I know you’ve missed me and I would like to go out of my way here to apologize for my absence over such a long period of time. Crap comes up sometimes and you just don’t have the time or ability to write a column that you love to do. I mean that. This column is something I love to write and put out (heh) for yall every single Friday so be prepared for my weekly ramblings to return riiiiiiggghhhhhtttttt NOW! Ladies and Gentlemen, you’re going to love this…it’s a Scream baby!
My beloved horror genre has truly gone down hill in the past twenty, say thirty years. Remakes are hitting theatres every month, and if a new film does make it to the big screen then it’s usually a rehash of some older film. Don’t tell the director that though because they’ll swear up and down that it is an “original idea.” But in 1996, Wes Craven brought forth the inception of the “teen horror film” and it had a twist that no-one expected. And it also brought forth a new branch of the horror genre that everyone could bastardize.
Wes Craven has always been known as one of the masters of horror while being involved with great films like The Last House On The Left, The Hills Have Eyes, and A Nightmare On Elm Street. Even some of his mediocre flicks he’s a part of are still worth watching and you know that every time you catch Wishmaster, Shocker, or Deadly Friend on television that you’re going to check it out. In 1996, he teamed with writer Kevin Williamson to grab a struggling horror genre by the hand and try to lead it back to the prominence of the crazy seventies and the slasher eighties. He targeted a class of people that he knew would make his films successful even if they were bad by word of mouth and just by having others want to know what all the fuss was about. Craven hit the jackpot by marketing his new horror film towards teenagers and by also…releasing a damn good movie.
When Scream first hit theatres; everyone was raving about the really cool opening of the film that saw something not rarely seen in films before. I’ll talk about that more in a little bit, but that makes this as good a time as any to let you know that there will be SPOILERS in this column. My God man, if you haven’t seen Scream by now or even accidentally caught one of the sequels on TV then you just don’t own a boob tube at all. Just know that I’m going to talk a lot about how the trilogy began to reinvent the horror genre and then almost single-handedly killed its own momentum. You’re going to find out who dies and who should have. You’re going to learn what worked and what didn’t. And you’re going to get my thoughts on whether it could ever work again…so let’s make some history.
SPOILERS abound people but Jesus, you so should have seen all of these by now. Yeah I said it once already, but some of yall just bitch, bitch bitch, bitch bitch.
Alright so the first in the series is by far the best and that is usually the case with most films that generate a sequel or sixteen. I’m going to give you a quick synopsis for this first film just in case you haven’t seen it, but then it kind of stays exactly the same throughout the next two movies. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing because there are subtle changes, new killer (or killers), and different locations so that things don’t get overly stale.
Sidney Prescott lives in the quaint little town of Woodsboro, California and goes to school and has friends like any other teenager. The only difference is that Sidney’s mom was raped and murdered a year before the events in the movie making her somewhat the center of attention when people start popping up dead all of a sudden. A rash of killings are going on all around Woodsboro, but they aren’t just your everyday run-of-the-mill serial killings, oh no. The victims get phone calls first from people disguising their voices and then later on attacking them dressed in a black hooded cloak with a white ghostface adorning their mug. Each killing is quite brutal and somehow all leads back to Sidney making bad memories from a year before spring up again…but who could be doing all this?
It was Billy and Stu in one of the most awesome twists in a horror film yet. It was 1996 and the teen horror genre was reborn with Wes Craven’s Scream making it an obvious choice for a sequel but how? Well, more on that to come in a bit but this is just a phenomenal movie that I could watch repeatedly for weeks and never get tired of it. The opening kill of Drew Barrymore. The hilarious humor thrown around from time to time. Rose McGowan always being cold throughout the film’s duration (think about it). Sitting there and trying to figure out whom exactly when was in the costume doing the killing…Billy or Stu. You really can tell the difference between their murdering styles and it’s a fun little game to play. Not enough good things can be said about Scream, but I’ve got to move on.
Oh one more thing though…Billy’s motive for the killings is simply genius and incorporating Stu into the mix was a nice touch of brilliance.
Here is our obvious and very expected sequel that now sees Sidney graduated from high school, moved on to college, and supposedly gotten over the deaths of many of her friends. She is in a relationship with a new guy and has a boatload of new friends, but things aren’t always kisses and roses so it is only a matter of time before people start biting it again. Now the ghostface killer has returned with someone new obviously under the hood and bumping kids off all around the campus. Sidney has no idea what is going on because who the hell would want her dead now is beyond her.
