How ‘The Gainesville Ripper’ A Shreveport Native Inspired The Scream Movie Franchise
Scream is regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time. It was a box office blockbuster, the start of a franchise (that has generated more than $600 million in theatres), and ultimately a cinematic game-changer. It's regularly put on Top 10 and Top 5 lists of the horror movie genre.
The setting for the story on the screen was California, over 1,000 miles away from Shreveport, Louisiana.
There was never any really a "Ghostface" killer wearing a Halloween mask and using tropes from horror movies as his "rules".
So what's the Shreveport tie?
While horror master Wes Craven's name is tied to the movie, he was only the director. The writer of the film was a man named Kevin Williamson, who is also known for horror films I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty, and Cursed. When Williamson was getting ready to work on a new project in 1994, he found inspiration in the coverage of "The Gainesville Ripper", a man known as Danny Rolling.
In August of 1990, serial killer Danny Rolling terrorized the community of Gainesville, Florida when he killed 5 college students over the course of three days. Not only did Rolling kill the students, he posed their bodies to be discovered after he left.
Once Rolling was arrested for the crimes in Gainseville, police in Shreveport reached out to authorities in Florida about an unsolved Shreveport triple murder. Police in Shreveport saw similarities in the Gainesville crimes to the 1989 murders of the Grissom family. 55-year-old William Grissom, his 24-year-old daughter Julie, and 8-year-old son Sean were all killed in their Shreveport home. After Rolling was convicted of the Gainseville murders, he gave a written confession to the Shreveport murders.
When Williamson was auctioning off his script for Scream (originally called Scary Movie) he included short outline for a sequel, and a third movie. He let studios know that there was the potential for a trilogy if they purchased the project.
The horror classic Scream, and the franchise that it created, is based on a true Shreveport horror story.