Scream (1996-2016) 20 year anniversary – Novelization – Opening Scene

Scream (1996) Original Novelization

Based on: Scream (1996) written by Kevin Williamson

opening scene adapted by J.B. Midura

**Preface: The following text is a tribute novelization adapted out of reverence for the film, Kevin Williamson, and Wes Craven.  To commemorate the influencial slasher franchise on its 20th anniversary, I converted the terrifying opening scene into prose.  It’s a dream of mine to one day adapt this film into a full novelization, because the film never received its own. At the time, movie novelizations were dwindling in popularity, and nearly extinct in the realm of horror by the mid ’90s. But for now, I hope you enjoy my perception of the opening scene. Also, stay tuned for more original horror movie adaptations in the future.  Finally, let me proclaim that the work has no association with the Weinstein Company  and therefore no copyright infringement is intended. It’s purely a work of fan fiction as an homage to its prestige.

Prologue:

Cobalt blue washed over the TV screen as the VCR buzzed in anticipation. It was shaping up to be a perfect night for seventeen year old Casey Becker. Her parents were gone for a rare night out. For how long? she did not know and she wasn’t gonna waste time worrying about it. She had been a babysitter for years, surely she could babysit herself.

The serenity of Woodsboro’s countryside was soothing and peaceful. A constant symphony of nocturnal insects echoed through the giant branches of oak trees that dotted the dew-glossed lawn. Autumn’s chill seeped through the glass french doors of the home. The Beckers had designed the house with a surplus of windows for optimal panoramic viewing. Situated miles from town, the isolation coaxed them to lax on security features for the sake of aesthetics.

Nonetheless, Casey felt secure as she ambled about the house with glee, preparing for a relaxing evening. It was a school night, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t have a little late-night fun. Her face still held the cherubic pudge of youth. Although swaddled in a baggy cream sweater, her supple frame was no less desirable. With hair blond as gold, Casey had the pick of the litter among the boys at Woodsboro High. And she liked boys–a lot!

Freshman year was when she’d finally shed the last of her baby-fat. When her body shapedd into nubility, the dates started to become more frequent. Even the older guys at school took interest in her. Her IQ dropped and her hotness soared. With skin like hers, she was destined to crush hearts. She had toured her way up the male apex ladder, never sticking with one guy for very long.

She hadn’t picked a movie yet, and the popcorn still needed to be popped. She knew it would be a horror movie, but that didn’t narrow down her options. Ghost films terrified her to death when she was a little girl. Now, as a young woman, she found more terror in slasher films. The threat of human violence felt more realistic to her than goblins and evil spirits.

Suddenly, the house phone jarred to life. She picked up the receiver in the living room.

“Hello?”

“Hello?” a man with a crisp voice answered, sounding confounded.

“Yes?” Casey said, smirking.

“Who is this?” the man replied.

“Who are you trying to reach?” Casey stumbled over her response, perplexed. It was a voice she hadn’t heard before.

“What number is this?”

“What number are you trying to reach?” She wasn’t about to leak any information so easily. She could bandy words with the shrewdest tongues. Her mouth was a fountain for gossip to flow. To win at that game, she knew, one must give out less info than your opponent.

“I don’t know,” the replied calmly.

“Well, I think you have the wrong number,” she said, waiting for his apology and prompt departure.

“Do I?” the sharp voice added another question in desperation to prolong the discourse.

“It happens. Take it easy.” Casey hung up the receiver before she had to hear another inane question.

Heading for the kitchen, the phone rang again. It was too soon to be anyone other than that strange voice again, she thought. Snapping up the phone, she answered it in an irked tone.” Hello?”

“I’m sorry. I guess I dialed the wrong number.” the man’s tone fell in balance with the previous caller. He was back and with more charm.

“So then why did you dial it again?” she said, giggling afterward.

“To apologize.”

“You’re forgiven. Bye now.”

“Wait, wait. Don’t hang up,” he pleaded as air whoosh through the phone receiver.

“What?” her voice lightened up for the first time, affording him the chance to enchant.

“I wanna talk to you for a second.”

She sighed in disgust. “Ah, they got 900 numbers for that. See ya.”

