The horrific real life incident that inspired screaming

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Kevin Williamson didn’t just pick Ghostface and the brilliant meta-commentary on the horror genre out of nowhere. He found inspiration both from a horrific real-life crime and from something fairly mundane.

It is pretty well known at this point that “Scream” was inspired by Daniel Rolling, aka Gainesville Ripper, who murdered five students in Florida in four days in the 1990s (via the Miami Herald). The connection between the tragic murders in real life and the way Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) lead their own bloody rampage through Woodsboro in “Scream” is easy to see. The moment when Williamson was inspired to write “Scream” by the Gainesville Ripper, however, has another level that makes the genesis all the more interesting.

Williamson told CNN in a 1998 interview (via Ghastly Grin) that he saw a Barbara Walters special one night about the Gainesville murders and “got so scared.” When the special cut went to a commercial, Williamson followed up and found that a window in his living room – in the house he’d only lived in for two days – was open. It was apparently clear to the writer that anyone could climb through the window and attack him if they wanted – which is a terrifying thought in itself, but which also sparked the idea for the film’s script.

So, yeah: The Gainesville Ripper inspired “Scream,” but this core idea of ​​someone sneaking through an open window – like Stu in the movie – is a generally scary idea. Hopefully the story for “Scream 5” had an equally fascinating conception.

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