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With the release of “Scream” on January 14, I was thinking about how the franchise has changed film. The impact of the original “Scream” film on the horror genre is undeniable, as it has had such a large-scale effect on what is produced even now. The original “Scream” came out in 1996 and was directed by Wes Craven. Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette play the three-main characters in all the film adaptations, which helps to create some consistency for the franchise. 

Campbell plays the iconic Sidney Prescott, who can never seem to escape a trail of murderers after the murder of her own parents. Beginning with Sidney still in high school, the series is able to age with the actors, which allows for the franchise to attract people from all generations. Sidney Prescott is one of the most pivotal final girls in a horror film, as she has learned to fight back time after time. 

The first film was extremely popular and has been credited with revitalizing the slasher genre. 

Many films followed in the footsteps of this film, as it was a success with fans and at the box office. 

Meta-commentary

One of my favorite aspects of the “Scream” franchise is its unique use of meta dialogue. The films are very aware of their place, which leads to lots of humorous dialogue and scenes where the characters acknowledge the rules associated with surviving a horror movie. In the original “Scream,” a character is seen watching “Halloween” while he ironically yells at the main character, Laurie Strode, to turn around, right as Ghostface sneaks behind him. 

In all the films, the characters have a deep interest in film. This is visualized through scenes at video stores or seeing the characters in film classes. This aspect makes it so that the characters are in on the joke of a horror movie, which prevents audiences from judging their decisions too harshly. 

This commentary also helped to inspire the “Scary Movie” franchise, which heavily plays on “Scream. “Scary Movie” came out in 2000 and is an even more self-aware look into the horror/slasher genre. 

I think that this commentary makes “Scream” less scary for audiences, as it includes a level of humor not seen in other slasher films. 

The other films 

“Scream 2” came out in 1997 with a lot of the same patterns present in the first film. This film is focused on Sidney’s life in college as she deals with a copycat killer. In this film, they were able to add an additional commentary on the impact of media in society and if it triggers violence.

“Scream 3” was then released in 2000, which was much less successful than the previous two films. Many viewers thought that this third film was a little too humorous and lacked the horror they had seen in the previous films. 

“Scream 4” then came out in 2011, which seemed to mark an ending to the franchise. This potential ending was partially thanks to the Scream television series that was being made by MTV. The series ran for three seasons and helped to bring a younger generation into the fandom. 

“Scream” 2022

As a way to honor the 25th anniversary of the original film, this fifth movie was originally supposed to be released in 2021. However, this plan got pushed back due to COVID and scheduling issues. For this film, the original stars would be returning alongside a multitude of young actors ready to join the franchise. Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega and Jack Quaid are just some of the next generation to join the series. 

The film was a great success, which just proves the ability of the series to transcend time and continuously find new ways to be fresh. 

What’s next?

After the success of the fifth film in the series, a sixth film was greenlit. Production is scheduled to begin this summer. This next film will continue on with the cast of the fifth film, which includes some of the original stars. Although the pattern of a new copycat killer for each film is consistent, each film has managed to stand out in its own way. This next film will be sure to continue the franchise that so many of us know and love!

Minna is an English major at the University of Florida. She is a features writer for Her Campus UFL.
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