So this Horrorfest, I am going to be doing something a little different. We are going to have “Screamtastic Saturdays”. Every Saturday in October going to be on a different Scream movie. So let’s kick it off with:
What’s your favorite scary movie?
So I really loved this movie. I have to say that I was originally disappointed in Wes Craven as Nightmare on Elm Streettotally tanked. This film was by far, much better. One of the coolest things about this film is that it is a parody of horror films, while still being its own horror film.
So the beginning starts off with Drew Barrymore cooking popcorn and preparing for a fun night in watching scary movies with her boyfriend. Just like When A Stranger Calls, she receives a strange phone call and is at first into it, thinking it is just a joke.
However, it quickly turns serious as the caller threatens Casey that he is going to kill her and her boyfriend, Steve.
But she has a chance at being saved, all she has to do is answer who was the killer in Friday the 13th.
“Phone Voice: Name the killer in Friday the 13th.
Casey: Jason! Jason! Jason!
Phone Voice: I’m sorry. That’s the wrong answer!
Casey: No, it’s not. No it’s not. It was Jason.
Phone Voice: Afraid not. No way.
Casey: Listen, it was Jason! I saw that movie 20 g******* times!
Phone Voice: Then you should know that Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees was the original killer. Jason didn’t show up until the sequel. I’m afraid that was a wrong answer.
Casey: [Weeping] You tricked me.
Phone Voice: Lucky for you there’s a bonus round, but poor Steve… I’m afraid he’s OUT!”
Steve is murdered and Casey runs throughout the house trying to get away from the killer. Of which she doesn’t make it out and finds herself victim #1.
And thus the body count begins…
So the killing of Drew Barrymore holds two significant things. One, she was one the most famous actress in the film, and was killed first. This was supposed to be a homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), in which the most famous actress of the film, Janet Leigh, was only in the movie for a short while before she was killed. This was also supposed to be a parody of Craven’s film Nightmare on Elm Street, when the first character we meet, Tina (played by Amanda Wyss), is killed. Craven also had his character Casey wear white just like Tina in Nightmare on Elm Street.
The next day, the town Woodsboro is just ravaged by reporters who are eager to find out more about this murder, especially since it occurred almost exactly a year after their little town experienced a murder just as gruesome. The murder of Maureen Prescott by Cotton Weary.
Meanwhile, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is trying to cope with everything that is going on.
As to be expected she is having a really hard time with the anniversary of her mother’s death. When she hears about the murders and sees the reporters crawling all over town and school, the memories of the past year come flooding back.
One of her other big issues is her boyfriend Billy Loomis.
Okay, I just have to go off on a tangent here: Billy is sooooooooooooo creepy looking. When I first saw this I was like he is toooootally the killer. I mean LOOK AT HIM! He has killer written alllll over him. Those eyes, they are super frightening. And the way he talks? He tells Sidney that he was watching Silence of the Lambs and that made him think of her and want to come over and get ”together”. What a freak!
(BTW it is another Psycho reference. Billy Loomis is a homage to Sam Loomis, Marion Crane’s boyfriend in Psycho; and Dr. Sam Loomis in Halloween.)
The two have been having issues since Sidney’s mom died. She was so traumatized by the event that she has isolated herself and found it hard to let anyone in again. Her best friend Tatum is cool with it as she understands Sidney needs time to grieve, but Billy has been having a hard time backtracking from third base to the benches. Ladies, let me just say that if any guy ever tries to pressure into having sex when you aren’t ready, junk punch him and run away. You don’t need that loser in your life.
To top off the already bad day, Sidney’s father has to go out of town, leaving Sidney all alone in a big house.
Sidney makes plans to meet up with Tatum and stay at her place, but falls asleep at home when Tatum is late picking her up. While Sidney is waiting she gets a phone call from the killer who starts harassing her. And she stupidly calls throughout the house trying to find him.
“Sidney Prescott: Can you see me right now? Ah, okay. [puts a finger in her nose] What am I doing? Huh? Huh? What am I doing? Hello? [takes finger out] Nice try, Randy. Tell Tatum to hurry up, okay? Bye now.
Ghostface: IF YOU HANG UP ON ME, YOU’LL DIE JUST LIKE YOUR MOTHER! Do you want to die, Sidney? Your mother sure didn’t.
Sidney Prescott: F*** you, you cretin!”
