The Mixmaster's Horror Movie Countdown, October 7: Scream
It may be a little too clot with blood now to see -- given the less than killer fourth sequel this year and the countless copycat films in the years prior -- but Scream was pretty groundbreaking for the horror genre upon its release in 1996.
Heavily influenced by films of the late '70s/'80s -- Halloween and others of the sort -- it singlehandedly ushered the return of the slasher sub-genre. And yet, at the same time, it took a new stab at "the rules" (the virginal final girl, the bait and switch with the killer's identity, eff and you'll die, etc.).
Almost meta in its approach, screamwriter Kevin Williamson carved a fine line between pastiche and patronizing the classics he was riffing on. It was smart self-aware horror: Address the rules of the genre, respect them, play by them to an extent, but also don't be afraid to realize they're cliches and poke fun at them a bit. This was a film written by a gore geek about gore geeks getting killed by gore geeks because they had watched too many scary movies.
And to top it all off, master of Horror himself, Wes Craven (director of such classics as A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes, The Last House on the Left...and of course Vampire in Brooklyn) sat behind the camera to riff on the very subgenre he helped pioneer.
For a horror-loving 12-year-old, Scream felt like an instant classic for my generation. And 15 years later, I still hold that to be true.
The most memorable? Well, "do you like scary movies?" Hope so -- it's after the terrifying jump.
Most Memorable Scene:
It honestly does not get any better than the opening sequence. "Hey, there's Drew Barrymore! She's in this movie?" Not for long. Scream's 12-minute opening serves as an introduction to both Ghostface and his horror-obsessed trivia trickery, which became instantly iconic in itself. That costume inspired by Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream" with it's Arctic white face. That low, gravely voice. That line..."What's your favorite scary movie?" It still gives me chills every time I watch it, just as it did the first time.
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