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The following is NOT a review of Scream 2022…

I have a horror movie confession. 

This one may make me unpopular, told that I don’t know shit about horror movies or that I am not a real fan of the genre

Here goes nothing…

I don’t get the hype of the Scream franchise. 

This may be as bad as me admitting that I don’t see what the hype over Beyonce is. But, before I keep agitating you, allow me to explain.

I saw Scream in theaters in 1996. I was 16 or 17. From all of the film’s promotions, what I could gather was that it was a “horror” film for the jocks and the popular kids. A movie catered to their interests and their struggles. As a baby goth, I was insulted by the brightness of the film and to whom it was being catered. I was offended by the star-studded cast. What business did Courtney Cox have being a horror film?

There were two aspects that brought me into the theater to see Scream. The first; it was becoming a habit of mine and my goth and queer friends to go see random movies during and after school and be loud critics. It was our life’s mission to annoy and make normal people uncomfortable. For example, my friends and I were laughing our asses off at the end of Titanic while the rest of the theater was sniffling. 

The second reason was that Scream was created and directed by Wes Craven. The visionary behind Nightmare on Elm Street. I had to see what he came up with and, I didn’t tell my friends at the time, I was hoping Scream would actually be good and have some epic slasher sequences. After all, Neve Campbell was cool in my narrow book of horror and, Drew Barrymore too! I love her still.

So, it’s 1996 and I’m the theater. I was captivated by the opening scene. I even jumped at the first sight of Ghostface. I truly enjoyed Randy’s horror film expertise and the way he dissects the genre, after all, he is me and I is him, especially back then. But, as the movie wore on, I became bored with the poor khaki and polo-wearing kids and their scripted humor. There was no taking Deputy Dewey seriously. Gail Weather’s was atrocious. Fitting for a role for Courtney Cox. I know you’re thinking, that was the point for her character, but the film was overall…

”meh”.  Scream wasn’t a horror film as it was promoted to be. It’s something different.

The original Scream was meant to reinvest and reinvent the slasher sub-genre. Put a well-known and expert slasher director at the helm and away the movie studios went with Scream 2, 3, 4, and now the highly anticipated 5. The franchise was never on the top of my priority list to watch during the 2000s. For fuck’s sake it was lumped into a generation where we ended up with Limp Biscuit, and the real insult to horror I Know What You Did Last Summer. Back then, I listened to more Beyonce than I did giving time to whatever that generation of horror and music that was called. 

Blah, Blah and 24.5 years later, I heard about Scream 2022. I didn’t pay much attention to it as I figured it would be more of the same with the Stab, pastel clothes, and the same old formula. No, what got me to pay attention and revisit Scream was the black horror community. Out of nowhere, the majority of black horror fans were going nutters over this next installment of the franchise. To be blatantly honest, I didn’t listen to most of the reasons why. That was until I listened to Author Sylvester Barzey’s episode on Between The Reads Podcast. Sylvester shared how the character Sydney Prescott was able to overcome her trauma, over and over again and she helped him overcome and manage his. 

You know I love these kinds of stories. Then ones were horror movies, their characters and even the monsters themselves help people find hope. Some horror movies even save lives. Yes, even with all the bloody life-ending scenes.

So, I decided, I’m slightly more mature now and gave Scream another go. I have to say, I enjoyed it way more than I did the first few times watching it 25 years ago. I get how fun it was and I definitely appreciated the rules and discussion about horror movies and the homages to classic slasher films and their characters. I particularly enjoyed Tatum’s death scene more than I did the first few times which had nothing to do with her nips. But, aside from the opening sequence in Scream 2, I couldn’t get into the story. It was too bright, too into the college experience I couldn’t relate to. The only one holding the film up was Neve Campbell and that was because she’s the tormented and badass protagonist. I couldn’t deal with Scream 3 or 4 and decided that I will just be Michelle Halloween, the so-called horror-whore who is not a Scream or Beyonce fan.

But, the difference between Scream and the films I do bash, is that I don’t hate the movies. I just can’t get into it or the hype for this next one. It’s similar to how I don’t find it necessary to be on the Marvel bandwagon with its endless spin-offs and exclusive end-credit scenes of five different Marvel movies or shows that must be watched in order to understand the next Dr. Strange movie. Fuck my goth!

Breathe, Michelle. 

No, I don’t hate the Scream franchise because despite my criticisms, these movies sparked curiosities about the slasher genre for its generation of fans. Because of Scream, books like My Heart Is A Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones were written in order to keep on exploring horror and its sub-genres. In times like this, when pandemic fatigue is a plague in itself, we turn to TV and our favorite genres in order to keep entertained. The thing about horror is that there’s an endless amount of it watch and explore and criticize and simply find hope amongst the blood-soaked characters. 

Like you, I am sure you’ve had conversations with self-proclaimed horror experts. Those are always fun right? When I say I don’t get the hype or that I am not into a particular horror franchise, does it really make me less of a lover of horror? Nope. That’s gatekeeping I won’t get into anymore because here’s the thing, my perspective on what makes a great horror film has always differed from what’s popular or trendy. What kind of a goth would I be to fit myself into any kind of DVD box? I love indie horror the most, the cheese, the scares, the audacity, the gore, the supernatural. Scream just doesn’t give me the thrills, what I love about a horror movie, the way Halloween, Candyman, Nightmare on Elm Street, or Terrifier does.

 I also am not a fan of the way major film studios are cashing in on the horror genre. They are taking our beloved movies, remaking them, and adding sequel after sequel just to get us into theaters to support and finance more fancy-ass horror movies that often fall short on creativity and terror. Sometimes, the evil plan works i.e. IT, Evil Dead 2013, Halloween 2018, Halloween Kills But, they don’t give a fuck about the fans that made the franchise so successful. For example, the red-carpet premiere of Scream was canceled due to rising concerns about the ridiculous spread of Omicron but, the fans are forced to make the choice of waiting for the film to come on digital or streaming platforms weeks after it’s theatrical release or risk getting sick in the theater for it. Most of what I am seeing shows that many fans are currently sick and will have to wait till their well, all while going dark on social media because other fans and the movie’s social media platforms are sure to give all kinds of passive-aggressive spoilers. 

Let me end that rant by saying that I do love scary movies and I always will. We horror-whores are as varied in our tastes for terror and I am about it. I hope that this movie changes the game and gets darker and gorier making it a horror film worthy of me buying a t-shirt for. I do intend to see Scream 2022 as I have with all the others, but I am not going out of my way or purposefully getting COVID for it. I don’t mind waiting. I am enjoying the fuck out every other fan’s excitement, theories, and the way they are prepping for the movie this weekend. I do hope the film is all that everyone is hoping it will be. Just shut-the-fuck-up about it until a few weeks have gone by and everyone who felt it important to see it gets the chance to see it. On the flip, remember not to unleash your inner ghost face if a spoiler slips into your feed. Remember that the movie companies don’t give a fuck about your reviews and fighting amongst each other so, enjoy the film when and how you see fit and definitely when you feel it’s safe. 

Get in touch

mobrien@michellehalloween.com