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TopBilled

Exercise in noir

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Thought this might be kind of fun.

I have been writing crime stories. Some of them are very routine. Some are more inspired.

So I thought I'd share some titles I came up with...

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Some titles:

FOREVER STARTS TOMORROW AT 7

EVERYBODY HAS A PAST INCLUDING THE JUDGE'S NEW WIFE 

THEY SEEMED LIKE SUCH NICE PEOPLE

FOOLS AND RADIOACTIVE GOLD

JUST LEAVE YOUR NAME AND NUMBER AND I'LL KILL YOU RIGHT BACK

ALL THE VICTIMS WERE THE SAME AGE

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10 minutes ago, Polly of the Precodes said:

Tell the truth, you're really a neural network that has been fed a lot of film noir tropes and titles, aren't you? 😁

First time I've ever been accused of that. :) 

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Some more titles I created:

THE KILLER WIVES CLUB

TO BONNIE FROM YOUR FAVORITE HITMAN

RAINY DAY FOR A PYROMANIAC

REQUIEM FOR A FATHER

LESSON IN FOUL PLAY

HAVE YOU EVER MET A LOAN SHARK WHO SAID "DON'T WORRY YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ME BACK"..? UNLESS HE WAS DEAD OF COURSE

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I like 

THEY SEEMED LIKE SUCH NICE PEOPLE

JUST LEAVE YOUR NAME AND NUMBER AND I'LL KILL YOU RIGHT BACK

RAINY DAY FOR A PYROMANIAC

and though a little too long....

HAVE YOU EVER MET A LOAN SHARK WHO SAID "DON'T WORRY YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ME BACK"..? UNLESS HE WAS DEAD OF COURSE 

:D

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3 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

I like 

THEY SEEMED LIKE SUCH NICE PEOPLE

JUST LEAVE YOUR NAME AND NUMBER AND I'LL KILL YOU RIGHT BACK

RAINY DAY FOR A PYROMANIAC

and though a little too long....

HAVE YOU EVER MET A LOAN SHARK WHO SAID "DON'T WORRY YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ME BACK"..? UNLESS HE WAS DEAD OF COURSE 

:D

Thanks. Here are the plot descriptions:

THEY SEEMED LIKE SUCH NICE PEOPLE. This one is sort of a noir combined with horror. Herbert & Ethel Humphries are a very friendly elderly couple enjoying their retirement. They've spent their whole lives on the east coast, and decide to travel from New Jersey out to California on vacation. We see them fly to Los Angeles, make friends on the plane, then rent a car in L.A, where they make more friends at the car rental place. Everywhere they go they make friends. The following day, they drive along the coast highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco to see a cousin. Along the way, they stay at lovely seaside inns and commit a series of brutal murders. The murders take place at the inns, at gas stations and along the beaches. Nobody suspects what they're up to. At first it seems like they are committing the murders to rob their victims. But there is a pattern and all the people they've killed are related in some unique way.

HAVE YOU EVER MET A LOAN SHARK WHO SAID "DON'T WORRY YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ME BACK"..? UNLESS HE WAS DEAD OF COURSE. John Doherty is a mild-mannered grocery store manager that has an overbearing wife named Fran. Fran spends more than John earns. He is tempted to steal money from the store but knows that the security system is too sophisticated and he'd get caught. So he is forced to take money from a loan shark named Louie. John lies to Fran that he got a raise. A week later when Louie the loan shark expects the first payment, John of course he isn't able to repay it all, since considerable interest was added to the principle. Louie will forgive the debt if John will kill Louie's wife Paula. John grapples with this but finally agrees to do it. When he goes to kill Paula, he goes to the wrong location and sees Louie having an affair with Fran! In a rage he kills Louie, then takes over Louie's loan shark business. Louie's wife Paula gets the police involved.

RAINY DAY FOR A PYROMANIAC. Varro Angelino helps failing businessmen torch their businesses to collect on the insurance. He does it in such a way that nobody can tell it was arson. Varro is very well known for this skill in certain circles and does a job like this once a week. But all of a sudden nobody has called Varro to torch anything, and he thinks it's because of recent police investigations in the city. Then he sees another fire on the news and realizes that was arson and a job he should have been called to do. It seems there's another guy named Sammy willing to do the same job for half the cost. Varro meets with Sammy and tries to get Sammy to to up his price and work together, so they can both stay in the racket. But Sammy doesn't do this for the money, he does it because of the thrill he gets from setting things on fire. Sammy is even willing to do this for free. That is not acceptable to Varro. So Varro ties up Sammy and gets ready to set him on fire. Only it's been raining heavily outside and the roof of the warehouse where they are having this altercation collapses and puts the fire out, just as police show up.

