Episode 8: Scream

Scream came out December 20, 1996. An amazing year. The film was Directed by Wes Craven and is currently the second highest grossing slasher film in the United States, surpassed only by the 2018 sequel to Halloween. The film was proceeded by Scream 2 in 1997, Scream 3 in 2000, and Scream 4 in 2011. The original film featured main characters Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette. The film follows Sidney Prescott, a teenager who comes under attack from a mysterious character dubbed Ghostface while dealing with the anniversary of her mother's murder. The movies were groundbreaking for breaking what I like to call the 3rd and a half wall. Not quite the fourth wall, as they never recognize that they themselves are in a horror movie. However, they do acknowledge the rules of horror movies and in the sequels, begin a series of movies based on the events of the movie called the Stab movies. The rules of horror movies are as follows and never forget 'em:

1. You will not survive if you have sex.

2. You will not survive if you drink or do drugs.

3. You will not survive if you say "I'll be right back".

4. Everyone is a suspect.

(Killer's rules)

5. You will not survive if you ask "Who's there?"

6. You will not survive if you go out to investigate a strange noise.

The movies were particularly freaky because of the menacing phone calls Ghostface would make with a voice changer to torment Sidney and his victims, very similar conceptually to When a Stranger Calls which we based Episode 4 on. The mvoie originally went under the title "Scary Movie" which is now a parody series of movies making fun of the horror genre. Scream, as a series has grossed over $604 million and the possibility of 1 or 2 more movies being made isn't out of the question.

Some fun facts about the movie:

Roger L. Jackson was cast as the voice of Ghostface and was kept separetly from cast members to maintain the mystery of Ghostface on and off the set. Whenever we see the character's talking on the phone, they are actually talking to Jackson, although never meeting him. Ghostface's costumes was originally to be white but production feared the killer would be compared to a member of the KKK.

The high school scenes were originally to be shot at Santa Rose High School in CA, but the school later on denied the request after reading the script and recognizing its violent nature. In the special thanks section of the credits, Wes Craven put, "NO THANKS WHATSOEVER TO THE SANTA ROSE CITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD."

They had reason though, it was a violent movie and reported used 50 gallons of fake blood.

The use of caller ID increased three-fold after the release of the movie.

Drew Barrymore was originally cast as Sidney Prescott, but she insisted she play Casey, the character in the opening scene who received the first phone call from Ghostface and was subsequently murdered. Sidney Prescott was then played by Neve Campbell; which I believe was a MUCH better choice.

Casey also mentions in the scene she believes all the sequels to Nightmare on Elm Street sucked. This was a dig by Craven who directed the original film but sold the rights to the sequels which he thought were awful.

At that same scene, when Casey's parents come home to find something is wrong, the father tells the mother to go to the McKenzie's to get help which is the same thing Laurie Strode tells Lindsey and Tommy to do in the original Halloween.

Also in this scene, production forgot to unplug the phone so real 911 operators received confused calls from Drew Barrymore screaming for her life.

Courteney Cox begged for the role of Gale Weathers because she wanted to play a "bitch" to counter her nice role on Friends. She had to pry because her kind nature is the exact reason casting did not want to hire her. Eventually she was picked for the role and was perfect for it. She later married her co-host and movie romance David Arquette although they have since been divorced.

In Scream, they are watching the original Halloween. In Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, they are watching Scream 2.

39 minutes into the movie, Linda Blair who plays Regan in the Exorcist, has a cameo in the movie as a news reporter.

In the scene were Rose McGowan dies in the pet door of the garage door, she kept falling out. She was actually too small to get fake stuck in the pet door so they had to literally nail her shirt to the inside of the door so she wouldn't fall out as the garage door rose.

Freddie Prinze Jr. originally auditioned for the role of Stu, who ended up being played by Prinze Jr.'s cohost of Scooby Doo, Matthew Lillard.

Inspiration for the movie was taken directly from a true crime story; however, many suggest Wes Craven got the idea from a 1991 horror comedy developed by Rolfe Kanefsky, a horror-movie fanatic from the suburbs of New York. Kanefsky directed the film when he was just 20 years old on a budget of $350,000. He raised the money by going door to door and having his parents put a mortgage on their house. I've never seen the movie titled There's Nothing Out There, but supposedly the plot follows a group of kids who become self-aware that they're in a horror film. It acted as a horror genre satire similarly to Scream which came out 5 years later. After the film's success at the Independent Film Project in 1990, Kanefsky began showing the movie to a handful of Hollywood producers in hopes for a release. One of those producers was Jonathan Craven, the son of Wes Craven. Jonathan Craven had promised to show the film to his father, but Kanefsky never heard back from the two. There's actually a documentary called Copycat by Charlie Lyne that details the making of the movies and the parallels between them. There's Nothing Out There is also free to watch on youtube if you want to see for yourself.

