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Блейд I/ Blade I

Darkness, BLOOD-CURDLING SCREAMS. Presentation credits roll as we FADE UP ON:

INT. HOSPITAL, INNER-CITY TRAUMA WARD - NIGHT

It's 1967, the Summer of Love and --

BOOM! Entry doors swing open as PARAMEDICS wheel in a FEMALE BLEEDER, VANESSA (20s, black, nine months pregnant). She's deathly pale, spewing founts of blood from a savagely slashed throat --

A SHOCK-TRAUMA TEAM swarms over her, inserting a vacutainer into an artery to draw blood, wrapping a blood pressure cuff around her arm --

NURSE #1 (with stethoscope) She's not breathing!

SENIOR RESIDENT Intubate her!

The RESPIRATORY THERAPIST feeds an endotracheal tube down the woman's ruined throat, attaches that to an Amblu bag --

RESIDENT Blood-pressure's forty and falling --

The woman starts spasming violently. It takes three staff members just to hold her down.

SENIOR RESIDENT Jesus, her water's broken -- (calling for help) She's going into uterine contractions --

CAMERA PUSHES IN on the woman as she bolts upright, SCREAMING to wake the dead. We PLUNGE INTO the darkness of her mouth and find ourselves --

INSIDE HER BLOODSTREAM

The sound of a HEART BEATING, pounding as we whip-snake through --

CORPUSCLES

floating in amber plasma. Erythrocytes, leukocytes, neutrophils and eosinophils.

The rhythmic expansion of the artery walls, pulsing with each successive surge of blood as the HEART BEATS FASTER AND FASTER, taking us --

IN UTERO,

A CHILD, alive but unborn, shifting in a sea of amniotic fluid, surrounded by the white, protective substance known as vernix caseosa. The HEARTBEAT races like a locomotive now. The unborn child shifts, turns its head towards us --

-- and opens its eyes.

CUT TO:

A SWORDBLADE

cleaving the darkness, radiant light slicing across gleaming Damascus steel. Words acid-etched in the weapon's fine-tempered surface:

BLADE

Main credits end.

EXT. INNER CITY, INDUSTRIAL GHETTO - NIGHT

A decaying no man's land populated by condemned buildings and HUNGRY HOMELESS. Steam rises from manhole covers, drifting across the litter- lined streets. Suddenly --

A black Mercedes 850 appears over the crest of a hill, ROARING past us, stereo system belting out FILTER.

INT. MERCEDES - NIGHT

Raquel, a wasp-wasted woman, sits behind the wheel. 20s, rich, sickeningly attractive. Hungry eyes.

Squirming around in the passenger seat is DENNIS, a model/actor boy- toy with a sub-zero IQ and a "fuck me sideways" grin.

DENNIS So where we going?

RAQUEL It's a surprise.

DENNIS I likes surprises.

Raquel eyeballs Dennis -- "if looks could devour".

RAQUEL What do you have down there, little man?

DENNIS Heat-seeker.

RAQUEL I'll bet.

Raquel slides a manicured hand up his thigh, squeezes his groin. Dennis MOANS. She pulls her hand away, downshifts.

EXT. VACANT LOT - NIGHT

The 850 threads a narrow alley into a vacant lot, BRAKES hard. Raquel and Dennis climb out. She leads him into --

EXT. MEAT PACKING PLANT - NIGHT

Industry never sleeps, and certainly not this grisly facility. Raquel leads Dennis around the back of the plant, where a host of WORKERS are loading refrigerated trucks with product.

DENNIS What the fuck are we doing here?

Raquel just smiles, heads on into the plant via a loading door. The workers ignore her.

INT. MEAT PACKING PLANT - NIGHT

Dennis follows Raquel through the bowels of the plant, catching glimpses here and there of carcasses being rendered or hacked apart.

Through one partially open door we see what might be a line of BODYBAGS being trundled into the back of a truck via a hook and chain pulley-system. But Dennis doesn't have enough time to be disturbed by the vision, because he's being pulled away by Raquel, led down --

A STAIRWELL

We are in the basement now. At the end of the hall is a steel door, with perhaps, just the faintest HINT OF MUSIC heard coming from beyond. Raquel knocks.

A "peep-hole" slat opens and a BLACK LIGHT shines into Raquel's eyes. A VOICE behind the door offers a verbal challenge, speaking a language we've never heard, laced with a devilish cadence.

Raquel responds in kind. The door opens. Raquel gives Dennis a knowing wink, enters. Dennis follows.

INT. CLUB - NIGHT

Raquel and Dennis move past a hulking DOORMAN, making their way down a narrow stairway. Dennis is suitably impressed.

THE CLUB

is elite, underground -- an "abattoir-chic" version of an old-time juke joint with a greasy, dangerous vibe. White-tiled walls and floors for easy hosing, chromed fittings, run-off gutters, drains. No bar.

BODIES

writhe on the strobe-lit dance floor. A heavy S&M scene. Leather. Latex. Tattoos. Body-piercings.

A D.J. wearing head-mounted spotlights orchestrates the tunes on twin- decks. MUSIC assaults us -- a beat so heavy it could jar the fillings from your teeth. Brutal "DARKCORE" along the lines of Prodigy or Underground.

Raquel pulls Dennis out onto the dance floor. They sway.

A lupine-featured GAULTIER GIRL with a streak of white running through her raven hair moves in behind Dennis, pressing up against him. Rachel Williams as the Angel of Death -- we'll call her MERCURY.

Mercury flicks her tongue against Dennis' ear -- it's been pierced with a silver post which clicks against her teeth. Tattooed across her back in black is a swirling, tribal vortex.

Dennis is now sandwiched between Raquel and Mercury, the three of them dry-humping their way to every man's glory.

The beat gets LOUDER. The action heavier. The atmosphere more narcotic. People are stripping off their clothes, sweating like fiends. It's a virtual orgy.

Dennis laughs, reveling in the hedonism. Everything rises to a fever pitch --

DENNIS (over the music) Fuck, I need a drink!!!

Raquel just smiles -- then Dennis notices a DROP OF SOMETHING spatter his hand. It looks like blood. Dennis looks up, concerned --

-- MORE BLOOD DROPLETS are falling. Raquel's face is sprinkled with them now. Dennis stops dancing. What is this? Some kind of fucked up performance art?

Raquel turns her face toward the ceiling, as if washing herself in a summer shower, now the other club goers are looking up too --

BLOOD SHOWERS DOWN

from sprinkler heads in the ceiling, drenching the dancers. The club goers love it, thrusting their heads back, mouths open wide to receive the crimson offering.

Horrified, Dennis recoils, turning towards --

RAQUEL,

whose face morphs into a preternatural snarl. Her canines extend, tapering to razor-sharp points. Her tongue flicks, lizard-like as fingernails sharpen into claws. All this while the whites of her eyes BLEED RED, pupils oscillating hypnotically.

RAQUEL What's wrong, baby?

Dennis SCREAMS, pushes away from Raquel, only --

-- Mercury has fangs now too. In fact, everyone in the club does, with the exception of poor Dennis. That's because they're all vampires.

Dennis tries to run, but the burly Doorman blocks his exit, brutally smashing his fist into Dennis' face.

Dennis falls, dazed. The club-goers close in around him. They make a game of it, shoving him from one person to another, their pale faces leering like twisted jack-o-lanterns.

The strobe lights quicken to a seizure-inducing intensity. Dennis spins, tumbling into Raquel's arms. She shoves him forward -- Dennis lands on the floor, falling at someone's boot-clad feet. He looks up. A DARK FIGURE sits in the shadows, unnoticed until this moment. The figure stands, moves into the light as time screeches to a halt --

A BLACK MAN,

towers above Dennis, wearing dark glasses and a leather longcoat -- a sneer of cruel contempt etched upon a face tempered by a lifetime of horror. His name is BLADE.

