How SCREAM Re-defined the Horror Movie Genre | The Reading List | History of Horror

How SCREAM Re-defined the Horror Movie Genre | The Reading List | History of Horror

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Hey welcome to The Reading List this episode we’re examining films that influenced a worldwide phenomenon and resurgence of intelligent slasher films in the scream franchise. Spoiler alert by the way we’re gonna dig deep into these movies so you’re definitely gonna
encounter spoilers not only of the scream trilogy but a bunch of other
films as well so there you have it, snowflake. You would imagine a film
series so stylistically entrenched and self-references would contain a plethora
of external film references as well. Good news for you, your imaginations are
correct. Here’s just a few to wet your appetite. House 2: the Second Story Bad Seed Carrie I spit on your garage Silence of the Lambs Basic Instinct Exorcist None of this self reference would be
possible without Wes Craven’s New Nightmare This film which on the outside
appears to be just another Freddy Krueger movie is actually a super-smart
precursor to the scream trilogy. It had been 10 years since Wes Craven last
directed Freddy and the franchise’s popularity had waned. Incorporating this into the story, he developed a tale about Heather Langenkamp who played Nancy in
Nightmare on Elm Street 1 & 3. Her son, in real life, has started to dream about Freddy even though he has never seen the movies. Wes Craven makes an appearance as
himself and postulates that he didn’t write Freddy, Freddy existed before he
made a Nightmare on Elm Street he just channeled him into the movie. And when the movies became less popular, Freddy looked for a new outlet, the real world and Heather Langenkamp son whose fear gives Freddy the power he needs to break
into our world. It’s so very meta. Heather’s husband is a special-effects
dude who is killed by a Freddy glove prosthetic but all the references within
references are built throughout. In one sequence, John Saxon who plays Nancy’s father in Nightmare on Elm Street starts replaying a scene from the movie with Heather pretty creepy, getting goosebumps here. You just get yourself some rest
please get yourself some rest Nancy. Its total
self-awareness that opened the door for Wes to expand on that ethos and scream The movie scary and way better than you remember, so if you haven’t checked it
then check it and if you have, well check it again. I officially dare you You have been officially dared. Modern horrors we know it, wouldn’t exist without Hitchcock’s Psycho it took a big stab at the American home
in small-town way of life. It unsettled audiences but was a commercial success and has widely been regarded as one of the greatest pieces of cinema of all time. Why? Hitchcock legitimized the disturbing
themes by portraying the serial killer, Norman Bates, as a sympathetic and
emotionally vulnerable mama’s boy. My mother…What is the phrase? She isn’t
quite herself today The killer in scream is Billy Loomis. Whose reason to kill is simply
his desire to take revenge for his mother who was cheated on
by Maureen Prescott, Sydney’s mom She’s the reason my mom moved out and abandoned me. His mother in turn takes revenge for his death in a reverse psycho move in Scream 2. You killed my son Speaking of mommy issues Generation of
Vipers postulated that the American man being coddled from cradle to grave made
men weak and extremely fallible. Norman Bates killing his mother and her lover
was a logical progression of this reflection of the corrupt American home and when Norman Bates reverts to his mother at the end of the film the
dissolve shows the car The only evidence of his murder being pulled from the lake The skull of Mrs. Bates superimposed on his face, he is his mother’s son and the chain holding it seems to pull straight from Norman’s heart Hitchcock cutting
deep on the mommy issues, for sure. We all go a little mad sometimes. Drew Barrymore the highest billed actor in Scream and used in all the Scream
marketing is killed after the opening sequence Echoing shades of psycho when
Janet Lee the protagonist is killed barely halfway through the movie. Setting
up a situation where the audience realizes anyone could die at any time,
this trend continued for the next two films of The Scream franchises. Including the death of Cotton Weary, a major character in scream 1 & 2 and in the opening
moments of scream 3 You lose Scream’s characters were self-aware and able to
identify that they were characters inside a horror film There are certain rules Perhaps no characters more self-aware
than Randy whose rules provide us a guide of what you have to do to survive
a horror film. you can never have sex, drink or do drugs, never say I’ll be
right back I’ll be right back! A sequel the body count is always bigger, death scenes are always much more elaborate and the third film in the trilogy find yourself
dealing with an unexpected backstory and a preponderance of exposition, you are
dealing with the concluding chapter of a trilogy But where did these rules come
from? First, John Carpenter’s Halloween. Halloween, no the one with the guy in the
white mask who walks around and stalks babysitters. Halloween provided many of
the rules of The Scream franchise allowing Kraven to break the rules or
reinforce them like these two parallel sequences What’s the point they’re all
the same some stupid killers stalking some big-breasted girl who can’t act
he’s always running up the stairs when she should be going out the front door,
it’s insulting In Syd’s subsequent encounter with ghost face she’s forced to face her own cliche when the door is locked and she has to run up the stairs
rather than out the front door NO! In this sequence from the climax of
Scream, Halloween is referenced visually and Marco Beltrami score has taken over
by John Carpenter’s distinctive Halloween movie. Direct story references exist between Halloween and the Scream franchise, including names. Billy Loomis and scream and his mother from scream 2 are named after dr. Loomis from
Halloween. Dr. Loomis is in turn named for Sam Loomis the character that goes
searching for Janet Leigh, in you guessed it, Psycho. Dr. Loomis is the psychiatrist
