorial
So? You'll find out what's wrong and
then you'll be able to relax a little
bit. Let him be the uptight one for
a change.

She stretches out full length on the bench, her toes bumping
Benda's thigh. Betts notices Benda for the first time.

(to Benda)
Oops, sorry. Hi. Haven't seen you
here before, have I?

Benda draws her towel around her, wide-eyed, completely
intimidated by Betts. She manages a nervous smile.


Tudor's secretary, a lumpy and motherly lady named Mrs.
Wheatley -- she has a nameplate on her desk -- is shuffling
some papers when the telephone rings.

Her small cubicle of an office is appended to Tudor's only
slightly larger office in a huge downtown office building.
The door leading to Tudor's office is closed.

Ashen & Gaunt, Insurance Appraisals.
Mr. Tudor? One moment, please. I'll
buzz him.

She places the caller on 'hold' and presses the inter-office
buzzer. She directs her attention for a moment to the papers
on her desk. When, after a pause, she notices that Tudor
hasn't answered the phone, she releases the caller from 'hold'
and picks up the receiver.

I'm sorry to keep you waiting. I'll
put you on 'hold' again and see if I
can find Mr. Tudor.

Mrs. Wheatley pushes the 'hold' button and gets out of her
chair. She knocks gently on the door.

Nicholas? There's a call for you.

Perplexed by Tudor's failure to respond, Mrs. Wheatley
gingerly opens the door.

Nicholas? It's that man whose
Lamborghini caught fire on St.
Catherine Street and burned to the
ground. He's very angry...

She catches a glimpse of Tudor rolling around on the floor
behind his desk, his swivel chair tipped over on to its side.

Nicholas! What happened?

She rushes over to Tudor and helps him to his feet. Tudor is
breathing heavily and has to support himself by leaning on
the desk while Mrs. Wheatley straightens up the chair for

Tudor collapses into the chair, mumbling and rolling his
head from side to side. Mrs. Wheatley pulls a Kleenex from
her sleeve and dabs away a small trickle of blood coming
from one corner of Tudor's mouth.

We're going to get you to a hospital.
That's what we're going to do.

(beginning to come
No, no. I'll be all right. I'm all

Mrs. Wheatley shows Tudor the spot of blood on her Kleenex.

Do you see this? This is blood. It
came from your insides. That means
it's serious. Probably an ulcer. You
executives are all the same.

Tudor shoves her hand away and sits straight at his desk,
still pretty wobbly.

(smoothing the hair
back from Tudor's
forehead in a very
motherly fashion)
Now, Nicholas, it doesn't cost
anything to be sure everything's all
right. I think you should definitely
go to the emergency ward and...

(abruptly, swiveling
away from Mrs.
Wheatley's hand)
Call me a cab, will you please, Mona?
I'm going home for the day.

Nicholas, I think...

I don't care what you think. Please
call me a cab. Now.

Mrs. Wheatley steps away from the desk, obviously hurt by
Tudor's brusqueness.

All right, Nicholas. All right.

She leaves, closing the door behind her.

Tudor sighs, taking a deep breath. He is suddenly hit by
another twinge of pain. He clutches his stomach. Blood
trickles out of the corner of his mouth. After a pause, he
licks the blood off his lips with the tip of his tongue.


The Starliner Towers Medical Clinic is small but complete.
Dr. St. Luc and his nurse, Forsythe, are backed up by a
secretary-receptionist who sits behind a desk surrounded by
filing cabinets at the end of the hallway which serves as
reception area. There are chairs lined up against one wall,
flanked by coffee tables piled high with the traditional two-
year-old magazines.

Three or four people sit waiting to see St. Luc, among them
the aging but sprightly Mr. Parkins and Janine Tudor. Parkins,
who considers himself something of a ladies' man, is talking
to Janine when St. Luc appears and looks at the list of
patients who have signed in.

...and this Kriedler seems to think
that mega-vitamin therapy may be the
answer to the question of aging.
That's not to suggest that the aging
process is in any way reversible --
I don't think for a minute that it
is -- but it may be stoppable, and
that's where mega-vitamins come in...

St. Luc gestures to Janine to follow him into his office.
Janine gets up, excusing herself to Mr. Parkins.

Excuse me, Brad. Gotta go.

She follows St. Luc into his office. He closes the door behind


The cab carrying Tudor pulls up at the main doors of the
Towers. Tudor, still a bit unsteady, signs a chit for the
driver and gets out of the car.


The doorman opens both doors for Tudor as he enters the

Afternoon, Mr. Tudor.


Janine sits opposite St. Luc, who has a file open before him
on his desk.

Well, there's certainly nothing here
in this check-up I did for your
husband's company last year. Blood
pressure a touch high, cholesterol
count nice and low...
(looking Janine in
the eye)
I just can't see cancer developing
that fast, Janine, not the way you've
described it. Could be swollen glands
or something, I don't know.

(a bit relieved but
still tense)
You'll come up and take a look at

(standing up)
If he can't make it down here...
sure. That's what I'm here for. But
it won't be until, oh...
(checking his watch)
...9.30, say 10.00. OK? Not too late?

Janine smiles and shakes her head. Just gotta have time to
put the clinic to bed for the night and grab some supper.

That's great, Doctor. Thanks.

Janine gets up, opens the door to the reception area, and
leaves, closing the door behind her.

St. Luc keeps staring at Tudor's file, shifts something from
one side of the folder to the other. Something bothers him.

The door to one of the examination rooms opens and Forsythe
pops her head around the corner.

Mrs. Ementhal's ready and waiting,

Mm? OK. Be with you in a sec.

Forsythe disappears. St. Luc studies Tudor's file.


Tudor enters his apartment and throws his jacket and attaché
case on to a chair. He loosens his tie and makes himself a
drink, then sits down on the sofa and switches on the TV

After only a short moment of relative calm, Tudor suddenly
contracts into the fetal position, spilling his drink on to
the floor. He rolls on to the floor, eyes staring out of his
head, mouth opening and closing like that of a fish out of
water, tendons in his neck bulging with tension.

He soon manages to struggle to his feet, the primary spasm
of pain apparently over. He keeps both hands clamped over
his mouth as though in a vain attempt to forestall a bout of
vomiting and stumbles into the bathroom.

Once in the bathroom, Tudor throws himself over the side of
the bathtub, knees on the bath mat, head well down into the
tub itself.

He gags and vomits into the tub and collapses, exhausted, on
the floor, mouth bloody. In the tub, a trail of blood-streaked
slime leads into the drain.


Forsythe comes out to the reception area from an examination
room, checks out the patient list, and beckons to Mr. Parkins.

I'm ready for you now, Brad.

Parkins gets up and follows Forsythe into one of the
examination rooms.


Once inside the examination room, Forsythe closes the door
and hands Parkins a hospital tunic.

Now, you just take off all your
clothes, put this on, and hop up on
to the table over there, OK? Doctor'll
be in to see you in a few minutes.

(as Forsythe begins
to leave)
You don't have to go. I'm not shy.

Don't be a tease, Brad. I'm still
working, you know.

Forsythe leaves. Parkins chuckles to himself -- 'still life
in the old boy yet' kind of feeling -- and begins to undress.


Tudor staggers into the living room from the bathroom, wiping
his mouth with a facecloth. He sits down on a chair facing
the sliding glass door which leads to the apartment's balcony.

He breathes heavily, gasping for air. His expression is a
dazed one and he mumbles incoherently. After a moment's rest
he rises, opens the glass door, and steps out on to the


Tudor hangs on to the railing of the narrow concrete balcony,
gulping down the air, scanning the lights of the tower

Suddenly the muscles of his neck go tense again, his mouth
seems to gape open at the extreme limits imposed by muscle
and jawbone, his hands fly up to his mouth in an attempt to
keep down whatever is about to come up.

Hanging over the railing of the balcony like an ocean traveler
in a rough sea, Tudor finally gives up the struggle and hangs
on for dear life as he retches, gags, moans, and finally


Two elderly women, Vi and Olive, are taking a leisurely
evening stroll at the base of Tudor's tower. They both hold
small transparent umbrellas over their heads and walk gingerly
along the path bordering the lawn.

Suddenly the liquid, fleshy thwack of the parasite vomited
by Tudor from high above hitting one of the umbrellas is
heard. A large splotch of blood spatters the first lady's
umbrella just off center, as though it has been hit by a
heavy, blood-soaked sponge. The force of the blow almost
twists the umbrella from the first lady's frail hand, and
she gives a little cry of surprise.

Her companion extends a hand to help the first lady keep her
balance, then gives a slightly more startled cry when she
sees the blood.

The first lady examines her umbrella as well, but does not
react with such surprise.

(examining the bloodied
Aw. Poor birdie. They're always
crashing into tall buildings. It's
such a shame, such a shame. The
windows fool them, you know.

The creature, the second parasite to emerge from Tudor's
body, lies in the grass, away from the bright cones of light
thrown by the tower's lawn lamps. We can barely make out its
bloody, twitching form.

Beyond the parasite is a basement window through which is
visible a large laundry room complete with washers and dryers.
The window has been propped open a couple of inches by a bar
of laundry soap.

The first lady makes a move to find the injured creature,
but her companion tightens her grip on the old lady's arm.

Come along, Olive.

