Greetings fellow movie goers from around the globe. It’s finally Halloween Month. Now’s the right time to select which movies to watch and review throughout October. Today’s review is a notable satirical slasher film from The 90s known as “Scream.” Prior to its release, future showrunner Kevin Williamson (Dawson’s Creek, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty, The Vampire Diaries) wrote his first screenplay inspired the murders of Danny Rolling/The Gainesville Reaper. Once he finished the script, Kevin wrote two potential sequels. In 1995, Kevin went from one movie studio to another in the hopes of making it in Show Biz. Dimension Films ultimately purchased the script worth $400,000.
Development commenced as Dimension Films searched for directors including Sam Raimi & Robert Rodriguez. They turned down the director’s chair as they were busy headlining “Xena: Warrior Princess” & “From Dusk Til’ Dawn.” The studio hired the late Wes Craven. After everything went according to plan, Scream was officially distributed worldwide.
Scream was released in 1996. (same year The Craft came out) It became a sleeper hit among critics and movie goers alike. Plus it made enough money at the box office. Scream spawned three sequels from 1997-2011. An MTV anthology series not linked to the films aired in 2015-2019. Scream was primarily spoofed in “Scary Movie.” Thanks to Scream, it resurrected the horror movie genre influencing others. Most notably, “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
A fifth installment of the series without Wes Craven will be released in 2022. Some of the original cast will reprise their roles. To prepare for the upcoming fifth film and choosing which Horror films to watch and review during October, I thought about sharing the pros and cons surrounding Scream.
It doesn’t matter if SPOILERS are listed. Scream is often referenced or parodied in many works.
Clean & Messy Qualities
Clean: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich Jamie Kennedy, Rose McGowan & Drew Barrymore all did an amazing job for their respective performances. Matt improvised his lines. I have to give him Bonus Points, he must’ve had a good time going over-the-top.
Fun Fact: Joaquin Phoenix (one of my all time favorite actors) was originally onboard to play Billy Loomis. He dropped out as he was busy making “To Die For.” He eventually played villain roles in “Gladiator” & “Joker.”
Wes Craven did a fantastic job directing.
Kevin Williamson did a decent job writing the script.
Marco Beltrami (3:10 To Yuma, Logan, A Quiet Place) orchestrated the music.
Practical Effects were heavily used to stage Death Scenes.
Randy Meeks is my favorite character. He’s so relatable as he knows every single Horror movie trope. Jamie improvised his lines.
Ghostface’s mask is based on “The Scream” painting. Pretty much sums up the title of the movie.
Casey claims the Nightmare On Elm Street sequels suck. Perhaps a jab at WB & New Line Cinema. Personally, I like “Dream Warriors.”
Billy’s surname Loomis, is a reference to Michael Myers’ doctor Sam Loomis from “Halloween.”
Opening Scene fools you into thinking Casey is the main character, because everybody thought Drew is gonna carry the film. She gets butchered by the killer. Sidney is the actual main character. What you’re about to see, is the movie effectively subverts expectations something Rian Johnson ruined “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
At first, I thought Randy is the killer, due to his extensive knowledge of Horror movie tropes. The Third Act reveals Billy & Stu are responsible for the murders. Another example subverting expectations.
Scream was originally titled, Scary Movie. Dimension Films renamed it after the Michael & Janet Jackson music video.
A cameraman named, Kenny (Warren from There’s Something About Mary) is slain. One Year Later, Kenny from “South Park” became a running gag always getting killed by random shenanigans.
Wes himself makes a cameo appearance as a janitor wearing a red and green sweater. A wink to Freddy Krueger fans.
Linda Blair (Reagan from The Exorcist) makes a cameo appearance as a TV reporter. Speaking of which, Billy mentioned the movie is edited on basic cable.
Henry Winkler appears as the school principal.
Liev Schreiber appears as Cotton Weary, Sidney’s mother’s killer. After he was framed by Billy & Stu, he was released. Cotton later factors in the sequels minus the fourth one.
After watching the film, you can rewatch for subtle clues involving Billy & Stu’s killing spree.
If you own a DVD/Blu-Ray copy, you can listen to Wes’ voice on the commentary sharing his experience making the film.
Messy: How the actual heck did Dewey race his way to Sidney’s house in less than a few minutes? Did “Sonic The Hedgehog” offer him taxi service? In real life, it’ll take half and hour or more for cops to obtain resources before they come to the rescue.
Harvey “Adolf Hitler” Weinstein is an executive producer. That sick son of a bitch is in bars getting a taste of his own “medicine.” My condolences to Rose McGowan and the victims.
The Final Verdict: A-
Scream is one of the best (if not the best) slasher films. If you’re excited to see the fifth film, rewatch the previous entries as sign to refresh your memory.