When the horror genre is mentioned, one of the film franchises that come to mind is the Scream film series. The hit slasher film gave birth to the iconic Ghostface masked killer, which has gone on to become a Halloween costume staple. The famed horror movie franchise was written by Kevin Williamson, who is the brains behind the successful string of television series ranging from teen dramas like Dawson’s Creek, to the supernatural world of The Vampire Diaries, as well as the crime thrillers, such as The Following and Stalker. The Scream media franchise is no different. The films, just like majority of Williamson’s television shows, have been geared towards a younger audience. It did not take long for the films to take off, and gain a strong following. It was not difficult to be lured by the whodunnit storyline riddled with plot twists, and an all start ensemble that featured the hottest young stars of their generation.
Going Back to the Beginning
The first film installment aptly titled, Scream, premiered in 1996. It marked the franchise’s recurring theme, which focused on capturing the person mysteriously hiding behind the Ghostface mask, who wreaks havoc by tormenting their victims via a phone call while using a voice changer before proceeding to kill them mercilessly. The succeeding films installments continue to follow the treachery of Ghostface, who takes on new identities, but who all have a common goal to kill a young woman named Sidney Prescott, portrayed by Neve Campbell (House of Cards). Sidney is this innocent teenager living in the fictional town of Woodsboro, who got caught up in the string of murders, due to an unfortunate chain of events indirectly caused by her mother, Maureen, portrayed by Lynn McRee (Milk). In the first movie, Sidney is seen seeking the help of her friends and other trusty townspeople to help her fend off the vicious killer. These include deputy sheriff, Dewey Riley, portrayed by David Arquette (Never Been Kissed), tabloid reporter, Gale Weathers, portrayed by Courteney Cox (Cougar Town), and horror movie fanatic, Randy Meeks, portrayed by Jamie Kennedy (Ghost Whisperer). Sidney grows older with every film installment, but is still unable to escape the wrath of the masked killer. The films went on to amass box office success, and even became one of the highest-grossing slasher films during its time. Other actors who also eventually joined the cast. Some of them include, Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan), Heather Matarazzo (The Princess Diaries), and Scott Foley (Scandal).
The film franchise started off on the right food, and was ahead of its time. The films were known for their clever integration of the horror genre with humor and even some romance. It was somehow reminiscent of a 90’s chick flick that took a turn of terror. Apart from this, the storylines were clever, and the twists unexpected. Viewers were kept at the edge of their seats as they anticipated who Ghostface’s next victim was, and also got a hoot when the true identity of the mask killer was revealed at the end of the movie. There may have been a couple of hits and misses along the way, but overall, it was an entertaining watch that was thrilling, but not too scary. It was not the type of creepy horror flick that kept you up at night and made you feel jittery when left all alone. The famed franchise experienced a speedbump in 2011 when its fourth installment did not receive the same level of success as its predecessors. This is not uncommon in the world of film franchises, where storylines tend to get overstretched, and start to become exhausted. A break from the spooking and killing spree was imminent.
The Comeback of the Iconic Slasher Franchise
Fast forward to a decade later, and events have taken on an interesting turn. The Scream franchise is returning for a fifth installment. This comes as a pleasant surprise, and serves as a trip down memory lane to a time when Scream was still the king of slasher films. The nostalgia sees no end, as some familiar faces from the earlier films, such as Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courteney Cox will be reprising their roles. There are also loads of other new characters to look forward to, who are about to fall prey to Ghostface’s wickedness. The story will be set 25-years after a streak of brutal murders in Woodsboro, where a new masked killer has emerged. The plot is one that fans of the films grew up with, and the new installment as the horror movie we never knew we still wanted. It feels as if an old childhood friend has reached out, wanting to reconnect. We can only hope that the film delivers and exceeds expectations, but it’s definitely a welcome addition to the modern-day world of horror releases.