JUST LEAVE YOUR NAME AND NUMBER AND I'LL KILL YOU RIGHT BACK. A Hitman's burner phone is used to take new jobs. However, he is struck by lightning in a storm while walking down an alley. His phone flies out of his hand and lands behind a dumpster. The hitman is taken to the hospital where he dies. The next morning a derelict named Harry is digging through the trash in the alley where the accident occurred. He sees the burner phone and picks it up just as someone is calling to offer him a job.

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On 5/1/2019 at 10:15 AM, TopBilled said:

Thanks. Here are the plot descriptions:

THEY SEEMED LIKE SUCH NICE PEOPLE. This one is sort of a noir combined with horror. Herbert & Ethel Humphries are a very friendly elderly couple enjoying their retirement. They've spent their whole lives on the east coast, and decide to travel from New Jersey out to California on vacation. We see them fly to Los Angeles, make friends on the plane, then rent a car in L.A, where they make more friends at the car rental place. Everywhere they go they make friends. The following day, they drive along the coast highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco to see a cousin. Along the way, they stay at lovely seaside inns and commit a series of brutal murders. The murders take place at the inns, at gas stations and along the beaches. Nobody suspects what they're up to. At first it seems like they are committing the murders to rob their victims. But there is a pattern and all the people they've killed are related in some unique way.

Sounds pretty good

HAVE YOU EVER MET A LOAN SHARK WHO SAID "DON'T WORRY YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ME BACK"..? UNLESS HE WAS DEAD OF COURSE. John Doherty is a mild-mannered grocery store manager that has an overbearing wife named Fran. Fran spends more than John earns. He is tempted to steal money from the store but knows that the security system is too sophisticated and he'd get caught. So he is forced to take money from a loan shark named Louie. John lies to Fran that he got a raise. A week later when Louie the loan shark expects the first payment, John of course he isn't able to repay it all, since considerable interest was added to the principle. Louie will forgive the debt if John will kill Louie's wife Paula. John grapples with this but finally agrees to do it. When he goes to kill Paula, he goes to the wrong location and sees Louie having an affair with Fran! In a rage he kills Louie, then takes over Louie's loan shark business. Louie's wife Paula gets the police involved.

Interesting

RAINY DAY FOR A PYROMANIAC. Varro Angelino helps failing businessmen torch their businesses to collect on the insurance. He does it in such a way that nobody can tell it was arson. Varro is very well known for this skill in certain circles and does a job like this once a week. But all of a sudden nobody has called Varro to torch anything, and he thinks it's because of recent police investigations in the city. Then he sees another fire on the news and realizes that was arson and a job he should have been called to do. It seems there's another guy named Sammy willing to do the same job for half the cost. Varro meets with Sammy and tries to get Sammy to to up his price and work together, so they can both stay in the racket. But Sammy doesn't do this for the money, he does it because of the thrill he gets from setting things on fire. Sammy is even willing to do this for free. That is not acceptable to Varro. So Varro ties up Sammy and gets ready to set him on fire. Only it's been raining heavily outside and the roof of the warehouse where they are having this altercation collapses and puts the fire out, just as police show up.

Good

JUST LEAVE YOUR NAME AND NUMBER AND I'LL KILL YOU RIGHT BACK. A Hitman's burner phone is used to take new jobs. However, he is struck by lightning in a storm while walking down an alley. His phone flies out of his hand and lands behind a dumpster. The hitman is taken to the hospital where he dies. The next morning a derelict named Harry is digging through the trash in the alley where the accident occurred. He sees the burner phone and picks it up just as someone is calling to offer him a job.

**** is a burner phone? :D

 

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A burner phone is a disposable, non-traceable cell phone that you can buy in many convenience stores or other locations. They are a frequent aspect of modern crime fiction, used by gangsters and other professional criminals.

 

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Usually I come up with the title first, then build the story around it. Here are some more titles I created:

BUSINESS IS DEADER THAN USUAL AT THE MORGUE

This would obviously be more of a black comedy with the morgue attendant the main character. No idea what the plot would be. Something silly and bizarre.

