Pitchmas 2020, Part 3: Bloodstone

Note: While looking up Elsa, I discovered she was apparently going to get a show at one point. Which I obviously think is still a good idea. I’m not rehashing, though we’re drawing from the same relatively shallow pool of issues surrounding her.

To start, though, I’d bring in both an aging Ulysses as a background character, and her brother Cullen. It is, in some respects, Supernatural, but not candy-coating the pain and abuse involved in a monster-hunting father trying to pass the family business on to his children. Before the Marvel logo, we have a cold open on a dungeon. There’s a werewolf pup, cowering and whimpering in the corner. A child Elsa is pushed into the room, with the door abruptly shut behind her. She’s terrified, and startled as the door opens again, and a dull, silver spoon, probably a baby spoon at that, is thrust into her hand. We reverse, and see an aging man with a red stone jutting out of his chest. He smiles, but there’s something not quite right about it, before he says, “Make daddy proud,” and closes and locks the door. She turns back towards the werewolf pup. She tries to reason with him, tells him he’s just a little boy, just like she’s a little girl. There’s no reason for them to fight, or even be frightened of one another. They can be friends. She can help him, and he can help her. She reaches out with her non-spoon-filled hand towards him. The pup spins, snarling, before leaping at the camera and engulfing our view, the sounds of his viciousness drowned out by the young girl’s scream. We cut to a darkened stone staircase, lit only by flickering candlelight. We hear a kachunk, as the door’s lock is picked, and the girl emerges from the room, too dark to see what’s occurred. She walks up the steps, the now bloodied spoon hanging limply in her arm as she passes camera, and we fade to black, as the Marvel logo and music play.

Match cut to what we saw before the logo, adult Elsa climbing the steps to the mansion, blood dripping from the knife in her hand and the werewolf head in her other. She kicks in the front door, dropping head and knife on a silver platter that has a little handwritten note requesting you “Please restrict viscera to the platter,” in fancy script.

Elsa stalks through the home, past Adam (Frankenstein’s Monster) in a French maid uniform dusting in the front room. “Father’s got you doing the Time Warp again,” she mutters to herself. He spins, having a wonderful time of it. His frivolity bothers Elsa, and she scowls. “You don’t have to wear that to dust,” she says.

“Shut up, he likes it,” Cullen says, running past her. He’s younger by a few years, probably high school age, a little bit bratty.

“Oh, what I wouldn’t do to be an only child again,” she mutters, wandering into the study/library, walled with books, with a fireplace to one side and two wingback chairs at the center.

“You didn’t track blood inside, did you?” Ulysses asks from one of the chairs. “You know how Adam gets, when you drip blood on the wood floors.”

She sighs heavily, massaging her temple. “What I wouldn’t give to be an orphan,” she mutters.

“I heard that,” he says stiffly.

“You were meant to,” she says irritably.

“You’re far too old to be this petulant,” he says, going back to his paper. “The werewolf pack?”

“Removed. I took the alpha’s head to mount.”

“Oh, Adam will love that. He has been practicing on his sewing.”

“We hunt monsters, correct? I don’t understand why we keep one on staff.”

“Oh, it’s not his fault he’s an abomination; he’s more human than not.”

“Weren’t you the man who said creatures are either all human or not at all? Or is it just he’s the only maid you’ve found who will iron your underthings?”

“Adam was a treasured member of this household before his brain was spliced into that homunculus. Least I think he was; his brain was certainly taken by that nasty Frankenstein fellow.”

“My immortal soul for an aneurysm,” she mutters.

“Someone’s in a mood tonight,” he says, and folds his paper loudly. “Fine. What has your knickers twisted?”

“I’m meant to be at school.”

“You’re meant to be hunting. You’re a Bloodstone.”

“I said I’d help over the summer holiday. I didn’t tell you I’d take the entire bloody enterprise off your hands. And we’re still playing hide the sausage with whatever ghoul is daft enough to land in the papers.”

A sinister grin spreads over his lips. “You’re right,” he says. “Too right. Sit.” She does, and he regales her with a tale of a monster town, where every man, woman and child is evil, where they treat their tap water with human flesh. To protect it, they send out roving bands of monsters into the surrounding countries, never within a hundred kilometers of the town, to capture humans for meat, so disappearances are never linked back to them. I’ve spent my entire life hunting this town…” she’s unimpressed, having heard this fairy tale her entire life, “and I finally have a lead.” That makes her sit up.

He describes one such roving band, and as he does so we begin to see it, on a rain-slicked night, a wagon covered and hidden (maybe to make it more modern, it’s the kind of military truck with a cloth back), in a caravan, on an old dirt road. Cullen and Ulysses, from perches on either side of the road, fire, taking out the monsters on motorcycles riding in a support formation for the truck. Elsa leaps from her own motorbike and climbs the rear of the truck, steeling herself before peeling back the curtain, expecting butchered bodies to be used as food stacked to the ceiling, and instead finding huddled masses, including a woman holding a swaddled child. The child notices her, and it’s face contorts; it’s a banshee babe, and it’s mouth opens wide to scream, knocking Elsa off the back of the truck. She lands on the follow car, spider-webbing the windshield. Cullen, excitable and scared, shouts over the radio that he’s lost track of his sister. Ulysses watches as Elsa is crammed in the back of the truck, which drives off as he grunts, “Bugger.”

