This Devil’s Advocate offers a full exploration of SCREAM, including its structure, its many reference points (such as the prominent use of HALLOWEEN (1978) as a kind of sacred text), its marketing (‘the new thriller from Wes Craven’ – not a horror film), and legacy for horror cinema in the new millennium.
Wes Craven’s SCREAM (1996) emerged at the point where the early 80s American slasher cycle had effectively morphed into the post-FATAL ATTRACTION trend for Hollywood thrillers that incorporated slasher movie tropes.
SCREAM emerged as a spiritual successor to Wes Craven’s unpopular but critically praised previous film NEW NIGHTMARE (1994), which itself evolved from his frustration at having lost creative control over his most popular creation, Freddy Krueger, and rebirthed the character in a postmodern context. SCREAM appropriates many of the concepts, conceits and in-jokes inherent in NEW NIGHTMARE, albeit in a much more commercial context that did not alienate teenage audiences who were not around to see the movies that were being referenced.
Author Steven West writes on cinema for a range of publications, and is a regular contributor to the Frightfest website and vintage horror magazine We Belong Dead. He has contributed essays for books including 70s Monster Memories and The Shrieking Sixties.