Plot: Wes Craven’s Scream pumped some new blood into the horror genre and unleashed a popular new villain, Ghostface. The narrative of Scream borrows from real life however, with some obvious connections to the true story of Danny Rolling, better known as The Gainesville Ripper. The film’s writer Kevin Williamson has talked about how the case inspired the concept for Scream, but in The Real Story, we’re given a more in depth look. A murderer on the loose, predatory news agencies, and widespread panic and paranoia set the stage for this episode of The Real Story, which shows us once again that real life can be much scarier than fiction.
Entertainment Value: The Real Story is a series on the Smithsonian Channel that looks at the real life events that might have inspired cinematic adventures, in this case the slasher flick Scream. As I said above, it is acknowledged that the Gainesville murders were an inspiration behind the premise, here we get a snapshot look at the case and how it impacted Scream. The bulk of the episode focuses on the case itself, giving us an inside look at the murders from the jump and how the police, media, and public coped in the wake of this violent spree. The interviews here include city officials and police agents who were involved in the investigation, so it provides some terrific insight from first hand sources. Also present are a crime reporter who was on scene from the first murder on, as well as a film critic who talks about Scream, horror movies, and the similarities within the movie itself. In the end, it is a well made piece that sheds some light on a notorious killer and while Scream isn’t a play-by-play cinematic take on the case, it clearly shares some common elements. If you’re a fan of Scream, horror movies, serial killers, or documentaries, give it a look.