Hard Warriors

Hard Warriors (1979)

Hard Warriors Poster

a Hiroaki Yamada short story

(translation by Guillaume Le Taureau)

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They were strong.

They were hard.

Warriors with strength.

One was blue, the other: not blue.

They were ready.

Inside the beast, young Hideo was sweating. Sweating like an animal in the Sun. Like an unborn baby rhinoceros waiting to come out of its mother’s womb. But there was no coming out: the battle was about to begin.

“Stop it now, Isamu!”, he said to his opponent.

“Never!”, Isamu replied through his own metallic warrior.

“You were good! Now you are bad! Why, Isamu? Why?”

“I am bad because you made me bad! I was good! Now we are both bad.”

“Never!”

Hideo threw the first punch.

WHAMMAK!

Such power!

But Isamu would not be defeated so easily.

PAPOOM!

What an attack!

“Our strengths are matched! But mine is stronger!”, Isamu gloated.

“Don’t flatter yourself, Isamu!”

And Hideo lept at Isamu, clenching the latter’s waist with his thighs while thumping on his head with his titanium fists.

FHOOM! FHOOM!

“Aaaaah! Damn you!”, Isamu screamed.

“You can still end this: we used to be brothers!”

“Never!”

Isamu unleashes a hidden chest saw: sparks fly as Hideo is violently propelled by the rotations of the sharp thoraxian weapon.

“Take that, inferior thing!”

“How about… you take… THIS?”

Hideo’s warrior releases gold arrows from his eyes: they promptly pierce through Isamu’s shoulders. Isamu screams and drops to his knees.

“Nooooo!”

“Yes!”

“You will pay for this!”

“Surrender, Isamu! It is what you must do!”

“Never!”

Isamu pulls out one of the gold arrows from himself, stands and runs towards Hideo. He jumps at him, ready to stab Hideo with the arrow but Hideo was prepared: he had already deployed the anti-arrow disc.

BZONGH!

The arrow broke.

“Last chance for salvation, Isamu!”

“Never!”

Hideo slices Isamu in half.

Both halves of what once was Isamu plop down to the ground as blood, oil and wires pour out.

“Isamu…”, Hideo says quietly to himself.

Just then, Hideo felt a change of gravity.

Was he flying?

No.

In fact, he was being lifted. Inside the warrior, Hideo panicked, playing with all the buttons peppered over the main control panel.

“What the…”

A voice came from above.

“You have failed, Hideo.”

“Computer”, Hideo asked his control panel desperately, “Analyse big voice!”

Looking up at the screen in front of him, Hideo finally saw the truth.

The voice continued:

“You can’t kill so early: you lose the drama, young Hideo!”

Was that an eyeball facing him?

Were those glasses?

It couldn’t be… they were so big.

“Try again”, said the voice, “This time: use the arrows last. Take your time: length is good. We’ll keep rolling.”

“R-rolling?”

Suddenly, Hideo was placed back down on the ground.

“Aaaaaand: action!”, said the voice.

In front of him, Hideo found another hard warrior.

Could it be?

No.

It couldn’t.

“I…Isamu?!”

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More from the Hiroaki Yamada soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

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Is THIS The End? Or Is THAT?!

Is THIS The End? Or Is THAT?! (1990)

ITHIS2

an Alan Smithee film

screenplay by Alan Smithee

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Extract from a never-made 1990 comedy sci-fi film about a group of Hollywood comedy actors who hide out in a basement apartment while what could very well be the apocalypse breaks out in the world outside.

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INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY

Chevy Chase is sitting on a worn armchair, wearing a “Caddyshack” cap, swinging a golf club around casually. He looks perturbed by something. Steve Martin is sitting on a nearby sofa, trying to fix an old radio. In the middle is Rick Moranis, who is building a periscope with rolls of toilet paper, scotch tape and mirrors.

CHEVY CHASE

(annoyed, to Rick)

What the fuck are you doing?

RICK MORANIS

What do you mean? We need to see what’s going on, maybe it’s not that bad.

