It is the worst nightmare of certain parents and of groups who have advocated for horror films and similar forms of entertainment to be banned. A movie that depicts gruesome and despicable acts becomes popular among a wide variety of audiences, so much so that it becomes either a blockbuster hit or a cult classic. That same film then, in time, inspires individuals to recreate those crimes in horrific ways that create international headlines and that leave real-life victims. While that may sound like the plot of a horror movie in itself, the thought of films inspiring crimes is hardly a new or fictional concept.
Scream was as much of a cultural phenomenon as it was a movie that, in some ways, even poked fun of the horror genre. The series has also triggered something in the minds of those who looked to recreate the crimes that they witnessed in those movies, and that resulted in some schools banning items such as the “Scream” mask during the Halloween season. That the series has inspired crimes has not prevented it from remaining popular among fans or from Scream being turned into a television series that will, as of the posting of this piece, be good for no fewer than two seasons of programming.
Scream was not the first or last movie to inspire disgusting and terrible crimes. The Child's Play series has been linked with multiple crimes that possibly could have been avoided had those movies never been produced in the first place. A Clockwork Orange has also, over time, been blamed for real crimes that occurred throughout Britain. The list begins with a movie that was not, when compared with other films in the genre, technically a horror film. The truth of the matter is that Natural Born Killers has become a horror film in a way because of the copycat crimes that have been associated with that movie.
10 “Natural Born Killers” Copycats
9 “The Deer Hunter” Suicides
8 John F. Hinckley Jr. - Taxi Driver
7 Serial Killer Martin Bryant - Child's Play 2
6 “Scream Attackers”
5 “Vampire” Daniel Sterling
4 John Ricketts Mimics “A Clockwork Orange”
3 Allan Menzies Kills: “Queen of the Damned”
2 Daniel Gonzalez: “Nightmare”
1 The First “Scream Murder”
Mario Padilla was 16 years old when he and cousin Samuel Ramirez, 14 years old at the time of the crime, stabbed the mother of Padilla with multiple blows that left the woman dead. The two teenagers were found guilty, and it was widely accepted after the case that they were inspired by the original Scream movie. Investigators later found that the original stabbing was but one of several copycat crimes planned by the teenagers. Psychologist Madeline Levine told CBS News at the time: “There were a whole bunch of reasons why they acted out that way. But did the movie provide a blueprint? Absolutely.”
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