Blade whips open his long coat, shrugging it off, revealing an arsenal of high-tech weapons strapped to his body:

6-point adjustable body armor, a modified CAR-15 assault rifle with an ultra-violet entry light, two Casull .454 revolvers, a "Demon" automatic cross-bow, a bandoleer of mahogany stakes, an Indian-style katar punching dagger -- and last, but certainly not least, his namesake -- a silver sword which is secured in a back-scabbard.

CLOSE ON BLADE

A gaze as cold and pitiless as a midnight sun. The vampire club-goers stare back. Nuclear silence. And then --

All hell breaks loose. With a SNARL, Raquel charges at Blade, moving at superhuman speed, practically a blur --

Blade draws his Casulls, FIRES in multiple directions --

MACRO BULLET SHOT

as a round roars through the air towards Raquel. A silver-tipped dum- dum bullet which explodes on contact.

WHAM! The round punches a fist-sized hole through Raquel's chest, continuing on into the vamp behind her! Vampire blood fountains. Both creatures tumble forward, their bodies liquefying into puddles of black oil which go gurgling down the run-off drains.

Blade continues FIRING, then -CLICK!- magazines empty. Next. He holsters the Casulls, swings up his assault rifle, calmly flicks on the UV entry light mounted above --

MERCURY

leaps twenty feet straight up into the air. We've never seen anything move so fast. She CRASHES through a glass skylight, disappearing into the night just as --

-- a shaft of blinding UV "sunlight" cuts across the vampires. They rear back, skin smoking from the light's corrosive effects. Blade opens FIRE, pumping round after round of wooden fragmentation bullets into the crowd -- vampire genocide.

The strobe lights flicker as the mayhem mounts. Some of the vampires try to flee, scurrying up the stairs, but the exit quickly becomes clogged with liquefying bodies --

-- then Blade's CAR-15 jams. The remaining club-goers see their opening, surge forward en masse --

Blade drops the rifle, reaches over his shoulder and -SCHINGGG!- unsheathes his sword with a double-handed grip.

THE SWORD

Four acid-etched feet of blood-soaked Damascus steel. An edge so sharp it could cleave a shadow in two.

Blade moves like lightning, hacking his way into TWO CHARGING VAMPIRES. Blade spins again, cuts ANOTHER VAMPIRE clean in half --

ON THE FAR END OF THE CLUB,

a LATEX-CLAD VAMP makes a break for it. Blade flings his sword, sending it spinning end over end -- THUNK! The sword punches into the vampire's heart. The hellish creature convulses, dies.

Beat. Blade retrieves his sword, then senses --

SOMETHING BIG

rising up behind him. In a flash, Blade swings his sword downward, cutting off the vampire's right hand at the elbow. The severed limb falls to the floor --

-- but it doesn't slow the hulking creature down. It SLAMS into Blade. Blade flies backwards thirty feet, tumbling over tables, slamming into the rear wall so hard that plaster rains down from the ceiling.

Blade suddenly finds himself wrestling with a feral-faced six-foot- something nightmare named QUINN. The vampire rears back its head, jaws stretching wide. Every inch of his face is covered with ritual scarification patterns and Maori-like tribal tattoos.

Blade forces an elbow against Quinn's throat, trying to keep him at bay. With his other hand he reaches to his bandoleer, pulls out a stake -- CRUNCH! Blade shoves the stake through the vampire's larynx. Quinn gurgles, clutches at his throat.

Blade rolls out from under, unholsters the cross-bow secured to his leg. With a flick of a switch the arms of the bow -SNAP!- open, drawing the bow-string taut. Blade FIRES --

The bolt hits Quinn in the shoulder, throwing him backwards and nailing him to the wall. As Quinn reaches over with his other hand to pull out the stake --

Blade FIRES AGAIN. A second bolt slams into Quinn's other arm, effectively pinning him like a butterfly to a board.

UP ABOVE,

mounted in one of the corners, is a security camera. Blade fires a cross-bow bolt straight into the lens.

Blade strides over, placing his sword against Quinn's chest.

BLADE Where is Deacon Frost?

Quinn glares, trying to speak, gagging on the stake still lodged in his trachea --

BLADE Got something in your throat.

Blade yanks the stake free. The vampire laughs, air whistling through his ruined larynx.

QUINN Fuck you, Day-walker, I ain't saying shit --

BLADE Frost.

Quinn responds with a slew of rapid-fire vampire invectives. Blade sees he's getting nowhere fast, calmly sheathes his sword. He unclips a white phosphorous grenade from his combat harness --

QUINN You won't stop him, Blade. The Tide's rising, the Sleeper's gonna --

Blade shoves the grenade in Quinn's mouth, pulls the pin. WHOOSH! Quinn goes up like a roman candle. Blade turns, surveying his work, ignoring the howling pyre behind him:

All evidence of the vampires is gone -- with the exception of a few oily-black puddles. Clothes, jewelry -- it's all been burned away by the acidic process of the creatures' accelerated decomposition.

DENNIS sits huddled in a corner, having pissed his pants. As Blade approaches, he cringes back --

DENNIS Please don't --

Blade simply grabs Dennis by the jaw, tilting his head upward, rotating it from side to side -- looking for bite marks. There aren't any.

Blade moves on, leaving Dennis alone amidst the carnage. As Blade starts up the stairs, he pauses in mid-step --

A COCKROACH

scurries out from underfoot.

Blade adjusts his footfall, sparing the roach. He continues on up the stairs, disappearing in the smoky haze.

CUT TO:

INT. CITY HOSPITAL, AUTOPSY ROOM - NIGHT

CAMERA FOLLOWS a bagged corpse as it's rolled into the autopsy room by an ASSISTANT.

ASSISTANT Brought you a baked potato, nice and crispy. Still warm, too.

CURTIS WEBB, the forensic pathologist (30s, white bread, a little on the smarmy side) steps forward, unzips the bag --

It's Quinn, what's left of him, anyway. Burnt to a charcoal briquette, limbs twisted horribly, oozing fluids.

Curtis turns his head, grimacing, wafting the air.

CURTIS Jesus, that's rank --

Curtis turns back, makes note of the blackened stump where Quinn's arm used to be, the ruined throat --

CURTIS What's his story?

ASSISTANT Paramedics said he was still screaming when they found him. Looks like some joker had stapled him to a wall.

CURTIS Pretty.

CUT TO:

INT. HOSPITAL, HEMATOLOGY LAB - NIGHT

MICROSCOPE POV

of a slide-mounted blood smear stained with Wright stain (blue ink). What we see is a collection of donut-shaped pink things (red blood cells) intermingled with some small blue specks (platelets) and the occasional larger, light-blue blobs (white blood cells).

KAREN JANSEN (20s), a fine-featured hematologist with a social life in suspended animation, sits back from the microscope, stumped. Next to her is JULIE WHITAKER, a cheerful chemtech.

KAREN You took this off a DOA?

Curtis sits on a stool nearby, slowly nodding.

KAREN This isn't human blood.

CURTIS Then what is it?

KAREN I don't know -- (re: microscope) Look at this blood smear --

Curtis takes a look for himself.

KAREN The red blood cells are biconvex, which is theoretically impossible. They're hypochromic, there's virtually no hemoglobin in them. (shaking her head) Look at the PMNs, they're binucleated, they should be mononucleated.

CURTIS What about the chemistry panel?

Karen looks to Julie, who reaches for a computer print-out.