She slammed the receiver down again, hoping the force of her hang up was enough indication for him not to call back. Hastening her pace, she continued on with her preparations. Tearing off the label, Casey set fire to the stove top for popcorn. The butter began to sizzle at the bottom of the tin. Her mind drifted back to the thought of which movie she was going to watch.

Before she could venture over to her VHS cabinet, the phone intercepted her plans. This time she grabbed the cordless phone in the kitchen. “Hello?”

“Why don’t you wanna talk to me?” the man uttered in his most sympathetic voice.

“Who is this?” Casey asked, wondering if she knew this mysterious caller.

“You tell me your name, I’ll tell you mine.” he quipped.

Casey shifted around the countertop and shook the popcorn kernals. “Uh, I don’t think so.”

The noise gave the caller ammo to segue into friendly discussion. “What’s that noise?”

“Popcorn,” she said, giving into his unremitting engagements.

“You’re making popcorn?” the man said, sounding overly intrigued.

“Uh-huh.”

“I only eat popcorn at the movies,” the man remarked.

“Well, I’m getting ready to watch a video,” Casey murmured.

“Really? What?” The topic seemed to genuinely pique the man.

“Just some scary movie,” Casey giggled, feeling more relaxed. After four calls in a row, she figured, he was no longer a stranger, nor did she feel there was any actual threat of danger.

“Do you like scary movies?” the man asked, his voice rising threefold.

“Uh-huh”

“What’s your favorite scary movie?” He said it non-chalantly, as if it was the obvious follow-up.

“Uh, I don’t know.” Casey felt caught off guard by the question. Her only real hobby was looking adorable and dating boys. Horror films were good for cuddling up to someone when things got scary, she thought. They were often too scary for her to watch without cringing in fear. It was the ideal excuse to get closer to someone, thus she never fully payed attention to all those horror flicks.

“You have to have a favorite,” the man insisted, playful in tone.

Casey roamed her vapid mind for an apt answer, fiddling with a butcher knife out of the slab resting on the countertop. “Uh…Halloween! You know, the one with the guy with the white mask who just sorta walks around and stalks the babysitters. What’s yours?”

“Guess?”

Kernals began to sprout from the tin popcorn tray, mushrooming in size and sound. Casey slid the knife back into its slot, lost in conversation. She meandered away from the kitchen, grabbing up two VHS tapes with her. Modern pastels and avant-garde sculptors lined the corridor leading into the living room. White hues were splashed all around the interior of the house, giving the home an art museum vibe. Shadows twisted and snaked in various shapes throughout the house’s many windows.

“Um, Nightmare on Elm St?” she shouted.

“Is that the one where the guy had knives for fingers?”

“Yeah, Freddy Krueger” Casey said, her eyes widening sprightly.

“Freddy—that’s right. I liked that movie. It was scary,” he said sharply.

“Well, the first one was, but the rest sucked.” She spun around and sauntered to the living room. Lavish Floor lamps stood behind the couch and TV screen, one capped in white satin, the other an amber mica. She set the two VHS tapes on top of the TV, starting to enjoy the man’s shameless persistence. Perhaps she had given him the slip prematurely.

“So, you got a boyfriend?” The cadence in his voice was striking all the right notes, bewitching her to engage.

She chuckled and blushed for an instant, swirling around with a smile. “Why, you wanna ask me out on a date?”

The mood took on a kittenish tone. A tone that Casey was all too familiar with. She was terrific at flirting. So terrific her parents had to disconnect her bedroom phone line by sophomore year.

“Maybe,” the man said calmly. “Do you have a boy friend?”

Casey hesitated, mumbled, and then asserted herself. “Um, no.”

“You never told me your name.”

“Why do you want to know my name?” she asked, twirling her hair.

“Because I want to know who i’m looking at.”

Casey’s smile faded as her body went tense. “What did you say?”

There was a brief pause, which stirred bewilderment inside her. Looking around the house, she waited for his next trick. Did he mean to say that?

“I wanna know who I’m talking to.” The correction sounded forced, superficial.

“That’s not what you said.” Her voice became soft and shaky.

“What do you think I said?”

