After removing a set of 35 mm film reels, Bernie found another pair without any labels. It was strange to find two films in the same case. He wondered if they belonged to Ignatius Specter. He decided to watch the unmarked film, hoisting the reels out of the sarcophagus.

Once in the projector room, Bernie realized Dracula 1931 was still playing. The rotating cylinders overheated, smoking dangerously. He flipped the switch, turning off the machine. He carefully changed the films, taking a deep breath, and turned on the projector. 

An anonymous movie rolled. Desert extended in every direction while a man in a white turban walked a few paces in front of the camera. He glanced at his map, checking the orientation of the sun, referring to a compass. The archeologist was tall, had fair skin, and wore a trimmed beard. Suddenly, he stopped. Ignatius signaled his staff for assistance. Two figures in black garb approached.

Bernie couldn’t figure-out what they were doing. They tied two ropes together, securing one end to an anchor.

Suddenly, the camera switched frames. It was difficult to see the walls at the bottom of the well. Torches burned behind the camera, flashing evil silhouettes on the interior. Ignatius lit his lantern, reading a chart. He pointed at the wall, demanding his men to dig. The clay was chipped away, revealing a hidden chamber. Something looked familiar. Bernie realized it was the Egyptian Sarcophagus in his own movie theater. It took three men to open the lid. No bones were found, only dust. 

Again, the film cut to a dark workshop where Ignatius was no longer dressed in desert clothes, but in a laboratory suit. Canvas bags rested on the table where he was working. Periodically, he reached into one of them for a handful of dust. As Ignatius sprinkled it into a film tray, green gas evaporated. Rather than holding his breath, the scientist inhaled the fumes. He hadn’t spoken to anyone in over three months. Absorbed in his work in the year 1899, Ignatius created an unusual film.

The production was in its final days of shooting. It was a silent film intended to quietly horrify audiences. The director wanted his spectators to be so afraid they wouldn’t be able to scream. The last day was tomorrow and Ignatius had a plan to live forever with a captured audience.

The documentary cut to an amusement park with a Ferris wheel, Carousel, circus, clown show, several curiosity tents, and a main attraction. Bernie couldn’t explain why he felt nervous. He loved films, but as he followed the camera past a peanut dispenser and juggling act, he felt uncomfortable.

A line began next to The Immortal Game, stretching around the tent to the opening. Each person had a silver ticket they had won. The rules were easy enough for a child to understand and several children stood in line. A familiar sarcophagus lay on a golden table. A regular wooden chair was set next to a velvet pad. Each person sat in the chair, placing their elbow on the emerald cushion. Their arm’s weight triggered a mechanism inside the coffin and a skeletal arm emerged. Each person had to wrestle the dead for eternal glory. The game was easy, fun, and created lots of laughs when the skeleton taunted its opponents with phrases like “My strength will never die” or “You fight like a girl” until it groaned “I quit.” The winner received a silver ticket when the skeletal hand touched the pillow. A card shot out of the coffin reading Eternal Strength to the Victorious in gold lettering.

Ignatius collected the silver tickets at the entrance to the pavilion. People continued to enter, but never came out. Bernie couldn’t understand where the film crew and extras had gone. Flashes of light illuminated the tent when Ignatius took their photographs. Bernie noticed an innocuous sign, written in fine print above the pavilion. It read The Black and White Horror Show. Suddenly, the film went blank.


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