Monday, February 14, 2011

Scream to Scream, Scene by Scene: SCENE 9 of Scream 2 (0:28:51-0:34:41)

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

SCENE 9 of Scream 2
Length: 5mins 50secs
Primary Characters: Cici Cooper, Ghostface and Dawnie (Marisol Nichols)
Pop Culture References:
  • Party of Five (Cici watches it on TV)
  • Nosferatu (Cici watches it on TV)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (By extension of Nosferatu as Sarah Michelle Gellar plays the titular "vampire slayer")
  • Friday the 13th (Cici's friend jokes with the Ft13th theme music)

And so we come to the first post-opening death scene and the first major diversion from the original Scream. I actually love this sequence and it remains one of my absolute favourite scenes of the whole trilogy. There's something so simple and unabashed about it. It has plenty of film references and it plays with what we've learnt before (Cici runs up the stairs when she should be running out the front door), but it's just a good ol' fashioned taunt and chase slasher scene.

The fact that is features Buffy herself probably helps.

"I love those guys. Are they still together? I haven't seen it in, like, three weeks."
"No, they broke up again."
"Mmhmmm, Sarah found out that Bailey slept with Gwen. She dumped him, like, two episodes ago."
"I wish she'd get her shit together."

My memory of Party of Five isn't that strong - I wasn't much of a fan, but I watched it a bit because my brother was a fan. Tuesday nights on Network 10 if I remember correctly - but Bailey and Sarah are definitely characters, but IMDb is not showing me who Gwen was so maybe I've been wrong in assuming Cici is discussing that show.

However, the links to that show are both obvious (Neve Campbell) and less so (Jennifer Love Hewitt starred in the "rival" slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer with Sarah Michelle Gellar). And, furthermore, Jamie Kennedy who plays Randy would go on to feature on TV series The Ghost Whisperer with Jennifer Love Hewitt. I think they were even engaged at some point, yeah? And while it's not a Party of Five reference, the voice on the phone is Selma Blair who would go on to co-star with Gellar - and earn and MTV Best Kiss award! - in Cruel Intentions.

"Who are you calling for?"
"What if I said you?"
"What id I said goodbye?"
"Why would you wanna do that?"
"Why do you always answer a question with a question?"
"I'm inquisitive."

Teehee. Doesn't this just kinda ring like Buffy the Vampire Slayer dialogue? I've always felt it does.

"Do you want to die tonight, Cici?"

Love this moment! What with the big, bombastic music in the background (is that Marco Beltrami's music or is it taken from Nosferatu, because either way it's great.) One thing I've noticed is that the voice is much more placid in Scream 2. The voice is generally used less here than in the original, but where there was obvious anger in the voice during the Casey death scene and Sidney attack scene, the voice is never angry in Scream 2. Maybe Mrs Loomis is zen? Perhaps that's why she becomes so bug-eyed crazy in the big showdown at film's end?

We don't get an explanation for the noises Cici hears, do we? Or are we meant to assume it's Dawnie who makes her way downstairs whilst Cici is outside talking to campus security on the phone?

Gosh, remember when landline phones would crackle when you walked outside? Although not even my old home phone was as bad as this one appears to be. Silly Omega Beta House, choosing a residence with really poor reception if just a recipe for disaster!

Several reasons to love this moment.

1. It continues the entire franchise's close attention to framing. As with scenes in Casey Becker's and Stu Macher's house, as well as the Randy scene coming up soon and the Woodsboro set sequences of Scream 3, Craven and his team have a real knack for pushing the edges of the frame with stuff that keeps our eyes darting around.

2. Dawnie!

3. Thinking about Ghostface. The general theory goes that Mrs Loomis is outside with the video camera (the footage is seen later in the media class room with Gale and Dewey) and the telephone as Mickey waits for a way to get inside. Since Ghostface entering has no phone there's your proof that there were two killers. I love the look on Cici's face, too, as the phone rings and she's terrified. If only she'd picked the phone up instead of Dawnie, who knows what would have happened to her?

"You wish it was Ted. 'Don't forget to set the alarm'!"

I love that line reading; so taunting and evil. Having just said that it's Mrs Loomis outside on the phone, that voice really doesn't sound like it. The reveal sequence of Scream showed that not even Billy or Stu truly sounded like "Ghostface" as we hear him in his telephone calls, and when Sidney speaks through the voice altering device as she hides in the closet she doesn't sound anything close to the actual voice of Roger Jackson, so... hmm... look, let's just acknowledge it as "movie magic" and move on. Although, note that we never see Laurie Metcalf talking into the device, only Mickey, and yet we know she does in fact make telephone calls like the one to Randy. Oh plot holes!

I love the way the Nosferatu music creeps back in again at just the right moment. Just like Scream did with Halloween so that that film's legendary score ended up becoming the score of Scream.

And, of course, the in joke of Cici watching Nosferatu being the slayer and all. I think Buffy could take down Ghostface, don't you? She took on Dracula and one, right?

