EXT. VIETNAM - DUSK
A swarm of helicopters swoops out of a yellow sky and
deposits an army of men over a Vietnamese hillside.
The SOLDIERS scramble over the terraced rice paddies for the
protection of the jungle. Falling into coulmns, like strands
of soldier ants, seventy-five men, at combat readiness,
assemble on the edge of a sweltering wilderness.
It is dusk. The mood is lazy, soporific. Members of one
platoon huddle close to the ground smoking a joint.
(to JACOB, a soldier
squatting several yards
Hey, Professor, how many times can
you shit in an hour?
Don't bug 'im.
Where are those gooks already?
Some offensive. I don't even think
they're out there.
Jesus, this grass is something else.
JACOB SINGER returns to the group, pulling up his pants.
Why even bother to pull 'em up?
You jackin' off out there again, huh
Hey, get off his back.
It's called philosophizing, right
JACOB gives them the finger.
Up yours, you adolescent scum.
Mount your bayonets.
Gimme that joint!
Hey, something's wrong.
What is it?
It's nerves. Take another toke.
GEORGE reaches out, extending a joint. Suddenly he gasps and
falls to the ground, his body convulsing uncontrollably. The
others stand back, startled. JACOB grabs him and shoves a
rifle barrel between his chattering teeth.
What's going on?
Before anyone can answer JERRY grabs his head, screaming. He
turns frantically in all directions.
Help me! Help me!
What the hell ... ?
In seconds JERRY is spinning wildly out of control, his head
shaking into a terrific blur. He crashes into FRANK with the
force of a truck. FRANK slams into the ground as all the air
rushes from his lungs. He begins gasping and
hyperventilating. His eyes grow wide and frenzied as he
gulps for air. Fear and confusion sweep across his face. The
MEN watch, horrified, as FRANK's terror escalates beyond
reason into all-out panic.
Suddenly FRANK begins howling. He lunges for his bayonet
and, without warning, attacks the MEN around him.
PAUL spins out of the way as FRANK's bayonet impales the
ground. JACOB jumps on top of FRANK and wrestles him into
the tall grass. PAUL rushes to his assistance.
JACOB stares at FRANK's face as FRANK struggles beneath him.
It is the face of a madman.
Good God! What's happening?
The sudden chaos is intensified by the sound of fighting
erupting behind them. Guns crackle and bursts of light
penetrate the darkening sky.
Behind you! Look out! This is it!
The MEN spin around. PAUL panics and jumps to his feet,
leaving JACOB alone with FRANK. FRANK's eyes burn with
demonic force as he gathers his strength.
Don't leave me.
Dark figures, silhouetted by the setting sun, are storming
at them. SOLDIERS squint to see. It is a horrifying vision.
Gunfire explodes on all sides. Suddenly PAUL flips out. He
begins screaming uncontrollably, ripping at his clothes and
skin. FRANK is struggling like four men and JACOB is
weakening in his effort to restrain him. Bayonets glimmer in
the exchange of fire. Bodies fall. More bodies keep coming.
The first wave is upon them.
ROD shoots into the air. Shadowy forms hurl forward
screaming like banshees. ROD, squinting, jabs with his
bayonet, piercing the belly of his attacker. Agonizing cries
accompany his fall. ROD yanks the bayonet out and stabs