This day in history: December 20th, 1996, Theatrical release of SCREAM

“Someone has taken their love of scary movies one step too far!”


A quick recap for those who haven’t seen SCREAM:

SCREAMThe small town of Woodsboro is shocked and appalled when 2 of their young students are brutally murdered one night. Sydney Prescott, still recovering from her mother’s murder the year before, is the newest target for the ghost faced killer. This killer has an appetite for scary movies though, and tortures his victims first by calling them and asking the now famous question, “What’s your favorite scary movie?”. Deputy “Dewey” tries to be the hero in the investigation, while sleazy tabloid reporter Gale Weathers tags along, searching for new writing material about the murders. Sydney and her friends fight for their lives trying to find out who the ghost killer is, before he reaches them first. As Randy, our horror movie expert states, everyone is a suspect!


Craven, Williamson and the Weinstein Brothers couldn’t have predicted what SCREAM would do for the horror genre. Horror had reached an all time low coming out of the 80s, nothing but 3rd and 4th installments of previous horror hits were being released. Then Kevin Williamson came along with his small script entitled, “SCARY MOVIE”, about a ghost faced killer who called his victims before brutally murdering them. Luckily for Williamson, Wes Craven loved the script and it was made into what we now know as “SCREAM”.

SCREAM revived the horror genre, but put it in a different light. Previously, most slasher movies had a “Boogeyman”- otherwise known as the killer that could survive anything, was almost inhuman. Michael, Freddy & Jason ruled the slasher world, but the movies were all the same. It was the same killer, stalking different teenagers in different locations. SCREAM brought back the whodunit mystery, making every character a suspect. SCREAM was also the first to make their teenagers self aware, and most importantly, aware of other movies, celebrities, and pop culture. It was the first movie to reference other horror films (and the predictable nature of them), and have their characters think of their lives as a horror movie. They knew the stereotypes, they knew the rules, they just had to survive.

SCREAM also plucked its talent from high rated television shows – Neve Campbell, who played our scream queen ‘Sydney Prescott’, was the star of “Party of Five” (Alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt, who later appeared in another one of Williamson’s writings, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER). When she signed on to do SCREAM, Neve Campbell had just finished filming the movie THE CRAFT, alongside Skeet Ulrich, who played Sydney’s boyfriend, ‘Billy Loomis’ in SCREAM. Courteney Cox was another famous TV star, who at the time, had one of the starring roles on the hit sitcom “Friends”. The supporting cast were relatively unknown until SCREAM hit theatres – David Arquette had a small role in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, and Jamie Kennedy starred in Baz Luhrmann’s ROMEO & JULIET.


“Don’t answer the phone. Don’t open the door. Don’t try to escape”


Scream Fun Facts and Horror Connections:

-Kevin Williamson, the writer, is also the writer of Dawson’s Creek and The Vampire Diaries. Him & Wes Craven have worked together on SCREAM 2 & 4, as well as the movie CURSED.

-Casey’s dad tells his wife to, “Drive down to the Mackenzie’s and call for help”, which is what Laurie Strode tells the kids to do at the end of HALLOWEEN.

-The school janitor is named Fred and is dressed as Freddy Krueger (He is also played by Wes Craven).

-When Sydney is in her room with Billy, a cover of “Don’t fear the reaper” is playing. The original plays in HALLOWEEN while the girls are driving around.

-Tatum states, “You’re starting to sound like a character from a Wes Carpenter movie”

Wes Craven is the director of SCREAM, John Carpenter of HALLOWEEN.

-Casey Becker tells the killer that the first a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET was good, but the rest sucked. Wes Craven only directed the first out of the original six.

-Billy Loomis’ name comes from Michael Myers doctor, Dr. Sam Loomis

-“What movie is this, I spit on your garage?” Tatum’s take on I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.

-Billy licks the “blood” off his hands and says,  “Corn syrup. The same thing they used for pig’s blood in Carrie”.

-Drew Barrymore was originally offered the role of Sydney, but she turned it down and instead wanted to play Casey Becker. However, she offered to promote the movie as if she were the star.

-“We all go a little mad sometimes” is Billy’s reference to PSYCHO.

-Wes Craven is 73 years old, and used to be a Humanities professor in Potsdam, New York

-Stu tells Sydney that Billy is heartbroken after she “branded him the Candyman”.

-Linda Blair (THE EXORCIST) has a cameo as a reporter.

-Neve Campbell and Drew Barrymore never met Roger Jackson, the “evil phone voice” until after filming had wrapped.

-Dewey was meant to die at the end of SCREAM, but test audiences loved his character so much that Craven decided to let him survive.

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