Oh, Vi! Maybe the poor thing's just
been hurt. Maybe we should look for

(pulling Olive along)
Don't be silly, dear. It's in heaven
now, whatever it is. Won't help at
all for you to get into a fuss and
muddle over it. Now come along and
let's finish up our little evening
stroll and get you tucked up in bed
in front of the color TV.

The two women walk off down the path, Vi's voice fading away
in the shadows.

You know what a restless night you
have if you don't get your two hours
of color TV, dear, so let's bustle
along and get our walk over with,
shall we...?


St. Luc is examining Mr. Parkins. Parkins sits on the
examination table with the hospital tunic on.

St. Luc presses gently around Parkins' abdomen in the area
of the navel.

Ow! Better take it easy. There's a
lot of pressure in there!

St. Luc stops pressing and takes up his stethoscope. He begins
to percuss the old man's abdomen.

Want me to breathe deeply?

Just breathe normally.

St. Luc finishes percussing, removes the stethoscope from
his ears, and stands back thoughtfully.

Good shape for an old man, eh?

(after a pause)
Mr. Parkins, what makes you think
you caught these lumps of yours from
a young lady?

She had a couple just like them.
Right here near her belly button.
You could push 'em around. I thought
they were kinda sexy, myself.

Didn't she ever have these lumps
looked at by a doctor?

Didn't seem worried about them.

Was this girl from Starliner Towers?

Yep. She lived in 1208. But we usually
went to my place. Bigger liquor
cabinet, bigger bed.
(chuckles, then gets
She was gone when I got back from my
last Florida trip. Too bad. Had a
beautiful tan.
(smiles again)
Must have gone home to mother.

Was her name Annabelle Horsefield?

That's the one.

St. Luc sits down at the counter beneath the medicine cabinet
and begins to write in Parkins' file.

OK, you can get dressed now, Mr.

The old man begins to put his shirt and tie back on.

(handing Parkins a
slip of paper)
I'm going to send you to the hospital
to have a few X-rays taken. I want
to find out exactly what you're hiding
in there, OK? Give them this. The
address is right there under

Gonna cut me open?

Well, let's wait for the X-rays.

Used to know a doctor who said he
got to know his patients better than
their wives did.
Cutting a man open sure does expose
more of him than pulling down his
pants, gotta admit that.

St. Luc smiles politely, his mind obviously elsewhere.


A bar of laundry soap props open the window of the laundry
room. The presence of the wounded parasite is indicated only
by the glistening slime trail which streaks the section of
wall immediately below the window.

The hand of an old woman, puckered and wrinkled from many
hours submerged in hot soapy water, reaches up, and yanks
the bar of soap out of the jaws of the window. The window
swing shut. The woman's hand slides the bolt home, locking
the window from the inside.

The old woman is short, dumpy, puffy-faced, in her late
sixties. Her hair is carelessly tied in a bun on top of her

She sniffles, shakes her head, turns away from the window,
and walks across the room to the long bank of washers and
dryers. As she walks she has to thread her way among the
dozen or so shopping bags full of dirty laundry -- against
apartment regulations, she takes in outsiders' laundry --
which she has brought down the elevator with her.

She flips open the top of the first washer and begins to dig
clothes out of the nearest shopping bag.

From above and behind the washer, we watch her fill the
machine and reach into the front of her dress, which is black
and frayed. After feeling around for a few seconds, she pulls
out a plastic bag filled with white granulated detergent.
She dumps some of this into the washer, finds the appropriate
coins in the pocket of her dress, and starts the machine.

She watches it for a second to make sure it's working
properly, then puts the plastic bag back where she found it.
She picks up the bag she has almost emptied and shuffles in
her ragged slippers to the next washer. She stops in front
of it and puts down the bag.

The old woman notices a slimy streak near the open hole of
the washer. She grimaces, grabs a sock from the bag and cleans
off the top of the washer with it. She tosses the sock into
the washer and leans over the hole, trying to see inside.

The parasite which has been lurking in the washer suddenly
springs from the opening on to the old woman's face, suckering
on to her flesh with its stubby tentacles. She shrieks and
grabs at the creature with both hands, trying to pull it

She stumbles back from the washer and begins to trip over
various shopping bags. Finally she goes down amidst her
laundry, thrashing and spilling clothes out everywhere.


In the grocery store built into the base of one of the towers,
Janine flips through some magazines, finally buying a Vogue.

She stops to look at several shelves of various kinds of
food, picking up this and that, but somehow the thought of
cooking or even eating repulses her, and she leaves without
buying anything but the magazine.


Janine walks along a hallway, stops at a door, knocks gently,
and then opens the door and walks in, obviously very familiar
with the occupant.


Janine enters Betts' apartment. Betts is sitting cross-legged
in leotards on the broadloom, a number of very large black-
and-white photographs spread out in front of her. As she
speaks to Janine, she arranges and rearranges them.

Other equipment and graphics of various kinds stuck on walls,
hidden in corners and lying on chairs and tables suggest
that Betts is in advertising and commercial graphics.

Janine stands halfway in the door.


Hi. Want a drink?

No thanks. Just wanted to tell you
that Dr. St. Luc is coming up to see
Nick at ten or so.

Was he nice to you?

Janine nods.

Good. Well...
(takes a sip from a
glass on the floor
next to her)
I've ordered in some vrai cuisine
française from Jean-Phillipe at the
Côte d'Azur restaurant. Escargots in
garlic butter... the works. They
have lovely strong delivery boys who
fight their way through sleet and
hail and the gloom of night just to
bring me my coq au vin. And after
Dr. St. Luc has told you that there's
nothing wrong with Nick that a
vacation won't cure, and if Nick
falls asleep early again, you just
come on back here for company and a
late supper. You hear me?

Janine nods.

Now, I mean it. I always order enough
for two and I'll just get fat and
lonely if you don't show up.

Janine wiggles her fingers goodbye and leaves.


Janine walks down the hallway to her apartment, her Vogue
rolled up under her arm. She opens the door to her apartment --
it's not locked -- and goes in.

A moment after she's gone and closed the door, two children
about ten years old appear around a corner, giggling and
jostling each other. They approach Tudor's apartment.

C'mon, let's smoke one of the
cigarettes right now. Your father'll
never miss it.

I can't, dummy. He'll see that the
pack's been opened. You're such a

OK, then. I'm gonna go back to the
store and buy my own pack and smoke
'em all myself.

Buy 'em with what, dumbhead?

(flipping open a milk
With some milk jugs I just happened
to pick up on the way home.

The first box she tries is empty. She advances to the next
and the next, finally finding one that has a jug in it. She
takes it and advances to Tudor's box, jug swinging, companion
trailing after her in admiration. She stops at Tudor's milk
box and flicks the door open.

She looks inside, just about to reach for the jug that nestles
back in the shadows. Ugh! What's that?

The boy takes a look. Inside the box a third parasite can
just be seen clinging to a three-quart white plastic milk
jug. The jug is smeared with blood. The box's inside door is
ajar. The TV set can be heard from inside the apartment.

I dunno. Guess the milk went bad.
It's still worth money.

The girl hesitates for a second. Suddenly the parasite
twitches around to the front of the jug. The girl, startled,
slams the box door shut.


Let's get outta here before somebody
hears us!

The children run off down the hallway together. After a few
seconds, the box door is nudged open again from the inside.


Janine sits down in front of the TV set. After a moment or
two she gets up, turns the set off, and flops back down on
the sofa with her Vogue.

She doesn't notice a trail of bloody slime leading from the
bedroom to the inside door of the milk box.

In the bedroom, a hand reaches down and pulls back a bedsheet
to reveal a naked abdomen. It is Tudor's abdomen, and he
reaches out with trembling fingers to touch a lump the size
of a chicken egg stretching the skin to one side of his navel.

Tudor watches the lump in the muted light of his bedroom. He
gradually extends his hand toward the lump, which disappears
the instant it's touched.

(delirious, voice
strained, whispering)
Come here, boy. Here, boy, here.

He taps and scratches the skin near his navel, as though
trying to lure a cat into attacking his fingers.

He is propped up in bed, sweating profusely, half-dressed.
He looks weak and drained, but still manages to smile with
maniacal intensity, his eyes wide and bright.

Come on, fella. Thataboy. You and
me, we're gonna be friends, aren't

We can now see that the sheets are twisted, the pillows half
off the bed. Tudor begins drumming on his abdomen.

Gradually, cautiously, the lump under Tudor's skin returns.
He tries to seize the lump with his fingers and it shrinks
back, almost disappearing into his abdominal cavity again.

Tudor seems disappointed.

No, no, no. Don't run away, boy. I'm
not going to hurt you. Not going to
hurt you. We're going to be friends.

The lump returns again. Gently, Tudor begins stroking it.
The lump seems to respond by pulsing slightly, the rhythm
strangely masturbatory.

(closing his eyes in
bliss and smiling

In the living room, Janine suddenly realizes that if the TV
set was on, Nick must be home.

She gets to her feet and walks to the bedroom.

Inside the bedroom, we see the door open. Light floods the
room as Janine enters. Janine sees Tudor sprawled out on the

Nick? I didn't know you were home.
What's wrong? What are you doing?
You're almost falling out of bed.
How are you feeling?

Tudor twists around to see who has spoken, eyes wide but now
unsmiling. With the same motion, he pulls the covers over
his abdomen to hide the lumps from Janine.

Janine stands at the bedroom door for an instant, then
approaches the bedside. She moves as though her hands were
tied at her sides, as though she is quite consciously holding
herself together.

