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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

Scream (1996) ft. V.P. Morris


What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: A celebration of horror films by undermining or playing with everything that had made them cliche.


Plot Summary: Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) and her boyfriend are viciously slaughtered by a mysterious killer in a Halloween costume. Another girl, Sydney (Neve Campbell), is nearly killed, and a reporter, Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), suspects that it was the same killer responsible for the rape and murder of Sydney's mother a year earlier. Sydney's boyfriend, Billy (Skeet Ulrich), is accused as the murdered, but is released when the killer contacts Sydney while he is in jail. When Billy is released, Sydney and all of her friends go to a party at their friend Stu's (Matthew Lillard) house. However, they may have just mistakenly stepped right into the killer's hands.


Cast:

  • Wes Cravens, Director

  • Kevin Williamson, Writer

  • Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott

  • David Arquette as Dewey Riley

  • Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers

  • Matthew Lillard as Stu Macher

  • Rose McGowan as Tatum Riley

  • Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis

  • Jamie Kennedy as Randy Meeks

  • W. Earl Brown as Kenny Brown

  • Joseph Whipp as Sheriff Burke

  • Liev Schreiber as Cotton Weary

  • Drew Barrymore as Casey Becker

  • Roger L. Jackson as the voice of Ghostface

  • Henry Winkler as Arthur Himbry (uncredited)

*Recognition:

  • Scream was released on December 20, 1996.

  • Bob Weinstein ordered that the film be released on December 20, 1996, a date others were critical of as it was the Christmas period where seasonal and family films were more prevalent. Weinstein argued this fact was in the film's favor as it meant that horror fans and teenagers had nothing interesting to watch during the December period. When Scream's first weekend takings amounted to only $6 million, it was considered that this release date gamble had failed, but the following week, takings did not drop but increased and continued to increase in the following weeks leading to a total U.S. gross of over $100 million and high critical praise.

  • The film opened in 1,413 theaters, taking $6.4 million in its opening weekend, opening in second against Beavis and Butt-head Do America, and almost $87 million in its initial release. It was re-released to theatres on April 11, 1997, and accrued a further $16.2 million, for a total domestic gross of $103 million, and a worldwide lifetime gross of $173 million.

  • In the United States, without adjusting for inflation, the film is the twentieth highest-grossing horror film, and remained the highest-grossing slasher film until it was surpassed by Halloween (2018), directly followed by Scream 2 and Scream 3.

  • Despite competition from other box office fare such as Tom Cruise's Jerry Maguire and Tim Burton's Mars Attacks!, its release during the Christmas season, and Variety labeling it "D.O.A." before it was even released, Scream became the fifteenth highest-grossing film of 1996, well placed amongst big-budget blockbusters released that year such as Independence Day and Mission: Impossible. It was shown in cinemas for nearly eight months after its release.

  • Scream currently holds a 76% on RT, a 65 rating on Metacritic, and a 4 out of 5 on Letterboxd.

Did You Know:

  • Scream was originally titled "Scary Movie", which was later used for a parody of this movie, and other pop culture horror films in the Scary Movie film franchise. The term "Scary Movie" is mentioned five times.

  • Being a favorite of screenwriter Kevin Williamson, Molly Ringwald was offered the role of Sidney Prescott, but turned it down, saying she'd rather not be playing a high school student at the age of twenty-seven.

  • Matthew Lillard was cast as Stu Macher by chance after accompanying his then-girlfriend to an unrelated audition taking place elsewhere in the same building. Casting director Lisa Beach saw Lillard in the hallway and asked him to audition for the part. He got into the role with "incredible ferocity".

  • Drew Barrymore and Neve Campbell did not meet Roger Jackson, the actor who played The Voice, before shooting commenced. Whenever they are talking on the phone to the killer, they are actually talking to him. In fact none of the cast met him. Craven thought that would be better to bring out the shock reactions he needed from everyone when they heard that voice.

  • The use of caller ID increased more than threefold after the release of this film.

  • The party scene near the end of the film runs forty-two minutes long. It was shot over the course of twenty-one days from the time the sun set to the time it rose. After it wrapped, the crew had t-shirts made that read "I SURVIVED SCENE 118" (which was the name of the scene during shooting). The cast and crew jokingly called it "The longest night in horror history."

