Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Scream (1996)
Dimension Video | Review by Dan Taylor

Scream starring Neve CampbellI'll be the first to fess up that I fell for the SCREAM hype machine. Hell, it was a cold Friday night, I had three very strong martinis in me, and some friends wanted to check this thing out. I agreed, against my better judgement.

After all, this was an offering from Wes Craven, the pretentious hack that'd directed such miscarriages as: THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2, SHOCKER, DEADLY BLESSING, DEADLY FRIEND, SERPENT & THE RAINBOW, A NEW NIGHTMARE, and VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN.

Then again, ol' Wes had come through in the clutch with LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, the original THE HILLS HAVE EYES, the first ELM STREET, and even THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS. Which Craven had helmed this comedy-horror-thriller? Though not a gambling man, I rolled the dice and took my chances.

Want to remind me of this next time I want to visit Atlantic City?

It would be an understatement to say that I was horrified that evening. But not in the way empty-headed teens and horror fans desperate for anything on a big screen had embraced this tripe. I'd read glowing reviews, trusted friends had given it the green light, and it even held the promise of nubile chicks decked out in bippy shirts! Unfortunately, I couldn't contain my disgust and my sighs, groans, and laughter were punctuated with gasps of "Of course he's the killer! Are you people stupid?!" and the ever-popular "Anyone here ever see a little movie called STUDENT BODIES?!"

Months passed and SCREAM's box-office climbed ever higher. Perhaps, I thought, just perhaps, I was mistaken. Had my mind been clouded by demon alcohol? Was this really a superb thriller, nay an homage to the very genre I loved so much? Nah.

I began questioning my own radar so much that I rented SCREAM while my significant other was away on business, allowing me the chance to watch the film in all its empty-headed glory. Then, were I proved wrong, I could hang my head in shame, knowing that yes, everyone else had been right all along.

To say that I felt wonderfully vindicated is selling this feeling of SCREAM-hating euphoria short. Give me APRIL FOOL'S DAY. Give me PANDEMONIUM. Give me the aforementioned STUDENT BODIES. Hell, give me SATURDAY THE 14TH or SPLATTER UNIVERSITY. Just don't make me watch SCREAM again!!!

It's hard for me to pinpoint the proper word here... insulting, moronic, idiotic? Oh, they all work so well. I won't go into a rehash of SCREAM's "plot," since you've seen it before, whether you've seen the flick or not. Instead, here's a list of the superior-to-vastly-superior flicks mentioned during SCREAM's interminable 115 minute running time: HALLOWEEN, ELM STREET, FRIDAY THE 13TH, THE EXORCIST, THE HOWLING, PROM NIGHT, THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN, HELLRAISER, THE BAD SEED, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and PSYCHO.

In case this really left you longing for more, the oh-so-hip, though actually more watchable, SCREAM 2 reached theaters in December of 1997. Ugh.


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