Scream 2

tn_scream2SCREAM 2 is a slasher sequel that had a rare level of difficulty. The fringe nature of the subgenre normally allows part 2s some leeway as exploitational cash grabs, making room for everything from an okay continuation (HALLOWEEN II) to an experimental misstep (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE) to a perfection of the formula (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2) to a re-inventing masterpiece-in-its-own-right (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2). But SCREAM was such a mainstream smash hit, and it created such a new interest in horror among non-horror people, that it had different expectations to live up to.

Also, its horror-movie-where-the-characters-know-about-horror-movies gimmick positioned it as sort of above horror movies, so they couldn’t get away with a normal sequel, they had to also say something about sequels. At the same time, it couldn’t really follow the template of the sequels it was supposed to be commenting on because it’s a series where the bad guys die and the good guys come back in sequels, so it’s a totally different type of story from most popular slashers.

As if all that wasn’t a tall enough hurdle to jump over, this was maybe the first movie production to get screwed by internet spoilers. A first draft of the script got leaked online, so they changed the twist ending during filming. (I bet Elise Neal was bummed she didn’t get to do her killer reveal speech.)

Reunited director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson took an interesting, idiosyncratic stab at it (get it, stab) and I always thought it was pretty good, but watching it now I don’t think it holds up all that well. Like so many sequels the strengths of its predecessor are weakened, the weaknesses are enhanced. And I think it’s pretty superficial in the ways it goes about being meta about sequelizing. Williamson had such a good gimmick the first time around that we took it for granted he knew something about horror movies. In this one the movie nerd shit, at least by modern standards, is for dummies.

mp_scream2The premise is cool: the survivors of the Woodsboro murders (Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott, Jamie Kennedy as Randy) are in college now, where an unknown party uses the same type of “ghostface” mask, cloak and voice-distorted phone harassment to commit murders as a “sequel” to the other ones. Or possibly as a sequel to the tasteless movie STAB, based on the book by Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and supposedly directed by Robert Rodriguez, back when he was a hip up and coming director for Dimension films. Gale shows up to exploit the situation of the new murders, and then she slowly gets a conscience again and tries to actually help. Dewey Riley (David Arquette) also shows up in his police capacity. Unfortunately for him he now has nerve damage from being stabbed in part 1, but in the plus column he has a piece of music from BROKEN ARROW as his theme song. So it’s not a bad trade.

Also, remember Liv Schrieber was briefly seen in SCREAM as Cotton Weary, the guy who was falsely accused and convicted of the murder of Sidney’s mother? Now he’s a major character and he’s in an Amanda Knox type situation where he’s been exonerated except people still treat him like a murderer, so his solution is trying to set up a big TV interview to talk about it.

This movie is very big on that pre-internet idea of everybody wanting to be famous by being on the news. They didn’t know about viral videos back then. The Pam and Tommy Lee tape wasn’t even on the internet yet. Paris Hilton was still a 16 year old attending a school for emotionally troubled teens in Utah. The O.J. Simpson trial was only two years in the past. Things were different.

The opening scene kind of captures what’s good and what’s bad about the movie. A couple played by Jada Pinkett (not yet Smith) and Omar Epps go on a date to a raucous preview screening of STAB, with a cheering crowd in ghostface masks, and get murdered without anyone realizing at first that it’s real.

mp_stabSTAB is an enjoyable meta-joke type deal because it’s fun to see Craven re-staging his own scenes with different actors. He uses some of the same locations and shots, but purposely adds bullshit like a shower scene, an early reveal of the killer, and dialogue like “You know I don’t even know you, and I dislike you already!” It’s almost like Craven’s bragging. This is how you jokers would’ve done this scene. I did it better.

But is it supposed to be kind of a satire about the media exploiting crime and violence, which was a popular topic in the ’90s (MAN BITES DOG, SERIAL MOM, TO DIE FOR, NATURAL BORN KILLERS)? Williamson keeps hitting on this theme, with Weathers being a Current Affair type reporter whose career is given a huge bump by being a crime victim and writing a book about it. And the killers in part 1 were in part trying to become famous. And this one has more media swarming around and lots of talk of big exclusive interviews and ratings and shit.

Therefore I believe that this horror movie based on their lives is supposed to be saying something. But it’s not very convincing, because instant true crime horror movies were not a thing back then, still are not, and don’t seem to be on the horizon. And that’s not the only thing that doesn’t ring true. As fun as this movie screening idea is, it’s just not something that exists. I’ve been to many a promotional preview screening, and I just don’t buy that they would pass out a full Halloween mask and costume to everyone in the theater, and have William Castle style in-theater effects. And then when Epps gets killed in the bathroom it’s weird too. I have a hard time believing he would hear somebody mumbling and put his ear up to the side of the booth, I don’t care how non-germphobic he is. And I have an even harder time believing a knife could stab all the way through that wood. Even if it was a Rambo knife.

Not everything has to be realistic, especially in slasher movies. But compare this to the opening scene of SCREAM, and the things that made that scary. We may never have been a teenage girl home alone getting weird phone calls, but we can relate to the situation. We know the creepiness of a quiet, isolated town like that, an empty house surrounded by yards and trees. All the sudden you get this idea that someone is watching you. Your lights are on and you look out the window and see only darkness, and you feel like you’re in a fish bowl. The feeling that someone is invading your space, and you’re not sure exactly where they are, you don’t know who they are, or what they look like.

It’s scary because it’s so universally relatable. So everything fantastical about the movie theater, every little thing that takes you just a little out of it, is a step backward.

And then there’s Williamson’s idea of witty dialogue between media savvy characters, which has not aged well in my opinion. Admittedly this was kind of a new idea at the time, and it’s understandable that they felt they had to be very basic for audiences to understand it. But Pinkett, whose character doesn’t want to go to the horror movie, deserves a better argument. She projects an intelligence that the script doesn’t live up to. She wants to watch an unnamed Sandra Bullock movie instead. (Assuming this takes place in 1997, that means SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL.)

