All American Horror Film: Scream Essay

1020 words - 5 pages

As the decades have progressed, horror films have continued to entrance, terrify, and disturb the audiences that have been brave enough to endure them. Each new generation brings around unique attitudes, pop culture obsessions, and moral compasses which horror filmmakers play with in order to make their characters and their audiences more vulnerable to the brutalities occurring onscreen. A notable trait relating to the majority of horror films is the traditional formula that decides which character lives and which characters fall victim. Wes Craven’s re-envisioned slasher, Scream (1996) is iconic for purposely outlining this formula for the audience, while redefining what the horror rules are when set in a modern age. Besides the fact that the film spurred much financial success and established significant cultural acclaim, the journey to getting the story off paper and onto the silver screen highlights a deeper level of success that the film achieved. From the initial idea to the rave box office reports, Scream’s legacy can equally be traced back to the efforts and support it retained throughout its production, distribution, and exhibition.
Loosely inspired by the real life Gainesville Ripper, writer Kevin Williamson developed the full script of Scream, originally titled “Scary Movie,” in just three days, after secluding himself in Palm Springs. At the time, Williamson was an aspiring screenwriter, who felt concerned about the idea of intruders lurking through his open windows. This thought paralleled the actions of serial killer Danny Rolling in Gainesville, Florida. After hearing about the gruesome details of Rolling’s victims, Williamson quickly wrote out an 18-page mini script revolving around a young woman who is taunted over the phone while she is home alone, and then ultimately attacked by a masked killer. In the article, “The Screams of Summer,” further inspiration for the story is attributed to Williamson’s, “childhood love or horror films such as Halloween,” (Palmer 168). After three days of writing, Williamson had completed “Scary Movie,” as well as two other five page drafts for “Scary Movie 2,” and “Scary Movie 3,” proposing the idea of a franchise; an idea that he hoped would further intrigue studios to buy the script.
When Williamson brought the script to his manager Rob Paris, it was discussed that the excess of gore and violence would be a block for many buyers. Just three days after it was officially put on the market, the script obtained significant interest amongst a variety of prevalent studios, launching a massive bidding war between companies such as Universal Pictures, Morgan Creek Productions, Cinergi Pictures, and Paramount Pictures. Eventually, producer Cathy Konrad would bring the script to the attention of the Weinstein brothers of Dimension Films – affiliated with Miramax – who would successfully purchase the script from Williamson for $400,000, along with a contract for two sequel films with the possibility of a...

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