Longtime readers will be very much aware of my love affair with the Scream franchise. It has literally changed my life more than any other and the idea of a fourth has always been there as something I wanted because, ya know, it's Scream, but also didn't want because, ya know, it's Scream. I'm of the belief that the much-maligned Scream 3 was itself a parody of the franchise, which by that stage had been - to use a term popularised by the 1996 original - gutted, spoofed and replicated so many times that all the tricks had already been played.
Scream 3 was released in 2000 and four year's later came Saw, which brought about the opening of the "torture porn" floodgates and it seemed good ol' fashioned, fun and fright slasher flicks were put on the back-burner. And if a horror movie came along with the slasher vibe it turned out to be a lightweight comedy of errors - I'm looking at you Prom Night and When a Stranger Calls. I mean, even franchises that once fell into that glorious subsection of horror films such as the Friday the 13th and Halloween films ended up adding new titles to their brood that strayed from the fun side of things into the i-need-a-tetanus-shot-after-this bio-hazardous area like Hostel or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (despite myself thinking that latter remake was terrific) and those franchises became worse off for them. Friday the 13th was particularly deplorable and dreadful and does anybody truly think Rob Zombie's Halloween reboot was better than Halloween: H20? I hope the upcoming Nightmare on Elm Street doesn't fall too hard into the "gritty" trap.
Hopefully the Scream title can once again bring about a resurgence in the sort of films that filled my teenage years with pretty 30-year-old-playing-17-year-old victims running away from masked slashers. One can only hope. It will be interesting to see how Williamson and Craven can both mock and yet caress lovingly on the horror films that have come along in the ten years since the series ended, which is exactly what Scream 4 needs to do. Since these films are all about horror movies, they can't just ignore that the last 10 years haven't happened, but it also can't just become one of them.
It's going to be a delicate tightrope for Williamson and Craven in making Scream 4. They can't go reinventing the wheel here - for instance, the "opening victim" (Drew Barrymore, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Liev Schreiber) must remain - but they also can't do it all the same. If they don't mix it up a bit the film will become perfunctory and a wasted opportunity. The Scream films have all had something to say about cinema, violence and horror movie audiences and I think there's plenty more to say on the matter. I can almost picture the masked killer ripping off his or her (or their) mask(s) to the surprise of all and giving the remaining cast members a lecture on why audiences shouldn't take horror movies for granted and that horror cinema has lost its way - much like it had in the years leading up to Scream, naturally - and that there's more to making a horror movie than just watching someone slowly be drained of blood or whatever nastiness the latest Saw flick has splattered audiences with. "Horror is theatre!" is what Mickey would say if he could still talk or be alive in general.
So from now until April 2011, the film's supposed release date, you will surely be hearing a lot about Scream 4 from me. It will be interesting to see what sort of familiar, almost forgotten faces - think Laurie Metcalf, Kelly Rutherford, Patrick Dempsey, Drew Barrymore or Parker Posey - they place alongside the young, pretty things like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Emily Mortimer, Rose McGowen or Skeet Ulrich. And I wonder if Portia De Rossi's eyebrows will make a cameo? Perhaps they will be the opening victim?!? I will say this in relation to casting though, if I were Lindsay Lohan (or any other recently rehabbed star on the look out for redemption) I would desperately seek out the role of the opening victim. I don't know a single person who doesn't credit Scream with a large portion of Drew Barrymore's comeback. And that it, to this day, ranks as Drew's finest
I'm almost as excited as Casey Becker's intestines! Let's just hope that Courteney Cox shows up with better hair this time!
Their looks say it all!