25 Years Later – Scream Is Still Changing the Game


Woods Entertainment

The Ghostface mask has become an icon, but Scream’s contributions to the genre can’t be overstated.

Annika Good, Staff Writer

Scream had a large impact on the slasher film genre in the 1990s, very similar to the hold Halloween (1978) had on horror in the 80s. The major success of the film resurrected the genre of horror, which was in a decline at the time of its release in 1996. Director Wes Craven does a great job at tying humor as well as that dark and gory aspect everyone loves about scary movies. 

The film’s twelve minute introduction shows a young woman Casey (Drew Barymore), an all-american teenage girl making popcorn for a movie night. She eventually gets a weird phone call from a creepy sounding man that ultimately leads to a game of cat and mouse between Casey and some guy in a black cape, ending with Casey and her boyfriend getting sliced from the inside out, like a thanksgiving turkey. 

Later on, we meet another young woman named Sidney (Neve Campbell). Her father has gone away for the weekend and coincidentally her mother was killed exactly one year ago tomorrow. At the town high school, there are rumors going around about some satanic cult killer that wears a spooky black cape, topping it off with a mask called “Father Death”. 

Naturally, there are more calls and more deaths, with one of the suspects being the boyfriend(Skeet Ulrich), which comes as a shock to absolutely no one. If we were being honest here, he was suspicious ever since he climbed into Sidney’s window.

That pretty much sums up the plot. But the thing about Scream is that it’s not necessarily about the plot, but mostly about the characters who know they are the plot. The characters know they are in a horror movie because they’ve seen so many. They’ve learned what certain things will get them killed and what will keep them alive.

For example, they know not to say “I’ll be right back” because whenever somebody says, “I’ll be right back” they are never, “right back”. In some ways, a lot of things that happen in the film are inevitable, mostly due to the characters’ understanding of horror in itself.

The characters even talk about who they want to play them after coming to the knowledge that they are in the plot of some 90s slasher film. While in a conversation with Deputy Dewey and Tatum, Sidney Presscott remarks, “I see myself as sort of a young Meg Ryan. But with my luck, I’ll get Tori Spelling”.  Even though the film has many jokes that help drive the story, it is a horror movie, a gruesome and bloody one, that uses constant cliches the characters are constantly mocking. 

The “Ghostface” is inarguably the most memorable part of Scream. The mask was meant to imitate Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” and one of the ghostly characters that was in the 1930s “Betty Boop” cartoon. But funny enough, the mask was not created for Scream.

While on a location scout Wes Craven(director) and Kevin Williamson(screenwriter) came across said Ghoastface at the bottom of a box in a garage and knew that they had to have it. For years following, the Ghoastface mask became one of the most worn and sold costumes for Halloween in the United States.

The film featured characters who were well aware of the horror film genre, even going as far as openly discussing the numerous stereotypes all the classics follow.

Scream was considered one of a kind by Rolling Stones Magazine, at the time of its release in December 1996. The film featured characters who were well aware of the horror film genre, even going as far as openly discussing the numerous stereotypes all the classics follow. In the last 26 years of the film’s release, five movies are out so far, with the sixth set to hit theaters early 2023. 

Scream’s effect on horror changed the way people view it. After its release, almost every horror movie following had a tongue-in-cheek moment, in which the character makes a snarky remark to the audience, flat out breaking the fourth wall. 

Many intimidators appeared, including the TV show I Know What You Did Last Summer. After the success of Scream, the film was rushed into production.The movie’s whole purpose was to capitalize off of Screams success. Urban Legend and Scary Movie are more movies that can be tacked onto that growing list. 

All those films were highly influenced by Scream’s brand’s of this so called meta-horror, showing that all the crucial aspects have been shifted for good. After almost 26 years Scream legacy is bigger than ever and it all started in 1996, featuring some psychotic cult killer wearing a ghostface mask.