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By Greg Derochie

GENRE: Sci-fi, Drama

A young couple must escape from an elegant hotel where time stands still and a mysterious Host controls their destiny.


The Masquerade is a science fiction thriller about a charming playboy who must escape from an elegant hotel where time stands still and a mysterious Host controls his destiny. It’s a “puzzle” film about a man trapped in a mind-forged prison seeking freedom and identity, in the tradition of movies like Dark City, Shutter Island, and The Matrix. (102 pages)

Our hero is a dashing man in a tuxedo, Mister Fox, immersed in the pleasures of a grand hotel masquerade party, until a mysterious ally, Mister Sparrow, forces him to confront troubling questions about his reality. How did he get here, and when? Why can’t he remember his real name? What is so special about that woman he just danced with, Miss Doe? Why does he feel such a strong connection to her? Sparrow confirms what Fox has begun to suspect—that everyone in this hotel is trapped in a repeating time loop. Their memories wiped clean after every sleep. Everyone that is, except Sparrow and the mysterious Host—a cloaked figure more elusive than the great and powerful Oz.

Driven to know more, Fox discovers a hidden “backstage” world that exists behind the hotel walls. A maze of industrial catwalks, stairways, and steam vents. Sparrow shares his theories about the true nature of the hotel. Are they part of a cruel isolation experiment? Are they captives of extraterrestrials? Are they on a spacecraft? Fox thinks Sparrow’s escape from the sleep cycles has driven him mad, but he still fights at his side when the Host’s henchmen attack. Fox is captured and Sparrow falls into the deadly energy inferno that surrounds the backstage area.

The Host allows Fox to rejoin the party, if he will surrender to the memory wipe. But Fox knows too much now. He retreats to Sparrow’s backstage hideout where further taunting by the Host leads him to despair. In a moment of weakness, Fox leaps into the energy inferno. He falls endlessly, awaiting the blackness and the end of his life.

But it’s not the end. He learns that the hotel is a carefully controlled prison of the mind—a way of keeping his brain from decaying over a long cryogenic sleep. But the big questions remain. Who is he? Unable to face it alone, Fox finds the cryo-pod that holds Miss Doe, and together they confront the Host computer, who’s mission to protect them while they slept has been corrupted. He’s been killing his “guests” while experimenting with ways of transferring his mind into a human body. In a final showdown, Fox takes a calculated risk and offers himself for the mind transfer. With Doe’s help, the gamble is successful and the Host is destroyed.

Locked doors are opened and the truth is revealed. They have been underground all this time, waiting for a long-forgotten environmental disaster to pass. The earth is healed, and Fox and Doe will be the first humans to set foot upon its surface once more. Some mysteries remain, as Fox still can’t remember his name, or his past life, but in the way that really matters, he knows who he is, and what he must do.


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