Friday, April 22, 2011

The April 2011 A - Z Blogging Challenge - S is for Scre4m!

The April 2011 A - Z Blogging Challenge is flying down the tracks almost under its own power - and now we're about to make a double curve - at speed - try not to give voice to the sound creeping up your throat - we already have plenty - after all...

S is for Scre4m!

Before the Camera:

Neve Campbell  (Scream)
David Arquette  (Scream 2)
Courtney Cox  (Scream 3)
Emma Roberts  (Nancy Drew)
Hayden Panettiere  (I Love You, Beth Cooper)
Marley Shelton  (Planet Terror)
Erik Knudsen  (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World)
Alison Brie  (TV's Community)
Rory Culkin (Signs)
Marielle Jaffe  (Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief)
Nico Tortorella  (TV's Make It or Break It)
Anthony Anderson  (Exit Wounds)
Adam Brody  (Jennifer's Body)
Aimee Teegarden  (TV's Friday Night Lights)
Brittany Robertson  (The Last Summer)
Mary McDonnell  (TV's Battlestar Galactica '03)
Dane Farwell  (Repossessed)
Roger Jackson  (Scream)
The Voice

And look fast for...

Anna Paquin  (X-Men)
Kristen Bell  (Pootie Tang)
Lucy Hale  (TV's Pretty Little Liars)
Shenae Grimes  (TV's 90210)

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Wes Craven

Produced by Wes Craven, Carly Feingold, Iya Labunka, Marianne Maddalena, Ron Schmidt, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, and Ehren Kruger

Written by Kevin Williamson

Fifteen years after the first Scream, and eleven since the most recent sequel, director Wes Craven reassembles the survivors of the trilogy and sends them back to where it all began. Sydney Prescott (Campbell) has written a book - Out of Darkness - to exorcise the last of her demons from being stalked by serial killers three times. The last stop on the publicity tour? Woodsboro - where the original murders took place. Good timing too - right on the 15th anniversary of the killing spree. Once there, Sydney reunites with her family - her aunt Kate (McDonnell) and her young cousin Emma (Roberts), who knows Sydney more as a media figure than a family member. Syd also finds her old friend Dewey (Arquette) is now the sheriff, and his wife Gale (Cox) - formerly tabloid TV reporter Gale Weathers - never one of Sydney's favorite people - has not adjusted well to small town life - with no new stories to write and ol' Ghostface - a murder guise adopted by different people...not the same guy turning up time after time - completely quiet for the past decade after the events in Scream 3. But their reunion is shortlived - as are some of the people in Woodsboro again - as the pasty masked psycho comes back in a big way - bumping off a fresh crop of Emma's fellow high schoolers in ways so familiar, it can mean only one thing: first was The Rules of Horror Movies; second was The Rules of Horror Sequels; third was The Rules of Horror Trilogies; and this time it's The Rules of Horror Remakes. But who among the potential victims has the killer cast in which role from the original? And can the three veterans of Ghostface's previous rampages stop him this time, or even survive themselves?

(L-R) Brie, Shelton, Brody, Campbell, Cox, Arquette, and Anderson
find the most dangerous spare tire EVER!

