Sacred Maidens Must Die
In early 1980's Mexico, the Idol of an Ancient Aztec Goddess comes to life, and demands to be worshiped with human sacrifices.
This story contains graphic violence, partial nudity, sex and occasional bad language.
I originally wrote this as a screenplay in the early 1980's, before the fall of Communism and the rise of AIDS, and it reflects certain attitudes that were prevalent at the time. Before I could sell this story, the Communist and Sexual Revolutions both defeated themselves, and the story became outdated, so I put it aside.
Now I believe that enough time has passed, to give the story a recent historical setting.
Sacred Maidens Must Die
1. EXT. THE PLAZA OF THE MEXICAN JUNGLE VILLAGE OF TLANTEPIC. DAY.
Dilapidated adobe houses, with thatched roofs, stand along both sides of a single unpaved street.
The Plaza is deserted, except for BELTRAN and 2 MEXICAN MEN, who are all armed.
A sack hangs over the top of a wooden stake, which has been driven into the ground.
BELTRAN and the 2 MEN stand around the stake.
Sounds of murmuring come from the houses.
BUILDING BESIDE THE PLAZA.
INT. JORGE HENRIQUEZ stands peeking out the doorway.
BELTRAN steps forward, and lowers his weapon.
BELTRAN: (Shout) Why are you all hiding? I have told you we are your friends! You have no reason to fear us!
The only ones who have anything to fear, are those who would betray us! Like this one!
One MAN yanks the sack away from the stake, revealing the head of a young woman, stuck on top.
PEOPLE are gasping with shock.
JORGE, who looks deeply distressed.
FRAME CLOSE-UP of the head on the stake.
with the sound of a camera snapping OFF SCREEN.
2. MOVE BACK, REVEALING IN MATCH-CUT, a photo of the staked head, lying on a desk.
MOVE FURTHER BACK, REVEALING;
INT. NEWSPAPER EDITOR'S OFFICE. DAY. EARLY 1980'S.
MR. STRATTON is seated behind a desk. CYNTHIA JACOBSEN and PHYLLIS MACKENZIE stand beside the desk. They are both in their mid twenties.
Historic front pages of the Manhattan Times, hang framed on the wall.
STRATTON: I just got this photograph in the mail from Mexico City.
STRATTON picks up a sheet of paper.
STRATTON: This came with it. It's in Spanish.
CYNTHIA: I can translate it.
STRATTON hands the note to CYNTHIA; who peruses it quickly, while PHYLLIS looks at the photo.
PHYLLIS: This is really gross. Do they actually expect us to print it?
STRATTON: Don't worry Phyllis. The Manhattan Times is not the Enquirer.
CYNTHIA: This is better than Enquirer. I think this name should be pronounced "Quah-tlee-quay".
"This is a picture of the head of Juanita Rujalto Perez. She was killed by members of the Mexican People's Army.
"If you want to learn everything about her death; then please have your reporters Miss Cynthia Jacobsen and Mrs. Phyllis MacKenzie, go to the ruins of the Great Temple in Mexico City, at 10 o'clock in the morning, on February 1st.
"Coatlicue has given us their names"
(To STRATTON) Who is "Coatlicue?"
STRATTON: I have no idea who he is, but I know what this is. This is an obvious attempt by the C.I.A, to discredit the Mexican People's Army. The Manhattan Times is not gonna fall for it.
CYNTHIA: Do you want Phyllis and I to find out what they're not saying?
STRATTON: I want you to find out who this Coatlicue is, and see if you can tie him in with the C.I.A.
PHYLLIS: I don't know. This is too weird.
PHYLLIS points to the picture.
PHYLLIS: The next time you see us, we might both be looking like that.
FRAME photo of the head on a stake.
CYNTHIA: Phyllis. It's a couple of days in Mexico at the beginning of February. I think it's worth the risk.
