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by Marc Hendriks

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Horror   User Review: ***
Stephen King’s original short story 1408 always struck me as a ‘hit and run’ kind of deal. I never thought it could be the basis of a feature length, big budget film with a lot of special effects. I have yet to see it and I hear it’s actually pretty good. Nevertheless, this is my take on King’s story, and focuses more on the quiet undoing of an unstable man.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author. The copyright of the original story obviously belongs to Stephen King.



Mike Enslin, a somewhat shabby looking guy in his late
forties, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and torn jeans, is
struggling to open a hotel room door.

We see him through a handheld camera; a point of view that
we learn belongs to hotel manager Olin.
                       OLIN (OS)
Mr. Olin.
And that is just about all the acknowledgement Mike is
planning to give Olin. He turns to the door again and
resumes fumbling with his set of keys.
A elderly, groomed man, wearing a crisp black suit.
Please. Step away from the door
for just a minute to hear me out.
Key doesn't seem to fit.
I deliberately handed the bellhop
the wrong set, hoping it would
provide me with an opportunity to
try and persuade you one last time
to just listen to me.
Now, Mike smiles broadly but insincere and turns around to
The manager's warning. Might
actually make for a great
introduction to the story
You know what? If giving you ten
minutes of my time will buy me
uninterrupted access to 1408,
fine, I'll humour you. Do know


                       MIKE (cont'd)
however that, no matter what
you'll tell me, I am going to
spend the night in there.
Follow me.
Mike follows Olin to the elevator.

Angle on the door of the room: 1408.
                                         CUT TO:
It's a fancy hotel. Not a Hilton or Marriott but still no
flop house either.

Mike follows Olin to his office.
                                         CUT TO:
Olin holds the door for Mike as he enters the office.
Please, sit down.
Mike sits down on the guest side of the desk and notices a
few copies of his books on it.
Olin sits down himself and glances at Mike, who smirks.
Flattery will get you nowhere, Mr.
You're not the only one who did
his homework, Mr. Enslin. All of
your...journalistic adventures
deal with ghostly apparitions yet
the sarcastic tone of your prose
suggests that on no visit to a
supposedly haunted house or castle
you encountered anything remotely
paranormal. Your books pay bills.
Nothing more.


Well, I can assure you that
insulting me won't get you
anywhere either there, Mr. Olin.
I am neither insulting nor
flattering you, Mr. Enslin. I am
warning you. What is inside 1408
is not a mere ghost. Ghosts were
humans once. What resides in that
room never was and never shall be.
A disbeliever like yourself makes
for the perfect prey.
Are we quite done here?
I bought ten minutes and will milk
every single one of them if you
don't mind.
Fine. Shoot.
When…if you go in there, you'll
find 1408 to be clean. The carpet
has been vacuumed and the sheets
are fresh. Even though no paying
customer has set foot through its
door since 1978, I don't like the
idea of dust piling up and the air
getting stuffy and old.
That's you being a manager.
Yes. We go in there once a month.
A chambermaid and I. I stay in the
doorway while she does a light
turn. Then we get the hell out of
there and a month later I go
through the unpleasant ritual


                       OLIN (cont'd)
again with another maid.
Another chambermaid? Let me guess,
the room eats them up.
Going inside that room is not a
fun chore for any staff member of
this hotel. So, they take turns in
accompanying me. During these
shorts visits there have been no
incidents worth speaking of. But,
to stay in line with your choice
of words, the room does nibble at
them. Some of the maids have
suddenly burst into tears. Others
have started to laugh. One of them
went blind in there.
I beg your pardon?
One of the maids temporarily lost
her eyesight while dusting the
television set. I dragged her out
of the room and halfway down the
corridor she regained her vision.
Yes, that does sound rather
disturbing. Yet you have been in
and out of that room more often
than anyone else and as far as I
can see you are doing just fine.
Even though you do come across as
a tired old horror film
cliché."This room is doomed!
Doomed I tells ya!"
I open the door once a month and
remain on the threshold for five
minutes at the most. In a way it's
like holding your breath while
briefly poking your head into a
room filled with gas. Had I been a
minister of Doom I would have
concluded my lecture on 1408 by
stating that the room is located
on what is in all actuality the


