"Scream": "the gainesville ripper", the true story that inspired the saga

CINEMA – Ghostface is back in business. The fifth installment of the cult saga Scream, centered on the famous serial killer (and whose trailer you can watch at the top of the article), is released this Wednesday, January 12 at the cinema. Notable change, Wes Craven, iconic director of the first four films (released in 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2011), is no longer behind the camera. The latter having died in 2015, it is the duo Matthew Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett who find themselves at the helm.

The story takes place 25 years after the tragic events that occurred in Woodsboro, a fictional Californian town. A killer, wearing the Ghostface mask and determined to bring out the dark secrets of the past, takes on a gang of teenagers. A pattern that is reminiscent of previous feature films, including Scream 5 follows the pattern.

On the occasion of its release, Then24 therefore wondered about how the story of the saga, which has influenced many “slashers”Since had been imagined. And it turns out that Kevin Williamson, screenwriter of the first two and the fourth opus, drew much of his inspiration from a true story, that of Danny Rolling, otherwise known as “the ripper of Gainesville”.

Back in 1989: the 35-year-old man commits his first murders in Shreveport, Louisiana, his hometown. William Thomas Grissom (57), his daughter Julie (24) and grandson Sean (8) are all stabbed to death in their home. The young woman is found almost naked hanging from a bed.

A killing that calls for another

At the end of August 1990, Danny Rolling committed a series of burglaries over a period of four days in Gainesville, Florida, during which he murdered five students, four women and a man (Sonja Jane Larson, Christina P. Powell, Christa Leigh Hoyt, Tracy Inez Paules and Manuel Ricardo Taboada). Most of these murders follow the same modus operandi.

The man breaks into the home of his victims, prevents them from screaming by taping their mouths, rapes them, then stabs them. Some corpses are staged in a macabre way, others are left as they are.

These crimes are widely publicized, Danny Rolling is then nicknamed “the ripper of Gainesville”. The psychosis is such that most of the students all sleep in groups. Some students even ask to unsubscribe or change university. But the killer does not take very long to be arrested, in large part thanks to the testimony of Cindy Juracich, who, by watching a report on the death of these students, makes the connection with the principal concerned, originally from Shreveport like her.

On September 7, 1990, authorities managed to seize Danny Rolling not far from Gainesville, Ocala, while he was committing a burglary. The latter, who already suspected him, had gathered several pieces of evidence against him. In particular, he lived in a small house, located in a wooded area not far from the university campus. Investigators had found a screwdriver, a pistol, a bag full of money, as well as voice recordings, in which he spoke of the crimes he had committed.

Accused of the five murders, Danny Rolling pleads guilty. He was sentenced to death in 1994 (and died in 2006). He also confesses to killing the Grissom family in Shreveport.

It was then that Kevin Williamson, in charge of writing the screenplay for a murder story, discovered the case. A documentary retracing her is broadcast on television in the program Turning Point on ABC. “I was so scared. During the commercial break, I heard a noise. I had to go search the house, ”he told CNN in 1998.

“I took a butcher’s knife and my cell phone”

And to add: “I went into the living room and a window was open. I had been in this house for two days, and had never noticed the window open. I was very afraid. So I went into the kitchen, took a butcher’s knife and my cell phone, then called a friend of mine ”.

This friend is David Blanchard. Rather than reassuring him, the latter takes pleasure in feeding his psychosis. “He was looking under the beds, in the garage,” the person recalled for CNN. “I said to him, ‘In that case, don’t go out. If you go out, the killer will sneak out the door while you’re outside, ”he continued. “He said, ‘What do you mean? What do you mean by the killer? ”.

An eventful evening therefore, which is nevertheless decisive for Kevin Williamson. “I went to bed that night, so scared I was having nightmares. I woke up around three or four in the morning, and started writing the opening scene for Scream”, He confided.

As a reminder, the cult sequence, which you can watch below, features the famous telephone exchange between Casey Becker (played by Drew Barrymore) and Ghostface. The young girl is isolated in her house (as Danny Rolling was in his small camp in the woods). It is indeed impossible to forget the first words that the killer addresses to his very first victim: “Do you like horror films? Which one is your favorite? ”.

Ghostface, alter ego de Danny Rolling?

Aside from the opening scene, Kevin Williamson will also be inspired by Danny Rolling’s modus operandi to shape Ghostface. As the site points out Film School Rejects, the first one often used to appear by surprise. A trademark also dear to the second, who, lurking in the shadows, often suddenly appears behind his victim, by the cable of a door for example.

That’s not all, since their motivations are also very similar. In the first Scream, titled at the time Scary Movie, there is not one, but two Ghostface: Billy Loomis and his friend Stuart Macher. The first is marked by the affair of his father with the mother of Sidney Prescott (the heroine of the saga) while the second seeks only visibility. Danny Rolling, who in turn had an abusive father, was obsessed with his image according to the Miami Herald. He aimed to become a superstar.

While waiting for the fifth, the previous four Scream have met with varying degrees of success in cinema. If the first three were a hit when they were released (with 173, 172 and 161 million dollars respectively internationally), the last, produced with a higher budget, was less convincing (97 million collected).

See also on Then24: In El Salvador, this abandoned house on the beach looks like it came straight out of a horror movie

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