Thursday, September 16, 2010

Scream to Scream, Scene by Scene: SCENE 23 of Scream (1:02:28-1:05:43)

In this project I attempt to review the entire Scream trilogy scene by scene in chronological order. Heavy spoilers and gore throughout!

Length: 3mins 15secs
Primary Characters: Tatum Riley and Ghostface
Pop Culture References:
  • I Spit on Your Grave (Tatum jokes about the movie)
  • Casper (Tatum calls the killer "Casper")

Oh my god you guys, y'all have no idea how much I've been dreading this day since the very day that I came up with the idea of doing this project. It's like losing a best friend (in Sidney's case, very literally). As you've surely noticed throughout this series I have a big movie crush on Rose McGowen as Tatum Riley, she's some sort of awesome super being. Granted, she got herself one of the best deaths in the entire trilogy, but there's still a pang of sadness that comes with writing about her untimely death in the cat flap of a garage.

What was it that Sidney said about "big breasted girls"? Poor Tatum. I think it's yet another facet of this movie's inherent homosexuality that we never see any naked boobage (is "boobage" a word? I think when discussing horror films it most certainly is!) in the Scream films. Because, let's face it, eeewww! :) Still, this shot is quite humourous, don't you agree? Was she walking around the party like that or did the cold air of the garage just hit her all of a sudden?

Much like how I wrote about the way Wes Craven frames the art direction so wonderfully during the Casey Becker scene, I like how this shot does the same. Showing his relatively close Tatum is to everyone else at the part, the balls that "Ghostface" (in this scene, Billy) has to do something like this at such close proximity and to add to the idea that Stu's house has a lot of doors, rooms and passageways, which is something that definitely becomes obvious during Sidney's upcoming chase sequence, but we'll get to that later.

I have nothing to say for this, but I want to take the opportunity to screencap Tatum as much as possible. Poor gal!

Tatum never saw it comin'! Stu sends to her garage, he follows and closes the door behind her to keep her locked in a room with Billy aka Ghostface. So simple.

I think this is the dangerous low-budget Wes Craven having a moment here. This shot, the way it zooms in on Tatum in her tight top and mini-skirt from behind is like a crass, exploitation film that Craven would've made in his youth, something akin to Last House on the Left.

In a way, this scene is the ultimate dissection of everything that Scream is about. It acknowledges all the cliches, it even abides by them (big-breasted girl, doors that seem to close by themselves, things falling over, cats jumping out of strange places, characters making stupid choices, etc) and yet does so in a way that is both fresh and winking. The audiences knows everything that's going on in this scene and if you're unaware of the film, watching it for the first time, you may even groan at the prospect of the cat jump scare, but it all works because then when you've calmed yourself down from the silliness of such a scare out comes the actual frights and they are legitimately scary and tense and sad. Throw in a couple of movie references like you'll read below and you've got yourself a perfect storm of Scream-isms. I knew Tatum was the best!

The lights turning out mysteriously! Another cliche that feels like it should be tired and yet when placed in the right hands - in this case Wes Craven - it's like an old joke that still gets the laughs. Everyone watching this scene by now figures "Oh, Tatum's gonna die", but unlike in Scream 3 where it seems everyone just dies by getting a knife in the back or a knife in a chest or a knife in the back and the chest, this film has an ace up its sleeve that will make you remember it. You will not forget this scene!

"Hey shitheads!"

I'm not sure if that was a very 1996 insult, but I love it. It sounds so immature and yet so Tatum; "shitheads"

Confused. "Is that you Randy?" I think Randy dug himself into a hole here with everyone thinking all the freaky stuff is him when it never was. Although I do like how in the last scene (although I didn't screencap it) they show Randy saying he's going to go get a camera (to take a photo of Gale) and then never returns. Smart.

"What movie's this from? I Spit on Your Garage?"

Definitely one of my favourite film references of the entire trilogy. When I was younger I didn't get all the references in Scream, but this one I got because I Spit on Your Grave was one of the videos I always saw when I perused the horror section at the local video stores. Of course, in 1997 I Spit on Your Grave was banned and I never actually saw it until after 2004 when the ban was lifted. I'm glad that movie was unbanned, but it's a terrible, terrible movie. Still, Tatum referencing it is a hoot. I Spit on Your Garage could be fun though!

It bugs me that Billy didn't fix his mask. It's dented on the left side of the mouth. All it needs is to be popped out, but maybe he was in a rush? Or perhaps it's just the lighting and there is nothing wrong with it.

Just looking at this shot now as I've paused it and it disturbs me more than it ever has before when it's in motion. The way Ghostface towers over Tatum is quite saddening and the angle of the camera just adds another element of strangeness to it. It doesn't feel like a natural shot, like it's unreal in some way. I don't know, I don't think I'm making sense here, but there's just something about this shot that irks me. Perhaps it's just the disappointment with knowing that Tatum dies, but this shot makes her look so helpless. Of course, she proves a better fight than some others, but helpless nonetheless.

"Oh, you wanna play psycho killer?"
"Can I be the helpless victim?"
"Okay, let's see. Oh no, please don't kill me mister Ghostface, I wanna be in the sequel!"

One of the most iconic moments of dialogue for the trilogy. The way Tatum acknowledges the fact that she's such a typical victim and the referencing of sequels in itself setting up the sequel that all the characters know there is going to be.