DID SOMEONE CALL A TAXI?

This would be a very gruesome story, about a homicidal cabbie who kills rude customers. And customers who don't tip. It could have some black comedy. Like if the customers in the back of the cab are very obnoxious and seem to "deserve" their gruesome deaths.

KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT OR YOU'RE DEAD

This title could be used for any type of crime story. Probably best if it's something where an innocent person is being forced to go along with a killer at knifepoint or gunpoint.

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED AT MURDER

I like this title a lot. I think it would be something where a group of people show up for a 20 year high school class reunion. And the guy who was voted most likely to succeed had become a hitman. But nobody at this reunion is aware that is his real job if he passes himself off as a successful legitimate businessman. Of course there's a love story angle, where he dances with the girl he let slip through his fingers two decades ago. She's recently divorced, and he's recently widowed. But if she found out what he did for a living, she wouldn't give him the time of day.

THE FINE ART OF COMING BACK FROM THE DEAD

Would definitely have to be about a magician who kills someone, then fakes his own death. But there would have to be some magic-related twist at the end where he gets caught/found out.

THE PROSTITUTE THAT GAVE UP SEX FOR LENT

A crime comedy. Where a mobster's regular piece on the side refuses to have sex with him again unless he offs his wife and marries her. A very familiar story about a powerful man and his mistress. But two colorful loud characters who like to yell at each, have all this passion, but no sex...until he does that one little thing.

THE RANSSOM NOAT WAS MISPELLD

A ransom note was written by a first grader as a favor to an illiterate kidnapper. Of course, to keep it a "wholesome story," the naive kid wrote the note not realizing it was for a kidnapping. He was practicing his handwriting when he was being watched by a relative. When the police show up, the kid is questioned and the parents want to know who little Jonny wrote the note for. Turns out it was for his no-good uncle who's been staying with the family on and off. Can the kid lead them to where the uncle is now, so they can find the person who was kidnapped? There should be some sort of twist at the end, like an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode. 

VICTIM'S FAMILY LOOKS FORWARD TO KILLER GETTING OUT ON PAROLE

A strange type of story. Where a family is calmly looking forward to a killer getting out, inviting the killer over for dinner. The whole thing should be full of suspense. Why invite a killer over? Why would the killer agree to go there? The dinner is a very dignified affair, everyone dressed up, fine cuisine...they carefully only reference the victim, never say the victim's name. What are they up to? We know this meal can't end well. 

DELIVER US FROM EVELIN

A group of middle school brats are stuck in detention room hell. They want to kill the detention room monitor, an old battle-axe named Evelin Willis. Sort of a Stephen King type story. She's had other kids try to kill her before, but she's always too smart for them. However, today, things will turn out differently. These kids are going to save the school from evil Evelin if it takes them all lunch hour.

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15 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

A burner phone is a disposable, non-traceable cell phone that you can buy in many convenience stores or other locations. They are a frequent aspect of modern crime fiction, used by gangsters and other professional criminals.

 

You mean like the $30 flip phone I use and put $15 on every month, lol 😎

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On 5/1/2019 at 10:15 AM, TopBilled said:

Thanks. Here are the plot descriptions:

THEY SEEMED LIKE SUCH NICE PEOPLE. This one is sort of a noir combined with horror. Herbert & Ethel Humphries are a very friendly elderly couple enjoying their retirement. They've spent their whole lives on the east coast, and decide to travel from New Jersey out to California on vacation. We see them fly to Los Angeles, make friends on the plane, then rent a car in L.A, where they make more friends at the car rental place. Everywhere they go they make friends. The following day, they drive along the coast highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco to see a cousin. Along the way, they stay at lovely seaside inns and commit a series of brutal murders. The murders take place at the inns, at gas stations and along the beaches. Nobody suspects what they're up to. At first it seems like they are committing the murders to rob their victims. But there is a pattern and all the people they've killed are related in some unique way.

