Dir.: Wes Craven
Producer: Cathy Conrad, Cary Woods
Writer(s): Kevin Williamson
Company: Dimension Films, Woods Entertainment
Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan and Drew Barrymore
Where to start with Scream.
Scream is an iconic horror film. It is an iconic pop culture film.
It is the film that created a turning point in horror.
And like he had done previously with The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes and A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven sets a new tone and changes horror.
But the big takeaway and light bulb conclusion that I had that is basically what this post is about, is that… out of the previous movies I’ve done, this is one the movie that is grounded in reality. This is the first movie to discuss that can happen, it has happened and the film, when looking at it from an artistic standpoint, doesn’t have all that fanciness that is in House or Creepshow.
Scream is suburbia. Scream is your town, your city, your neighborhood. It’s your boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s family members. It’s so close to you and “real” versus a love story around a vampire or multiple segments of horror comics on screen.
When I was looking at the many screen captures of the movie, that’s when I began to realize it. It isn’t about special effects or using crazy lighting or colors. It’s about the story. It’s about these characters being in distress and what are they going to do to get out of it. How are they going to survive? Who was going to survive?
However, the things that the movie “lacks” compare to the others that I’ve watched and posted about, is what helps this movie as well.
Like I mentioned before, I’m looking through the screen caps and trying to reacquaint the movie again since the last time I saw it was in October… and there are some interesting things to note. I have them written down in scribbles so here we go.
First thing, is the use of color but more or less on the characters and in the environment naturally.
And there were three colors that stood out the most: red, green and blue. The first two more common but blue is a semi-frequent color. And then I started to think why? Why green and red? Yes they are complimentary colors (across each other on the color wheel), they are occurring colors in nature and immediately my thought of Freddy Krueger’s infamous red and green striped sweater came into my head too. (Shoutout to Craven for wearing said sweater in the film as the custodian).
According to color psychology (seriously Google that), red represents “energy, passion and action”. Okay but what’s that got to do with Scream and its characters? I read further down on it. “Motivates us to action”, “give confidence to those shy or lacking in will power”. That one sounds a lot like how Sidney Prescott goes from a very shy, somewhat mouse like teenager who fights back. “It exudes strong and powerful masculine energy” which makes me think of Cox’s character Gale Weathers. Weathers is very tough, very confidence in what she says, what she does, without thinking of immediate consequences and she does wear a red suit in the film.
So what about green? “Balance, harmony and growth”. Interesting. What else? “Natural peacemaker”, “charity worker” “helpful neighbor”, and “the good parent”. That sounds like another side character in the form of both Randy and Tatum. Randy is used as the comedy element but deep down, he’s got a good heart, a helpful hand. He is also jealous of the fact that he is at the side to watch Sidney’s relationship with Billy. Green with envy, huh? Tatum, Sidney’s best friend, is more supportive to Sidney, more understanding than any of the rest of the main characters.
And finally, blue, what is it about blue? Trust and responsibility. I need more definition than that! “Responsible and reliable”, “inner security”, “blue lives in the past, it’s nostalgic”. The past events of what happened to Sidney’s mother is a huge part of why we are sympathizing and rooting for Sidney. The traumatic event(s) are in the “past” but still present to this day. On the opposite end of the spectrum, blue can represent self-righteousness, manipulation, rigid, and deceitful. There’s a scene in Scream when Sidney is hiding in the bathroom and a cheerleader in a blue uniform enters and basically talks shit about current events… and the blue screen in the first few minutes of the film with Barrymore points to those negative connotations.
This movie has more details than some grand, over the top bullshit. It’s about the story. It’s about Sidney’s life as she deals with being a teenager and on top of that, dealing with the trauma of what has happened to her family and now a killer on the loose. It’s about how Craven and his team use natural lighting for day and night, it takes place in a town making it even creepier that there’s nothing scarier than what lurks outside your bedroom window. It takes the fear of “this could happen to me” to a level of “this has happened”. Despite the controversies, the many sequels and eventual criticism of the film, there’s nothing like Scream and this movie needed to exist. It needed to happen.
90s horror was in a slump. There were many, many, many unnecessary sequels (Friday the 13th, ANOES, Halloween) but within the 1990s, there were some great gems worth mentioning such as Candyman, Popcorn, The Faculty, The Blair Witch Project, Jacob’s Ladder, The Silence of the Lambs, From Dusk til Dawn, Sleepy Hollow, and so much more. Scream, unlike it’s “very similarly toned teen counterpart, I Know What You Did Last Summer which isn’t highly talked about, is a movie as a film fan you have to see and know about. If you’re casual movie fan, watch it. If you’re a horror fan, watch it. If you want to know why the Ghostface costume during Halloween is everywhere, watch it.