CHEVY CHASE

Not that bad?! Are you nuts? You saw what happened to Martin Short! Whatever’s out there is not fucking kidding around.

RICK MORANIS

Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to know what we’re up against!

CHEVY CHASE

It might! Why? What did you have in mind? Fucking shrink ‘em to death?

RICK MORANIS

(stands up, angry)

Don’t you fucking…

Chevy Chase stands up also, ready to fight. Steve Martin promptly gets between them.

STEVE MARTIN

Settle down…

CHEVY CHASE

(to Rick, taunting him)

Show us what you got, Spaceballs.

STEVE MARTIN

Alright, that’s enough! Let’s not say anything we might end up regretting. Rick, you’re building a periscope and that’s very admirable: you’re right, we should know what we’re facing. Chevy, I know it’s a difficult time but we need to stick together. We can’t afford to turn on each other like this.

CHEVY CHASE

(bitter)

Oh that’s right, take his fucking side. I thought we were “amigos”, I guess I was wrong.

Goldie Hawn walks in the room from the kitchen, she looks nervous and slurs her words.

GOLDIE HAWN

Hey, y-you guys got a spoon?

CHEVY CHASE

That’s actually all we have is a fucking spoon.

STEVE MARTIN

It’s on top of the fridge. Wait, you’re not using it for heroin, are you?

Goldie Hawn nervously scratches her arms one after the other and stands there not blinking for an entire minute.

GOLDIE HAWN

No…

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN. DAY

Dan Aykroyd is washing dishes quietly. Goldie Hawn walks in and grabs the spoon from the top of the fridge. She spits in it and wipes it on her shirt. She sits down, opens a small wooden box, rolls up her sleeve and starts trying an elastic around her bicep.

GOLDIE HAWN

You ok, Dan?

DAN AYKROYD

(to himself, emotional)

I knew it, I just knew it…

Dan Aykroyd drops a plate in the sink and bursts into tears. Goldie Hawn heats up the spoon and taps her vein.

GOLDIE HAWN

What’s up?

DAN AYKROYD

I always knew the intergalactic council would one day reach our solar system, I just… never expected them to be hostile…

Goldie Hawn injects herself and savours the moment.

GOLDIE HAWN

(to herself)

Oh yeah, there’s the spot…

DAN AYKROYD

(ignoring Goldie)

This changes everything…

Finally done, Goldie Hawn folds her arm and closes her eyes before standing up zombie-like.

GOLDIE HAWN

(slowed-down speech)

I’m gonna… go to the bathroom. I’ll be… right back.

DAN AYKROYD

Bill’s in there. Leave him alone.

GOLDIE HAWN

What’s he doing?

DAN AYKROYD

He’s reading my new Ghostbusters screenplay, let him concentrate.

GOLDIE HAWN

But I… I gotta sit down and take a shit or something…

DAN AYKROYD

Spoken like a true house shitter.

From the bathroom, we hear the toilet flush. Soon after, Bill Murray exits and walks into the kitchen. Goldie Hawn promptly stumbles to the bathroom and locks the door.

BILL MURRAY

What’s going on?

DAN AYKROYD

So? What did you think?

BILL MURRAY

(nonchalant)

I’m sorry Dan, ran out of paper. It was good though, can you print another copy?

DAN AYKROYD

(outraged)

What?! No! That was the only one!

BILL MURRAY

(unfased)

Bummer.

Bill Murray casually opens the fridge and finds nothing there except a severed hand holding on to an Oscar statuette which reads: “Best Supporting Actress: Whoopi Goldberg”.

BILL MURRAY

(loud)

Alright, who ate all the food?

INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY

After a look of sheer disbelief, Chevy Chase runs to the kitchen.

CHEVY CHASE

(angry)

What?!

STEVE MARTIN

(to himself)

Oh boy…

Chevy Chase soon walks up to the bedroom door and knocks hard on it.

CHEVY CHASE

(loud, angry)

Open up you fat fucks!

