A New Generation of Screams

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On December 20th, 1996 a little film called Scream was released. It was headlined with names like Drew Barrymore (even though she’s only in the movie for a good 10 minutes) and David Arquette. The film was directed by a man named Wes Craven who directed a few other little scary movies like A Nightmare On Elm Street (you know that movie right?). Eventually this little movie would become a huge movie not only for that time but also for the genre of horror. Flash forward to June 30th, 2015 and after a few sequels you have Scream: The TV Series. 

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Now, I’ve never really watched any of what I like to call “modern MTV“, because let’s be honest here, I think it’s safe to say MTV has changed a lot since the 80’s. I’ve never seen an episode of Teen Wolf or Faking It or Awkward. It’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because I kind of forget about them. The shows themselves get praised, from what I hear, and look good enough, I just have a ton of other shows I’m already watching I don’t focus on those ones as much. But when it was announced that a Scream series was happening I was somewhat interested. At first glance I wasn’t really sure what to think. The promo that was released (hence the picture above) was promising but not something that really drew me in or made me want to completely commit to the idea of this show yet. Don’t get me wrong, I was still going to watch the Pilot, but the rest of the show was up in the air.

In 7th grade, a friend at the time told me about a famous scene from this famous horror movie where Drew Barrymore gets dragged across her lawn and hung from the tree in her front lawn. I was a little freaked out because my friend had explained this scene like it was nothing, when in reality she was talking about a grisly death that is hard to get out of your head. In my two miserable years of middle school, I was starting to delve into the genre of horror, starting with the classics like Halloween and building up to the more current ones (remakes, sequels, etc.) which might I add, were NOT always as good as the classics. I’ll stick with John Carpenter’s Halloween because that was one that really got me hooked and interested in this weird and twisted genre.

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It was the Friday after a long week of school and I had been thinking about watching movies all week, like I always did. I threw my backpack onto the couch and ran out the door so I could go to the movie store and find a good horror movie to watch (yes, video stores were still a thing). I remember there being a specific spot for all the horror movies. There was a piece of paper taped to the wall in giant letters that said “HORROR” with an arrow below it pointing to the back of the store. I would walk in and sprint to the horror section. You wouldn’t believe how long I could stay back there for. My dad to this day likes to tease me about how long I would take in the movie store when we would go to rent something. I guess it comes to show how much I love film. I would crouch down and look through all the titles, some I would recognize, others I wouldn’t. Some would be ridiculous and some would just be another sequel in the Elm Street franchise or the Friday the 13th extravaganza of movies. My eye caught onto the Halloween section. There must’ve been at least 10 cases that said Halloween on them and only one that was the actual original, the rest being countless sequels and remakes. So I looked through all of them and luckily the one that caught my eye was the original 1978 film.

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The cover was so simple but at the same time creepy and made me want to witness it’s horror. I threw the other movies back onto the shelf and ran over to the counter so I could get there before anyone else, even if I was the only person in the store. I was so ready to run home and watch this. Then all of a sudden the man at the cash register asked me how old I was, I thought “oh shit”, because OF COURSE this movie was rated R, and OF COURSE I was only 14 at the time. But surprisingly after some convincing and overall sass (“you can call my parents right now, they really won’t care at all … c’mon you REALLY think I’m not old enough to watch this? … didn’t you want to watch these kind of things at my age too? … I know you can relate”) the man let me rent it! I was ecstatic as I ran home and all of my middle school/going through puberty awkwardness was jiggling all over the place (I am truly sorry for that graphic image I just put you through).

Today, I am not as awkward and have washed out my puberty blues. I’m happier-ish, let’s just go with that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still have the same fascination with those kind of movies as I did then, I would just say the appreciation is bigger and set for all kinds of genres, not just horror. I’d like to say that I have better taste these days, but I really don’t know! The next person I meet could think I have horrible taste. It all comes down to that certain person’s taste and what they like.

If you look at the genre of horror today compared to say the 70’s, it really has changed quite a bit, for better and for worse. In the 70’s, there were a lot of devils, stalkers/crazy killers, and creatures. The Exorcist seemed to represent the devil category, Halloween or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre the crazy killers, and something like Jaws would represent the creature features.

There is a book that comes to my mind when I think of categories of horror and it’s called Horror Movie Freak by Don Sumner. It explores the different types of horror and the generations of it.

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Much like I am doing in this review, the book delves into what types of horror movies are being made today and why they are so different now. I think one thing that has changed with moviegoers these days is patience. If anything, certain movies are being made to seem like people have no patience when they see a movie. There are so many “jump scares” and plenty of gore in horror movies that are made today. Jump scares are tricky for most movies to pull off and it seems that most current films can’t seem to pull them off. There are so many jump scares made to just be jump scares, a good one will lead to something even scarier, if that makes sense. I guess what I’m trying to say is that in 2015 we have seen lots of different types of scary movies and we want something more than just a creature or a stalker.

Another sub category this book discusses is the art of the remake/reboot/sequel. Remakes also tend to be a very popular thing to do in 2015. Most of the time remakes feel unnecessary, and I think a lot of people feel that way. But at the same time there are a lot of people that will go see these endless remakes. And because they make so much money the studios think “the last one made a lot of money, why not just do it again?”. My main problem with remakes is when people decide to remake a classic. Two of many good examples would be 1998’s Psycho and 2015’s Poltergeist. I never saw the Poltergeist remake because I knew better, but unfortunately I saw the horrendous remake of Psycho.

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I have two reasons for why these kind of remakes bother me.

1. They are pointless. I know they make a lot of money and that’s usually the reason they are released. But I honestly think sometimes when people make these remakes they think it’s because people want to revisit this classic. If that is someone’s reasoning I call bullshit because that is the stupidest reason ever. That also leads to my 2nd reason …

2. Distracts people from the original. The reason I used the two remakes that I did was because the original films they were based on were excellent horror films. And it really bothers me to think that there is a younger generation out there that will learn about the shitty remake first, and not the classic original. It saddens me to think of all those kids who won’t experience the sheer horror of that clown scene from the original Poltergeist before the bloated remake. Psycho might be a little different just because the original Hitchcock version is so well known everywhere. But you see what I’m trying to say right?

This leads me back to current day with Scream: The TV Series. What did I think of it? It was entertaining and had an interesting modern twist. Was it as good as the original films? Of course not, but I don’t know if a series version of any horror movie you love would be as good as the original. It’s hard when a film you love is taken and morphed into something new, whether it be a series or a sequel or god forbid a remake. It’s hard to bring back the nostalgia you had for the original or that feeling you felt when you first saw that one scene. Hell, it might even be impossible.

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Here are some pics with a modern twist on some classic modern horror flicks!

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Till next time!

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