who has been treating Michael Meyers before his escape and who always ends up being the only one that believes that Michael Meyers is pure evil. which he clearly is. I mean look at that reverse William Shatner mask what kind of monster would do that? Speaking of masks, the mask and scream is modeled after
Edward monks famous painting The Scream so it kind of makes sense why they changed the name of the film from scary movie to scream. See what they did there? when Casey’s father tells his wife to run for help he tells her to go to the Mackenzies the same place Jamie Lee tells the kids
to run to in Halloween. And like Laurie Strode, in Halloween the main killer in
the scream trilogy turns out to be Sid’s brother. In addition, Kraven uses style elements from Halloween, like the subjective
camera from the point of view of the killer If you want to talk simply about plot
construction in the scream trilogy then look no further than prom night. In fact, all you have to do is listen to Randy he knows that what Woodsboro is going
through is exactly what happened in prom night. “They watch Prom night they’d save
time there’s a formula to it a very simple formula everybody’s a suspect” Other rules from the scream franchise find their root in prom night including the
notion that sex equals death. I probably could have told you that myself. Prom night featured the virgin queen, Jamie Lee Curtis, who was in too many
slasher films to name but who still remained a vision of purity within the
genre legacy Hollywood’s slasher horror legend Jamie’s mom was Janet Leigh from
Hitchcock’s Psycho. Popping up again in prom night is the familiar slasher motif of fraternal murderer. In prom night, the killers revealed to be Jamie Lee’s brother and in scream 3 the killer is Roman Sidney’s long-lost brother, who’s responsible for the scream 1 & 2 killings having shown Billy Loomis the
footage of his mother cheating with Billy’s father. Before Jason in space and
Jason goes to hell, Friday the 13th edged out a spot in the
slasher genre with its single-minded focus on punishing sinful behavior. Campers having sex, campers drinking, campers playing board games, investigating strange noises in the dark. According to our Puritan ethics and the MPAA, all these people needed to die and Jason Voorhees was just the person to do it. mute and relentless Jason’s power and mythology grew in each film culminating
with his near and vulnerability in the partially canon but super interesting Freddy vs. Jason although as pointed out in Scream to a distraught Drew Barrymore plotlines in scream 2 followed this closely although we first suspect
the killer as a young man, it is revealed to be Billy Loomis’s mom taking revenge for Sid killing her son in the first film. Just like Friday the 13th Boom! Where’s my mic and how do I drop it? they were making love while that young
boy drowned, his name was Jason In addition the setting of scream 2, a remote college campus, echoes the location motif from Friday the 13th: A
Cabin in the Woods. Another more minor
influence in scream 2 comes from Wes Craven’s previous career as a professor of literature and The Scream 2 campus production of Orestia, a trilogy in its
own right. Sid plays Cassandra, the character from Greek mythology who was
given the ability to foretell the future but who goes mad because she’s also been cursed so that no one ever believes her. Sydney becomes Cassandra in the scream
trilogy as she constantly tries to tell people what’s happening and they think
she’s losing her mind. Now, I know what you’re saying. We already talked about
Freddy Krueger, dude. Nobody likes you and you’re a burden on your poor mother Well, before you say that let me angle the looking glass a bit so you can see what
I see while new nightmare influenced the self-aware meta aspects of the scream
trilogy The Nightmare on Elm Street becomes emotionally the heart of scream
3 where the rules of reality are bent and broken as Sidney Prescott apparently
loses her mind when the killer has inexplicably returned despite the fact
that she’s killed him or them twice already. We are introduced to doppelgangers and
disturbing nightmarish and surreal images from the other scream films. There are two Gales two Dewey’s and to Sid’s, as well as the houses from the original
scream reimagined on a film set creating a dreamlike journey as Sid
walks down her horrific memory lane. In addition, specific plot points reflect
the Nightmare on Elm Street. Freddie’s mother was a nun who worked in a mental hospital she was locked into the institution over Christmas and was gang raped repeatedly spawning her son, Freddie. So when Freddie was born, he gained the moniker bastard of a hundred maniacs. Now, Roman the killer and scream 3 shares a biographical origin with Freddie. His mother having been raped by a bunch of movie producers. Compare these two scenes
from scream 1 and 3 Sidney lays down for a nap, in scream, she wakens to a dark
house. Cold hard reality. In scream 3, she has her first stream of the franchise and sees her mother returned from the grave, haunting her and beckoning her to
resolve the story by returning to Woodsboro. These dreams and waking
nightmares are woven in a way that we can’t be sure what’s real? who is actually dead? and what might happen next? And the deaths in scream 3 border on
parody echoing the nature of a nightmare on elm street. Wes Craven could hardly have known what
influence he would have and the strange journey of his Scream characters. Is the audience are left with this delicious blend of horror humour and intelligent
commentary that attacks our senses and blows out our fear fuse. While recognizing the intellectual can see we give to horror films. We can never return to
the single-layer superficial horror films of the late 80s and for this we
have Wes Craven and the scream franchise to thank.


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  2. Awesome in-depth video on SCREAM! It did re-define the genre and it is hard to imagine it existing without the origins of Psycho or John Carpenter's Halloween. In addition, Wes Craven directing Scream with it's references and meta nature when he did New Nightmare shortly before. Great video! Keep it up! Scream sure is one of my favorite scary movies.

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