In 1994, Jeffrey Reddick was trying to break into Hollywood as a screenwriter and The X-Files was in its heyday. Reddick did what many aspiring writers do and wrote a spec script for the show, this is a kind of professional fanfiction that can actually get made if the people in charge like it. He had previously written a spec script that was a prequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street when he was 14-years-old. Unfortunately or fortunately for Reddick, he never made the episode with The X-Files. Instead, that story became one of the biggest horror franchises of all time.
If you’re not sure which horror movie I’m describing yet, here’s how Reddick described his inspiration for the script to Bloody Disgusting:
“I read this story about a woman who was on vacation in Hawaii and her mom called her and said ‘Don’t take the flight tomorrow, I have a really bad feeling about it…She switched flights and the plane that she would have been on crashed. I thought, that’s creepy- what if she was supposed to die on that flight?”
The X-Files spec script was titled Flight 180. That fictional flight would eventually be slated take a group of students from McKinley High School on a class trip to Paris. A handful of students ended up leaving the plane shortly before it took off. A few moments later, the plane exploded and killed everyone on board. A string of mysterious deaths among those that left Flight 180 followed and baffled the FBI and terrified the community. Most people know this story as 2000’s Final Destination.
Reddick worked with writer/director James Wong and writer Glen Morgan to transform the script from a TV episode to a feature length film. One major difference was that the story changed from being about adults to being about a group of teens. Final Destination ended up being a sleeper hit and became a cult classic. Today, the 5 movie franchise is the 10th highest grossing horror movie franchise in U.S. history.
Fifteen years after Final Destination premiered and 21 years since the script was written Reddick gave the X-Files script to Bloody Disgusting to publish and horror fans can read it here
Jeffrey Reddick went on to write the script for Final Destination 2. For that story, his inspiration also made it into the film: he was driving behind a logging truck and realized how scary it would be if some of the logs got loose. He also wrote and directed a horror movie in 2020 called Don’t Look Back and is adapting young adult shows for Netflix.