Outside, the dog began to bark. It would bark on occasion, at vermin, at the noises of nature, but this bark came with resolute. The coinciding commotion stirred apprehension in here, slowing her thought process. She flipped on the patio lights, her eyes searching for anything unusual. Lawn chairs sat idle and even the breeze was soundless. A gauzy sheet of cool vapor floated across the pool’s surface, gently rippling the clear water.

Shaking her head, she breathed a heavy sigh and rolled her eyes. “Look, I gotta go.” Locking the glass door, she took one final glance outside before turning out the light.

“Wait, I thought we were gonna go out,” the man said desperately.

“Nah, I don’t think so,” Casey wimpered.

“Don’t hang up on me!” the man shouted

“I gotta go.” She clicked it off as the caller demanded her to not hang up the phone.

The popcorn tin was now roasting on the stove, squealing out spumes of steam. Walking rigid and dazed, she headed for the kitchen.

The Phone rang again.

By now, there was no doubt who was calling. She scratched her cheek and muttered curses before answering it, paranoia seeping into her mind. “Yes?” she said, agitation overriding patience.

“I told you not to hang up on me,” the man said, trying to recapture his previous charm.

“What do you WANT?”

“To talk,” he said innocently.

“Well, dial someone else, okay?” She hung up before he could talk again.

Prodding back to the kitchen, she straightened her posture in order to regain her composure. The way the popcorn quaked gave reason to suspect it was crisp. When she lunged for the stove, the cordless phone rumbled in her hand. Her expression tightened as she prepared to admonish his unwanted advances. “Listen, Asshole–”

No, you listen, you little Bitch! If you hang up on me again, I’ll gut you like a fish! Understand? Aha, yeah.” His words were icy daggers, taking on a sharp, sadistic edge.

She froze, fully petrified by the violent threat. The small inkling of it being a joke crept into her mind, but her caution remained high. “Is this some kind of joke?”

“More of a game, really,” he said, lowering his voice to a less menacing level.

She backed out of view from the kitchen window, her back pressing against the fridge.

“Can you handle that … Blondie?” He played his hand, showing her his ace, taunting her the way a kid would taunt a helpless toad.

She freaked at the physical reference. At the very least, she presumed, the caller was someone that knew her. At the very worse, the caller was there, somewhere preying on her vulnerability. A frenetic sensation ignited in her, like she was being targeted by predatory eyes.

Her first instinct was to secure herself inside. She bolted down the foyer and locked the front door. Slowly, peeking through the facet-cut door window, shrubs and vines were slanted in contorted shapes leading down the walkway. All was still and silent in the front yard. Shadows rested softly on the pavement as pockets of moonlight were bursting through the oak tree’s thrawn branches.

“Can you see me?” the man chuckled, clearly enjoying himself.

“I’m two seconds away from calling the police,” she cried, squirming back and forth, glancing in every angle.

“They’d never make it in time,” he declared.

Slowing down her breath, she felt it necessary to try and calm him. She squinted out the window, hoping she wouldn’t see anyone. Her hand clasped the phone tightly to her ear, not willing to urge him to rage by hanging up on him again. Perhaps she could hear him out, reason with him. Maybe if she kept him talking, he wouldn’t attack her. But how do you prevent an enemy from prevailing when you don’t know what they want?

“What do you want?” she asked hesitantly.

“To see what your insides look like!” he rasped, savoring every syllable.

Casey was overwhelmed with emotion, nearly hunching over to the floor. She stumbled away from the front window, hanging up the phone. Frantic, her knees weakened with every stride. The return of silence brought with it no serenity, no security.

Long, pulsating moments had passed without a sound when a chime shot through the hallway. Screaming, Casey whipped back around. It was the door bell singing with horrid discords, caroming about the empty house. “Who’s there?” she called out.

She heard no reply. Her breathing came in panicky spurts as her body quivered. “I’m calling the police!” she announced, picking the cordless phone off the table stand. At that instant, the phone sang back to life, jolting her nerves. She answered it without a greeting.