She brags, “Listen, I read my Entertainment Weekly. I know. My. Shit.” Which gives you an idea of how little you had to do to be considered knowledegable about pop culture back then. When she yells at the screen “Bitch, hang the phone up and star-69 his ass!” I think it’s supposed to be a clever take down of their own movie, the way it tried to take down other horror cliches. But it doesn’t really make sense, because all *69 does is call them back. She already hung up on him. Why would she call him back? It’s not gonna tell her his identity.

To be fair, she’s not necessarily supposed to be a movie (or phone) expert. The real crime is the character Randy, beloved by SCREAM fans as the audience-identifying “movie geek” and horror fan character. I still hear from people who (SPOILER) feel betrayed that their guy got killed off early in the movie. I would like to propose that you not identify with Randy. Randy sucks. He’s an entry level fake ass movie geek. His big insight in film theory class is that “sequels suck.” When he asks to name a good sequel he’s surprised that Mickey (Timothy Olyphant) is able to come up with T2 and ALIENS. And then Cici (Sarah Michelle Gellar) says, “You have a hard-on for Cameron,” as if that’s something only an obsessive Cameron fan would come up with, and not an obvious first answer for every single person who has casual knowledge of mainstream movies of the ’80s and ’90s.

Also, I have to shame the class in general for how long they took to come up with THE GODFATHER PART II. These must be those type of film students who know the entry level art films and black and white classics but their parents wouldn’t let them watch television or play with friends who were aware of popular culture.

Randy does a Schwarzenegger imitation, a Brando imitation, and later a random English accent. He makes a Razzies-esque hack joke based on the false premise that SHOWGIRLS is a movie to look down on. If he had a blog or commented on here nobody would like him. He would probly be good on Doug Loves Movies. He at least knows horror enough to know of SPLATTER UNIVERSITY, THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW, THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD and FINAL EXAM, and that last one especially is a deep cut. But we haven’t seen him provide any kind of interesting analysis of anything. I’m not saying he deserves to die, but in my opinion he’s getting much too much credit as a movie expert and comic relief character.

"Tom Cruise, TOP GUN, 1986." --Timothy Olyphant, SCREAM 2, 1997
“Tom Cruise, TOP GUN, 1986.”
–Timothy Olyphant, SCREAM 2, 1997

They keep pointing out that Randy’s the nerd who didn’t get the girl, and has a crush on Sidney. Just to twist the knife (and add a red herring), they give her a new boyfriend named Derek (Jerry O’Connell), who’s a super nice jock guy. Williamson – who must’ve been preparing Dawson’s Creek at the same time, since it started a month after SCREAM 2 came out – shows that the teen soap opera stuff is at least as important to him as the horror. In a way it’s cool because it expects you to care about the characters more than many horror movies do. (It even has their pictures on the end credits.) But for me it just gets too far into corny territory at times. There’s an uncomfortable scene where Derek, to smooth over relationship troubles while his girlfriend is being targeted by a serial killer, publicly (and badly) serenades her. And of course Mickey has to say “Uh, Tom Cruise, TOP GUN, 1986.” You know how we, as movie fans, always say the year after the title of the movie. Even when it’s ambiguous whether it’s even a reference since he’s not singing the same song or in the same situation.


In the end (SPOILER FOR MOVIE THAT’S OLD ENOUGH TO VOTE) we learn some more about the backstory that gives a revenge motive to the killers. At least it’s not just about fame again. One killer is the local reporter played by Laurie Metcalf, revealed to be part 1 co-killer Billy’s mother. I like that because it’s kind of a reversal of the FRIDAY THE 13TH series where in part 1 it’s the mother and in part 2 it’s the son. Also I always liked Metcalf on Roseanne.

But the brains behind the murdering operation belong to Mickey, foreshadowing Olyphant’s future as a DIE HARD villain. Mickey may have “a hard-on for Cameron,” but in my opinion his murder spree is definitely not ALIENS to the original Woodsboro murders’ ALIEN. He doesn’t change genres or add to the mythology. What a chump.

There are much worse sequels to slasher movies. To name a couple random examples off the top of my head, SCREAM 3 and SCREAM 4. Some of this works, I can appreciate what they’re going for, and it’s certainly not your generic horror part 2. But I can’t say it’s a great movie. You want greatness, stick with SCREAM.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 5th, 2015 at 8:45 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

64 Responses to “Scream 2”

  1. I completely forgot Timothy Olyphant was in this.

  2. Very much agreed on all of the above. After the original kicked the horror genre back into gear, the subsequent winking-from-on-high really started to grate. However, I can’t count this sucker out entirely, as I think the scene in the car with the unconscious Ghostface may just be Craven’s finest moment. Tremendous stuff.

  3. Vern – most damnedly, Randy does the asshole move of nitpickingly correcting someone’s movie quote – “Uh…..it’s not GET away from her you bitch..it’s STAY away from her you bitch!!” even though the other person had it right! You figure someone on set would have the VHS of Aliens lying around to double-check that one.

    And i completely forgot O’Connell was in this and now that I remember – *SPOILER* didn’t Sidney straight up get him killed at the end? Like, she literally let him die, which you figure would traumatize her the most but I don’t think this is ever mentioned again in Screams 3/4. Anyways, this is my least favorite of the Screams. It’s just another bad sequel that tricked people into thinking it’s good by constantly talking about how sequels are bad. Williamson later did this ad nauseum on Dawson’s Creek where the plot would rip off something but they’d give themselves a pass by having one character say “this is just like [insert movie/show being ripped off here]!”

  4. Good catch Neal, I didn’t even notice the miscorrecting. And yeah, he would still be an asshole if he had it right.

  5. Yeah, I have a soft spot for the SCREAM films (though I haven’t watched the 4th one yet).

    And that scene where Jerry O’Connell gets SPOILER killed was pretty upsetting. In my memory the effects on that gunshot were pretty realistic and it sticks with me… haven’t seen it since the theaters though so maybe that’s nostalgia. I didn’t watch any horror flicks during my sheltered childhood, so SCREAM was kinda my entrance into that world, and I waded in after that to see all the sweet stuff I missed growing up.

  6. It’d have been more meta if they’d called the sequels Scream Goes to College and Scream Goes Hollywood. It would also have made it more obvious that Scream 4 should have been set either in Vegas or outer space.