After he gets no response, Chevy Chase kicks the door down. Bill, Steve, Dan and Rick have now assembled around him. They find James Belushi and John Candy on the bed with Harold Ramis’ severed head.

CHEVY CHASE

Alright, which one of you porkers ate all the fucking food?

JAMES BELUSHI

Hey! I resent that!

BILL MURRAY

What were you guys doing with Harold’s head?

James and John discreetly tuck in their shirts and zip their flies.

JAMES BELUSHI & JOHN CANDY

(acting innocent)

Nothing…

RICK MORANIS

(panicking)

That was all the food we had left! What are we gonna do?

CHEVY CHASE

There’s only one thing we can do. We’re gonna have to eat one of ‘em.

RICK MORANIS

(shocked)

What?!

CHEVY CHASE

(simply)

You heard me.

DAN AYKROYD

That’s exactly what the good Belushi would have suggested…

JAMES BELUSHI

Hey man, I didn’t eat shit! I was just in the mood for some Ramis is all! Is that a crime?

(pointing at John)

He’s the one! He ate all the food! Eat him!

John Candy breaks down in tears.

JOHN CANDY

I couldn’t help myself… I eat when I’m nervous! I’m sorry.

CHEVY CHASE

Yeah? Well I eat when I’m pissed off and right now, I gotta tell ya: I’m real fucking hungry.

BILL MURRAY

(nonchalant)

I’m kinda hungry.

DAN AYKROYD

I could eat.

RICK MORANIS

(disbelief, to Steve Martin)

Steve, say something! You can’t possibly let this happen!

STEVE MARTIN

Usually, I wouldn’t but… it sort of makes sense. Happened to me in “Little Shop” and I turned out OK. You remember.

RICK MORANIS

That was a movie! This is real life!

A half-asleep Goldie Hawn finally exits the bathroom and joins them.

GOLDIE HAWN

Maybe the little one wants to volunteer?

There’s a beat as everyone turns to Rick.

RICK MORANIS

I’ll get the saw…

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY – LATER

Everyone is sitting around eating what’s left of James Belushi.

JOHN CANDY

(to Dan)

You gonna finish that?

DAN AYKROYD

Hands off, you know the best bit’s around the bone.

RICK MORANIS

We’re all going to hell…

BILL MURRAY

Eating Jim was definitely the right choice. He tastes just like ham.

RICK MORANIS

But he didn’t eat our food, John did!

JOHN CANDY

Yeah but I’m funny.

GOLDIE HAWN

Hey you guys, check me out: I’m snorting Belushi!

STEVE MARTIN

Come on, Goldie, that’s gross!

Steve holds Jim Belushi’s nose in his hand and eats it by picking inside of it, as if it were a snail. Goldie Hawn snorts an acid-like substance and seconds later, the inside of her head melts.

Her eyes fall out.

BILL MURRAY

What was that?

DAN AYKROYD

(simply)

His stomach I think.

Just then, there’s a knock at the door.

STEVE MARTIN

Who could this be?

INT. ENTRANCE. DAY

They all walk towards the door, Steve finally opens it to reveal Bobcat Goldthwait, who is  sweating profusely. He appears to be on a leash.

BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT

Hey (snorts) you GUYS! W-whaaaat’s UP (snorts)!

CHEVY CHASE

Bobcat? What the fuck? You still alive?

BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT

Yeeeeah man! (snorts) Nnnnn… the MASTER wants to see you guys (snorts).

STEVE MARTIN

The “Master”?

BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT

Follow me, it’s (snorts) SAFE! I p-promise.

They all follow Bobcat outside, up the staircase.

EXT. STREET. DAY

The entire street is is ruins: fire everywhere, cars toppled over, destroyed houses. As everyone steps onto the pavement, we see a large dragon-like creature being ridden by Michael Keaton, who is holding Bobcat on a leash.

MICHAEL KEATON

Well look what the “Cat” dragged in…

CHEVY CHASE

(to Michael)

How the fuck are you riding that dragon right now?

MICHAEL KEATON

They gave it to me.

STEVE MARTIN

Who?

