During all of last year, as I worked I also wrote, and I completed another feature screenplay. My third, and one that I am extremely proud of.
I call it Black Hole Mojo.
The story follows sheriff’s deputy, Cathleen “Catfish” Collins as she investigates a brutal murder initiated by a witchdoctor going by the alias, Dr. Piranha. Catfish descends on a dark path into the murky swamps of Pickenhole County, South Carolina and gradually falls victim to the African black magic known as “root”.
The idea of a mystery/crime story set in the south always appealed to me and after researching black magic and witchcraft I found my setting for the story to be in South Carolina, along the coastal islands where hex or “root” magic is still very prominent. Most of my research came from the writings of an ex-sheriff and retired witchdoctor, J.E. McTeer. His nonfiction books, High Sheriff of the Low Country and Fifty Years as a Low Country Witchdoctor, gave me insight into the life of a lawman in the swampy coastal lands that border the Atlantic Ocean and the superstitious people that inhabit the land.
Inspiration for this story also came from the music by Alice in Chains. The thick, heavy sound of guitars and drums that can cut through wood and knock down walls fit perfectly for the back-country, blue-collar inhabitants of Pickenhole County (a fictional area). And the songwriting by Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell, about drug addiction and intense internal pain, helped me sink into the mind of a person that is suffering and buried deep inside an inescapable hole.
I know what your thinking, my story sounds similar to True Detective, an HBO miniseries that stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as detectives in Louisiana. Of course, anything set in Louisiana will incorporate voodoo, satanism, and black magic as a strong element in it’s story, but I honestly plead ignorance and innocence to anything that sounds similar. As I wrote my screenplay, True Detective did not yet exist and when I heard of the concept my only thought was, “Damn, someone’s beat me to it!”.
As brilliant as True Detective might be, I feel that my story sheds a different perspective on witchcraft in the south. Black Hole Mojo incorporates hex magic, a kind of subtle black magic that takes place “behind the scenes” and in a subterranean world outside of the norm. Catfish follows a downward spiral towards insanity and her journey is a terrifying one, similar to the characters in True Detective (from what I’ve heard), yet her story is wholly original and unique.