HAVE YOU EVER MET A LOAN SHARK WHO SAID "DON'T WORRY YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ME BACK"..? UNLESS HE WAS DEAD OF COURSE. John Doherty is a mild-mannered grocery store manager that has an overbearing wife named Fran. Fran spends more than John earns. He is tempted to steal money from the store but knows that the security system is too sophisticated and he'd get caught. So he is forced to take money from a loan shark named Louie. John lies to Fran that he got a raise. A week later when Louie the loan shark expects the first payment, John of course he isn't able to repay it all, since considerable interest was added to the principle. Louie will forgive the debt if John will kill Louie's wife Paula. John grapples with this but finally agrees to do it. When he goes to kill Paula, he goes to the wrong location and sees Louie having an affair with Fran! In a rage he kills Louie, then takes over Louie's loan shark business. Louie's wife Paula gets the police involved.

RAINY DAY FOR A PYROMANIAC. Varro Angelino helps failing businessmen torch their businesses to collect on the insurance. He does it in such a way that nobody can tell it was arson. Varro is very well known for this skill in certain circles and does a job like this once a week. But all of a sudden nobody has called Varro to torch anything, and he thinks it's because of recent police investigations in the city. Then he sees another fire on the news and realizes that was arson and a job he should have been called to do. It seems there's another guy named Sammy willing to do the same job for half the cost. Varro meets with Sammy and tries to get Sammy to to up his price and work together, so they can both stay in the racket. But Sammy doesn't do this for the money, he does it because of the thrill he gets from setting things on fire. Sammy is even willing to do this for free. That is not acceptable to Varro. So Varro ties up Sammy and gets ready to set him on fire. Only it's been raining heavily outside and the roof of the warehouse where they are having this altercation collapses and puts the fire out, just as police show up.

JUST LEAVE YOUR NAME AND NUMBER AND I'LL KILL YOU RIGHT BACK. A Hitman's burner phone is used to take new jobs. However, he is struck by lightning in a storm while walking down an alley. His phone flies out of his hand and lands behind a dumpster. The hitman is taken to the hospital where he dies. The next morning a derelict named Harry is digging through the trash in the alley where the accident occurred. He sees the burner phone and picks it up just as someone is calling to offer him a job.

I like all of them, my favorite is the second one, Have You Ever Met...

The first one sounds macabre and has elements of humor.

HAVE YOU EVER MET A LOAN SHARK WHO SAID "DON'T WORRY YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ME BACK"..? UNLESS HE WAS DEAD OF COURSE.  I'm getting a noir vibe here, also themes of the Coen Brothers.

The other two could work very well as short films. 

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1 hour ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

I like all of them, my favorite is the second one, Have You Ever Met...

The first one sounds macabre and has elements of humor.

HAVE YOU EVER MET A LOAN SHARK WHO SAID "DON'T WORRY YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ME BACK"..? UNLESS HE WAS DEAD OF COURSE.  I'm getting a noir vibe here, also themes of the Coen Brothers.

The other two could work very well as short films. 

Thanks. Yes, Coen Brothers type noir. Exactly.

It helps to read this kind of feedback and see what others think...because I'm never sure if my ideas seem better for television, feature films or short films. I would say that series like The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents have influenced me a lot, but so have 70s police procedurals like Kojak and Cannon...plus Italian giallo films, which have lots of noir elements in them.

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36 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Thanks. Yes, Coen Brothers type noir. Exactly.

It helps to read this kind of feedback and see what others think...because I'm never sure if my ideas seem better for television, feature films or short films. I would say that series like The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents have influenced me a lot, but so have 70s police procedurals like Kojak and Cannon...plus Italian giallo films, which have lots of noir elements in them.

I'm also a fan of 70s police procedurals. It was sort of a golden era for them. There were so many, Hawaii Five-O, The Streets of San Francisco etc.

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9 minutes ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

I'm also a fan of 70s police procedurals. It was sort of a golden era for them. There were so many, Hawaii Five-O, The Streets of San Francisco etc.

Yes. Ironside is another one. Barnaby Jones. Columbo. There were a lot of good ones.

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Some more I came up with:

BEFORE WE KILL AGAIN

Rick Hartley is a rugged looking 35 year old gay hitman. He and Tom Lowe, his attractive 18 year old protege, are in Mexico to kill a drug lord for a rival drug family. But that isn't scheduled to occur until tomorrow. They have all day today to enjoy some sun and fun on a beach in Acapulco. During the course of these 24 hours the two share some tender moments, but Rick starts to think Tom is too romantic, too soft. So he decides to get rid of him and go off alone the next morning. Only when Tom finds out what's about to happen, we learn that he's much more ruthless than was previously expected. He's been playing this romantic game to fool his older mentor. And he's actually working for the rival drug family who want Rick out of the way before tomorrow's scheduled assassination. After Tom kills Rick, he goes off to meet his girlfriend.

