Urban Legend (film)

Urban Legend (film)

Infobox Film | name =Urban Legend

imdb_id =0146336
writer =Silvio Horta
starring =Jared Leto
Alicia Witt
Rebecca Gayheart
Michael Rosenbaum
Tara Reid
Joshua Jackson
Loretta Devine
Danielle Harris
director =Jamie Blanks
producer =Gina Matthews
Michael McDonnell
Neal H. Mortiz
distributor =
released =September 25, 1998
runtime =99 min.
language =English
budget =
amg_id = 1:173512
imdb_id = 0146336
followed_by = ""

"Urban Legend" is a 1998 horror film starring Alicia Witt, Jared Leto, Rebecca Gayheart, Robert Englund, Tara Reid, Joshua Jackson, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Michael Rosenbaum, Danielle Harris, John Neville, and Loretta Devine. The film is based on the premise that a killer is using the methods of death described in certain urban legends (such as the fatal mixing of cola and Pop Rocks) as a means to kill his victims.

Alicia Witt's performance earned her a nomination for a Saturn Award for "Best Performance by a Younger Actor/Actress" by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.

The film was followed by two sequels. The first, ', was released theatrically in 2000. The second, ', went direct-to-video in mid-2005.


The film begins on a dark rainy night as college student Michelle Mancini (Natasha Gregson Wagner) realizes she is near empty while driving in her car. She stops at a gas station where a creepy gas attendant (Brad Dourif) lures her out of the car by telling her there is a problem with her credit card payment and she must speak with her card issuer on the phone. Inside the gas station, Michelle realizes there is no one on the phone and the attendant has locked the door behind them. In a fit of fear, she maces the attendant and runs to her car, driving away before the attendant can warn her that there's someone in the back seat. As Michelle drives away, a figure in a dark coat with a fur trim around the hood sits up in the back seat and, with a swift blow from its axe, decapitates Michelle.

The same night, on campus, a group of friends listens to Parker Riley (Michael Rosenbaum) tell an old story about one of the campus halls, Stanley Hall. According to the story, in 1973, an abnormal psychology teacher went crazy and killed all the students living in an on-campus residence hall. Supposedly, the college officials covered it up, not wanting the university's reputation damaged. The story is disregarded by Paul Gardner (Jared Leto), a school paper journalist as just one of many college campus myths. Still, the story sticks in their minds, especially for Natalie Simon (Alicia Witt), and Brenda Bates (Rebecca Gayheart).

The next day, Natalie and Brenda go to a literature class taught by Professor William Wexler (Robert Englund) with the subject of urban legends, modern day folk tales passed on under the guise of truth. Professor Wexler decides to demonstrate the power of such urban legends by having Brenda test one by eating a packet of Pop Rocks followed by drinking a Pepsi. Brenda declines, due to the famous story about the kid from the Life cereal commercials, Mikey, whose stomach supposedly exploded after he ate the combination. When she refuses to do it, class prankster Damon Brooks (Joshua Jackson) volunteers for the task. After eating the combination, Damon doubles over, choking and gagging, and collapses but then reveals it was merely a joke.

After class, the front page of the campus newspaper has an article about Michelle Mancini's murder written by Paul but the papers are quickly confiscated by school officials, calling them "inflammatory."

Later that night after going into a secluded area of woods to talk, Natalie reveals to Damon that she knew Michelle, but they hadn't spoken in years. Damon, playing on Natalie's vulnerability, tries to make a move on her but she rejects him. Upset, Damon goes into the woods to urinate but is attacked by the killer. He then is hung from a tree in a noose with the rope attached to the bumper of his car. As the killer approaches Natalie in the car, she attempts to drive away in reverse, causing the tethered Damon to fall onto the car, shattering the windshield. Natalie abandons the car and flees into the woods, screaming.

