31 Days of Halloween: #26 Scream

With the 90’s came a decline in our beloved slasher films of the 70’s and 80’s, as they were muddled in millions of sequels and sent directly to video. Most films which made it to theaters were the same classic slasher movie characters of the 70’s and 80’s which made money but adequately muted the scare (or scream) factor. However in 1996 the entire genre had an intense commercial resurgence due to the movie Scream premiering that year.  Scream changed the horror film landscape, creating a post-Scream timeline for movies, and forever changing how we view horror films. Scream is a close to perfect mixture of a slasher film, and a tongue in cheek parody of past slasher films in which the body count consist mostly of teenagers (or authority figures) and a loving tribute to these very same movies. Combining the talents of the youthful beautiful cast (Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Courtney Cox, Rose McGowan, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard, and Jamie Kennedy), a fiendishly clever script by Kevin Williamson (Vampire Dairies, Dawson’s Creek, The Faculty), and a well-known horror guru Wes Craven (The Last House on the Left, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The People Under the Stairs, Cursed) directing, as well as, some of the more creative death scenes, Scream became a unforgettable staple in the genre.

Scream begins one year after the rape and murder of Sidney Prescott’s (Campbell) mother. In a quiet California town, a masked killer with an affinity for horror movies and fear stalks and kills two high school classmates of Sidney’s. Everyone quickly becomes a suspect, as people continue to drop like Drowning Pools bodies hitting the floor. No one is safe. Spoilers aside, Scream is non-stop guessing game of “who dun it” which breaks the horror movie a-typical design. It mocks the normal horror movie conventions, which at this point had become cliché, therefore was credited in changing the status of the dying genre.  As the film seems self aware of its own genre the horror movie “rules” are either broken gruesomely or followed enthusiastically by ghostface.

Scream has the right mixture of elements commonly found in this genre, but its depth at reflection and Kevin Williamsons witticisms bring it in a much more original amiable direction. Personally when I was younger I fancied myself a connoisseur of horror movies.  I worshiped Mike Myers; I treasured Carol Ann, and had an intense affinity for anything that promised itself to be scary, gory, or bloody. I had yet to fall in love with a modern horror movie. I re-watched babysitters get their throats slashed, and humorous special effects prove bloody points in my favorite movies of the 70’s and 80’s but nothing newer had quite caught my attention.  Then Scream came. It changed the game, rebooted the conventions, and increased the entire horror genres fan base becoming one of the more classic movies of the last twenty years.  Every horror movie before it can be seen through its references, and every horror movie after should pay respects to this pop culture icon. Now if only we could pretend it didn’t have sequels.



~ by ATOM on October 6, 2011.

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