An intro to the story (Act I)

ARKANUM tells the tale of Sarah, an undergraduate student who lives in her own world made of daydreams, struggling to escape from the daily “demons” and fears of her unsecure life.

All she cares about is a beloved diary: it’s a collection of the macabre, inexplicable phenomena, and, most of all, the weird drawings inspired by her nightmares.

Mois the Clown, bushy black hair, vicious eyes, and big sharp teeth, is her latest creation. The first time she dreamed of him, his grotesque silhouette in gaudy clothes was standing in the long, narrow corridor of her building basement. As she approached closer and closer, his grim face lineaments became clearer. He greeted her with his bony hand in a velvety white glove, then he whispered something … Kill them! That’s all he said.
When she woke up he was gone. Still, she could remember his face so well. She kept drawing for hours until she gifted him life in one of her diary worn-out pages.

Her classmates treat her like a freak and she silently hates them. If only she could devour their souls she would do it right away. She can’t get rid of that daily dose of frustration, but she can bear it because she is a timid freak on the outside, but inside she is tough and hard to scratch. After all, she has already killed them thousands of times with her fervid imagination, picturing atrocious deaths for each one of them.

The university library is the only place where she feels relieved, although she doesn’t like the librarian working there. She loathes the way he obsessively looks at her whenever she walks in; she can feel his eyes all around her. That’s the reason why she sneaks in after closing time, through the little ladder in the backside of the building. She quickly climbs it and jumps into the library through a window never cared of being fixed.

Dead silence.

She makes her way to the reading room where she picks the usual table aside from the others, the one with a bunch of books piled on it that nobody ever bothered to put them back. She leans on the table, hiding behind those piles, finally alone. Surrounded by all that knowledge she feels warmer, definitely better, safer. If only she could be a part of it, just a page, a sentence or even a single word in one of those books, anything that would let her disappear from earth’s face for a long while.

Through a split between the piles she stares at the old, always locked mahogany door on the opposite side of the room. She has been staring at it since the very first day she stepped in the library, wondering what kind of secrets it may hide behind.

Sarah winces when the door suddenly unlocks. The door slowly opens under the pressure of a man’s back: the librarian. He drags out the body of a girl to the reading room’s door, opens it and disappears in the dark.
Sarah focuses on the mahogany door left ajar. Her curiosity to know has been killing her for months and now the chance was there right in front of her. As she approaches it cautiously, a ticking from behind the door becomes more and more intense. Hand on the knob, she pushes the door open.

It’s a windowless room, almost empty. An imposing old desk stands in the middle of the room. Behind the desk, on the wall, three aligned worn-out posters show weird symbols and icons that she is not able to recognize.
Sarah gets closer to the desk. A metronome is ticking from its top right corner. She walks around the desk, respectfully caresses its edges. Her hand stops on a drawer, it’s half open. She pulls the drawer open, takes out a leather book.
On the book cover the metallic, rusty skull of a goat is depicted with a grim scream. The bright red eyes in the skull are catchy, like small precious gems. She touches the long teeth of the goat but they are too sharp causing Sarah’s finger to bleed. She sucks the blood out of it.

Sarah opens the book to reveal the mark of a bloody hand over the drawing of an eye sitting in the palm. It’s mystic and beautiful. She matches her hand against the bloody mark, her own blood sticking on the paper.
Sarah closes her eyes. The ticking of the metronome slows down, it echoes in her mind hammering the brain. She feels dizzy.

In the distance, steps are approaching.

She closes the drawer, rushes away with the book in her bag. Accidentally she hits the metronome. It falls flat on the floor stopping the ticking. She puts the metronome back on the desk and hastily leaves the room, hiding between the shelves of the reading room.

The librarian stops in front of the door. He looks around, stares at the desk where usually Sarah sits.

Sarah holds her breath. Did he notice her presence?

Finally he gets back into the room, slamming the door. He sits in front of the desk, contemplates the metronome: it’s ticking again. With a finger touches the shape of the metronome, then the desk until it reaches the handle of the drawer.

The drawer opens: the leather book with the goat skull is inside.

The librarian smiles sweetly…


Writer, director and producer of “arkanum”

I was born in Italy in the summer of 1979 and I have been working in Shanghai since 2006. I have been in love with horror movies from my childhood until now, to the point that nowadays I’m a kind of walking horror movies database (some of my always favorite movies: the first EVIL DEAD, THE SHINING, THE CHANGELING, VIDEODROME, IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS).

The first time I had the chance to read a play was during the literature course of my 4th year in high school. Specifically, it was a stage play titled “Dial M for Murder” by Frederick Knott which was also adapted for the radio. Only by reading the dialogue in the play I found quite amazing how it started to take visualization inside my mind and it caught my interest into this writing format. Later on, this “love at first sight” for playwriting turned into screenwriting and I began to appreciate it as a self-learner for years.

ARKANUM (a variation of the Latin word “Arcanum” which means “the secret”) is my first work which I hope could help me to make true my filmmaking dreams.


as “SARAH”

I'm a typical Chinese girl of the generation called post-90s. This generation is always thought to be crazy creative and fond of freedom and at the same time have difficulty to be understood from others. Just like the heroine in this movie. She is not understood by people around her so that she is trapped in a world created by her imagination. When I heard of the script from Stefano I found there was something in common between me and Sarah (the girl in the movie).

I was interested in acting and have also directed and produced some short commercials during my university time. To act in a real movie has been one of my dreams from my childhood. As one of the post-90s I would like to try anything exciting and adventurous. When I was a child, I loved to go adventures in some abandoned places in my hometown with my friends. I love horror movies and believe that the real horror is not the ghost in the real world but the demon from one person's inner heart.



I became interested in movies, especially horror movies, when I was around 9 years old. About 5 years later I wrote a script, invited my brothers, some of my cousins and neighbors, and for the first time we shot a scene for an amateur movie. The name of the movie was “Jack’s revenge”, inspired by Jack the Ripper in a series of mysterious murders. It was the early 90’s and at that time I was using my father’s video camera. We had only shot 2 scenes when the camera broke. They were extremely expensive at that time and I didn’t have enough money to buy another one. Therefore the movie was never finished. However, during 15 years, I carried that childhood dream of making a mysterious thriller, and in 2009 I could finally complete that mission when I produced “The Curse of the Underground Dragon”.

In the 80’s, my father produced an episode of a soap opera. He was the director and cameraman, and my brothers, my cousins and I were the actors. Later I found out that my great-grandfather also had the same hobby. In the beginning of the 20th century he had started shooting shorts and even created a movie night event by bringing a black and white TV to a park in a small countryside town in Brazil. The family and neighbors were the audience.


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