It may have been 11 years since he last flashed his knife wildly but you can’t keep a good Ghostface down. Dean Newman takes a look back at what helped make Ghostface the boogieman of the 90s, the face of the evolution of horror as Scream 4 hits cinemas this weekend.
Horror Director, Wes Craven, had previously scared us witless The Hills Have Eyes and A Nightmare on Elm Street and he had already tipped his toe in post-modern horror with Freddy’s New Nightmare, but Scream wouldn’t just rewrite the rule book, it would eat it and spit it all out, defining much of Hollywood’s horror output for the next decade.
The original Scream trilogy are essentially like the main character, lean, mean, pull no punches and list anyone and everyone as a possible victim (and suspect for that matter).
Although everyone now knows how the opening sequence of that first film turns out no one can deny its power and shock seeing it for the first time on the big screen, surely the modern day equivalent of Janet Leigh meeting her maker in Psycho some 36 years earlier. Shock endings have long been a staple of horror but shock beginnings with such a well known name and so early on in proceedings, that was a humdinger and justifiably secured its place high in the history of highs in the genre.
I vividly remember the murmurs of uncomfortableness and hushed ‘did that just happen?’ as the smash cut frames of Drew Barrymore could be seen hanging from her parents tree as I sat in that Odeon cinema in Luton. Jesus, they had just killed the little girl from E.T. This was the end of the innocence and the birth of a new horror icon. (And if that wasn’t enough he went onto slay The Fonze as well!)
Of course, since Ghostface hung up his mask, to be fair its been a different killer each time, which has at least helped to keep each instalment fresh as its as much a whodunit as a horror slasher flick, lots of things have appeared on the horror horizon, including J-horror, Paranormal Activity and torture porn like Hostel.
All bets were off in Scream 3, so where this leaves Scream 4, and more importantly the old guard cast members, is anybody’s guess. The rules of horror have changed again so it will be interesting to see if original Director, Wes Craven, and original writer, Kevin Williamson, get step up to the horror plate.
As the poster boasts. New decade. New rules.
Scream 4 is released on 15th April.