Back in the mid-nineties, the horror genre needed invigorating. The 1980s delivered a wave of stunning classics from The Evil Dead to Friday The 13th, but the success of these films led to countless middling sequels which didn’t live up to their original outings.
Enter, screenwriter Kevin Williamson. Whilst staying at a friend’s house one night, Williamson was watching a news report about real-life serial killer, the Gainesville Ripper, when he noticed one of the windows was wide open.
The combination of hearing about a series of heinous crimes mixed with the idea that anyone could climb into the house gave birth to an iconic, self-referential horror franchise.
Scream introduced audiences to Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) as she and her friends are stalked by Ghostface, a serial killer with a deadly passion for horror movies. Clever.
It’s such an entertaining ride because audiences go into the film already knowing what to expect – they’re aware of the stereotypical slasher rules.
Its success led to three sequels, all taking aim at how horror follow-ups often ruin or muddy the legacy of the original, and now a fifth film has arrived in cinemas – also simply titled Scream.
It’s been over a decade since Ghostface last tore through Woodsboro, and in that time several inventive, iconic movies have reinvented horror in surprising ways.
All of which means now is the perfect time for the legendary killer to return so they can provide yet another meta-commentary on the state of the genre. Let’s dive into it.
Scream is out in UK cinemas now.