Horror Icons Highlights: Scream

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With literally thousands of horror films to choose from, it’s sometimes difficult to find the right scary movie. Not to mention that for every GOOD horror movie, there are about three dozen bad ones. While that may be a decent ratio for some genres, horror is, at times, inundated with cheesy and unwatchable movies. This is why, when you find a truly great horror movie, it’s your sworn duty to share it with others.

There are numerous directions that horror can take, from the supernatural to the just spooky. But one classic type is the slasher film, usually presided over by a dangerous but human enemy. While this means that the killer can be killed, there is often a problem of discovering their identity. One movie that outdid most every other slasher in its originality was Scream. This movie took all of the horror movie tropes and knocked them on their ass. 

Why is Scream so Scary?

From the defining mantra ‘they KNOW they’re in a movie’ to the discovery of the murderer, Scream did things differently. The beginning moments of the movie start off with a teenage girl getting a scary phone call. While this trope is tired and played out, it quickly gets flipped over and you are left questioning everything. That’s right, within the first ten minutes of this movie you will be shocked. Not surprised, not a jump-scare, but an actually shocking development you haven’t seen before. Going far beyond just taking movie tropes, Scream asks us questions about ourselves.

One scene that showcases this is when someone is watching a horror movie on-screen. They are shouting at the character in the movie to look behind them because they are being pursued. The only problem is, the whole time they’re screaming at their TV… there’s literally a killer behind them. It shows that even when we KNOW how to react in a situation, it might not save us. 

Would You Survive this Scary Movie?

This is the real horror of Scream, it forces us to realize the futility of knowledge in the genre. Just because we’ve seen horror movies doesn’t mean we would survive. In fact, almost every major scene of this film cements that theme. No one, no matter how seemingly safe, will make it out of a situation such as this. It’s our innate powerlessness that makes this scary movie so terrifying, showing us our fragility.

Forcing people to come to terms with mortality is scary enough, doing so at the end of a knife is horrifying. Not to mention the Scooby-Doo face reveal at the end of the movie. I won’t ruin it, but the fact of the matter is, it asks us why we love horror movies. It shines a light on the darker parts of our soul. The killer isn’t a monster, or a ghost, or a demon. They are just human, armed with just a knife, and yet there is STILL no escape. That is the true terror this scary movie inflicts. It’s also why this movie is a classic slasher. That’s why it deserves to be a Horror Icon

Jon "Flash" Schmitt

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