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GRAVE SECRETS aka SECRET SCREAMS-synopsis



[THREE MONTHS AGO] Its night and Zack (Lee Ving) comes out of his house as a car comes careening by driven by Iris Norwood (Rene Soutendijk). Just as another car passes, her father Kurt Norwood (Bob Heron) awakens in the passenger seat and attacks her violently. She screams and struggles to free herself from him. Suddenly an oncoming car almost collides with them, with Iris falling out on the road. Kurt is left to steer the speeding vehicle which crashes into a tree.

[TODAY] David Shaw (Paul Le Mat) is sleeping in his office chair. He is very haggard-looking as if he has been through a lot. Darla (Olivia Barash) enters and informs him she has finished her exam. She is obviously interested in the professor, asking him to come to her place. David, seeing the time, exclaims that he is late. He gathers his things and leaves.

David is conducting a class on the paranormal and showing slides. One of them pictures Dr. Carl Farnsworth (David Warner), a pioneer in paranormal research who was investigating the ghost of a suicidal bride who jumped Carls body and acted out what happened to her. They learned that she had been brutally raped, murdered and made to look like a suicide. Once her story was told in a sance before witnesses she was able to rest in peace. David calls for the lights, and Iris, who was sitting in on the class, gets up to leave. As the class ends, David goes out into the hall to see Iris walking away. Darla approaches him, giving him an envelope. The letter says that his grant has been not approved due to lack of evidence. Darla sympathizes with him but David takes off.

Entering Dean Andrews (Gilbert Lewis) office, David asks why he cant get any funding. Andrews tells him to sit down. David reminds the Dean that he has been teaching for ten years, has a good rapport with his students and has submitted many research papers over the years. Pulling them out of a drawer, Andrews recites the titles of each. All of them focus on one woman, Joanna Shaw, who was Davids wife who died three years earlier. He is told to get over his wife and move on.

Back in his office, Iris knocks and enters, telling him she doesnt believe ghosts are innocent. They go to a restaurant for coffee. She shows him a brochure of Homestead House, an old house she is trying to run as a bed and breakfast. She tells him of strange noises at night and loud footsteps outside her door. He asks if anyone else witnessed these. She answers no. He suggests that maybe she is making something up and wants him to prove it so she can get business as a haunted house bed and breakfast. She wants to know why he is so cynical. Telling him it is very difficult for her to ask for his help, she hands him a check made out to him for $5000. He looks it over carefully and agrees, asking for the truth. The first question he asks is: does she know the previous occupants of the house? She says no. Second question: have the attacks been increasing in number and intensity? He notices her hand becoming shaky as she holds the coffee cup. She says yes. Third: how do you feel during the attacks? She says threatened. Her hands become very shaky. Fourth: do you know who the ghost is? At this point she crumples the Styrofoam cup and spills the coffee. He rises and says he will get some napkins. She says no, she will do it herself. Going over to the counter, she looks back and sees David getting napkins from another table. When he returns, she is gone. He looks around to see her going out the door. He goes home, turns on the television and looks at the brochure.

The next day David is driving and shaving. He stops at Homers Caf and Store. Inside, he finds no one in the store, ringing the service bell. Looking around, he goes through a door into the bar, where Zack is seen throwing darts at a board just a few inches from Davids head. Several other men are seen seated. He tries to ask about the inn, but no one pays him attention. Finally he approaches the bartender Homer (John Crawford) and asks for a bed and breakfast. He is told Homers place has rooms for rent. David insists he wants Homestead House. Homer tells him he doesnt want to stay at that womans house because she is not hospitable. Told he is not looking for hospitality, Homer tells David the woman is about as hospitable as a whore on judgment day.

Later David arrives at Homestead House and finds no one home. Entering, he calls out and begins looking around. In one room he finds an open book with the pages fluttering from a draft coming from an open window. Returning to the front hall, he finds a hotel register and looks at some of the guests. He goes upstairs, still calling out. He goes from room to room, finding one that looks lived in. An open window blows a book onto the floor from a messy desk. On the desk he sees newspaper ads circled for psychics and a camisole which he picks up. Suddenly Iris enters and demands to know what he is doing. He stares at her. She tells him to leave.

Outside, David starts to leave as Iris digs a hole near the front of the yard. He tries to start over with her, but she tells him to go. He says it is late and he is hungry. He wont be able to drive back to town and wants to stay. She agrees to one night.

