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the pitches

Chris Sully

Chris Sully

Title: Scream 5
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Alexandra Daddario

From the late 90s to the early 2010s, the STAB movies went from “based on a true story” box office gold to straight to lower tier streaming services and eventually fizzled into oblivion. Even the sleepy town of Woodsboro had seemingly given up on Ghostface. But, as horror icon Stephen King wrote “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.”

It’s 2020 and the world is in total chaos. Thanks to a global pandemic, fires, hurricanes and a comical presidential race, most of the U.S. finds themselves quarantined to their homes, spending more time consuming content and playing video games than ever before. Live streaming platforms & creators have become the new king of media (as predicted by Robbie Mercer in Scream 4).

Sometime in the early 2010s, shortly after STAB 7, a STAB video game had been released, but never REALLY took off. Now, with a generation of teens looking for something to occupy their time at home, the game has somehow made it’s way into the top games list on Twitch. Even with it’s clunky graphics and basic gameplay, it’s become one of the hottest commodities in gaming. Tens of thousands of viewers are watching streamers play it on platforms like Facebook, Twitch & YouTube.

Given the popularity of the game, the company that created it decides to create some new levels and start promoting it again. They reach out to some of the stars of the STAB franchise and ask them to participate in a series of STAB LIVE online events (like comic-con panels) and play the game for fans. They also manage to convince Sidney Prescott, Gale Weathers-Riley and Dewey Riley, who all still live in Woodsboro, to participate. A date is set and announced. Interest in the game continues to spike.

A couple of weeks before the big event, it starts. Well known streamer SHAO-LYNN is playing the STAB game in front of 20k+ viewers when messages from a user known as GFACE appear in his chat. Fans point out how great the name is and of course SHAO-LYNN comments on it as well, drawing more attention to the user. Messages from the user start out harmless, but then escalate to the classics – “Do you like scary movies?” “What’s your favorite scary movie?” “What comes to mind?”….

At first it is funny, but makes everyone a little anxious. SHAO-LYNN threatens to ban the user, who replies with “BAN ME AND YOU’LL DIE!” Of course, GFACE immediately gets banned and reported, but another user with a VERY similar name pops up and continues the same threatening line of messaging. Just about the time that SHAO-LYNN has had enough and decided to end his stream early, a shadowy figure appears behind him, but by the time his fans can comment to warn him that Ghostface is IN THE HOUSE, he’s stabbed through the back of his high-end gaming chair. All 20k+ viewers see the gruesome murder and watch as the life leaves SHAO-LYNNs body.

Many believe it to be a hoax or marketing campaign for the game, but authorities are called and enter the home to find the body of the streamer. The shadowy figure has had PLENTY of time to escape by now. The authorities end the stream and in minutes, the news travels the world through social media and then gets picked up by the traditional news stations. The headline “Ghostface returns” spreads like wildfire across the world!

By that evening, the number one game being live streamed around the country is STAB! While the smart thing to do would have been to avoid the game, for fear that this might not be an isolated incident, people did the exact opposite. They want to build their audience and EVERYONE is watching streamers play the game.

It turns out to DEFINITELY not be an isolated incident. The next few murders happen in very similar fashion to streamers in several different cities. Some are celebrities with millions of followers and some have just a few viewers at the time of their demise. Each time, the user name that harasses the streamer is different, but always similar to Ghostface in some way. By the third death, streamers take numerous precautions to avoid their potential death, but this incarnation of Ghostface gets around them every time. No amount of prep seems to be enough.

Despite warnings from officials and new outlets, the popularity of the game continues to rise and people who have never streamed before or watched game streams find their ways to the platforms where the game is being played. Twitch, Facebook and YouTube take the game off of their lists, but people stream it under a different name. The game creator takes the game down off of Steam, but people share the install files via file-sharing services. People just won’t stop!!

