Jon Etter

Writer, Teacher, Resident of the October Country

Of all the sketches I wrote for Alamo Basement, this was hands down the biggest hit of them all. I got more compliments for this than probably all my other sketches combined, and it became a staple of performances for a while. Why exactly I’m not completely sure, but if I had to guess, I’d say that it struck a nostalgic chord with the twenty- and thirty-somethings that made up our core audience back then. People always have a deep love for the media staples they grew up with, and if you watched horror movies back in the 1980s, the killers in the skit (with the exception of Norman Bates) were your killers. Plus, as always, a big part of it has to do with the amazing performances by the actors in the cast. Especially worthy of note was Michael Q. Hanlon’s performance as Jason. When you get to his dialogue at the end of the scene, remember that the first time this was performed, he had 12 hours to memorize that dialogue in addition to the dialogue for all the other skits he was in. Yet he didn’t make a single complaint (which would have been fully justified). I believe his only response to seeing his end speech was to exhale heavily and mutter, “Oh, boy…”

This was, I believe, my first 24-Hour sketch. It was a Halloween performance, which did color the draw pool quite a bit. This one is also the only skit that I exercised the futz rule on. While my setting “a support group” was gold, my character draw was terrible: “the guys who stole the painting The Scream,” which had just happened and was big news. Having no idea how to use those characters, I went with movie killers instead and relegated the art criminals to a throw-away line.

As far as the selection of killers went, I gave it a lot of thought. I knew that I wanted either Jason Voorhees or Michael Meyer, but I could only use one because they’re essentially the same character. I went with Jason because the hockey mask is more iconic (and easier to scrounge up) and his backstory is more compelling. On the other end, Freddy Krueger and Chucky are both talkative, wisecracking killers, so pairing them up seemed like a good source of tension. Besides, each one’s schtick is distinct enough that it wasn’t the Jason/Michael problem. Norman Bates rounded things out because he’s the first of the slashers, plus his tendency to become “Mother” when stressed out seemed like a good source of comedy, plus his uptight nature seemed like a good foil for the flamboyant evil and excessive vulgarity typical of Freddy and Chucky.

Additional Note #1: You’ll notice that the prop list calls for a costume for the person playing Chucky. Instead, the actress playing him brought in a doll and just held it in the folding chair and delivered his lines crouched down behind, which worked way better.

Additional Note #2: During one of our Halloween performances, Darryl, one of our two tallest members, played Frankenstein’s monster in this skit, another skit, and Frankenberry in my “Cereal Killers” skit. Before that performance, he showed us with pride how each monster performance was slightly different. And they were subtly but noticeably different if you paid attention. I was both amused and impressed by his dedication to his craft.

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW SUPPORT GROUP

CAST

Dr. Fitzsimmons–psychologist/touchy-feely group leader

Freddie Krueger

Chucky

Jason Voorhees

Norman Bates/”Mother”

Frankenstein’s Monster

Props Needed: Red haired wig and overalls (Chucky); Hockey mask and machete/big knife (Jason); Fedora, striped sweater, knife-glove (Freddie); woman’s wig (preferably grey) and dress (Norman); Frankenstein mask (the monster)

Scene: Room at a community center with half-circle of chairs.

(Enter Dr. Fitzsimmons, followed by Freddie, Chucky, Jason (holding a machete), and Norman)

DR. FITZSIMMONS: All right, gentlemen. Come on in. Sorry you had to wait–this door should have been opened for us.

FREDDIE: I’ll gut that janitor and wear his face for a Halloween mask!

CHUCKY: No, he’s mine! I’ll…

FREDDIE: You’ll do what, runt? Punch him in the kneecap? Bite his ankle?

DR. F: Gentlemen! Enough of that. You’ll do nothing of the sort. It’s that sort of behavior that landed each of you in group therapy to begin with. Now let’s all have a seat and get started.

(Freddie and Chuckie glare at each other and all take a seat.)

NORMAN: Thanks, Dr. Fitzsimmons. Mother really wouldn’t want me exposed to any hostility like that. She raised me to be as harmless as a fly.

