Scream. The original. 4 glorious pretzels.
I had not watched this movie in many full moons, so it was a delight to revisit it. Look, Scream was THE movie franchise to see in the ’90s. And, as a whole, it holds up pretty well all these years later. So, what’s it about? Let’s pretend you’ve been living under a rock and let me lay it out for you.
Woodsboro is brimming with upper middle class white folks and it seems that, other than the murder of Maureen Prescott, not a lot out of the ordinary happens here. As we close in on the one year anniversary of Maureen’s murder, though, things take a decidedly bad detour. It all begins with a phone call…
^This is also my reaction every time my phone rings. Y’all, just text me.
So, the killer terrorizes poor Drew Barrymore and asks her if she’d like to play a game. She 100% does not, but she goes along with it to save her boyfriend. To no avail. He dies. She dies. A lot of high school students and their principal die.
My absolute favorite thing about this movie is the cleverness of it all. Scream is one horror trope after another, but rather than pretending it isn’t, that’s kind of what the whole movie is about. Jaime Kennedy is kind enough to give us the rules, and we get to watch these kids break them again and again. And end up dead because of it. There are also mad references to horror classics like Nightmare on Elm Street and Carrie as well as a shout out to original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. Scream really is an homage to horror greats as well as a bit of a nod to a real life murdery dynamic duo. More on that later. Scream is also kind of funny. Sure, the circumstances are bleak, but they got jokes, y’all. Stu (Matthew Lillard) in particular is straight up hilarious.
Also, anyone who was anyone in the ’90s makes at least a cameo in this franchise. Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich – yep, he was Billy well before he was FP in Riverdale, the worst show on television that I CANNOT stop watching, Rose McGown, SMG is in Scream 2, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Matthew Lillard. I adore Matthew Lillard. He was *almost* enough to make that Twin Peaks reboot worth it. I mean, no one slobber cries like Matthew Lillard. No one.
So, who’s the killer? Well, there’s a little bit of a twist. When I watched it this go around – I have not seen this movie in at least twenty years – I picked up on some major Leopold and Loeb vibes.
Leopold and Loeb were these two dudes who thought they were hella smart. To prove it, they decided to commit the perfect crime. They kidnapped and murdered a young boy for no reason what so ever. The pair were arrested – debunking the whole perfect crime thing – and were tried and sentenced to life plus 99 years. Loeb was murdered by a fellow inmate. Leopold was released on parole in 1958, so not life. Perhaps he was an excellent swimmer or had another mostly useless skill. <I will continue to point out that being a good swimmer can get you out of paying for heinous crimes until I die, or Brock Turner dies, whichever comes first.
The Leopold and Loeb story has been portrayed in films many, many times. Including a film called Rope by horror legend Alfred Hitchcock. Fun fact: Clarence “hella wordy” Darrow was Loeb’s defense attorney. I added that new nickname because his closing argument was twelve hours long. Y’all, Darrow was doing the most.
The final point I’ll make is this, unlike a lot of ’90s stuff, it doesn’t come off misogynistic or racist. It holds up extraordinarily well. So, if you’re looking to relive your ’90s horror fantasy, Scream is the way to go. If comedic horror is your jam, try this instead.
Okay, I gotta go make some Jiffy Pop.