Winning Feature Screenplay Reading – INCURABLE, by Jeff York

Winning HORROR Feature Screenplay for January 2017.

Written by Jeff York

NARRATOR – Hugh Ritchie
JIM – Robert Notman
CATHERINE – Victoria Kucher
SARAH – Olivia Jon
DR. NEUBER – Julie Sheppard
GABRIEL – David Occhipinti


Genre: Horror, Thriller, Romance

Jim has ALS. Feeling he has no hope, he wants to end it all. Then he meets Catherine – who is a Vampire!

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

INCURABLE is about Jim Reed, a man in his early 30’s, with his whole life ahead of him, who is stricken with ALS. He contemplates suicide to avoid the painful death sentence that the disease usually is, but then he meets Catherine Adler, a woman whom he will soon discover is a vampire. They fall for each other and then Jim decides to let Catherine bite him to give eternal life and thwart his ALS forever. Of course, becoming a vampire is not that easy and that’s where the drama ensues. Jim discovers that there’s a whole helluva lot more to his new lease on life, as well as his relationship with Catherine.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Because it deals with vampires it readily falls into the horror category, but it is also a romantic drama as it really examines the relationship that develops between Jim and Catherine. I’d also argue that it has an indie character study feel to it as it is far from the typical violence and gore found in the horror genre. INCURABLE is more head and heart than than blood and guts.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

INCURABLE is a more unique horror tale for the reasons I listed previously, but also because of the unique proposition that enables Jim to accept Catherine’s offer to turn him. Because she’s rich and gets her blood supply from the black market, Jim will not have to kill anyone to sustain his vampirism. I’ve never encountered the idea of murder taken off the table in a vampire tale.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Character-driven horror.

What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

“Jaws” is my favorite film of all time, and truly set the template for INCURABLE in that it too was a character-driven piece that had thrills and chills, yes, but it never lost sight of the complex humans in battle with the shark.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

It took three months to write originally, with a few months of rewrites after that incorporating reader’s notes, friends’ opinions, contest feedback, etc. From there, it did very well in contests, but I’ve always tweaked it along the way. As the saying goes, you’re never really done rewriting until the film is in the can!

How many stories have you written?

I’ve written nine movie screenplays, two TV series pilots and pitches, and a theatrical play. (I also write a movie blog and am a film critic, but those are different stories!)

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I love horror but often found myself cheering for the monster to defeat the stupid characters being pursued. It occurred to me that the genre needed more complex storytelling as well as characters. I’ve always been a fan of vampire lore as well, and wondered if one could be a vampire without killing. The idea of a rich vampire who didn’t have to kill for blood, who could buy it on the black market instead, came to me shortly after that.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Editing. Writing isn’t difficult for me, but honing, polishing, editing, really examining every word – that is a lot of work. And it’s a challenging and incredibly detailed kind of intricate surgery as well.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am passionate about movies, the arts, cats, animal rights, and politics, those less so these days with Trump’s victory. I worry we’re going into some very dark days ahead.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I loved that such an organization felt a similar passion for horror. And that winning entries would be read by actors and filmed for all to see! I’ve always loved table reads. Also, the feedback I received from the festival was terrific. And I rewrote INCURABLE to reflect the terrific suggestions.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Be patient. Writing takes time. Connecting with people who can help you with your scripts takes time. Waiting for someone to find the money to greenlight your script will likely take a lot of time. Thus, enjoy being a writer no matter what the outcome, and if you’re lucky to get your work on the big screen remember that’s the icing on the cake, not the whole cake.


Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editing: John Johnson

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