Art imitating life

Great cinema classics of horror and suspense were inspired by true stories. Take for instace Psycho (1960), from the master Alfred Hitchcock. On his amazing biopic, Hitchcock (2012), we can witness with a magnifying glass the diretor haunted by the “spirit“ of serial killer Ed Gein – who was also the basis for other movie maniacs, like Leatherface, from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).

Gein served as a collage, along with Ted bundy and others to compose the tormented  Buffallo Bill from Silence of the Lambs (1991) and now, on the  new TV series by Kevin Williamson, The Following.

But, way before that, Williamson had already used – and referenced – this infamy hall on his debut creation , Scream (1996). Both scripts, the oldest and the newer, took form based on the case of The Gainesville Ripper, in 1990.

"I was watching this Barbara Walters special on the Gainesville (Florida) murders, and I was getting so spooked. I was being scared out of my mind. During the commercial break, I heard a noise. And I had to go search the house. And I went into the living room and a window was open. And I'd been in this house for two days. I'd never noticed the window open. So I got really scared. So I went to the kitchen, got a butcher knife, got the mobile phone. I called a buddy of mine."

That buddy, David Blanchard, started teasing him about classic horror films, pretty much like Selma Blair does with Sarah Michelle Gellar on Scream 2.

"One thing led to another, I went to bed that night so spooked I was having nightmares and I woke up at like three or four in the morning, and I started writing the opening scene to Scream".

[Watch here a Discovery Channel documentary on The Gainesville Murders]

The references to that are so Strong, that to promote The Following, FOX has created a small documentary on Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) on a very truth TV style.

The discussion about how art and the media have influences – for better or for worse – on real life and vice versa are present all over Williamson’s work. Specially when we bring up Gale Weathers and the fictional Stab movies.

The Following premieres on Monday, January 21, at 9/8c, on Fox.

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