  7. The STAB movie clips that we see in this actually are directed by Robert Rodriguez.

    I think there are a couple really good sequences in SCREAM 2, namely the opening and the scene in the police car, but the whole thing needed more time in the edit. It’s sluggish, and was rushed to theatres prematurely.

  8. Charles, I hardly can’t remember any movie that Olyphant did pre-JUSTIFIED. That guy seemed miscast or invisible (as in “totally unmemorable”, not in “super chameleon actor”) in everything he did, until that show suddenly unlocked something in him and he suddenly became a guy, whose casting in anything really makes me excited. (He is still no chameleon, though.)

    BTW, I think Rodriguez actually directed the STAB scenes for real. They not just put his name on it as a sight gag.

  9. Also: Yaay, I can post again! For any reason my long comment on THE FLY 2 got marked as spam or something and I wasn’t able to say anything in a few days.

  10. I thought *69 told you the number. I think I only used it once, if even at all, but I thought a recorded voice came on and told you the number, not just called them back. Maybe it was different in different places? Either way, I am with you on the difference between the openings and how no movie premiere, or sneak peek, or whatever it was, would ever be like that. I didn’t ever put together why it didn’t quite work, so thanks for that bit of analysis.

    Even though it’s not as good and the following sequels never reach the same level as the original, I still get a kick out of them all.

  11. The Original Paul

    October 5th, 2015 at 11:43 am

    “I would like to propose that you not identify with Randy. Randy sucks. He’s an entry level fake ass movie geek.”

    Thank you! I’ve been saying this for years. The legions of nerd idolizing Randy (on Ain’t It Cool News, of course – sorry to keep stereotyping that site, but the reason I left it was because it started living up to the stereotypes just so damn well) never seemed to “get” that he was a cruel charicature of the nerd “know-it-all” who in reality is wrong about everything.

    I still really like SCREAM 2 though. All those little touches, like:

    – Mickey completely blowing his chances with a girl by being a huge Star Wars nerd (again, this movie is not kind to the nerdkind). He “corrects” her about the Ewoks, and she’s immediately over him. It’s a beautiful little exchange; and if I told you it rang true to me, even though I’d never done anything like that ever to a girl I knew, then I’d hope you would tactfully pretend to believe me.

    – “Hi. No, I really mean that. Hi.” This one line of dialogue is part of why Williamson was regarded as “the” voice of teenagers everywhere, at least for a while. (I think CURSED and latter-season DAWSON’S CREEK might’ve ended that run.)

    – Derek doing the Carpenters as Tom Cruise. Fuck you naysayers, this is awesome! It might be the only time in movie history where we get to see the “surprise” killer lead a college canteen in cheers and claps while his prospective victim is dancing and singing on tables while random extras tuck dollar bills into his pants.

    (Also, the SCREAM series really loves Tom Cruise. There’s a mention of him in each of the first three SCREAM films. Not sure about the fourth; if there’s one there, I don’t recall it.)

    Ok more seriously…

    SCREAM 2 is the only one of the first four SCREAM films that works completely as a “straight” whodunnit. I think you can work out the solutions of SCREAMs 1, 3 and 4 with “meta analysis” – looking for the character who would “fit” as the killer in that type of movie – but in SCREAM 2, you can “get it” without any of this. The clues are all there, especially with Laurie Metcalf’s character. (Early on the movie makes a big deal about her excusing herself, right before Sydney turns up, and also right before the attack on Derek. It never occurred to me until a second viewing to think “Wait a sec… it didn’t make any sense that Metcalf’s character would be obsessed over Gail, yet not even try to interview Sydney. How did I not pick up on that?” They point this one out at the end, and it’s explained by the fact that “Debbie”, Metcalf’s character, knows full well that Syd would recognise her if they ever came face-to-face. They even underline this point by having Debbie Salt herself propose that the killer might be somebody from Woodsborough (which of course it is – it’s her.)

    I’m not such a fan of the second killer… although he has the better reveal. (Mrs Loomis is a little too bug-eyed crazy for my tastes. It didn’t feel justified.) For one thing, he’s a main character who doesn’t seem to have any reason to be in the film except as a possible-killer, is never mentioned as a suspect at the beginning, then disappears halfway through the film and doesn’t appear for so long that the audience might forget he exists. Olyphant makes a good psycho, though, so it’s all good. (My favorite Mickey-as-killer moment: his reaction to Syd’s “Linda Hamilton” moment. “You got a whole Linda Hamilton thing going on there… no, no, it’s good. I like it.” To see just how far-and-away better this film is than its immediate sequel, try and imagine the guy from SCREAM 3 saying something like this. (Actually, try imagine the guy from SCREAM 3 doing anything but angrily whining about how his mother left him.) Doesn’t work, does it?

    I also love how they keep throwing the identities of both killers “in your face” throughout the film (although Olyphant doesn’t appear and isn’t mentioned for the latter half of it, so in his case it’s mostly at the start.) Mickey plays the “supportive friend” who tries to throw suspicion on everyone, whereas Debbie just revels in her assumed role (I love the scene where she asks Gail how it feels to know “someone’s out there… watching and waiting.”) These two might be completely and homicidally bonkers, but they’re in it to enjoy their work. I appreciate this; it makes them that much more fun to watch. I think the filmmakers meant Mickey to be the killer you’d probably guess, whereas Mrs Loomis would be the “surprise”. Worked on me… I didn’t have any idea that it’d turn out to be her, even though they play scrupulously fair in giving us a chance to know that Debbie Salt’s the killer, and also gave us a sporting chance at guessing who she really is.

    Scoring note: the makers of this one used the BROKEN ARROW theme as filler music during the finale of this film. They liked it so much that they bought the rights to it and kept it in the film. Even without that, though, the scoring of this movie is fantastic. Easily on a par with the original. It’s another Marco Beltrami score, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. I’ve raved about this guy before (he did I ROBOT, BLADE, MIMIC, and THE FACULTY, and I believe I’ve talked about the scoring of THE FACULTY and I ROBOT at least… they’re that damn good.)

