A killer is on a hunting party in the town of Woodsboro. Dressed in a ghostface mask and cloak, know one is safe and everyone is a suspect!
Directed by Wes Craven in 1996. Scream stars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette. The film was made at the end or death of the slasher genre. In the 80s, horror slasher films were so widespread that it eventually died out. By 1996 the Friday The 13th series was on it’s 9th film and the last Freddy Krueger film hit theaters in 1994. Wes Craven himself took on the last Freddy film, to finally end the series off with an honorable story. It’s a good thing he did because that franchise was in the toiler!
Slasher films were becoming boring and cliche. Like all movie genres eventually do, they meet their demise with a fatigued wave goodbye. However for a time Scream might be the film that revitalized the slasher horror genre. But then quickly destroyed itself with terrible sequels and awful copycats like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend and more…
Even the Scream franchise itself started to explode with crappy sequels.
The films kept coming and although started out mocking bronze age slasher films; eventually became what it was intended to fix. The thing is, Wes Craven directed all four of them! Just a bunch of crappy slasher films that literally have the worst plots, typical characters and an obsessive compulsion to make the violence and death greater.
THERE’S EVEN A STUPID TV SHOW ON MTV!
IT’S IN THE 3rd SEASON!
I have to admit, when Scream came out I was on board. In my youth Scream was terrifying. Ghostface wasn’t like Jason where you had to go to Crystal Lake. He wasn’t like Freddy Krueger where you had to be afraid of him. He wasn’t like Chucky where you had to have stupid parents that bought you stupid dolls. Ghostface was in your house and he was watching you all the time. He picked you by random it seemed. Then he brutally slaughtered you. I think many people that saw the film often feared being home alone because of Scream.
The mask was terrifying and even to this day a part of me freaks out when I see someone wearing the full garb. I mean, I won’t run away or yell. But I will be on my guard ready to give a right hook.
Even though there is a scene in Nightmare on Elm Street where Freddy calls Nancy and the phone licks her face. I think Scream was the film that really brought the “phone call” terror to films. The scenes weren’t short and they were always the introduction to the killer. People in the theater always shut up when the phone rang because it was always a good build up to an eventual attack.
One reason I want to highlight the movie Scream is because I see it as an icon of a generation. The generation that actually came to age during the 90’s (to me) was the last generation to have a significant brand. What I mean by that is past generations had certain attitude and style. The 90’s was a very rebellious time for teenagers. The middle finger was our salute and we were all about chaos. Shows like Beavis And Butthead, Jackass, South Park and even Scream were great icons of the time. As dumb as it is, Varsity Blues spoke volumes of a decade. MTV actually played music videos and it represented the attitude of the youth culture.
Today, well… I don’t think new generations have this. I don’t see that one form of media that represents the feelings and demeanor of teenagers. I do however see the present adopting the past. It’s odd that 80’s and 90’s nostalgia is so big right now. It’s like the current trends are just borrowing from the old. Hence the popularity of Stranger Things. We did have this in the 90’s as well. I remember being in middle school and kids were completely obsessed with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. This was right after grunge music ran it’s course I think. But those things tended to die down. I see it done much more today.
I bring this up because horror tends to represent the culture of youth. What is in and what is trending. Scream was a brutal film but the people were the “cool” kids. It wasn’t just a horror film but a look into what was “hip.” I don’t know if this makes sense. I’m just making an observation. I’m not saying modern horror is bad or unidentifiable. It is failing in the sense there is no definitive style. I just don’t think the Saw franchise represents anything other than blood lust. Scream seemed to be a lot more. Ok, I’m not a sociologist nor am I a psychologist. I’m probably wrong. Moving on!
I recently re-visited Scream and yea, it’ still works for me. At least the first film does. The second one isn’t too bad. I mean, the horror element seems to still work. I still love the phone call scenes and I feel so bad for Drew Barrymore. But Scream is a movie I honor for it’s achievement in revitalizing a genre. It’s also a film to appreciate for it’s cultural relevance. So take it or leave it, Scream is a good film. At least from memory.