Scream ★★★★★

Watching these discarded 90s horror films lately (mostly from Vinegar Syndrome, like The Fear, Cthulhu Mansion, and All American Murder) suddenly made me very nostalgic for the mother of all 90s horror--Scream.

I remember seeing this film in the theaters upon initial release, about 25 years ago now. I always loved horror films as a child, but I had strayed away from them by 1996. I was 21 years old. and at that time I was really only watching mainstream films of that day and the occasional Tarantino rip off. I remember that the film was released around Christmas that year without much fanfare (I know me and the boys went to see Beavis and Butt-Head Do America that weekend).

Suddenly, word of mouth started to spread about Scream. A positive review in Entertainment Weekly. "You gotta see the first 15 minutes of this film" and "Wes Craven is back" people championed. Suddenly, I was curious. I was on break between semesters and had the day off, so I went by myself to a matinee one week day to a screening. And the world of horror opened its arms and eagerly let me back in.

I'm not sure how many times I've watched this film now. It seems like I would run it on a loop when a bought the LaserDisc (I mean, as much as one can run a LaserDisc on a loop without having to change out the discs). The film pretty much had everything I was looking for--it was funny, it was scary, most of all, it was just fun.

Watching it this time, I loved it just as much as I did the first time. The opening is still a banger. The characters are all likable even if they shouldn't be, the horror film references that really make the movie still work (especially the ones that Craven points at himself). Even at almost two hours long, the film never really drags much (so many horror films have that second act slog).

I'm sure I will make my way through the rest of the Scream series, although I don't remember them being anywhere near the excellence of the original installment (maybe I'll see things differently this time around though). And I really want to revisit the late 90s horor films that were made because of the success of Scream (like The Faculty, I Know What You Did Last Summer, etc.).

Horror films from the 90s feel like the red-headed stepchild of the genre after the heights of the 80s. But I feel like it is time to really reevaluate its contribution. And while Scream undoubtedly reinvigorated the genre as a whole, there is a lot of interesting work to be seen in the entire decade.

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