In 202X, a high-tech entrepreneur and his family huddle in a "billionaire bunker" deep underground in Colorado as a purported nuclear war rages above, only to discover that they have walled themselves in with a potential murderer intent on revenge --- the billionaire's longtime partner, collaborator and best friend since college, who has planned this retribution for years for a long list of grievances. Also available in a horror version which involves an ancient life form --- an amoeba --- living in the billion-year-old aquifer that supplies water to the bunker and getting looose among (and inside) the residents.
PAN the breathtaking summertime Rockies from a helicopter. Inside are newlyweds, MELISSA and JONATHAN SLEIZER, intelligent, cynical and witty—also a little apprehensive. Melissa’s father, CRAIG McHENRY a billionaire entrepreneur, and his wife ELLIE, along with his lifelong business partner and best friend, TED WRIGHT and his wife, MEREDITH have invited them to visit “a very special, secret world.” Mel and Jon imagine a luxury resort in the Rockies—but they are actually being transported to a massive underground billionaire bunker, IMPERVOS I. When they arrive and the helicopter departs, they see only a majestic mountain. Their destination, Craig explains, is actually under the mountain. IMPERVOS I is capable of withstanding a direct nuclear blast, an asteroid strike, a plane crash, an earthquake or any natural disaster. Craig has information that the President is launching first-strike nuclear attacks against North Korea and Iran. China will stand aside thanks to massive trade agreements. It will be quick, but ghastly. The only safe place until victory, peace and stability is a bunker like IMPERVOS I. Within, residents can live in luxury for years. IMPERVOS I is built under a 14,000 foot mountain in Hinsdale County, Colorado—the most remote place in the United States. With no choice now, the young couple follow Craig inside the mountain. An elevator takes them down 1 ¼ miles. At this depth, the mine is free of allergens; humidity is 50 percent, and the temperature is controlled at 70 degrees. Pure water comes from a massive, little-known aquifer deep in the earth’s mantle, billions of years old.
“Welcome to my—I mean our new home,” Craig announces. IMPERVOS I has every possible amenity—tennis courts, spas, a movie theater, a hospital with top surgeons, and a computerized infrastructure more sophisticated than the Pentagon’s. Power is supplied by compact, hyper-hardened generators capable of running a medium-sized city for decades. The bunker is biologically self-sustaining, growing its own fruit, vegetables and gourmet meat substitute. The families, with selected professionals and servants will sit out the war with no discomfort or shortage. But newlyweds Mel and Jon suspect that Craig has no intention of letting them out anytime soon. Craig even hints that the war, fallout and chaos could last years. Melissa does not believe there will be a war at all and thinks her dad and partner Ted are crazy. But amidst all Craig’s preparation for every possible outcome is a major “unknown unknown”: Ted Wright, Craig’s partner and lifelong friend, hates Craig McHenry’s guts. Craig has always kept Ted in a subordinate position. The final straw: when Craig put together the partnership agreements on their latest launch, EpicZone, an Artiificial Intelligence total immersion environment, he gave Ted only a minority interest and limited powers—though it had been Ted’s idea. Ted had even written the code! When Ted confronts Craig, Craig expresses surprise. He, Craig, was the driving brains behind capitalizing the company. Without his business genius and taking all the risk—EpicZone wouldn’t make it to market. So Ted didn’t deserve a full partnership. Craig laughs. Anyway, EpicZone is just a startup with a skeleton crew of bright young techies: what does Ted care? But Ted also knows that Craig is having an affair with ADRIENNE HILL, the EpicZone CEO. Adrienne is sharp, ambitious and street-smart at 27, younger than Craig’s own daughter. She thinks Ted has only piggybacked off Craig’s genius. Craig has made arrangements to bring Adrienne into the bunker, under the guise of working in the greenhouse. Back in college, Craig’s current wife, ELLIE, had been Ted’s beloved girlfriend. When Craig stole her away, Ted had let go like a good sport. But now Craig is cheating on Ellie with the upstart Adrienne—the latest in a string of affairs. Ted sees Craig’s life as a pattern of vicious double-dealing. No matter what happens in the world outside, Ted plans that Craig will not emerge alive from IMPERVOS I. He has made plans to murder him and make it look like natural causes. With no real police force and no way to investigate or punish a crime of this magnitude, Ted will get away with the murder. He ponders killing Adrienne too. Following the war, Ted will help rebuild the economy with Craig’s widow Ellie at his side. For their in the bunker Craig has planned an elaborate, new-age spiritual “Inclusion Commitment Ceremony.” After eating, they begin rituals and prayers aided by some new age psychedelics. But halfway through, Ted makes an excuse of nature calling and leaves the ceremony. In his room, he first disables the surveillance camera. He then fills a tiny squeeze bottle with a virulent and undetectable poison. A mere puff in the eye or ear will kill Craig. Up in the observation room, the security guard has seen Ted’s camera go blank. He texts Craig who makes his excuses and runs to the surveillance room. But Ted only thinks he has disabled the surveillance in his room. There is actually a system that Craig installed personally. Craig sends the security guard out. He views Ted alone in his room, drinking a shot of whisky. Ted takes out a handkerchief and wipes his eyes: Ted is crying! Craig leaves to join his friend and shore up his resolve. Ted’s murder attempt results in an internecine fight between the men. Seriously wounded, Craig races through the massive underground bunker to gather up his family and secure them. But Ted has planned for that as well. He has hacked the IMPERVOS I systems using EpicZone AI technology that enables him to override and control nearly every function. Ted has also bribed or murdered security staff. Craig, Melissa, Jon and Ellie are now on the run—along with Melissa’s Maltese puppy, Skater, that she had sneaked along in her luggage. Craig is being hunted throughout the bunker by an implacable enemy who he now realizes has been smarter than he is all along.
End of Days
Clear and Present Danger
I wrote the feature film, Murder in Fashion, about the killing of designer Gianni Versace by serial killer Andrew Cunanan. The film played at theatres and festivals and was reviewed in the NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/movies/22murder.html?_r=0
I collaborated with producer Don Murphy (Transformers, Natural Born Killers) on the script "Fast Fade" on the life of tragic film noir actress Barbra Payton.