Soon the killer comes in her house and she has to run away from him and try to get the police there before she is victim #3. Billy shows up, climbing through her window saving her; that is until Sidney sees that he has a cellphone and freaks out, having the police cart him away.
So there are a couple places that were filmed in Santa Rosa, CA. One was the bathroom scene in which Sidney is attacked, the other is Tatum’s house which is right across the street from the house used in Pollyanna (1960). It is also across the street from the house used in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943). The house in the opening scene was next door to the house used in Cujo (1983). As I lived in that area when I attended college, I’ve been there.
Sidney spends the night at Tatum’s house and the next day is completely crazy. Billy was released as they had nothing to hold him on. And they still are unable to find her father as he never checked into his hotel. Plus Gale Weathers, a reporter who has been harassing her for a over year, is back and won’t let up.
“Gale: There she is! Sidney, hi, what happened? Are you alright?
Tatum: She’s not answering any questions alright. Just leave us alone.
Sidney Prescott: No, no Tatum it’s OK. She’s just doing her job, right Gale?
Gale: That’s right.
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]”
Also at the school we have a little Wes Craven easter egg, as he plays the janitor and dresses in a Freddy Krueger sweater.
The principal (Henry Winkler) decides to suspend school until further notice as it is just too risky for the students. After they all have left, he finds himself joining the body count as well, victim #3.
The death of the principal was actually added to the film late into production. Bob Weinstein noticed there were 30 pgs in the script where no one was murdered and they decided that they needed another victim.
Billy’s friend Stu decides to throw a party and have all the kids in school come. I don’t understand why anyone’s parents would allow their kids to go out like that with A FREAKIN’ KILLER ON THE LOOSE. Come on people, Parent!!
At the party, the kids are chillin’, drinking beer, watching horror films, etc. Billy and Sidney go upstairs and talk, resulting in the two having sex.
Meanwhile downstairs Tatum goes off to the garage to get more beer and is attacked by the killer. This garage scene is the only weak link in the film. First of all when Tatum walks over to the garage door and it almost closes on her, that would never happen. My dad is a contractor and I remember when I was a kid I thought the garage would close on me too; however, they design garage doors specfically to not do that. In fact, they have a certain radius that if someone was to walk within that circle the door would stop. And come on she IS IN A FREAKIN’ GARAGE!!! Do you know how many weapons there are in that thing? She passes over a hoe, rake, and a shovel! You see all kinds of tools throughout their fight too. She could easly find something to attack him and win. Although I do have to give props to Wes for allowing Tatum to to put up such a great fight.
Back in the living room, Randy is giving a rundown on how to survive a horror film, (* are the rules that are given by the killer).
- You will not survive if you have sex
- You will not survive if you do drugs or drinks
- You will not survive if you say “I’ll be right back.”
- Everyone is a suspect
- *You will not survive if you ask “Who’s there.”*
- *You will not survive if you go out to investigate a strange noise*
While all this is going on, Gale and Tatum’s brother Officer Dewey, have been spying on the party. Gale has snuck a camera into the party, so that she can view everything from her van. She and Dewey both take a break though, “walking off” together where they come upon Sidney’s father’s abandoned car.
Everyone back at the party gets the news that the principal is dead and had been strung up on the football field. Almost everyone leaves; with just Randy, Sidney, Billy, Stu, and Gale’s cameraman Kenny (in the van) staying behind. The killer comes out and starts attacking.
One of the best scenes is the scene is when a drunk Randy is watching Halloween and telling Jamie Lee Curtis’ character to turn around while the killer is behind him (Randy). He constantly repeats, “Jamie, turn around. Turn around, Jamie!” as the killer is slowly creeping up behind him.
So Kenny and Dewey fall victim to his knife.
After Sidney and Billy are done having sex and have changed back into their clothes the killer charges in and stabs Billy (#7), while Sidney manages to run away and finds Tatum’s body.
As she continues running she runs in the path of Gale who was fleeing the killer in her van. Gale swerves to miss Sidney and crashes, getting knocked out. Sidney goes back to the house, taking the gun from the dying Dewey. She runs into Randy and Stu and is unsure who is the killer. She then runs into a wounded Billy and gives him the gun. Billy immediately shoots Randy (#8) and stands up.
Yep, Billy isn’t injured at all. In fact, it was all a ploy he is the real killer.