                       OLIN (cont'd)
13th floor and that its numbers
add up to 13. I am, first and
foremost, a businessman who
believes in the hotel management
credo of "if we have any empties,
we fill them". But my staff and I
know there is something terribly
wrong with room 1408 and have made
a silent agreement to never put
any guests in there. You, however,
specifically requested this
particular room which is, as
always, vacant. I have no idea who
gave you a nudge into our
direction, nor do I care for it. I
am not telling you all these
things to set the proper mood. I
won't even pretend to care much
for your wellbeing as the truth of
the matter is that I regard you as
something of a nuisance. A lousy
writer to boot, using an otherwise
fine hotel as the setting of yet
another dime store publication. I
simply am not in the mood for
having to call an ambulance on
your account. I am not in the mood
for the inconvenience it will
cause my guests, my staff and
myself if anything happens to
someone like you. I hate having to
add another death to the list
because it's bad publicity,
something I managed to avoid for
almost 30 years now.
Mike looks troubled now and Olin picks up on it.
What's the matter, Mr. Enslin? No
witty comeback? No sarcastic,
patronizing reply? Does the
levelheaded reasoning of my
objections unsettle you more than
a thousand spook stories ever
could? Judging by the look on your
face, you are starting to grow
aware of the fact that you're
about to get more than you
bargained for this time. There is
no shame in walking away from
this. Mr. Enslin. There really


                       OLIN (cont'd)
And on that note I would like to
end this spectacular conversation.
I have been very generous towards
you, Mr. Olin, as it has been
fifteen minutes since I first
tried to gain access to 1408 and I
would now like to get on with what
I came here for.
Very well. Then I'll escort you to
you the room.
Olin takes a set of keys from a drawer and he and Mike leave
the office.
                                         CUT TO:
Mike and Olin are on their way to the 13th floor.
Just out of curiosity, why didn't
you simply create a fictional
resident for 1408?
Well, as someone who didn't allow
himself to be convinced, you can
imagine how the board of directors
might have felt had I taken a
perfectly good room off the market
just because a number of people
committed suicide there.
The elevator comes to a stop and the door slide open.
This is you.
Mike steps out and turns around to Olin, who hands him the
set of keys.
You'll forgive me for leaving you
here. I don't go any closer than
this unless I absolutely have to.


                       OLIN (cont'd)
There is a telephone in the room.
If you are in trouble, you could
try and use it to contact the
front desk. I can't guarantee that
the phone will work, though.
Mr. Enslin....Mike, please don't
do this.
Mike is troubled by Olin's sudden change of tone, yet smirks
and reaches inside the elevator to press the button for the
I'll see you at breakfast, Mr.
Olin. In case the telephone indeed
doesn't work, I'll take my coffee
with two lumps of sugar.
The door slides shut
Mike walks over to room 1408. He looks around and realizes,
for the first time, that this small, narrow corridor
contains no windows. At this hour, the only light is
artificial and comes from the overheads and lamps on the
walls. The yellowish lighting is somewhat ugly and

Mike turns to the door again and is about to insert the key
into the lock when he stumbles and backs away from the door
with eyes blinking and an unsteady tread. He covers his
mouth with his hand, sweat pouring down his face.
What the hell...?
He starts to tremble involuntarily and closes his eyes,
putting his hand on his mouth again.
He slowly turns around to face the door.


It's crooked. Tilting slightly to the left.


Looking at the door, slightly tilting his head to look at
the crooked angle.



It's normal now.


He looks at the door, then turns his head to the wall on the
other side of the corridor. A small, closed circuit
surveillance camera is nailed to where the wall meets the


Mike is reflected in the lens.
Are you looking at me, Olin? Are
you looking at me and having a bit
of a laugh because I fell for the
show you put on for me? Or are you
watching me with genuine concern?
Quickly, before he actually might make a run for it, he
turns the key in the lock, opens the door and steps inside.
                                         CUT TO:
INT. 1408 - NIGHT
The room looks rather normal, though it is smallish, with
low ceilings and a narrow hallway.

Mike turns on the light and it has that same ugly yellow
quality of the lights in the corridor.

He wipes the beds of sweat off his face and takes a

Then, he takes a small Dictaphone from his pocket, presses
'record' and heads for the window.
I am now standing in the living
room of 1408, looking at a small
window from which, according to my
source, no less than 6 people
plunged to their deaths.


Mike turns to face the wall and sees three framed paintings
on the wall. One depicts a bowl of fruit. The same orange
color (reminiscent of the light in the corridor) has been
used to paint the apple, the orange and the banana. It's

On Mike as she stares at the painting.