The next day, no one believes Natalie's story due to Damon's penchant for pranks and tricks. Realizing both Damon's death and Michelle's murder closely resemble famous urban legends, Natalie goes to the library to read up on urban legends. Meanwhile, Natalie's roommate Tosh (Danielle Harris) is busy picking up an anonymous user off a Internet chat room unaware she is flirting with the killer. The killer begins choking Tosh on the bed when Natalie walks in. Hearing Tosh's groans and gasps, Natalie assumes she's having sex in the room and doesn't turn on the lights. Tosh dies as Natalie falls asleep. In the morning, Natalie discovers her roommate's body and the words, " [http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/lighton.asp Aren't you glad you didn't turn on the light] " scrawled on the wall with Tosh's blood.

Due to Tosh's goth tendencies as well as her affliction with bipolar disorder, school officials assume she committed suicide and attribute the writing on the wall to a morbid suicide note. Meanwhile Brenda is swimming at the school pool. Natalie walks in and sees a person in a fur-lined coat coming toward Brenda. Fearing it's the killer she tries to get her attention by banging on the glass of the room shes in. When that doesn't work she grabs a chair and slams it against the window,breaking the glass. Brenda looks up and so does the person in the coat. When she takes the hood off it reveals another girl who intended on swimming. She wasn't the killer. After, Natalie tells Brenda why she hadn't spoken to Michelle in such a long time. One night, Natalie and Michelle had been driving together when they decided to act out an urban

Ever the skeptic, Paul goes and does some research of his own about the Stanley Hall massacre and discovers Wexler was the sole survivor. Paul comes to the conclusion that Wexler was the killer; the college must have tried to cover up the killings and given Wexler a job for life in exchange for his silence, and now he's killing again.

The weekend is coming up and the college students are partying as a tribute to the 20th anniversary of the Stanley Hall massacre, a grisly excuse to have fun. But as they are partying, across campus, Dean Adams (John Neville), the head of the school, is murdered after having his Achilles tendons slashed (another reference to a [http://www.snopes.com/horrors/robbery/slasher.asp | popular urban legend] ) and run over by his car forcing the emergency spikes of the parking lot into his back and killing him.

Later at the party Parker gets a disturbing phone call telling him he's going to die tonight. Parker, not taking the call seriously, begins walking upstairs, thinking the caller is playing a prank based on the urban legend of the phone call being made from inside the house. The caller on the phone tells him he's got the wrong legend and it is "the [http://www.snopes.com/horrors/techno/microwavedpet.asp Dog In The Microwave] " legend. Parker bolts downstairs to find the inside of the microwave coated with what used to be his dog. Parker rushes to the bathroom and is violently ill before the killer finally gets him, shoves a beer bong down his throat and forces him to chug bathroom chemicals and pop rocks.

The killer's next target is Sasha Thomas (Tara Reid), Parker's girlfriend and a popular college radio sex therapist. The killer goes to her studio and begins stalking her, and Sasha's panicked screams, sent over the radio, are mistaken for a tribute to the Stanley Hall massacre. Natalie hears the screams and runs through the pouring rain to the station, just in time to see Sasha killed with an axe.

Fleeing from the station, Natalie finds Brenda and Paul, and they drive off to try and find help. Paul tells them of his discovery and convinces the girls that the killer is Wexler. When Paul stops at a gas station and get out, Natalie and Brenda discover Wexler’s dead body in the car and bolt, thinking Paul is the real killer. Natalie manages to make her way to a road but Brenda has since fallen behind. Natalie flags down a truck, driven by the school’s janitor, and accepts a ride. When the janitor flashes a car with its lights out, it swerves around and comes their way, and the driver is revealed to be the killer. After getting run off the road, Natalie once again luckily survives and makes her way back to the boarded-up Stanley Hall. She hears Brenda screaming from inside, presumably held captive by the killer. When Natalie breaks into the hall, she is knocked unconscious, now a prisoner herself.

