This past year we celebrated a full twenty years since the release of Wes Craven’s blockbuster hit Scream. This horror film not only redefined the genre with its quick and witty dialogue and innovative script, it also added a new monster to an industry that was in desperate need of new blood. However unlike in its predecessors, this movie’s monster was not the boogeyman under your bed or the possessed toy in your closet, this villain was as human as you and I. The new monster was the horror fan.
The film takes place in Woodsboro, a sleepy California town tucked into the foothills of the Golden State. Woodsboro is far away from the big city lights and everyday big city crime. Life in Woodsboro is simple, filled with football games, tests, and young love for its high school students focused upon in the plot. Yet all of that is about to change when a rash of killings breaks out among the young student body of Woodsboro High.
As the co-eds are picked off in extremely gory and graphic fashion, the cops scramble helplessly in their clueless quest to catch the perpetrator. Little do they know their killer is not one individual, but two. Two high school students began this rampage together, and it all started with their infatuation with horror films.
The success of Scream spawned three sequels, Halloween costumes, countless toys, and a television series that is currently in its second season. However, its influence has reached far beyond the world of entertainment. The ghost face killer has inspired at least three real life killings.
In a world where movie writers love to make films “inspired by true events” the tables have been reversed in these real life crimes. In fact, when one of these assailant’s went to trial and explained he was motivated by the Wes Craven movie, the judge responded by saying the movie is “a very good source to learn how to kill someone.” Chilling.
Perhaps the most well-known Scream inspired killing involves two sixteen year old killers: Brian Lee Draper and Torey Michael Adamcik.
The boys were just high school students themselves when they murdered their classmate Cassie Jo Stoddart ten years after the film’s initial release.
On September 22, 2006 the two Idaho teenagers stalked Stoddart. She was house sitting for her aunt at the time. After patiently waiting for Stoddart’s boyfriend to leave the home Draper and Adamcik cut the power to the dwelling and entered. While it is unclear who did what once the boys were inside, their actions resulted in the horrific killing of Stoddart who suffered 29 knife wounds.
Later under police interrogation Adamcik revealed he was inspired to commit the crime by the movie Scream. Furthermore, both boys were motivated by the thought of potential fame they would acquire after the murder.
Another Scream motivated killing occurred in 2001 when 15 year old Allison Cambier exchanged some videotapes with her 24 year old neighbor, Thierry Jaradin. Inside Jaradin’s residence the two were friendly and chatted for a while.
Soon into the conversation Jaradin made advances towards the young girl. When Cambier rejected his advances he excused himself from the room. When he returned Jaradin was dressed in the iconic black tunic and ghost face mask from the movie. He then preceded to stab the 15 year old 30 times, taking her life.
A third Scream inspired killing is the murder of Gina Castillo. Castillo was killed by her 16 year old son and 15 year old nephew. If the act of matricide isn’t bone chilling enough, the boys confessed they were going to use the proceeds of the murder to fund their killing spree that would replicate the first two Scream movies.
In a world where four little words, “inspired by true events,” has so much power when drawing audiences to theaters, movie makers probably don’t stop to consider what would happen if their fiction inspired real life horrific events. Do these movies cause violence? Would perpetrators cause crimes if such movies didn’t exist? We are left to wonder if horror movies really do create killers, or as Billy Loomis from Scream states “Movies don’t create psychos; movies make psychos more creative.” We would love to know what you think in your comments!
To read about movies inspired by true life events check out fellow iHorror writer Craig Mapp’s article about 25 horror films based on true stories!