(tenderly, but with
caution, as though
expecting a blow)
Nick, does your stomach hurt? Can I
see those bumps on your tummy, can

She reaches out to pull back the covers again, but he rolls
away from her.

Go away. Leave me alone.

Janine straightens up. Her hands come up to her face and
tears well up in her eyes.

Oh, why won't you let me help you?

She turns and walks angrily out of the room, slamming the
door behind her.

Tudor rolls over slowly on to his back, eyes wide and shining,
smiling again.

Attaboy, attaboy.


St. Luc is examining a very pretty young girl who sits on
the examination table in a hospital tunic.

OK, Dotty. Everything else seems to
be fine. Now if it gives you any
trouble at all, any sharp pain, any
unusual discharge, you come and see
me right away. They can be tricky

Dotty nods. OK, you can get dressed. We're all through.

The girl starts to get dressed. St. Luc scribbles something
in her file and then takes it with him into the adjoining
office, closing the door behind him.


St. Luc sits at his desk and opens Parkins' file. Forsythe,
about twenty-three, earthy and humorous, comes in with an
armful of papers and records, which she throws in groups on
to St. Luc's desk.

(distributing papers)
OK, Roger. Here's the stuff you
wanted. Files on Horsefield, Tudor,
Swinburne, and Velakofsky. Papers
published by Hobbes, Linsky, and
Lefebvre in a couple of issues of
the Bulletin of the Canadian Medical
Association and also the Journal of
the American Medical Association.
And, as an added extra, a couple of
odds and ends from the files I helped
compile before your time here, Doctor.
I thought they might interest you.

That's great, Forsythe, great. Thanks.

Do I get a kiss?

St. Luc is absorbed in his papers and doesn't respond.
Forsythe prods his shoulder. He looks up at her.

Kiss, kiss?

Uh, OK. Sure.

They kiss, St. Luc making sure that it doesn't get too heavy.

Another kiss?

C'mon, Forsythe. Are there any more
on the list?

No. Dotty's the last.

The telephone rings. St. Luc picks it up.


That you, Rog?

(not recognizing the

It's me, Rollo Linsky. Remember me?

Rollo! How'sa boy? I was just thinking
about you.

Realizing that the conversation is likely to be a long one,
Forsythe gets off the desk and walks over to a metal locker
in the corner, which she opens.

Inside are her street clothes. She begins to take off her
nurse's uniform in full view of St. Luc, not being obvious
about the distraction she's providing, but not taking pains
to hurry dressing or be modest either.

In the scene that follows we cut among three basic things:
Rollo in his lab, talking and eating; St. Luc in his office,
watching Forsythe get undressed and then dressed; and Hobbes's
notes and scribblings, which do not necessarily have to be
on the screen long enough to be completely read. Hobbes's
notes are there more to convince the viewer that they exist
and to provide flavor than to transfer information.

Been glancing at some of your
publications on your work with Hobbes.


In his lab, Rollo sits at the gynecological table abandoned
by Hobbes. Rollo is using it as an auxiliary desk.

On the table are several opened waxed-paper packages of beef
knishes and accessories. There are also several old cardboard
shoeboxes, some still tied with string, some opened and
overflowing with papers of all kinds: Hobbes's private notes.

(eating a knish)
Yeah, well, I'm flattered, but you
won't find any real meat in them.

ST. LUC (V.O.)
No? How come?

(shuffling papers)
Listen, Rog. I knew Hobbes was funny,
you know? I told you that. But I
didn't really know just how funny he
was. See... when he kicked off, they
sent all the personal secret stuff
they found to his mother -- she's
still alive but just barely -- and
she sent everything she thought was
medical to me here at the lab. I'm
Hobbes's partner, right?
(laughs sardonically)
Anyway, I've been going through his
papers, and what they add up to is
this: Hobbes was shafting us all,
me, the university, the foundations
and the councils, the private labs,
everybody. We never really knew what
it was we were working on. Hobbes
gave us each a few crumbs, but he
was the only one who knew what the
whole loaf would look like.


St. Luc watches as Forsythe rolls her stockings down. He
shuffles through Hobbes's publications.

OK, I bite. What does it look like?


It looks like -- and I quote -- 'a
disease to save man from his mind.'

ST. LUC (V.O.)
I don't get it.

Lemme clarify for you.

Rollo pauses to wash down some knish with a can of Coca-Cola.


Forsythe catches St. Luc watching her dress and smiles. St.
Luc swivels back to his files.


Rollo searches through Hobbes's notes to find the relevant
quotes. As he does so, he drops a few crumbs of knish on the
page and his plump fingers brush the crumbs away, smearing
some meat over the words.

Hobbes thought that man is an animal
that thinks too much, an animal that
has lost touch with his instinct,
his 'primal self'... in other words,
too much brain and not enough guts.
And what he came up with to help our
guts along was a human parasite that
is... lemme find it here... 'a
combination of aphrodisiac and
venereal disease, a modern version
of the satyr's tongue.'

Rollo pauses and flips to a new note with the heading
ANNABELLE underlined in red: 'She is becoming a new creature
before my eyes. It is like living at the Dawn of Creation. I
am euphoric, I am in ecstasy.'

But the important thing for you is
this: Hobbes used Annabelle as a
guinea pig. He implanted her with
the thing. I figure that once the
parasites took, Annabelle went
berserk. I dunno what she did, but
Hobbes wasn't ready for it. He had
to kill her. And he wasn't trying to
burn her, he was burning them, all
of them.


St. Luc watches Forsythe, who is halfway through getting her
street clothes on. He toys with the Velakofsky file, which
contains abdominal X-rays showing dark, blurred masses inside
the abdominal cavity.

He didn't make it.


Maybe Hobbes didn't know it, but
Annabelle was a pretty popular girl
around Starliner Towers. I've got
three men here, maybe four, who're
hosting large, free-moving, apparently
pathogenic, abdominal growths that
nobody I've tried can identify. You
were next on my list.


I'd kinda like to come over there
and have a look at one of these guys.

ST. LUC (V.O.)
I've got a date with one of them at
ten. Can you make it?

Ah, I don't want to panic you or
anything, but, I mean, the way Hobbes
designed them, they're supposed to
get out of hand real quick, so you
don't have much time to think about
what's happening to you. Once they
decide to start pumping all those
dynamite juices into the old blood
stream... I dunno. But if you see
some people doing kind of compulsive,
maybe even bizarre sexual things...

ST. LUC (V.O.)
(laughing: he doesn't
take this aspect too
Yeah? What do I do then?

I dunno. Try tranquilizers. Once you
can get at them, there's a lotta
stuff you can use. I'll bring a
bagful. It's just the standard
tropical kit. But the trick is to
get at them.


Forsythe has finished dressing and is waiting for St. Luc to
get off the phone.

OK. It's apartment 1009, South Tower,
Starliner Towers. May as well go
there directly.

OK, Rog. See you at ten.

St. Luc hangs up.

Roger? If you're going to be staying
here anyway, why don't you come up
to my place for a late supper?

Meeting Rollo at Tudor's. Might take
a while.

Doesn't matter to me how late it is.
I can keep it warm.

St. Luc pushes his papers aside for a moment and stretches
in his swivel chair.

Anything wrong?

No. I don't think so.

Well? Supper at my place?

OK. But late.

(happy because she
knows she can get
him to stay overnight)
Great! Go back to your files. Bye.

She leaves, closing the door behind her. St. Luc swivels
thoughtfully in his chair for a second or two, then turns
back to his files.


Forsythe walks through the darkened and deserted reception
area to the elevators. Through the main doors we see a
delivery van parked in the main driveway.


A young man aged about twenty-five -- Kurt, the delivery
boy, dark, intense, bearded, his manner as stiff and formal
as the tuxedo that he wears -- rolls a restaurant serving
cart toward the main doors. He has obviously just come from
the van outside, which is emblazoned with the words
'Restaurant Côte d'Azur'.

The doorman smiles and opens the door for Kurt, obviously
familiar with the restaurant. Kurt takes great care as he
lifts the cart slightly so that it clears the doormats. On
the cart's two levels is an elaborate array of silver serving
vessels and utensils.


Elevator doors slide open and Kurt steps out, pushing his
cart. He walks down the hallway looking for Betts's apartment.
After he has passed a few doors he approaches one which is
slightly ajar.

As Kurt approaches, the door opens wider to reveal the old
woman from the laundry room. She is no longer wearing her
dumpy laundry clothes, however, but is dressed in a
translucent nightgown and wears a grotesque amount of make-
up. She is careful to keep half her face hidden behind the

Kurt notices her but chooses to ignore her. He is just
approaching her when she calls to him.

I'm hungry!

Kurt keeps on moving. He is now just passing her door. The
old woman edges out from behind the door a bit more.

I'm hungry!

Kurt can't resist turning to look at her, although he keeps
moving. When he looks her in the eye, she eases out slightly
from behind the door to reveal that half her face has been
horribly burned by the laundry-room parasite, the eye melted
shut, the nostril drooping.

Kurt is so stunned that he slows. The old woman speaks softly.

Hungry for love. Hungry for love.

She suddenly reaches out and grabs Kurt by his tux with both
hands and, with tremendous energy, jerks him back into her
apartment and slams the door closed with a vicious kick.

Kurt's cart remains out in the hallway, the food steaming.


