Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Scream to Scream, Scene by Scene: SCENE 21 of Scream 2 (1:00:19-1:06:10)

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

SCENE 21 of Scream 2
Length: 5min 51secs
Primary Characters: Gale Weathers, Randy Meeks, Dewey Riley, Joel the Cameraman and Ghostface
Pop Culture References:
  • Jennifer Aniston (A joke is made about Aniston and Gale Weathers)
  • Saved by the Bell (Joel wishes they'd discuss something more "Saved by the Bell-ish")
  • Malcolm X (Joel references him)
  • Showgirls (Randy's "favourite scary movie")
  • The House on Sorority Row, The Dorm that Dripped Blood, Splatter University, Graduation Day and Final Exam (Randy's suggestions for the killer's favourite movie)
  • OJ Simpson, Ted Bundy and Charles Manson (Randy suggests these as other killers worth copycatting)

And so we come to this scene. We all knew we'd have to look at it eventually, but it's always sad when it comes around and it's all "but... but... RANDY!" Let's push through, okay? Let's navigate our way through this traumatic scene together.

"Sidney wasn't killed in Woodsboro."
"Wasn't for a lack of trying. The killer's trying to finish what was started."

Here it is folks! The very dead centre of the entire Scream trilogy! This very shot is, if I have my maths correct, the dead centre and it's quite fitting that it's in one of the entire franchise's greatest scenes and features three of everyone's favourite characters.

While this is indeed quite cool, it's also depressing because I'd intended on having this project finished months ago and yet we're still only at the half way point. I just... ugh.

"When did she start smoking?"

"Ever since those nude pictures on the internet."

"It was just my head... it was Jennifer Aniston's body."

Teehee. I love that Gale Weathers lives in the same world as Courteney Cox. It still bugs me that only Aniston and David Schwimmer of her Friends co-stars got references. Although what could you say about Matt LeBlanc?

"Time out! See, now I don't need to be hearing about no dead cameraman, all right? Now I'm warning you guys, I am a verb away from vacating these premises. I'm gonna get me some coffee, donuts, prozac, see if I can find some crack, special k, x - not Malcolm - and I'll be back when you're talking about something a little bit more Saved by the Bell-ish, all right?"

Joel the Cameraman goes off on this little spiel when Gale says there were more victims "before the home stretch", two of which include Tatum and Kenny the Cameraman. I would've thought their deaths were indeed part of the home stretch, but as we've already established Gale's recollection of the events of "the Woodsboro murders" is a bit, shall we say, off.

I accidentally paused on this next shot:


"Not interrupting anything, am I? You three look deep in thought."

Uh-oh! I love this line reading by the way. Not so much the "knife scraping bone" line that was re-used in Scream 4 (although I like that even in Stab 7 Gale was still able to take inspiration from real life!) There's a playfulness that is so sick and twisted without being overtly grisly. I love it.

So much of what typifies the Scream films (or, at least, the first two and some of the fourth) is evident here. The little chuckles that come about from stuff like this where all three look around like they're lost, and yet its juxtaposed against the very real threat. I think it works particularly well here since that creeping thought that "oh no, one of them will die!" is such a terrifying one since we love these characters so much. And then to have it play out in broad daylight? That was a stroke of genius.

I've spoken at length about Wes Craven's use of space in these films. Framing his shots with optimum levels of uneasiness and tension. Always making sure the viewer is aware of what's around the target like Casey standing in front of those patio glass doors or Tatum being shot walking into the garage from the living room location of the party so we know how close she was to everyone else.

"What's your favourite scary movie?"
"Showgirls - absolutely frightening.

This line disappoints me. I would have thought Randy would be able to see the inherent greatness within Showgirls! Although, I guess, the two years between Showgirls and Scream 2 wasn't enough time for it to have accrued the good will that it has today. The line works well as a funny way to cap a Scream 2 trailer, but my love of Showgirls means the line irks me.

