THE MUDMEN by Mikal Huber

(Script Excerpt by MIkal Huber)

A slow, stately passage down from a reddish sky, towards a battle-tom field far below.

Two jagged trenches face each other across a mile of barbed wire, shell craters and littered wreckage. Shells fall in the distance. A faint murmur of war.

Two uniformed SOLDIERS occupy a crowded trench, but they are the only living souls left.

A fast blur of war images, then the muddy, board-lined trench surrounds us. Ammo boxes line the sagging walls, along which several bodies, Allied and German, lie rotting. Distant flashes, BOOMS of artillery.

The SOLDIERS sit in ponchos and soup-plate helmets, dripping wet, rifles propped on sandbags.

A cupped hand holds a handrolled smoke out of the drizzling rain. The cigarette glows faintly, then the red cherry disappears as a raindrop strikes it.

The hand raises the smoke towards a shadowed, gaunt and dirty face. Cracked lips try in vain to draw in some smoke, then crinkle in disgust.

(Tosses the smoke)
Damn. This bloody rain.

I’ve still got some dry, but my papers are soaked through.

Well, believe it or don’t, it’s yer lucky day. Somehow, mine have managed to stay dry enou- SHELL!

A shell descends with a horrid WHINE.
It EXPLODES with red light and thunder .
The DOUGHBOYS duck and cover.

Dirt patters down.

Aw, ñcrap cakes’, not again.
One more shell lands, then there’s a lull.

Damn it all, I’ve had enough of this din.

And this damn mud. When I get back to Winnipeg, I’m gonna-

A loud BANG nearby half-drowns his words.

God, get me out of here!

As the debris from the shell blows up and away, we arc with it out of the trench, and from high above we see:

• Overhead in sepia-tone of the trench zone, a muddy, TORN-UP field under skies red and smoky
• Into a trench, past a dead soldier’s smiling face
• The two SOLDIERS on their knees, hands over ears
• The corpses lined up along the trench
• A GERMAN SOLDIER among a pile of Allied dead
• ON the GERMAN as his eyes open
• The two SOLDIERS rising slowly
• SHELLS explode on the horizon
• The SOLDIERS duck once more
• The GERMAN’s hand holding a potato masher grenade
• SOLDIER ONE’s face as he turns to meet the open hateful eyes of the GERMAN
• SOLDIER ONE covers SOLDIER TWO with his body


• Grenade!
• Another smaller series of BANGS as SOLDIER TWO empties his rifle into the German
• Smoke gradually clears, revealing SOLDIER TWO cradling SOLDIER ONE’s dying body.

• A ruined church, a ruptured tank in its doorway
• BOMBED-OUT houses, a destroyed schoolhouse
• A line of chest-high bullet marks along a wall
• Shriveled crops, bordered by bare, wintry trees
• ON THE TREES, as they speed through the seasons leaves sprout, spread, fade and fall
• ON THE TREES, as a GIANT HAND reaches down and adjusts a tree like God’s own gardener
• PLASTIC COWS under the lichen and stick trees
• A PLASTIC HORSE by a painted cardboard barn
• Lines of ARMY MEN face each other across a muddy field strewn with wrecked machines, wrecked men
• Two YOUNG BOYS stare down at the miniature carnage they have created.

A clapboard house, two young generals bent over a diorama of considerable size and scope, filling the entire sandbox. Wash blows whitely in the wind.

Wow, Davey, that looks really real. I think it’s finally finished.

It isn’t ...right. Not yet it isn’t. I think...

(Looks at model)
You think I oughta chop the guys up more? Add more red paint?
He smiles, and shakes his head.

Naw, it’s just perfect.

CU: A twisted plastic soldier, horribly realistic.

I perticlar like the guy caught in the barbwire. Betcha that left a mark.

Looks at Davey with admiration.

Thanks, Billy, but... something still ain’t right. It’s ... alright, but not like I remember it.

The two boys consider.
Their mother’s shadow appears in the screen door.


Boys! Wash your hands and come eat your supper.

ñ kay , Mom.

They carefully pull a tarp over the model, then saunter inside.

• Prosperous farms and fields
• Walking pace along a long gravel road
• Two pairs of small rubber boots, walking
• Pass a willow tree near an old wagon
• Slow before a small neat white farm,
• AFARM WIFE hanging wash
• A PIE warming on the window ledge
• An old DOG sleeping under apple trees
• WATER bubbling up in a clear spring


Mkal D Huber, 1956, 2017 RIP

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