MICHAEL KEATON

Get with the times, man. The aliens, of course.

DAN AYKROYD

I knew it!

RICK MORANIS

Th-they just gave you a dragon?

MICHAEL KEATON

Don’t you know anything? War’s over. President made a deal with them: they leave us alone, we share our resources with ‘em. It’s all good. Diplomacy, motherfuckers.

RICK MORANIS

But… we ate Jim Belushi…

BILL MURRAY

And Whoopi, don’t forget Whoopi.

STEVE MARTIN

Why did we eat her again? I thought we had food at that point.

BILL MURRAY

I cut off her hand, it was the humane thing to do.

STEVE MARTIN

Fair enough.

RICK MORANIS

(to himself)

I’m done with movies…

CHEVY CHASE

(to Michael)

Wait… why did they give you a dragon of all people?

JOHN CANDY

Yeah! What gives?

MICHAEL KEATON

Don’t you guys know?

Everyone looks at each other, confused. Steve shrugs.

There’s a beat.

MICHAEL KEATON

I’m Batman.

No one reacts.

Suddenly, Michael’s dragon eats up Rick Moranis.

MICHAEL KEATON

(to everyone)

Shit, sorry fellas…

CHEVY CHASE

It’s cool, somebody had to fucking eat him.

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After reading Alan Smithee’s screenplay for “Is This The End? Or Is That?!”, producers instantly dropped the project and never mentioned it ever again. To this day, the actors written into the script remain unaware that they were almost part of the very first end-of-the-world comedy blockbuster.

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More from Alan Smithee soon.

Only on We, The Mindthinkers.

WWV

WWV (2006)

WWV

a Lazarus Pitt novel

Written at the same time as Max Brooks’ “World War Z”

Extract from Chapter XII

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The war had begun.

It had begun and now it was.

It was and now it remained.

Would it ever end?

We didn’t think so.

Maybe our squadron was just being particularly pessimistic. Or perhaps we were right to not be hopeful. The things we’d seen, experienced, could still not be explained and none of us could see a bright future on the horizon.

Doomed.

Joining the army wasn’t an easy decision. Don’t get me wrong, there was never any bad blood between me and Uncle Sam or anything, it was just the idea of going out into the unknown and facing potential death I couldn’t get over.

Then they came flying in.

This was an enemy like no other we’d ever faced before. Now, not only our country was at stake but our entire world! There was no way I could have just sat back and watched it all happen live on CNN, without doing anything. What if this was the end? What then? What kind of life would I have led?

No. If they want this planet, they’ll just have to go through me.

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Where am I?

The whole point of this covert operation was to invade the enemy base not hide all around it and lose each other. There I am, stranded in this ghost town, with no means of communication and no direct support.

That’s just great.

All around me are seemingly empty barracks. They had built a wall around the base on top of which their soldiers fired at us relentlessly. I had to see one of them, I had to see what we were dealing with.

I approached one of their soldiers, who was lying dead next to his weapon and, to my surprise, I found a young woman, not in uniform. Actually, she was naked. Naked and covered in blisters. Not only that but both her wrists were attached to the very machine-gun she was firing from.

Why?

Then I heard it: a rumble coming from inside one of the nearby tents. I ready my weapon instinctively and start walking towards it. Whatever was in there, it was safe to guess it didn’t want me around. Then again, what if the rest of my team somehow went ahead of me and took refuge in one of the tents?

I tap the end of my rifle on the ground three times, pause for a moment, then repeat. This was our code, our way of alerting each other, of letting us know that one of us was near without attracting unwanted attention. This time, there was no reply.

Whatever was in there: it wasn’t one of us. And it was, most certainly, hostile.

One Mississippi…

Two Mississippi…

THREE.

I run in, spouting out orders:

“Get down! Get down! Hands on the gr-”

Empty.

I move in further into the tent, as I try to decipher what could have possibly been the source of the sound I had heard when suddenly, the ground breaks under me.

My heart tightens.

My rifle: gone.

I’m falling.

Darkness.