During all of this, Gale, Sidney and Dewey watch in fear, but they aren’t going to just sit back and watch everything unfold without using their experience to try and figure out who the killer is. As with every other iteration of Ghostface, there must be a plan, some rules, some strategy to what is happening and how this killer will eventually try to include the same three people that have been part of every killing spree before.

The date for the first STAB LIVE event nears, and the game company behind STAB contacts the stars they have lined up about cancelling. They simply can’t risk it or promote the game given the state of things. All the stars agree, but on the date that the first live was supposed to happen, actress Aimee Teegarden goes live on Twitch. She’s never streamed before, but within minutes of her stream going live, there are hundreds of thousands of people watching. A welcome screen is live for nearly ten minutes before we see her appear, duct-taped to a chair. A familiar voice comes over the stream, clearly being broadcast from a phone, Aimee’s phone in fact. The voice toys with the audience for a few minutes before gutting Aimee live for the world to see and then the stream ends. Later that day her body is found.

Investigators work night and day to try and track down the killer, but somehow they are able to avoid the authorities every step of the way. A multi-state killing spree spanning weeks, even with all the technology available today, is still impossible to solve in a short amount of time.

It’s Gale that first figures out the pattern. While the streamers were seemingly random, she digs up enough information to find the pattern.

The first victim SHAO LYNN, was actually named Steven Stone, which was the same as the name of the fourth victim in SCREAM 3. And each of the other streamers killed shared a name with a previous victim – Randy Meeks, John Milton, Sarah Darling….

Upon further investigation, the murders were happening in an almost straight line across the country, leading toward Woodsboro. And Aimee’s murder, the latest in the series had taken place just a hundred miles away. The killer is clearly headed to Woodsboro.

By the time Gale shares her findings with Sidney, Dewey and the rest of the Woodsboro sheriff’s department, it’s too late. Authorities from other states are alerted, but won’t be able to get there in time to do anything. Based on the pattern so far, and the location of his/her last kill – Ghostface must be there already.

It’s at that moment that all three of our leads received a text message with a link to a LIVE stream. A click of the link reveals a different view for each. Sidney sees Dewey tied up with Ghostface standing by & a message that reads “Come alone or he dies”, while Dewey and Gale see Sidney tied up with a similar message. Since they are not all together, they can only assume that the person who is tied up in the stream has had their phone taken and is not really who they think they’ve been chatting with. One thing they do all see is a familiar house – the one from the first SCREAM Movie, where Tatum (Rose McGowan) died.

They all race to the house and arrive at about the same time. Of course there is some confusion as to how they are all there, but they know that Ghostface must be there. They try to call in reinforcements, but their phones can’t get a signal. The sounds of a ringing phone comes from inside the house & (having gone through this several times over) they all reach for the nearest item to serve as a weapon and head in.

Cameras are installed throughout the house and the world is now watching. They enter the house and find Ghostface costumes hung throughout every room.

Gale starts smashing cameras & that draws out the real Ghostface.

FAST FORWARD THROUGH AN EPIC BATTLE that spans several minutes and eventually ends with Ghostface getting stabbed by his own knife.

The mask is pulled back to reveal a familiar face, at least for Sidney. The killer was Simon O’Dowell, one of the producers of the STAB series and game. He had invested millions of his own money into the STAB franchise after the third film, hoping to capitalize on the success of the first three films, only to be shut down by a lawsuit from Sidney, which resulted in the studio not being able to sue the original story or her character in future films. He had doubled down on the game, which (when unsuccessful) caused him to bankrupt, losing everything, including his family in the process. He had planned everything out to make the game successful and had let things go a little too far, thinking he could kill off the people that caused him so much loss and still get away with the profits.

Title: scream 5
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, David Arquette, Lawrence Hecht, (popular modern young actors), and Sandra Bullock!