In her dining room, Betts mixes herself a drink and checks
her watch. She takes a sip, then goes into the bathroom and
bends over the bathtub, having balanced her drink on the
edge of the tub.

From inside the drain of the tub we see Betts place the plug
in the plughole.

Betts turns on the water, adjusting the proportion of hot to
cold until she gets it exactly the way she wants it, then
gets undressed.

She wraps a thick and colorful towel around her and goes out
to the living room with her drink in hand. In the living
room, she arranges her photos in a new order, props them up
against the sofa, changes them around again.

Back in the bathroom, Betts checks the temperature of the
water by swishing her hand around in it. The water drums
heavily on the floor of the tub. Betts puts her drink on the
edge of the tub and turns the water off.

She now drops her towel on to the bathmat and steps into the
tub. She reaches over the edge of the tub to straighten her
sandals on the bathmat, then picks up her drink and stretches
back. She takes a big slug of her drink. Her toes curl in

The drain plug begins to jerk and twitch, as though something
were trying to push it out from inside the drain.

Betts sinks down in the water until her hair, short as it
is, begins to float a bit.

The drain plug begins to jerk more and more violently until
it is pushed right out of its plug hole. The water begins to
run out of the drain, but only in a slight trickle -- the
drain pipe is blocked by a soft, spongy body.

Betts rolls her head back and forth across the back of the
tub, smiling, relaxed, enjoying the sensation.

One of the parasite's stubby tentacles slowly appears, probing
out of the drain hole. Then another appears, then another.

Betts puts down her drink on the tub's edge and reaches for
the soap and washcloth. Her eyes are half-closed and a smile
still flickers about her lips. The sound of water suddenly
rushing out of the drain in volume rouses Betts out of her

She sits up and looks down toward the plug end of the tub.
The parasite is crawling toward her up the middle of the
tub, almost touching her legs, which are pressed together
against one side of the tub. The water is becoming pink with
the blood that diffuses through it.

Betts' mouth opens slowly and her eyes are wide. Her reactions
are obviously being confused by the drinks she has recently

Under the water, now very shallow, the parasite's tentacles
touch Betts's thighs.

Betts tries to scream but can't. The parasite suckers its
way between Betts' thighs. She screams a silent scream in
the tub, her mouth wide open, her head rolling from side to
side. The only sounds are the thrashing of her legs in the
water and the gurgle of the drain.

With a spasm that shakes her whole body, Betts throws her
arms wide and knocks her glass off the edge of the tub and
on to the tiles of the bathroom floor. The glass shatters.
After a moment or two of further silent struggle, Betts arches
her back, then falls into a semi-conscious stupor, slumping
motionless in the tub.


Nicholas Tudor lies flat on his back in bed on top of the
covers. The physical state of his face, ghastly and
cadaverous, is in sharp contrast to his expression, which is
ecstatic, beatific, Madonna-like.

Tudor's hands rest on his abdomen in a posture often
associated with pregnant women. Between his hands, in the
area around the navel, three lumps shift beneath the skin,
changing positions and pulsing rhythmically.

As they move, Tudor makes little delirious crooning sounds,
a parody of a lullaby.

In the living room, Janine sits on the couch agitatedly
flipping through her Vogue, now wearing large, fashionable
glasses with thick, tinted prescription lenses. She can't
seem to get into doing anything until St. Luc comes.

She gets up and turns the TV on again, deliberately turning
up the volume to an uncomfortable level.


An old man and his wife, the Spergazzis, are taking their
late-night constitutional through the halls of the South

Their arms are linked and they both walk with the aid of
canes, the ultra-modern aluminum kind with four rubber-tipped
prongs at the end.

Lovely, lovely evening. Very quiet,

Mrs. Spergazzi nods and smiles, patting Mr. Spergazzi's hand.
They round a corner which leads them down the stretch of
hall which passes by Tudor's door.

As they approach Tudor's door they notice a plastic milk jug
lying in the hall just below the open milk-chute door.

Mrs. Spergazzi detaches herself from her husband and bends
down with difficulty to pick up the jug.

Eh, the children in this apartment,
they're such little thieves. You
have to put a lock on everything.

She puts the jug back in the milk chute. She notices the
blood smeared on it just a second before the parasite in the
chute fastens itself to her wrist with its suckers.

She stares at her wrist in astonishment. She is wearing the
parasite like some monstrous, spongy, oozing wristwatch. She
tries to shake the thing off. It can't be dislodged. She
turns in disbelief to her husband and then screams at the
top of her lungs.

Mr. Spergazzi lifts his cane and tries to strike the thing
with the cane's prongs. The force of his blow throws him off
balance and he falls, dragging his wife down with him.

Mrs. Spergazzi moans in pain and terror. Her husband manages
to get to his knees and begins to smash at the thing with
his cane. White burning fluid begins to squirt everywhere.
Mrs Spergazzi's forearm begins to smoke, bubble, and dissolve.
She becomes hysterical.

Mr. Spergazzi continues to smash away at the thing, now with
some success.


In the kitchen, a thick paperbound book called Guide to
Gourmet Cooking lies open and face down on the kitchen counter
next to the sink. There are a couple of pots and pans heating
on the stove.

Forsythe picks up the book, then opens one of the pots to
check something. She is obviously taking a lot of care with
St. Luc's late supper. She puts the lid back on the pot,
reads a bit more, then checks the time on an electric clock
on the counter.

She opens the oven door, then takes a bone-handled carving
fork from a carving set and begins to prod at a roast in a
ceramic roasting dish.

Someone knocks on the door. Forsythe leaves her oven and
goes to answer it, carving fork in hand.

She opens the door. Kresimir Sviben stands in the hallway,
eyes wide, insane smile on his face. He looks at Forsythe as
though she were a piece of steak.


Kresimir doesn't answer. He begins to drool, his mouth working
as though in anticipation of a meal. Forsythe gets a little

Can I... can I help you?

Kresimir approaches. He is visibly shaking.

(speaking with
Yes... you can... help me.

Without warning, he lunges for Forsythe, who vainly tries to
slam the door in his face. Kresimir pushes his way past the
door and grabs Forsythe by the back of the head, trying to
kiss her and drooling.

Forsythe breaks away and runs toward the bathroom, intending
to lock herself in. Kresimir throws himself at her legs,
managing to grab one of her feet. She doesn't fall, but holds
on to a cabinet and tries to pull free.

Kresimir begins to climb up her body. Forsythe, terrified
and gasping for breath, plunges the long, curved prongs of
the carving fork into Kresimir's shoulder. He screams with
pain and loosens his grip on Forsythe long enough for her to
pull away, leaving her apron and part of her dress in
Kresimir's hands.

She runs for the door and is gone.

Kresimir, still on his knees, holds the apron and the piece
of dress to his face, breathing in Forsythe's fragrance. He
begins to shuffle toward the door on his knees, kissing the
clothes in his hands, mumbling and moaning.

Oh, my darling, I worship, I worship
at the shrine of your body, your
body, your body, oh, your body...


Betts lies slumped in her bathtub, her hair matted and damp,
her eyes open and staring. Her mouth begins to work in a
very sensual way, and she begins to drool slightly.

The tub is completely empty now except for the scum of blood
and soap. The smashed glass is scattered all over the floor
near the base of the tub.

Zombie-like, Betts rises from the tub and steps out on to
the floor, her feet missing the bathmat. The crunch and snap
of her bare feet on the broken glass are heightened abnormally
by the tiled echo chamber of the bathroom.

The steps Betts takes toward the medicine cabinet leave bloody
prints on the floor.

Betts takes out various bottles and plastic cases and tubes
from the medicine cabinet and begins to apply make-up to her
face with mechanical precision.


St. Luc is reading a section of one of Hobbes's medical papers
in preparation for examining Tudor later on. The section we
see says: '...thus the theoretical organism we are now
considering would exhibit what I choose to call "compressed
evolution." This in effect means that each generation of the
said organism would be better adapted to inhabit and to
control the behavior of its host...'

Suddenly Forsythe bursts in, out of breath, semi-hysterical,

St. Luc rises from his chair and Forsythe throws herself on
him, sobbing.

Forsythe, Forsythe! What's wrong?
What's happened?

A man... I think I recognized him...
a man who lives here. He just...
(breaking down)
...he just attacked me for no reason
at all. I just opened the door... I
was making supper for you, and he
grabbed me, he tried to kiss me...

St. Luc hugs Forsythe for a moment, then holds her away from
him so that he can get some information out of her.

Where is he now? Do you know?

I think I... I think I killed him. I
stabbed him with something and he

Will you be OK now? I've got to go
to your place to see if he's still
there. I've got to see if it's... if
it's what we both think it is.

Oh, no! You're not leaving me here
all alone. I'm going with you.

St. Luc hesitates for a second, then grabs his black leather
doctor's bag.

OK, c'mon.

They leave.


Inside a descending elevator, a middle-aged woman and her
teen-aged daughter flip through a magazine together. The
elevator sinks toward the ground floor of the South Tower,
then slows and stops. They both look up at the floor numbers.
It's not their floor.

The doors slide open. Nobody seems to be waiting. The mother
pushes the CLOSE DOOR button, a bit impatiently. A hand
holding a crêpe oozing red jam and sugar reaches around into
the elevator.