You know, earlier on in this very scene dissection, I said that this sequence in Scream 2 is the first that really diverges from the original's blueprint of opening scene -> intro to Sidney -> campus scenes -> Ghostface impersonations -> Gale being a bitch -> etc, but now that I think about it the scene shares a lot of similarities with scene 18 of Scream in which Principle Himbry bites the dust. Both are tide over scenes, meant to add horror oomph to a film that features a lot more story than most. Both feature the death of a character that doesn't have a personal connection to Sidney, and which hasn't had a major part to play in the film. Also features Ghostface playing seemingly innocent taunting games before bringing out the big guns knife. Plus, both feature obvious nods to their primary actors' most famous role (Happy Days and Buffy the Vampire Slayer respectively). I guess, if anything, it's like Sidney's attack scene, but with a murder payoff. Actually, yes, let's go with that.

One thing I like - and that mirrors the Himbry death scene - is that wherein Principle Himbry checks in the closet instead of behind the door, where Ghostface is hiding, Cici checks behind the door instead of inside the closet (which you can see behind her in the top shot), which is where the killer is hiding. It's this sorta stuff that makes the Scream movies smarter than most.


Oh, Cici! Behind you!

Well this was never gonna work out well for poor Cici there, was it? Running up the stairs when she should be going out the front door (it's insulting). And, per the film's nudgewink style, the way that door is framed in the background all but screams "the killer is going to jump out of here, we're gonna make you wait for it." And then tada!


Not so close.


Where did she think she was going? If she'd really tried she could've made a go of jumping off the balcony. It's only three storeys off the ground after all.

Even more pop culture references! Characters watch this scene in Halloween: H20, which stars Michelle Williams who was one of the stars of the Kevin Williamson created Dawson's Creek. Also, Smidge was originally cast in a similar blonde-who-dies role in Urban Legend, released one year later, but pulled out due to scheduling conflicts. She was replaced by Tara Reid. Hmmm. Make of that what you will.

Why hello there Mr Oops I'm In Shot and Nobody Noticed. I love that this blooper is so noticeable. It's like the wheelie board under Drew Barrymore as she's being dragged along; i can't not notice it! It helps distract from the silliness that is Cici's ridiculously long fall. She's falling from the third floor, not the tenth!

Splat! Goodbye Cici Cooper. It was great knowing you.

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, Scene 23, Scene 24, Scene 25, Scene 26, Scene 27, Scene 28, Scene 29, Scene 30, Scene 31 Scene 32, Scene 33, End Credits

Scream 2
Scene 1, Scene 2, Scene 3, Scene 4, Scene 5, Scene 6, Scene 7, Scene 8


Anthony said...

Awe, that shot you have of Ghostface grabbing Cici is so heartbreaking... look at that terror in her face :(

Eric said...

If you go by how Wes and co. intended it, I think it's just supposed to be one killer calling and killing in this scene. On the commentary track, they talk about how the killer could be sneaking in AND talking without a phone to the ear at the same time. I think all the murders are supposed to be by one killer at the time, no matter how illogical. Just my take on it. And I still love you scene-by-scene stuff, it's the ultimate in Scream revisiting!

Anonymous said...

Earlier you mentioned that SMG was a bitch on set and thus inspored the role of Sarah Darling. Is this true?

- Sean C.

Glenn Dunks said...

Anon, I think the story goes that Gellar was quite "involved" during her scenes, constantly telling Craven what she could and couldn't do (stunt-wise) and that Craven thought she was a bit of a blonde bimbo trying to make herself sound more important than she is.

Apparently Sarah Darling was inspired by her in that she's "the blonde that dies second" and that Darling finds the role beneath her.

Glenn Dunks said...

Eric, but see that makes no sense. Mrs Loomis is there outside the house before any other reporter so she was obviously there and they were very clear not to show anybody (apart from Sidney and Hallie) at the preceeding party scene, so it's a good guess that Mickey was the one running around the house (could Mrs Loomis pick Cici up and throw her off a balcony? not so sure).

I do, however, think it's meant to be Mrs Loomis that attacks Sidney since Mickey would be pre-occupied with his friends at the party and Mrs Loomis is quite obviously more interested in those that were at Woodsboro.

Eric said...

Yeah, I think it's a great guess and I agree about everything you say. But like I said, I get the impression from Wes' commentary that it's supposed to be one killer at a time. I also think it's scarier that way, one crazy killer at the time just acting on his own, rather than "okay, you'll sneak into the house and wait until she answers the phone the SECOND time, then you jump out of the closet". :)

Smashley said...

Such a great scene, it really can stand alone from the rest of the movie. Gotta love SMG (although I prefer her death scene in IKWYDLS).

Ok so you've got to show me this board you say is visible under Casey. Even specifically looking for it, I've never seen anything like that!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the wiping-the-blood-off-the-knife-with-the-glove bit, along with the theatrical whipping of the cloak as the killer flees the scene.