"Now Syd, don't you blame the movies! Movies don't create psychos! Movies make psychos more creative!"
I never did catch Wes Craven's Scream in theaters when it first opened in December of 1996. I don't remember it coming to my hometown, which was a bummer. Growing up on horror movies, I was totally stoked to see a movie that prided itself a scary movie after enduring years of "psychological thrillers". Alas, I had to wait until the VHS release to be at the party. Thankfully, with the enormous success of the first film, both Scream 2 and 3 came to town, and I was able to see those big-screen with my brothers. Eleven years after #3, I caught Scream 4 opening weekend, this time with Jenn. I actually enjoyed that film more than I did the previous installment (I seem to be one of the few who enjoyed it, period), but I started to really feel bad about missing the first film in theaters. Especially since it has become a movie that never gets old for me. So, when I heard the New Beverly Cinema and Horror Movie a Day were hosting a midnight showing of the first Scream on Saturday, I was not about to let an opportunity to right that wrong pass me by.
If any proof were needed that Scream is indeed a classic film, then the turnout for this screening was it. Jenn and myself were the first ones to arrive, and it was a bizarre sight to watch the line behind us get longer and longer in what seemed to be no time at all. After sixteen years, the picture can still pack a movie house. Not that that was surprising, but seeing the amount of younger faces reaffirmed me how long-lasting the film's impact has been, as well. Soon, our friend, Mike Brieburg, joined us, but not before checking out how far back the line went. You guessed it; around the block.
Before the movie started, Horror Movie a Day founder, Brian Collins, served up some Scream trivia to give away some DVD prizes, but first he brought Shock Till You Drop managing editor, Ryan Turek to the stage to quickly plugged the DVD release of the bonus features to his awesome retrospective documentary, Still Screaming. If you've never seen it, I highly recommend it, because it is as much a blast to watch as the films themselves. Then it was Q&A time with Scream's editor, Patrick Lussier. There was nothing really revelatory about the discussion, but it was pretty cool hearing from the editor himself about dealing with the movie's constant resubmitting to the MPAA for an R-rating.
After the Q&A finished, it was movie time. No trailer, no nothing. Straight into the Dimension Films logo, the telephone ringing as the title appears, and then a horror milestone commenced as Drew Barrymore answers the phone. Watching Scream this way was a thrill, for sure. Yes, it's smart, hilarious, and brutal, but it's even better on film projected on a big screen. There was also this odd feeling I got, like I was looking through a window to the past. In one way, Scream 4 was still fresh in my memory, so watching this- for the most part- same cast 16 years younger soon after was kinda trippy. In another way, Scream 1 came out just before I turned 20, so I felt a strange bit of nostalgia I never experienced before.
I no longer have the shame of the original- and best- Scream being the only one in the series I haven't watched in a theater. Since the franchise is now going to be turned into a show for MTV, I'm happy that the last of the Scream movies I see on the big screen is the first one. A really wacky way of looking at it, yeah, especially afterwards, but I'm still grateful I had this chance. Thanks to the New Beverly and Brian Collins for the screening, and thanks to Jenn and Mike for sharing it with me.
Oh, and here's a link to where you can order the 2-disc DVD of bonus features to that documentary, Still Screaming: