Fashionably Late Movie Reviews: Scream

INTRODUCTION:
With all the reviews I do, sometimes I don’t get around to reviewing old movies, especially ones I love and have impacted me a lot. One of those movies is Scream. I loved it back in 1996 and I love it today. I am reviewing some twenty three years after the fact and I am not going to hold back on my thoughts, because all is fair for a skewer or praise, even my own favorite things. So what is your favorite scary movie? One of them is Scream!

SYNOPSIS:
Woodsboro is a quiet town where not much happens. It has seen better days then the murder of a young mother, but a year after that, things become hectic, and Woodsboro is never the same again.

CHARACTERS:
Shallow as puddles. I mean, exposition attempts to give us back story, but not really in a way that is needed, since it is being shown. For instance. Dewy saying to a smoking chief, “I thought you quit” when he is smoking, yet the body language is enough for us to see he is tense, his past doesn’t make this scene more poignant than it already is. A longer movie that build up the relationships better or better chemistry between the actors would of helped a lot. Otherwise, you really don’t care for most of them.

DIALOUGE:
Not bad at all. Although I do have some issues with one aspect and that is Randy’s Rules for a horror movie and one other aspect about the boyfriend always being a suspect. First about the boyfriends, what movie was it ever the boyfriend? It never was! I’ve seen 1000’s of horror movies and this was never a thing and while I haven’t seen every single horror movie made, I still can’t even find movies where it turned out to be the boyfriend. This seems like made up bullshit that found its way into the series. Second are the rules are never actually real rules. Let’s take rule one, being a virgin. Not a single survivor girl is ever labeled a virgin, we’re just presumptuous because usually the survivor girl is typical girl next door, reads books, but the question must be asked, whose perspective are these written from? I would expect a popular chick to not want to bang the nerdy kid, but not a single man picking up the easy nerdy female ass? I get if a killer is on the loose not to run off to a room to get off, because you’re going to be venerable, but Come on now, to think every character that ever went up against a killer in these movies couldn’t get laid or never did, well, this insults my intelligence. The other two make sense, but they really aren’t rules for a horror movie, more like, how to survive period. Don’t get intoxicated for instance. Well no shit Randy Meeks! How about, always have a gun? The “I’ll be right back” aspect also barley happens in movies. It seems to me that screams meta aspect, while there, is over inferred and whatever movies Williamson was watching were not movies I was watching nor anyone else. One of the weaker parts of the movies that is never discussed.

ACTING:
When I first saw this, I hated Officer Dewey, but David Arquette is really the guy who jumps off the screen with the best acting of them all. He never hams it up on screen or has an uneven performance. I have to appreciate David and his acting through this series more now than I ever did in the past. He is really good! The rest of the cast are uneven and one wonders if this is the first acting gig for most of them or if they were too cool to bother putting in the effort on such a low brow film. The answer is probably a mixture of both. Courtney Cox gets an honorable mention, even though Gail is over the top, she seems to have taken this seriously and brought an A game perforce and she is another character I loathed in the series.

PRODUCTION:
Production is weird on this. Scream, regardless of what some think, is not Wes Craven’s finest hour. It features weird 1960’s batman angles which not only look like shit, but add nothing and I noticed this was nixed later on in the series. A poor choice that, thankfully, didn’t hinder this movie or his career, because it seems so amateur. The set style attempts to be so not 90’s that somehow it is even more 90’s than being dated would have been, if that makes sense? The clothes are not teenage choices of the era, the set dressing barley have anything 90’s about them. I would presume they wanted to go “evergreen” so it looked good no matter the year, but somehow made it look like this was created by two out of touch old men. Then there is the police, which are all dressed like 70’s California Highway patrol. I don’t know where Woodsboro is, but it seems like it should be in New England, given that Dunkin Doughnuts outside of the region where hard to come by back then, so I don’t know how these Eric Estrada fanboys were getting it.

KILLS:

Awesome! They’re just right for the film series. Gory but not over the top and weird.