Mike is still in frame, but he has moved slightly towards
the left and the expression on his face seems to suggest
that he has been aware of a sudden shift in time.


Mike is now sitting on a chair near the window. A faint
humming sound can be heard. Mike looks transfixed.

We see the painting on the walls hangs crooked now.

Mike grabs his dictaphone, presses 'record', and places the
apparatus into his breast pocket.
Okay, Olin threw out the bait and
even though I didn't take it, I
sure remember how attractive it
looked and well, he set me up
didn't he? Made me scared. That's
the power of suggestion for you, I
guess. Telling me creepy stories
and setting a mood so I can't help
but seeing certain things in the
light of what he told me. And I
don't mean that as a racist slur
Mike shakes his head at what he just said. It didn't make
much sense.
There are no ghosts here. There
are no strange sounds. Yet I feel
extremely uncomfy. Let me record
this now as a reminder to ask you
later, Mr. Olin. You coined the
phrase "poking your head into a
room filled with gas". Was that a
hint? Did you place carefully
concealed canisters of gas? Am I
tripping on some sort of legal or
perhaps even illegal substance
here? Did you do this to me? Are


                       MIKE (cont'd)
you having a laugh at my expense?
I can't see any camera's here but
they might be concealed as well.
If you by any means can hear me,
Mr. Olin, do know that I will come
back with authorities, with a
whole army of lawyers to turn this
room inside out. I will sue you,
Mr. Olin. I will. What I won't do,
however, is letting you win. I
will spend the night in here. And
now I will open a window for some
much needed fresh air.
Mike opens the window and takes a breath of fresh air.
Maybe you can hear it in the
background too. The traffic from
the street. Car horns being honked
and all. I can hear a sax from one
of the apartments in the building
across the street. It's racket but
comforting nonetheless.

Mike is sitting in the chair again. Looking transfixed. The
same angle. The window is closed, the curtains are shut, and
it is completely silent in the room.

Mike stands ups, and slowly heads towards the window, he
pulls aside one of the curtains and stares outside. In the
building across the street, he sees a MAN playing saxophone
in one of the apartments. No sound, though. The man is
standing with his back to Mike, who squints in order to get
a better view.

The man stops playing the saxophone and ever so slowly turns
his face to the window, facing Mike, staring directly at

Mike takes a step back, closes the curtains again and
nervously starts to scratch the side of his neck.


Mike's fingernails scratching his neck. It makes a
repulsing, wet sound and we see dead skin coming off.



Mike turns towards the window again and opens the curtain.
The saxophone player is still standing there, with his
instrument in his hand and staring at Mike.

Mike rolls his eyes and sighs in an annoyed, uncomfortable
way. Aggressively, he pulls the curtain shut again.


Mike is moving through the room, we hear his boots on the
floor as he approaches the bedroom.
My brother didn't die in the
trenches, he didn't storm the
beach of Normandy, he got devoured
by wolves at the New Jersey

Mike is now on his knees, crying loudly while banging at the


Mike is sitting on the floor of the hallway that leads to
the bedroom.

We hear the sounds of footsteps coming from the bedroom.

The sounds stop. Mike slowly gets up and start heading
towards the bedroom. We hear the same footsteps again but
they seem to come from Mike's boots,
                                         CUT TO:
Mike enters the bedroom and turns on the light. It's
smallish and the room looks seriously decayed. There are no
This is a coffin. A tomb.


Mike lies down on the bed and folds his hands over his

He starts humming "Ave Maria". He tries to chuckle, but it's
not funny.

He bolts upright and sighs. He closes his eyes and it looks
like he's in pain.

When he opens his eyes, he notices a painting on the wall
that wasn't there before. It's a portrait of a man in his
early forties. The man is wearing a black suit and looks

Mike walks over to the painting and stares at it.
You are kevin O'Malley. I did my
homework. I did my homework before
coming here. Olin told me a few
new things, yes, but he didn't
mention you. I do know you,
however. You are Kevin O'Malley,
aren't you? The first person to
occupy this room and the first
person to take his own life here.
They sure made a friendly,
respectful gesture by putting up
your picture. It's...some people
would call it..what's the
phrase...in poor taste? Not me,

From the painting's POV we look at Mike and see that the
very same portrait is hanging behind him above the bed.
                                         CUT TO:
Mike is sitting in the chair near the window again. The
window is open, the painting of fruit is replaced by
O'Malley's portrait and we hear distorted, falsetto sax
music coming through the window.
Mike is looking scared out of his mind and looks around him.