JULIE Blood sugar level is three times the norm, phosphorous and uric acid are off the scales. (shrugs) Like the woman said, impossible.

Karen removes her glasses, rubbing the bridge of her nose.

KAREN Curtis, it's three in the morning. I'm really not in the mood for one of your practical jokes.

CURTIS (insistent) It's not a joke. I've got the stiff sitting in the morgue right now -- look, just come up and see him, okay? Five minutes, that's all I ask.

KAREN I thought you promised to give me some distance?

CURTIS This is purely professional curiosity, Karen, I swear.

Karen rolls her eyes, lets loose a tired sigh.

KAREN Five minutes, not a second more. And I don't want to hear a word about "us".

CURTIS No problem.

INT. HOSPITAL MORGUE - NIGHT

The dead of night, not a mouse in the house. Curtis and Karen, each garbed in a mask, stand on either side of Quinn's body, which now rests on the autopsy table.

QUINN'S BODY

A preliminary exploratory Y-incision has been made across the chest, stretching from shoulder to shoulder, then continuing on down the abdomen. Ribs and cartilage have been cut open to expose the heart and lungs.

KAREN You haven't started in on the internal organs?

CURTIS Just the blood sample from the pericardial sac.

Curtis pauses, studying Quinn's disfigured face -- the features seem much less damaged now -- almost as if the corpse were healing itself.

CURTIS That's weird --

KAREN What?

CURTIS He looks different now, burns are less extreme, some of these wounds have closed up --

Curtis pulls out a penlight, flicks it on. He leans over Quinn, shining the light into one of his eyes.

CURTIS Tell me something, honestly, you ever have second thoughts about us?

KAREN (grudgingly) Sometimes --

Curtis looks up from the corpse, grinning beneath his mask.

KAREN -- but then I remember what an ass-hole you were and I'm snapped back to reality.

CURTIS Jesus, Karen, you're breaking my heart here --

Quinn suddenly bolts up from the autopsy table, sinking his fangs into Curtis' jugular. He snaps the man's neck in two for easier access, sucking in blood like a living vacuum.

Karen stumbles backwards, sending autopsy tools CLATTERING.

QUINN

rises from the table, flinging Curtis' twitching body aside. He curls his blood-soaked lips back, baring viper-like fangs, emitting a GUTTURAL GROWL --

QUINN (crazed by thirst) -- more -- blood --

Karen backs into the corpse drawers, but Quinn is upon her in a half- second, wrapping a hand about her throat. His mouth opens/morphs disturbingly wide as if to swallow her head whole, caustic saliva dripping from his canines --

Karen tries to turn her head away, but Quinn's grip is vise-like. She finds herself staring into his eyes -- pupils pulsing rapid-fire, opening and closing, hypnotic --

As Quinn sinks the tips of his fangs into Karen's carotid artery and starts to nurse --

BANG!!! A load of MAHOGANY buckshot chews into Quinn's side. He HOWLS in pain. Another load catches him full in the face. He drops Karen. She falls to the floor --

KAREN'S POV

The sound of RUSHING BLOOD pounding through her skull. Everything spinning. She struggles to move, turns her head, finds herself eye to eye with Curtis' corpse.

ON QUINN

rising, his face torn up, smoking. WHIP PAN TO --

BLADE,

standing at the entrance to the morgue, a streetsweeper auto-shotgun in hand, sizing Quinn up.

BLADE Now don't we look dapper?

Quinn BELLOWS with rage, ripping one of the heavy steel refrigeration doors from its hinges, flinging it at Blade like it was lawn furniture --

Blade rolls to the side as the door CRASHES against the wall. Quinn runs, moving through the morgue like a human tornado, heading for the windows at the end of the room --

SMASH!!! Out goes Quinn, taking half the wall with him. Blade rushes to the decimated window, looks down --

BLADE'S POV

Quinn lands on the roof of an ambulance parked four stories below, caving it in. He springs off, loping across the tarmac on three limbs, then -SCREECH!-THWUMP!- rolling up onto the hood of an oncoming car, before disappearing into the night --

BACK UP ABOVE,

Blade spins, SEES Karen bleeding her life away on the floor. She reaches a hand out to him, beseeching --

Blade pulls away from her grasp, takes a step towards the exit -- then hesitates.

A flicker of doubt washes across Blade's face. He looks down at Karen once more, wrestling with his conscience, finally making a decision. He kneels, scoops Karen up into his arms. Just then,

TWO POLICEMEN

rush into the morgue, weapons drawn --

UNIFORM #1 Hold it, ass-hole!

Blade ignores them, turning to face the window before him. It's a good thirty feet to the roof of the adjacent building, a parking structure -- and damned if Blade doesn't seem to be considering the jump.

The Police close in, agitated. Blade crouches, switches Karen to a one-handed grip --

UNIFORM #1 I said hold it!!!

-- and jumps.

EXT. HOSPITAL/ROOFTOP PARKING STRUCTURE - NIGHT

Blade clears the impossible distance -- almost. He snags the ledge of the adjacent parking structure with his left hand even as Karen slips from the grasp of his right --

-- a last-second save, his fingers clamping around her wrist, is all that stands between Karen and street pizza. She SCREAMS anyway, dangling below him --

Blade GRUNTS, swinging Karen like a pendulum, heaving her up and over the ledge as if she were a sack of potatoes. She lands on her shoulder, clutching it in pain --

Blade heaves himself up, crouching beside her.

KAREN (gasping) My shoulder -- dislocated --

Blade places a hand on her shoulder, another around her elbow and without any consideration to discomfort -CRACK!- brutally pops it back in place. Karen SCREAMS again as he scoops her up once more and heads for --

HIS '69 OLDSMOBILE 442,

which is parked nearby. Midnight-black. The definitive high- performance heavy-metal muscle machine with an engine big enough to power an Apollo rocket.

INT. BLADE'S OLDS - NIGHT

Blade sets Karen down in the passenger seat, climbs behind the wheel, keys the ignition. The engine ROARS to life, belching fumes through the dual exhaust. Blade floors it, burning serious rubber as the Olds vanishes from sight.

BACK AT THE DEMOLISHED MORGUE WINDOW

as the two policemen stare numbly in open-mouthed astonishment.

CUT TO:

EXT. CITY STREETS - NIGHT

Blade pilots the Olds down the streets, moving through a series of increasingly degenerating neighborhoods, coming at last to the sprawling warehouse district.

EXT. ABANDONED FACTORY - NIGHT

The Olds approaches a mammoth industrial facility that's been cordoned off by cyclone fencing and razor wire. Ultra-violet floodlights illuminate the area, while an army of security cameras keep a watchful eye.

INT. BLADE'S OLDS - NIGHT

Blade glances at Karen, cursing himself for giving into his emotions. He hits a remote secured to the sun visor --

EXT. BLADE'S OLDS/ABANDONED FACTORY - NIGHT

A gate grinds open.

We follow the Olds as it cruises around the back of the building, heading down a concrete loading ramp. At the bottom of the ramp, a heavy iron door rises. Blade's Olds disappears into the darkness.

INT. ABANDONED FACTORY, INDUSTRIAL ELEVATOR - NIGHT

More UV lights flicker on. We're in a massive loading elevator which HUMS as it ascends, eventually reaching its destination with a BOOMING CLANG. The doors at the rear glide open. Blade guides the Olds out.

INT. ABANDONED FACTORY, WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - NIGHT

Set up in an old ironworks, the place looks like a cross between an auto junkyard and an armory. Equipment is strewn everywhere -- lathes, mills, old furnaces, gutted vehicles, an ad hoc surgical theater -- all of it jerry-rigged in a brutal, oily-tech.