NO MORE NIGHTMARES

Ruth Foster is a 50 year old psychic who keeps having disturbing visions. In these visions, she sees that a madman is going to come after her and kill her. There's a parallel plot where a young 25 year old man named Gene is being released from prison on a technicality. We learn that Gene had previously tried to kill his mother. Gradually the two plots merge, when Ruth reveals to the police that she's Gene's aunt. But that's a lie...she's really his mother, and now that he's out, Gene intends to finish the job.

FOUR SIDES MAKE A FRAME

A man who hand crafts wooden picture frames is being set up by his jealous brother for a murder. In flashbacks we see the two different sides of their story about why they don't get along. And there are two other guys, identical first cousins who also have their own sides to this story.

SCHOOL OF VICTIMS

Single father Terence Evans is angry when he learns his nine year old son Jerry has been sexually abused. He wants to kill the priest that he suspects touched his boy. For awhile, rumors have been swirling that Father Rey Santos is a pedophile. But it may just be that the latest boyfriend of Terence's ex-wife is the actual culprit. However, Terence is not aware of this. And when he starts making accusations against the priest, it causes another family to come forward and accuse the same priest of sexually abusing their son. 

TILL DEATH DOES A MURDEROUS HUSBAND PART

Stacy Addams is a happy bride who was just married ten days ago. But Stacy's happiness is jeopardized when she meets a woman named Giselle who claims to be the ex-wife of Stacy's new husband Rob. Giselle insists that Rob once tried to kill her. This causes Stacy to experience all sorts of suspicion and paranoia. It is learned that Giselle is not really Rob's ex-wife at all, but that she's the sister of his dead first wife Laura. So yes, Rob is a killer, and he intends to get away with it again.

JESUS KILLED A DOZEN MEN

Jesus Martinez is a 33 year old man with a history of mental problems. He had been deployed to Afghanistan when he was nineteen and in the army. He has since been discharged and now lives with his parents Francisco and Dorothea on their farm in Kansas. While he milks the cows and harvests the crops, he tries to deal with the lingering effects of his PTSD. After talking with the pastor of his local church, he decides to do nice things for the families of the twelve men he killed...before he takes his own life on Good Friday.

32 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT IN HELL

It's a cold day when the fathers of warring mob families put aside their differences to celebrate the nuptials of their handsome sons who fell in love, despite the odds. But things take a violent turn at the reception when the ugly daughters of some other families show up and claim they were promised to the two guys who were just married. Mina and Veronica have teamed up and are going to blow the reception hall to kingdom come. Fortunately, they are talked down. And in the process, they realize how beautiful they both are. So there will be another gay wedding that everyone is invited to attend.

IF YOU CAN'T BEAT THE DEVIL RAISE THE DEVIL

Diablo Quintero is an evangelist who travels the country and performs exorcisms. He is aided by a teenage faith healer named Miguelito that everyone thinks is his son. We learn in flashbacks the story of how they met and formed this unusual partnership. And how a woman named Maria that died was someone they both adored.

EVERYONE MUST BE ELIMINATED AT 65

Benny Carter is a crackpot who lives on the other side of a hill in Hollywood. He likes to watch classic movies. He lives in a community where there are a lot of retired people who watch a certain classic movie channel. Benny looks down on them. He thinks there are too many old folks collecting social security pensions, so he has decided to start eliminating people on the eve of their 65th birthdays. In a parallel story, a gorgeous actress named Dominique Rousseau is about to turn 55. For years she has been lying about her age. A vengeful tabloid reporter found out she had shaved ten years off her age and has been blackmailing her. The night her true age is exposed at a Hollywood premiere, Benny the crackpot is in attendance. He has seen all of Dominique's films, including the ones she made in France when she was much younger. He is horrified to realize that Dominique turns 65 tomorrow, and he is going to have to kill his most favorite actress in the whole world. In the last scene he has kidnapped her and taken her somewhere over the hill. It's not clear if he's going to get rid of her or just keep loving her until she hits 100 and becomes Star of the Month again on Turner Replayed Movies.

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