Maybe I oughta call the front
desk. Everything is fine, but I
could use a drink or a club
sandwich. I'll have a chat with
the bellboy, I'll tip him good,
I'll tell him to inform Olin that
everything's peachy keen and then
I'll carry on.
He smiles, stands up and picks up the receiver. He dials
zero and waits. We hear a connection is established.
However, no one answers.
Silence. We hear static noises through the receiver.
SIX! SIX! SIX! We got your
friends. NINE! NINE! NINE!
There is absolutely nothing human about the voice. It is not
male, it's not female. It's raspy, mocking.
Mike drops the receiver and covers his ears.
No! No! I did not hear that.
He wipes the beds of sweat from his face and heads towards
the door.
Mike wraps his hand around the doorknob, but the door won't
O, come on. This is not funny.
He tries to sound like someone who is the butt of an unfunny
joke, but the panic in his voice is clear and present. He
bangs on the door.
Let me out of here! Can anyone
hear me out there? Open this door!
Mike turns around and stumbles towards the telephone.



His arm looks like he is holding it under water. Everything
is wavy.
      (coming from every
SIX! SIX! SIX! We killed all your
Mike goes down. He is on all fours now, crying loudly.

The loud HUMMING sound has started again.

Mike crawls towards the wall and pulls him self upright,
leaning against the wall.

He looks at the hallway that leads to the bedroom. Even
though he had turned on the lights, it's completely dark
now. Then, a bright ugly yellow light, pretty much like the
light from the lamps in the hallways and the color used on
the painted fruit, illuminates the entire room and the
humming sound grows louder and louder.

Mike vomits all over himself, sobbing uncontrollably.
I am so sorry! Please forgive me!
I was wrong!
      (weak voice)
Please, please let me out. Please
let me go.
He finds himself standing in front of the door again,
pulling at the knob, once again to no avail.

He looks around and sees that nothing is remotely normal
anymore in the room. The walls are crooked, the ugly light
grows brighter and brighter and the humming noise has become
so loud that Mike has to let go of the doorknob to cover
both ears.
He takes his lighter out of his pocket, ignites it and holds
it against his shirt which catches fire.
Demonic laughter can be heard. Mike looks absentmindedly as
the fire eats away at his shirt and the skin of his chest.
                                         CUT TO:


A hotel guest, MR. JOHNSON, arriving on the floor, sees Mike
lying in the doorway. His upper body is on fire.
                       MR. JOHNSON
What the hell...
He rushes over and kneels down besides Mike, hitting his
torso with his hand to extinguish the flames.
He pulls him out of the room and starts rolling him over the
He looks up, through the opened door into 1408 and see the
bright light. He becomes transfixed and stands up. Every so
slowly he moves towards the entrance. Then another guest
opens the door of his room and pokes his head outside.
                       GUEST # 2
What's the hell is going on out
Johnson snaps out of his hypnotic state and looks at the
second guest. At the same time, the door of 1408 slams shut
by itself.
                       MR. JOHNSON
Call the front desk and tell them
to get an ambulance, this guy is
badly injured!
                                         CUT TO:
Some guests in their pajamas stand around, looking as two
AMBULANCE STAFF MEMBERS carry Mike, who's on a stretcher,
out the door. Olin stands with an AMBULANCE CARE ASSISTANT,
and Mr. Johnson.
Is he going to live?
                       AMBULANCE CARE ASSISTANT
Yeah, he'll be okay, but if it
wasn't for Mr. Johnson here, he'd
be the phantom of the opera right
now. We'll be sure to keep you
posted, Mr. Olin. You have a good
day now, okay?


Yeah, same to you.
      (to Mr. Johnson)
Mr. Johnson, may I ask what you
encountered up there?
                       MR. JOHNSON
I already explained this to the
police officers and the
paramedics. He was just lying
there, half in and half out of his
room. His upper body was on fire.
I just put out the flames and--
--Yes, yes and we are most
definitely grateful for your quick
thinking there, Mr. Johnson. But
did you see anything usual in his
                       MR. JOHNSON
O, I didn't go into his room, I
just pulled Mr. Enslin out so I
could roll him over the carpet and
extinguish the flames, you see?
Yes, but you said he was lying
half in and half out of the room.
Did you peek inside? Did you see
anything there?
                       MR. JOHNSON
Hey, look man, I can't remember
whether I looked in there or not.
I was too busy trying to limit
that guy's injuries. What are you
getting at here? He already said
he did this to himself, didn't he?
Olin sighs.
Okay, fine. Thank you for your
time, Mr. Johnson.
                       MR. JOHNSON
Mr. Olin, he is the guy who writes
those creepy books, isn't he?
About haunted places and stuff?


