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Scream

GhostfaceIt’s the most wonderful time of the year, and what better way to celebrate the Halloween season than to discuss some great scary movies like one of my favorite horror series: Scream.

Masters of suspense Kevin Williamson (I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Vampire Diaries, The Following) and Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes, The Last House on the Left, Cursed) managed to pull off a horror franchise packed with humor, mystery and biting social commentary.
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Each film found a way to point a finger at its audience, wink at them and then grab them by the throat. With such a winning formula, the films became huge box office successes and influenced most of the horror genre in the 90s.
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The first Scream set up all the character story arches that mutated and grew throughout the series. Each film building on the character history of the one previous.
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Scream is a horror film that used the rules of other horror movies to keep the audience guessing. It turned all the cliches of the genre on its ear with deft dialogue, smart characters knowing they were making dumb decisions and twists you don’t quite see coming.
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One of my favorite meta moments is when Jamie Kennedy’s character, Randy, is alone watching John Carpenter’s Halloween and is yelling at Jamie Lee Curtis’s character on the television to look behind her while the killer is behind him in the very same moment. Watching Jamie as Randy screaming at Jamie as Laurie Strode is like the Inception of horror with the scene folding in on itself with its layers of what’s happening.
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Scream 2 takes place a year after the events of the first movie and with its opening scene manages to create a scenario that feels so real and has you questioning why you’re watching these types of films in the first place. It opens in a movie theater where people are attending the premiere of Stab (a movie based on the events of the first film) and there is a killer within the audience. What follows is a sequence of events that still haunt me to this day.
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Sitting in the theater you watch as a character is murdered in front of a crowd so desensitized to violence that they aren’t even aware it’s happening in front of them. It made me wonder,  “Would I even notice a tragedy like that if it happened in front of me or would I just assume its all part of the show”?
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I applaud a movie that has me questioning my morality within the opening scene. Scream 2 becomes a dissection of movie sequels and by the movie’s end has made a bold statement on the influence that violence in the media has on our generation. Heady stuff for a “popcorn” flick.
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Scream 3 is the only movie in the series not written by Kevin Williamson. This time the script comes from Ehren Kruger (The Ring) and something feels off. He doesn’t quite get the tone right and relies too heavily on the humor which undermines the horror to a fairly large degree.
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The film came out shortly after the Columbine incident and movie violence was being highly criticized at that time. I think that may explain how the kills in this movie aren’t quite as brutal or horrifying as the first two films. While tackling the rules of trilogies this movie also takes pot shots at Hollywood as the majority of the film takes place at a movie studio where a new Stab sequel is being filmed. It’s a fun romp, but not the best film in the series.
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After a decade long wait, Kevin Williamson returned to the saga he created and graced us with Scream 4. What was missing from Scream 3 was adequately fixed with this sequel and an opening sequence to die for.
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It was interesting to see what pointed jabs Williamson had to make towards the new horror genre. Over the years, scary movies had become far more gruesome with the Saw and Hostel films, were found footage flicks like Paranormal Activity or were simply unimaginative remakes.
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Social media and communication had changed too since the first film with things like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & blogs and Scream 4 made sure to have a take on all these subjects.
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Here is another entry of the series that was of its time and reflected the world we live in back to us in clever ways.
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Its been confirmed that MTV has a Scream television series on the way. Ten episodes have been ordered, actors have been cast and filming has begun with an air date slated for October 2015.
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A huge Scream fan, I look forward to the new direction they will take and hope the show can live up to the movies.
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If you haven’t seen the films yet (after all this time? Why haven’t you?) or you’re looking to refresh your memory and get in the Halloween spirit, go on and pop some popcorn, press play on your movie marathon, but don’t answer the phone.
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-Chris Upshaw, guest blogger
Posted by on Oct 31 2014. Filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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