Scream (1996)

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“What’s your favorite scary movie?”

SCREAM!

My top 10 favorite horror movies is a list that is always in flux, but Scream is one of those movies that will always be somewhere on the list. We are half way through the best month of the year and there is no better way to celebrate than with the movie that redefined the slasher genre. The 90’s was definitely the worst decade for horror movies, so when iconic horror master, Wes Craven (may he rest in peace), came out with Scream it was a much needed facelift for horror.

scream gifScream was successful on all fronts- acting, violence, plot, and controversy. By hiring well-known actors, Craven ripped away the cheesy façade and gave the audience something they never expected. Drew Barrymore was used at the beginning of the film to throw off the audience. Since she was such a big actress at the time, no one expected her to be killed off in the first 10 minutes. This opening sequence became iconic, used (and parodied) in other films and in all the other Scream films.

scream The characters in Scream are all people horror fans can relate to. Horror fans take pride in their horror movie knowledge and Scream was made for such fans, continually mentioning and giving homage to its classic predecessors like Psycho, The Exorcist, Carrie, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. A couple of my favorite references are the janitor (played by Wes Craven himself) dressed like Freddy Krueger and Billy quoting Psycho, “We all go a little mad sometimes.”

The ability for Scream to satirize the slasher genre’s clichés (a masked killer terrorizing “big breasted girls who can’t act and run up the stairs instead of out the front door”) while still remaining frightening is a feat in and of itself.  Horror movies typically follow a very simple formula, one we all know well, but the rules weren’t specifically spelled out until Scream came along. Randy coined ‘the rules of surviving a horror movie’ best:

  1. Never have sex. “Big no-no!” Sex = death.
  2. Never drink or do drugs.
  3. Never say “I’ll be right back.” Because you won’t.

Only virgins can outsmart a killer, and Sidney (played by Neve Campbell) plays by the rules. Well, until she finally gives up her V-card and all hell breaks loose. “Bam! Sid! Super bitch!” Watch a few movies, take a few notes, and you will be able to survive one yourself.

Controversy surrounded the arrival of Scream, dredging up the age old debate of whether violent movies and video games negatively influence teens. Here is what the film has to say on the matter:

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“You sick fucks have seen one too many scary movies.”

The fact the Stu’s motive was purely peer pressure certainly adds to the debate. And Billy is hot, right? There is something really wrong about that… d2587c70be26337acc42141393f5a5d2

But the biggest surprise of all was the reveal of TWO killers. Horror movies are predicable more often than not, and you may have even correctly guessed one of the killers, but not both! It was inconceivable yet totally convincing. No one saw two of them coming and the Scream franchise continued with this theme and still managed to sustain shock and awe, leaving the audience transfixed in horror time and time again. An inventive plot generates genuine tension and Scream is slasher perfection. Because of its seamless blend of wit, fear, and nervous laughter, Scream will forever remain a horror staple. Its legend continues in the form of one of the most well-known modern franchises and now an MTV TV show. Wes Craven may be gone, but his legacy continues.

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Scream (1996) on IMDb