31 things we learned from Wes Craven’s “Scream” commentary

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Of Rob Hunter Published November 11, 2021

Welcome to Comment Comment, where we sit and listen to the directors talk about their work, then share the most interesting parts. In this edition, Rob Hunter revisits one of the the best horror movies of the 90s, The Scream of Wes Craven.


Scream 5 it will hit theaters early next year, and while we’re excited about it, the filmmakers’ previous film is the excellent one Ready or Not – There is considerable sadness around because it is the first without Wes Craven. The legendary director directed the first four, and while they all have their own charm, I think we can all agree that He shouted > Scream 4 > Scream 3 > Scream 2. (I know we can’t actually agree on this, so feel free to leave a comment below with your incorrect ranking.)

In anticipation of the upcoming sequel and as an excuse to revisit the film in its new 4K Ultra HD version, I listened to the commentary track with Craven and writer Kevin Williamson. The film is a quarter of a century old at this point – yes, twenty-five – so horror fans already know some of those things, but it’s still a solid listen. Read on to see what I heard in the comment for He shouted.


Scream (1996)

Commentators: Wes Craven (director), Kevin Williamson (writer)

1. The opening scene with Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) was shot in the first five days of production. The house was a set built in a vineyard and the large windows are meant to remind viewers that they feel safe inside that “there is a big world out there”.

2. The film was originally called Scary movie, “And when Miramax changed it to He shouted We all thought it was a stupid title. ”Everyone loves it now, of course.

3. Craven initially removed the part where Casey says the first Nightmare on via Elm the movie is great, but the rest sucks, “because I thought it would make me look egotistical”.

4th Roger Jackson gives voice to the killer, and was actually on set during production – and on the other side of those phone calls. They never allowed Barrymore to see or meet him, though, to keep his uncertainty about who he really was.

5. The “very special blue” on Casey’s TV screen, the dead screen between VHS tapes, appeals to Craven in suggesting “we’re about to see a movie.”

6th Barrymore had shared a traumatic memory with Craven that involved a story he had read about a dog owner who burned their pet alive. “So whenever I needed her to cross that line in full tears, I would just say ‘Drew, I’m lighting the lighter’ and she would burst into tears.”

7th Intestines discovered at 8:02 am were censored by the MPAA. “A lot of times MPAA is just sad for me ‘it’s too intense, get the intensity back.'”

8th. While the presumption of the mask was part of Williamson’s script, he made no mention of what else the killer is wearing. Craven and the costume department looked at various options, all designed to ensure that viewers couldn’t identify the killer behind the mask.They initially looked into the white costumes to be in line with the ghost mask, but one of the manufacturers suggested they should go black.

9. Casey’s dad telling his mom to “drive up to the Mackenzies” is a nod to Halloween (1978) when Laurie Strode tells the boys to go down the street to the Mackenzies. It seems to me that the Mackenzies should be scrutinized because it is terribly fitting that they have now been living close to two insane mass killings.

10. The conversation between Sidney (Neve Campbell), Stu (Matteo Lillard), Billy (Skeet Ulrich), and Tatum (Rose McGowan) at 8pm is what prompted Santa Rosa High School to withdraw the permit for filming on campus. The language was too much for them. “One of the big ironies was that in the midst of all this school board saying that you are showing the wrong thing to our children and setting the wrong example, one of them was arrested for beating his wife.”

11. “There’s a little boom shadow on that rail over there,” at 10:25 pm. “He’s the only one in the movie.”

12 ° Williamson receives more criticism for Tom Cruise’s penis joke than any other in the film. The Richard Gere / gerbil line is a close second.

13. Craven knew they were walking a fine line with killer clumsiness / how often he gets knocked down, and during the first fight with Sidney they actually fired, but then removed a beat with her hitting him in the head with an image causing him to fall down the stairs.

14 Sidney types his distress call to the online emergency system and enters 34 Elm Street as the address, but it has been cut in time.

15 ° Joseph Whipp here he plays the sheriff, and he plays a policeman in A nightmare on Elm Street mashed potato. “So the backstory I put in is that he was so upset by the events in Nightmare on via Elm who moved to a small town in Northern California. “

16. The film remains a lot of fun as far as its manipulations and red herrings go, but the shot of Billy’s face at 30:01 has always sealed his guilt for me. (A similar one during the band’s conversation near the fountain is equally exaggerated.) “The idea here for me,” says Williamson, “is that I point my finger at him so brazenly that the audience immediately knows that no, not is the killer. “

17th The killer costume, as seen in the package at 35:09, is called Father Death. “This was my little mistake,” says Craven, “to insert the word father to make people believe that he is Sid’s father who has mysteriously disappeared.” This is new to Williamson.

18 ° Williamson believes Stu’s character has been underwritten, so he credits Lillard with making the character one of the most memorable in the film.

19 ° The main (Henry Winkler) is killed because Bob Weinstein thought thirty pages without a murder was too long.

20 Other directors were called before Craven, but they all failed in part because they saw the script as a comedy. “You can’t be funny when someone is dying,” Craven says. Instead, he likes to find humor in the tension between kills.

21. Craven didn’t know what a beer bong was.

22 The house in which the third act of the film is set was built by a couple who died within a month of each other. It was practically abandoned because the couple’s children didn’t want to be a part of it, so they were easily persuaded to rent it for filming.

23 Nor comments on the birthday boy reacting to the killing in the hall closet in John Carpenter’s Halloween saying “the color of the blood is all wrong! It’s too red! ”There is – famous enough – there is no blood in that scene (and barely in the film as a whole).

24. Ulrich wore the killer’s costume only once during filming, and it was during the scene where Randy (Jamie Kennedy) is watched Halloween alone and talking to the screen trying to warn Laurie.

25 The van stunt at 1: 27: 00 should have seen the vehicle roll off the road and roll over immediately, but it kept crashing into trees. The stuntwoman was safe and unharmed.

26 The rhythm in which Gale (Courtney Cox) falls on Dewey (David Arquette) had to be turned over several times as the couple immediately started giggling with each take.

27 Ulrich underwent open heart surgery as a child and left a stain on his chest with a stainless steel wire that can be sensitive to touch. It was stuffed for the umbrella shot, but the stuntwoman’s second stab at 1:40:02 accidentally linked to the commercial.

28. Sidney sticking his finger into Billy’s fresh wound was devised by Craven as “making intimate love backwards” to her penetrating him.

29 They added the shot of Dewey alive and loaded into the ambulance on the spot “just in case” the audience liked the character.

30 Craven is pleased with his addition to the credits credits that end a list of acknowledgments with “No Thanks to the City of Santa Rosa School District Board of Trustees.”

31. Non-Wes Craven films mentioned include Psychopath, When a stranger calls, Script, Redemption, Walk and talk, Prom evening, And Halloween.

The best of comment without context

“I’ve always thought that the scariest killers are the really smart killers.”

“I’ll do anything to get my shots.”

“I was trying to get every cinematic reference I could.”

“What is postmodern horror?”

“Censorship can really make things impersonal.”

Final thoughts

He shouted remains an extraordinarily entertaining slasher movie – funny, violent, clever – and holds up well with rewatches. Some character beats / expressions push the boundaries of red herrings – looking at you Ulrich – but the suspicions of the audience move beautifully everywhere. Craven and Williamson have been a great team and their commentary shows two people in love with movies, horror and the talents that bring them together.

to know more Comment Comment from the archives.

Related Topics: Comment Comment, He shouted, Wes Craven

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird considering he’s so damn young. He is our lead film critic and associate editor and lists “Broadcast News” as his favorite movie of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.

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