Blade climbs out of the Olds. He opens the passenger door and pulls Karen out, carries her in his arms.

BLADE Whistler!

WHISTLER (O.S.) Are we bringing home strays now?

ABRAHAM WHISTLER (60s)

hobbles out of the shadows, leaning heavily on a cane. Gimlet-eyed, bitter, his right leg encased in a metal brace. Though his face is lined with wrinkles and his hair has long since gone gray, we sense he could kick the living shit out of any man half his age.

BLADE She's been bitten.

WHISTLER You should've killed her, then.

BLADE She hasn't turned yet. (pointedly) You can help her.

Blade and Whistler stare each other down. Finally, Whistler turns and heads over to the operating theater.

WHISTLER No promises. You watch her close. She starts to turn, you finish her off.

Blade nods, lays Karen down on the operating table. Whistler turns on an overhead light. Karen is sheathed in sweat, ashen. She's lost a lot of blood.

Whistler snaps on a pair of surgical gloves, probes the wound in Karen's neck with an antiseptic swab -- there's capillary damage around the perimeter of the wound, the tissue looks bruised, gangrenous.

WHISTLER Localized necrosis. She's borderline. Another hour and she'd be well into the change.

Whistler cracks open a smelling salt capsule and waves under Karen's nose. As she starts to stir --

WHISTLER Can you hear me, woman?

Karen's eyes open wide. She's scared, disoriented --

KAREN What -- ?

WHISTLER You've been bitten by a vampire. We've got to try and burn out the venom, just like a rattlesnake bite --

Whistler reaches for a massive syringe filled with caustic-looking fluid. Karen sees the syringe, resists --

WHISTLER Hold her.

Blade forces Karen back. Whistler readies the syringe.

WHISTLER (reading her name tag) "Dr. Karen Jansen". Listen close, I'm going to inject you with an antidote made from allium setivum -- garlic. This is going to hurt. A lot.

Whistler sinks the needle into Karen's neck and depresses the plunger. "Hurt" doesn't begin to describe what Karen experiences next. Imagine undergoing childbirth while someone pumps battery acid through your veins.

Karen SHRIEKS, her body going into uncontrolled paroxysms. The wound on her neck begins to smoke as the antidote attacks the poisonous vampire venom.

Karen clutches at Blade's arms, digging her nails in. She stares up at him with unflinching intensity, like a child desperately searching for assurance.

ON BLADE,

uncomfortable playing the roll of nursemaid. He'd like nothing more than to be done with this, but the only thing he can do is hold Karen while she rides out the seizures.

KAREN'S POV

growing darker by the moment. The last thing she sees is Blade staring down at her -- then the night closes in.

INT. HOUSE OF EREBUS, MEETING ROOM - NIGHT

CLOSE ON a monitor featuring footage taken at the vampire club massacre. Blade turns and stares into the camera, fires his cross- bow. The screen cuts to static.

A WITHERED, CLAWED HAND

moves into frame, holding a remote. With a tap of a button, the monitor goes dark.

PULL BACK TO REVEAL a large, minimalist conference room -- the House of Erebus, seat of the vampire race's legislative assembly.

Gathered around a massive table are the TWELVE VAMPIRE ELDERS, representing a "rainbow" of racial colors -- names like PALLINTINE, VON ESPER, ASHE, BAVA. Two of them, the FAUSTINAS, are identical twins -- lethal-looking women with alabaster skin.

Chilled carafes filled with blood are situated along the table. From time to time, a member will pour themselves a glass, or perhaps, help themselves to the bowls of human finger bones which serve as snacks.

At the head of the table is GAETANO DRAGONETTI, current vampire "Overlord". Blood-red eyes, parchment skin stretched over skull-like features. Incalculably ancient, but still deadly and virile as a viper.

Dragonetti speaks. He uses the "secret tongue" -- the ancient vampire language which utilizes consonants human vocal chords are incapable of reproducing.

DRAGONETTI (subtitled) Blade. Once again, our interests have fallen victim to his ridiculous crusade. He must be destroyed.

FROST (O.S.) (in English) You're wrong, Dragonetti.

All heads turn. Who would dare such impudence?

DEACON FROST,

a mere "Underlord" in the vampire hierarchy, steps forward. Strikingly handsome, younger, less conservative than his superiors, fueled with a passionate intensity. Amongst the vampire community he's known as an agitator. He's also the vampire equivalent of a racial supremacist.

FROST The Day Walker represents a unique opportunity. We'd be fools to waste it by killing him.

DRAGONETTI (subtitled, taking umbrage) Deacon Frost. You refuse to speak our language, you insult the House of Erebus by using the humans' gutter-tongue, have you no respect for tradition?

FROST Why should I respect something which has outlived its purpose?

This causes quite a stir amongst the other vampires. Frost might as well have slapped Dragonetti in the face.

DRAGONETTI (simmering) I see. And what would you have us do with this "half-breed"?

FROST Study him. Unlock the secrets of his DNA. He's the key we've been looking for.

DRAGONETTI He is an abomination!

Dragonetti slams his fist down, toppling a carafe, spilling blood across the tabletop. Frost looks to the others --

FROST Why should we spend our lives cringing from the daylight when his blood offers us an alternative? Enough talk. It's time we stepped out of the shadows!

Dragonetti looks apoplectic. ELDER PALLINTINE, a five-hundred year- old vampire inhabiting the body of a prepubescent boy, interjects.

PALLINTINE You're out of line, Frost.

FROST Am I? Or am I just the first to say out loud what we've all been thinking?

The fact that no one answers is telling. Dragonetti glowers at the other Elders, sensing the tide turning.

DRAGONETTI The shadows suit us, Frost. We've existed this way for thousands of years. Who are you to challenge our ways?

FROST Someone who's sick of living off scraps. The coming age belongs to us, not the humans! (to the others) When the final war between our races comes, who do you want leading the charge?

Frost stabs an accusing finger at the Overlord.

FROST Some withered up fossil ready to snap like a brittle bone at the first sign of change?

Dragonetti GROWLS like an beast, raking his claws across the tyro vampire's face, knocking him to the ground.

DRAGONETTI Get out!!!

Frost picks himself up, touches the gashes on his cheek. Looks at his fingers, licks the blood from them.

FROST Careful, old fang. You might wake up one day and find yourself extinct.

Frost smiles at Dragonetti and calmly exits the room.

INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP, BLADE'S CELL - DAY

ON KAREN as she comes to. Her wounds have been bandaged. She rises, a little shaky, takes in her surroundings -- She's in a spartan room, like a monk's cell. On the wall is a collection of knives and daggers. Some of them wooden, their hilts inscribed with bizarre- looking runes. In the center of these weapons rests --

BLADE'S SWORD,

hanging like a cross in a chapel, dominating all else. Karen touches it. Then her eyes drop to a silver locket which dangles from the hilt by a tarnished chain. She reaches for it, opens it --

The locket features a photo, old and faded. It's the black woman we saw in the prologue, Vanessa, standing in the sunshine.

Karen moves towards the door, cautious --

INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - DAY

We hear VOICES now, coming from beyond a series of black-out curtains. Karen pushes one aside and SEES --

BLADE

strapped into some kind of Inquisition-esque restraint chair. His shirt is off, his body slick with sweat. Whistler finishes strapping Blade in, then stands back, holding up a gas-powered pistol injector, hesitant --

WHISTLER I had to increase the dose. You're building up a resistance to the serum --

BLADE (impatient) Just do it, old man.

Whistler nods, fitting Blade with a bite guard. Then he presses the pistol-injector against Blade's carotid artery.