The two women cringe, suddenly afraid. Kurt, the delivery
boy, steps around and into the elevator, smiling broadly,
eyes wide and glistening. He drools slightly. The doors slide
closed. Kurt offers one crêpe to each woman.


The doorman sits beside the intercom board reading another
Harlequin Nurse Romance when he happens to glance up and
notice the elevator flashers which indicate a stuck elevator.

He sighs, shakes his head -- always something going wrong --
stuffs the pocketbook into his jacket, and gets up, taking
out a huge ring of keys from his pocket as he does so.

He walks over to the metal control panel sunk into the wall
between the elevators and opens it with one of the keys on
the ring. Then, checking to make sure which elevator is the
stuck one, he plays with a switch which manually overrides
the floor selector and brings the elevator down.

The doorman watches as the numbers show that the elevator is
finally coming down. He stands by, waiting to see who or
what has caused the elevator to stay at one floor for so
long, jingling his keys, trying to look stern and

The doors spring open. Kurt stands at the back of the
elevator, one arm around the young girl, who hugs him tightly.
The girl is finishing the last bit of one of the crêpes,
sucking her fingers deliciously.

The mother sits slumped in the opposite corner, her coat
open, her dress torn, bruises on her face. She struggles to
her feet. Kurt and the girl are ignoring her.

The doorman is nonplussed. He hesitates, then makes a move
toward the elevator, intending to help the woman to her feet.

Here, here. What is this all about?
What's the matter with you? What are
you doing in there?

The woman suddenly lunges at the doorman and tries to pull
him down. Kurt detaches himself from the girl and joins her.
They giggle and drool all over the doorman as they pull him
down and pin him to the floor.

The daughter, still licking her fingers, slowly approaches
the doorman.

Hey, that's enough, enough of this
nonsense! What is this?

The daughter kneels at the doorman's feet, then crawls over
him, her mouth working, drooling. She lowers her lips over
his, Kurt making it impossible for the doorman to move his
head out of the way.


Forsythe and St. Luc are hurrying to Forsythe's apartment to
see if Kresimir is still there. As they round a corner, they
see the Spergazzis coming toward them, the old lady hobbling
and hysterical, the old man helping her walk as best he can,
trying to maintain some kind of calm.

When Spergazzi sees St. Luc, he lifts his four-pronged cane
and waves it around to get attention.

Hey, Doctor, Doctor! Please. Help

St. Luc and Forsythe rush over and help to support the
slumping Mrs. Spergazzi.

What happened?

(tipping his hat as
he introduces himself
even in the midst of
Please pardon me. I am Niccolo
Spergazzi. I am a resident here. I
don't know... we were walking in the
hallway and... Cabiria... my wife...
she was attacked by this thing...
here, on her arm.

Spergazzi shows St. Luc his wife's forearm, which has been
badly burned by the parasite's animal-tissue solvent. As
soon as St. Luc starts prodding her arm, Mrs. Spergazzi starts
to wail in Italian. Spergazzi tries to soothe her as St. Luc
examines her carefully.

It's all right, cara mia. What's one
more scar to an old lady, eh? You'll
be OK.

The old lady wails even more.

Where is this thing that attacked
your wife?

I hit it. I hit it with my cane.
Then I carry it on the cane and I
throw it down to the incinerator,
down to the garbage.

St. Luc hands his bag to Forsythe.

(to Spergazzi)
This is Nurse Forsythe. She's a nurse,
you understand me?

Spergazzi nods. St. Luc turns to Forsythe.

Go back to their apartment with them
and treat her for second-degree burns.
It'll have to do for now.
(to Spergazzi)
What's your number? The number of
your apartment?

We live in 703.

(to Forsythe)
OK. I'll meet you back there. Don't
leave until I get there. Lock the
door and don't open it except for
me. OK?

But where are you going?

(walking away)
Down to the incinerator.


Janine dozes fitfully on the couch, her glasses fallen on to
the carpet, her Vogue crumpled underneath her. Tudor's voice
calls to her from the bedroom. It has an eerie, wailing tone
to it.

Janine. Janine. Come here. Come into
the bedroom, Janine.

Tudor keeps calling until Janine wakes up with a start and
jumps to her feet, still half asleep. She rubs her eyes and
walks to the bedroom.

Janine opens the bedroom door. From her point of view we see
a dark, blurry figure sitting on the edge of the bed.

Nick? Are you up? I can't see a thing,
I took my contacts out.

Tudor speaks from the bed without moving.

Hello, darling. I feel wonderful.
Come and sit beside me, beside me on
the bed.

Janine hesitates for a second, then walks to the bed and
sits down. She can now see that Tudor, although pale and
sickly, is smiling ecstatically. He puts an arm around Janine,
who reacts stiffly.

Do you want to make love? You're
absolutely beautiful, those eyes,
that expression. You're absolutely
the most sexy thing alive. Do you
want to make love?

(slightly repulsed)
Nick, you're so strange...

Tudor begins to unbutton his shirt with one hand, his other
still gripping Janine tightly.

You will make love to me, won't you,
Janine? Won't you make love to me?
You start it. Won't you? I think
I've forgotten how to start.

(now in tears)
Oh, Nick, Nick... I can't take this.

Please, Janine. Please,
pleasepleaseplease, Janine Janine

Janine hesitantly helps Tudor remove his shirt and begins to
caress him in a perfunctory way, tears in her eyes. Her
caresses make Tudor moan with pleasure.

Love me. Oh, Janine, you're so
beautiful. You're my wife. Mmm. You're
my wife.

Janine's hand sweeps across Tudor's abdomen. She pulls her
hand away, startled, obviously having just felt a few of
Tudor's lumps.

She looks up at Tudor's face with a mixture of horror and
wonder in her eyes. Tudor is confused; he doesn't want the
caresses to stop.

You're my wife, Janine. Please make
love to me.


The Spergazzi apartment is very heavily decorated in the
Mediterranean European Catholic style, featuring lots of
plastic and plaster Madonnas, calendars with Christ exposing
his bleeding heart, etc.

Mrs. Spergazzi lies on an overstuffed couch with her wrist
held up for Forsythe to bandage after she coats it with a
healing gel. Mrs. Spergazzi wears a suffering-martyr
expression. Mr. Spergazzi leans over the back of the couch
patting his wife's other hand solicitously.


The steel door at the top of a concrete flight of stairs
swings open and St. Luc appears. He quickly negotiates the
steps and opens the steel door at the bottom which leads to
the incinerator room.

Once inside, St. Luc grabs the poker hanging from an iron
hook sunk into the wall of the incinerator, slides open the
bolt on the door and opens it.

He begins to probe around inside the incinerator oven but
can't really see very much. He looks around and notices the
superintendent's flashlight stuck up on top of a heating
pipe. St. Luc takes down the flashlight, switches it on, and
continues his search for the dead parasite.


Tudor lies on top of Janine on their bed. Over his shoulder,
Janine's face is visible, eyes wide open and full of tears.
She tries to push Tudor away, but he resists.

No, no. Nick, please. Stop. Let's
stop. I... I want to put my contacts
in... I can't see anything...

Tudor pulls her back to him, and finally she is forced to
batter him away with her fists and slip off the edge of the
bed. Tudor glares after her.

(in a mechanical whine)
Make love to me, make love to me,
love, love to me...

(trying to buy time)
I want to be able to see us, Nick.
I... I'm going to go into the bathroom
now and put in my contacts, OK? Is
that OK?
(pleading with him to
believe her)
I want to be able to see us when we
make love, OK?

Tudor's eyes are staring right out of his head and his mouth
is wide open. He gasps for breath. He stares at Janine for a
second, then buries his face in the blankets, twisting them
in his hands and moaning.

Janine bursts into tears and turns away from the bed, heading
for the bathroom.

In the bathroom, Janine starts to shake, on the verge of
hysteria. Distractedly, she goes through the motions of
putting her contact lenses in: opens the medicine-cabinet
door, takes out the lens container, takes out the bottles of
wetting and soaking solutions, opens the lens container.
Suddenly, Tudor wails terribly, like a hound, from the

(heart-rending wail)

Janine turns to the door, turns back to the lenses, dumps
both lenses out into her hand, begins to squirt solution on
them. She has decided to try to ignore Tudor.

Janine, Janine, Janinnnnnneeee!

Janine can no longer pretend that she doesn't hear him.
Closing her hand around the two lenses, she runs out of the

Tudor lies outstretched on the bed in the darkness. His lips
move silently, spasmically, as though in sleep, twitching in
an abnormal, insect fashion. There is a swelling in his
throat, almost as though he has developed a goiter, which
swells and contracts rhythmically.

Janine appears in the doorway.

(a strangled half-
I'm here, Nick. Janine is here.

After a pause, she walks into the room.

She climbs on to the bed and settles down. She puts her face
very close to Tudor's. For the moment, his face is
expressionless, but his neck is swollen just under the jaw.

Janine sighs deeply, trying not to panic. Her eyes narrow
suddenly -- she hasn't got her lenses in and her gaze is
myopic -- as she notices something odd.

There is a bit of black something, a thread, in the corner
of Tudor's mouth. Janine moves closer to it. The black thing,
like the tip of an insect's leg, twitches.

Janine reaches out to brush the thing off Tudor's lip. As
her fingers brush by, the leg twitches back inside Tudor's

Janine jerks back in horror, her hands, balled into fists,
cover her own mouth as though to protect it from whatever
occupies Tudor's mouth.