    Counterpoint to Vern’s point about the Omar Epps kill… it always bothered me, even on first viewing, that the killer publicly stabbed through the washroom wall like that. Not so much because of the force needed to get through the wall AND the head in one stab, but because it seemed suicidally risky. If the killer missed by an inch, Epps’ character might be able to cry out or something; and with other bathroom-attendees as potential witnesses / helpers, the game might be up before it even started. But – and I may be giving SCREAM 2 way too much credit here – I think this might have been deliberate. Much like the boyfriend’s death in SCREAM 1 wasn’t played for horror so much as to just raise the stakes and make the audience aware of what they’re dealing with, I think you could make a plausible enough case that Epps’ death in SCREAM 2 provides a moment of satisfying catharsis for the audience – “Oh, that wasn’t so bad, was it? I knew he’d get it!” – before Jada Pinkett’s death is played out for real horror. And I absolutely think it qualifies as that (SCREAM 2 was the first SCREAM movie I actually saw, and I had one or two nightmares about that cinema scene.) Think about it. Not only are you being attacked by an inescapable masked killer – in a roomful of people wearing the exact same mask – but you’re also surrounded by dozens of people yet have no way to communicate that you need help. That’s some scary shit right there.

    So Omar Epps’ death sets the “level of expectation” at a fairly tame level; then Pinkett’s death pulls the rug from under your feet. Works well, I think.

    Overall… I agree that SCREAM 2 was in many ways too similar to the original (was it really necessary to have Sydney punch Gail in both films?) And it probably could’ve used some more time to be really perfected. But I still kinda love it.

  12. CJ, I got blocked for trying to ask Vern if he had seen the new Wesely Snipes show THE PLAYER on an old snipes thread.

  13. It looks like my posting privileges are back when posting on new threads but when I try to make the post that originally got me blocked in that old thread its still flags it and will not let me make that post.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to derail the Scream 2 thread you guys.

  14. This was the first movie I ever walked out of.

    It didn’t help that I was with obnoxious people to begin with, both the people I came with and the rest of the audience, but all the “Hip film school kids” talking about how sequels suck really pushed me to the edge. (I was in my 2nd year of film school and knew nobody that mainstream in their tastes but who also wouldn’t forget to drop Godfather 2 the second the subject of sequels was brought up).

    But what pushed me over the edge entirely was indeed when Arquette walks in to the theme of Broken Arrow. How DARE this movie take the music of a much better film?!?!

    Anyway, I’m glad that somebody else noticed this, thank you, Vern. (Still never finished the movie. No idea who the killers were until I read this!)

  15. The Original Paul

    October 5th, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    The Winchester – Fuck! I had in mind my point about the cinema scene, and completely forgot that Vern had pointed the BROKEN ARROW thing out. I thought that would be an interesting piece of trivia to bring up. Oh well.

    Man, I can understand this not being to everyone’s tastes, but it was that bad for you? Wow. I’ve only ever walked out of cinema screenings of two movies in my life: BOYHOOD and BAD BOYS 2. Although I have stopped a fair few DVDs before the end. I guess everybody has different things that push their buttons.

  16. ” I think the scene in the car with the unconscious Ghostface may just be Craven’s finest moment. Tremendous stuff.”

    YES! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I actually saw one of those “previews” that occur on the Wednesday before the Friday release. I went to the bar afterwards, and the answer I gave to a group of about four friends to the inevitable “So… How was it?” was:

    “Not real good. However, the film’s centerpiece is this incredible Hitchcock-ian set-piece that is absolutely worth the price of admission,” and said no more.

    The next week, I ran into three of the four who were like “What fucking set-piece were you talking about??” It seemed I was the only person on earth that thought the car sequence was genius.

  17. @MaggieMayPie – Yeah, I haven’t used it in a long time but apparently *69 does give you the number of the last call, there’s an audio sample of the voice message you get when you use it in the wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last-call_return

  18. Just wanted to jump in and say that, in fact, on the opening night of Scream 2 in my small hometown, there were 3 or 4 teenagers dressed up in the “Screamer” costume periodically jumping up and running up and down the aisles scaring people. Also, the audience was at least as loud as the film and were throwing popcorn and soda cups in the air and at the screen.

    Considering that happened to me in a town of less than twenty-five thousand people, I had absolutely no problem imagining that in bigger cities and venues the showings were like circuses.

  19. The Original Paul – Sounds like you just don’t like movies with “Boy” in the title! Next time you see that word in a title, steer clear!

    The film school scene bugged me because it rang so damn false, but like I said, the audience was full of jerks, and I also didn’t care for the people I was with as well. The thought of spending any more time in that theatre was just unbearable.

    I’ve only walked out on a few others in the theaters: Adventures of Pluto Nash, Ghost Rider, Julie and Julia, and Tower Heist. (To be fair, the last 2 was because the wife was sick both times). Came very close during Drive Angry and Boondock Saints 2, and took an extended cigarette break during Transformers 2.

  20. Should’ve been called SCREAM LOUDER.

  21. The Original Paul

    October 5th, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Winchester – the “boy” thing never actually occurred to me. That’s weird. I’ve searched my DVD collection and the only other movie I have with the word “boy” in the title is ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE. But I never got to see that one in the cinema (neither, apparently, did anybody else… it had very limited release.)

  22. This is the 2nd time recently that someone has said they couldn’t get past a movie getting a detail wrong. Paul was annoyed by the mis-use of DNA in SPECIES 2 and now The Winchester hated how false the film students were. It makes me think of how much I hated THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT because I had just graduated with a degree in journalism and thought she was the worst interviewer in the history of student documentaries.

    This one, though – it’s the film industry! They couldn’t even get an ALIENS quote right, or make realistic film buff characters for a movie all about being a film buff. That is pretty sad.

  23. Fred, great idea and then part three could have been SCREAM TILL IT HURTS!

  24. I’d never heard that before about Rodriguez really directing it. I went looking for verification, and IMDb does not give him an “uncredited” credit on his filmography, and the Wikipedia entry for SCREAM 2 doesn’t mention him. But an IMDb trivia entry (which are sometimes wrong) does say that he directed two specific scenes. Interesting.