Blade shakes violently, grinding his teeth through the bite guard, veins cording in his neck. He clutches Whistler's hand, holding it tightly as he fights his way through the hellish seizure. To his credit, Whistler never lets go.

Mentor and student stare at one another as the mysterious serum runs its violent course. We understand that these shared moments, oddly private in their horror, are the glue which binds the two vampire hunters together. Finally, Blade slumps forward in his restraints, exhausted.

KAREN

She draws back, instinctively knowing that she's just witnessed something she shouldn't have. She looks for an exit, SEES another doorway. She makes for it --

INT. WHISTLER'S LAB - TANK ROOM - DAY

A dusty, darkened hole of a room, no windows, just shadows, crumbling concrete, rust stains, and --

A LARGE TANK

filled with swirling blood plasma, choked with electrical leads and biomedical sensors. SOMETHING floats within, suspended in the murky fluid -- a child , two or three years of age, drifting about like a medical oddity preserved in formaldehyde --

THUMP! The child SLAMS up against the glass. Karen backpedals, startled. Its eyes are open now, pupils blown. It snarls, revealing a mouthful of razored fangs, trailing mouth-slime across the glass as it futilely tries to chew its way through to Karen.

Karen stifles a sob, turning and running right into --

BLADE,

who now blocks the exit, sword in hand. Karen retreats a step, wary --

BLADE You shouldn't be here.

KAREN I'm sorry, I --

WHISTLER (O.S.) Wandered off the beaten path, Doctor?

Whistler has entered the room from a second doorway. Karen looks from Whistler to Blade, trapped between them --

KAREN Who are you people?

WHISTLER My name is Abraham Whistler. (re: Blade) This is Blade. As for our little homunculus here --

Whistler limps over to the tank, rapping his cane against it. The creature snaps at it reflexively, following the silver tip back and forth like a fish after a lure.

BLADE -- he's a vampire.

KAREN You're joking --

WHISTLER Not at all. You're looking at a prime specimen of the homines nocturna.

Whistler toys with the feral creature, engaging in a certain amount of sadistic delight as its efforts grow increasingly more frenzied. Suddenly, it surges towards the top of the tank, clawing at the lid --

Karen becomes alarmed -- but then a massive ELECTRICAL JOLT shocks the creature back into submission.

WHISTLER If Blade hadn't brought you here, you would've wound up like him.

Karen brings a hand to her bandaged neck, recalling the events of the previous night. She looks to Blade.

KAREN Why did you help me?

Blade scowls, his gaze flickering to Whistler.

BLADE Stupidity.

WHISTLER (appraising her) Maybe not. I did some checking, she's a hematologist. Knowledge like that might come in handy.

BLADE It's not worth the risk. We can't trust her.

KAREN Why?

BLADE Because you're tainted. The venom's still inside you. You could still turn on us.

KAREN What happens then?

Blade looks to Whistler -- as far as he's concerned, the debate's over.

BLADE Then I have to take you out, just like any other bloodsucker.

Blade turns and exits. Whistler and Karen follow.

INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - DAY

Beyond the grimy outer windows, we can see that the day is closing -- long shadows, amber light. Karen lingers in the doorway, reeling from information overload.

Blade begins suiting up for his nightly hunt -- strapping on body armor, loading ammunition. He strings the tarnished locket around his neck as if it were an amulet that could ward off evil, then pauses to inspect a modified pistol, sighting down the length of it.

BLADE We hunt them, moving from one city to the next, tracking their migrations. They're hard to kill. They tend to regenerate.

CLACK! Blade pulls the trigger on an empty chamber, then checks his next weapon --

KAREN (sarcastic) So what do you use, then? A stake?

WHISTLER (nodding) Some of the old wives' tales are true -- they're severely allergic to silver, various types of wood. Feed them garlic and they'll go into anaphylactic shock --

Whistler picks up a customized rifle with a UV entry light, flicking on the beam.

WHISTLER -- and of course there's always sunlight, ultra-violet rays.

Karen shakes her head, incredulous --

KAREN And you honestly expect me to believe all this?

BLADE I don't care what you believe. I saved your life once, I don't plan on making a habit of it. You want my advice, you'll be out of the city by nightfall. If you're stupid enough to stay, that's your business.

KAREN I can't just leave. I have a life here, a career --

BLADE Not anymore. You've seen one of them. You won't be allowed to live after that.

Karen stares at Blade. Whistler gestures to the windows --

WHISTLER There's a war going on out there. Blade, myself, a few others -- we've tried to keep it from spilling over onto the streets. (beat) Sometimes people like yourself get caught in the cross-fire.

Whistler shrugs. As far as he's concerned, there's nothing else to say. Karen is still protesting, though.

KAREN I can go to the police. I have blood samples back at the hospital. I can show them.

BLADE Do it. You'll be dead before you can file the complaint.

KAREN That's ridiculous! No one's that powerful.

Whistler sighs. He doesn't suffer fools gladly.

WHISTLER You're talking about a brotherhood that predates the Catholic Church by thousands of years. Their survival depends on their ability to blend in. Chances are, you've encountered them and not even known it. On the subway, in a bar --

Blade slings his CAR-15 onto his shoulder, impatient. He starts towards the Olds, gesturing.

BLADE Get in. You're leaving.

WHISTLER Wait.

Whistler tosses a small metal canister to Karen.

WHISTLER Consider it a parting gift. Vampire mace -- silver nitrate, essence of garlic.

KAREN (in disbelief) So that's it? You guys just patch me up and send me on my way?

WHISTLER There is one other thing. I'd buy yourself a gun if I were you. If you start becoming sensitive to the daylight, if you start becoming thirsty regardless of much you've had to drink -- then I suggest you take that gun and use it on yourself. Better that, than the alternative.

Karen stares at Whistler, horrified, as we --

CUT TO:

INT. THE VAMPIRE ARCHIVES - DAY

We are deep in the narrow stacks of a sepulchral archive. Exactly what and where this place is will become more clear later on.

But for now, the CAMERA DRIFTS through the warren of aisles. Along the way, we catch a glimpse of a HULKING SILHOUETTE cowering behind a series of Japanese shoji screens. Later on, we find --

FROST

tucked away in a carrel, surrounded by books and scriptures, with only the SICKLY GLOW of his laptop to provide light.

DRAGONETTI (O.S.) What are you doing here?

Frost pauses, SEEING Dragonetti emerge from the shadows.

DRAGONETTI (outraged) These archives are restricted to members of the House of Erebus.

FROST Please. You and the other Elders wouldn't know what to do with these texts if your lives depended on it. (cryptically) Which, of course, they do.

DRAGONETTI You're wasting your time, Frost. Far greater scholars than you have tried to decipher these words. Whatever secrets they hold have been lost.

FROST Perhaps.

Frost studies Dragonetti, a self-satisfied grin on his face. If the act was intended to unnerve Dragonetti, it succeeded, though the ancient vampire would never admit it.

DRAGONETTI What are you up to, Frost?

Frost shuts the lid on his laptop, rising, drawing intimidatingly close to Dragonetti.

FROST'S VOICE Wouldn't you like to know, Old Fang?

A beat as the young turk stares his elder down. Dragonetti is the first to lose his nerve. Frost smiles and exits, leaving the old vampire to lick his wounds.

CAMERA DRIFTS back to the hulking silhouette, which has been eavesdropping on the conversation. It quivers in fear.

INT. BLADE'S OLDS (ON KAREN'S STREET CORNER) - DAY

Blade brings the car to a stop. Karen looks at him. His eyes are hidden behind his glasses, his expression stone.

BLADE Remember what we said. Keep your eyes open. They're everywhere.

