Slaughter-House (The Story of Katherine Knight).

SLAUGHTER-HOUSE

(The Story of Katherine Knight)

By

Tara Rymer

Based on a book by

John Marlowe

FIRST DRAFT

APRIL 2011

© TARA RYMER, MAY 2011

tarabombara82@gmail.com

1. INT:  KATHERINE’S HOUSE                    DUSK DAY 1

KATHERINE, NATASHA, MELISSA, GRANDCHILD.

Initial CLOSE-UP of KATHERINE’s face, camera pans out to reveal wider shot of Katherine as she sits with her GRANDCHILD on her lap. She softly and sweetly sings lullabies as her two elder daughters MELISSA and NATASHA sit on the floor watching on. A home cam-recorder sits on a tripod in the centre of the room, focused on Katherine.

KATHERINE: (V/O)

I love all my children and I hope to see them again.

FADE OUT

2. EXT:  KATHERINE’S HOUSE                         NIGHT

KATHERINE exits house with GRANDCHILD, MELISSA and NATASHA. All are dressed up and in high spirits.

GRANDCHILD:

Nanna, how come we all dressed up?

KATHERINE:

Because were going out to dinner Love. That’s what you do when you go out to dinner; you get dressed up.

MELISSA:

I still don’t know why were even goin’ out to dinner for anyway.

KATHERINE:

I want it to be special.

NATASHA:

You want what to be special?

KATHERINE:

(Silence) C’mon, get in the car you lot, let’s GO!

Melissa, Natasha and Grandchild pile into their car while Katherine takes her own car. We join Katherine in her car and watch as she puts on her seatbelt and turns the radio on. The song Working Class Man is on; Katherine turns it up so loud the speakers crackle and she sings along loudly and happily as she follows her daughter’s into town.

3. INT: LOCAL CHINESE RESTAURANT         NIGHT

We join KATHERINE, MELISSA, NATASHA and GRANDCHILD at the end of their meal. Katherine is in an unusually happy mood, and although Natasha and Melissa are pleased by the positive change, they also share glances indicating confusion and slight concern at their mother’s sudden show of love and affection.

4. EXT: CHINESE RESTERAUNT SHOPFRONT     NIGHT

MELISSA, NATASHA and GRANDCHILD exit restaurant as KATHERINE pays for meal. As Melissa assists Grandchild into car Natasha and Katherine linger behind.

NATASHA:

Thanks for dinner Mum. What are you doin’ now? Did you wanna come up home?

KATHERINE:

              Nah, Love. I’m off to see Pricey.

NATASHA: (Laughs)

I hope you’re not going to kill Pricey and yourself.

KATHERINE:

Why would you say that?

NATASHA: (Nervously)

I dunno. Just the way you and Pricey have been fighting lately. Plus you’re in a good mood for once. It was just a joke; anyway, I’ll see you tomorr-a. Night Mum!

Natasha climbs into her sister’s car and gives a wave as they all drive off, leaving Katherine drive her car the short distance to her lover’s house.

5. INT: PRICEY’S HOUSE             NIGHT

KATHERINE, PRICEY

KATHERINE and PRICEY are in bed together. Pricey is in a deep sleep, content after his night of love-making with Katherine. Katherine is wearing a lacy black negligee and sits next to Pricey, watching him sleep. Katherine leans over and reaches under the bed, when she sits back up we can see a large, gleaming knife in her hand. We see Katherine raise her hand high and then bring it down suddenly; plunging the blade deep into Pricey’s chest. Pricey’s eyes fling open and he gasps in shock and pain. Pricey jumps from the bed clutching his chest, and runs to the front door. His bloody, outreached hand reaches for the front door; and flings it open exposing the well-lit street and potential safety. However we see the much larger Katherine approach from behind and stab Pricey again in the back. Pricey falls to the ground; face down; blood pooling around him. Katherine takes no more chances and slams the front door shut; straddles Price and continues to stab him repeatedly. Finally, Katherine stops, stands and wipes her sweaty brow.

6. A SERIES OF SHOTS (C/U)

  • An apron being drawn around Katherine’s waist and being tied with her bloody hands into a perfect bow-tie.
  • Katherine’s hand turning on a radio. Patsy Cline’s Walking after Midnight softly plays in the background.
  • Knife being sharpened on a stone sharpening block.
  • A large, rusty butcher’s hook being placed over the top of a clean white architrave.
  • A blood-stained knife slicing easily through a large green courgette upon a wooden chopping board.
  • A large kitchen-blade swings once and cuts straight through a large piece of pumpkin with a loud ‘whack’ as it hits the wooden chopping board underneath.
  • An ATM card sliding through ATM machine; machine spits out large sum of notes.
  • Katherine’s bloody left hand raises the lid off a large pot full of simmering water.
  • Two name cards are placed on a table set with candles and correctly-set dinnerware and cutlery.
  • Apron being untied with Katherine’s bloody hands and folded neatly and placed on the kitchen sink.

7. INT: BODWITCH AND PARTNERS/PRICEY’S WORK  DAY   DAY 2

RECEPTIONIST/MR GRASBY

A pretty, young RECEPTIONIST can be seen chattering away on the phone. Pricey’s employer MR GRASBY enters and addresses the receptionist.