  25. Vern, thank you for correcting me about Randy. I always thought this movie sacrificed an important character for a one time shock, but maybe he deserved it all along.

    This one never worked for me in its day but I saw more good in it during my rewatch a few years ago. I think a lot of what Vern said hit me subconsciously the first times. Yeah we know it’s supposed to be about sequels but why are film students so hard pressed to think of the classics? And always thought the movie theater opening paled in comparison. Also the reveal of the killer turned out to be such a minor character it felt like who cares?

  26. Quick commenting note: if you’re a regular here and your comment gets nuked PLEASE email Vern with the post and date/time. Vern’s site gets an inordinate amount of spam (nearly 1,000 times that of valid comments) which causes loads of performance problems. The new spam protection plugin that’s been in use for the last couple of months has wiped all of that out and the site has been purring.

    This new plugin is ruthless, however, and if you’re an “anonymous” user (you fill out the fields when commenting rather than logging in with a site account) there’s more scrutiny. The plugin is supposed to offer some kind of appeal when your comment is rejected but as I could not trigger that condition during testing I don’t know the process.

    If some of you who have had this problem can pass along the details I can hopefully modify some settings to prevent this issue in the future.

  27. AnimalRamirez1976

    October 5th, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I saw this one before I saw the original, which seems to be the pattern with me. Of course, it ruined the first movie for me, but I saw that later and still liked it.

    I remember liking Scream 2, but nothing about it. The film premiere and Randy’s death are the only things that stuck with me – I didn’t identify with Randy, but found his death kind of shocking, and frankly thought that Jaime Kennedy was a pretty charming and likable actor even if his character was poorly/obnoxiously written.

  28. “Also I always liked Metcalf on Roseanne.” Priceless. I dug her, too. She was also fun on the Norm McDonald show, Uncle Buck, and just about anything she showed up in. Misty.

    I always felt these films were overrated. I think they work well as fun, throwaway, packed theater experiences, what with their stunt casting and upping the ante, but they don’t hold up in terms of iconic villains or great storytelling. It tries to pass off vacuous pretension as if it were social or cultural commentary (the media! TV made me do it! sensationalism! copycats!), and its generally just too self-satisfied with its own navel-gazing, on-the-nose meta-ness. My bad, lot id of hyphens there, even for me. Ghostface totally lacks gravitas as a villain. He’s always ending his sentences by building to this whiny, fast-paced vocal crescendo, like if Freddy Krueger and every-generic-white-voice-over artist-ever had a baby. And then the fact that it’s a different person from film to film, and it’s virtually always a bitchy and entitled teen or young adult white prom king (or queen). No menace, no pathos, no mythology.

    On the fair and balanced you decide I report equal time side of things, I will say that Neve Campbell is a pretty dope final girl. She’s hot, and strong-minded, and a survivor and general badass.

  29. I can think of an older film that was spoiled on the Internet: STAR TREK GENERATIONS in 1994.

    The script was leaked before the film’s release, as were photos of scenes that were cut.

  30. Can we talk about the violence for a second? I was watching Scream and I was looking up information on wikipedia, like I’m known to do when I’m watching a film, and I was reading about the problems they were having with the MPAA. I know at the time it was really cool to get an unrated version but I don’t remember the differences being all that shocking. I haven’t watched Scream 2 recently yet but I imagine the violence not being all that shocking.

    How far past the MPAA censors are we now where the gore in the Scream series are considering to be really tame?

  31. Sternsheim, the violence in SCREAM has been for me an interesting landmark in how violence in movies is now looked at. Here in Germany, parts 1 & 2 got an 18 rating and part 1 even landed on the index (Not allowed to be advertised or sold outside of adult corners in video stores, not allowed to be shown uncut on TV and so on.). I always thought they were pretty tame. Apart from the garage door scene and the pipe through the head, there was nothing TOO gory. I even made my mother, who would never watch a horror movie and was kinda disgusted by the violence in DIE HARD*, watch them by telling her that they are thrillers. (She liked them a lot, btw!)

    Just a few years ago, part 1 got taken off the index and re-rated with a 16 rating. Part 4 passed the MPAA on its first try. Wes Craven and/or Kevin Williamson said that the original movies were kinda controversial, because of the teenager on teenager violence and a certain political climate at that time. But all in all we as a society got more used to violence in media. Just look at all the gore network TV shows can get a way with! There is maybe nothing in the SCREAM movies, that would make TV cencors angry. (Haven’t seen the SCREAM TV show, but I can imagine it’s more violent than the movie.)

    *She kinda softened up over the years. She still closes her eyes during the pathology scenes in NCIS, but she was actually a fan of THE FOLLOWING, although she admitted that she felt a little sick after certain episodes.

  32. So, has anyone here seen the SCREAM series? It pooped up on netlfix the other day and I was like “Fuck! Do I need to watch this?” Nope, I didn´t, but I did anyway. I think the moment that made me want to continue watching was in the very first scene in which Generic Slasher Victim 2 316 345 is attacked and fumbles with her cell phone. She is too nervous to dial 911 so instead she utilize the voice activation function.

    She: “Call 911!”

    Cell Phone: “Calling.. Pottery Barn.”

  33. The Original Paul

    October 6th, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Maggie – to be fair, the “DNA” thing was just me being pedantic. It didn’t spoil the film for me or anything, it was just a random detail that stuck in my mind. (Not much else about that film did.)

    I was more where Winchester was with ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL. Either whoever made that film had never set foot in an actual arts school, or their experience of it was totally different to mine. Giving the movie its dues, I have to say that Jim Broadbent did a great serial killer. But otherwise that movie was just insultingly bad. I felt like yelling at the screen: “Arts school isn’t actually about hippie chicks walking barefoot over broken glass, you stupid fucking morons!” Not sure why this particular example of Hollywood getting a particular subculture wrong should annoy me any more than, say, 21 (where the Asians of the real-life story are replaced by an all-white cast, and the Asians of the film are the dumb comic relief). Or the portrayal of videogames and / or videogame players as out-of-touch fantasists in any cop drama ever made. I think maybe ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL irritated me so much because it took two things that I have something of an emotional investment in – film noir, which I basically grew up with, and art school, where I met some lifelong friends – and managed to comprehensively piss on both of them.

