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Culture > Entertainment

Why You Need to Watch Scream (1996)

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NCSU chapter.

“Do you like scary movies?”

Casey Becker did.

And if you do, too, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of Scream (1996). Six movies and 27 years into the franchise, the horror-satire atmosphere cultivated in the original 1996 flick has proven to keep audiences hooked.

During spooky season, there’s no mask as abundant in stores as Ghostface’s–though most don’t even refer to the mask by the character’s name, calling it “the Scream mask” instead.

For a movie so often talked about and so integrated into modern Halloween culture, it doesn’t appear as though too many are knowledgeable about it–but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of the most prevalent Halloween franchises of all time, on account of its status as a cult-classic film.

Scream (1996) did what no movie prior had dared to do–it put comedy in a slasher. Between all the jumpscares and blood on screen, there’s a humorous aspect to it. Wes Craven poked fun at the very genre of his film, in the film.

From surviving characters saying “There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie,” and giving unsolicited general horror movie survival tips, to the dead antagonist coming back to life after the phrase “This is the moment when the supposedly dead killer comes back to life, for one last scare” is said (before being shot by the protagonist, saying “Not in my movie,”) it’s almost “so bad it’s good” funny.

The humorous dialogue only enhances the horror atmosphere cultivated by the near picture-perfect 90s small-town fall vibes, the costuming, violence, gore, and the overall cliche slasher run of the film.

Each and every one of the horror movie aspects in Scream (1996) is enough to make a decent Halloween film, but the perfect blend of each of them to create an objectively good slasher, which is beyond enhanced by the satirical humor and dialogue of the film itself.

Though Scream may not have been noted by the general audience in 1996 as being an objectively good horror movie, the cult following the film garnered led to five sequels and a still-continuing franchise, which is starting to garner the attention it has always deserved.

Audiences lined up to see Scream VI (2023), despite many not having seen the original film. As deserving as this franchise is to have such an all-encompassing audience, there’s an argument to be made that the real beauty of the films cannot be understood without the viewing of Scream (1996).

The newer Scream movies have taken on a modern approach to the slasher genre, somewhat maintaining the atmosphere of the original–but not to the extent of full comparison. Scream (1996) is in its own category by right, deserving of the attention that the newest in its franchise has received.

27 years after the release of the first Scream, Ghostface masks are still in–and they always will be. There’s nothing more timeless in modern Halloween, and the original Scream is to thank for this.

Go make some popcorn (though watch it–you wouldn’t want to start a fire and find yourself living out the plot of Scream), and prepare to join the cult of original Scream fans. There’s no escaping it.

Riya Kannan is a first-year student at North Carolina State University, studying English and Economics. Though this is her first year as a member of Her Campus, she is incredibly passionate about the intention behind the magazine and is determined to contribute to such an important cause. Outside of Her Campus, Riya is a staff writer with NC State University’s student newspaper, Technician, and a contributing writer at Keke Magazine, a youth feminist online and print publication. Between these two positions, she has written in a plethora of sections–most predominantly news, including business and politics, and culture/entertainment, including film and television. Her expertise in these subjects largely relies on her self-motivated interest in the disciplines, and her determination to ensure that the public stays informed. Riya is also an active member of other groups at NC State University, including Habitat for Humanity and the Financial Literacy Club. Riya was born and raised in and around Greensboro, North Carolina. She loves hockey (though she’s a Canes fan by default, she would never deny her love for the Leafs or Rangers), and enjoys watching movies and TV (possibly to a concerning degree). Her favorite movies include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Barbie, The Social Network, Priscilla, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and any of the Spider-Man movies. Her current favorite show is Succession, though it should be noted that she's on her sixteenth rewatch of FRIENDS. Riya also loves stand-up comedy more than almost anything and is reluctant to admit that after Taylor Swift, John Mulaney is her most listened to artist on Spotify. She aspires to live in and work out of New York City after graduation.