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

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 down 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?

Voilà! 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 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 helpless… 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 knifes [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 beyond 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, tricking…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?!?

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37 Responses to “ Kevin Williamson’s Secret Scary Movie Script (Part 1) ”


Reader Advisory: Comments may contain SCREAM 4 SPOILERS
  1. It would be awesome if you or someone else could scan the copy of this draft and make it available to “Scream” fans worldwide… !

  2. That was pretty cool this website rules lol

  3. Awesomeness from the get go…Williamson is a genius.

  4. Wow man! Great job.It’s amazing how in depth you guys go here.

  5. Really cool!! In Scream 4 news, the early home media sales are in And Scream 4 isnt setting it on fire but based on the fact its up against fast five, transforers, bridesmaids and lion king, its fairly positive also itll get a 2nd rise in late october.

    Scream 4 is 5th in dvd chart, 7th in Blu-ray (not bad as bluray top 10 sales are normally just for big action or animated films)

    But unexpectedly its Number 2 in the rentals chart just below fast five.

  6. SEB, how about staying on topic? I’m sure we’ll get an article about the dvd/blu stats at some point. And if not.. there’s the message boards. I appreciate you trying to keep people informed but this board if for 1 specific topic.

  7. @Uh…

    Jeez…who made you Judge, jury and executioner? Not like Seb was commenting on ‘The Smurfs.” What’s up with people giving fans such a hard time in the comments anymore….that’s what Mods are for. We’re all fans here man…can’t we ditch the attitudes?

    Thanks for the comment seb!

  8. JRT,

    I’m only going to comment on this once cause it’s off topic and this post is too cool to ruin with fighting.

    Smurfs or not it’s a fact that this post/board is about something completely different than what SEB commented on. If SEB wants to discuss the stats there is the whole message board to start any topic you’d like. What if I had just wanted to start talking about Kirby being alive or why Roman was a crappy killer? Should I do that here?

    Also, what ‘attitude’? Did you miss the part where I said “I appreciate…”? So, I have nothing to apologize for. You on the other hand may want to realize I was tactfully correcting someone and trying to keep this thread about what it’s actually for.

  9. Love the part ‘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.’ :P

  10. I just don’t understand where it’s anyone’s place to tell others what and what not to post and to “Correct” them. Leave it to the Mods….it’s their site and their job.

  11. …moving on. Nice post on the script ST.net! =)

  12. Thanks @seb for the information, I don’t usually go to the message board and it’s good to know how are the sales of the Scream 4 DVD/Bluray.

  13. You are fantastic for doing this! I’m eagerly awaiting the second installment already :)

  14. Hope everyone’s enjoying the article.

    I want to thank wicked-scribe for inviting my input. Be sure to keep an eye out for future installments in this series over the coming weeks! The changes to the opening scene are minimal compared to what lies ahead.

    Lastly, this article wasn’t easy to write and took quite a fair amount of time. Not being too well versed in web publishing, I ended up losing the article TWICE! So, if we could stay on topic my brain and fingers would appreciate it. I really gave them a work out. But, what do I know? I’m just the writer.

  15. @Seb, didn’t know scream 4 was doing so great!, nice!!! about this script, i already read it a while back, and yeah it’s awesome!

  16. @Jrt thanks. your right. @Uh i get what your saying, the only reason i posted it was because dvd sales are quite hard to find, i know lots of people are interested in how its doing, and i also know a few people on this site dont really use the Forum. If the Mod’s dont want my post’s they can delete it, happily. Now lets not take up anymore post’s on the matter.

  17. Was it originally Gayle Storm? Thank god they changed that, sounds like a porn name.

  18. A-Mazing! Loving this new series of articles. Looking forward to the next installment.
    My thoughts:
    Thank GOD he cut the whole “What’s your name?” “Nunya…Nunya Business” thing! Phew! When I first read this I thought that Nunya was the name he originally gave Casey and that he’d decided she was from rural Africa or something!!!

    I quite liked the “You’re harassing me” “You’ll know when I’m harassing you” lines. Thought it was effective.
    I also enjoyed the “I’m not going anywhere” “Is that my cue?” lines.
    But whatever, we all know the final version that made it onto the screen was cinema gold!!!

  19. Thanks for that info @seb, I was trying to find that online, I wonder how much dvd sales affect the making of scream 5

  20. Seriously? We get a thorough article about the creation of the Scream series and people just want to talk about DVD sales? Sad. Besides being completely off topic, numbers and money are boring. True creative inspiration is exciting. Can we please stay on topic and wait for a sales article to do all this hypothisizing?

