Monday, April 16, 2012

Not Quite Scream On the Big Screen

It may seem strange, but I've never actually seen Scream in a cinema, on the big screen. It may very well be the film that (quite literally) shaped a large portion of my movie-watching teenage years and changed my life from a somewhat movie-enjoying kid to a full on addict, but when Wes Craven's revolutionary horror film arrived in Australian cinemas in February of 1997 I was but a 12-year-old who didn't really follow the cinema new releases with such a fervent obsession like I would now. My brother went to see it and was appropriately in love (he would purchase the soundtrack that I would eventually steal from him) so I was certainly aware of its existence, but being rated MA15+ and being hopelessly embarrassed to ask a parent to take me I went without until a day off sick from school resulted in watching it on video. [insert sentence about "remember those? lol!" and "remember when video stores had actual videos? lol!" etc!] Things changed rather quickly, obviously.

In the 16 years that have passed I've never had the chance to see Scream on the big screen. A friend involved in film distribution informs me that the studio most likely destroyed - dumped or incinerated - any remaining film prints long ago, and nobody has ever initiated any action to form a high quality digital version. So, essentially, Scream is off limits for any repertory viewing and isn't that a shame? Hopefully one of these days the people in the know will see there's money to made in creating a digital copy of the film that cinemas, like the grand Astor Theatre here in Melbourne, can show. However, last Friday I thought I may have struck gold at one of my local Village multiplexes. I had a couple of spare hours before work and had decided to catch a screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Aardman Remix and as I was lining I noticed the cinema had organised a Friday the 13th horror double, airing late in the evening. Much to my delight they were screening the two defining horror movies of the 1990s - The Blair Witch Project and Scream. Quite frankly, I didn't care if they were just playing a DVD, the chance to see not just one but both of those titles in a cinema was too hard to pass up. I even had to desert party plans at my own house in order to do so. Alas, it was not to be... I could have cried, really.

The Blair Witch Project went off without a hitch, unless you count the truly dumbfounding comments my guest and I overheard once it was over. I am not kidding when I tell you that one girl actually said "The second one is so much better. It's like a proper movie." Head, meet desk repeatedly. That girl did not deserve to watch Scream after that and I blame her for the technical issues that eventually brought the double feature to a 1am halt. Scream began, but we quickly realised things were not as they should be as we sat there chowing down on popcorn watching Drew Barrymore interact on the telephone sans dialogue. Uh-oh! Oh sure, it was fun at first to start reciting the dialogue we knew by heart, like we were at Scream 4's "stab-a-thon", but after several more aborted attempts at getting the film going we were officially told that they couldn't continue and that we were to leave with movie tickets/refunds in hand. Such a disappointing end to an evening that had promised such fun.

It was a curious event from the get go, really. I wasn't even aware of it until I had gone to the cinema (completely by chance) earlier that day. I can't imagine many others knew about it either since the turnout was quite low. More people actually showed up for the Scream half at 1am, and I don't think its far from the truth to say that most people who were there from the start were there for the second film most of all. At least I got to see the still exceptionally effective Blair Witch before our early exit. It was a bit sad to see the staff who had given themselves bloodied, ghoulish makeovers and dressed up for not much, but what can you do? I would recommend that if the Jam Factory in South Yarra wishes to do these sort of events again then they should actually advertise them and then actually make sure their technology is actually working before they make people trek out at 11pm.

So, with that out of the way I sadly have to still say I've never had the chance to see Scream on a big scream. Casey's inside on the outside writ large will just have to wait for another time, but until then I hope to finally get my Scream to Scream, Scene by Scene project up and running again after a hefty break. I know many of you have been waiting for it and you may finally be getting your wish.


TonyFilangeri said...

Oh wow, eh. Sucks to hear!

Philip said...

As a Scream fanboy, I'm so sorry! I'm only 19 so I didn't get to see it on the big screen either until my university showed Scream and Scream 4 at its cinema because of Scream 4.

Hope you get another chance!

Smashley said...

I've also heard rumors of the film not being available any more, but I saw it in 2002 at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood & it was most definitely not a projected dvd. So there's still hope!