  34. Shoot, that was also the exact thing that made me give the series a chance. That stalking sequence was way more legit than I expected, and then the Pottery Barn thing got me.

    I actually watched the whole season. I would not claim it was a good show, but I enjoyed it as trashy entertainment while I was waiting for a new season of Empire. Since I like the slasher formula it was interesting to see the whodunit form of it stretched out over a whole TV season. There are some pretty good suspense sequences, a feeling that most of the main characters could actually die, and it was an interesting approach to have a new, unrelated story with some of the elements of SCREAM. I liked that it had a backstory from a different type of slasher movie tradition than the movie: a deformed boy and a lake! That even made me okay with the new mask, which had really offended me when I first saw a picture of it.

    Also I got a kick out of the constant awkward attempts to be relevant by mentioning podcasting and stuff like that. If you want to do a drinking game that will kill every person in the room, take a shot every time they mention malware.

    SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER for Scream TV series: The finale was interesting after I gave it some thought. The first reveal was the person I expected for the reason I expected. The other person I didn’t suspect until earlier in that last episode. But when you go back over the series that person’s involvement is pretty ironic, because there was the episode where it seemed like she was being set up with planted evidence and Emma’s mom told her if she really believed her friend was innocent she had to speak up or she’d regret it, so she lied to give her an alibi. In retrospect Emma really fucked up bad!

    Now I’m really curious how they will approach the second season. I kinda assumed it would be an anthology series, but they’re continuing with the same cast.

  35. SPOILER FOR SCREAM TV SERIES: Also I like how just when I thought I was bored with the show the poor heroine stepped on a trip wire that caused her dumb ex-boyfriend to get chopped up by a machine and splattered on her face like a mud pie. That was cool.

  36. Haven’t seen SCREAM 4 or watched the TV series yet. But I was a monster fan of the first movie and I enjoyed the second a lot (even though I think the original ending was a way better idea than the one they had to go with because of the leak. Still some great jokes and the car scene is probably the last great thing Wes Craven ever did. CURSED had its moments, but it didn’t have any teeth and the less said about MY SOUL TO TAKE the better.

    When I saw this on opening night in the theater, an employee came running out in a Ghostface costume and a knife and scared the shit out of everyone. That was awesome. I knew the manager and he was a pretty funny guy, but I wasn’t expecting that. This was before concealed carry in Wisconsin, nowadays he would’ve been shot by a moviegoer. Well, probably not in Madison, but I can’t imagine any theater chain would be cool with that post-Aurora Dark Knight. Pretty fucking meta, though.

    Anyway, I still love Randy so you guys can suck it. It was the first time a character really represented the film geek in a movie and wasn’t meant to be an subject of derision (you can make an argument for Charley Brewster from FRIGHT NIGHT here but I would argue that it was a perceived weakness by the other characters in the movie.) Calling someone a “fake film geek” is the kind of stuff that scares the straights about us. Sure, his knowledge was pretty Film 101, but he was walking exposition for the people who weren’t ‘in the know”, a lot of his jokes were funny, and it was probably the only role that didn’t make me want to murder Jamie Kennedy. I was in film school at the time and we were all excited to at least be represented in a character that the rest of the audience loved. This was post-CLERKS, but the mainstream landscape still wasn’t as geek-friendly (or geek-celebratory I should say) as it is today.

    I thought his death was devastating and important because it had a ton of impact. He was the character that Kevin Williamson inserted as himself and in my opinion, the soul of the movie series. Once he was gone, I cared a lot less, even though I do love Neve Campbell. Oh yeah, and Dewey should’ve stayed dead. Too much disbelief suspension there.

  37. Is DOUG LOVES MOVIES really that bad? I listened to a bit of one the other day and it seemed mildly entertaining. I am weary of people who use their consumption habits as the centre of their persona, but I did enjoy Doug Benson when he came on U TALKIN U2 2 ME to talk about the SPIDER-MAN musical. Now HOW DO THESE MOVIES GET MADE? strikes me as vapid nonsense (though it has recently spawned a couple of excellent oral histories), much like its textual antecedents Agony Booth and Jabotoo. I’ve never been impressed by the little I’ve seen of MST3K either, but that’s probably best avoided…

    Oh, and I liked SCREAM 2, but I haven’t seen it in ages. I also quite liked SCRE4M, but not SCRE3M, I have *some* standards.

    I had heard the Rodriguez rumour before, but only from a list of Rodriguez films someone posted on Amazon

  38. BTW Vern, IMDB does give Rodriguez a director’s credit. A “2nd Unit Director or Assistant Director” (uncredited) credit. Of course that doesn’t mean it’s true, but I have neither heard Rodriguez or Craven debunk that credit before.

  39. Regarding the violence of the series, I just read that Craven actually pumped up the gore and violence in part 2 because he wanted to pull one over on the MPAA. He thought he could then get rid of all the extra he didn’t really want and keep all the stuff he did want when they wouldn’t approve it. The MPAA actually gave him a go ahead on it all. Personally, I think the MPAA is just a chicken pecking at seed spread on a keyboard. That makes more sense than most of their decisions.

    It’s kind of weird, but the only violence that bothered me in the first one was when the two killers were stabbing each other to make themselves look like innocent victims. The way it was done – casually, rather than with a music crescendo and a tension filled chase or some kind of action scene took it out of movie violence and into more of what real life violence would be like, for me.

  40. I enjoyed the TV series way more than part 4 which I felt was pretty much ass.

    The show actually lived up the conceit of “New Decade. New Rules.” promised by but not really delivered upon by SCREAM 4.

    It was a lot more 21st century tropes and incorporated the current teen culture a lot more genuinely than that fourth movie could ever hope too. My only real issue was how it recycled so many elements from the movies but I suppose it was inevitable.

    The twist at the very end was a real stretch though. I’m curious as to how they’ll try to write themselves out of that corner in season 2.