I really love Scream. It has lost some (Ghost) face over the years for some reason - but it is a truly smart, scary, and funny movie and boy did it hit the spot in 1996. It remains high on my list of faves; and it ties with the original A Nightmare on Elm Street as Craven's best film. It's also the high spot on Kevin Williamson's resume (my four seasons of paychecks from Dawson's Creek notwithstanding). I enjoyed the rushed-through-production Scream 2, (released a few days short of a year from the original) and it was probably as good as it could have been, considering. Scream 3 wandered a bit afield from the original, but it was certainly watchable, with a great cast, and it was an okay wrapup at the time.
Both of those sequels had script issues - the original screenplay for 2 leaked on the internet while the film was in production, prompting a rewrite - complete with change of killer; and 3 suffered because the Columbine tragedy had occurred, scaring film execs away from anything involving high schools and violence - this prompted a rewrite as well, but it was handled by Ehren Kruger (Arlington Road) when Williamson was too busy watering his own directorial debut Killing Mrs. Tingle down into Teaching Mrs. Tingle for the same reason. And actually, spying Kruger's name among the producers in the credits of this new movie gave me a moment's pause, which I'll return to in a moment. I was anticipating this film a fair amount; as I've said before, a few years off can sometimes really revitalize a film franchise. All of our returnees look great, and they slip back into their roles with ease - Campbell now grounded and Zen-like, but ready to kick ass when needed; Arquette still earnest and a little lost, but a relatively effective Sheriff when needed; and Cox pent-up and frustrated, but wonderfully bitchy when needed. The younger cast is equally good - with Panettiere standing out with her effortless charisma. Of the older newcomers, Shelton and a newly pretty trim Anderson make the most of their law enforcement supporting roles. Craven's direction is solid - not showy but well handled, both in shot composition and in pacing. The script is good, with some of Williamson's trademark clever verbal barbs and fun poked at horror films sprinkled in among some good suspense and jump scares, and some brutal kills - my wife was a bit put off by the gooshiest blood spurt sound effects she'd ever heard.
    But why was Ehren Kruger's name in there again? Well, it turns out Williamson left the production before it was finished, tired of butting heads with one of those pesky Weinsteins. And it seems there was a Kruger rewrite performed on this script, although Craven says it was just cleaning up some details and that the plot and characters are all Williamson's. Now, all of the Screams have had some script tinkering from Craven himself, mainly on the set to work out problems and make things flow more smoothly. But as far as the four films go in quality - the first is far and away the top of the list, with 2 and 4 tying for second, and 3 coming in last. And what does the first movie have that none of the others do? A script written completely by Kevin Williamson and no one else (except for anything Craven might have fiddled with during production)! In the end, this script finagling doesn't derail the movie - I just wish we could see a Scream sequel that was as much like the original writer's original idea as possible (admittedly not easy in these days of filmmaking-by-committee.)
So, I do recommend this movie to horror buffs and Scream fans, it's a gory good time for those so inclined - but if there's a Scream 5 - can we just have the one true writer, please?

Let's Get Out of Here ?
At very roughly 1:20:00, Neve Campbell has gotten her kicks with Ghostface and wants Mary McDonnell to accompany her on a journey elsewhere.

Eye Candy ?

I'm sure the young ladies are all sweethearts, but these eyes find the candy dandy when it has been around the block...

Neve Campbell! Courtney Cox! Welcome aboard ladies!

Aw, who am I kidding? Hayden Panettiere! You're in too!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says: "Scream 4 is well worth watching,
if not a movie to Scream 4."

Thank you much, Buddha Man! And til next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Of course they wouldn't have eye candy that would appeal to the general female population! I'm tired of Holly Wood recycling movies. We need something fresh and new. If authors can make it, so can they.


  2. Cheers for the review. I don't really expect very much from franchises, think i'll wait for it to turn up on tv in a couple of years.

    Moody Writing

  3. The first Scream was very amusing.

  4. This is one of those films that I haven't seen, but know all about, and can instantly recognize references to.

    Question: After a franchise sleeps for years, how does it suddenly wake again? Did it just take that long to get everyone together, or someone, somewhere, suddenly get out and push?

  5. Elizabeth - thanks for coming by! Actually, they might well have had male eye candy in the movie - I just don't highlight it - that's not my cup of tea - I just like to dip my toe in to the admittedly sexist pool some other B movie critics I enjoy swim in - to highlight women I find attractive in movies - if I was gay I'd probably do the same for the guys - it's easy to do - for example, the bikini shot above isn't in or from the movie - note the different hair on Ms. P - I just found the picture while looking for one of the actress - so in it went. Eye Candy is in the mind - sometimes despite the best efforts of the filmmakers in question. Cheers!

    mooderino - Totally understand - I have always held a soft spot for the sequel, so to each his own. Hope you enjoy it when it shows up on a small screen near you!

    M Pax - I loved that first movie - for so many reasons - not all of them onscreen, actually...thanks for stopping by!

    Joe - I think in a lot of cases - and certainly this one - the production company starts getting nostalgic for their old profits from the earlier movies - and they reach out to the filmmakers in question - or sometimes new filmmakers - and see if they can get something going again. If everyone had a good time - or it's been a long enough interval for the bad time to have faded in the memory - and the paycheck is right - the franchise will live on! Good to see you as always - glad the big winds didn't get you!

  6. awesome. awesome. Both film and post!

    Can't wait for 5cream!

  7. K-Man! Thank you very much! And EXCELLENT mixing the 5 into the title! I hope they make it now just for that - and that they pay you royalties!