In his room David calls Darlas answering machine and leaves a message, telling her to research former owners for Homestead House and send it care of Homers Spa. Looking out the window he sees Zack, who is arguing with Iris. She tells him to leave.

In the kitchen Iris has been cutting veggies and is cleaning a meat cleaver. David enters and tries to call a truce. She points out the water continues to run. David says he thinks it is the water pump and volunteers to help. She tells him instead to chop some wood outside.

As David prepares to split a piece of wood with an ax, he notices the wind blowing suddenly. He continues working.

At dinner David complements her on the food as she pours him a glass of wine. She gets up to open another bottle of wine, telling him he is eating deer meat. He shows a slight repulsion. While she is turned away, he pours the wine into a nearby plant. When she returns with the bottle, she refills his glass, setting the bottle down. He picks it up and fills her glass. Holding the bottle, he indicates that he will reach over to the side to do something and turns away. She takes this opportunity to pour the wine into the plant. Seeing that he has already done this, she looks sheepishly at him. He is now looking at her with a knowing look, having done that to see if she would pour out the wine herself.

She asks him to play a game and he agrees. Each must bounce a coin on the table, trying to land in an empty glass. If he fails, he must take a drink of beer. He tells her that instead of her drinking beer, she must answer a question truthfully. She bounces a coin into the glass and he asks how she afforded the house. She tells him she saved money from her real estate job in the city. He is unable to bounce the coin into the glass, so he takes a drink.

We see the clock advance two hours. Now the glass of beer is half-full and David is slightly tipsy. He manages to bounce the coin into the glass and Iris asks why he is not married. He confesses that his wife committed suicide after having a stillborn child. He tells her he is very tired and wants to go to bed. She helps him to his bed where he is sound asleep. She leaves the room, closing the door.

Later David awakes and hears digging. He looks out the window and sees Iris digging in the front yard again in the middle of the night. He lies back down and goes to sleep.

The next morning David gets coffee in the kitchen. He adds milk to it from the refrigerator. As he is drinking, he suddenly notices an egg broken on the floor. He opens the fridge to see if it fell out but finds no eggs inside. There are a dozen or so eggs in a basket on the table. As he turns away again, he hears another egg drop. He looks puzzledly at the two broken eggs on the floor. Then his eyes catch sight of an egg being lifted from the basket. Floating in midair, the egg is hurled and breaks on Davids face.

Next we see David setting up his computer and equipment in the house to investigate. He takes measurements of the positions of the eggs and charts the information. As he is doing so, Iris enters and stands over him. She tells him she doesnt want to communicate with the spirit. He says we must or it wont leave them alone. Suddenly a cry is heard from outside. They go out front and see an ax thrown which lands in the porch column. He takes Iris inside. From the trees and bushes we see Zack approaching, laughing.

Later we see David writing and making notes. We hear his voice telling us what he is writing. Iris looks at him and asks what he is thinking. He wonders what she is doing in this place by herself. She says she is supposed to have guests. He tells her they leave in a day or two. She says she felt safe when she first moved there, before the troubles began. At this point we see a phonograph record floating in the air, which is noticed by David. The record is removed from its sleeve and placed on a turntable and played. Fur Elise by Beethoven plays. Iris looks around and notices the clock says midnight. She tells him the sequence has begun. David activates the cameras to tape from a remote. They observe a book being lifted and carried over to David, who takes it. At this point heavy breathing is heard. David is seen choking, telling her a man is doing it. She rises to help him and a loud scream is heard. Davids throat is released and he says he thinks he is in the mans chair. The book falls to the floor. The house begins to shake and the needle skips on the record. Then the fire goes out and the lights also. Grabbing a flashlight, David hears heavy footsteps on the stairs. They go up and the footsteps stop. Next the flashlight goes dead. David looks into a room but sees nothing. He approaches her on the steps and stands against the wall. She asks what he is doing, and he suggests the spirit might be making contact. He calls to the man, who opens and closes a door and pushes between them, walking away. As David follows downstairs, he observes the front door open and close, as if the man has walked out.

David looks at the computer screen to play back what was captured. He shows Iris the figure of a headless man walking downstairs. He asks who it is, but she doesnt remember. She insists on going outside but he prevents her, telling her it is more important to allow him to hypnotize her so she can remember who it is.