EXT. KAREN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY

As Karen climbs out, Blade swings the door shut behind her. The Olds ROARS off down the quiet residential street.

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING, LOBBY - DAY

Karen crosses the lobby, stepping into an elevator. Just as the doors are closing, a WOMAN and TWO MEN duck in alongside her.

INT. ELEVATOR - DAY

Silence, the uncomfortableness of an elevator ride magnified tenfold. Karen can FEEL the eyes of her fellow passengers upon her. Finally succumbing to paranoia, she hazards a glance -- would she be able to tell if these people weren't human? The woman turns to Karen, smiles --

Karen surreptitiously fishes the "vampire mace" from her pocket, clutching it -- and now one of the men turns to look at her, nodding --

INT. KAREN'S APARTMENT BUILDING, HALLWAY - DAY

The elevator doors open. Karen hurries out, heads left, finds herself in a deserted hallway. She looks back --

-- then skips a heartbeat as the trio also step out! As Karen raises the canister of mace --

-- the trio turn and head down to the right. Karen breathes a sigh of relief, shakes her head.

INT. KAREN'S APARTMENT - DAY

Karen enters quickly, bolting the door behind her. She picks up the phone, dials 911 --

KAREN I need the police. This is an emergency --

As Karen waits to be connected, she moves to the back entrance and checks the locks -- then the windows, then the fire escape -- finally, a VOICE comes on the other end.

KAREN Hello? My name is Karen Jansen, I was with Curtis Webb at Mid-Town Hospital last night -- that's right, I witnessed the attack -- (listening) 115 Aurora, apartment 3G. Yes, I'll wait here. Please hurry.

Karen hangs up the phone and turns --

A SHAFT OF BRIGHT SUNLIGHT

streams in through a window. Karen forces herself to look at it and winces, shielding her eyes. Again, she brings a hand to the bandaged wound on her neck. She moves to the window, pulling the shade down, frightened.

KAREN Get a grip on yourself, girl.

She sinks down into a chair to wait, setting Whistler's vampire mace aside. Then she shuts her eyes, massaging her temples. We SEE --

A BRIEF FLASH OF

Quinn, his mouth opening wide, saliva dripping from his fangs. His pupils pulsating hypnotically. We rush into his gaping maw and --

WHAM! We're back to reality. Karen wakes with a start, looks to the windows -- time has passed, it's getting dark outside --

-- and someone is KNOCKING at the front door. Karen reaches for the vampire mace, then moves to the door. She looks through the peephole, cautious --

KAREN Who is it?

KAREN'S POV (FISH-EYE)

A POLICE OFFICER stands in the hallway -- 30s, handsome, a knight in shining armor as far as she's concerned.

GIDEON Sergeant Gideon. I'm responding to a 911 call.

Karen visibly relaxes. She opens the door and steps aside, allowing Gideon to enter.

KAREN Yes, that was me, I'm Karen Jansen --

Gideon smiles, takes a quick glance around the room, then studies Karen's face, the bandages on her neck.

GIDEON Are you all right? (off Karen's nod) I'm glad you called, Ms. Jansen, we've been anxious to get a hold of you. You disappeared on us for a while.

KAREN I know. Listen -- do you have any idea what happened to Curtis, the other doctor?

GIDEON (matter of fact) Oh, he's dead. But I wouldn't worry about that if I were you.

KAREN (alarmed) Why?

Gideon's smile vanishes as he unholsters his gun.

GIDEON Because you're dead too.

Karen GASPS. She has a half-second to act -- in which she triggers a spray of vampire mace into Gideon's face. Gideon stumbles back, blinded, cursing, rubbing the heel of his palm against his eyes --

Karen expects pyrotechnics -- but the end result is little more than an annoyance. A second later, Gideon is simply blinking, sniffing his fingers, confused --

GIDEON Garlic?

KAREN He said it would work against vampires --

Gideon bursts out laughing.

GIDEON Who said I was a vampire?

Gideon shakes his head, still snickering. He forces Karen against the wall, placing the gun against her head --

GIDEON Thanks for the laugh. You can shut your eyes if you want to.

CRASH!!! The front door explodes open as Blade comes flying through it!

Gideon tries to bring his pistol up -- but Blade grips the man's hand and squeezes. Gideon SCREAMS as his bones snap like kindling. The pistol falls from his grasp --

Blade fires his fist into Gideon's gut again and again, then flings the officer across the room, sending him SMASHING into a glass-cased cabinet. Bleeding, battered, Gideon struggles to stand --

Blade is all over him, kicking the shit out of the rogue cop until he sinks to the floor in a half-conscious haze.

Blade stands over Gideon's limp form, fists clenched, breathing heavily, touching down after his adrenaline high. Finally, he looks to Karen --

BLADE You okay?

Karen nods, glances at Gideon --

KAREN How did you know?

BLADE Figured they'd send someone after you. Thought I'd wait around and see who showed up.

KAREN You used me as bait?!

BLADE It worked, didn't it?

KAREN But, he could've --

BLADE He didn't. Get over it.

Blade kneels next to Gideon. He turns the man's head, inspects the neck, the skin behind the ear --

KAREN But he's a policeman --

BLADE He's a familiar. A human who works for the vampires. See this mark?

Blade pushes aside Gideon's hair, revealing a tiny, cryptic symbol tattooed into the man's scalp.

BLADE That's a glyph, kind of like a vampire cattle brand. That means Officer Friendly here is someone's property. Any of the other vampire's try to bleed him, they'll have to answer to Friendly's owner -- (studying the glyph) This glyph belongs to Deacon Frost. We've been tracking him for a while now --

KAREN Why in God's name would anyone want to work for them?

BLADE Because they're vampire wanna-bes. If they're loyal, if they prove themselves, then their masters will turn them.

KAREN And that's a good thing?

BLADE For some. Live forever, never get old. The ultimate high.

Just then, Gideon MOANS. Blade drags the man up so they're eye to eye.

BLADE How 'bout you, Officer? You a good little bloodhound?

CUT TO:

EXT. KAREN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DUSK

Blade and Karen are now standing by Gideon's police cruiser which is parked outside Karen's apartment. Blade shoves Gideon against the hood of the cruiser. He finds Gideon's keys, moves to the trunk, opens it --

IN THE TRUNK --

A sophisticated medical cooling unit for transporting organs. Blade opens the unit, coolant vapor hisses out. Inside are plastic bags containing blood.

BLADE Looks like our friend was blood-running. (to Gideon) Where were you headed?

Gideon mumbles through a split lip and chipped teeth --

GIDEON Mphuck you --

WHAM! Blade plants Gideon's face into the hood of the car. Gideon GROANS, coughs --

GIDEON Jesus -- 1227 Brookner -- Holliston Clinic --

Blade releases him, then reaches for his Casull.

KAREN What are you doing?!

BLADE Preventive medicine.

Karen steps in front of Blade, shielding Gideon.

KAREN You can't do this, he's human, it's murder.

BLADE It's war, now get the fuck out of the way!

Karen grabs Blade's arm, wrestling with him, trying to push his hand away. As the two of them struggle, Gideon makes a break for it, stumbling across the lawn. Blade pushes Karen aside, takes aim, FIRES --

-- but Gideon ducks into an alley, disappearing from sight. Blade spins on Karen, enraged --

BLADE God-damnit!!! Do you have any idea what you just did?! He'll warn them. They'll be waiting!

But Karen's defiant, she's not backing down.

KAREN You were going to kill him. What was I supposed to do?! Shut my eyes and pretend I didn't see what I saw?

Blade tears off his glasses. Karen gasps --

BLADE'S EYES

aren't human, nor are they vampire. They're something else -- emerald green, laced with swirling flecks of red.

