How have I not written this before? How have I been writing EINTKILF for almost four years and I have never covered every millennial’s favorite scary movie?? (Sorry, The Ring is a close second.) This year, we sadly lost Wes Craven, one of the masterminds of the horror genre. Wes Craven directed the 1996 horror / comedy film and I am forever indebted to him for it.
What better movie to discuss in the month of October?
1. Don’t talk to strangers on the phone.
One of the main themes in Scream is the good ol’ phone, which leads me to wonder if “kids these days” will be like, “what the hell is that thing?” Well kids, it’s a telephone and we used to have to use them all the time. The horror, I know.
The movie opens to the beautiful Drew Barrymore with perfect bangs and perfect lipstick and perfect charm. Don’t get attached because she gets murdered pretty shortly into the movie. Like basically right away. She answers the phone to what she thinks is a wrong number and ends up talking to some strange scary man about her favorite horror movies, etc, etc. Even after Casey (Barrymore) is killed, the theme of talking on the phone is alive and well, even until the very end of the movie. Nowadays, it is hard to relate to the whole “talking on the phone thing” because a) who talks on their phone? and b) who answers an unknown number?
2. BE SENSITIVE.
When the kids were all hanging out at school post-Casey’s murder, everyone is mercilessly talking about murder (how to do it, puns about it, etc) in front of Sidney which is super inappropriate considering her mother was murdered about one year to the day.
I mean, come on guys.
3. Everyone has a cell phone.
My favorite part of the entire movie is when the cop/detective guy asks Billy:
In 1996, it was a perfectly normal question but whenever I watch this movie now, it makes me laugh. Though checking cell phone records is still a way to figure out who murdered whom, asking a teenager what he was doing with a “cellular telephone” is now absolutely irrelevant. That all being said, I didn’t have a cell phone until the last three weeks of my high school career because I am #oldschool.
4. Being a journalist is a rough career.
Gale Weathers, though she is ruthless, opinionated, and harsh, is one of my favorite fictional characters. What can I say? I love a strong woman who knows what she wants. What a go-getter. Though I love Gale, I definitely side with Sidney when it comes to the way Gale handles her mother’s murder.
I would appreciate if reporters were more sensitive to victims, both in movies and in real life—however journalism is a career that requires a thick skin. Also I just love Courteney Cox with blonde highlights and now is a good time to mention that.
5. Pay attention to standard horror movie formulas.
Though every scary situation in the world will not necessarily match up with a horror movie, there are still some things you should always pay attention to.
When speaking about horror movies, it is probably a good idea to listen to Jamie Kennedy. He’s just got such a sweet face in this movie. I’d probably do whatever he said.
6. Avoid being alone.
Another unspoken (err, I guess spoken) rule of horror films: don’t wander around alone! Especially to a garage at a party full of high-school students who may or may not be murderers. The only thing I don’t love about Scream is the fact that we lose Tatum (Rose McGowan) before the sequel(s). Tatum, you left us too soon!
7. You can’t pick your genre.
You know, in the movie that is life. When Billy and Sid are getting hot and heavy, they talk about movies and movie genres. Since Sid is clearly living in the midst of an intense teen horror movie, she rightfully asks a question that we all think, all day long, everyday of our lives:
Okay, if you haven’t thought that at least once in your life, I just don’t understand who you are or what you’ve been doing. I’d happily be Sally Albright, Kathleen Kelly, or Annie Reed. Hell, I’d even settle for Mary Haines.
8. “We all go a little mad sometimes.”
Though Billy is quoting Norman Bates when he says the line, it remains true even all of these years after Psycho and Scream. It is perfectly OK to go a little mad sometimes, but it is absolutely never OK to go on a murdering spree so please try not to be like Billy, Stu, or Norman Bates. Go mad like Mad Hatter mad instead.
9. Peer pressure is dangerous.
When it is revealed that Billy and Stu are the killers and Sidney is fighting back like the BAMF that she is, she taunts Stu, asking him what his motive will be. He sobs (he’s been stabbed once or twice or like ten times), “Peer pressure. I’m far too sensitive!”
We have all been victims of peer pressure, but you probably shouldn’t be friends with someone like Billy, who encourages his friends to murder ex-girlfriends and/or people’s mothers.
If you have never seen Scream or any of its counterparts, I highly recommend them for your Halloween weekend festivities. If nothing else, they are packed full of ’90s nostalgia and it is always nice to see Neve Campbell again. Watch your back, kids. High school is a scary time.
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