Ok, so as a sequel…it wasn’t exactly the greatest thing in the world but it kept a lot of the formula from the first movie that worked. An awesome opening with a random kill that set the tone for the rest of things to come. The possibility of multiple killers thanks to the first movie and that great “whodunit” mystery feeling by there being so many suspects. Not to mention the side story going on with Gale Weather’s new film “Stab” coming out and being about the events in Woodsboro. Nice touch with the movie actually making fun of itself with a fake movie thrown in representing the actual movie……..did you get all that?
Something was just missing though and it is hard to figure out exactly what it was. Perhaps it was the fact that the two movies were virtually identical and people didn’t want to see it twice in a row, but it wasn’t that to me. A good amount of gore is there as well as some shocking kills that were truly unexpected…coughRANDYcough. I think my biggest issue was that the twist seemed a bit contrived to me. Billy’s mom showing up makes a lot of sense, but it seemed almost laughable to me more then “holy shit.” My kick ass moment was when Mickey (the awesome Timothy Olyphant) got all evil looking and shit to be the crazy film student that just wants to be in the movies. That just sounds like me and not that I want to kill people, but you have to admit that his motive was incredibly airtight and would probably work in today’s judicial system.
Ok, some how things seemed to improve from the second film to the completion of the trilogy and my guess is that it’s because Randy still found a way to make it into this one. Anyway, Sidney has now changed her name and resorted to living out on some ranch all by herself so that she can’t be found by anyone…even friends. But her assistance is required when murders start happening again, only this time they are on the site of the next movie in the “Stab” franchise. Sidney really is confused now as we have just about every friend she ever had being dead. All those involved with her mother are also dead now after having failed at killing Sidney and getting back at her. The only remaining people she has still in her life are Dewey and Gale, but are they the ones who are actually behind all this?
Nope, low and behold it is Sidney’s long lost brother that has been jealous for years over the fact that he never had the mother she did. I have to admit that as absurd and off the wall as that all may seem…it actually really intrigued me and makes for my second favorite movie in the trilogy, barely behind the first. Scott Foley stepping into the role as Roman, Sidney’s brother, is totally awesome and he seemed to fit the part perfectly. The final little speech he gives as he is “killing” Sidney is chill-inducing and made me truly cheer for him in hopes that he had gotten the best of her. I still think that she should have died here.
Sidney: “Lose something?”
Roman: “Found something! (BANG!)”
Aww man it would have been fantastic for her to just start bleeding out as Dewey and Gale scream for her from behind the walls but can’t reach her in time. I really wish the bad guy would have won her folks. I’m sorry to say it, but I do.
That leads me to the much rumored fourth film in this series that has been talked about since Scream 3 hit theatres in early 2000. Craven and company always said that there would never be more than a trilogy because it just made sense to leave it at that. But you can also tell that they left themselves a bit of an out here because the end of the third film gives a small hint that there still could be a ghostface lurking about somewhere. Sidney gets ready to go watch a movie with McDreamy, Gale, and Dewey but looks back to her back door somehow opening. Was it the wind? Did she just not close it all the way? No-one knows for sure but she felt secure enough to let it go and move on. My ass thinks that was a small way for them to have a fourth film if they ever needed the dough.
Well considering you don’t see David Arquette, Courtney Cox, and Neve Campbell doing much of shit lately; it wouldn’t surprise me if they wanted to reprise their roles straight from Woodsboro and make a fourth film. I don’t really care here because the franchise got watered down with the first sequel only to make a strong comeback in the third movie, but it’s not like it is perfection. My only request is that they get at least those three actors back, make it awesomely gory and scary, and kill Sidney’s ass off once and for all. Or hell…go one step further and have her turn on Dewey’s handicapped ass and polish him off. Now THERE’s your movie folks.
We still don’t know if this will ever happen for certain, but I’ll keep you updated as I know.
Yeah, I’m back and hope you enjoyed this first column after a lengthy hiatus from me. But we all have our own lives that sometimes just take over and cause us to go on unexpected little trips that include packing up, moving, heading back home, and starting over so to speak. Don’t worry about all that…but if you’re truly concerned then leave me some comments about me, the column, or whatever the hell you please. I’m back baby and you’ve got to deal with me every Friday now as I Make Movie History.
Tags: Making Movie History, scream, scream 3, Scream 4, Wes Craven