We open on a woman, stepping from an orb of electricity. She looks up at a familiar house. In the window is a young brunette, just looking out to see a young Cotton Weary walking out the front door. The girl in the window is Sidney Prescott from 1996. She goes back to bed, and when the lights turn off, Billy Loomis creeps from the bushes, a knife in his hand. The woman intervenes wielding her own knife. Billy asks who she is, and she says “I’m Sidney you son of a bitch, and you’re not going to murder my mother!” She stabs Billy and presses a button on her watch, disappearing into another orb of electricity. The title card, ‘Stab 5’ flashes on the screen, then we cut to the real world.

2020

Sidney Prescott has accepted that hiding from her haunted past can’t keep her or anyone else from danger, and, with her father aging and alone, she has moved back home to Woodsboro. The local townsfolk, however, have had enough, many residents fleeing for fear of yet another sequel to the bloody Ghostface saga.

Real estate all over town has been vacated, and there’s been little interest in newcomers risking their lives for a cheap deal. That is, until rumor spreads that a company has purchased almost every available lot, most notably the sites of previous Ghostface murders. Dewey, Gale, and Sidney are suspicious of the events, and when it’s revealed that the company who bought the properties has turned them into a haunted crime scene tour, celebrating all the horrific murders, they need to know what it’s all about.

As a group, the Scream trio decide to take the frightful tour, a virtual reality re-enactment of all the famous Ghostface murders across Woodsboro. Sidney, having moved into a new home with her father, is able to revisit her old house. With the VR glasses on, she not only sees each room as it was when she lived there in high school, but she sees a digital version of herself in her room with Billy, the night when for her it all began. She watches as Ghostface appears and terrorizes her, and she is shaken with terror.

The tour continues to Stu Macher’s old house, where they watch her late friend Tatum Riley get crushed in the garage door, Gale’s cameraman murdered outside the TV van. They watch digital Billy and Stu give their explanation of the events and motivations, only Stu’s dialogue is different than she remembers. His behavior with digital Sidney is downplayed, her attack on him seemingly unprovoked and undeserved. When the tour is over and their glasses are removed, the real iife Stu Macher is standing in his living room. His face is scarred, his eyes white and unseeing, yet he’s smiling that ridiculous Stu smile.

It seems Stu didn’t die that night long ago, and, without solid evidence of him murdering anyone, he was only imprisoned for attempted murder and accessory to murder. After two decades served, and with good behaviour, he was eventually released. It’s his company that bought the Ghostface murder locations, and he’s brought it all back to life to bring Stab fans and true crime fans pouring into the small town. Sidney is outraged, Gale is excited, and Dewey is realizing there’s no legal way to fight the invasion.

Until, during one of the virtual tours, someone actually gets murdered. An investigation begins, shutting down the tours, and Stu is enraged. He’s losing money and has several mortgages to pay. The murders continue, and with so many strangers in town, it’s impossible to know who the killer might be. We get a series of killings and suspects are brought in then dismissed. Stu is presented as the prime suspect, but his motivations are double edged. More people take new interest in the tour, but he can’t give the tour until the killer is caught. Even when Stu is arrested another murder takes place, but they question that he may have an accomplice.

Eventually they set him free and, with Stu blind, we get a lights out experience with just sound as Stu is stalked and then murdered for real this time. Unbeknownst to the killer, Stu was sent out as bait, and the killer is caught. It’s Sidney’s father, just like he was suspected so long ago. He was furious over Stu’s resurgence of the Ghostface horrors and wanted to rid the town and his daughter of past they could never seem to escape, though he only confesses to the first murder. Once her father is in prison, and Stu is dead, the murders have stopped. To appease the public, Dewey concludes that one or both of the men were responsible for all of the murders.

Then we cut to a sequence of characters briefly highlighted throughout the movie, hiding masks and knives, tearing up photos of the dead, implying that at least half a dozen others carried out the killings, each with their own motivations. A voice over from Sidney explains that there is no end to Ghostface. As long as anyone feels the urge to kill, as long as they feel the desire to take up the blade and don the mask, he will live on. The screams will echo forever.

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