31 Days of Halloween: Scream More than Once: SCREAM

I am a huge fan of the Scream series. If you’ve never watched it, you should and you shouldn’t read this for the risk of spoilers!

Here’s my break down of the series and why it makes this countdown!

Scream (1996)

Directed by Wes Craven, the original film tells the disturbing tale of a teen and her friends who are one by one killed off by a killer who dresses in a Ghostface costume. An all-star cast really brought the script to life. The film stars Neve Campbell (Party of Five, The Craft) as the adorable Sydney Prescott who, after suffering the loss of her mother at the hands of a murderer-rapist, is now forced to fight for her life as a killer comes calling for her. Also cast in the film was Rose McGowan (Jawbreaker, Charmed), Skeet Ulrich (The Craft, As Good as it Gets), Matthew Lillard (She’s All That, Dead Man’s Curve), Jamie Kennedy (Malibu’s Most Wanted) Courtney Cox (Friends) and David Arquette (The Outsiders).

The Characters:

Sydney: Campbell takes the role of the young girl who, after suffering the loss of her mother in such a horrible fashion, struggles with maintaining her relationship with her boyfriend. When the killings start to begin, their relationship only becomes more strained. After an attack, Sydney becomes concerned that Billy might just be the masked killer. Made to feel guilty over time for her assumption, she does what any hormone crazed teen in a horror film would do. Sydney decides now is the time to lose her virginity to Billy.

Tatum: Sydney’s best friend, Tatum is the typical party girl. All about fun, but incredibly loyal. Dating Billy’s best friend, Stu, Tatum doesn’t exactly hold Billy in the highest regard. Rose McGowan did such an amazing job with this role. Tatum, although she might not look like much, is quite the fighter.

Stu: Tatum’s boyfriend is quite the looker. Chock filled with jokes that are only funny because of how awful they are, Stu is quite the character. Stu is Billy’s best friend and it is very obvious in the film. He also has some of the best one liner’s.

Billy: Let’s face it. From the second Billy steps on the scene, anyone can tell he’s a total jerk. He’s creepy and just gives off some hell of awkward vibes. As Sydney’s boyfriend, Billy plays a large role in the film and eventually convinces our heroine to lose her virginity. Unstable as all hell, Billy is one character that they casted quite well. Ulrich did a great job taking Billy from paper to the big screen.

Dewey: Deputy Dewey is Tatum’s older brother and basically a brother to Sydney. Working for the town police department, Dewey is the in for all the good information from the police. He’s a bit dorky and has a thing for Gale Weathers, but he’s a good man. He’s quite funny even though you wouldn’t expect it.

Gale Weathers: The town reporter desperate to get a story so big that it launches her to stardom, Gale is cut throat. She doesn’t care who she steps on or who she hurts on her way to the top. She takes great joy in trying to be the first reporter to get the inside scoop on the murders. She even flirts with Woodboro’s deputy, Dewey. Gale and Sydney have quite the volatile relationship.

Randy: The towns film buff and all around geeky boy, Randy is a sweetheart. In love with Sydney, he doesn’t quite approve of her relationship with Billy. As the resident film buff, Randy is how we first learn the rules of horror films.

The Deaths:

There are a number of death scenes that are just fantastic.

Tatum: If you had no fear of garage doors before seeing this film, you definitely did after. After getting trapped in the garage with the killer, Tatum attempts to escape via the kitty door on the garage door. She manages to squeeze most of her torso through before the killer begins to raise the door. Needless to say, Tatum’s exit is quite the explosive smash.

Casey: Only in the opening scene of the film, the hanging of Drew Barrymore’s characters body was a great addition. Hung using her own intestines, Casey’s body is found by her mother and father.

Billy: Just when you think the killer is down, he comes back for one last scare. Returning briefly from “the dead”, Billy is shot point blank in the head by Sydney to ensure his death. Watch the film and you’ll understand why this death was so well done.

The Rules:

Randy shares with us the rules to successfully survive a horror film:

You may not survive the movie if you have sex.
You may not survive the movie if you drink or do drugs.
You may not survive the movie if you say “I’ll be right back”, “Hello?” or “Who’s there?”

Trivia

– The film was originally titled “Scary Movie”

– The high school janitor featured wearing a Freddy Krueger-esque sweater was played by Wes Craven himself!

-Craven talked to Barrymore about animal cruelty to keep her crying and make her look terrified on film.

-Rose McGowan could infact fit through the pet door on the garage door.

– In the scene in which Ghostface busts his head through a window and Casey hits him in the face with the phone, Wes Craven was wearing the costume and was actually hit in the face.

Ode to Films

The first Scream pays hommage to a number of horror films.

– A Nightmare on Elm Street is referred to a number of times. Directed by Craven, this is not a big surprise. I quite enjoyed the little jabs here and there at the series.

– Halloween has some references as well. In the opener Casey’s father tells her mother to “drive down to the Mackenzies” which is a quote directly from the film. The film is watched at Stu’s party thanks to Randy. Billy’s last name is Loomis, an ode to Donald Pleasences character in the film.

– As Stu and Billy reveal themselves to Sidney as the killers, they stand head to head, echoing a famous still photo from the film The Thing With Two Heads (1972).

– When Casey is dragged across the lawn by the killer, it is highly reminiscent of Dementia 13.

– The blood pooling at Gale Weather’s feet by the news van is reminiscent of a scene in Night of the Living Dead where blood pools on the floor by Barbra’s feet (played by Judith O’Dea).

– Sidney mentions The Town That Dreaded Sundown while she, Dewey and Tatum are buying food for the party

– Friday the 13th – When the killer calls Casey Becker, he asks her “Who was the killer in Friday the 13th?”. She exclaims Jason Voorhees as the answer, but the killer meant the original killer from the first movie, Jason’s mother

– The Exorcist – When Billy sneaks into Sidney’s bedroom, he says he came by due to being bored, sitting at home watching a TV-cut version of The Exorcist.

– Basic Instinct – Stu and Tatum had an argument about Casey and Steve’s killer. Stu told that it was a male, but Tatum sayed it was a girl, giving Basic Instinct as an example.

– All the Right Moves – Tatum mentions wanting to see All the Right Moves so she can see Tom Cruise’s penis.

– Clueless (Alicia Silverstone’s character was quoted)

– The Silence of the Lambs – Billy mentions Jodie Foster (who played Clarice Starling in the movie) in one scene with Sidney. He also mentions Hannibal Lecter and that they never decided why he liked to eat people.

– I Spit on Your Grave – When Tatum encounters the killer in the garage, she mistakes him for Randy, exclaiming “So what movie is this from? I spit on your garage?”

– Smoke and Clerks are both seen on the top of Stu’s video player, a poster for Clerks is also seen in the background of the movie store.

– Psycho – When Billy shoot’s Randy he says “Anthony Perkins, Psycho”

Horrifying Halloween Rating: 

Halloween 5

Terror Rating:

Terror 3

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