Devil's Advocates


March 19th, 2019

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Wes Craven's Scream (1996) emerged at the point where the early eighties American slasher cycle had effectively morphed into the post-Fatal Attraction trend for Hollywood thrillers that incorporated key slasher movie tropes. Scream emerged as a spiritual successor to Wes Craven's unpopular but critically praised previous film New Nightmare (1994), which evolved from his frustration at having lost creative control over his most popular creation, Freddy Krueger, and rebirthed the character in a postmodern context. Scream appropriates many of the concepts, conceits, and in-jokes inherent in New Nightmare, albeit in a much more commercial context that did not alienate teenage audiences who were not around to see the movies that were being referenced. This Devil's Advocate offers a full exploration of Scream, including its structure, its many reference points (such as the prominent use of Halloween as a kind of sacred text), its marketing ("the new thriller from Wes Craven" – not a horror film), and legacy for horror cinema in the new millennium.

Author Information

Steven West writes on cinema for a range of publications, and is a regular contributor to the Frightfest website and vintage horror magazine We Belong Dead. He has contributed essays for books including 70s Monster Memories and The Shrieking Sixties.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
1 Flashback Face: 'Do You Like Scary Movies?' Scream and Revitalisation8
2 Craven Images: The Road to Scream26
3 Horror, Happy Meals and Hybridisation: Scream and the 1990s44
4 Characters, Conventions and 'The Rules': Creating Scream's Thieving, Whoring Emsenble56
5 Watch a few movies, make a few notes: Scream's layer cake of references92
6 Reception and Marketing: The Selling of Scream108
7 Scream and Scream again: The Legacy of Scream120