Kevin Williamson's Secret Scary Movie Script (Part 1)

Written by Ykymf for Scream-Trilogy.net on October 13, 2011.


Before Windsor College, Stab 3 or Jill Roberts there was Kevin Williamson, an idea and a title-- Scary Movie.

The following is an analysis of the screenplay that would come to be known as Scream. The photocopy used in the creation of this article is dated April 5, 1995. It features Kevin's handwritten revisions as he changed dialogue, expanded on ideas and even renamed major characters.

Information will be delivered to you under one of three headings:

FROM THE FIRST DRAFT

These sections will be transcripts of what appears in the first draft. Quite often, you'll find dialogue or description crossed out. This signifies that Kevin himself crossed out that section and replaced it with something else. The new dialogue will appear in the proper context next to the phrase "Kevin's Note."

KEVIN'S NOTES

Because not all of Kevin's notations are in reference to a specific piece of dialogue or descriptive action, you'll find transcripts of what he jotted under this heading. It's my intention to re-create his notations as faithfully as possible so any spelling or capitalization errors are included on purpose.

MY NOTES

Under this heading, you'll find any extra analysis I can bring to the table. Personal information and critical reaction will be kept to a minimum. This section will mainly consist of analyzing why changes were made, what was changed even further by the time shooting commenced and other random facts.


KEVIN'S NOTES

Like any good writer, Kevin is anything but precious with his first draft. His revisions begin immediately-- changing "Girl" to "Casey." Kevin goes on to describe Casey's age ("no-more than seventeen") and calls her "pretty, flirty with innocent eyes."

MY NOTES

I've compared this "Rough Draft" to what was published in "Scream: A Screenplay" from Miramax Books/Hyperion in 1997. In that publication, Casey is described as "no more than sixteen... a friendly face with innocent eyes."


FROM THE ROUGH DRAFT

It's amazing that the first moments of this now classic scene were locked from day one. Casey's initial back and forth with the killer--at this point known simply as "Man"--didn't change a lick.

GIRL

Hello.

MAN'S VOICE

Hello.

Silence.

GIRL

Yes?

MAN

Who is this?

GIRL

Who are you trying to reach?

VoilĂ ! A film classic is born!

Casey's call lasts a bit longer than it does in the final film, however.

GIRL

What number are you trying to reach?

MAN

So many questions.

GIRL

Hey, you called me.

MAN

What's your name?

GIRL

Nunya.

MAN

Nunya?

GIRL

Nunya business.

CLICK!

KEVIN'S NOTES

"MAYBE CHANGE Convo- Set up CASEY POPPING POPCORN. WATCHING MOVIE. THEY CHAT. SHOW PASSAGE OF TIME."


FROM THE ROUGH DRAFT

Originally, the second call happened after Casey made her way into the kitchen--which features a sliding glass door in this draft.

The first comedic moment of Scream is completely intact: "They've got 900 numbers for that."

However, unlike in the final film, Casey doesn't hang up there. That doesn't happen until AFTER he reveals this isn't just your standard wrong number.


Horror was changed forever on page 3...

MAN

Do you like scary movies?

The girl stands in front of the glass door. She twirls her hair, getting a kick out of this.

GIRL

You want to go to the movies?

MAN

Maybe.

GIRL

I love scary movies.

MAN

What's your favorite scary movie?

GIRL

My favorite? Uh..that's easy. HALLOWEEN. It's the daddy. That guy with the white mask. Sooo scary. What about you? What's yours?

MAN

NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.

GIRL

The first one was good. The rest sucked.

MAN

So what's your name?

GIRL

Guess.

MAN

No, tell me.

GIRL

Why?

MAN

Because I want to know who I'm looking at.

KEVIN'S NOTES

Next to the above exchange is written "Rework."

FROM THE ROUGH DRAFT

The following exchange appears with a large "X" through it.

GIRL

Phone calls like this are against the law. You could get in a lot of trouble.

MAN

We're just talking.

GIRL

You're harassing me.

MAN

No, I'm not.

GIRL

Yes you are.

MAN

Trust me, when I harass you. You'll know it.

Say "So Long" to Mr. Nice Guy on page 6...

GIRL

Listen, asshole...

MAN

NO, YOU LISTEN, BITCH. IF YOU HANG UP ON ME AGAIN I'LL GUT YOU LIKE A FISH. UNDERSTAND?

Silence. Kevin Note: A Long BEAT.

GIRL

Who is this?

MAN

Who do you think it is?

Silence.

GIRL

Where are you calling from?

MAN

Where do you think I am? Kevin Note: I'm calling from?

GIRL

I'm two seconds away from calling the police.

MAN

They'd never make it in time.

The following is crossed out...

GIRL

Where are you?

MAN

I think you know.

The game begins on page 7...

GIRL

Is this a (Kevin Note: some sort of) joke?