“You should never say ‘Who’s there?’ Don’t you watch scary movies? It’s a death wish. You might as well just come out here to investigate a strange noise or something.” The repartee had swayed in his favor, but he was a man set on humiliating her, frightening her, and maybe even hurting her.

“Look, you’ve had your fun. Now you better just leave or else,” Casey pleaded, stepping back into the living room. Over her shoulder, the TV screen was still on a blue screen.

“Or else what?” he wondered, anticipating a petty bluff.

“Or else my boyfriend will be here any second and he’ll be pissed when he finds out,” said casey, hoping to deter him a bit.

“I thought you didn’t have a boyfriend?” the man said, acting as though he was shocked.

“I lied. I do have a boyfriend and he’ll be here any second, so your ass better be gone…” Casey’s warning lost its conviction, extinguished by her own fear.

“Sure …” the man said, seeming unworried.

“I swear.” Casey felt she had to be more persuasive if she wanted him to stop. “He’s big and he plays football! And he’ll kick the shit out of you!”

But it did nothing to thwart him.

“I’m getting scared,” he said sarcastically. “I’m shaking in my boots.”

A flood of tears came back, streaking down her face, tears that would go good on a stalker’s dessert. She cowered, dreading his next move. “So you better just leave.”

“His name wouldn’t be … Steve, would it?” he said.

Casey’s jaw dropped, her face dulling in color, her eyes freezing in place. The revelation was crushing. She didn’t know who the caller was and that made it all the more terrifying. However, the caller knew her boyfriend’s name. Steve was the latest bone-headed jock to kick it with Casey. They had been dating since the middle of the summer. He was a tough guy, the starting middle linebacker for Woodsboro High. His teammates hated his smug attitude. If he wasn’t so oafish, he would be getting scholarship offers. He had a reputation of being a huge bully. But deep down, Steve was a big sissy. Casey found appeal in both his tough side and soft side. She had never felt this way about a guy before. They were several months into their relationship and the thought of breaking up with him had not crossed her mind, not even once.

“How do you know his name?” Casey muttered.

“Turn on the patio lights—again,” he commanded.

Whimpering, Casey did as the man ordered. After the lights flared the patio, she forced herself to look outside. Not more than a few yards beyond the glass door, a gagged Steve sat subdued in a lawn chair. Sticky beads of sweat dotted his face. A sickly gash bled out on his cheek, streaming a red river down to his varsity jacket. His mouth was wrapped thrice over in duct tape. Somehow he had been through a worse hell than she. As her hand touched the glass in concern, their eyes made contact with each other. He wriggled in peril, his strength no match for the bondage knots.

Instinctively, Casey unlatched the top lock. The man intervened before she could open the door.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he snapped.

Horrified by his every word, Casey re-locked it in a frenzy. “Where are you?”

“Guess.”

“Please don’t hurt him,” she cried out.

“That all depends on you,” he said calmly, as if he had this all panned out.

Why are you doing this?” she asked.

“I wanna play a game,” the man uttered.

“No…” Casey said.

“Then he dies. Right now,” he declared.

“No!” Casey changed her tune, knowing she had to give in, had to let him resume his ultimate intentions if she wanted both of them to survive.

“Which is it?”

Casey heaved short breaths, pausing silently. The thought of submitting to his sadistic game was wracking her will. She didn’t even know the game, or the rules. “What kind of game?”

“Turn off the light. You’ll see what kind of game. Just do it,” he said, his voice bobbing with excitement.

Prodding beside the door, she flipped the light off. Steve jerked in his restraints, beseeching her not to shut them off. The bulb faded out, shrinking to a tiny orb. The glare burned in his vision, an orange splotch.

Casey backed away from the window, listening for her next command. Crouching behind the TV set, her steps tripped the lamp’s wire from its socket. The room darkened, inky shadows swallowing everything but the blue TV screen.

“Here’s how we play. I ask a question. If you get it right—Steve lives.”

“Please don’t do this,” she cried.

“Come on. It’ll be fun. It’s an easy category—Movie trivia. I’ll even give you a warm-up question.”

She protested mildly, still not accepting her dire reality.

“Name the killer in HALLOWEEN.”

“No,” she said, not wanting to give in to his sick game.