Cullen is freaking out, trying to get Ulysses to do something. Ulysses barks at him that he is doing something, he’s following them in their truck, and trying to think over his mewling. They follow the caravan all the way to a toll bridge. The guard lets the caravan through without incident, but raises the metal pole barrier for them. “Scheduled bridge lift,” he says, when they inquire. Ulysses says he doesn’t see a boat anywhere. “Along any minute,” he replies, not looking up from his dog-eared paperback. Ulysses sniffs, then says something in trollish, which gets the guard to cock his head menacingly. He starts growing, his skin greying as he expands out of his shirt. He’s a bridge troll. Maybe throw in a billy goats gruff quote.

Cut to a few minutes later, Ulysses kicks the dead troll’s body off the bridge and it splashes in the water below. They lower the barrier and cross the bridge. There’s any number of ways the caravan could have gone, and the rain has washed away all tracks.

We cut to an interior location. A groggy Elsa stirs. A sympathetic sounding woman tries to reassure her, that she took a nasty spill, but she’s been examined, and aside from a nasty concussion, the doctor doesn’t think she’ll suffer any longer term impacts. As her vision clears, she realizes her nurse is a monster. The man walking through the halls with a bouquet of dying daisies is also a monster. The doctor who walks in, she’s a monster. She’s in a monster hospital. We fade to black, and show the title card again, for the full title reveal, “Bloodstone, and the Legion of Monsters.”

But all, of course, is not as it may initially seem. The monsters are, largely, normal folk, just trying to get by with some truly unusual health challenges. She’s more disgusted to find that her family, her father in particular, is the thing that goes bump in their nights- the sound of the Bloodstone name makes a small child quake in fear.

She meets the denizens of this strange Monster Metropolis, including N’Kantu the Living Mummy, Werewolf by Night (and other werewolves), more Frankenstein monsters, vampires, succubi, aquatic creatures from dark bodies of water… pretty much any kind of monster you can imagine is represented here (you might be able to entice Guillermo Del Toro to work on this project, since it’s another bite at the apple he so relished working on in Hellboy 2). The deeper Elsa gets into this society and its problems, the more she questions her upbringing and what she’s been told.

At first she stays because she wants to understand how she could have been so wrong. Eventually, she opts to stay to undo some of the harm she’s done. But she’s also not a prisoner. She’s able to leave, and meet with her father, and tell him what’s happened, and what she’s learned. He reacts violently to the revelation, and assumes she’s been ensorcelled, hypnotized or worse. He vows to Cullen he’ll burn down the Monster Metropolis and tear her from its rotten corpse.

It might, if it can be figured out, be cool to have Blade show up for a cameo towards the end- contrast his kind of compassionate, thoughtful “cull the herd” hunting to Ulysses- that he’s naturally skeptical of the idea of a Monster Metropolis, but so long as they aren’t acting like a terrorist training ground he could give a crap. But what sets the season on the collision course it’s on is how Ulysses reacts. Elsa reacts to the pain of knowing she’s caused hurt and fear by saying, “I don’t want to do that anymore.” Her father reacts by saying, “No, I was right all along. Genocide is the better answer.” He wages a war against the Metropolis, against its food supply, and the surrounding human communities that have always given it aid and protection. At first Cullen is torn, between his loyalty to his father and to his sister, but eventually he leaves his father’s side. Ulysses shoots him, and Cullen is saved by monster doctors. The season comes to a head when Elsa is forced to fight her father. He tells her that so long as the Bloodstone is in his chest, so long as its mystic energies keep him alive, he will not rest until the Monster Metropolis is destroyed, and his children are restored to his side. She beats him, and tears the stone out of him.

“What have you done?” he asks, as without the Bloodstone he begins to wither away.

“What my father raised me to do. Killing monsters.”

The second season would be more a new show that Elsa graduates to, called NextWave, bringing on Monica Rambeau, Boom-Boom from New Mutants, Robot Man from… Fin Fang Foom’s butt (actually… that might be appropriate to the tone of Nextwave…). I’d probably throw in Namor, rather than the Captain, because you get similar attitude off him, similar powers, too, while having an actual character around. I like the idea of bringing back Agent Coulson, but as a clone of his original self, this time the deranged head of H.A.T.E., Dirk Anger. It’s possible he’d need a mountain of cocaine to get the character right… I say give it to him. Alternately, we might want to find an actor who can give that level of manic performance without the need for chemical alteration, just because I’d feel bad if we accidentally killed Clark Gregg.

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