I love old sci-fi movies from the 50's. The germ of the idea of HELL TOUPEE came from two Universal movies: It Came From Outer Space and Tarantula. In both were a scene where two desert rats were either possessed or eaten by the monster. HELL TOUPEE was originally a short story I wrote in the early 70's. In it, a couple of prospectors in the desert one night are bemoaning that their mine isn't producing any gold. Just then a meteor hits the ground just over the hill. The prospectors decide to try to take photos of the meteor before news crews get there and sell the photos to the news. They drive their jeep over the hill. One prospector walks to the crater to get a closer look. Smoke envelopes him and he can't see. He falls in the crater and lands on a ledge, knocking him out. He is awakened to find a snakelike tendril of hair looking him in the eye. It strikes like a cobra. Back at the jeep, the other prospector sees his friend emerge from the smoke. His friend was bald. Now he has a full head of hair. When he asks his friend about it, his friend shoots him dead. In the next scene, the possessed friend bursts into a barbershop screaming "I need a haircut! It's a matter of life and death!" When the barber tells him to wait, he shoots everybody in the barbershop and runs out. In the alley a spooky voice tells the possessed prospector, "Don't try that again. You will do as we say. We will one by one take over people until we take over the world." With that, the hair color changes and adds a beard. The prospector walks out of the alley past the sheriff who is investigating the shooting. That was the end of the story.
I expanded on this short story and changed the setting so it was on an island much like Catalina. I wrote it as a script that was pitched to the Sci-Fi Channel when I had an agent. She almost had it sold, but the head of the TV movie department quit to start a production company for children's films. This was not a story for kids. In the original script, the barber was a female senior citizen. My agent thought I should make the protagonists younger because the sci-fi audience was younger. After the Sci-fi Channel deal fell through, my agent suggested I turn it into a graphic novel. (She left the business to get married and raise a family).
I decided I didn't want the toupees to come from space. Space aliens were a 50's idea that came from the Cold War fear of Communism. In our present day, I think the biggest villains are huge mega-corporations. So I made the main villain a Donald Trump-like figure. The killer toupees (the original title was ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOUPEES) were scary, but the real evil came from corporate greed, just like JAWS was scary, but the Mayor was scarier for trying to cover it up.
I was told by my agent that you must grab people in the first ten pages of the script. The final script started with Sterling Silver coming to the island to ask the City Council for permission to build a research laboratory and factory on the island. But it took too many pages to get to the first shock, the Mildred Potter skin tightening scene. So I decided to back it up and start it when Sterling Silver kills Spike Thorne, prior to the meeting. But his murder still wasn't a big enough grabber to keep an audience turning pages. The story really didn't get going until Act Two.
I happened to be watching a TV series THE HUMAN TARGET. They always started the show with an edge-of-your-seat cliffhanger and then a title would pop up reading "36 hours ago" and jump back to see how we arrived at this moment. I thought that was a good solution. So I switched Act One and Act Two. What used to be the beginning of the story became a flashback. Now the story began with the scene of the mysterious man bursting into the barbershop and screaming "I need a haircut! It's a matter of life and death!" He shoots the customer in the chair and the barber zaps him with a taser (which foreshadows a couple scenes later in the story).
So now the story hit the ground running. The audience knew WHAT was happening. They would stick around to find out WHY. That was revealed in the middle of the story and Act Three is about how they will kill the monsters.
I still had one more problem with my story. The toupees were too easily killed. She hacked them with straight razors and electric razors, burned them, froze them and shattered them with a fire extinguisher. The toupees were real wimps. Suddenly it occurred to me to have them regenerate and multiply anytime they were killed, so they exponentially became a bigger threat. Then she found there was only ONE way to kill them and it wouldn't be easy. In order to keep an audience caring about characters, the stakes must be raised.
So that is the evolution of HELL TOUPEE. You can buy it in paperback or for Kindle at Amazon, or you can buy autographed copies at The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. If you want it as an e-book and don't have a Kindle, you can send me $3.00 through PayPal and I will send you back a PDF file via wetransfer.com.