BLADE Let me set you straight on something, Doctor. What you've "seen" so far is nothing. The world you live in's just the sugar-coated topping. There's another world beneath it, the real world -- and it's a fucking bloodbath. If you want to survive in it, you'd better pull your head out of your ass.

Blade slips his glasses back on, leaving Karen shocked into silence. He heads for his Olds without looking back, climbs in, guns the engine. In seconds, he's gone, tearing off down the street in a cloud of exhaust.

EXT. EDGEWOOD TOWERS, PENTHOUSE - DUSK

We are soaring through the air above the gleaming city skyline, moving towards the Edgewood Towers whose windows reflect the blood- red sinking sun.

INT. FROST'S PENTHOUSE, POOL - NIGHT

Suffused lighting, elegant tile-work featuring evocative mosaics, the quiet strains of CLASSICAL MUSIC --

MERCURY,

the lupine Gaultier girl from the club, glides beneath the water, surfacing at the deep end. We SEE --

FROST

lounging in a chair, studying a laptop which rests beside him. On the screen is a digitized image -- a page taken from an ancient manuscript, written in a secret tongue.

Officer Gideon waits nearby, cradling his ruined hand, his battered face cast downward like a boy who's been called into the Principal's office.

GIDEON Look, I know you're disappointed --

FROST Crestfallen.

GIDEON Blade was waiting for me. There wasn't anything I could do.

Frost nods, lapsing into brooding contemplation.

FROST Tell me something, Gideon, what blood type are you?

Gideon hesitates. Is this a trick question?

GIDEON I don't really know --

FROST Take a wild stab. A? B? O, perhaps? I'm interested in the antigens here, the agglutination reaction --

Gideon stammers as Frost rises. In the blink of an eye, Frost lifts Gideon from the floor, dangling the Officer over the deep end of the pool by his throat --

FROST I'm going to guess AB positive.

Gideon GURGLES as Frost's fingernails pierce his flesh, drawing blood. Then Frost releases him --

Gideon plunges into the pool. Mercury is on him in a heartbeat, tearing him apart like a Great White consuming a piece of chum. The water churns violently around them, clouding with red.

When it's over, Mercury rises from the pool, dripping wet, covered from head to toe in a crimson sheen.

She kisses Frost hungrily, letting Gideon's blood flow from her mouth to his. Frost flicks a tongue over his lips.

FROST AB positive. Give the man a prize.

Below them, Gideon's lifeless body sinks towards the pool bottom, his police badge twinkling like sunken treasure.

CUT TO:

EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT

Blade's Olds cruises to a stop. We're in a low-end commercial district -- junky heaven. Blade climbs out, pulling an automatic rifle from the back seat, then heading into an alleyway.

EXT. BACK ALLEY - NIGHT

Blade makes his way down the alley, cautious -- he SEES mountains of trash, boarded-up windows, overlapping layers of gang graffiti -- a RAT crouching on a trash dumpster, gnawing on a dead pigeon --

-- then a SOUND behind Blade, the scuffle of feet --

Blade whirls, drawing his sword, CHARGING at an approaching shadow, stopping mere millimeters from decapitating --

KAREN,

who's been backed up against the wall, her eyes wide with fright. Blade's sword vibrates from the tension in his forearm, having drawn just the slightest taste of blood.

BLADE What the hell are you doing?! I could have killed you!

Blade lowers his sword. Karen remembers to breathe. She slumps, tracing her fingers over the line where her head almost parted with her body.

KAREN I remembered the address. I followed you --

Blade shakes his head, amazed.

BLADE Do you have a death wish or are you just stupid?

Karen pushes away from the wall, angry --

KAREN Look, if what you say is true, if there's a chance I could turn into one of them, then I've got no choice, do I? I have to work with you. I need to learn everything I can about them. It's the only way I'll be able to find a cure for myself.

BLADE There is no cure.

KAREN (defiant) You don't know that.

Blade turns and moves to the end of the alley, studying the graffiti- covered wall intently --

KAREN What are you looking at?

BLADE (gesturing) What do you see here?

KAREN Graffiti --

BLADE Look closer.

Blade indicates a design amongst the various gang-banger tags that looks something like a post-modern hieroglyphic.

BLADE This isn't a gang tag, it's a vampire marking. It means there's a safe-house nearby. A place they can go if dawn is coming.

Blade points to a building across the street --

THE HOLLISTON CLINIC,

your basic inner-city blood-barter establishment where desperate transients parley their plasma into cash.

KAREN (recognizing it) I know this place -- it's a blood bank.

BLADE Owned by vampires. There's one of these in every major city, and just like Domino's, they always deliver. (looking to Karen) You telling me you're ready to walk through that door?

Karen nods. Blade continues to stare at her, taking her measure -- there's a strength in this woman's eyes, she has the soul of a fighter -- and Blade recognizes it.

BLADE All right, then, listen up, Vampire Anatomy 101. Crosses and running water don't do dick, so forget what you've seen in the movies.

Blade enumerates the following on his fingers:

BLADE You use the stake, silver, or sunlight, got it?

Blade holds up one of his Casulls.

BLADE Know how to use one of these?

Karen takes the weapon from him, eyes all over it.

KAREN No.

Blade takes the gun back, snorting derisively.

BLADE Safety's off, round's already chambered -- (cocking it) Silver hollow-points filled with garlic. You aim for the heart or the head, anything else is a one-way ticket to a pine box.

Blade hand it to her again, then starts across the street towards the clinic. Karen follows --

INT. HOLLISTON CLINIC, LOBBY - NIGHT

Blade enters, swinging his rifle around for all to see.

BLADE Get out. Now.

The POTENTIAL DONORS scramble for the exit. Behind the counter, TANAKA, a male nurse, reaches for an alarm button. Blade vaults over the counter, aiming his rifle.

BLADE I know you're blood-running. Who's your sponsor?

TANAKA I don't know what you're --

POW! Blade backhands him across the face hard enough to loosen his teeth. Karen flinches, stepping forward --

KAREN What if you've made a mistake?

Blade pins Tanaka's head to the wall, turning it to the side -- revealing the man's glyph. It's different than Gideon's, looking more like a Japanese kanji character.

BLADE What's this? A birthmark?

Blade grips Tanaka by his collar, shoving him through a doorway --

INT. HOLLISTON CLINIC, SUPPLY ROOM - NIGHT

Karen and Blade SEE supply cabinets, cots, a number of locked refrigeration units. Blade FIRES into the door handle of one of the units, tears it open -- the fridge is stacked floor to ceiling with plastic packets of blood.

BLADE (to Karen) Still think we might be wrong? (to Tanaka) How much are you shipping?

TANAKA Bite me!

Blade opens FIRE, sweeping his rifle around the room, shooting everything in sight. Glass cabinetry shatters, ampoules and vacutainers go flying. Tanaka cowers, arms wrapped about his head.

Blade stops shooting. He leans down towards Tanaka, placing the end of his rifle against the man's forehead. Tanaka looks like he's about to wet his pants.

BLADE I've got a message for your masters -- the night's no longer safe for their kind.

Blade pulls back his rifle, leaving a red indentation mark where the end of the rifle barrel pressed into Tanaka's skin. He starts towards the exit. Karen follows.

CUT TO:

INT. BLADE'S OLDS - NIGHT

Blade and Karen return to the Olds. He keys the ignition, lets the engine idle. They're parked down the street from the blood clinic. Karen looks to Blade, confused --

KAREN You let him go -- (off Blade's nod) An hour ago you were ready to kill a man for less, this one didn't even talk.

BLADE He will.