SUBTEXT: None

CONCLUSION: Scream worked well in its time frame because few movies were like this. You had Jason Lives with the meta aspect and that was all. It still mostly holds up, even though the cloning of cell phones was a dated reference even then, the fact Sid manages to make a 911 call on a system that never existed in the 90s, right after she tries the phone. Back then, this would have disconnected her from the net and she would have been frustrated waiting to reconnect via dial up. Kudos to her for being the first woman to ever have DSL before it existed. The production seems to be done by out of touch old men and the acting is typical fare for these films of any era, never mind the shallow cast of character. Scream’s charm lies not in how original it was or wasn’t but in how real it was, especially in the original decade of school shooters. It could happen anywhere and that is where the really scary part comes into play. It’s a movie that, had I seen as an adult, I don’t think would of influenced me as much, but because I was the right age and right time, it ultimately is one of my favorite horror movies and I am glad that I had the chance to see it then, because it really is a great and fun movie, despite all its flaws.

3.5 out of 5.

Kageoween: Scream TV Series Review

INTRODUCTION
     I have always loved Scream. I first saw it at about 10 years old, picking up a VHS copy at the local CVS to watch. I’ve seen them all. When MTV said it was going to do a series, I was filled with dread. MTV was never known for quality, it produced low rent TV shows with mostly mediocre music stars, whilst real music was mostly forgotten about. The last time MTV was even relevant, Kurt Cobain was still alive and Headbanger’s Ball was still on the air. I wondered what would become of my beloved series, one that inspired a lot in my first novel, including this gem of a scene from the original unedited manuscript.

I closed my eyes as I laid back and tried to not focus on the eerie silence when the phone rang and nearly sent me flying to the ceiling, like a scared cat getting its tail stepped on. “Hello.” I said into the receiver. All I could hear was heavy breathing on the other end. “Hello” I said more hurried and with a little annoyance in my voice. A voice came to life on the other that sounded deep and scratchy. “What’s your favorite scary movie?” It said to me. “Listen fucker” I cursed at him. “I saw that god-damned movie too, so leave me the fuck alone.” -Excerpt from 13 by Kage

     So was my fear founded? We will find out.

STORY
     Same basic premise as the movies, teenagers being stalked by Ghostface and dying off one by one until the big finale.
The first season had an additional backstory to this Ghostface, seeming like an homage to classic flicks of yore, where the killer had some weird backstory, but it works right up until the end, when obvious killer is obvious. Still, that was always one the charms of the series.

STYLE
     I hated the mask at first, but as the series progressed, I cared less about it and went with it. Lighting is good, albeit, typical of Hollywood teen shows and movies, but it works. While the style doesn’t have a Scream feel, the rest makes up for it.

ACTING
     It is a horror show and an MTV show. No one will be winning too many awards, if any at all, but it is fine and passable. The actors do very well in developing the characters, along with the writing, to give us characters to care about. MTV is really showing they can do a series and have it work, they just cannot get their shit behind the scenes working to keep going with more seasons.

WRITING
     The writing is very much in the same vain as Scream. Maybe closer to part three, but the overtones of Kevin Williamson are still there and it hits all the right beats, making me satisfied that this isn’t some scheme to capitalize off the name rights alone. It takes care to pay homage to the film whose name it bears and takes care not to fuck with the formula too much, while being interesting. The teens are characters we can continue to care about and want to see a resolution with, which is nice, given most of the character is movies serve only for use to like the killer. Not here though, it is about the story. Fantastic and much appreciated from my perspective.

CONCLUSION
     For something I had zero hopes for going into it and really thought I would come away pissed off, I was surprised that it was actually really good. It isn’t flawless, but the nitpicking isn’t really relevant to me. I enjoyed it as I enjoyed the original flick as a child and that is all that I can ask for.

     I can’t really believe I am going to praise MTV but this series deserves its rating. I also hope we will get a third season, and they resolve what storylines they need too as well as the rumor of the original ghost mask making a return.

I give it 4 stars out of 5