Gradually the thread reappears. Tudor's lips part slightly
to allow the emergence of the dark, viscous tentacle to which
the thread -- a hook used to hang on inside the body -- is
attached. The tentacle of the blood parasite probes its way
from between Tudor's lips.

Janine is paralyzed with horror.

The tentacle is now touching Tudor's chin, his cheek, the
tip of his nose.

Janine's fists tighten even more. A glassy snap breaks the
silence. Janine lowers her hands dumbly and opens them. In
the right one, the one that held the contact lenses, are
incised two bloody circles where her fingers pressed the
lenses into her flesh until they snapped. The segmented lens
fragments glint in the tiny pools of blood.

She tries to control the hysteria welling up inside her. She
eases herself carefully over the side of the bed as the first
stubby tentacle is joined by another and another. She moves
a fraction of an inch at a time, almost hypnotized by the
movement of the tentacles.

The hooks of the tentacles are now set into Tudor's chin and
cheeks, and the tentacles draw taut as something attempts to
draw itself out of his body. His throat bulges, his cheeks
swell as the tentacles contract. His lips are gradually forced
apart as the quivering, moist shape emerges. His mouth is
opened to jaw-breaking width as the creature slowly exposes
itself to the dim light of the bedroom.

Janine's eyes are wide with terror. She utters a gurgling
cry and runs, stumbling, from the bedroom. She dashes through
the living room and reaches the door to the hallway,
whimpering in terror as she fumbles at the lock and the
doorknob, finally managing to swing the door open.


Janine runs down a hallway that leads to Betts's apartment,
sobbing and stumbling. She gets to Betts's door and opens it
without hesitation.


Janine enters Betts' apartment. She looks around for Betts.

Betts? Betts? It's me.

She catches sight of Betts standing out on the balcony,
looking across at the North Tower's lights. Betts turns
slowly. She is wearing immaculate but very extreme make-up.
Janine is slightly taken aback -- it's not Betts' style.

Betts smiles and opens her arms to Janine.


Rollo puts his jacket on, picks up his doctor's bag and a
manila envelope jammed solid with Hobbes's notes, and leaves
his lab, turning off the lights and locking the door behind


Rollo gets into his car, which is parked in a now empty
parking lot adjacent to the building in which his lab is
situated. His car is large and American and ostentatious, a
gold Cadillac Eldorado with options or equivalent.

The car pulls out of the lot and on to the street.


The doorman, drooling and twitching, locks the exit doors at
the end of one hallway. In one hand he holds an enormous
pair of cable cutters.


St. Luc continues to poke around inside the incinerator with
the poker. Finally his flashlight beam reveals the tattered
corpse of Spergazzi's parasite.

Deftly manipulating the hook on the poker's tip, St. Luc
manages to pull the parasite out into the light. Garbage
comes rattling down the chute. When St. Luc flashes his light
into the oven, we see that the garbage consists of Betts'
French food, half-eaten, silver servers and all, the snails
being especially prominent. Insane giggles echo down the
chute, followed by the slam of the chute door somewhere
several floors above.

St. Luc holds the thing up to the naked light bulb above the
incinerator. The light seems to go right through the parasite,
illuminating the twisted vascular system, reproductive organs,

As St. Luc examines the creature, which is still impaled on
the hook of the poker, the door to the incinerator room opens
behind him. A large, hairy, muscular man enters the room and
approaches the oblivious St. Luc.

The man slips his arms up under St. Luc's arms and kisses
him passionately on the neck. As soon as St. Luc realizes
what's happening, he smashes the man in the chest with his
elbow and pulls free.

The man grabs St. Luc again, trying to kiss him on the mouth.
They struggle. St. Luc is thrown to the concrete floor. The
man tries to pin him down. St. Luc, on the verge of being
overpowered, smashes the man in the chest with the poker,
parasite still hooked into its tip.

The man stands up unsteadily. St. Luc cracks him on the ankle
with the poker and he comes crashing down. The parasite corpse
is flung across the room, where it smacks wetly into the
wall and slides to the floor.

St. Luc leaps to his feet and begins kicking the man in the
head. After a furious moment or two, he suddenly stops, drops
the poker, and stares at the body in horrified disbelief.

St. Luc slowly backs away from the man's body, which is very
still and quietly oozes blood on to the damp concrete floor.
He bumps into the edge of the door left open by the man. The
collision seems to startle him out of his daze somewhat, and
he turns, himself scratched and bleeding, and staggers up
the basement steps.


Forsythe waits impatiently for St. Luc. Mr. Spergazzi is
watching a variety show on TV and Mrs. Spergazzi is making
ravioli in the kitchen, more or less recovered from her
encounter with the parasite.

Suddenly a piercing scream is heard from down the hall. Mr.
Spergazzi, hard of hearing, doesn't notice. The scream is
followed by bangs, crashes, and insane laughter and giggling.

Mrs. Spergazzi comes out of the kitchen. She has heard the
noises. She and Forsythe look at each other for a moment,
then Forsythe goes to the door and slides the chain lock
into place. She then goes to the telephone to call the police.

(into receiver)
Hello? Hello?

She dials a few times, and clicks the receiver button.
Nothing. The phone is dead. She puts the receiver back on
the hook. Mrs. Spergazzi knows that something is very wrong.
She wrings her hands and begins to wail in Italian.


In the hallway outside the Spergazzi apartment, a group of
giggling, drooling residents stand around a door.

One of these residents is the superintendent, who is opening
the door with one of his set of master keys. The residents,
some of them women, giggle in anticipation. Once the door
has been opened, they all rush in, drooling and moaning.

From inside the apartment we hear several muffled voices, at
first angry and indignant, then pleading and terrified.
Screams and crashes follow.


Mrs. Spergazzi is getting hysterical; Mr. Spergazzi is trying
to calm her down by getting her to sit in front of the TV
set with him. But each time he pushes her down, she pops up
and begins wailing and moaning again.

Forsythe paces back and forth, checks her watch, paces some
more. Finally, after a particularly noisy outburst by Mrs.
Spergazzi, Forsythe picks up the doctor's bag, unchains the
door, and leaves.

Spergazzi hears the door slam and looks up.

Miss! Nurse! Come back! Cabiria, she
needs something...!

He lapses back into Italian, trying vainly to calm his wife


Betts and Janine are on the sofa, Janine with her head in
Betts's lap, Betts rocking Janine like a child.

Oh, Betts, Betts, everything is so
hideous. Everything dies and rots
and disappears. I'm going to die,
and you're going to die, and Nick...

She breaks down.

Betts is drowsy-eyed and smiling. She strokes Janine's hair.

There, there, there. It all gets
sorted out in the genes and
chromosomes. It's not for us to think
about at all. It's not our problem
at all, 'Nine. We're just here to
exist and to have a good time. Exist
and have a good time.
Do I feel good, 'Nine? Do I feel
good to you?

Janine's eyes are red and she still sobs a bit as she speaks,
but she is obviously feeling a bit soothed.

Oh, you feel very good, Betts. You
have such a cosy body. I'm jealous,
I'm so skinny.

(casually, as though
it were the most
ordinary request in
the world)
Make love to me, 'Nine? I want you
to make love to me. Please, please
make love to me.

Janine twists around and looks up at Betts. There is something
in Betts' tone -- quite apart from what she is saying --
that disturbs her, something that reminds her of her husband.

Betts! You can't really be saying
that! You just can't!

Betts smiles drowsily. She bends over Janine, turning her
head in her hands until they face each other. Betts lowers
her face toward Janine. Janine is wide-eyed, almost hypnotized
by Betts's strength, smile, and confidence.

Let's not talk any more, 'Nine, shall
we? Let's kiss and make up. Let's
kiss... kiss and make up, shall we?

Janine resists only slightly as Betts places her lips on
Janine's. After a pause, Betts suddenly opens her mouth wide
and presses her lips savagely against Janine's.

She holds Janine's head firmly as they kiss. Janine struggles
for a moment, then opens her mouth as well.

Her eyes are closed in passion, then suddenly open wide in
terror as Betts's throat swells like a goiter as a parasite
rushes up her throat toward Janine's open mouth. The parasite
begins to force its way into Janine's mouth and down her
throat. Janine gags and tries to pull away, but too late.


Forsythe runs down the steps which lead to the incinerator
and pulls open the steel door at the bottom. She begins to
look around for St. Luc.

Roger? Roger, are you here?

She suddenly stumbles across the body of the man St. Luc has
killed. She actually has to break her fall with her hands,
which slip in the man's blood. Horrified, she gets up and
backs away.

The sounds of people moaning and laughing are coming from
everywhere. Forsythe finds herself up against a large door.
She tugs on the handle and it opens.


St. Luc has made his way to the main doors and stands talking
to the rental agent, Merrick, who is leaning against the
intercom board with the doorman's pocketbook romance in one

The agent looks perfectly normal, though he keeps wiping his
mouth unobtrusively with the back of his hand.

...haven't seen anything that looks
like trouble at all. Just filling in
for Walter... the doorman. But if
you want me to call the police, I

St. Luc is cautious but he seems to believe Merrick. He
presses the button which buzzes the Spergazzi apartment.
Nobody answers. A middle-aged man walks in. Worried, St. Luc
buzzes again.

Apartment 307? Visiting my sister.

Merrick smiles and opens the door for the man, who goes in
and takes the stairway up, preferring to walk.

