With Hollywood already under increased scrutiny for violent content in its TV and movies, two California teenagers have been convicted of a murder they said was inspired by the Scream flicks.

Mario Padilla, 17, was found guilty Thursday; cousin Samuel Ramirez, 15, was convicted earlier in the week, although his jury verdict was withheld until Padilla's came in.

The two were accused of killing Padilla's 37-year-old mother, Gina Castillo, in January 1998. Castillo was stabbed 45 times with four knives and a screwdriver as she sat at her home computer.

At the preliminary hearing, a witness testified that the boys had talked about "doing a Scream" or "busting a Scream" prior to the slaying. Padilla and Ramirez were said to be obsessed with the knife-happy Scream and its 1997 sequel, Scream 2.

Although the movies were lauded by critics for smartly sending up the horror genre, the convicted killers apparently missed the irony. One reputedly said the movies' slashings were "cool"; another supposedly told a friend: "It was a perfect way to kill somebody."

In the wake of last spring's Columbine High massacre, that left 13 people and its two teen shooters dead, politicians from President Clinton on down have called on Hollywood to spill its fake blood more judiciously. Skittish TV networks have scrambled to pull shows that might be considered too Columbine-esque--something Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans know all too well.

Hollywood caught a break on the Scream trial. The judge barred any references to the films from being introduced as evidence at trial.

Filming, meanwhile, is set to begin next Wednesday on, yes, Scream 3, with franchise stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette.

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