He hypnotizes her with a swinging watch. When he asks her who the attacker is, she refuses to say, citing too much pain. He tells her to open her eyes and look at the pain. At this point she relives the rape and he is forced to bring her out of the trance.

Back at Homers place David asks for an envelope from the mail. He finds Homer going through the contents (deeds and ownership records). Homer finally hands him the envelope and tells him its a small community and they all like to know whats going on with everyone. He tells David the original owners of the house were two spinster sisters who died there. He blames Iris for the troubles that came a year after she moved in. He tells David the man found in the car which crashed into the tree (the same car Zack saw in Iriss driveway ten minutes earlier) could not be identified because the head was missing (which presumably fell into the river). Homer jokingly warns David he could be next. When David asks for a plumbers snake to fix the water pump, he gets no response from Homer. Turning to leave, David is struck in the face by the door, opened by Zack (who utters whoops ).

Back at the house Iris is dressing Davids wound in the bathroom when a prescription vial falls out of the medicine chest. He picks it up, noticing it is for Iris from a Dr. Kathleen Thorpe (Ruth Manning). He tells Iris he wants to bring in a trans-medium to contact the spirit. She says no, that she doesnt want anyone to know. Know what? he presses. At this point another high-pitched scream is heard and David goes to examine his equipment. He and Iris observe a glowing light coming from the attic.

In the attic, David watches as an antique baby buggy rolls around and a stuffed animal floats in the air. A womans nightgown is lifted and torn in half. David places his hand on the source of the light, which goes out.

He is seen going through documents from a box found in the attic. There is a record of a child on one of them. Iris faints and we see the bottle of pills in her hand, now empty.

Dr. Thorpe comes out of the examining room at the hospital where David is waiting and tells him they had to pump a dozen diazepam (Valium) from her stomach. Recognizing that she treated Iris before, he asks about the Valium prescribed. Dr. Thorpe says it was after the rape. David says he is from the adoption agency and wants to know the name of the father. She says she doesnt know and isnt surprised that Iris wont tell anyone. David gets on the phone to Darla, asking her to find the records on the child put up for adoption and all the details. Zack is seen coming in with flowers for Iris, but after overhearing the conversation on the pay phone, he disgustedly throws the flowers into the trash and leaves.

Zack is seen belly-aching to Homer about the guy moving in on his girl (Iris). Homer advises him to fix the water pump, saying it might give him an advantage with her. Taking the advice, he steps up over the bar and retrieves two six-packs of beer, saying he will head out to Iriss house.

Later that afternoon at the house, Iris is stoking wood into the fireplace and hears a car pull up. David is studying the imaging equipment on his computer of the headless man. She calls him and they go outside to see Dr. Carl Farnsworth arriving. David tells her that he was already on his way. He introduces himself to Iris. She tells him he came for nothing and that she is not going anywhere. David explains that Iris is staying at home. David hints that Carl needs to stay overnight since it is so late (winking at Carl, who follows his lead). Reluctantly Iris says he can stay for the night and David shows him to his room.

Telling Carl they should begin after Iris is asleep so as not to upset her, Carl asks how long he has been interested in her. Meanwhile a drunken Zack is seen working on an exposed pipe near the house and talking as if to Iris. He looks into the end of the pipe to see if he can find what is blocking it.

Carl sits down in an easy chair while David fixes drinks. Iris comes in with a tray of coffee, and seeing Carl sitting there, suggests he not sit there. Suddenly there is a knock on the door. David goes to answer it. It is Darla, who enters. She introduces herself to Iris, saying she is Davids personal assistant, the wild woman behind the man, so to speak. She introduces herself to Carl while Iris demands to know what is going on. Darla says a fourth person is needed for a sance. David tells Iris they were going to wait until after she was asleep. She sarcastically thanks him. Darla produces a large envelope of documents from the adoption agency, telling them she obtained it by pretending to be Iris. Visibly upset and citing confidentiality, Iris demands they all leave. Carl insists they dont need the papers, saying they will find out directly from the spirit.

