When Scream was released back in 1996, I stubbornly refused to see it. Everyone was going on about how amazing it was, and this movie nerd and horror flick junky refused to believe that some unknown screenwriter had figured out a way to reinvent the slasher film.
I was all about Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th. Thanks, Kevin Williamson. I’m set.
But the buzz for the movie kept growing, and the fact that it had been directed by Wes Craven finally made me relent. Somehow, I’d managed to avoid all spoilers, so when I took my seat in the theater, I had no idea that Drew Barrymore, who was all over the movie’s ad campaign, was going to die gruesomely right away.
That little nod to Psycho and Hitchcock had me hooked.
I absolutely loved the flick, and you know a movie’s resonated with me if my reaction is to go home and immediately want to write.
I had always written horror and thriller screenplays, and Scream showed me that I could still write scary, but now mix in wit, humor, and a twist ending. I no longer had to be a slave to the typical Hollywood slasher formula.
I was bored on my lunch break at work one day, so I started writing a scene at my desk. It was a prank phone call between a student and his teacher.
The scene was definitely inspired by the opening of Scream, but was meant to be nothing more than just a writing exercise to pass the time. The pages were on my work computer, so on subsequent slow days, I’d pull them up and tinker.
Somehow, that one scene grew into Close To Me, a Hollywood producer read the script, and the next thing I knew, I was cashing a huge option check.
Close To Me never got made, but the director attached to the project hired me for several screenwriting jobs. One of those gigs, a rewrite of a script called Victims, became A Perfect Life, my first screenplay to ever be made into a feature film.
And I owe some of the credit to Kevin Williamson, Wes Craven, and Ghostface.
Yes, Modern Philosophers, I am a fan of the show, even though it does not live up to the high standards of the film franchise.
Then again, the subsequent films in the series haven’t exactly lived up to the quality of the original. But sequels rarely do.
I wasn’t a fan of the change in the killer’s iconic mask. The new look, while totally creepy, reminds me more of Jason’s mask than Ghostface’s.
There are definite challenges involved with stretching out a 90 minute slasher story over a 12 episode television season, and I was curious to see how the show would tackle this.
The producers moved the setting from Woodsboro to Lakewood, and there’s no mention of Sidney Prescott or Deputy Dewey and the rest of the gang. It’s a whole new pack of attractive and nerdy high schoolers falling victim to a town’s dark and disturbing past.
While Willa Fitzgerald is no Neve Campbell, she’s a strong, feisty heroine who isn’t afraid to get blood on her hands as she deals with the blood of her friends being spilled far more frequently than she would like.
Just like in the movie franchise, these high school kids know a lot about horror movies and aren’t afraid to risk their lives to track down the homicidal maniac in the poncho and mask.
The show made good use of advances in technology to allow the killer to harass his victims via cell phone anyplace and anytime, while also working text messaging, podcasts, and Instagram-like sites into the plot.
I’ll take the Scream flicks over the TV series anytime, but MTV’s Scream is definitely entertaining and I hope they bring it back for a third season. After all, they need something to put on the air since they refuse to play music videos anymore.
I’d love to write for this show, so perhaps the producers will see this post and ask me to join the writing staff. If they call to make an offer, I hope they don’t use a voice modulator!
And like it’s big screen predecessor, MTV’s version inspired me to spend the day working on my new screenplay. This one is a thriller, too, just like Close To Me. However, thus far, the screenplay does not contain a scene with a prank phone call.
It’s still early, though.
Do any of you watch the TV series? How do you think it compares to the flicks? Has a movie ever inspired anything you’ve written?
Don’t forget, the killer can’t get you if you’re safe at home following me on Pinterest…