The original screenplay for Scream was inspired by a true-life crime that happened in Gainesville, Florida. This is the chilling story that created a slasher franchise that ended up grossing more than $740 million in worldwide box-office receipts.
***WARNING: Content of a disturbing nature ahead***
Kevin Williamson wrote the screenplay of Scream, originally entitled Scary Movie, and based the plot loosely on the 1990 case of the Gainesville Ripper.
Williamson was watching a news story about the crime and, as you do when you watch scary TV late at night, became aware of how easily someone could walk into his house and spook him. That led Williamson to start writing the story behind the movie.
Read on to discover the true-crime story that led to the Scream movie franchise.
Chilling horror story that inspired Scream
Danny Rolling was the serial killer in the true-crime case that inspired Williamson to write the Scream screenplay.
Rolling was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1954. He had a troubled childhood and grew up watching his mother suffer abuse at the hands of his police officer father. In 1990, he tried to kill his father but only succeeded in injuring him.
Three months later, in August 1990, Rolling headed to Gainesville, Florida. In the course of four days he murdered five University of Florida students.
His ritual saw him break into their apartments and stab them while they slept. He raped three of his victims before killing them and decapitating one. Rolling also stabbed a male roommate of one of the girls who was woken by the attack.
Rolling’s arrest and death
Rolling wasn’t arrested until almost a month later, ABC News reports, when he was charged with a burglary near Ocala – his DNA evidence matched the murder scenes.
Rolling pled guilty to his crimes in 1994 and claimed he was inspired by the serial killers such as Ted Bundy. He was suspected of killing three others in Shreveport in November 1989 due to the modus operandi.
Rolling confessed to the Gainesville murders but not the Shreveport ones. However, before his death Rolling handed a note to a pastor admitting to killing 55-year-old William Grissom, 24-year-old Julie Grissom and eight-year-old Sean Grissom in Shreveport.
On November 15th 1991, Rolling was charged with five counts of first-degree murder in connection to the students’ deaths and faced the death penalty. The serial killer was executed by lethal injection in the Florida State Prison on October 25th 2006.
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