The franchise became the very thing it sought out to destroy.
Studios take different strides with what they want out of horror films. While there were other slasher films before it, “Halloween” (1978) really launched that era of slasher films, which we got “Friday the 13th” (1980) and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1983) out of. “Nightmare” was created by Wes Craven. Craven wanted no involvement in the sequels, as he didn’t see a need for them, and didn’t return to the franchise until “New Nightmare.” Following that, Craven directed Scream, a horror movie meant to destroy the sub-genre he improved on. Just like “New Nightmare,” Scream had a self awareness to it, which made the film very appealing to a lot of people.
I can’t remember when I saw the first “Scream, but I know I rented it when Blockbuster was still around (R.I.P., I know some still exist). What I do remember is how enamored I was with it. “Scream” is just so cool, fun, and kinda scary, in a way. Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven, just like he did with “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), brought something new to Slasher films. Despite the film’s intention, “Scream” just ended up reinventing the slasher film.
Now Hollywood wanted to be self aware with horror and slasher films. That’s how we got “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Urban Legends.” Eventually though, like with everything, Hollywood grew out of that.
I didn’t see “Scream 2” or “Scream 3” till when “Scream 4” or “Scre4m” was coming out. I bought the whole trilogy, which, in retrospective, was quite the mistake when it came to Scream 3. “Scream 2” loses some of the freshness of of “Scream,” but the movie’s still great. A college campus is a great backdrop for this type of movie. The new cast members mold well with the old and are really entertaining. “Scream 2” is also nice in that the movie doesn’t become one of those type of movies (shitty horror sequel) they’re making fun of. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for “Scream 3.” By this point, the series has become what it set out not to be with the first two installments. There’s a lot of twists in “Scream 3” that really makes the movie just fall apart.
“Scre4m” was released eleven years after “Scream 3.” The film is entertaining, at times, and a huge improvement over “Scream 3” but still isn’t that great. The meta humor does work sometimes in the film but can also feel really forced and trying too hard. I know that’s part of the point of what this movie is trying to say about sequels, but there’s obviously a way to do it without actually becoming what you’re parodying. The first two films of the same franchise already did it. I couldn’t stand how they had spent so long building up Gale and Dewey getting together, now they’re having problems. If there’s not enough material to work with to the put where that is incorporated, they probably shouldn’t be doing a sequel. The Climax too, while interesting, sorta just collapses under its own weight.
There’s now a “Scream” TV show, but there were plans to make “Scream 5” and “Scream 6.” That didn’t happen, and I felt that was for the best, as the franchise just had the possibility of becoming similar, in quality, to Scream 3.” There was, however, also the possibility of the franchise improving upon itself. At the time I was curious to see if the franchise could’ve gotten back to its glory days, which Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven were/are entirely capable of.