The contract between Hollywood screenwriters and movie studios is running out, and the Screenwriters Guild of America is threatening to go on strike if there is no progress by Oct. 31. Studio executives are rushing to get movies completed before any walkout. The last time the writers went on strike was 1988, when a 22-week walkout brought work on movie sets to a halt and cost the industry $500 million.

This is truly a scary time for movie fans, said Devin Faraci in the blog “Terror has taken up residence in the hearts of people as they wonder whether Transformers 2 could possibly be made pre-strike.” Now today’s young people understand “what it was like for us in school when we had to do our nuclear attack drills.”

There’s reason to be afraid, said Dave McNary in Hollywood studio executives appear worried that the strike will really happen. They’re getting tough—“putting the hiring squeeze on scribes,” and “at least one studio has been telling writers that it’s no longer under a legal obligation” to pay for any script polishing jobs that “fall within the period in which a strike could take place.”

The screenwriters are circling the wagons, too, said Peter Sanders in The Wall Street Journal Online. Two WGA members/screenwriters—Craig Mazin, who co-wrote Scary Movie 3 and Ted Eliot, who co-wrote Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End—started the blog as a hub “for writers to publicly hash out what to do next.” Traffic on the site “has risen in concert with the rising temperature of the rhetoric between the two sides,” and the blog has been getting “between 20,000 and 25,000 unique visitors a month.”