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"Scream" Returns: Revisit Iconic Imagery from the Original

“Scream” Returns: Revisit Iconic Imagery from the Original

The nineties hit, known for referencing horror classics, is now a horror classic itself. Here are the pictures to prove it.

My cousin’s daughter is obsessed with Scream. She’s eleven. Her mother and I saw the movie in theaters in January ’97, when I was thirteen.

Say what you will about letting a pre-teen watch horror movies (in my family, it flies), you can’t deny that Scream’s staying power is impressive. It’s as if Wes Craven directed the opening scene—entertaining, fast-paced, terrifying—with today’s shorter attention spans in mind.

The movie holds up.

The sequels paled in comparison, as sequels so often do, but with a fifth installment out this Friday, there’s hope among fans that the revival will do the original justice, despite it being the first of the Scream movies directed by someone other than Craven, who died in 2015.

Two recently-released, retro movie posters by Creepy Duck Design are helping to gin up excitement.

The designs are reminiscent of old ’70s and ’80s horror-movie posters (notice the fonts, colors, and creases). But, what makes them especially intriguing is that they’re also reminiscent of Scream itself—and not just because they feature Ghostface.

Scream famously paid homage to the slashers that came before it, with references to classics like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Prom Night, Carrie, and Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street.

In that sense, the posters are an homage to that homage—and a reminder that, twenty-five years after its release, Scream is a classic in its own right.

The cast of the movie Scream sitting together in a row outside smiling at the camera
Image via Shutterstock’s Scream Editorial Collection.

Let’s take a look at some of the movie’s iconic contributions to horror, as told through images from Shutterstock’s editorial collection.


The Drew Barrymore Fake-out

Today, it’s common knowledge that Drew Barrymore‘s character, Casey Becker, dies in the first ten or so minutes of the movie. But, when Scream was first released? The masses had no clue that was coming.

Barrymore was a huge star. She headlined the poster. Of course she wasn’t going to get killed off.

“I wanted [that opening death] to be this big, huge Janet Leigh moment,” writer Kevin Williamson told The Ringer, referencing Leigh’s iconic shower death in Psycho.

“And then, when she dies, you’re like, ‘Wait a second. Wasn’t she on the poster? Wait. What’s going to happen next?'”

The horror-movie takeaway? Don’t be afraid to butcher your top-billed actress. The marketing takeaway? Sometimes audiences do like to be surprised.


Ghostface

Imagine Scream without Ghostface? Impossible. And yet, the iconic murder mask might not have been—the movie’s executive producer Marianne Maddalena only stumbled across it by accident, while scouting a location.

“. . . [W]e went to this two-story house on this lovely street,” she told The Ringer. “The lady was fine with us walking around, and I went upstairs and there was a boy’s bedroom . . . And I saw the mask sitting on a chair. At the time, it had a white shroud. And I thought, ‘Oh my God, this mask, this is it.'”

The villain in the movie Scream - Ghostface - stands in a garage looking evil
Image via Shutterstock’s Scream Editorial Collection.

The studio missed out on some marketing opportunities (they didn’t own the mask, after all). But Ghostface, a costume that any kid could pick up at the store (a chilling prospect and part of its movie-branding genius), became synonymous with Scream.


Sidney Prescott

Neve Campbell was starring in Party of Five (another nineties classic) when she was cast as Sidney—a strong, competent Final Girl who could make even Jamie Lee Curtis bow down.

“We basically auditioned every girl in town, whether she was known or unknown,” casting director Lisa Beach told The Ringer. “As far as the final three, it was Alicia Witt, Brittany Murphy, and Neve. There was just that certain je ne sais quoi that Neve had.”

Neve will return for the latest installment, and so help me god, if Sidney gets killed off . . .


SKEET ULRICH

The caps are intentional, people.

You might not expect a deranged killer—and, as Sidney points out, a deeply disturbed mama’s boy—to become a sex symbol. But, have you seen his hair? That’s nineties grease at its finest. (See also: Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet and Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites.)


The Two-Killer Twist

Wait, Billy and Stu were in on it together?! THEY WERE IN ON IT TOGETHER?!

If you figured that out, good for you. The rest of us had our jaws on the floor, looking kinda like Ghostface. Will the latest movie be able to top that twist?


The Marriage of Courteney Cox and David Arquette

It may not have lasted, but the off-screen union of Courteney Cox and David Arquette began as the onscreen union of Gale Weathers and Dewey Riley.

They, too, will return for the fifth Scream. Perhaps one of them will be Ghostface. Hmm . . .


Giant Phones

A symbol of the times.

Today’s movies, with texts popping up on screen, are going to seem dated one day, too. But, very few of them will rise to the level of classic that Scream has, so show some respect for the brick-sized phones.

And, enjoy the new Scream!


Cover image via Shutterstock’s Scream Editorial Collection.

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