Scream was inspired by the Gainesville Ripper. The Gainesville Ripper was the nickname for Danny Rolling who was born on May 26, 1954 in Shreveport, Louisiana to James and Claudia Rolling. James was a police officer and Claudia married him at the age of 19 and found out she was pregnant 2 weeks later. This started the cycle of abuse. James never wanted children and he made that very clear to Claudia and then later made it clear to Danny by telling him he was unwanted from the minute he was born. When Danny was one year old, his dad beat him because he wasn’t crawling properly. He wasn’t allowed to celebrate birthdays or holidays and James refused to hug him because he thought it was "sissy". When Danny was older, his dad pinned him to the ground, handcuffed him and had the police take him away because he was embarrassed by his son. When Danny was 5, they got a dog and James beat him so often and aggressively that the dog ended up dying from the abuse in Danny’s arms. Danny ended up failing the third grade because he had too many absences and the school counselors described him as, "suffering from an inferiority complex, with aggressive tendencies and poor impulse control." Just a few years later, at the age of 11, Danny saw his mom lock herself in the bathroom and cut her wrists. Instead of helping, James screamed at her as she was lying there bleeding. She was committed to a hospital and Danny started doing drugs and drinking heavily and ended up developing an alcohol problem as well as sexually violent fantasies. At age 12 he ran away and was found masturbating in the woods to the fantasy of killing people and at age 14 he was caught spying on a woman getting dressed. As he got older, he continued to struggle more and more.

He couldn’t find or keep jobs and he was arrested for robbery. Since he couldn’t find a job and just continued to struggle, he decided to enlist and join the Air force. But his drug use had only worsened, and it was reported that he took acid more than 100 times. This eventually caused him to quit. In 1977, at age 19 he got married and just four years later he threatened to kill her. She separated from him and he responded by raping a woman who he though looked like her. Also, in 1977, he killed a woman in a car accident.

When he was 36 years old, in May 1990, he got into an argument with his family that quickly escalated, and he attempted to kill his father. His father by shooting him twice. His father survived but lost an eye and an ear. In June on 1990 he changed his identity to Michael Kennedy Jr and fled to Sarasota, Florida. That August, his violence escalated into serial killing. He was living in Gainesville, Florida at the time and began a robbery and burglary spree. On Friday August 24 he went to the University of Florida campus and broke into the apartment of 17-year-old Sonja Larson and Christina Powell. He first saw Christina because she was asleep on the couch downstairs. He stared at her for a little bit but then went upstairs where Sonja was sleeping. He taped her mouth shut then stabbed her to death. He went back downstairs to Christina and taped her mouth shut as well. He then bound her wrists behind her back and then cut her clothes off with a knife. He raped her then forced her onto the floor facing the ground and stabbed her five times in the back. He went back downstairs to rape Sonja again and cut off her nipples to keep as a trophy. He then posed both of their bodies in sexual positions, took a shower and finally left the apartment.

The next day, Rolling used a knife and a screwdriver to open a sliding glass door to 18-year-old Christa Hoyts apartment only to see that she was not home. He sat there waiting until she got home so he could attack her from behind and put her in a chokehold. He then taped her mouth shut, bound her wrists, brought her to the bedroom to cut her clothing off, rape her, cut her nipples off and then murder her by shoving her so she was lying face down and stabbing her in the back. He proceeded to decapitate her head, pose her body and then place her head on a bookshelf directly facing the corpse.

On Monday August 27, Rolling broke into the apartment of 23-year-old Tracy Paules and Manny Taboada. He found Manny asleep in his bed, so he killed him first. The noise woke Tracy up and she walked into Manny’s bedroom. Rolling taped her mouth and wrists, cut off her clothing, raped her, turned her over and stabbed her 3 times in the back. He only posed Tracy’s body and left Manny’s lying face down.

On September 7, 1990, Rolling was arrested for an unrelated burglary charge and ended up confessing to the five murders. The police searched his house and found recordings of country songs he wrote and audio diaries that alluded to the crimes. In November 1991 he was charged with several counts of murder. He said he murdered these victims because he wanted to be a 'superstar' like Ted Bundy. He pled guilty before trial even started and he was sentenced to death by lethal injection on April 20, 1994 and executed on October 25, 2006. His last meal was lobster tail with drawn butter, butterfly shrimp, a baked potato with sour cream and butter, strawberry cheesecake and sweet tea. He sang a gospel hymn and chose not to give an oral statement. Instead he left a written statement and confessed and apologized for murdering a family in his own hometown of Shreveport. The Grissom family consisted of 55-year-old William Grissom, 24 year old daughter Julie and his 8 year old grandson Sean. They were preparing dinner when they were attacked and Julies body was found mutilated, cleaned and posed. Police had noted the similarities between this triple homicide and the Gainesville murders, but it had remained unsolved up until this point.

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