INT. A STUFFY MANSION--A NIGHT ABOUT FORTY YEARS AGO The viewer floats through an overbearing mansion and up its sweeping staircase to where a stern man in conservative dress is pacing back and forth, smoking a cigarette in a cigarette holder. He is the FATHER. The throes-of-labor pants and moans of the MOTHER can be heard from down the hall. Now, eerie Gaas and Goos chill the air. The Father stops and gapes the cigarette holder out of his mouth to see a dazed NURSE shuffle out of the birth room and disappear down the hallway. A TRAUMATIZED DOCTOR next wanders out. The Father runs past him into the room. The viewer remains outside and hears the Father's subsequent screams. INT. MANSION LIVING ROOM--CHRISTMAS EVE PAST A bizarrely corrugated Cage sits amid the plush, period, and Christmased-up surroundings of the mansion. With their backs turned to the sickly squeals emerging from the Playpen from Hell, Father and Mother, holding martinis, look out a window of gentle snowfall, with bloodshot eyes. A 50's-type radio warbles "Santa Claus is coming to Town." A strange pair of eyes peer from the cage. Taking the point of view of the eyes from inside the playpen, one sees the mansion's Christmas tree from between the dark cage slats. GIDDY YULETIDE SINGERS "He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake..." The family cat skulks past the cage -- almost. Without warning, the cat is yanked -- so fast and powerfully it seems that it's been sucked -- through the bars, into the cage. A feline SCREAM, then sickening silence. With dead syncopation, Mother and Father finish off their martinis, and plop the empty glasses down.
EXT. A PARK--THAT NIGHT A HAPPY COUPLE in 50's dress, pushes a baby carriage through the park cooing toward their bundle of joy inside. Father and Mother straggle from the other direction, creaking forward an ominously closed-up, wickedly de- signed baby carriage that serves to muffle nasty whining and thumping noises. HAPPY COUPLE Merry Christmas! Father and Mother fake a smiling response that collapses as the happy couple passes. They then brake at a story- book bridge over a bubbling brook. With dark nonchalance, Father and Mother each grab an end of the carriage and heave it upward. EXT. THE CARRIAGE--NIGHT swirls in the air and splashes down into the small river. Right side up, the carriage gently rides the tranquil rapids out of the park area. It bobs through an open sewer tunnel pipe. INT. THE SEWER--NIGHT The carriage innocently slides through the murky waters of the awesomely cavernous and creepy sewer, softly surfing its sides. INT. A DARK LAIR--NIGHT The resilient carriage spews from a gaping pipe into a moat of water that surrounds a vast patch of snow and ice that is the centerpiece of a dark and mysterious lair. The carriage rides a gentle wave onto the sanctuary's arctic island, into a patch of light. From out of the darkness of the lair, FOUR STATUESQUE EMPEROR PENGUINS WITH DISTINGUISHED GRAY BELLIES regally approach the carriage and surround it with spooky authority. FROM OUT OF THE DARKNESS OF THE OPENING CREDITS WE