Thursday, October 31, 2013

Top 27 Things I Love About Scream (that no one talks about)

As we wrap up another Halloween, I thought it’d be fun to take a few moments and share why I so love the exquisite horror film, Scream. This was my favorite movie as a kid, and I adore going back to it every year around this time. Please be warned: major spoilers do follow. If you haven’t yet seen this Wes Craven masterwork, then certainly do so before checking out this post. Enjoy!


The simplicity of the title card. The pulsing heartbeat, the ringing phone, the screams, the clunky letters going from white to red then fast-zooming toward the camera: Simple. Fun.



The fact that, just 2 minutes and 20 seconds into the film, Scream becomes dangerously meta. Drew Barrymore guessing that the caller’s favorite movie is Nightmare on Elm Street (which was, of course, made by Scream’s director, Wes Craven) should in no way work. But everyone in the film goes with it. So it works just fine.


The frozen blue screen on the TV. So ‘90s.


The slow motion shot right before Barrymore eats it. Fuckin’ brutal.


Skeet Ulrich explaining his relationship with Neve Campbell in MPAA terms.


How profoundly awful this outfit is.


Courtney Cox perfectly cast as Gale Weathers. Look at her in the background of this shot. She’s putting on make-up between takes of her news show. Even when she’s deep out of focus, Cox is always on as Gale.


Henry Winkler getting a little too handsy in his opening scene.


Every word of dialogue in this scene. I’m not being sarcastic, but this scene could’ve earned Kevin Williamson an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.


“They’re all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can’t act who’s always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door. It’s insulting.”


The makeshift doorstop Neve Campbell has fashioned in her room. That’s such a nice little detail.


“Her dad’s out of town, all right. She’s staying with us tonight.” “Do—does mom know?”


How convincingly Billy’s dad delivers the line, “You went out last night?”


Look everyone, Linda Blair!


I love this bitch.


The fact that the film enjoys lens flares, but doesn’t indulge in them.


I still can’t believe this is Wes Craven.


“Don’t go there, Sid. You’re starting to sound like some Wes Carpenter flick or something.” Another great meta moment.


The excellent acting by this extra in the background. Seriously, watch her reaction to Jamie Kennedy flipping out.


Sidney Prescott accurately guessing who would play her in the movie version of her life.


Matthew Lillard and his robe.


The purposefully awkward blocking of the actors after their sex scene.


Although Halloween doesn’t play in real time during the party scene (yeah, I’ve timed it), I still love Jamie Kennedy drunkenly yelling, “Jamie, look behind you,” as the killer creeps up behind him. It’s Jamie yelling at Jamie. Get it?!


The fact that, if you saw Scream in the theater when it was released, you didn’t, for a second, assume there were actually two killers.


The look of shock on Stu’s face when he discovers Billy’s real motive. I genuinely don’t think Stu knew about the affair between Billy’s dad and Sidney’s mom.


The way Matthew Lillard manages to stay hilarious throughout.


The fact that the film doesn’t harp. So many horror films run too long. Scream follows the rule: when the killers are dead, the film is over.


Click here for more lists from And So it Begins, including:
Top 30 Things I Love About Se7en (that no one else talks about)
Top 28 Things I Love About Heat (that no one else talks about)
Top 22 Things I Love About Goodfellas (that no one else talks about)
Top 13 Things I Love About Mulholland Dr. (that no one else talks about)

44 comments:

  1. Definitely one of the best horror films ever. I also loved how it played into every cliche and just add more to it. I also loved the use of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds "Red Right Hand". Yet, I've been playing Bauhaus all day for today. Scream 2 was pretty good as was Scream 3. Scream 4 fucking sucked.

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    1. Love that Nick Cave track. When I first saw Scream 3, I thought it was okay, but that's just because I loved the first two so much. I rewatched it a few months ago and holy shit, just awful. 4 has been dogshit from day one.

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    2. Yeah, I'd agree with this assessment; Scream 3 was just a mess; the movie-within-a-movie conceit was done so much better in Craven's own Wes Craven's New Nightmare, and the movie had nothing else going for it (and while the complications to the "mythology" might have been a deliberate response to sequels, that doesn't make it tolerable). I think there was a kernel of a good idea in the fourth film as well, which was to couch it as a remake, kinda, with Jill stepping in for Sidney. If they kept the film's twist but executed it with Jill as the main protagonist, it could have allowed for satire of reboots/remakes and a damn good film in its own right. Instead it just kinda stumbled towards irrelevancy.

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    3. Yep, I'm in full agreement with everything you said. I might even dare say that their hearts were in the right places, but the concept of both 3 and 4 just fails miserably. I actually rewatched 4 last night (for whatever reason...) and was appalled by some of the cheap comedy in it. Like Marley Shelton constantly hitting on David Arquette. So easy, so lame.

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  2. Fantastic post man! I just skimmed through this film earlier today as a refresher for my '96 ballot. Matthew Lillard is kind of brilliant as Stu, and I LOVE Neve Campbell's performance.

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    1. Thanks buddy! I can't wait for your '96 ballot. I hope Scream makes a few appearances. Love this damn movie.

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    2. It should. Off to watch Lone Star before posting my ballot.

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    3. Oh shit, I need to rewatch that film. That's a good one.

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  3. Can't even express how much I love this post. Scream is one of my all-time favorite horror flicks, and you perfectly pointed out so many reasons and small details why. Great post!!

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    1. Thanks Katy! I love this movie so much. One of my favorite horrors as well.

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  4. Great post - I love the little bits and pieces in Scream that demonstrate the amount of energy that was poured into it (that out-of-focus shot of Gale in the background doing her make-up the best example).