FREDDIE: (to Norman) Momma’s boy.

NORMAN: (Smiles) That’s very nice of you to say.

DR. F: Okay, let’s get started. Now we all know why we’re here…

CHUCKY: Yeah, we’re monsters!

FREDDIE: Damn straight!

NORMAN: Dr. Fitzsimmons, he just swore! Mother doesn’t like me to hear swears.

DR. F:  Charles, Frederick, we’ve talked about these labels that foster unhealthy self-images. You’re not monsters. Monsters are people like those guys who stole the Scream painting or the Republican National Committee. You are victims of childhood abuse who have made poor choices. So let’s begin like we always do by saying who we are and why we’re here. Frederick, you start.

FREDDIE: (stands) My name is Freddie Krueger, and I’m in anger management because I kill teenagers in their dreams.

ALL: Hi, Freddie. (Freddie sits)

CHUCKY: (stands) My name is Chuckie, and I’m in anger management because I’ve slaughtered several families.

ALL: Hi, Chucky.

JASON: (stands and says nothing)

ALL: (after a few moments of awkward silence) Hi, Jason.

NORMAN: (stands) My name is Norman Bates, and I’m here because my mother did some very bad things and this will help me better understand what she did.

ALL: Hi, Norman.

DR. F: Now, Norman, you know that you did all of those bad things.

NORMAN: No, it was definitely mother.

DR. F: Norman, you must take ownership of your actions or you’ll never get better.

NORMAN: But, I…

DR. F: Norman!

NORMAN: (looks nervous, confused for a second) May I go to the bathroom? I’ll be right back. (Dashes out of room.)

FREDDIE: That pansy makes me want to puke!

CHUCKY: Good thing you’re a janitor–you can clean that right up. Got any of that orange sawdust on you, Delmer.

FREDDIE: No, so it looks like I’ll just have to gut you to get some, Howdy-Doody.

CHUCKY: Oh, you want a piece of me? Why don’t you just…

DR. F: That’s enough! None of this is helping. Now if you’ll both just…

(Norman reenters wearing a wig and dress)

NORMAN: (in woman’s voice) I’m sorry, everyone, but my little Normie is feeling a bit urpy, so I’ll be sitting in for him.

DR. F: Norman, you know that’s really you and that this is just a defense mechanism you use when you feel threatened.

NORMAN: No, it isn’t.

DR. F: Yes, it is.

NORMAN: No, it isn’t.

CHUCKY: Hey, freakjob, which bathroom did you use? The little boy’s room or the little girl’s room?

FREDDIE: “Little boy’s room”? What are you–five? Oh, that’s right, you are!

DR. F: Okay, all of this is counterproductive, so it stops right now. Let’s start talking about where all of our pent-up hostility began. Jason, why don’t you start.

(Jason sits, unmoving and silent.)

DR. F: Well, maybe we’ll come back to Jason. How about we go to…(Frankenstein’s Monster enters)

FRANKENSTEIN: Friends?

DR. F: Yes, come in, come in! Everyone, it looks like we have a new group member. Why don’t you tell us who you are and why you’re here?

FRANKENSTEIN: No have name. Frankenstein make me from dead things. Way he touched make me feel yucky…

DR. F: Oh, I’m sorry–you want Adult Survivors of Mad Science. That’s down the hall on the left.

FRANKENSTEIN: Sorry. Thank you. (Leaves)

DR. F: Okay, where were we? How about you, Charles? Why don’t you tell us why you did all the bad things that you did?

CHUCKY: Because I wanted to. I’m freakin’ evil! Baddest of the bad!

FREDDIE: Please! A killer Teddy Ruxpin? You ain’t fit to hold evil’s jockstrap.

DR. F: Frederick, stop. Personal attacks will not help Charles make any breakthroughs here. Now, Charles, we both know that these things start somewhere. What was it? Were you cruelly thrown out by your owner once he got too big for dolls?