Whatta shot! Again, has a disturbing quality to it as it's frozen in time that I'd never noticed before.

Now now Tatum, it's not time to go sitting around in ugly lawn furniture.

You gotta laugh at that fourth image there. I do like that they gave Tatum a worthy fight here. It reminds me of Jenny McCarthy's death in Scream 3 which had a similar vibe, but they ruined it by having her incapable of doing anything to defend herself. More on that in, like, 5 months time! (oh gawd, don't remind me!)

If you pay close enough attention you see that Tatum reaches for the garage door button, but just as she is about to press it she notices the killer get up off the ground so she stops what she was doing and does...


(Meanwhile, can I just point out how difficult this scene is to screencap? So fast moving!)

...and then this... it would seem she has the upper hand. Until...

Yes, I took all of those screencaps. I can't quite believe it myself, but I did. phew! Still, I think it warrants it, don't you agree? It's a marvellous scene for reasons I've already explained, but this specific moment is filled with so many great individual shots that I just had to show them all. My particular favourite is the one of Tatum emerging out the other side of the cat flap. It's my favourite because it just shows how close she was to getting help. If there had been one person out there vomiting their guts up then maybe she might've made it. Oh well.

I'm not going to question how her breasts go from being outside the cat flap to inside the cat flap because, I imagine, they needed to make it look like she broke her neck when if only her neck was through the cat flap then she easily could have slid back out of it. Wait, I said I wasn't going to question it! Fun fact though, Rose McGowan actually can fit through there! She tested it herself on set and discovered it was doable. Oh well.

And back to party, apparently, Ghostface goes. Giving more credence to the "it's Randy!" theory, although it's illogical as to why Billy went inside and how he got out again since... well, that's the next scene.

What a bloody tremendous scene and definitely the most sad until a certain someone in Scream 2. After all of that (67 screencaps for this one 3minute and 16second scene!), I am exhausted!!

Intro, Scene 1 Scene 2, Scene 3, Scene 4, Scene 5, Scene 6, Scene 7, Scene 8, Scene 9, Scene 10, Scene 11, Scene 12, Scene 13, Scene 14, Scene 15, Scene 16, Scene 17, Scene 18, Scene 19, Scene 20, Scene 21, Scene 22


Wings said...

Great scene indeed, and so memorable. And sad. Thanks for ALL the screencapping, must have been monotonous!

Anonymous said...

Man, u deserve an award or something for the effort-the best thing on the net right now, great fun and it gets you really excited 4 part 4...even though we all know it won´t match this one.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Beautifully done. I was horrified when I first saw this scene, b/c how can anyone *not* fall in love with Tatum?

Meanwhile, I never before caught Craven's dolly in on her buttocks and torso at the scene's beginning...setting up the very things that lead to her demise. GENIUS.

seanisbored said...

Tatum :(

Fernando Moss said...

So sad, indeed, but as you say, at least she got THE best death scene and a great fight trying to defend herself... Tatum is simply THE BEST CHARACTER (for me) in this trilogy...

Loveing your work here Glenn...

Glenn Dunks said...

Fernando, she's my favourite from Scream, but of the entire trilogy I tip my hat to Gale.

Thanks everyone! More to come, obviously.

Lust said...

Haha, I'm in the same situation as you: I have a huge crush on Rose McGowan as Tatum (and I have since I was 9 and first saw the movie!)

This scene makes me sad, awesome as it is, that Tatum dies. Pity. :(

Btw, Rose McGowAn.

Fernando Moss said...

Glenn I love Gale too (she's my 2nd favorite of the trilogy) but considering the amount of time Tatum has to win us over, and succeding so wonderful at that, against ALL the time Gale does... well, let's say that I give the edge to Tatum just because of that...

And here's hoping that Gale won't bite it in Scream 4 or I might end up crying horrified in the theater...

Mierzwiak said...

Amazing scene. How often you actualy CARE about someone's death in a movie like this?

RIP Tatum.

Ashley in Wonderland said...

I'm really loving this project! I read almost all of them back-to-back today, so I'm bummed that there's not another one up for me to read yet!

Maybe Billy hid the costume for later use in that laundry room(?) between the garage & kitchen and then went back out around the front of his house.

JT said...

I always figured it was Stu that killed Tatum, what with Randy's "There's always a stupid reason to kill your girlfriend" line in the video store. Maybe i just wasn't paying close enough attention. ;-)

Glenn said...

JT, I think general consensus is that it's Billy because Stu would be otherwise occupied at the party.

Ashley, good point, although both of them would've had costumes/knives of their own.

Sad man said...

I love your blog in general and this Scream project in particular...but why do you refer to Rose as McGowen? I've never seen her name spelled that way before. I checked and it says her alternative surname is indeed McGowen, but it just doesn't look as right as McGowan to me.

Glenn Dunks said...

Sad Man, I thought it was spelt that way at first and I've never been able to condition myself to spell it correctly.

Jo said...

Amazing job. This is clearly Rose McGowan's best role. I don't know if it was something about Wes or the set, but this is the only time she doesn't seem forced and I actually don't see Rose struggling to get a paycheck. I see Tatum Riley, who shouldn't have died in Scream because it was one of Kevin's best characters (and he's written EXCELLENT characters.) If she hadn't died, we wouldn't have gotten this excellent death scene- which probably the best death scene in any slasher movie ever. GREAT JOB.