    Now…

    How cool is it to see Kevin’s notes? It sends chills through a fan to see the word “popcorn” written w/ his pen. Literally a film classic being created before our eyes.

    Love that Kevin used the name Lindley before Dawson’s Creek.

    Tr, you read this before? Where did you find it?!

  21. Ah, I freaking love this! Seriously, Ykymf, thank you so much for doing this. Really, really cool to see the very first draft of Scream, along with Kevin’s handwritten notes.

    Can’t wait to see everything else in this script, especially Tatum related things!

  22. Ykymf, this is AMAZING, a real treasure! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this article, it’s incredible to read the very first recorded script for the Scream we all know and love – fantastic stuff!

    I’m really looking forward to the next articles, if they’re anything like this one we’re all in for a treat my friend! :D

  23. Thanks for the update on the dvd sales!!! I really love scream 4, #kirbycomeback

  24. Would’ve been great w/out the “my notes” part, I mean the “Personal information and critical reaction” should’ve been added at the end, that didn’t make it as legit or great as it could’ve been. Man, the EGO

  25. Wuuaw,

    Since there will be 4 or 5 more installments in this series, I’m more than happy to take people’s comments to heart about what could be better. So, let’s take a look at your complaint about the “My Notes” section.

    First, there were only 3 “My Notes” sections in the entire article. That’s less than 1%. Number 2, none of them contained any “personal information or critical reaction” whatsoever. Zero.

    Two were comparisons of this rough draft and the final published version. The third was about lines that were cut from the script at some point.

    Ah, the internet… where everyone can find something negative to say. Even if they have to make it up out of thin air.

    Man, the EGO.

  26. Glad people are finding the draft as interesting as I do.

    Don’t let my post above deter you from making your voice heard. I really will take suggestions and complaint to heart for the rest of this series. However, I can’t promise I won’t flat out disagree with you.

    Lastly, let’s be clear about this…

    I’m just passing along Kevin’s words. These articles are about the creation of Scream and a time when Kevin had free reign over the characters. No Craven, no actors, no Weinstein’s! For good or for bad this is pure Williamson.

  27. Great article! Can’t wait for the next installment.

    Ykymf, how did you get your hands on this script? That’s was the very first thing I wondered when I opened the article, and I was surprised there was no mention of it.

  28. Nathan,

    Well, there is a story there but this series of articles isn’t the appropriate place for it. I’m doing my best to keep myself out of these articles and pass along the info to you with as little spin as possible.

    Perhaps one day I will divulge all but the important stuff– the script notes/changes–is getting out. My story is basically just an anecdote. This script is ‘Scream’ history.

    Thanks for the interest!

  29. A journalist who acknowledges the source of her information (as any journalist would) does not “put herself” into her story. The focus is still on the information and the subject of the report.

    I guess my point was just that if any stock is to be put in your articles, it should probably be clear that you didn’t type the “secret” script up and doodle on it yourself.

    I wasn’t necessarily anticipating a long explanation of how you acquired the script. Whatever the story is, I have no doubt it could be boiled down to two “spin-less” sentences, if that’s important to you (although, c’mon – this isn’t hard journalism!). “Bought it on ebay.” “Won it in a give-away leading up to the Scream 2 premiere.” “Snuck in at night and found it in a file cabinet in the basement of Sunrise Studios.” Anything of the sort would be sufficient. No details needed.

    I can understand if you’ve made a choice as the writer that you want the whole thing to be as objective as possible, but the article’s credibility is premised on the authenticity of the primary source. Acknowledging the source of the document, in some manner of your choosing, is essential if objectivity and credibility are concerns.

  30. By the way, I want to make it clear again that I think you’ve put together a very interesting article that truly adds something significant to the fan community’s collective knowledge of Scream history. My opinion on this issue shouldn’t minimize that.

  31. Nathan,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response and I certainly understand the curiosity.

    The problem is that quite often sources want to be protected. And, in this case, I’m both the journalist and the source.

    Let’s just say I’ve done a lot of odd jobs in Hollywood. Many of these offices have script libraries with all sorts of screenplays– final shooting versions, unproduced scripts and early draft screenplays.

  32. This hasn’t been updated since October 13… Please update! I need something new to read! I read this twice!!

  33. That response is actually the extent of the information I was interested in, Ykymf ;) Thanks!

    Looking forward to the next installment! Keep up the good work.

  34. When are you going to post the 2nd part? I’m anxious to read something new here :(

  35. I’m dying to read the next part. This is fascinating.

  36. Hi

    Where is the gail script / scene?
    And is there anymore pg’s of script for show
    lol

  37. will you be publishing the next lot of these i’ve very interested in reading them. thanks for all your work

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