I wouldn't know.
                       MR. JOHNSON
Was he here on personal businesses
--He was one of our many paying
customers, Mr. Johnson, just like
yourself. We don't interrogate our
guests before handing them their
                       MR. JOHNSON
Be that as it may, Mr. Olin. You
just might wanna put a padlock on
that door and throw away the damn
Olin considers Johnson for a moment, then walks over to his
office. Along the way, a BELLHOP approaches him.
Guests are starting to ask
Yes, I know.
What should I tell them?
Nothing. Well, tell them that he
suffered minor injuries and that
he will be back on his feet in no
time. But don't give them his
Should I offer them coffee or
No, urge them to get back to their
rooms. Last thing we need is
having them sit around like a
goddamn sewing circle and coming
up with all kinds of theories the
newspapers can have a field day


Olin enters his office.
                                         CUT TO
Olin closes the door. He sits down behind his desk and
produces Mike's Dictaphone from his pocket. The edges are
slightly melted.

Olin rewinds the tape and presses 'play'. We hear Mike's
                       MIKE (OS)
I am now standing in the living
room of 1408 and looking at a
small window--
Olin hits the fast forward button, then 'play'.

There's complete silence on the tape. He fast forwards
again, hits play. Nothing still. We hear static to indicate
that it was recording, but there are no sounds. Olin fast
forwards again, hits play. Now we hear loud saxophone music.
It doesn't sound like it's coming for afar, but like someone
is playing the instrument in the middle of the room.
What is this?
He fast forwards again, hits play.
He drops the Dictaphone, looking startled. Then he regains
his posture and fast forwards the tape.
Now, we hear moaning on the tape. A loud, pained moaning,
growing louder and nearer with every passing second. It's
not a human moan.
My God, Enslin, what the hell went
on in there?


Fast forward. Play.

We hear Mike laughing on the tape. Uncontrollable giggling.

Fast forward. Play.
                       MIKE (OS)
My brother didn't storm the
Fast forward. Play.
Olin's eyes widen. The demonic voice has said his name.
That's enough for him. With trembling hands, he takes the
tape from the Dictaphone and breaks it in half. He wraps the
pieces into a tissue and throws it in the dustbin.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Mike is standing onthe beach behind his Florida house. He
looks at the sea and the sunset.
Mike looks about ten years older. His boyish good looks have
been replaced by wrinkles, strings of white are visible
through his otherwise black hair.and the scars from many
skin transplantations can be seen around the collar of his
Mike looks sort of numb, but a hint of fear appears on his
face as the color of the sun and the sky reminds him of the
ugly light in 1408.
                                         CUT TO:
EXT. ROOM 1408 - DAY
We are in front of room 1408. We see the door, the number
tag and the ugly light.
Off screen, we hear three loud GUNSHOTS.
Utter and complete silence now as closing credits scroll
over the shot of the door.

Slowly, as closing credits continue to scroll we--


                                         DISSOLVE TO/INTERCUT
--A shot of a wooden floor, Ever so slowly, we zoom out to
finally reveal Mike lying face down in a pool of blood. A
shotgun in his hands. Slowly, we dissolve back to the shot
of the door to 1408. Closing credits are over now, but we
remain with the shot for almost a full minute before we
slowly fade to black.


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From Nick Hanks Date 6/6/2016 **
Have you ever heard of on-the-nose dialogue? It's when dialogue is used by the writer to explain things in the story. Dialogue=people talking, description=what's happening. Also when using subheadings do more research on what the industry wants, subheadings like "Dissolve" and "Pan on" have fallen out of favor over the last 20 er so years. You will not get any recognition or points for writing your script your way using your words and direction, there is no tolerance for individuality and originality in this industry discipline, they want things their way, period. Two stars for a good effort. Keep improving.

From Michael David Morash Date 4/17/2008 ***1/2
This is really good. I am a big King fan, and this adaptation sets the mood and flows effortlessly through the story. Nice job focusing on the issues of the character and not making it all about the room. Bravo.

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