  41. Pacman – I didn’t mean that as a dis of Doug Loves Movies. I actually listened to that show for a long time, it’s a fun show. But I get tired of hearing comedians talking about how bad movies supposedly are to get a laugh while not (in my opinion) understanding the movies, which does tend to happen on that show. That’s also why How Did This Get Made stresses me out too much. Even a movie that I can’t claim is good, like DOUBLE TEAM, I get too frustrated by them not understanding or pretending not to understand something in it just so they can exaggerate how bad it is. The episodes of that show that I’ve enjoyed are the rare ones where they admit to liking the movie, like FAST FIVE and PUNISHER WAR ZONE (which is mostly Patton Oswalt interviewing Lexi Alexander).

    CJ – Oh, good catch. Seems like a pretty good confirmation.

    Sunspot – If we’re talking about “the last great thing Wes Craven ever did” I think my vote would be a flashback scene in SCREAM 4 where you learn how a certain event was faked. Not a very good or memorable movie, but this particular scene knocked me out.

  42. Crushinator Jones

    October 6th, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Vern – they’re not pretending. Lots of people are *astonishingly* bad at watching movies. It’s the equivalent of trying to hit a nail with a hammer, hitting your thumb, and then making “who designed this thing?” hammer jokes.

  43. I think you’re a little hard on this one, Vern. I remember going into the theaters and not expecting much out of Scream 2, but I was surprised by how quickly I became caught up in the characters again. Also, in a kind of defense of Randy, he’s played by Jamie Kennedy to be both slightly lovable and annoying, and it’s not the film’s fault if people over identify with the character. Besides, Kennedy’s open mouthed delivery of “Fuuuck youuuuu” when he’s on the phone with the killer is one of the more memorable moments in the film. Still, it was a smart move to kill the character off. It signaled that no one was safe.

    Like others, the Scream movies were also my gateway into horror. I’m kind of wimp when it comes to gore, so I’m more drawn to horror films with a bit of humor or atmosphere. I can understand why these post-modern horror films might get on the nerves of actual fans of horror films, but as much as these movies occasionally make fun of horror films, they fall more on the side of loving homage. One of the more subtle jokes of the series is that the characters keep on making the same mistakes that they mock characters from horror films for making. (See: Sidney running up the stairs in the first Scream).

  44. Sorry, the link got messed up (I tried following the XHTML instructions at the bottom of the comment box but apparently they don’t work). That comment should read:

    Art School Confidential wasn’t really “Hollywood’s” take on art school, it was an indie movie written by a cartoonist, Dan Clowes, loosely inspired by a 4-page comic he drew by the same name. His wikipedia page mentions he did in fact go to art school (BFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1984)–I don’t think you can assume that because the depiction doesn’t match your experience that means he got it wrong, maybe the particular time and place he went to art school had a lot more students doing pretentious conceptual art than technique than yours did.

  45. OK, now the words are right but the link doesn’t go anywhere. I wish we could delete comments here! Anyway, the comic can be read at http://joshball.com/non-site%20files/clowes/

  46. The Original Paul

    October 7th, 2015 at 6:01 am

    HS – Well I know a lot of people who went to art school at the same time as I did, and none of those who saw the film liked the movie’s depiction of it either, so… yeah, I think my assumption is pretty safe. Having said that, I can understand Clowes having written the movie using his experiences from an American school in the early 1980s (I was a very small child at that time) and then trying to transfer them to the late 1990s or early 2000s? And obviously my experience isn’t from an American college? Or maybe there was producer interference?

    Understand that what I’m doing here is making excuses for a movie I dislike quite a bit, because honestly I don’t think any of them excuse just how awful the characters are (the main guy hides the identity of a serial killer from the police, then steals his art and takes credit for it after he’s dead. And the supporting cast aren’t much better.) If the filmmaker fails to convince me that his vision of art shool being filled with pretentious morons and morally bankrupt plagiarists isn’t true to life – and I’m guessing I’m probably closer to the intended audience of the film than most – then I’m not going to give the movie a pass because my “experience” isn’t the same as the guy who made the film. And maybe some wealthy stockbrokers might have a problem with THE WOLF OF WALL STREET because “most of us aren’t that awful”. The difference is that WOLF is clearly about one specific guy and one specific company. ASC comes across as though it’s trying to make some grandstanding point about how people who go to art school are horrible. And since I’m fully aware that the majority of them aren’t, the film fails to have any plausibility to me.

    Basically I thought it was pretty well-made technically, but otherwise it was complete and utter nonsense that had nothing of value to say. For purely subjective reasons, I wasn’t willing to give the film a “pass” on that score. But even if those reasons didn’t exist, I still think it would be a bad film. Its badness just wouldn’t bother me as much.

    On another subject… I’ve started watching the SCREAM TV show. Having deliberately avoided reading anything at all in this thread that might count as a “spoiler”, I’m going into it from the beginning to see if I can spot the villains and generally see how good it is. And post my impressions in the forums so that you guys can point and laugh as I get it all wrong. (I’ve only watched one episode so far and I have no clue who’s responsible for what’s going on. Or rather, I have too many clues, but no way to interprit them as yet.)

  47. Not sure how ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL got brought into this, but to me there were two things in that movie that were absolutely dead on:

    1) The barefoot chick. There was one at my school too. I saw her but never talked to her.

    2) The female photography student who says “You have beautiful eyes, can I photograph you?” That happened to me! I thought/hoped it was a pickup line but alas, she really did just want a model for her project.

  48. The Original... Paul

    October 8th, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Curt – well that’s one against me, then, ’cause I thought the barefoot chick was one of those insulting stereotypes that applies to hardly anybody in real life. But then I felt that way about pretty much the entire movie.

  49. Paul, there might be a cultural difference at work here. If I remember some of your previous posts then you’re British, correct?

    From an American perspective, the arts seem much more intertwined with national identity in the UK, Europe and Canada than they are here.

    Our pop culture may have achieved global domination, but that is “entertainment”. The “arts” are seen as not entirely practical, and seem to attract oddballs and misfits who see themselves as bravely challenging The System regardless of whether their art is any good or not. And art schools are a strange world unto themselves, where you aren’t absolutely guaranteed to learn much that is useful or sensible. (They’re still fun though.)

