Everyone's heard of the 1996 movie Scream, but not everyone's aware that the iconic horror movie is actually based on a true story.
Scream has well and truly established itself as a classic movie to watch at this time of year, when there are Halloween decorations everywhere you turn and the dark evenings practically demand cosy movie nights.
The film not only sparked a long-lasting series consisting of five sequels, the last of which hasn't even been released yet, but it also provided inspiration for the 2000 parody Scary Movie.
So it's safe to say most horror fans are very familiar with Sidney and the creepy killer terrorising her, but Sidney's story actually has its roots in those of University of Florida students Sonja Larson, Christine Powell, Christa Hoyt, Tracy Paules and Manny Toboada.
The crimes took place over the course of just four days, beginning on 24 August, 1990, when Danny Rolling followed Larson and Powell back to their house, broke in and killed them.
He assaulted and killed Hoyt the very next day, cutting off her head and placing it on a bookshelf, and on 27 August, 1990, he finished his spree by attacking and killing Paules and Taboada.
Police couldn't identify the killer using DNA from the scenes, but detectives noticed the similarities between the killings and the deaths of three family members in Rolling's home town of Shreveport which had taken place before Rolling moved to Florida.
The killer had relocated under a new identity in 1990, after he shot his own father twice, but he had previously spent time behind bars for theft.
Investigators looking into the Gainesville murders sought DNA of prisoners from Shreveport and came across that of Rolling, which was found to be similar enough to DNA left at the Gainesville murder scenes to charge him with murder.
Following his arrest, Rolling pleaded guilty to the killings and was sentenced to death before being executed in 2006.
Internet users have been left baffled to learn about the true events behind Scream, describing it as 'crazy' and relaying their shock with the mind-blown emoji.
It was when he was watching television at home one night that Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson saw a special about the Gainesville Murders. Most true crime fans will know that's a recipe for disaster, and Williams admitted that he began to get scared that there was a murderer waiting for him outside.
Recalling the events, Williamson explained: "I was house-sitting for a friend of mine and I walk into the family room and I see that the window’s open, and I’m freaked out. So I go, and I get a butcher knife and I start walking around the house and I call up my friend on the phone and [say] ‘I think someone’s in the house'."
Rather than hiding under the covers and waiting for the comfort of daylight, however, Williamson was inspired to write the screenplay for Scream, resulting in the series fans know and love today.
Featured Image Credit: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy / Gainesville Police
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