“Come on. It’s your favorite scary movie, remember? He had a white mask. He stalked the babysitters.”

“I don’t know,” she said, too scared to think outside of a primal sphere.

“Oh, come on. Yes you do. What’s his name?Steve’s counting on you,” he urged, tempting her to join in.

Casey gulped down tears. “Michael. Michael Myers.”

“Yes. Very good. Now for the real question.”

“No!”

“But you’re doing so well. We can’t stop now”

“Please go away! Leave us alone,” she pleaded, banging her arm against the wall.

“Then answer the question. Same category.”

“Please stop!”

“Name the killer in Friday the 13th.”

Instantly, she sprung from her cowering position with a resurgence of confidence. “Jason! Jason! Jason!” Each time she said it louder, clearer.

“I’m sorry. That’s the wrong answer,” the man replied sardonically.

Casey’s deep suspirations returned. She wasn’t gonna let her answer be disqualified by some obscure technicality. “No it’s not. No it’s not. It was Jason.”

“I’m afraid not. No way.”

“Listen, it was Jason. I saw that movie twenty god-damn times!”

“Then you should know Jason’s mother Mrs. Voorhees was the original killer. Jason didn’t show up until the sequel. I’m afraid that was a wrong answer.”

“You tricked me,” Casey whined. She didn’t even bother to listen intently on his reasoning for her wrong answer. He was mad and there was no cure for this insanity. She felt more helpless than anyother woman in peril from movies she had seen. Her attacker was unseen, yet more present than ever.

“Lucky for you, there’s a bonus round,” he said with morbid bliss. “But poor Steve … I’m afraid he’s out.”

A tussle of noise came from the dark patio. The swoosh and clang of a blade tore into Steve as he groaned in agony. Casey peered out the window. As the light turned on, Steve’s eviscerated torso gleamed red. His life dissipated before her eyes. In that instant, she reliazed the killer was no where to be seen. She crawled back behind the TV. In her right hand, the distant gargle of the killer’s voice returned.

“Hey, we’re not finished yet.”

She brought the phone back to ear, unable to improvise a better option.

“Final question. Are you ready?”

“Please leave me alone.” The words traversed over a river of desperate tears.

“Answer the question and I will.” He paused to make certain emphasis on it. “What door am I at?”

“What?” she asked

“There are two main doors to your house. A front door and the patio doors. If you answer correctly, you live. Very simple.”

In recognition of his merciless demeanor, her attention diverted from his mind games. It was soon to be a physical attack. She surveyed the top of TV, her hand grappling for something rigid. On a stack of unopened mail, her father’s letter opener shimmered down to its pointy shaft. She snatched it quickly. “Don’t do this. I can’t. I won’t.”

“Your call.” The voice cresendoed with finality.

She glanced between the front door and patio door, holding her breath. The scamper of charging footsteps slapped on the patio, and then a force shattered the double doors to bits. A galaxy of scintillating shards burst onto the floor. A resounding cascade flooded over the lawn chair as it rolled in front of Casey. She closed her eyes as a reflex to the thunderous blast. She bolted toward the kitchen, where a haze of burnt popcorn suffused from the stove. Flames shred through the gouged tinfoil as kernals smoldered, yet she paid no concern to it. She readied her stance by the countertop, swiping out the largest blade from the slab. Her hand shook as she backed into the dining room, a hesitation in every step.

The entire house took on an ethereal quality. Through the veil of smoke a dark figure flitted across the living room, wraith-like in method. Or was it the terror she felt illustrating a threat in her vision? Queitly she slipped out the side door, hoping to elude him undetected. She pulled it shut, the door squeeking with a thud as it locked into place. Shuddering, the chill of nature added to the gooseflesh sprouting up her back.

Creeping to the side of the door, she waited a passage of horror-stricken moments before peeking through the glass. The smoke was an ocean of coalescing mist, illuminated by the dining room lamps. This time the intruder stood out prominently as a dark cloaked assasin. Brandishing a sharp knife in striking position, the intruder scanned the living room for any sign of Casey. She couldn’t make out its face through the smoke before jumping away from the doors. It hadn’t seen her, right?