"What's yours? Wait, let me guess: The House on Sorority Row? The Dorm that Dripped Blood? Splatter University? Graduation Day? Final Exam?

I like how once the telephone call comes though, the point of view of the scene becomes much more voyeuristic and a bit dizzying as it rotates around Randy and uses slight "Steadicam" style filmmaking as we follow Randy around and being very conscious of where he is amongst his surroundings.

The only one of the films Randy mentions that I have seen is The House on Sorority Row, which I discussed just last week! I've tried to see the others but they're unavailable here. Very disappointing.

"Who's this?"
"Who's this?"
"Gale Weathers, author of The Woodsboro Murders!"

Behold the best line reading in all of Scream 2! Love it! I hope that at some point in my life I write a book called The Woodsboro Murders just so I can quote this line like I do others in the films. "Glenn Dunks, author of The Woodsboro Murders!" Amazing.


I kinda love that Mrs Loomis aka Debbie Salt - who we know is the one who gets "knife happy" with Randy since she admits it in the climax - knows all this stuff about how Randy will "never be the leading man" and "never get the girl" because I like to imagine that Billy and his mum used to sit around and talk about his friends and what cinematic archetypes they fill. Well, until she skipped town like the exceptional mother that she is :/

So sneaky with the composition of those frames. It's Gale's van, it must be innocuous, right? Nope. Think again "dead boy."

Yeah, I'd make that face too if some random stranger tackled me from behind. O_O

Silly Randy, you should be trying to be around people! Ghostface can't exactly attack you around others. Love this shot though, don't you?

"Why copycat to high school loser ass dickheads? Stu was a pussy-assed wet rag and Billy Loomis - Billy Loomis? What the fuck? Jesus! What a rat-lookin', homo-repressed mama's boy. Why not set your goals higher, huh?

And I like the casual inclusion of "Loomis" and "mama's boy" into the conversation. Stu doesn't get a last name, but Billy does. We need to remember that name, that's why. And the "mama's boy" is yet another slight reference to Billy's mother that would go otherwise unnoticed unless you knew who the killer was. I keep quite dialogue from this scene because I think it's so well written and structured, don't you? Such rhythm.


Meanwhile, there's symmetry once against between Scream and Scream 2 in the way that Randy nearly died first time around by not paying attention behind him and here goes and does it again, but isn't quite as lucky.

Love this shot! In fact, it's not just my favourite shot in this scene, but it's definitely one of my favourite shots in the entire movie. No particular reasoning behind it, I just think it looks nifty, although it does give us that great van opening van door reveal a few moments later. Plus, the idea of Ghostface looking around after having just smashed in the window of a news van is humourous.

Arty shot alert!

I find it interesting - and it goes on to that theory about this scene being directed in such a voyeuristic manner - that we're never inside the van. Not for one second. Filming Randy's murder from the outside of the van adds an even bigger dollop of tragedy to it because we can see how close he is to help with that group of hip-hoppers walking by.

And, furthermore, by filming from the outside we miss seeing someone so beloved getting - to quote Maureen Evans - "cut the fuck up". We don't need to see it in order to recognise the terror of it unlike, say, Cici. The scene is vital and a bit heartbreaking all on its own without having to actually witness the knife going in and out of his flesh.

What have we learnt from all of this? If Gale Weathers shows up in a news van, you best not get near it, because eventually blood is going to be dripping out of it. Probably YOURS!

...or maybe not.

Gale head title of "oh no..." when they realise they can't see Randy.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the best scream in the Screams. Casey's mum sure had a doozy, but there's something about this one of Gale screaming for Randy that kills it (er, pun unintended).

For a movie franchise that is called Scream, Craven refreshingly didn't use many moments like this where it's like there's a drum roll and a "here it comes!" announcement in neon. Like when movies use their title in the dialogue and sometimes it just sounds silly! We don't need every character belting out a scream that could shatter glass.

