Monday, September 26, 2016

The story behind "Steel Phantom"

“Steel Phantom” is a supernatural horror script I wrote in 2002 and pitched around Hollywood. The screenplay did receive some good coverage, and garnered some interest from several producers and production companies.

But ultimately the script was deemed too “intense”, far too sexual and violent, and the S&M content was way too risqué for the time. You must remember, this was just after 9/11. PG-13 horror was in and nobody would touch an R-rated horror script with a ten foot pool. Of course, that all changed in the next couple years as torture porn took over the genre. But then the remake obsession began, especially for horror. Hollywood only wanted “sure things”, not original material, and “Steel Phantom” was doomed to go unproduced.

Now, this scary, sexy, suspenseful, supernatural story is available for the first time ever as a published book in the screenplay format.

From the back cover:

Angela is seeing things. Strange things. Dangerous things.

Angela relocates to Pittsburgh and is haunted by intense visions of a menacing attacker clad in a welding mask who abducts her and takes her to an abandoned steel mill. The visions escalate, crossing the line into reality, and she soon learns the secret to stopping this Steel Phantom, may be buried in the dark mysteries of the forbidden past of her new home town.

“Steel Phantom” is an award-winning 2002 supernatural horror screenplay from the lurid imagination of James J. Caterino, author of “The B Girl” and the “Caitlin Star” series. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Introduction to “The Selfie”

A long time ago—many decades in the distant past—before I was an illustrator or a novelist or a screenwriter—before I was a stockbroker or a football player or a screenwriter—really, before I was much of anything else—I was a short story writer.

I wrote my first short story at seven years-old, a handwritten mega opus along the lines of, "How I spent my summer vacation". It garnered rave reviews from the teacher and fellow pint-sized classmates who sat at full attention as I stood before the class delivering my debut masterwork. Of course, it wasn’t really how I spent my summer. It was bullshit—or to use the more proper terminology, it was fictionalized drama. It was the first (and ONLY) time in my life where I realized that, “Hey, this might actually be something I am good at.”

And I did keep writing those stories in one form or another, although somewhat sporadically, all the way through the adolescence and into the college years where I took every creative writing class I possible could while still keeping my major “practical”, (Economics...yeah I know, bleh).

Recently I went on a Harlan Ellison binge, arguably one of the greatest short story writers ever. It made me want to go back and revisit some of those astonishing tales I spun so many years ago. While the search for many of them goes on (these were handwritten by me and the typed out by my Aunt in manuscript form, and nothing I wrote back then ever sniffed what would have been a very primitive computer at the time). But I did manage to uncover quite a few of these gems. And you know what? I have to admit, I was impressed.

How I managed to write all these stories with everything else I had going on is beyond me. But it inspired me to get back to my roots, to let go of my now fully-ingrained feature/epic mentality, and try to once again tackle the fictional form that was once the place for me to escape to and write the stories that I wanted to read, and nobody else had written.

So "The Selfie" is the first of many. Even if nobody else ever reads it (a very likely possibility), it will still be the first of many. Because you know what? I want to read them. Sometimes you have to write for an audience of one. And just like my seven year-old self said to himself those many decades ago, I really am pretty good at this.