NORMAN: My little Normie had a doll once, but I burned it because all a boy should really need is his mother.

DR. F: Norman, please wait your turn–this is Charles’ time. (Turns back to Chucky) Were you replaced with some new, fancy spaceman figure? Or maybe…

CHUCKY: I’m not really a freakin’ doll! I was a mass murderer who cheated death by putting his body in this Chucky doll…

FREDDIE: Good call, Raggedy Andy! The only serial killer safe for ages 5 and up!

CHUCKY: Oh, yeah, you’re one to talk. “Look at me! I scare kids to death with my uber-acne and spooky, spooky nursery rhyme! One, two, Lame-o’s coming for you!”

FREDDIE: Isn’t it past your bedtime? Shouldn’t you be stuffed in a toybox somewhere?

CHUCKY: Don’t you have some teenage boy’s dream to lurk in? All I gotta say is, I hope that sweater’s got stain-guard, pervo.

DR. F: Enough! I have had enough of these juvenile one-liners and horrendous personal attacks! None of this helps foster an environment that will allow you to develop the positive self-esteem needed to help you end the shame spirals you’ve been trapped in for most of your lives.

NORMAN: I agree. My boy will not get the help he needs in this zoo.

DR. F: Oh, would you just stop it, Norman! We all saw your mother’s body in the basement. We know it’s you, so just drop the act!

NORMAN: Well! I will not be talked to this way by some painted jezebell who just wants to cause impure thoughts in my little Normie! (Storms out.)

CHUCKY: Hey, if Mommy’s lil’ nutjob gets to leave, so do I!

FREDDIE: Buzz Lightyear’s got a point. Plus there’s a “went to school naked” dream going on now that I do NOT want to miss. (Freddie and Chuckie exit.)

DR. F: (Follows them to door) Wait! Give it a little more time! If you just stick around for the trust-building exercises I have planned…(Looks crestfallen, turns, sees Jason still sitting there, walks over and plops in seat next to him. Sighs.) Why am I doing this, Jason? I’m not helping anyone. This group is useless… And why am I asking questions to a mute who couldn’t answer me even if he wanted to.

JASON: (clears throat and then begins speaking in a very clear, refined voice) Actually, you’re wrong on all counts. I’m not, actually a mute and I think you’re severely undervaluing the work that you’ve done here.

DR. F:   You can talk! Why haven’t you said anything until now.

JASON: Well, I tend to lack confidence because of the negative self-image resulting from my deformed visage and cognitive disabilities and the resultant taunting from my peers. Plus, the group dynamic has been a bit skewed by the very forceful presences of Frederick and Charles. Subsequently, I’ve been forced to occupy the role of “the quiet one” as a counterbalance to them.

DR. F: Frankly, I’m astounded! And you say that the therapy has helped?

JASON: Oh, most assuredly. I had always assumed that my murderous rage came from the taunting and my death due to negligent teen lifeguards, but my time in the group, especially working with Norman and his issues, has helped me realize that I’ve really been rebelling against the domineering presence of my mother who forced me into situations that I was neither cognitively nor socially advanced enough to handle just so that she could feel needed. Even my penchant for slaying nubile young women in flagrante delicto, as it were, is a misguided attempt to deal with an unresolved Oedipal complex. I really can’t thank you enough for this great gift of self-knowledge. (Embraces DR. F)

DR. F: Oh, Jason, this is wonderful! I know the road to recovery is a long one, but I truly believe that together…(Jason starts stabbing her in the back. She slumps in his embrace.) Why…?

JASON: I guess I still have some unresolved issues to work through. (Dr. F dies and falls to the ground.) Hmm. Guess it’s back to Crystal Lake for me. I wonder what kind of counselling services they have there. (Exits)

 

Thus ends the great Alamo Basement cavalcade of sketches. Thanks for reading! And, as always, all scripts are copyright, trademark, patent, and razorwire, attack dog, armed guard, and alligator-filled moat protected by yours truly, so please no publishing or performing of this skit without asking first. I’ll probably be cool with it.

 

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