When Natalie comes to, she finds herself tied to a rickety old bed. The killer, standing over her, finally makes their identity known: Brenda. It is revealed that the boy Natalie and Michelle accidentally killed that fatal night was Brenda's boyfriend and soon-to-be fiancé. Driven mad by grief, Brenda is now enacting her revenge on Natalie, slowly killing those she knows and loves in the fashion of urban legends. The fate she's chosen for Natalie is to remove her kidney (or as stated, the first organ she sees) in the fashion of the legend, [http://www.snopes.com/horrors/robbery/kidney.asp The Kidney Heist] . When Paul and campus security guard Reese Wilson (Loretta Devine) show up, a brief struggle ensues when Brenda decides whether to kill Paul or Natalie, and Reese shoots Brenda, causing the gun to slip out of her hand and allowing Natalie to grab it before she can do any more harm to any of them. Natalie shoots Brenda, who falls through a window behind her. Natalie and Paul drive off to get help for Reese, who was wounded in the struggle, but Brenda, who survived her gunshot wound, attacks Paul while he's driving and even tries another attack on Natalie. Trying to keep control of the car, Paul crashes on a bridge, sending Brenda through the windshield into the river below. Paul and Natalie watch her body float downstream and the horror seems to finally be over.

An undetermined amount of time later, a new group of friends tell the story of Brenda's bloody rampage, and add to the conclusion that the police never found Brenda's body; it simply vanished downstream. The other students at the table balk at the story, saying that every college campus has a similar story. One of the girls at that table, however, tells the storyteller she believes him, but that he got the story wrong. The camera reveals the face of the girl to be Brenda, alive and well. The film ends on Brenda telling the group she'll tell them how the story really goes.


*Alicia Witt as Natalie Simon
*Jared Leto as Paul Gardener
*Rebecca Gayheart as Brenda Bates
*Michael Rosenbaum as Parker Riley
*Tara Reid as Sasha Thomas
*Loretta Devine as Reese Wilson
*Joshua Jackson as Damon Brooks
*John Neville as Dean Thomas
*Julian Richings as Claude
*Robert Englund as Prof. William Wexler
*Danielle Harris as Tosh Guaneri
*Natasha Gregson Wagner as Michelle Mancini
*Gord Martineau as David McAree Amy Frederick as Damon Brooks' baby sister

Urban Legends Used in the Film

Legends referenced in the film include:
* Birth control pills replaced with baby aspirin [http://www.snopes.com/pregnant/aspirin.asp] (a call to Sasha's radio show)
* Killer in the backseat (used on Michelle's death)
* Cheerleader thinks about having her stomach pumped after performing oral sex on the school team [http://www.snopes.com/college/risque/cheerleader.asp] (a call to Sasha's radio show)
* Bloody Mary (tested by Brenda)
* Babysitter gets phone calls from killer inside the house (mentioned by Wexler in his class)
* Eating Pop Rocks and drinking soda at the same time/Death of Little Mikey from Life cereal commercial (tested by Damon in Wexler's class; later used on Parker, substituting soda with bathroom chemicals)
* Boyfriend's dead body hanging from tree while girlfriend waits in car [http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/boyfriend.asp] (used on Damon's death)
* Spider eggs in Bubble Yum (sarcastically suggested by Parker as the killer's next move)
* Richard Gere/Gerbilling rumor (sarcastically suggested by Parker as the killer's next move)
* "Aren't You Glad You Didn't Turn on the Lights" [http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/lighton.asp] (used on Tosh's death)
* Gang High-beam Initiation (used by Natalie and Michelle in flashback, central to the killer's motive; later used on Natalie and Claude)
* Muggers/Carjackers/Rapists hide under victims' cars and slash their ankles (used on Dean Adams)
* Real murder scream heard in Ohio Players' song 'Love Rollercoaster' (referred to at the party/used on Sasha)
* Old Lady dries wet dog in microwave (used on Parker to get him into the bathroom)
* The Kidney Heist [http://www.snopes.com/horrors/robbery/kidney.asp] (almost used on Natalie)
* The Body on/under the hotel bed (Brenda)
*The Computer Chat (Tosh)

