Scream

Scream ★★★★★

I honestly can't remember a time in my life when Scream wasn't a part of it in some way.

I was born 2 years before the movie's release and I wouldn't actually see it until I was in secondary school, but the Ghostface mask and the shockwave Scream's arrival sent through pop culture was something I felt growing up.

An older cousin used to speak about it a lot, especially after I wanted to wear the Ghostface mask my very first time trick or treating.
This must have been around 2000 or 2001, when Scream 3 was either being marketed for cinema or home VHS release.
I was 6 or 7 and had no idea what Scream was, outside of the mask, but I knew the mask was iconic. I had one of the clear plastic-coated ones that drizzled blood around the face when you squeezed a pump in the shape of a human heart. For the robe, I wore my dad's far-too-big-for-me black dressing gown.
Mum sat in the car to supervise and watched with tears in her eyes as a small dog chased me up the road, dressing gown billowing open behind me like a cape.

I somehow ended up seeing Scary Movie (2000) with my cousin at far too young of an age shortly afterwards. I suppose he thought that between horror and lewd comedy, the lewd comedy was the funnier choice to show a kid who was younger than 10.

When I finally saw Scream it was quite a few years later, I'd guess at around 2008 or 2009, and I would have been 14 or 15. I was too scared to explore 'real' horror but I loved Alien and Predator (thanks to AvP '04!) and I wanted to see the real movie Ghostface was born from.
I borrowed the VHS off a friend at school, surprised at the white case with the hand clasped over the mouth because I was expecting the Ghostface mask instead.

I watched Scream for the very first time on my tiny box TV with a built-in VHS player, so my first experience with it was on a 12" or 15" screen. I remember being scared, but thinking about how closely Scary Movie had copied it helped. I must have watched that tape five times before giving it back, watching the tracking scramble the picture as I rewound and fast forwarded to the best parts.

It took me years and years to divorce Scream from Scary Movie in my head, and I am now at the point where it is gone. I will never watch Scary Movie again so not to pollute my future viewings of Scream, they are too closely linked in my formative memories.

As I have grown older my appreciation for Scream has only deepened. I journeyed deep into horror after I left school, I started by watching the movies from the sub-genre Scream revitalised and wouldn't exist without.
Now I relish all the stories behind it; I love the commentary with Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson. I spent time watching dozens of YouTube videos recorded at comic con panels where the cast tell the same stories different ways when similar questions are asked year after year.

25 years have passed since Scream released and in just eight days I'll get to watch the latest entry in the franchise on the big screen, it will be my first Scream in theatres.

It will also be the first Scream without Wes Craven at the helm, following his sad passing in 2015.
When I decided I wanted to get into horror, 'real horror', I started with the old slasher characters because my logic was that if the older movies set the tropes the newer movies would use I would be less afraid of those newer movies if I started where they began.
I chose A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) as my first 'real' horror movie. Both of Wes Craven's slasher smash hits brought me into horror, for real.

It feels strange to mourn a man I never met, someone I didn't really know. I found out more about Wes Craven after his death than I did when he was still with us, but I miss him. It feels strange to write that I miss someone I never knew, but his body of work and the calm, kind, educated interviews and commentaries he left behind speak to his nature. The testimonials from his casts and crews sing his praises, even to this day.

Scream is a triumph. It is a perfect movie, a perfect horror movie, a perfect satire of the slasher sub-genre. Kevin Williamson wrote a dynamite script and Wes Craven lit the fuse and set off an explosion that rocked and upended horror, and my life, forever.

Thank you, Wes, for everything.

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