3. TRAVELOGUE VIEWS OF MEXICO CITY. DAY.
4. EXCAVATED RUINS OF THE GREAT TEMPLE OF THE AZTECS. DAY.
JORGE HENRIQUEZ stands on one of the catwalks above the ruins. He looks around at everyone there, searching for someone.
CYNTHIA and PHYLLIS come onto the catwalk.
JORGE stares at CYNTHIA
JORGE'S P.O.V. CYNTHIA is surrounded by flames. this is a vision that only JORGE sees.
PHYLLIS: Just what the hell were you and that guy you met last night doing?
CYNTHIA: Screwing. I'm a good looking young woman, who came to Mexico and had got laid. Good looking young women do that all the time. You ought to try it yourself while we're here.
PHYLLIS: Forget it. That's okay for you Cynthia. You're single. I've got a three year old daughter, and I'm trying to get back with me ex-husband. I just wouldn't feel right if I got involved like that.
CYNTHIA: There's no law that says you have to. That's not what we're here for anyway.
PHYLLIS: What makes you and Mr. Stratton so sure this is a CIA operation?
CYNTHIA: That's what our flaming liberal readership wants to believe, so we have to toss them this bone.
PHYLLIS: What happens if we have to report that their heroes really did cut that girl's head off?
CYNTHIA: They won't read it in the Manhattan Times.
CYNTHIA sees JORGE approaching her and PHYLLIS
CYNTHIA: I think we're about to learn something.
JORGE comes up to CYNTHIA and PHYLLIS.
JORGE: Perdoneme Miss.
CYNTHIA: Yes sir? Si Senor?
JORGE: My name is Jorge Henriquez. I believe that you have come here at the request of Coatlicue.
PHYLLIS: We've heard the name Coatlicue. Nothing else.
CYNTHIA: Senor Henriquez. I am Cyntnia Jacobsen. She is Phyllis MacKenzie. Do you have anything to tell us?
JORGE: Both of you come with me, and you will learn everything you have to know.
CYNTHIA and PHYLLIS leave the catwalk with JORGE.
5. OPEN AIR PUBLIC MARKET. DAY.
There are many narrow aisles crammed with endless amounts of every kind of merchandise imaginable. People are haggling.
CYNTHIA and PHYLLIS move along, examining the goods, while JORGE walks beside them.
The three come to a section containing stalls of leather goods.
JORGE: This is the one.
CYNTHIA and PHYLLIS begin looking over intricately handcrafted belts. The Proprietor, PABLO ZAMORA, comes over to them.
ZAMORA: 5000 pesos Miss.
CYNTHIA puts down the belt.
ZAMORA: 4500 pesos.
CYNTHIA: I don't know.
ZAMORA: 4000 pesos.
JORGE: Perdoneme Senor. Are you Pablo Zamora?
ZAMORA: Si. 3500 pesos.
JORGE: (Quietly) I was told that you know something about the return of Coatlicue.
ZAMORA stops what he's doing.
ZAMORA: I have heard about the visions. Have you heard anything else?
JORGE: This woman you're haggling with, is the expected Prophet.
ZAMORA looks at CYNTHIA.
ZAMORA: Una NorteAmericana? No hay possible! Usted impostores.
CYNTHIA: What do you mean impostor? How can I be an impostor, when I don't know what you're talking about?
JORGE: You are the one who will show us the location of the Sacred Writings.
CYNTHIA: Sacred Writings?
ZAMORA: Like I said, you are impostores.
JORGE: I saw the sign of the Prophet upon her.
ZAMORA looks at CYNTHIA.
ZAMORA'S P.O.V: CYNTHIA is surrounded by flame.
ZAMORA: I was wrong. You are the Prophet of Coatlicue.
CYNTHIA: But I don't know anything about any sacred writings.
JORGE: That's why I brought her to you. You are an important man among the faithful. You are a descendant of the Emperor Moctezuma.
PHYLLIS: What? Moctezuma was one of your ancestors?
ZAMORA: Yes, but that and whatever everyone else pays, will get me a cup of coffee.