In-Jokes and Miscellaneous Trivia

* Screenwriter Silvio Horta can be seen behind Natalie and Parker in the auditorium, acting as a college student.
* When Paul and Natalie walk into the hidden room in Wexler's office, a puppet of Freddy Krueger can be seen just before they see the axe. Robert Englund, who plays Wexler, played Krueger in "A Nightmare on Elm Street".
* The book sitting on the desk in Wexler's desk in his class is "The Vanishing Hitchhiker", which is one of the seminal texts on urban legends.
* Damon (Joshua Jackson) cranks his car before he takes Natalie to "that" spot in the woods; when it cranks, the radio plays Paula Cole's "I Don't Want to Wait" from the TV show "Dawson's Creek", also starring Joshua Jackson.
* At the end of the movie, students from an unnamed college recount the movie's events as an urban legend. They joke about the tale's validity, and one says, "And I bet Brenda was the girl from the Noxzema commercials." Actress Rebecca Gayheart, who plays Brenda in the film, did indeed appear in several commercials for Noxzema.
* Brad Dourif, plays the stuttering gas station attendant Michael McDonnell, who is named after one of the film's producers. Brad also played the role of Billy Bibbit, who also had a speech impediment, in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". Dourif also provided the voice of Chucky, the possessed killer doll from the "Child's Play" film series.
* The author of "The Encyclopedia of Urban Legends" and the doctor on Tosh's bottle of lithium are both named Charles Breen. Charles Breen is the film's production designer.
* The car driven in the beginning was originally supposed to be a Land Rover. It was changed to the Ford Expedition (the largest 4x4 available at the time) because the filmmakers discovered they couldn't swing an axe inside a Land Rover.
* Parts of the movie were filmed at Trinity College School, Port Hope, Uxbridge, and Toronto, all in Ontario.
* In addition to this film, "The Skulls" and "Gossip" (both starring Joshua Jackson) were also filmed at the University of Toronto.
* Sarah Michelle Gellar accepted the role of Sasha but had to back out due to schedule conflicts with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".
* Jodi Lyn O'Keefe was originally offered the role of Sasha, but turned it down to take part in "".
* Julian Richings has said in an interview that the janitor's name was "Claude." He was listed only as Creepy Janitor, but credits the movie with teaching him to "lurk convincingly."
* In one scene, the front page of a newspaper is shown, and the writer of that story is credited to "John MacNeil." John MacNeil was the assistant art director on this film.
* The Latin motto of the university, which is featured on its emblem in some scenes, translates as: "The Best Friend Did It."
*Brenda Bates' last name is a reference to the character Norman Bates from the Psycho series

Box Office

The film brought in $38,072,438 in the United States and brought in $34,455,157 overseas, bringing its total box office revenue to $72,527,595. The film was considered a huge success, due to the budget of the film being $14,000,000. [ [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=urbanlegend.htm Urban Legend (1998) ] ]


"There were two soundtracks released on behalf of this film:"

Composer Christopher Young's Original Score "and" The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Track listing

# "Love Rollercoaster" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
# "Save Yourself" - Stabbing Westward
# "Total Eclipse of the Heart" - Bonnie Tyler
# "Redefine" - Incubus
# "Spook Show Baby" - Rob Zombie
# "Comin' Back" - The Crystal Method
# "Crop Circle" - Monster Magnet
# "One" - Creed
# "Twist" - Korn
# "The End of Sugarman" - Roy Ayers
# "Just One Fix" - Ministry
# "I Know God" - David Ivy
# "Deaf Forever" - Motörhead
# "Riot" - Flaw
# "What Would You Do (Tha Dogg Pound song)" - Ice Cube
# "Call It Something" - Saliva

External links

*imdb title | id = 0146336 | title = Urban Legend


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