Scream. Total game changing horror movie. When this came out I lost my mind. I was in eighth grade and I remember everyone sort of placing themselves in the various roles and where they fit in and stuff. I was an obvious Matthew Lillard although I have probably grown into more of a Randy. So yeah, not only did it start a horror renaissance but every high school movie ever rode it's coattails and was made from 1996-2001. Catapulted Courtney Cox into super stardom for a little bit. Established Wes Craven as a genius and gave us two of my favorite scenes of all time. Greatest movie of all time.
Rotten Tomato Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
|One of the great THO scenes of all time|
Cons: Some of the plot is a little ludicrous. Like, I don't think the whole Billy Loomis/Stuart game plan at the end to get away with murder, spoiler, is going to hold up once the crime lab shows up and sees they are covered in corn syrup. I'm pretty sure Dewey is making fun of people with brain damage.
Gist of the movie: A masked killer, Ghostface, terrorizes the town of Woodsboro, California, with a serious of pretty fucking heinous murders that reference horror films. High school senior Sidney Prescott, played by Neve Campbell, and her friends become the focus of the killer(s)'s "game". Directed by Wes Craven, the film stars David Arquette, Drew Barrymore, Jamie Kennedy, Cox, McGowan, and Skeet Ulrich who was briefly the next Johnny Depp. Linda Blair (from The Exorcist), Liev Schreiber, and Henry Winkler are also sort of in the movie in mostly cameos. Can't stress how groundbreaking this felt at the time. A darkly comedic satire of shitty horror tropes that had dominated the genre for half a dozen years prior. It was the only horror film that was aware of other horror films. It was fresh AF and I fucking lost my shit over it.
Shit that sticks out... Gotta start with that opening scene. So much to love here. First, Drew Barrymore, probably the biggest star in the movie at the time, gets offed in a super violent and grotesque way. Psycho did this before when they killed off Janet Leigh but there weren't a lot of other people in that film. When you buy your ticket for this, you know you have this ensemble cast so the message is that anyone can die in this flick. And it's a super long and brutal scene. The killer toys with her and the audience, calling and asking her questions about horror films that her life depends on. Like the whole who was the killer in Friday the 13th question. Barrymore screams "Jason" which is incorrect. It was his mother that did the killing in the first one. I feel that most people, unless they were obsessives like Randy, Stuart (Lillard), or Billy, would probably get that wrong. Then, once she is finally done for and her parents get home, her mom picks up the phone to call the police and they can hear their daughter's gurgling sounds and kindly says something like "sweetie, baby?" The way I interpret this is that she knows her daughter is not long for the world and she just wanted to provide her with some kindness in her last moments. Fucked. But then the husband sends the wife off to the neighbors to call the police and there is their girl, hanging from a tree. This was thankfully not as brutal as it was supposed to be. Barrymore originally was gutted and her entrails were all spilling out and stuff but it earned the movie an NC-17 from the ratings board and they took it out.
Another nitpick, no way in hell Billy/Stuart could have possibly thought they were getting away with this. They are blaming Sid's dad--why the hell is he doing this?--who they have bound in Stuart's basement for multiple days. Ligature marks, anyone? Plus they are covered in physical evidence and one of them has fake blood all over himself. But sure, you'll get away with it. Not like you weren't already shady as shit and on the cops' radar since the first murder.
|"It was du-umb"|
The breakout star of this film, the guy who won the movie basically, something I'm awarding to movies from here on out, was Randy. Three of the best scenes in the movie were the result of this dude. The one that is most amaze balls is the one where Jamie Kennedy goes over the rules for surviving a horror. Namely don't drink or do drugs, don't have sex, and don't say you'll "be right back. Just another great meta moment which popularized horror movies being aware of other horror movies (though Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers, Waxworks, and several other movies did it before). The scene in the video store where Randy screams "everyone is a suspect!" is up there as well for all of the same reasons. It is basically the same scene in a different location. One of my favorite scenes this time around featuring this dude that I never really gave much time before was when Courtney Cox attacks him with her giant 1980s cell phone. This is just after she finds blood everywhere in her van and is super on edge when Randy just wanders up and is like, "hey, Gale, where is" and smack. She then takes off in the van when her dead camera guy falls off the top. Sid tries to stop her and it just freaks her out more and she veers off the road and crashes into a tree. Meanwhile Randy, who doesn't know anything is going on still, has just been attacked by a news celebrity for what seems like no reason. This would be like Nancy Grace beating with a Blackberry or something.
|Randy's wet dream|
So, yeah, greatest movie of all time. Having finally worked my way through all the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies (though I'm still working on my piece for Freddy vs. Jason) I am probably going to revisit all the Scream flicks which I was obsessed with as an early internet user. I remember getting online via dialup and reading about leaked info for the sequel which is basically wacky stuff happening Sid at the sorority movie. So look forward to that.