JORGE: I thought you might be able to help Miss Jacobsen here find the Sacred Writings.
ZAMORA: I know a Bruja who might help us.
CYNTHIA: "Bruja" Doesn't that mean "Witch".
PHYLLIS: Cynthia. Come here a minute.
PHYLLIS and CYNTHIA step to the side, where they speak quietly.
PHYLLIS: Forget about the C.I.A. These people are a bunch of weirdos. I bet that Bruja's gonna have two sharp wooden stakes waiting for our heads.
CYNTHIA: We won't be going unarmed.
6. EXT. OLD HOUSE ON A NARROW MEXICO CITY STREET. DAY.
INT. The house is neat and modestly furnished. There is a display of Pre- Columbian artifacts on a shelf.
CYNTHIA and PHYLLIS are here; along with JORGE and ZAMORA. The BRUJA, an attractive, mature woman, is also here.
CYNTHIA: I don't know why you people insist that I'm this Prophet of yours.
BRUJA: Many people have seen visions Cynthia. They say that the time has come for the return of our ancient Goddess Coatlicue.
JORGE: There are some Sacred Writings, that were hidden at the time of the Spanish Conquest. The Visions said that the Prophet would show us where they are.
CYNTHIA: How do you know it's me?
JORGE: Coatlicue has given me your name, and at this moment, all three of us see you engulfed in flame.
PHYLLIS: Cynthia. Let's get the hell out of here right now.
CYNTHIA: No. Remember why we're here.
7. SAME LOCATION.
CYNTHIA is seated at a table. PHYLLIS, JORGE and ZAMORA stand around watching.
The BRUJA hands a cup to CYNTHIA, who looks at it uneasily.
BRUJA: Don't worry. It won't hurt you. The effects won't last.
CYNTHIA drinks uneasily.
PHYLLIS: You shouldn't have done that.
CYNTHIA: They think I'm their Prophet Phyllis. I might be able to help them.
We might learn something too.
PHYLLIS reaches inside her handbag, and keeps her hand there.
The BRUJA takes the cup from CYNTHIA'S hand.
BRUJA: Now concentrate Cynthia.
ZAMORA: Ask her about the sacred writings.
BRUJA: Think about finding those sacred writings.
The features of the room and the PEOPLE become distorted; and start moving about in all directions. The sights and sounds become a distorted swirling chaos.
8. SWIRLING CHAOS.
Out of the chaos, there emerge the forms of flames, snakes, blood stained daggers, and human skulls. They are accompanied by the sounds of heavy rushing wind, screams, hissings and rattlings, and the sounds of gunfire.
There is also the sound of drums beating out a staccatto rhythm, and VOICES chanting OFF SCREEN.
VOICES: (Chant) Coatlicue! Coatlicue! Coatlicue! (Continued)
The swirling chaos slows down, and solidifies into the sight of a street, in the ancient Aztec City of Tenochititlan.
9. ANCIENT AZTEC CITY OF TENOCHTITLAN. DAY.
AZTEC WARRIORS are battling SPANISH SOLDIERS. A few are lying dead on each side.
10. CITY WATERFRONT. NIGHT.
A young AZTEC PRIESTESS and another MAIDEN are seated in a canoe beside the wharf. The HIGH PRIEST stands on the wharf above them, holding a large sealed ceramic jar.
The HIGH PRIEST hands the jar to the PRINCESS, who places it on the bottom of the canoe.
The PRINCESS and the MAIDEN cover the jar with a heavy blanket.
Then the PRINCESS and MAIDEN paddle off into the dark, while the HIGH PRIEST watches anxiously.
11. HIGH ON THE SIDE OF A RUGGED CLIFF. DAY.
The PRINCESS and the MAIDEN are kneeling on a narrow ledge, beside a niche in the side of the cliff. The sealed jar is beside the PRINCESS.
The PRINCESS places the jar inside the niche.
