37. Scream

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Movie: Scream

Release Date: December 20, 1996

Director: Wes Craven

Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore.

Tag Lines: “A new thriller from Wes Craven.”

“Someone Is Playing A Deadly Game, Someone Who Has Seen Way Too Many Scary Movies.”

“Name The Killer! December 20th.”

“He’s Taken His Love Of Fear, One Step, Too Far.”

“Solving This Mystery Is Going To Be Murder.”

“I’ll Be Right Back.”

“Don’t Answer The Phone. Don’t Open The Door. Don’t Try To Escape.”

“Someone has taken their love of scary movies one step too far. Solving this mystery is going to be murder.”

“Someone’s Taken Their Love Of Scary Movies One Step Too Far!”

“Make Your Last Breath Count.”

“Now someone is victim and someone is a suspect.”

“From The First Name In Suspense Comes The Last Word In Fear.”

“Don’t Answer The Door, Don’t Leave The House, Don’t Answer The Phone, But Most Of All, Don’t SCREAM.”

“Now everybody is a victim and everybody is a suspect!”

Relevance: As you all might have caught on by now, I love a good horror movie. In 1996, I started hearing rumblings of a new Wes Craven film in production. Mr. Craven was the master of the genre and had created some of the most iconic scary images and movies of all times. I was extremely excited for the movie but thanks to life, I did not see ‘Scream’ in theaters.

‘Scream’ was released in late December of 1996, because nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a good slasher film. The movie received great reviews from critics, which was an odd occurrence when it comes to horror. Most critics dismiss the genre. However, the strong script and great ensemble couldn’t help but be noticed. Audiences took notice as well. The film had a very successful run in theaters and brought in more than twelve times its budget. It reaffirmed Wes Craven’s title as horror genius and gave the already famous cast even more bragging rights.

Unfortunately opening during the holiday season was not a good thing for me. At the time I worked in a movie and music retail store. If anyone has worked retail, you know that from November 1st through January 31st your life is work, work, work. Being a manager, I was working more than forty-five hours a week in a very busy store dealing with grump, impatient customers. Oh what fun! On top of that, I was an expectant father. So my time off was spent preparing for the arrival of my bouncing baby boy. When I wasn’t working or prepping for baby number one, I was sleeping. So a day or night out at the movies was very rare occurrence. That is why ‘Scream’ fell by the way side.

I counted the days until it was released to home media and in the summer of 1997, when it was finally released as a rental, I did just that. I had been waiting months to see the film and thankfully I was able to keep 95% of it a secret. I only knew the basics from trailers, reviews and non-spoiling articles as to keep the movie as fresh as possible. I am so glad that I was able to do that. The movie was more than well received. I watched it with a few family members and everyone was intrigued and delighted by both the horror as well as the humor intermingled throughout. One of the things that made ‘Scream’ and its entire franchise so entertaining was that it did not take itself too seriously. It was just a great, solid story with terrific scares and a twist and turn plot which had me guessing up until the very end. When it ended, I only wanted more. Thankfully, I got a lot more.

‘Scream’ has since become a franchise and the original has spawned three sequels, with a fifth movie on the way in little over a year. With each new film release, I was just as excited as I was the first time. Unfortunately, ‘Scream 2’ was released a year later around the same holiday time, so I had to resort to renting that one as well. However, I finally got to see a ‘Scream’ movie in the theaters with both parts three and four. I have loved all of the movies (and I am very excited for the next installment), but nothing compares to the original. It was a fresh, funny, surprising, scary and overwhelmingly entertaining entry into the horror genre. I own the entire franchise on DVD and look forward to adding to it very soon.

Today’s Thoughts: “What’s your favorite scary movie?”

Even knowing all of the twists and turns of the plot, ‘Scream’ is still a very enjoyable movie to watch. I have seen it as well as all of its sequels numerous times throughout the years, but it never grows old. In 2015, when Wes Craven passed away, I had myself a ‘Scream’ movie marathon as a tribute and also a thank you to him. He was a great director and writer and is missed dearly. I was super excited to re-visit one of his best today.

‘Scream’ is, well, a scream. And I mean that in both scares and laughter. One of the things I love about the film is not only the actors, but the fun, sly script by Kevin Williamson. It is so clever and so funny. The characters are quirky and are brought brilliantly to life by the tremendous ensemble cast. Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan and Skeet Ulrich are all fantastic. There are really great iconic moments in the movie, but nothing beats that opening scene. It is fun and scary and Drew Barrymore gives one of her best performances of all times. It is by far one of my favorite scenes of any genre of all time. It’s that good!

Wes Craven really knew what scared people and he was able to make those fears entertaining. He will be popping up again very shortly on my list of most influential movies of all time, but ‘Scream’ is deservedly worthy of being in my top forty films. If you don’t like horror, you are missing out on one of the greatest movies ever made. For those of you that do love the genre, re-watch this classic again and try not to be entertained. It’s damn near impossible.

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, DVD Availability.

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