10 Fascinating Real-Life Facts About Scream
Its ability to shock may have faded slightly over the years, but there’s no doubt that the first movie in the Scream franchise, released all the way back in 1996, is a rollickingly good (and extremely scary) ride.
We remember seeing Scream when it was first released, and the movie’s opening especially left us cowering in the corner of our local independent cinema, afraid to come out for fear of seeing that bad guy.
The sequels were never able to live up to the brilliant original, so we thought it was about time that we paid tribute to Wes Craven’s original, self-referential horror classic with the following 10 fascinating facts.
10. The film was inspired by a real-life serial killer known as the Gainesville Ripper
Scream took inspiration from the real-life case of Danny Harold Rolling, otherwise known as the Gainesville Ripper, who murdered five students over five days in Gainesville, Florida in August 1990.
Rolling eventually confessed to killing a total of eight people, was sentenced to death in 1994, and was executed by lethal injection in 2006.
9. It was originally going to be called Scary Movie
Scream was originally going to be called Scary Movie, which eventually became the name of a horror-comedy franchise, the first movie of which was released in 2000.
The script was written in three days by Kevin Williamson, who in the same time-frame also wrote two five-page outlines for potential sequels, which at the time he named Scary Movie 2 and Scary Movie 3.
8. Drew Barrymore originally signed on to play Neve Campbell’s role
Drew Barrymore was set to play the lead role of Sidney Prescott, but unknown circumstances meant that she couldn’t commit to it, so she instead took on the all-too-brief role of Casey Becker.
Sidney Prescott was of course eventually played brilliantly by Neve Campbell, although Brittany Murphy and Reese Witherspoon were both also considered.
7. Courteney Cox was desperate to play a character who was a ‘bitch’
Courteney Cox, who was at the time still starring in Friends, was reportedly desperate to play a character who was a ‘bitch’, the opposite of her ‘nice’ Monica character from Friends.
Producers initially refused to even consider Cox for the part, but she lobbied the studio, and they eventually offered her the role of news reporter Gale Weathers.
6. Wes Craven lied to the ratings board to get the opening scene approved
The movie’s opening featuring Drew Barrymore proved difficult to pass through the Motion Picture Association of America film rating system (MPAA), who asked for cuts to the scene due to its ‘intensity’.
The movie’s director Wes Craven told the MPAA he had only filmed one take of the sequence so was unable to make changes. It was a complete lie, but the ratings board believed him and approved the scene.
5. Craven was angry that the movie had to be heavily censored
A number of scenes had to be altered to appease the ratings board, which led to a lot of bad feeling between them and director Wes Craven.
“I’m a director who can do something very well but am not allowed to put it on screen,” Craven was quoted as saying. “And they ultimately get you, as they did on this one, on intensity. They say, it’s not a specific shot, it’s not blood, it’s just too intense.”
4. The film may have inspired a number of copycat crimes
Over the years, Scream has been accused of inspiring a number of violent copycat crimes, including the 1998 murder of Gina Castillo by her son Mario Padilla and nephew Samuel Ramirez.
The case became known as the ‘Scream murder,’ because the boys admitted to being inspired by Scream and Scream 2, and even purchased two Ghostface costumes and a voice changer, like the one used in the movies.
3. It was credited with singlehandedly revitalising the horror genre
Scream was credited with singlehandedly revitalising the horror genre in the 1990s, which was widely considered to be completely dead after its heyday during the 70s and 80s.
In 2016, Empire movie magazine placed the movie at number three on their list of the greatest horror movies of all time.
2. A number of movie studios tried to capitalise on its success
The success of Scream inspired a number of different movie studios to capitalise on its success.
This lead to the release of many movies that followed a similar template, including I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend, as well further sequels to older horror franchises, including Bride of Chucky and Halloween H20.
1. It remains the highest-grossing slasher movie of all time
Scream received positive reviews almost across the board, and made a decent $173 million worldwide.
Although the 2018 Halloween remake made more money when adjusted for inflation, Scream to this day remains the highest-grossing slasher movie of all time.