MR. GRASBY

Good Morning Allanah.

Any messages yet this morning?

RECEPTIONIST

Yes, two from Mr Grendle. But I haven’t heard from John.

MR. GRASBY

John who?

RECEPTIONIST

John Price Sir, he’s not in yet.

MR GRASBY

Hmm…that’s not like him. Have you tried calling him?

RECEPTIONIST

Yes, three times, and each time his phone just rang out.

MR GRASBY

I’ll take care of it Allanah, Thank you.

Mr Grasby enters his office and picks up the phone. Faintly from a distance we hear him ask the operator for ‘police’.

8. INT: TENERFIELD POLICE STATION           DAY

POLICE OFFICER #1 sits at the front desk of a small country police station. A few other POLICE OFFICER’s mill around drinking coffee/working on computers/filing etc. Despite the quiet atmosphere of the station; various telephone’s around the office area ring almost constantly.

POLICE OFFICER #1

Tenterfield Police Station; how may I help?

 What time was your employee due for work? And how long has he been missing? …Uh huh. Okay. Do you have a residential address Mr Grasby?…I’ll send two officers over to check on  Mr Price – yes Sir, of course, your number? Thank you Mr Grasby. Goodbye.

Police Officer #1 makes a few notes and enters info onto computer. He picks up the phone, dials, and a second or so later POLICE OFFICER #2; seen sitting some distance behind Police Officer #1; answers his phone.

OFFICER #2

No worries mate. Yep, we’ll head over and check it out.

Officer #2’s partner, OFFICER #3 approaches, coffee in hand.

OFFICER #3

What’s up?

OFFICER #2

We gotta go check out a residence. Owner didn’t turn up for work. The boss seems to think something might “have happened” (makes quotation mark gesture as he says this)

OFFICER #3

(sighs and takes a sip of coffee)

Geez, a man can’t even chuck a sickie these days without the boss callin’ us! Poor fellah…

Officer #2 chuckles and the two collect their belongings and head out to the car.

9. EXT: TENTERFIELD/TRAVEL SCENE TO PRICEY’S HOUSE.  DAY 2

POLICE OFFICER #2, POLICE OFFICER #3

Show’s Tenterfield main street, idyllic country-side scenes. (30 seconds max)

  1.  EXT:  PRICEY’S HOUSE             DAY

POLICE OFFICER #2, POLICE OFFICER #3

OFFICER #2 and #3 pull up in Pricey’s driveway. One car is parked in the driveway while another (Katherine’s) is parked along the kerb in front of Pricey’s residence. The officer’s approach the front door in a casual manner; expecting Pricey to be home. Both approach the front door, Officer #2 knocks, while Officer #3 looks down and notices a pool of semi-dried blood coming from under Pricey’s front door.

OFFICER #3

Harper-look.

OFFICER #2

Cover me.

Officer #3 stands to the side of the front door; he unbuckles his holster and places his right hand on his gun. Officer #2 knocks loudly and firmly on the door.

OFFICER #2

Mr Price? Are you home? It’s the Police. (Knocks again)

Mr Price?

Officer #2 looks to #3; Officer #3 shrugs then nods towards the door. Officer #2 takes a step back before sending a powerful side-kick into the front door, causing it to fly open violently; and reveal Pricey’s skinned, be-headed body lying on the living room floor.

OFFICER #2

Fuck!

Officer #3 steps into the doorway so he too can see his partner’s discovery.

OFFICER #3

Holy Sh… (trails off)

Officer #3 takes a few steps back and takes a few deep breaths to calm himself. Officer #2, appearing much more in control than his partner; draws his weapon and places one foot in the doorway.

OFFICER #2

You call it in. I’m goin in. For christ’s sake, don’t fuckin’ touch anything.

OFFICER #3

C’mon, whaddya think I am? An idiot?

Officer #3 remains on veranda briefly; we see him speak into his radio and faintly hear him call in a “code 102”. Officer #3 then enters the house, looking down careful not to disturb any evidence. Suddenly Officer #3 slams into Officer #2’s back; not realising his partner had stopped dead in horror.

OFFICER #3

Fuck! Whaddya doin’Harper?

Officer #3 then notices what his partner is looking at- Pricey’s skin hanging from the butcher’s hook.

OFFICER #3

Oh my God…what…what is that? That’s not? Is it?

Officer #2 is silent, although most obviously disturbed by the grisly scene before him. All of a sudden, the stench of Pricey’s cooked flesh fills his nose and his brain finally registers what happened to John Price. As if in a trance Officer #2 walks into the kitchen and directly to the stove top. Here, he hesitates for a second and looks back at his Officer #3.

OFFICER #2

(Looks back to pot and mutters)

I don’t want to do this.

Officer 2 lifts the lid off the pot and peers inside. Camera follows Officer #2’s POV and reveals Pricey’s boiled head inside the pot; however only for a split second, for Officer #2 recoils almost instantly at the sight.

OFFICER #3

What was it? What’s in there?