MAN

More of a game, really.


"The Rules" are born on page 7...

MAN

You should never say "Who's there?" Don't you watch scary movies? It's a death wish.

KEVIN'S NOTES

Steven Orth is introduced on page 9. The first draft of the script features a very loose description of Steve--"He's been roughed up, but he's alive."

Kevin knows this isn't good enough and he fleshes out Steve's physical description...

"Normally he's a handsome guy. big and powerful but at this moment he appears very helpess... his eyes wide in fear as he stares at his girlfriend."


FROM THE FIRST DRAFT

On page 10, next to the following exchange, is Kevin's Note: "Work on this"...

MAN

I'm going to ask you three (Kevin's Note: a) questions. If you get them right--Steve lives.

Three curtainless [sic] windows line one wall. The girl turns out the lights, crouching down behind the couch... out of sight.

GIRL

Please don't do this... Kevin's Note: What kind of questions?

MAN

Come on, they're easy. Movie trivia.

GIRL

No... please.

MAN

It's your favorite category.

GIRL

(begging)

..please...

MAN

Who had knives [sic] for fingers in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM...

GIRL

(instantly)

FREDDY KRUEGER!

MAN

Oooh. You're good.

GIRL

Don't do this. I can't...

MAN

Next question.

GIRL

No...

MAN

Who terrorized baby sitters [sic] on HALLOWEEN? Kevin's Note: What's was his name?

Suddenly... through tears...Godsent...

GIRL

(a whisper)

Michael...Michael Myers.

KEVIN'S NOTES

Between pages 12 and 13 is an extra sheet of paper. On it, Kevin wrote...

1) Add Casey into script. Increase narration to add warmth.

2) Rework questions sequence

3) Find characters in Girl/Voice

4) Improve Dialogue

FROM THE ROUGH DRAFT

In response to seeing Steve's body...

A SCREAM erupts from the girl (Kevin note: Casey) as she collapses to the floor... nearly passing out.

At this point the film was still titled "Scary Movie," but there it is- the title we've all come to know and love. Mentioned for the first time on page 13.

And they say that number's unlucky.


On page 14 Casey plots her next move after being asked "What door am I at?"

Silence. The girl doesn't answer. Kevin Note: child like.

MAN

Oh no. She must be thinking she can outrun me. I go to the front door--she goes out the back. The closest neighbor is half a mile away. You really think you're up for it?

The following is crossed out...

GIRL

I'm not going anywhere.

MAN

Is that my cue?

MY NOTES

Unlike in the final film, Casey and the killer don't stop their conversation once he's in the house. Lines like "Let's play a new game. It's called Hide N' Seek. You're it," and "Come on, shit smear. Find me," were excised from the final draft.

FROM THE ROUGH DRAFT

Casey gets outside the house using a window instead of a door.

On page 16 Ghostface is born...

She moves further along the house...squeezing by hedges...to the next window...she peeks in to see the man...

STARING BACK AT HER...

His face covered with a ghostly white mask, inches from her...his eyes piercing through...soulless...the girl SCREAMS BLOODY MURDER.

MY NOTES

The above description of Ghostface is basically exactly as it appears in the 1997 release of the screenplay.

FROM THE ROUGH DRAFT

Even more evidence of how clear Kevin's vision was from the very first printing...

FATHER

That fish smelled strong.

MOTHER

I told you to send it back.

That's the exact exchange the Becker's are having as they approach their home in the final film. It's amazing to see something so miniscule was in Kevin's head from the get-go.

In this early version of the script, Casey does NOT remove the mask from her killer. In later drafts, Ms. Becker's last moment of triumph was taken from a death scene found much later in this first printing.

The FATHER character is revealed to be named Hank--which was used for Mr. Loomis in the final draft of the screenplay.

On page 19...

FATHER

Get in the car and drive (Kevin's Note: down) to the Lindley's.

In the final draft, as a nod to Halloween, the Becker's neighbors last name is the Mackenzies. Lindley is a surname Kevin Williamson would go on to use for Michelle Williams' character Jen on Dawson's Creek.

On page 19 it's 'Game Over'...

EXT. FRONT DOOR

The father rushes out the door to find his wife...on her knees, bent over...wretching. [sic] His eyes move byond to a tree in the front yard...his stomach fails him...his dinner rises....as he bares [sic] witness to the single, most horrifying sight he'll ever see.

That of his only daughter as she hangs from the tree...strung up...very much dead...her stomach ripped open...her soft, wet insides moving, trickling...slowly down her legs.

FADE TO BLACK

ROLL CREDITS Kevin's Note: BEGIN MAIN CREDITS

Coming up in Part II of our series...

A major change in locale, a long lost scene with Neil Prescott and the introduction of...Gayle Storm?!?

Update: And that's it...we never got Part 2!

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