31 Days of Horror: The Scream Trilogy

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31 Days of Horror continues with the Scream Trilogy. So, it’s been announced that the fourth Scream will be the start of a new series, but will still star Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox Arquette, and David Arquette in their original roles. While we await the opening of this new trilogy, let’s look at the first three films in the series.

Scream (1995)

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Innovative for it’s time, the original Scream took the tired conventions of horror films and turned them on their head. It has been argued that Scream is a satire of the teen-slasher horror genre, and I would have to agree.

When a masked serial killer starts to terrorize the town of Woodsboro, it soon becomes evident that the target of the killer’s madness is targeted at one specific teen: Sydney Prescott (Campbell). The movie is cleverly, and would even say brilliantly written by Kevin Williamson, and directed by horror guru Wes Craven.

What makes the film unique and places it in a world above other typical teen-slasher fare is that the characters know the “rules” involved in a horror film: don’t run upstairs, don’t go outside and investigate a strange noise, etc. What makes it work is that while they are conscious of these conventions, when they are individually placed in harms way they fall into these conventions that they mocked from the start. A clever blend of irony and gore ensues.

The film also stars David Arquette as Officer Dewey, Courtney Cox Arquette as news reporter Gale Weathers, Jamie Kennedy as Randy, Matthew Lillard, Drew Barrymore, Skeet Ulrich, and Rose McGowan.

The most intense scenes for me was the opening with Drew Barrymore’s character being terrorized by the killer over the phone. Definitely a moment that kicked off what would become a very popular and profitable horror movie franchise. The final showdown and the reveal of who the killer is also makes my list one of the most intense sequences in the movie.

Years later, the Wayans Brothers would take Scream and its sequel and create Scary Movie, which spoofed the teen-slasher genre and jumpstarted Anna Faris’ career.

Scream 2 (1997)

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Scream 2 is the best entry in the Scream trilogy, in my opinion. To me it was an even more elaborate story with more twists, turns, and red herrings, than the first film. Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox are smokin’ hot in this entry, and there’s plenty of blood and gore to go around.

Now off at college, Sydney Prescott is once again terrorized by the ghost-faced serial killer who tried to kill her in her home town of Woodsboro. While it’s usually true that sequels, especially horror sequels, fail to measure up to the original, I would say that Scream 2 comes close to surpassing the first one.

There were plenty of intense moments throughout this sequel. This time around the killer is much more bold and seems to be just about everywhere. So when the killer pops up and steals the police car with Sydney and her friend in the back seat, or shows up at a keg party to have a face-to-face run in with Sydney, or nearly kills Dewey (David Arquette) in a sound-proof booth, there’s plenty of moments that thrill and terrify.

Once again Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven returned to make this entry one of the best horror sequels of all time. It’s also one of the highest grossing, taking in $101 million domestically, which makes it the second highest grossing horror (slasher) film in the U.S. The first would be the first movie with $103 million.

Scream 3 (2000)

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Scream 3 was a decent entry in the series, despite many plot holes and other story issues. Kevin Williamson had stepped away from the trilogy and writer Ehren Krueger stepped in to fill his shoes. What resulted was a lot of day-of re-writes with Krueger writing frantically trying to get new script pages to cast and crew in order for scenes to be shot.

While I do think the film does bring closure to Sydney Prescott’s story, I also feel that the story as a whole could have been stronger and much more simplified. That’s what made the original so good; it wasn’t cluttered with a cast of thousands. Even Scream 2 had a small cast compared to the large amount of characters the populate Scream 3.

But once again, Neve Campbell looks awesome, Courtney Cox Arquette has bangs (which really didn’t work for me), and Jenny McCarthy, Parker Posey, and a slew of other folks join into the Scream 3 madness. While there are a lot of characters, there are also plenty of fun cameos throughout.

This time we’re off to Hollywood where the ghost-faced killer now wreaks havoc on the cast and crew of Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro. When the killer contacts Sydney who’s been in hiding, she comes to Hollywood to help Dewey and Gale Weathers put an end to the killer’s game.

This entry had a lot more laughs than the previous two, but still plenty of good kills that make Scream 3 an enjoyable slasher film. While it may not be as good as the first two, it does hold its own and is still an entertaining entry into the franchise.

Most intense scenes? Again, like the first two, the opening sequence is quite intense. The sequence with Jenny McCarthy being lured and skewered offers plenty of intense moments. And the final showdown between Sydney and the real killer who orchestrated this who nightmare from the start also will keep you riveted.

Is it any surprise that Scream 3 is the third highest-grossing horror film in the U.S.? That means that this is the highest-grossing horror (slasher) trilogy according to boxofficemojo.com (Saw is in a different category labeled Horror – Torture).

So, what will Scream 4 deliver? Like I said before it will be the start of a new trilogy (just like the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie will be the start of a new trilogy), and Wes Craven is back in the director’s chair. Will Kevin Williamson return as screenwriter? According to imdb.com, the answer to that question is…Yes! It will interesting to see what happens with these characters next.

What’s your favorite Scream movie, character, scene, kill, or Neve Campbell hairstyle? Leave a comment and let us know!

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