The crunch of gravel being chewed by tires sounded in the distance down the dusty trail. It caught Casey’s attention when the small dots of headlights accompanied the noise, aggrandizing orbs of rescue. It was her parents returning home early. She shivered, biding her time against the wall. Another glance at where the figure was compelled her to peek again. The dark figure darted toward the flaming kitchen, its back toward Casey.

Crouching down, she crawled beneath the window’s view. Her parents’ beige sedan was turning into the driveway. Before running after them, she looked over her shoulder. As her head rose above the window sill, the sheen of glowing smoke wasn’t what she saw. It was the stygian cloak of the killer, a stark monster. Swiftly, the killer whipped its head around. Under the curved cowl, it was wearing a bone-white mask with an elongated rictus. Its skull-like physiognomy gave way to a transference of ghostly features. Abyssal hollows took residence in its embedded eye sockets of infinite darkness.

Casey shrieked, too petrified to flee. She raised the knife pitifully as a defense. The Ghostface killer smashed its arm through the window, gripping the hand which Casey held the knife. The killer shook arm, but her hold stayed tight. Growing frantic, the killer thrust its skull through the jagged door frame. Still holding the phone, she walloped the killer as he recklessly bull rushed her. This sent the killer fumbling backward, dropping to the floor.

Casey took off in the heat of panic, swinging around the flowers that lined the wraparound porch. The Sedan was slowing to a stop some thrirty yards ahead of her, its engine going torpid. She paused at the edge of the front lawn. Another trek through hellish domain extended before her. The memories of childhood and the elation everything evoked was now stained forever.

No sign of the killer loomed. Her heart started to slow down. Dizzy with tension, she took the time needed to revitalize herself. The ground was twisting into vertigo circles beneath her quaking knees.

She didn’t hear the explosion as the killer leapt from the porch window, tackling her to the ground. They rolled over the slick lawn. Casey was the first to regain her stance, taking no further chances. She hastened directly toward her parents’ car. The commotion was still too far to catch the Becker’s recognition. Pumping her arms, she zagged with the phone still clutched in her hand, her feet chopping together over the dew-soaked lawn as it twinkled in the porch light. That pleasant illumination disintegrated as a fiendish shadow encroached from behind her.

It was artistic turpitude that inspirited It to terrorize and tease its victims. Now it was predatory determination that lent Ghostface the wicked speed to capture its prey. Wrapping her in a grimreaper’s grip, her spine stiffined at the sudden contact. Choking her against its chest, the killer pinpointed its mark. The silver blade transfixed her chest, and her heart began spewing out blood onto her white sweater. She gasped as the killer relinquished his grasp, letting her collapse to the ground.

AS if testing the severity of her wound, Casey puffed in short, heavy breaths. The red splotch over her heart spread like sensationalized slander in form and enormity, percolating over her shoulder. The killer wrestled on top of her, flashing the knife. She swatted it away. The killer stifled her throat with the savage vengeance of Laertes. Conserving her energy, she yielded to his offense. Then jabbed the killer’s throat with a quick blow. Stunned, the killer flung back off her, visibly gagging from the blow.

Casey knew she was in worst shape that her attacker, taking advantage of the lead by galvanizing herself to stand. Wobbling, she headed for the front door. The harder she sucked for air, the faster it leaked out. She clasped her injured throat. Blood oozed between her fingers, forced out by the distressed breaths she attempted to inhale. Her parents were chatting about their thriving shrubs as Casey stepped onto the porch. Puzzled, they both paused at the entrance of the house, gaping at the unlatched door. Casey shouted for her mother, but her mutilated throat only produced a whimper the volume of a mouse’s peep.

They rushed inside without hearing their daughter’s dying cries. Once again, the killer was hovering over her as she sprawled out in peril. The knife’s tip was licked with scarlet blood as it gleamed in the light, bound to gorge further.

Casey stared her killer square in the eyes. Glittering beads of the afterlife burst through her vision as she pulled off the mask, revealing her killer’s face. Her rapidly expiring life afforded her no energy to panomime a final reaction. The killer allowed her to savor her final moments before striking her with one final deathly stab.

*End of Prologue*

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JBM

Literary Heathen

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