Then with great effort, the PRINCESS and MAIDEN both attempt to push a large stone slab in front of the niche.
As soon as they have the niche hidden, the MAIDEN loses her footing and falls screaming off the ledge and OUT OF VIEW.
OFF SCREEN the MAIDEN'S scream continues, as the swirling chaos returns.
12. SWIRLING CHAOS.
Out of th chaos, the living IDOL of Coatlicue emerges, filling almost the entire FRAME.
The IDOL of the Goddess Coatlicue has two enormous snakes, coiling out of its neck, with their closed mouths touching. It wears a necklace consisting of a human skull, hands and hearts. Its skirt is made of writhing serpents, and there are claws on its hands and feet.
This is a description of the genuine Idol of Coatlicue, which stands in the Museum of Archeology, in Mexico City. Check photograph in Wikipedia.
The two large snake heads on top of the IDOL, look into the center of the FRAME, flicking their forked tounges.
VOICES: (Chant) Coatlicue! Coatlicue! Coatlicue! (Continued)
Both heads of the IDOL speak.
IDOL: (Unison) Do not be afraid. I will return to my faithful people. Your task will be completed. The sacred writings will be restored. The sacrifices will be completed. The Decapitation Dance will be performed; and I will defend my faithful people.
One of the IDOL'S heads opens its mouth and engulfs the entire FRAME.
HOLD BLACK SILENCE.
13. INT. BACK ROOM, INSIDE BRUJA'S HOUSE.
CYNTHIA is lying on top of a bed, fully clothed, with PHYLLIS, JORGE, ZAMORA and the BRUJA standing around, looking anxious.
CYNTHIA wakes up with a gasp, and sits up.
PHYLLIS: Are you okay? Cynthia?
CYNTHIA: Am I back in the real world?
PHYLLIS: Yes. Don't worry. With the noises you were making, I wasn't sure you would be again.
ZAMORA: Pardon me Miss Jacobsen; but did you see where the sacred writings were hidden?
CYNTHIA: Shut the hell up!
CYNTHIA gets up and leaves the room.
14. INT. FRONT ROOM OF BRUJA'S HOUSE.
CYNTHIA comes in from the back room, and sits at a table. JORGE, PHYLLIS, ZAMORA and the BRUJA follow her.
PHYLLIS: Take it easy Cynthia. The rest of you take it easy too.
CYNTHIA: You shouldn't have given me that stuff to drink. I went into Hell, and I saw the Devil.
JORGE: What about the sacred writings?
PHYLLIS: Will you people get off her case?
CYNTHIA: They're in Tepoztlan. They're in a jar that's hidden in a niche, in the side of a cliff. Please don't ask me anything else.
JORGE: Tepoztlan? Isn't that just over the mountains to the south?
ZAMORA: I'm sorry Miss Jacobsen, but we have to ask you to come with us to Tepoztlan, and show us the exact spot.
PHYLLIS: Tell them to forget it.
CYNTHIA: No Phyllis. He's right. I am the Prophet of Coatlicue.
JORGE: Cynthia. Did Coatlicue say anything to you?
CYNTHIA: Yes. The Goddess Coatlicue looked straight at me and said;
"Do not be afraid. I will return to my faithful People.
JORGE, ZAMORA and the BRUJA look excited.
"Your task will be completed. The sacred writings will be restored. The sacrifices will be completed.
ZAMORA exchanges a glance with the BRUJA, who points at CYNTHIA, and he nods.
PHYLLIS notices this and looks disturbed.
"The Decapitation Dance will be performed, and I will defend my faithful People"
PHYLLIS: I told you we were dealing with a bunch of weirdos.
JORGE: No. We're ordinary people. In my village we just want to live our lives without bothering anyone; or having anyone bother us.
We're no different than anybody else, excpet that we worship Coatlicue.
ZAMORA: Here in Mexico City, we're just the same.
PHYLLIS: Then what's this business about a Decapitation Dance?
CYNTHIA: Phyllis. These people aren't savages.