Scream (1996)

I vividly remember seeing this when it premièred at the movie theatre. It was probably the highlight of my year (back off, I was 13) and I still love it to death. The sequels, not so much, but let’s not sully the waters too early on. This is a damn masterpiece, which came along after a long winter of nothingness in the land of horror films. 


Here’s the trailer –

‘I’m getting ready to watch a video…’ – LoL, it was the worst of times.

SPOILERS AHEAD. If you haven’t seen this, get off this blog and get onto your torrent website or down to the nearest DVD buying/renting place right now and get it. Seriously. You’re embarrassing yourself and me. This is a staple horror film, a piece of pop-culture gold, you owe it to yourself to see it. NOW… and being born after 1996 is no reason for being ignorant.

I’ve always associated this film with Wes Craven, but the screenplay is actually by Kevin Williamson, who you may remember from masterpieces such as I Know What You Did Last Summer and other things, like Dawson’s Creek. The plot revolves around the small town of Woodsboro and the lives of Sidney Prescott and her friends. Sidney is approaching the first anniversary of her mothers murder when suddenly a new killing spree kicks off, targeting people equally close to her. Not surprisingly, this is distressing to Sidney, who inadvertently ends up not only trying to unmask a killer (who she assumed had already been captured) but fighting for her own survival.

I didn’t realise until recently that Williamson was inspired not just by his own love of the horror movie genre, but the real life case of the Gainesville Ripper. That kind of gives the film a new dimension and I feel slightly guilty for loving it as much as I do, knowing that it is inspired by actual events. (Funny, I never felt that way about Final Destination, which was also inspired by the real life plane crash of TWA Flight 800 – and was also initially written as an episode of the X Files – some trivia there for you…).

Amongst the supporting cast, you’ll see Henry Winkler (The Fonz, for those of us old enough to remember) as Principal Himbry and Wes Craven himself as the janitor of the school – note the red and green Christmas sweater which is a throw back to Freddy Krueger. Rose McGowan plays Tatum, although you might remember her better from Charmed (after it became lame because Shannon Doherty got killed off) or as Marilyn Manson’s lady friend (remember that time she went with him to the VMA’s and her dress had no back or front in it? Good times). Other highlights include Skeet Ulrich (he was like the ‘new J-Depp’ for about 30 seconds), as well as Matthew Lillard and Jamie Kenedy – in the only films they were good in. (In fairness, Matthew Lillard was okay in Hackers, but that was no where near as popular). Oh, and Drew Barrymore stars in the most iconic death scene of the 90’s. I also love David Arquette in this, but then, I’ve loved him since he played Benny in the Buffy movie. I wish he’d had more a comedic career, he’s gold in this as Deputy Dewey.

I don’t want to say too much about the intricacies of the plot, because it kind of detracts from re-discovering certain scenes when you watch it again. Go on, put it on tonight, I am sure there’s bits and pieces that you’ve forgotten. I will give a big shout out to the impressive heroine of the film though:

Sidney Prescott: Bless this woman. A heroine for the modern age. I know, I know, Scream 4 tried to pass the baton to Emma Roberts, but come on, there’s no way she’s realistically fighting off any knife wielding lovers, there’s nothing of her, she’s got nothing on Sidney. I love Sidney because she, like Nancy from A Nightmare on Elm Street, is just your normal girl. She’s not a beauty queen, she’s not a precious flower, she’s not the virginal victim (well, she is at the start I suppose), once her life is threatened, she steps up and she puts a beat down on that ghost faced killer! The scene where she first talks to Ghostface and challenges him (‘I call your bluff’) is one of my favourite ever horror movie scenes – Sidney is so fierce.

Even though this film is nearly 20 years old, it holds up really well. If anything gives it away, age wise, it is the fashion. (I remember when Courtney Cox’s wardrobe would have been the height of style – too much pleather for my tastes, but I digress…) I remember seeing Scream 4 and being blown away by how much the teenage characters had changed. It actually made me feel really old. Sad face.

Anyway, in memory of Wes Craven, I’d urge you to put away your mobile phone, put on a tartan skirt or some high waisted jeans and a cable knit sweater, whack some popcorn on the stove top and take a trip back to Woodsboro. Remember, your going back to 1996, pre-millennium, motives are incidental…


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