Monday, July 12, 2010

Familiar Faces and a Re-Telling: My Perfect 'Scream 4'...

I try not to get too personal on this site. Though it certainly started off with a lot of "I"s in the articles, talking about how my world view was shaped and sculpted through all things pop culture (but mainly television), the site has grown and expanded within the past year or so. There are many more interviews now, and it rides a thin, sometimes wavy line between professional TV critic blog and fangirl gush-house. And not to get too much into the latter, but I felt the need to share that yesterday some friends and I got together to marathon the Scream movies over chips, dip, cupcakes, and 7-11 Slushies. We reminisced over the terrible make-up and hair; we bonded over whether or not we figured out who the killer was the first time we saw the film; and we speculated on where the franchise will be heading now that a fourth installment is being tacked on all of these years later.

Scream was the first horror film I ever saw in a movie theater. I consider it my first real parlay into the genre, therefore, and I was so surprised and inspired by what I saw there that I actually credit it as one of the select few projects that made me realize I wanted to try my hand at writing for the screen, too. I had always heard that horror/slasher films were cheesy and all about violence, gore, and stupid protagonists who run up stairs when they should be running out the door. But Scream was so much more than that: it featured real characters that I could see existing within my own neighborhood just thrust into an extraordinary situation. The writing was clever, so therefore they were clever, and even when Sidney (Neve Campbell) had the same "shaky-hand, scared girl turned warrior who takes back her life" arc in all three films, I forgave it because everything else was great.

Come on, "motives are incidental" had to make you think, right??

I don't write original screenplays anymore, though I still do dabble in pilot scripts from time to time. But being once again immersed in the creative, fresh (even after all of these years!) energy of the film(s) which had such an impact on my formative years got the ole' gears turning. So, if you will, allow me to indulge in my fantasy for the film's "twist" ending.

First of all, in every Scream installment, an important cast member from the previous film ends up biting it in the next. In Scream 2, it was Randy (Jamie Kennedy), and in the third, it was Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber). In the fourth one, I would love to say it should be Sidney because I'm kind of over the whole teary-eyed, quavering voice thing Campbell has done for the past three, but let's face it: she's the magnet that attracts these nutjobs, and without her there could never be a five and six...or could there? Anyway, as terrible as it would be (for Dewey), I think the sacrificial lamb, as it were, should be Courteney Cox-Arquette's awful-wigged Gale Weathers.

However, I have a feeling it will actually be poor Dewey (David Arquette) who has run out of lives. After all, they are already training his replacement! And once that nastiness is out of the way, they can focus on the killer, who should be-- wait for it...Patrick Dempsey! Another familiar face (he played the detective in charge of the Sunrise Studio murders in the third installment of the original trilogy), and even more famous now than he was ten years ago, he would be a great surprise to welcome back to the cast. Besides, didn't you feel a little gypped at the end of Scream 3 when a second killer wasn't revealed? I know I did!

Scream set a precedent with its first two films that its "bad guys" were team killers, but it broke its M.O. in that third one. Yeah, yeah, all bets are off, and everything you think you know, you should just forget. Blah blah blah! Dempsey played his role just creepy and mysterious and invested enough to leave most believing he was really Sidney's brother. Obviously that wasn't the big reveal at the end, but he obviously felt a very strong, and perhaps inappropriate, connection to her. Maybe to the point of stalking back then, as well as now. Just because Roman (Scott Foley) didn't sell him out in Scream 3 doesn't mean he wasn't a part of things! He'd hardly be the first dirty cop, after all.

And maybe he's now out to finish what he started with his partner. Maybe he had to wait for the craziness to die down and to allow the dead guy to take the complete fall; maybe he wanted to get even closer to Sidney before he went after her again; maybe he just lost his opportunity due to a precinct transfer or her own rise in fame. Whatever the reason, now he is back to try to settle the score.

I know this is a long shot. I know that any time a brand is revamped years down the line, the originals who may pop back in usually only do so as sporadic cameos. Take last season's updated Melrose Place, for example. I am trying to stay spoiler free, with the exception of casting notices, so I don't know to what degree this is true. My initial thought would have normally been that one of them has a kid who has a friend who gets hacked to death in the opening sequence, but seeing as how this film is being shot a decade after the last one, and Wes Craven isn't in the kiddie snuff film business, that is probably a bust. But judging from the teaser poster that has been sent around the interwebs, Sidney, Dewey and Gale may not just be distantly related to the new crime spree after all!

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