Blade points --

THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD --

Tanaka rushes from the clinic, climbing behind the wheel of a Mustang parked nearby. He takes off --

Blade follows the Mustang, CLICKING on a cell-phone scanner mounted on the dash. Numbers flash on the LCD screen as it searches for a signal, then locks onto it. We hear a DIAL TONE, then a number being dialed --

AUTOMATED VOICE (filtered, on scanner) "You've reached a number that is no longer in service. Please consult your operator and try again".

TANAKA'S VOICE (filtered, on scanner) It's Tanaka, PIN number sixteen-zero-zero-nine --

A "real" voice comes on the line:

VOICE (filtered, on scanner) Yes?

Karen looks to Blade, impressed.

INT. TANAKA'S MUSTANG - NIGHT

Tanaka speeds, shouting into the speaker phone --

TANAKA Get me Pearl!

VOICE (filtered, on speaker) Pearl is feeding --

TANAKA Look, I'm not fucking around here! That hunter Frost has been talking about? He was just at the clinic. Tore the goddamn place apart!

EXT. THE BLACK PEARL - NIGHT

Tokyo town. A black edifice, no windows, secured parking, no signage except for a purple neon scroll above the entrance -- a FLASHING KANJI, just like the glyph tattooed on Tanaka's neck.

Tanaka's Mustang pulls into the parking lot. He climbs out, flagging away the valets, heads inside --

WHIP PAN TO

Blade's Olds stopping a few blocks down the street.

INT. BLADE'S OLDS - NIGHT

Blade kills the engine, studying The Black Pearl.

BLADE Looks like we hit pay-dirt. This place is crawling with them. (pointing) See the valets over there? They're vampires. So is the doorman.

KAREN How can you tell?

BLADE The way they move, they way they smell --

Blade continues to scan the area, pointing out a few more likely candidates --

BLADE The whore on the corner, she's one too. So are the two men standing under the streetlight.

Blade reaches into the back seat, retrieves his sword and a satchel. He snaps open his shotgun, loads it. Karen continues to study the vampires Blade identified.

KAREN So many of them -- I still can't believe they're real.

BLADE There are worse things than vampires out there.

KAREN Like what?

BLADE (pumping his shotgun) Like me.

Blade reaches for the door --

EXT. THE BLACK PEARL - NIGHT

Blade and Karen climb out. He lets his shotgun fall within the folds of his longcoat and starts across the street -- only to be challenged by a HULKING DOORMAN at the entrance.

DOORMAN I'm sorry, sir -- do you have an invitation?

INT. BLACK PEARL - NIGHT

CRASH! The front door flies open as the Doorman's body sails through. Blade enters, Karen at his heels --

The 'Pearl' is an all-hours strip club cum casino catering exclusively to Japanese zaibatsu clientele. Dimly lit, the air thick with cigarette smoke, deafening MUSIC. Go boards, pachinko machines, sexy little MANGA WAIFS in schoolgirl outfits doling out drinks --

STRIPPERS writhe in the circular "pit" tables surrounded by HOWLING grab-ass men. But that's nothing compared to --

The MAIN ATTRACTION,

who's doing a bump and grind down the runway, shaking a body worthy of a schoolboy's wet dream. Her attire? A leather S&M face mask, nipple rings, 6-inch spikes, and a pair of panties to hide her modesty.

Blade scans the room -- just in time to see Tanaka ducking into a back hallway. Blade pushes towards the rear of the club. Karen follows.

ON THE STRIPPER

as she catches sight of Blade and freezes in mid-routine. The stripper pulls off her hood. Long black hair with a streak of white tumbles down her back -- it's Mercury.

INT. BLACK PEARL, HALLWAY - NIGHT

Blade and Karen head past the bathrooms. At the end of the hall is a door marked "OFFICE". Just then, the Men's door opens, a DRUNK COLLEGE KID steps out, SEES Blade --

KID Hey --

Blade plants a hand over the kid's face, shoving him back into the bathroom as he kicks open the office door --

INT. THE BLACK PEARL, BACK OFFICE - NIGHT

Tanaka spins around, startled, tries to throw a punch --

Blade traps Tanaka's arm, levering the man up and over. He CRASHES into a shelving unit, taking the whole thing down with him. Karen winces. Blade grabs a handful of Tanaka's hair, yanks his head up --

BLADE Where's the entrance?!

TANAKA I can't -- they'll kill me!

Blade rips off his glasses and gives Tanaka an eyeful -- his irises pulse and glow.

BLADE I got news for you, butt-boy. You're already dead.

TANAKA (terrified) Oh God, shit -- behind the bookcase --

Blade drops Tanaka, moves to the bookcase. He searches the wall a moment, then finds a trigger. Hits it -- the bookcase slides aside, revealing a hidden elevator. As Blade moves to put his sunglasses back on --

BLADE'S POV (IN THE REFLECTION OF HIS SUNGLASSES)

We see Tanaka behind him, pulling a handgun out of a desk drawer, swinging it up --

Blade unholsters one of his Casulls faster than any gunslinger in history. He FIRES over his own shoulder, BLOWING Tanaka back against the wall.

Blade puts his sunglasses back on, motions to the elevator, then nods to Karen --

BLADE After you.

INT. THE BLACK PEARL, ELEVATOR - NIGHT

The elevator descends. Then a tone CHIMES, signaling the end of the ride. The doors hiss open --

INT. THE VAMPIRE ARCHIVES, HALLWAY - NIGHT

Blade and Karen enter the narrow, maze-like "stacks" of the vampire archives, weaving their way through shelves of climate-controlled, digitized records.

KAREN What is this place?

BLADE Some kind of archive --

KAREN Isn't this all a little high-tech? I thought vampires were more into cobwebs and coffins.

BLADE You've been watching too much TV. They've got their claws sunk into everything -- finance, real estate, politics. Probably own half of Downtown.

Blade pulls a CD-ROM from the shelves, its spine labeled in indecipherable vampire glyphs.

BLADE This must be where they keep their records --

He pauses, hearing a DISTANT WHISPER. Blade signals quiet, silently leading Karen through the stacks towards --

PEARL'S LAIR

A vestibule of sorts, leading to a larger bed chamber constructed of rice paper shoji screens and tatami mats. Candles glow within, illuminating a MONSTROUSLY OBESE SHADOW beyond the translucent rice paper walls.

The shadow speaks in a tremulous, bird-like voice -- the secret tongue. As Blade draws his sword, the massive shadow freezes --

PEARL'S VOICE (frightened) Lorca, is that you?

Blade slides open the nearest shoji screen --

INT. PEARL'S BED CHAMBER - NIGHT

Nothing Karen's seen up until this point could prepare her for the archive's curator --

PEARL,

a nine-hundred-pound androgynous vampire of Asian origin, lounging amidst pillowed rice mats, wearing a communications headset. Think of a cross between Divine and Jabba The Hutt. Skin the complexion of buttermilk, so corpulent he can barely move, so engorged with blood that he's actually sweating it from the pores of his skin.

Pearl is surrounded by a nest of monitors and keyboards which have been affixed to counter-balanced arms -- this way, Pearl can access information without leaving bed.

Lying next to Pearl, dwarfed by the vampire's massive size, is the chalk-white body of a recently-drained NAKED BOY.

At the sight of Blade, Pearl's eyes widen in fear --

PEARL (into a speakerphone) He's here!

FROST'S VOICE (over speakerphone) Congratulations, Day-Walker.

BLADE Frost?

INT. FROST'S PENTHOUSE, POOL - NIGHT

Frost paces the length of his pool, wearing a hands-free communications headset, grinning.

FROST In the flesh, Blade. I understand you've been looking for me. I'm flattered.

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