(walks into kitchen, joins partner’s side and attempts to look into pot)

OFFICER #2

Don’t. You don’t want to see

Officer #3 ignores his partner and looks into the pot.

Officer #3 cries out in shock; leans over and vomits onto the kitchen floor.

OFFICER #2

Shit Gray!

OFFICER #3

Sorry…

OFFICER #3

(sighs sympathetically)

You okay?

OFFICER #2

(Laughs)

No…

Who does this Harper?

At this point the two Officers hear a faint moan from the bedroom. Both automatically recover from their states of shock and are at the bedroom door within seconds.

Officer #3 grabs the bedroom handle and flings the door open while Officer #2 enters the room with his gun drawn and ready.

OFFICER #2

Police!

KATHERINE lies on the bed, no longer in her negligee but slacks and a jumper; and is surrounded by various pill bottles. She is quite clearly incapacitated and as such Officer #2 drops his aim.

OFFICER #2

I think we just found the answer to your question Gray.

11. (EXT): PRICEY’S HOUSE                   DAY

FORENSIC’S, POLICE OFFICER’S, POLICE OFFICERS #2 & #3, AMBULANCE OFFICER #1 & #2, KATHERINE.

Police tape sections off Pricey’s front yard as well as Katherine’s car parked at the kerb. FORENSIC TEAM members are collecting evidence from Katherine’s car; and numerous other FORENSIC TEAM MEMBERS and POLICE OFFICERS can be seen working on the crime scene. An ambulance is parked in the driveway and we see an unconscious KATHERINE exit the house on her stretcher and being loaded into the back of the ambulance. AMBULANCE OFFICER #1 joins Katherine in the back while AMBULANCE OFFICER #2 slams both the ambulance doors.

C/U Ambulance doors. (text appears overtop)

Katherine Knight was treated in hospital and recovered from her attempted overdose.

In 2001 Katherine Knight pleaded guilty to the murder of John Price.

She became the first woman in Australia to receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

It remains unknown to this day, whether Katherine ate the flesh of her lover…

F/O

END CREDITS

Treatment for Slaughterhouse

On 29th of February 2000; Katherine Knight records a family video of herself portraying the perfect grandmother singing to her Grandchild. She then takes her daughters and grandchild to a special dinner at a local Chinese restaurant before meeting her partner John Price. On this occasion Katherine dons a sexy black negligee and makes love to her boyfriend of 6 years before stabbing him repeatedly; and then beheading, skinning and cooking pieces of her lover’s corpse. Ever the gracious host; Katherine then prepares a meal from John’s buttocks; boils his head in a stockpot and sets the table ready for John’s children.

The next day, when his diligent employee does not show for work, John’s boss knows something is wrong and calls the local police. Police search John’s home to find the grisly remains of his body. Katherine is found overdosed on a combination of prescription pills and is taken to hospital where she is treated and recovers. Katherine is subsequently sentenced for her crime and is Australia’s first female to receive a life sentence without possibility of parole.

Critique for ‘Slaughterhouse’

Slaughterhouse is intended to be high in its visual impact and is targeted as a documentary depicting the murder of John Price and moreover the particular acts of Katherine Knight.

The opening scenes of Slaughterhouse show Katherine as a happy and positive mother and grandmother. However as we lead into scenes 3 and 4 we begin to realise that Katherine’s current mood is not a norm. The bright, happy atmosphere of the restaurant is also a vast contrast to the violent scenes that are to come.

The inclusion of the conversation between Natasha and Katherine where Natasha states “I hope your not going to kill Pricey and yourself” is an actual remark made by Natasha; and is also included due to it’s suggestion that is was not beyond consideration (based on her past violence) that Katherine was/is capable of such an act.

The series of close-up short shots are intended to be high in gore and maximum visual impact; the accompaniment of the song Walking after Midnight aims to add an eerie and surreal sense to the scene. The inclusion of the ATM card being swiped/ATM dispensing money is an important shot; as it was this act which helped determine that Katherine was in sane mind when she killed her lover (and subsequently stole his money).

The discovery of John’s body by police is intended to be equally dramatic as the short shots in scene 6. The moment when POLICE OFFICER #2 (Constable Harper) peers inside the pot and we see from his POV Pricey’s boiled head for a split second is the film’s visual climax – at no other point do we see John’s boiled head. It is crucial to portray in this scene (I feel) the other sensory experiences of the POLICE OFFICERS; other than visual; such as the smell of cooked flesh.

While Slaughterhouse is only scripted for short film; Katherine’s troubled childhood and other past acts of violence could easily warrant a full-length film. Slaughterhouse aims to portray the heinous acts of a violent and dangerous woman; as well as highlight the incidence of violence inflicted by women against men.

Bibliography

Marlowe, J. (2011), ‘Katherine Knight: The woman who worked in a slaughterhouse’, in: Evil Wives. Arcturus Publishing Limited, London. Pg. 106-107.

Marshall, A. (2006), Extreme domestic violence: Woman has sex, then stabs, skins and beheads husband and cooks his body parts, accessed via the internet: http://www.australian-news.com.au/female_killers/Katherine_Knight.htm

www.policecodes.com.au