American filmmaker Wes Craven has conducted reinventions of the horror genre by experimenting with the cinematic medium since his 1972 directorial debut, The Last House on the Left. He has been responsible for the creation of multiple successful film franchises, but his biggest contribution to the world of cinema remains his 1996 classic Scream.
Starring the likes of David Arquette and Neve Campbell, Scream subverted the strict definitions of a slasher film and managed to shift the focus of the cinematic investigations to newer avenues. Its influence was so great that the horror films that came after it were referred to as products of the “post-Scream” era because many of the projects were inspired by Craven’s work.
Oscillating between meta-horror and meta-humour, Scream managed to construct a self-reflexive examination of the genre itself as well as its many flaws. In addition, Scream insisted that not every woman in a horror film has to be a helpless damsel in distress. Like the film’s protagonist Sidney Prescott (played by Campbell), she can be empowering as well.
“Most of the scripts that come across your desk are terrible. They’re derivative, they’re ugly and they’re just gore for gore’s sake…I found it a very appealing script,” Craven said of screenwriter Kevin Williamson’s abilities. “It’s really wonderfully written, it’s very funny. It’s scary when it means to be scary, extraordinarily well-informed about the genre itself.”
For all the fans of Wes Craven’s masterpiece out there, there is excellent news. As a celebration of Scream’s 25th anniversary, Paramount Pictures will release a 4K version of the film in October of this year, which will have the theatrical cut as well as the director’s cut. The upcoming latest sequel to the franchise is also scheduled for a 2022 release.