After the abysmal effort last night, we decided to just go back and watch Scream. While you could argue that there's nothing particularly original about Scream itself, as far as the material goes, the originality of the presentation cannot be faulted.
It's an example of pop culture catching up with itself, but it's as much of a slasher movie in its own right as it is an homage to those that came before it. (Specifically Halloween, which is referenced everywhere in this movie.) What bothers me about it is the way many of those pop culture references are handled.
A conversation between Drew Barrymore's Casey and the killer (though she doesn't yet know it) goes like this:
Killer: What's your favorite scary movie.So you're already making a movie for fans of horror movies - I think it's safe to assume that your target audience doesn't need an explanation as to who two of the biggest horror heroes are, especially if your whole movie is predicated on the horror movie as pop culture. A bit sloppy, that.
Casey: Um... Halloween. You know, the one with the guy in the white mask who walks around and stalks babysitters?
Casey: What's yours?
Casey: Um... Nightmare on Elm Street.
Killer: Is that the one where the guy had knives for fingers?
Casey: Yeah, Freddy Krueger.
Killer: Freddy, that's right.
I still find Scream extremely enjoyable - even nearly 13 years on. And, Kevin Williamson's sometimes-too-clever dialog aside, it proves that these things are better left to professionals.
Somehow, we wound up spending the day watching the Scream movies. It was good for us, I think, to be reminded that there are good teen-horror flicks out there, and that at one point in time, someone cared to get things right. Weird that that person was Kevin Williamson, but all praise to him for his insight and intelligence regarding the horror genre. Now, the poor guy gets blamed for the lame ducks that followed him, self-referencing all over the place, and basically trying to copy good horror movies and failing miserably. I don't blame him, though. He wasn't to know. But then, he did have something to do with I Know What You Did Last Summer, so maybe he is to blame? And maybe that's why we don't see him much anymore. He's hiding his shame.
I still like Scream a lot, all these years later. Can you believe 13 years have passed? That's 13 years of horrible copycats. It's still fresh, it's characters are still cool and likable in the right way. It's scares are still scary, and it's horror still effective. It doesn't take the self-referencing too far (even with Fonzie's combing of the hair), and when it does self-reference, it does it to good effect.
I also really like the style of this one. It has a real individual mood to it, with its big crane shots, and the "Red Right Hand" musical motif. Craven has come along way himself, since Shocker and the like. It's like he went to technique school prior to shooting this. So, that adds to the fun.
All round, a good experience.