The fall wasn’t too deep but deep enough that the landing cracked my knee. Struggling not to scream, I promptly bite my sleeve. If this was a trap, I had to buy some time, gather my thoughts before the attack. The pain was intolerable. I had also scraped my arm during the fall and I could tell by the moistness on the other sleeve of my uniform that I was bleeding.

I fumble around the darkness for my rifle.

Finally: I reach it.

I shakily stand up and start limping forward, down a deserted, unlit corridor. I start to feel dizzy, sick, but I push all of that aside in my mind. All that matters is the mission. I’m expendable, I know that, but if this is some sort of underground lair I’ve discovered, it’s my duty to make sure I bring as much carnage and panic to the place as possible.

And just like that, I saw something lying in front of me I wish I had never seen.

It was Smithey.

My teammate, my brother.

What have they done to you?

There he was: lying on the ground face down with the bottom half of his body missing. Gnawed off, it seemed.

Oh Smithey…

We were gonna raise chickens together.

I approach my friend, get on my good knee and turn his body around to face him when, suddenly, his eyes open.

“V…”, he said.

“Smithey! Y-you’re…”

“V…”

“What is it, Smithey? Tell me, I’m here!”

“V…”

Smithey died in my arms just then.

What could he have been trying to tell me?

A name, perhaps?

I knew I couldn’t stay there any longer. I had to go forward, move on with the mission. I say a quiet prayer for my old friend and keep on walking.

Those bastards are gonna pay.

Still limping, the pain more unbearable than ever, I finally reach some sort of large storage area: long, flat rectangular boxes, everywhere. Boxes upon boxes just sitting there, in the dark. Weapons? Missiles?

What were these monsters plotting…

I step closer to one of the boxes and go to lift its lid, making sure to keep my gun pointing in the right direction. I start lifting the lid when I hear a voice calling me from the corridor I had just walked from.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you”, the voice warned.

I promptly look up and, upon seeing a shadowy figure standing in the distance, I point my weapon at the stranger with every intention of shooting.

“Get down on the ground! Now!”, I yell out nervously.

“It is unwise to shout.”, was the calm reply.

The dark figure steps forward.

“Stay where you are!”

They stop.

“Don’t step any closer. I mean it.”

“I mean you no harm…”

The silhouette steps forward once again and I shoot. This causes no reaction whatsoever.

“Now you’ve done it.”

Some of the boxes around me start moving.

“What are you?”

Finally, out of the shadows, walks a familiar face.

“General Lohman?”

“That’s right, soldier. I’m a night-walker. Always have been.”

“But… Smithey…”

“Smithey got sloppy. We’re attracted to sound, we love it. Can’t get enough of it. Couple of misfired gun shots in the dark, that’s all it took. They jumped him, tore the poor bastard in half right there and then.”

“What the hell are night-walkers?”

“We live in shadow, we feast upon the blood of those who try to come between us and our destiny. The world belongs to us, soldier, we are evolution and nothing will stop us.”

“You’re wrong. You’re a mistake, a failed experiment. We’ll win.”

“You’re a good kid, soldier. Resourceful. I have a proposition for you: help us. Be our eyes during the daylight hours and you will be spared. I can guarantee that.”

“Then what? Say I help you: what will be left for me? I’ve seen what you do to humans when you’re done with them. ”

“You’re far more valuable to us than you realize. If there’s one thing we night-walkers will always need, it’s humans. I organised this personally, I wanted you to find us, I wanted you here. You’re the best we’ve got, soldier. Think about it: it makes sense.”

I look at the monster and smile.

“You’re right.”

I start applauding the General as loud as possible and, in a heartbeat, I see his hopes of a human mole shatter in a thousand pieces before him. The boxes around me rattle, shake and finally burst open sharply, like overcooked raviolis.

“Nooooo!”, Lohman cries out as the cavernous ghouls jump towards me, their fangs wet with hunger.

It does make sense.

There’s nothing like the sound of a deceived vampire.

Nothing.

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More from the iconic Lazarus Pitt soon.

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