Yep, the whole time Billy and Stu have been the killers. From Sidney’s mom (the real first victim) to everyone else.
“Sidney Prescott: Why? Why did you kill my mother?
Billy: Why? WHY! You hear that Stu? I think she wants a motive. Well I don’t really believe in motives Sid, I mean did Norman Bates have a motive?
Billy: Did we ever find out why Hannibal Lecter like to eat people? DON’T THINK SO! See it’s a lot more scarier when there’s no motive, Sid. We did your Mom a favor, Sid. That woman was a slut-bag whore who flashed her s*** all over town like she was Sharon Stone or somethin’.
Stu: Yeah, we put her out of her misery, ’cause let’s face Sidney, your mother was no Sharon Stone,hmm?
Billy: Is that motive enough for you? How about this? Your slut mother was f****** my father and she’s the reason my mom moved out and abandoned me. [Sid looks astonished] How’s that for a motive? Maternal abandonment causes serious deviant behaviour. It certainly f***** you up. It made you have sex with a psychopath.”
Yep, and not only that, but the two planned the whole thing out so that her father would take the blame, making it look like he had a mental breakdown on the anniversary of his wife’s death and started killing people. They kidnapped her father and brought him out of hiding for their final act. Billy and Stu planned that original attack on Sidney (when Billy was arrested) to make any second arrest look false and questionable.
Of course their plan will not be complete until they make themselves look like victims. Stu stabs Billy, and Billy stabs Stu. While the two are monologing and arguing they have seemed to forget one important thing.
Sidney and her father have disappeared.
Stu: Oh, s***.
Billy: [They go into the kitchen to find Sidney and Mr. Prescott gone] Where are they? Where are they?
Stu: I don’t know, Billy, but I’m hurtin’, man!
Yep, just like they say in Dial M for Murder, you can never plan the perfect murder. What sounds good on paper can never transfer to real life, because in real life there are just too many things that can go wrong.
“Margot Mary Wendice: Do you really believe in the perfect murder?
Mark Halliday: Mmm, yes, absolutely. On paper, that is. And I think I could, uh, plan one better than most people; but I doubt if I could carry it out.
Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?
Mark Halliday: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don’t… always.”
So here Stu and Billy find themselves completely off script, and unsure…
[the phone rings]
Stu: Should I let the machine get it?
Billy: [answers it] Hello?
Sidney Prescott: Are you alone in the house?
Billy: B****! You b****, where the f*** are you?
Sidney Prescott: Not so fast, we’re going to play a little game. It’s called: Guess who just called the police and reported your sorry motherf******* a**!
[Stu is slowly collapsing to the floor]
Billy: Find her, you dips***! Get up!
Stu: I can’t, Billy. You already cut me too deep. I think I’m dying here, man!
Billy: [Billy gives Stu the phone] Talk to her. Talk to her.
Sidney Prescott: Ah, Stu, Stu, Stu… What’s your motive? Billy’s got one. The police are on their way. What are you going to tell them?
Stu: Peer pressure. I’m far too sensitive.
Billy:[Billy takes the phone back] I’m going to rip you up, b****, just like your f****** mother!
Sidney Prescott: You’ve gotta find me first, you pansy-a** momma’s boy!”
Now the game of cat and mouse has changed with the hunted becoming the hunters.
In the end Gale, Sidney, Dewey, Mr. Prescott, and Randy survive (only 5 victims).
So that was Scream one of the best horror-parodies ever made.
This film really brought back the slasher genre, as after this slasher remakes and slasher film numbers escalated. It also brought up the debate on whether or not violence in movies affected people and caused them to become more violent? The most important thing is that this film increased was the use of caller ID and made such phone harassment much harder to do. Although not for me.
The other thing I realized in this film is that I am soooooo Randy.
I also realized that just like in The Cable Guy, I’m only a few steps away from the crazy.
Well, that’s Scream. Tune in next Saturday for Scream 2.
To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart
To go to the previous post, go to In Their Proper Place
For more on Scream, go to When Horror Doesn’t Stay on the Screen
For more on Wes Craven, go to Krueger Town
For more on phone harrasment, go to It’s Coming From Inside the House
For more films influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, go to Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare
For more on serial killers, go to Hello? Is There a Killer in My Kitchen?
For more on slasher films, go to Camp Blood
For more films that spanned numerous sequels, go to He Who Walks Behind the Rows