I'd scream like Gale too if I'd just discovered that. Poor Randy. :(

On one hand I'm sad that Randy had to die, but I'm glad they had the balls to do it. In Scream 3 they say "all bets are off" and that "anyone can die", and yet it's Scream 2 that adheres to those rules more than Scream 3.

Over at many people discussed the trailers and ads of Scream 4 to such a degree that they figured they knew who died in what order and how. Many said the Weinsteins were releasing too many clips and all that, but many of them seem to be unaware that the trailers for the first three were equally spoiler-filled. Looking at the trailer for Scream 2 now and it's quite obvious that Randy dies and, hell, they even show Cici being thrown off the roof of the sorority house! Silly people have no memories. <-this had nothing to do with anything, I just felt like mentioning it.
I love that this scene ends on such a sombre note with some sort of sad, lonely gong note playing over this shot of an empty college campus. Almost like a moment of reflection for Randy, letting us calm our nerves after the jolt of electricity that this scene is. This brief overhead shot of the campus is like the dot at the bottom of this scene's exclamation point. "This shit is real, you guys!" And I love the way it completes the eventual diminishing of people from the campus as each of these overhead shots has included fewer and fewer people. The ranks are thinning!

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, Scene 9, Scene 10, Scene 11, Scene 12, Scene 13, Scene 14. Scene 15, Scene 16, Scene 17, Scene 18, Scene 19, Scene 20


Tony said...

AWESOME SCENE! I have to agree, it's one of the best in the series.

Yes, people loved Randy and a lot of fans didn't want him to die, but I again completely agree with you... at least they had the balls to do something dramatic in this movie. Scream 3 should have killed off Dewey, and Scream 4 should have killed off Gale, or Sidney. Yes, we love these characters, but it's a slasher series. And if there is indeed a Scream 5 like the rumours are saying, they better man-up and kill one of these beloved characters dammit!

Also, I like how you say "This is getting real dammit!" Sadly, I feel like Scream 3 and Scream 4 didn't really have that same moment... I mean maybe Olivia in Scream 4 but not quite the same.

ALSO -- the four scenes before this one... you said should have been really edited down. And although I somewhat agree, it kinda makes this scene a lot more impactful. We start to feel safe with all these characters, then BAM. What bugs me about Scream 4, is they actually took the time to film all these extra scenes with the new characters, yet they cut them all out. At least Scream 2 spent time developing their characters is all I'm saying.

Great scene review -- keep 'em coming!

Brandon said...

Great, sad scene that builds us up to the final act... I like how Joel is not considered a possible suspect now to; he leaves right before the killer calls and returns when they are gone.

Actually they do say that Stu's last name is Macher in the first and third.

Oh and check out this Scream music video I made and tell me what you think:

Anonymous said...

I like how Randy rattling off the school-specific slashers turns up again as Scream 4's Kirby Reed rattles off almost all the recent horror remakes. I think the only one she missed was The Hitcher.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite things about this scene is, of course, the Tatum mention and the look Dewey gives, but also Gale's phone line. After Gale says "Gale Weathers, author of The Woodsboro Murders." you can hear the person on the other end say "Who?" hahaha

John from Jersey said...

Did anyone else notice how in the overhead screen cap of Randy by the van, you can clearly see how the filmmakers tried to edit out the news van in some crappy kind of Photoshop-cloning tool way? It shows up in the lower left corner of the shot.

I am guessing it was done to make the upcoming jump scare more unexpected by trying to downplay the fact that Randy is clearly hovering closer and closer to the van.

Glenn Dunks said...

John, I think the thing you're referring to is just the ledge of the building they filmed on. You can see the white of the van ever so slightly, but the ledge - made of concrete from the looks of it - is obscuring it for the most part. No photoshopping done there.

John from Jersey said...

Oooooh... you're right.

Damn, now it seems so obvious that it's a ledge.
Argh, I thought I had them...