The Grisly True Story Behind Scream: How the Gainesville Ripper Haunted a Whole College Town – E! Online


Horror movies, terrifying as some might be, are usually escapist fare, reassuringly not real. Far-fetched even. But some real-life crimes are as nasty as anything the most imaginative storyteller could dream up.

In Kevin Williamson‘s case, it was one of those especially haunting cases that planted the seed that became his script for Scream, the hit 1996 teen slasher flick that liberally sprinkled the old horror tropes with comedy and meta commentary on the genre itself. The Wes Craven-directed blockbuster starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette spawned a now six-film franchise, with Scream VI opening in theaters March 10.

“I have a really good scene with Ghostface and it was amazing,” Cox, taking another turn as Gale Weathers, told Variety about being left in the dark (in a good way) for the latest installment. “I’ve obviously been stabbed many times and all that, but this time, to work with Ghostface and not know who’s under the mask, it was a really fun. Usually by the time I’m getting stabbed, I know who it is.”

And what’s scarier than gruesome, psychotic movie behavior that’s rooted in reality? Though the characters and setting for the “Woodsboro Murders” were all his own, Williamson’s creativity is said to have been piqued by a 1994 episode of ABC News’ Turning Point about the serial killer dubbed the Gainesville Ripper.

That may feel like ancient history now, the original Scream itself 25 years old. But when the show aired, Danny Rolling had just been sentenced to death for his grisly murder spree.


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