Screaming in a horror movie is something that’s kind of expected since otherwise, it might as well be an action movie with a few horror elements if everyone’s going to be so insanely tough and incapable of being scared enough to let loose with an ear-piercing shriek. It’s kind of amusing how self-aware one of Neve Campbell’s characters Sydney Prescott, appears to be, but the moment her life is in danger she does exactly what she was condemning while speaking to the killer in the movie Scream. Obviously, that was set up for a reason and it was executed in a way that made a lot of people roll their eyes during the movie, but at the same time, it was kind of a funny moment despite the severity of the scene. To be fair, even her screaming in Wild Things (yes, that’s what the photo belongs to) was kind of convincing since it wasn’t the wild, maniacal screams that come from so many starlets that come and go in the business, but a very throaty and full scream that manages to tell the audience that this character is going through it at that moment.
When it comes to being a scream queen though, there is a good argument for Neve being on the low end, and it’s for the same quality that I just mentioned, since her screams are less fearful than many others and tend to carry a certain feeling behind them that speaks of commitment to the part, but also a desire to be seen as slightly more composed than others who simply scream as though their world is ending at that particular moment. There are other scream queens that have this quality as well, a type of bass in the scream that speaks of a strength that many other stars don’t project when they’re rending our eardrums with their shrieks. Maybe I’m reaching on this one, but this denotes a little more strength of character when such a scream is uttered since it definitely conveys fear, but it also brings forth a denial within the scream that can tell the audience that this character may or may not go down at one point, but they’ll be taking the killer with them, or will at least make sure the killer feels them in the morning.
Let’s face it, as a scream queen, Neve is a stronger character since she’s had the distinction of being a survivor in the movies she’s frequented, and despite the fact that Scream should have ended a while ago, she has made it clear that her character has become one of the tougher individuals since one way or another, be it with help from the killer or her own sharpened instincts, she has survived. There is a big difference in the screams of those that survive from those that are bound to be pinned to a wall with a machete or a hook or something else, their screaming tends to be less shrill and more developed for one reason or another. It’s almost as though it’s to let the audience know that this character isn’t going down as easily and that they’ll put up some kind of fight on their way out. Those that simply scream and then get whacked are kind of pitiful since they tend to die some of the worst deaths. It doesn’t always happen since some filmmakers have made it clear that just because a person sounds like a screech owl doesn’t mean that they’re going to be expendable.
From an acting standpoint, it does kind of feel that Neve Campbell had a lot of promise and could have been much bigger than she is now, but it also feels as though her fame might have cooled off a bit, or she might have allowed it to die down after a while. However it happened, after Scream it felt as though her star dimmed just a bit, and her scream queen status, despite being well-deserved, might have become something that was slowly being allowed to slip into the past. It’s not tough to think that she might not have wanted to become known as a horror vixen, but the truth is that Scream is still one of the movies she’s known the best for, and will likely remain so for a while to come.
There’s nothing wrong with being a scream queen to be certain since it does allow a lot of fans to look to her for inspiration and to enjoy the work that she put in during the beginning of the franchise. But if she’s looking to distance herself from this role it might be best to come up with something that would really make fans look at her in a different light. She is a great actress but finding another way to prove it would be highly advantageous.