  • The film was sent to the MPAA over nine times for re-consideration, as they were going to slap the movie with a NC-17 rating. With each time the MPAA made Wes Craven cut out more of the films gore heavy shots. Bob Weinstein eventually had to step in, which secured the films R-rating. Wes Craven wanted to know what Bob Weinstein had said to the MPAA to get them to give the film its R-rating, he told them to view the film as a comedy and not a horror film. This completely changed the MPAA's viewpoint.

Best Performance: Neve Campbell (Sidney)/Courtney Cox (Gale)/Wes Cravens (Director)

Best Secondary Performance: Kevin Williamson (Writer)/Wes Cravens (Director)/Skeet Ulrich (Billy)

Most Charismatic Award: Henry Winkler (Principal Himbry)/Matthew Lillard (Stu)/Neve Campbell (Sidney)

Best Scene:

  • Casey Becker's Murder

  • Sidney Attacked at Home

  • Principal Himbry's Murder

  • Tatum's Garage Attack

  • The Scary Movie Rules

  • The Killer Is....

  • Resolution

Favorite Scene: Tatum's Garage Attack/The Scary Movie Rules/Resolution

Most Indelible Moment: Casey Becker's Murder/The Killer Is...


In Memorium:

  • Vincent Gil, 83, Australian actor (Mad Max, Stone, Prisoner).

  • Leon Vitali, 74, English actor and director's assistant (Barry Lyndon (actor), Eyes Wide Shut, The Fenn Street Gan)

  • Mildred Kornman, 97, American actress (Our Gang) and model

  • Virginia Patton, 97, American actress (It's a Wonderful Life, Black Eagle, The Lucky Stiff).

  • Robert Q. Lovett, 95, American film editor (The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The Cotton Club, A Bronx Tale).

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Stu: I'll be right back.


Tatum: No, please don't kill me, Mr. Ghostface, I wanna be in the sequel!


Randy: I probably should be. I never thought I'd be so happy to be a virgin.


Sidney Prescott : So how's the book?

Gale : Oh it'll be out later this year.

Sidney Prescott : Oh, I'll look for it.

Gale : I'll send you a copy.

[Sidney turns around a punches Gale in the face]


Gale: If I'm right about this, I could save a man's life. Do you know what that would do for my book sales?


Phone Voice: Do you like scary movies?

Sidney Prescott: What's the point? They're all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can't act who is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door. It's insulting.


Dewey: What'd Mom tell you? When I wear this badge you treat me like a man of the law.


Randy: The police are always off track with this shit! If they'd watch Prom Night, they'd save time! There's a formula to it. A very simple formula!

[yelling in video store]

Randy: EVERYBODY'S A SUSPECT!


Stu : I wanna see breasts. I wanna see Jamie Lee's breasts. When do we see Jamie Lee's breasts? Randy : Breasts? Not until "Trading Places" in 1983. Jamie Lee was always a virgin in horror movies. She didn't show her tits 'til she went legits.


Deputy Dwight "Dewey" Riley: He's my superior! Tatum : Janitor is your superior.


Casey: Who's there?

Ghostface: Never say "who's there?" Don't you watch scary movies? It's a death wish. You might as well come out to investigate a strange noise or something.


Randy: [Gale, Sid and Randy are looking at Billy's body] Careful. This is the moment when the supposedly dead killer comes back to life, for one last scare.


Stu : Did you really call the police? Sidney Prescott : You bet your sorry ass I did. Stu : [starting to cry] My mom and dad are gonna be so mad at me!


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 8.83

Impact/Significance: 8.5

Novelty: 8.5

Classic-ness: 8.83

Rewatchability: 7.33

Audience Score: 8.35 (85% Google, 82% RT)

Total: 50.34


Remaining Questions:

  • Who killed whom? (Whom did Billy kill and whom did Stu kill?)

  • What was the point of Ghostface following Tatum and Sidney the afternoon of the party?

  • Why didn't Billy just kill the whole Prescott family at one time?

  • What's the reasoning for the attacks on Principal Himbry, Casey Becker, or Steve since none of them have to do with Sidney's mom?

  • Also, why is Billy so adamant about having sex with Sidney if his plan is to eventually kill her?

  • There are a lot of ridiculous deaths in this, but there's no way Tatum dies from the garage like that.

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