This past weekend I visited the Black Rock Desert, which right now is a lake. The area was beautiful, but I came across something that surprised me.
I had no idea that fairy shrimp were there, waiting as dormant cysts just under the surface of the playa, until flood water allowed them grow into the stuff of nightmares.
While this creature is only a few inches long, and likely harmless, it did inspire me.
I want to make one of the worst campy horror movies of all time.
I obviously have a lot of ideas, but only a few details (with more details worked out for the beginning of the movie).
The movie would start with a couple scientists at the current flooded playa poking at the mud and discussing the life cycle of fairy shrimp. Of course there would be some creepy shots of these creatures and the mud undulating with their movement.
The lake would dry up and Black Rock City built on top, with the masses arriving for burning man completely unaware of the existence of the fairy shrimp.
The next scene is a fancy bus taking a bunch of tech bros to their plug and play camp. They are all from the same starup, and the newest employee, Brett, has just joined the company and only decided to come to the playa two days earlier. He knows nothing about Burning Man and the other tech bros explain a little of it to him. Basically that discussion is just about how it’s a really great party. When one guy mentions that there is interesting art and some burners actually participate in making that art, he is shut down immediately.
As the bus pulls into Black Rock City, Brett thinks he sees someone he knows and shouts for the driver to stop. He gets off the bus and runs into the nearest camp.
The camp is that of a soap magnate, vary obviously modeled on David Bronner (current owner/CEO of Dr. Bronner’s, in this story the company is Dr. Bruno’s Existentialist Soap). He brings in a taker truck of water for camp. Brett overhears that the tanker is full of water, but misses the discussion that the water is laced with the newest designer drug.
When Brett catches up to the person he was running after, it turns out that he has the wrong guy. Brett gets lost on his way back to camp as no one has explained the city layout or his camp’s address. Eventually he finds someone who knows wheres where his camp is and is guided there.
He finds that all of his fellow bus riders, plus a second bus, are up in arms and yelling at a hired hand who is trying to explain that he doesn’t know what happened to the camp organizer who disappeared a few days earlier, apparently neglecting to share the details of the bank account that held all of the extremely high camp fees.
The camp has no food, no water, and the buses have already left. none of the tech bros know what to do, and the hired hand runs away as soon as the bros momentarily shift their attention from him to discussion of the situation.
Brett tells everyone not to worry, that he knows for a fact that there is plenty of water pretty close by, and likely some food as well.
He leads a small group back to Dr. Bruno’s, sure that they will be given some water. When the party arrives however, Dr. Bruno’s camp is empty. The tanker truck is there and Brett suggests collecting a little water immediately.
Somehow the group accidentally spills the entire tanker truck’s charge onto the playa.
This is enough water to wake up a significant number of fairy shrimp, but the new drug has the side effect of mutating them to creatures several feet long which are able to survive outside of water for hours at a time.
The huge crustaceans are hungry, and burners are easy meals.
The initial reactions from the crowd vary. Some people don’t believe that the creatures are real, instead believing them to be just a bad trip. Some of these try to overcome the dark turn in their trip by directly confronting the creatures. There are a significant number of people who try to figure out what sort of interactive art this is. The very first victims though are people with “free hugs” signs who don’t see why free hugs should not extend to giant arthropods.
A few other things that definitely need to happen: the creatures eat people who are tripping and start tripping themselves and doing acroyoga. Also some of the creatures will appear in some way to be very judgmental of some of the art. I don’t think I want to give them spoken language, so I’m not sure how to convey this.
This is about all I have so far. I would probably give it a happy ending. Not sure if a bunch of different types of burners come together to save the day or what. Maybe Voted Best Camp just gets them all drunk and dehydrated.