Monday, 17 October 2011

Scream Review

Fig 1

One year after the death of Sidney's mother two students at the local high school are murdered. When a Serial killer attacks Sidney she beigns to question whether these new murders are connected with her mothers. Everyone becomes a suspect in the case and the friends begin to start applying the 'rules' of horror films as they find themselves living in one.

Fig 2
In the 70's and 80's slasher films were ripe in the cinemas with horror legends such as Michael Myers, Freddy Kruger and Jason Vorhees filling the cinema screens with blood. However as these films continued with sequel upon sequel they became tacky gore fests with declining acting and storylines. Scream however is an entirely different kind of slasher film in which it pays homage to the conventions of the slasher film and then twists them to avoid using a dying/dead formula. The teenagers and the killer are aware of the conventions of a slasher film 'There are certain RULES that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie. For instance, number one: you can never have sex' this rule in particular is Clover's Final Girl Theory where in a slasher film the final person alive is generally a female, who is virginal and avoids drugs and alcohol. As mentioned the killer also is full of knowledge when it comes to horror films creating a trivia game for the first victim Casey who asks her the name of the killer from Friday the 13th to ensure the safety of her and her boyfriend. It's clear to see that the characters are influenced by their knowledge of horror films for instance when Sidney hears a creak she continues on ignoring it rather than pursuing. 'Scream does not just imply that life mirrors art, it also goes so far to suggest that life also parodies art. This point is brought home by one of the killers...when he informs his girlfriend after making love with her that the distinction between movies and real life is alway an artificial one and that the two realms continually influence and intersect with one another.' (Magistrale, 2005:185)

Fig 3
As well as the aforementioned 'rules' awareness Scream is filled with a self-aware attitude commenting on their lives and relationships in movie terms. Constantly characters are referring to popular culture in their conversations such as -

Tatum: Just think, if they make a movie about all this, who would play you?
Deputy Dwight "Dewey" Riley: I see you as a young Meg Ryan, myself.
Sidney Prescott: Thanks, Dewey, but with my luck I'd get Tori Spelling. 

These constant intertextual references create an understanding between the viewer and the cast. The creators have a firm knowledge that intertextuality is a crucial part in entertainment and promotion and in order to breathe some life into the slasher genre they injected this into the dialogue of the characters. 'These instances of overt self-reflexivity call attention to the artificiality of all the Scream films and, by extension, all media products, highlighting their status as consumable cultural products.'( Wee, 2005) These cultural references link with the key imagery of the Television and how media is a big part of the casts lives and our own. An example of the Television imagery is a recursion of media watching where the audience watches Kenny watching the killer sneak up on Randy who is watching Halloween. At this point Craven exploits the fact that TV is harmful for you at times, as Kenny forgets that his monitors have a 30 second delay leading to his throat being slit but also the way that Stu is killed is extremely metaphorical as a TV drops onto his head.

Sidney Prescott: But this is life. This isn't a movie.
Billy: Sure it is, Sid. It's all a movie. It's all one great big movie.
Billy: . Only you can pick your genre.

References -

Text -

Magistrale, Tony (2005) Abject Terrors: surveying the modern and postmodern horror film accessed on 17/10/2011
Randy from Scream quote - accessed on 17/10/2011
Sidney and Billy quote from Scream - accessed on 17/10/2011
Sidney, Tatum and Dewey converse - accessed on 17/10/2011
Wee, Valerie Su-lin (2005) The Scream trilogy, 'hyperpostmodernism', and the late-nineties teen slasher film accessed on 17/10/2011

Images -

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