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    1. Thanks man. When I watch this film, I really do feel like everyone involved put so much into it. "Energy" is a perfect way to describe it.

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  5. Brilliant post Alex. I absolutely love Scream. I think it a lot of people hate on it because they don't realise how meta it's supposed to be. And I can't believe I've never noticed that janitor dude is dressed up as Freddy! Man I need to watch this again.

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    1. Thanks man! You know that janitor is Wes Craven, right? Doesn't look or sound like him at all. Crazy.

      I agree with you, I think some audiences today fail to understand that this was one of the first major meta horror flicks. Meta today is, unfortunately, all too common.

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  6. Happy belated Halloween, and entertaining post! I remember when Scream came out, the meta aspect changed horror in a way. That mask is truly iconic, and I still recall the creepy voice of the guy from the intro: "Do you like scary movies..."
    Didn't remember Wes Craven has a cameo, dressed as Freddy.

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    1. Thanks Chris! I honestly think this movie changed the horror game for a while there. So smart, so funny, so creepy. Love Craven's cameo.

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  7. Ha! I love this post. Great job, Alex! This film is awesome, and so are all of the things you pointed out.

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    1. Thanks Brittani! So happy to hear you're a fan of this flick.

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  8. Ahh, I have been jonesing for a rewatch of this and you're not helping! Really cool stuff you've pointed out though.

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    1. Thanks! There is never a bad time to revisit Scream :)

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  9. wow, love this! Scream is one of my favorite horror films of all time, so to see someone dissect this greatness of this film is just amazing! Love it!

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    1. Hey Jack, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Really glad you dig the post!

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  10. Best best best! I just watched this for the first time ever the other day, and I had never seen it, and didn't know about the two killers and it was gloriously meta and funny and clever! Loved it. Love the list!

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    1. Thanks! So glad to hear you liked the film. It's great that it doesn't lose any of its worth as time has gone on. LOVE this movie.

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  11. i love meeting people who love this film as much as i do. i did NOT know that was wes craven and linda blair in it, as many times as i've seen this film. and matthew lillard is hilarious and so perfect in this role. plus, i love gale weathers's lime green suit lol

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    1. That suit ROCKS! I love finding other people who love this film too. One of my all time favorite horror flicks.

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  12. Honestly, I think the opening is the best thing about it, and this is coming from someone who loves Scream. Drew Barrymore gives some of her best work here - a chilling and effective performance.

    One of my favourite horror films.

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    1. The opening is definitely the highlight, no doubt. I remember seeing this in the theater and Barrymore was by far the biggest star of the film. And then WHAM, she gets iced so quickly. Ingenious.

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  13. Great post. Scream is among my favorite horror flicks of all time. It's simultaneously a brilliant slasher flick and a brilliant spoof of them. I've seen it a number of times, but I never made the "Jamie yelling at Jamie" connection. Nice.

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    1. Thanks man! I love the slasher/spoof aspect of the film. That's what makes it so great for sure. That Jamie yelling at Jamie bit always makes me laugh. He plays drunk really well.

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  14. This is such a well-constructed analysis of what makes this film great...and another reason why I need to see it! I know, I'm about 500 years behind on this one!

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    1. Thanks :)

      You MUST see this one, it is so damn great.

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  15. Holy crap that's Linda Blair? Never knew that... I salute you!

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    1. Thanks man! Gotta love little Linda. She's a spitfire in this flick.

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  16. Great list! I love Scream and it's nice to read good things about Courtney's performance - she was just so perfect in the franchise and one of the better things about fourth part.

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    1. Thanks! I love her work as Gale Weathers. She's definitely a highlight of the series, no doubt.

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  17. "I still can’t believe this is Wes Craven." - wearing a Freddy Krueger jumper, no less! :)

    ...When Scream came out I was a young teenager and it instantly became the greatest movie I ever saw. That has since changed but it is still an exceptionally good film from a director and writer at the the height of their powers. Scream 2 is also a blast. Like your belief that Williamson deserved an Oscar for the scene at school, I think he should have had one for the scene in the university when they discuss sequels. As a young film fanatic seeing this scene for the first time I was in movie heaven!!!

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    1. I literally could have written this comment myself. I saw the first film at the same age as you, and it had the same impact on me. Likewise part 2. I love that sequel conversation as well. When I first saw that scene, I was like, "Yes! Someone else gets it!"

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  18. Hahaha!! Omg I love this movie. I thought I was the only one. Just happened to be checking out your reviews of American Hustle & The Wolf of Wall Street when I realized I haven't checked your blog in a couple of months.

    In my heart this movie is some type of cult classic. It actually reminds me of Countryside (Sterling) coincidentally, because when I first watched it with my cousins the setting in the movie reminded me of it (meta or an extension of my imagination). I also had the biggest crush on Skeet Ulrich, whoever plays him reminded me of the lead singer of Bush, as well as introducing me to Matthew Lillard. I think I watched SLC Punk a little bit after this & it is one of my favorite movies as well, maybe not the best movie but a classic in my eyes. Thank you for sharing! This was so fun :) I hope you are enjoying L.A. :)

    P.S. The pictures, the design whatever you are doing with the art direction on this site is excellent...you always seem to pick the best pictures GOOD WORK!

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  19. Aww thanks Courtenay! Really glad you like the site and this post. I really appreciate you reading.

    Scream is such a blast, isn't it? It kind of does remind me of where we grew up, in terms of that small townish, gossipy attitude kind of thing. I can literally watch this movie on repeat.

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  20. Your no. 24 it's one of the most amazing moment in film I ever saw. Just the fact that there could be 2 killers made go ape shit crazy at just 6 years old.

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    1. That was SUCH a great twist. Loved that moment.

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