The intercom squawks and Spergazzi answers the buzzer.

Yes? Who is there?

It's Dr. St. Luc, Mr Spergazzi. Let
me speak to the nurse, please.

Oh, but the nurse, she went away. I
think she must go to look for you.

St. Luc curses under his breath and makes a move toward the
door. Merrick smiles and pulls it open for him. St. Luc
disappears down the stairs leading to the incinerator.

As the stairway doors close, the elevators slide open and a
young couple come out heading for the main doors, dressed to
go out to a late party.

Before they reach the doors, Merrick slips through them and
meets the couple in the lobby. He smiles broadly as he
approaches them.

Evening, Mr. Wolf, Miss Lewis. I
wonder if I could talk to you for a
second in my office?

Why don't you do something about all
that noise? We like parties, but
this is ridiculous.

Well, there may be a connection.
See, it's about your locker. 'Fraid
somebody busted into it tonight.

Oh, no! What a drag!

'Fraid so. I've got a few of the
things they threw around in my office
and if you could identify it...

The couple turn, grumbling, and walk toward Merrick's office.
Merrick follows, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.


The young couple enter the rental office, Merrick following
close behind. Once they are all in, Merrick closes the door.
He rests against the door and drools copiously, then giggles.

The young couple turn to look at him. Suddenly, three more
residents, two women and a man, all of them half naked, jump
down on them from the tops of large filing cabinets. The
residents begin to kiss and paw the couple. Merrick wipes
his mouth with the back of his hand and then throws himself
on top of the writhing mass.


Finding herself in the underground garage, Forsythe decides
to get in her car and drive out. She finds her car -- a Datsun
or Toyota -- gets in, throws the doctor's bag in the back,
and drives up the ramp leading to the sliding garage doors.

The car rolls over the cable which normally activates the
doors, but nothing happens. Forsythe puts the car in reverse
and backs over the cable, but still nothing happens. She
sits with the car idling, trying to figure out what to do

Suddenly the driver's door of her car is yanked open and the
doorman, slavering and drooling, throws himself at her.

The doorman forces her down across the front seats of the
car and begins to kiss her on the neck and rip her clothes
to shreds. He gradually forces himself between her legs.


St. Luc bounds down the incinerator room stairs looking for
Forsythe. He sees immediately that she is not there, but
also notices handprints in blood on the door leading to the

He opens the garage door. Forsythe's screams come echoing
through the garage.


St. Luc races through the garage, trying to find Forsythe.
He finally sees her car in the middle of the exit ramp and
runs over to it.

The doorman is still on top of Forsythe in the front seat of
the car. St. Luc pulls the doorman's gun out of its holster
and begins smashing away at the doorman with it.

The doorman pounds St. Luc in the temple with his fist and
lifts himself partially off Forsythe, half turning toward
St. Luc, who is staggered by the blow.

The doorman's face is covered with blood and drool. Repulsed
and terrified, St. Luc fires the gun into the doorman's upper
body three times, heedless of the possibility that he might
hit Forsythe. The doorman slumps over Forsythe.

St. Luc grips the gun and staggers over to the car. He pulls
the doorman off Forsythe, who is completely soaked with blood.
She has obviously had an externally rough time, but there is
nothing to suggest that she has been infected by the doorman.

St. Luc shoves her over into the passenger's seat, where she
slumps, dazed. He doesn't have to start the car -- it's never
been turned off. He slams the shift lever into reverse and
backs up, peeling rubber, to the base of the ramp. He puts
it into first and begins to accelerate, foot to the floor,
toward the garage door.

Another car full of residents suddenly careens in front of
the door and screeches to a halt, blocking St. Luc, who in
swerving to avoid them smashes his fender into a concrete
post. He picks up the gun from the console between the seats
and, opening the car door, empties the gun at the residents,
who are emerging from their car.

One of the residents falls back into the car, blocking the
other two.

St. Luc drags Forsythe out of the car, throws her over his
shoulder, and carries her down the ramp toward the door
leading to the incinerator.


St. Luc half drags, half carries Forsythe along hallways
whose doors are wide open. From the apartments issues the
entire catalogue of suggestive sexual sounds -- giggles,
moans, groans, cries, whispers, shrieks.

We catch glimpses of people of all kinds and ages locked
together on floors, chairs, etc. St. Luc finds an open exit
door and plunges through it, taking Forsythe with him.


The door to the gym opens and St. Luc looks in cautiously.
The gym is quite tiny and is deserted. St. Luc pulls Forsythe
in and closes the door. He lays Forsythe down on a gym mat
and then barricades the door with a box horse and a weight-
lifting table.

He kneels beside Forsythe, who seems to be only just regaining
consciousness. St. Luc strokes her face, pushes strands of
hair matted with blood out of her eyes.

(more to himself than
Rollo'll be here soon. Rollo'll be
here soon.


Rollo's car pulls up to the main doors and parks in a
blatantly illegal space. He flips up a card on the dash which
says 'M.D. ON CALL,' then gets out of the car.

He walks up the steps and through the main doors, which are
wide open. Nobody is in sight.


Rollo walks along the hallway, bag in hand, envelope under
arm. He stops in front of Tudor's door, checks the number
against the number written in his notebook, then knocks on
the door.

Nobody answers. He knocks once more, then looks around
shiftily before turning the knob and walking right in.


Rollo enters and closes the door behind him, deliberately
slamming it. He walks into the center of the living room and

Hello, good evening, is anybody here?
Dr. St. Luc? It's Dr. Linsky here to
see you for consultation.

Still no answer. Rollo is puzzled. He snoops around the
apartment until he finds the bedroom with its door half
closed. He pushes gently on the door and opens it gradually.

It's Dr. Linsky. Anybody home?

Rollo can now see the figure of Tudor lying in bed in the
dim light of the bedroom. Rollo enters the bedroom.

Is that Mr. Nicholas Tudor? It's Dr.
Linsky. I'm meeting Dr. St. Luc here.
He must be a little bit late.

Tudor does not answer, does not move. He lies stiffly on the
bed on his back, mouth insanely agape, eyes shut, covers
half on the floor.

Is anyone here? Nicholas Tudor? Is
that you? Tudor? Mind if I have a
look at you?

He stands at the edge of the bed, peering at Tudor, looking
for signs of consciousness. After a pause, he kneels on the
bed and slowly draws back the covers.

Just a peek, OK? A little peek won't

Tudor's abdomen is gradually exposed as the covers are drawn
back. Crouched in the shadows is one of the freshly emerged
blood parasites, which sits poised for only a fraction of a
second before it springs at Rollo's face with great energy.

As the thing hits Rollo's face it locks on to his head by
entangling its stubby tentacles in his hair and attaching
its suckers to his cheeks and chin.

Rollo tries to stand, then staggers and falls. The thing
tries to force its way into Rollo's mouth, cutting his lips
in the process. They bleed furiously. When Rollo manages to
pull a sucker away, a piece of his flesh comes with it.

As he writhes on the carpeted floor, two more parasites appear
crawling toward him from under the bed, covered with dust
from the floor. They clamber on to him and fasten on to his
face, suckering on to his ears, his throat, forehead, eyelids.
One of them begins to ooze corrosive fluid on to his face.
Rollo screams in pain.

He manages to roll to his feet. He staggers out of the
darkness of the bedroom into the living room, one arm
extended, groping like a blind man, the three parasites still
locked on to his face. They try to pull his lips apart, but
he keeps his teeth firmly clenched to keep them from forcing
their way into the depths of his body.

He takes a few unbalanced steps toward the kitchen. With a
sudden spasm of pain, he hurls himself sideways into the
kitchen and almost falls again, grabbing at the last moment
on to the sink.

His hands touch a large pair of pliers, a screwdriver, and a
hammer on the counter by the sink, left there by Tudor weeks
ago. Rollo seizes the pliers and begins to pull the parasites
from his face with their steel jaws. The parasites, swollen
with Tudor's blood, burst and spurt as the pliers tear them

In the bedroom, Tudor's eyes snap open. His head rises from
the pillow.

He swings his legs over the side of the bed and, ashen and
gaunt, shakes his head slowly as though waking from a dream.
He begins to mumble.

No, no, no, no. Mustn't, mustn't.
You mustn't kill them, no, no, no.

Then, as though listening to himself and suddenly
understanding what he is saying, he rises to his feet shakily
and walks to the kitchen. He stops at the kitchen door.

Rollo has torn the parasites from his face and is pounding
away at them in the kitchen sink. The parasites wriggle and
curl in their own blood in the sink as he smashes away at
them with the pliers.

Tudor staggers toward Rollo.

No, no. You mustn't kill them. That's
my blood you're spilling! My blood!
Let them come home, let them come
home, home, home inside me. Don't
kill them...!

He starts to paw Rollo, feebly trying to prevent him from
further mutilating the parasites. He reaches over St. Luc's
shoulder and grabs a large chunk of one of the parasites.

(whining pitifully)
At least save me one! For God's sake!
At least save me one. One, one, one,

Rollo turns as Tudor begins to shove the piece of flesh back
down his throat.

As Rollo turns we see that bits of tentacles and suckers are
still attached to his cheeks, throat, forehead. His face is
melting and smoking in areas where it has been burned by the
corrosive fluid on one side. He stares in rage at Tudor.