    What I’m saying is that ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL’s satirical depiction of the absurdities of artists and art school might be somewhat unique to American culture and may not be universally applicable.

    Just a thought.

  50. The Original Paul

    October 12th, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Curt – from my previous post:

    “If the filmmaker fails to convince me that his vision of art shool being filled with pretentious morons and morally bankrupt plagiarists isn’t true to life – and I’m guessing I’m probably closer to the intended audience of the film than most – then I’m not going to give the movie a pass because my “experience” isn’t the same as the guy who made the film.”

    So while I definitely think you’re right about the cultural difference, I don’t think that makes the film any better. I mean, if I didn’t have my own subjective reasons to be bothered by this film’s flaws, then I’d probably like it more than I do, but it’d still be flawed. You get me?

  51. Now on my first rewatch after at least 15 years, I came to the conclusion that this one doesn’t hold up as well as part 1, but is solid enough to get the “good movie” stamp. The beginning, in which two black stereotypes discuss black stereotypes, while some assholes around them cheer for the violence in a “true story” movie, until they see some real violence, is way too cheesy and on the nose. And outside of the Sarah Michelle Gellar murder and the scene in the car, the movie lacks any suspense.

    The most annoying thing is how they fumbled the meta part this time. The “sequels suck” jokes are lame and they don’t even abide the made up rules this time! (Yeah, the bodycount is higher, but only by 3 victims. And gorier? Well, there is the pipe-through-the-head moment, but there was more gore in part 1. We didn’t even see any intestines this time and the one slit throat was almost off-screen!)

    But all in all: Thumbs up for a solid sequel.

  52. Vern, I hope that by now you have realized that this is one of the best horror sequels, and maybe the best Slasher sequel. I mean, David Warner alone, come on.

  53. I stand by every word of this review, except I regret not laying into Randy for being a horror fan who can’t at least come up with DAWN OF THE DEAD or EVIL DEAD 2 when discussing if there are good sequels. Let alone TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, ELM STREET 3, NEW NIGHTMARE, various PHANTASMs, etc.

  54. SCREAM 2 was uniquely burdened with the expectation that it be “more” than a slasher sequel and also uniquely blessed with a budget many times larger than any other slasher sequel, so direct comparisons are difficult. The murder of Sarah Michelle Gellar and the police car/recording studio bits are probably better as pure suspense/horror sequences than anything in a FRIDAY THE 13TH sequel, but no FRIDAY sequel has Jerry O’Connell singing on a table or 20+ minutes of a Cox/Arquette sitcom dropped into the middle of it. Wes Craven’s direction is really the only thing that makes the movie worth watching, but that alone still makes it a more worthwhile watch than, let’s say, any FRIDAY sequel after THE FINAL CHAPTER, any HALLOWEEN after III, and any NIGHTMARE made without the main man’s involvement. TEXAS CHAINSAW 2 blows it outta the water though.

    Also, all this talk about good sequels and no one mentions BILLY JACK. Please, mention BILLY JACK, which is much better than THE EMPIRE’S BACK ON STRIKE.

  55. Fair dinkum, as they say down under, Vern, but it just gets better every time I watch it! It’s exactly what I want from a sequel. And while I get why they can’t reference the Nightmare movies, you certainly have a point when it comes to good horror sequels. EVIL DEAD 2 is one of my favorite movies, and I’m a big fan of all of the PHANTASM films.

  56. obligatory annual Mixalot recommendation for the most slept on horror sequel of all time and one that absolutely smokes its preeccesor for breakfast – GINGER SNAPS 2: UNLEASHED.

  57. I haven’t seen part two in years and years but even at the time I remember the Sarah Michelle Geller scene is just filler and serves no purpose in the movie.

  58. Stern, it’s a great, vintage Scream moment that leads to an even better Everclear needledrop. YMMV, but I love it.

  59. I just watched it. Wes Craven and the actors work overtime to make the script make any sense. It works despite Kevin Williamson. Looking back at it now and things he did I am willing to bet he is actually a fake horror movie fan just like Randy.

    Also, the Geller scene only exists to remind us of the very thing the first Scream movie made fun of.

    I’d take any Friday sequel over this garbage.

  60. Has anybody ever thought about this? The opening scene. Why? It’s meta and fun and a great idea but, on a story level, why did Jennifer Salt and/or Mickey do that? I figure, it gives an excuse for a chaotic media circus at Sydney’s college and thus provide a reason for Jennifer Salt to be around and hound Sydney. It’s access as well as satisfying psychological torture against Sydney. And they do it on opening weekend of the movie about the first movie (and is shown to actually be the first movie, recast) because showmanship. She’s in the media, but that seems like it’d be Mickey’s idea. And it provides a red herring for the film’s investigators, because maybe the new Ghostface is just a fan of the movie. And it’s a practice kill. But why Jada Pinkett and Omar Epps? They’re college aged, so does Mickey know them? Did he pick them out on campus or at the theater? Jada’s murder is especially brutal, so was she the primary target? Did Mickey practice kill a loudmouth black moviegoer because he’s a movie loving psycho who is also maybe racist and/or misogynist? Is he a proto-alt right gamer gate type online asshole?

    …or does the movie explain in some way I’m forgetting because it’s been a while? Or are there any other theories? Or is this an old topic already discussed to death elsewhere on thre internet?

  61. I forgot about the Maureen Evans/Prescott thing. I still have a lot of other questions, though.

  62. Let’s be honest, not much about the opening kills makes a lot of sense. I mean, apparently one of the killers was waiting in a bathroom stall, making weird noises in hopes that Omar Epps (or anybody?) holds his ear against the wall, just so that he can stab it and magically hit the right spot at the right time? It is as a whole a pretty good opening scene. Not as good as the banger that opened part 1, that is still one hell of an adrenaline pumper after your 4th or 5th rewatch, but it’s effective! At least until you start thinking about it.

  63. Ancient Romans: Clearly, Ghostface killed them because of their uncanny resemblance to Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett, in the hopes that the movie-within-a-movie based on the murders would cast those two.

    It could be Mickey is a big Demon Knight fan–and who could blame him?

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>