As the sance begins, Carl tells them to not break the concentration no matter what happens. Iris is seen having drunk a glass of wine. Carl reveals a syringe of Thorazine, telling them to give it to him if the spirit wont let him go. He sips from a glass of water and begins the ceremony, calling to the spirit haunting Iris. After a moment unearthly sounds are heard. He asks David to continue. David repeats the call, after which the clock stops and more sounds are heard. From the fireplace the headless ghost appears and walks around the table, finally settling into Carl. Iris demands they stop. Carl, possessed by the spirit, begins writing on a sheet of paper. David tells Darla to read what it says by holding up a mirror. The backwards writing is then seen: Iris . Iris gasps as a voice calls her name. David asks what his name is and is told Kurt and then the last name Norwood . David asks if he is the husband of Iris and he laughs. Iris says no, hes not my husband. Hes nothing to me-disgusting. She addresses the spirit, demanding to know where it is. He replies that she knows because she killed it. David attempts to restrain Iris and the spirit (in Carls body) approaches and hurls David to the side. Darla is called upon to give Carl the shot. She tries but is tossed aside, the syringe falling to the floor. Meanwhile the spirit is choking Iris. David grabs the syringe and gives Carl the shot. He is thrown back again, but this causes the spirit to leave the body of Carl. It walks back into the fireplace and vanishes.

David is seen talking to Darla who is in the front seat of an ambulance, asking for extra credit. Paramedics bring out Carl on a stretcher and Iris apologizes to him. He says he never takes it personally. He cautions David to take Iris away but she says she cant leave and runs inside. David asks what to do if he cant get Iris to leave and is told the malevolent spirit will destroy everyone unless he can find the head before Kurt does.

Meanwhile Zack, having gotten his hands on the obstruction in the pipe, pulls it out, only to scream as it is revealed to be the missing head.

David comes in where Iris is sadly reading documents brought from the adoption agency. He reads from one which states that the child died. Iris says it was not a natural death but that she (stops talking). David replies that she couldnt have killed her own baby. She says that he couldnt know what people would do. Her father came in every night since her mother died and molested her and raped her. She shows him her scars from resisting her fathers advances. He continued to follow her after she left home, finding her more than once. He claimed to have changed and wanted them to be a family again, but there were too many bad memories.

Recalling the night the baby was born, Iris is seen in labor. Kurt is seen sitting in his favorite chair, reading his favorite book and listening to his favorite song until the child is born. He comes into the bedroom with the meat cleaver and hacks down by the child. She tells David that in the struggle she rolled over on the baby to protect it but blacked out. When she came to, the baby was gone. She struggled to go outside where her father came up with a shovel, saying he buried it. He told her she had smothered it to death so he didnt have to kill it. She struck him with the shovel and drove with him in the car, going to the sheriffs office. When he came to and began attacking her, she bailed out of the car just before it struck a tree.

Zack is seen at his truck but hears a noise and goes to investigate. Meanwhile David tells Iris that the spirit will re-enact the crime as he has every night at midnight. They wait outside the door until the spirit comes out carrying the crying baby. She calls out that the baby is still alive at that point. David shushes her. They follow him down close to Millers Bridge where he is seen burying the baby. She cries out that he buried it alive, but again she is restrained by David. Zack is seen carrying the head wrapped in a cloth.

Iris chases after her father and tries to tackle him, but is unable to touch the spirit. David digs at the spot where the child was buried. Meanwhile Zack sees the crashed car and looks inside, seeing no one. As he turns around, the headless spirit is seen. Shocked, Zack drops the head, which immediately begins to re-attach itself to the body. Now appearing as a ghoul, Kurt grabs the head of Zack and twists it off, laughing fiendishly.

After digging some more, David shows Iris the body of her son Brian (not shown). Suddenly Kurt appears and attacks David, throwing him aside. He tells Iris that he has come for Brian. She cries no, telling David that he wont stop until he has the remains of the child. Suddenly a light shines from the grave and David and Iris both call upon the innocent spirit of Brian Norwood. A struggle ensues between this light and Kurt, finally resulting in a total explosion of the ghouls body. Iris removes the remains from the grave and wraps them up. David tells her that they will bury him in consecrated ground.

Iris is seen laying flowers on the grave of Brian with David. They embrace.

That night they are seen in bed together. At midnight, Iris hears something. David tells her that everyone is at peace and that it is just the wind. They lie back to sleep. Iris awakes and takes out a flashlight, looking around. When she looks under the bed, Kurt is seen calling her name. She screams but wakes up from a dream. He reassures her it was just a bad dream. She insists they look under the bed. When they both look, they see nothing. He tells her it is over and they kiss. David looks over at the clock and sees the sequence beginning again at midnight.

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