PLAYHOUSE OF THE DAMNED
by Richard Nathan
This entire story is lit only by the light of flashlights. Our host, GUS THE GHOUL, turns on a flashlight which he holds a few inches under this chin, aimed upwards.
GUS THE GHOUL
Boo! Our next story is about my kind of gal,
an ax-murderess. I think you'll agree it's keen
with cutting humor, and a really sharp ending.
It's called, "My Ax-Girlfriend."
Gus turns out the flashlight.
Enter a couple of college students, ALAN and ELIZABETH, carrying each carrying a flashlight. They shine the lights around the stage. They see a pair of chairs and sit down. They shine their flashlights on each other as they talk.
Alan, I want to go home.
Elizabeth! You promised!
I didn't know it was going to be this
It's a haunted house! What did you expect?
I thought you didn't believe in haunted houses?
I don't! That's the whole point! We're going to
prove there's nothing to be afraid of!
But I am afraid!
Do you want me to fail my psych class?
Well I need a witness to prove I stayed here all
night. You agreed to help me, Elizabeth. I
thought you wanted to be my friend.
I do want to be your friend, but why couldn't
you write your paper on something else, like
conditioned reflex or something?
It's too late for that. The paper's due
Wednesday. Anyway, the whole idea of
this place being haunted is ridiculous.
You've heard the story, haven't you?
No???? Well, wait until I tell you. It's so
absurd, you'll laugh. It will convince you
there's nothing to be afraid of.
This house was built by Simon Linkletter, a
wealthy but very homely man. Even with all
of his money, no woman wanted to have
anything to do with him because he was so
hideously ugly. One day, as he was strolling
through the park, he met the most beautiful
young girl he had ever seen, who was out
walking with her mother. The girl's name was
Esmeralda. When he looked at her, she looked
directly back at him, she was the first woman
Simon had ever met who didn't turn here eyes
away because of his ugliness. Simon asked
the girl's mother if he might take them both
out to dine, but the mother said if he had
any interest in her daughter, he had best
think again, because Esmeralda was mad.
Simon said he would pay for her to go to
the finest doctors, if she would allow him to
call upon her. The mother had very little
money, so she agreed.
Simon sounds like a very nice man.
He wasn't. Soon after he started courting
Esmeralda, he asked for permission to take
her out to dine, un-chaperoned. Simon had
been so generous, paying for Esmeralda's
medical care, that her mother agreed. But
instead of taking her to a restaurant, he took
her here to his house.
Did he molest her?
He tried to make her kiss him. But she
screamed, and ran through the house.
By the fireplace, she found an ax, and
she raised it, and brought it down,
smashing it down, splitting Simon's
skull in two. The next morning, the
police found her, over Simon's body,
and she was laughing, "Heh-heh! Heh-heh!
Alan cackles like Dwight Frye playing Renfield in the 1931 film version of "Dracula."
When the police tried to take her away, she
raised the ax and started to swing it. They
shot her down, dead! To this day, people
who walk by the house at night swear
they can still hear her laughing, "Heh-heh!
Elizabeth! You can't believe that story! It's
What's ridiculous is you thinking I'm going to
stay in this house another minute!
I thought you were a mature, intelligent
woman. I am so disappointed in you!
Alan, please. I don't want you to think
badly of me. I really don't. I thought
I could stay...
You're really letting me down.
All right. I'll stay. But don't tell me any
more creepy stories.
A VOICE comes from the darkness.
Heh-heh! Heh-heh! Heh-heh!
And Elizabeth is out of there like a shot! She's gone! After a moment Alan starts laughing hysterically. His friend STEVE (who was the voice doing the imitation of Esmeralda) turns on a flashlight and sits in the chair vacated by Elizabeth. Steve laughs along with Alan.
Oh man! That was hilarious!
Priceless! Did you see the look on her face?
I hope you didn't traumatize her for life. I
never thought ol' weird Liz was too stable to
She'll be fine.
What if she complains to someone?
I'll ask her out on a date and she'll forget all about
it. She's got such an obvious crush on me, it's
pathetic. Hey, did you check to see if the
infrared camera was working?
It was last time I looked.
I'll go get it.
Alan leaves. Steve is along on the stage. He relaxes his arm so that his flashlight is aimed at the floor. We hear a THUNK and Steve falls to the floor. Alan renters, carrying some camera equipment. He shines his flashlight on Steve. Steve's head has a big glob of blood on the back of his skull. Alan shines his flashlight around on the stage. He finds Elizabeth, stark, raving mad, holding a bloody ax!
Heh-heh! Heh-heh! Heh-heh!
She swings the ax at Alan. Alan screams and drops his flashlight. We hear a THUNK. The flashlights go out.
GUS THE GHOUL enters and turns on a flashlight, which he points up at this face.
GUS THE GHOUL
I really admire that girl, Elizabeth. I
believe her motto was, "Ax, and ye shall
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© 2005 by Richard Nathan. All rights reserved
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