With a scream, Rollo strikes Tudor with the pliers. Tudor
falls, hitting his head on various chairs and protruding
corners as he goes down, the chunk of parasite still in his
mouth as he finally comes to rest, twitching, on the floor.
Rollo drops the pliers on the floor.

He stares at Tudor in shock. His face is reflected in a copper
frying pan hanging over the stove. Noticing the reflection,
Rollo leans over to get close to his own horrible image. He
gingerly touches his face, inspecting the damage, shivering
and moaning.

Still shaking, he turns to leave.

Without warning, Tudor leaps up at Rollo with insane energy
and bowls him over, pliers in hand. Sitting on Rollo's chest,
Tudor smashes away at Rollo's face and head with the pliers,
the piece of dead parasite in his mouth dropping on to Rollo's
face as he drools.


Forsythe finally opens her eyes. She smiles at St. Luc, who
hovers anxiously over her as she lies on the gym mat.

Can you walk? I couldn't find anything
wrong with you.

Forsythe nods and manages to sit up with St. Luc's help.
Once she seems able to stay propped up without St. Luc's
help, he gets up and begins to move the barricade away from
the door.

Rollo and the police should be here
by now. It's just a question of
avoiding infected residents until we
find them.

St. Luc comes back to Forsythe and kneels beside her.

OK? Ready to go?

Forsythe puts her arm around St. Luc's neck as though wanting
support. Instead, she draws him down toward her and begins
to babble in a strange, casual, dreamy way.

Sometimes I have a recurrent dream.
Have I ever told you about it,
darling? I guess you could call it a
Freudian dream, because in this dream
I find myself making love to Sigmund
Freud. But I'm having trouble because
he's old and dying, and he smells
bad and I find him repulsive. And
then he tells me that everything is
erotic, everything is sexual, you
know what I mean? He has a very thick
accent, but I can understand him
perfectly. He tells me that even old
flesh is erotic flesh, that disease
is the love of two alien kinds of
creatures for each other, that dying
is an act of eroticism, that even
chemicals combine out of sexual frenzy
and longing. That breathing is sexual,
that talking is sexual, that just to
physically exist is sexual... And I
believe him, and we make love

While she talks, Forsythe gradually slips her arms around
St. Luc's neck and brings her lips closer and closer to his.

St. Luc, mesmerized by the hypnotic drone of her words, is
about to kiss her. Suddenly her mouth snaps open wide with
mechanical precision, her head tilts back, her eyes flick

St. Luc stares at her in horror as her throat begins to swell.

In the depths of Forsythe's mouth two parasite tentacles
probe about, seeking a firm hold for their suckers so that
they can pull the parasite's body out of her narrow esophagus.

St. Luc hesitates only for an instant, then rips a strip
from her blouse, balls it up, and shoves it into her mouth.
Holding her while she struggles to remove it, he rips off a
second strip and ties it around her head to keep the gag in.
St. Luc rises, throws Forsythe over his shoulder and begins
to step toward the door of the gym.

Dangling over St. Luc's shoulder, Forsythe struggles, moans,
and howls as best she can. St. Luc manages to pin her hands
to her sides so that she can't pull the gag out.

Before St. Luc reaches the door, a handsome middle-aged woman
peeks in around the corner.

(crooning in reply to
Forsythe's howl)
Hellooooo? Oooooo? Is there anyone
here who's all alooooooooone?

St. Luc rushes at the woman, knocking her over. She rolls on
the floor, hugging herself and crooning.

Once out the door, St. Luc makes for the nearest exit.


As St. Luc begins to ascend the stairs, we can see tiny black
hooks tearing through Forsythe's gag. Blood begins to soak
through from the inside.

A group of residents suddenly appear at the next landing
above St. Luc and, noticing them, begin to walk down the
steps, moaning and crooning and making vaguely sexual gestures
toward the pair.

Blood is now pouring from Forsythe's mouth and tentacles are
groping for leverage at her cheeks and chin.

St. Luc decides to attempt to shoulder his way up the stairs,
certain that Rollo and the police must be at the main doors.

As he hits the residents on the stairs, they try to kiss
him, caress him, pull his clothes off. They finally manage
to drag Forsythe from his shoulders, almost unbalancing him
as they do so. St. Luc tries to prop her up on her feet, but
she's completely limp. St. Luc holds Forsythe against the
stairway wall as residents mill all about them. He looks at
her in sudden hopelessness.

Forsythe! Forsythe!

The parasite is now half out of her mouth, hanging through
the slit it has torn in her gag.

St. Luc lets go of Forsythe and she sinks to the floor. The
residents are swarming all over them. St. Luc abandons
Forsythe and begins to fight his way up the stairs.

He runs higher and higher, up flight after flight of stairs,
until he is free of the slow-moving residents. He leans back
against a wall, panting.

Crooning and moaning echo up to him from below. He leans
over the railing and looks down.

In the stairwell several flights below, Forsythe lies
surrounded by milling residents, legs spread as though about
to give birth. A resident leans over and pulls the parasite
from her mouth, then swallows it whole with gusto. Other
residents touch her, stroke her, caress her, as though
offering her a strange kind of comfort.

St. Luc reels with disgust and disbelief. He turns and runs.


Between the two towers lies the swimming pool. St. Luc manages
to reach the door leading from the South Tower into the pool.
He hangs on to the door of the pool itself for a moment in
near exhaustion, then opens it and enters.

The pool is dim and tranquil. Two women are swimming in the
deep end as though nothing were at all abnormal.

St. Luc watches them for a moment, enjoying the apparent
normalcy of the scene. Then he staggers forward, calling out
to the swimmers.

Have you seen the police? I'm Dr.
St. Luc. Have you seen the police?
Have they come?

The swimmers both flick playfully beneath the water's surface.
St. Luc approaches the water's edge, waiting for them to
surface. The water ripples and bubbles near his feet. A
sinking feeling comes over him. He watches in horrible
fascination. He begins to shiver.

The ripples and bubbles spread and intensify. After a pause,
Janine surfaces, smiling radiantly. A few seconds later,
Betts surfaces near her, the very picture of benign, watery
calm. Betts gestures to St. Luc to join them in the pool.

St. Luc shakes his head slowly, backing away from the pool.

He turns to leave the room. As he turns, Mr. Spergazzi appears
out of the shadows behind him. Using his four-pronged aluminum
cane, he pushes St. Luc backwards into the pool, chuckling

Spergazzi looks around for approval as St. Luc begins to
thrash about wildly.

Betts swims up beside St. Luc, grabs him, and holds him under.

(to Janine)
A kiss!
(laughter echoes in
the pool room)
Give him a kiss. Give him a kiss.

(voices echoing in
A kiss, a kiss, a kiss!

Betts allows St. Luc to rise to the surface as a laughing
Janine splashes over to him and fastens her mouth to his.

As they kiss, Janine's hands hold St. Luc's head fiercely.
Betts assists her by pinning St. Luc's arms behind him.
Janine's throat ripples and swells, her cheeks billow as a
parasite swarms upwards from deep within her body. St. Luc's
cheeks now swell as the parasite enters his mouth. His eyes
jolt open in terror and he manages to pull away slightly,
revealing the tentacles joining her mouth to his like
grappling irons.

St. Luc twists out of Betts' grasp. He and Janine, still
locked together, sink beneath the surface.

Dozens of residents pour into the pool room and join Spergazzi
and the others at the poolside. Among these are faces already
familiar to us: Kurt, Kresimir and Benda, the old laundry-
room woman, etc.

The new spectators clap, laugh, croon, and moan as though
witnessing a wild group baptism. Some of them throw themselves
into the water, pulling others in with them.

Deep under the water's surface, St. Luc still struggles to
free himself from Janine. Residents now splash into the depths
all around them.

St. Luc's cheeks bulge wide and blood dribbles from his nose
and mouth. His throat swells monstrously. Janine releases
him just in time for us to see the end of a tentacle slip
back into his mouth. He exhales heavily as parasite enzymes
pump furiously through his body. The water boils with his
exhaled breath.

Janine and St. Luc drift apart, now completely calm, as
residents splash and swim, kick and embrace.


The vast and dimly lit garage is full of silent cars.
Somewhere an engine starts up, then another and another,
until the whole garage is full of fumes and the revving of

As we prowl amongst the cars we find many of the residents
we already know, now dressed to the teeth in their seductive

Mr. Spergazzi and his wife stand and watch the spectacle,
canes in hand, with great dignity. With them stand others
who are too old or too young to go into the night looking
for new hosts for their parasites, content to remain
incubators for the time being.

The residents are full of bubbly anticipation in their cars.
Kresimir leans out of his car and shouts to no one in

Nobody should be alone! Nobody should
be alone tonight!

The rest of the residents pick up the cry and chant together.

Nobody alone! Nobody alone!

The night watchman stands near the garage doors. Smiling
broadly, he stamps on the cable which activates the sliding


The garage doors slide open. One car surges up the ramp ahead
of all the others, stopping at the top.

The driver of this first car is St. Luc, sleek and exuberant,
a raised collar and a scarf hiding most of his scars. He
glances into his rear-view mirror.

In the rear-view mirror, St. Luc sees all the other cars
lining up behind him, lights blazing.

St. Luc smiles, then steps on the accelerator. His car shoots
out into the street.

As St. Luc's car turns on to the street, car after car follows
him. We rise higher and higher above the Starliner Towers
apartment complex until the cars are a small stream of lights
far below, bleeding into the main body of the neon-lit


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