Scream, the iconic, Wes Craven-directed horror flick, is now of legal drinking age. Twenty-one years ago today, the film was released in theaters across the United States and movie-goers everywhere thought they knew what they were getting into. They were dead wrong. (Note: If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t go any further.)
“Going into the movie, we thought we knew what we were in for and then…they kill off Drew Barrymore in the first 10 minutes?!” says Sean Curtin, film and linguistics expert. “It took every lame horror movie trope and turned it on it’s head. Twenty-one years later, Scream is still my favorite horror movie of all-time.”
Producers behind the film had a brilliant marketing strategy where they advertised Drew Barrymore as they lead character – giving her prominent billing and placement on the poster. However, she is one of the first to go in the movie’s open sequence, signaling to the audience that anything can, and will, happen.
The film catapulted it’s young stars Neve Campbell, Rose McGowan, and Skeet Ulrich to fame, while giving more seasoned actors, like Courteney Cox and David Arquette, an extension on their resumes.
Scream follows the typical format of a killer terrorizing a group of high school students, but uses a satirical structure that breathes new life into an old idea. This led to a revival of the teen horror genre, even going as far to create a franchise of spoofs in the form of Scary Movie (Scream’s original title).
Three installments came after Scream’s popularity, with the final one releasing in 2011. Two more films were planned, but, due to the overall disinterest in Scream 4 and the death of Wes Craven, this plan was scrapped and a TV series was released instead. Still, the film holds a special place in the hearts of audiences, as well as the hearts of those involved.
“The best part of working on the Scream films is working with Wes Craven and the cast and crew,” Dane Farwell, the stunt actor who played Ghostface, wrote to me during the production of Scream 4. “We all get along together so well, it doesn’t seem like work.”
Scream has a magical combination of talented acting, strong writing and directing, and a series of frights and laughs that it keeps your attention from start to finish. I could go on for days about the amazingness of this franchise, but instead I’ll share with you a collection of autographs from the actors who made the films what they are today.