THROWBACK THURSDAY NICK CLEMENT REMEMBERS WES CRAVEN AND SCREAM
MOVIEVIRAL was saddened to hear of Wes Craven’s passing. The man reinvented horror cinema. NICK CLEMENT here takes a look back at SCREAM, one of Wes’ best..
Wes Craven was never my favorite filmmaker, as the horror genre has been the one to excite me the least overall, but I’m not blind to his extreme abilities as a craftsman, and it goes without saying, he was an iconic figure in the cinematic landscape. He certainly made his fair share of great films — Scream, The Serpent and The Rainbow, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Shocker, The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Last House on the Left –– these are all ENDURING pieces of cinema. It’s also apparent I need to see The Fireworks Woman.
For me, it’s Scream that stands tall as a milestone genre staple and as a reminder of how clever and rewarding movies can be when written with supreme, genre-loving skill and directed with total finesse. I can remember seeing it opening weekend way back in 1996 with my buddy Jed Wortman and we were probably two of ten people in the theater.
Looking at the box office stats for Scream, you just have to chuckle – this future juggernaut opened to around $7 million, and then did $7-10 million for the next 6 weeks. It became a true word of mouth sensation that somehow caught a wave and tapped into the zeitgeist – it was something you HAD to see, regardless of your age, or your interest in the genre (growing up, slasher movies were never “my thing,” yet I saw this one three times theatrically; I even forced my dad to see it so that way he would be “up to speed”).
The film is viciously bloody and nasty, yet remarkably somehow still playful, and it’s incredibly funny, almost non-stop to be honest, with pop-culture jokes and sly references that were totally in-the-moment 18 years ago yet still work and zing today. Kevin Williamson’s genre-busting work was just beginning and when you look back at his original script you can sense that he was seriously zoned into this milieu.
There’s not a bad performance in the entire cast, with Neve Campbell easily joining the ranks of premiere cinema scream-queens, David Arquette using charmingly goofy comedy to lighten the load, and Courtney Cox doing a delicious hot-but- bitchy performance that still cuts to this day. The plotting is terrific, the twists are novel, the dialogue is as sharp as Ghost Face’s knife, and the killing-off of Drew Barrymore in the opening reel still stands as one of the best surprises in movie history.
Wes Craven is gone and the horror genre will never be the same without him. RIP.
After spending close to a decade working in Hollywood, Nick Clement has taken his passion for film and transitioned into a blogger and amateur reviewer, tackling old, new, and far flung titles without a care for his cerebral cortex. His latest venture: Podcasting Them Softly, finds him tackling new ground as an entertainment guru, and along with his spirited partner Frank Mengarelli, are attracting some diverse and exciting talent to their site. Some of Nick‘s favorite filmmakers include Michael Mann, Martin Scorsese, Tony Scott, Oliver Stone, David Fincher, Werner Herzog, Terrence Malick, and Billy Wilder, and he’s a huge proponent of the “31 Flavors of Cinema” school of thought. Favorite films include The Tree of Life, Goodfellas, Heat, Back to the Future, Fitzcarraldo, Zoolander, Babe, and Enter the Void.