Scream 1, 2 & 3
Director: Wes Craven

Stars: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox
Review by Brian M. Sammons

Scream 4 is just around the corner and that’s both a bad and a good thing. It’s bad because with the trend that Wes Craven’s last few films have taken (Cursed and My Sould To Take jump quickly to mind) the old master horror may have lost his touch and just might be happy to phone it in now. But it’s good for two reasons. First, at least it’s an honest to goodness sequel and not another damn remake. Second, stuff like this always means that the old movies get the update and upgrade treatment. So now we have the first three Scream movies on Blu-ray from Lionsgate and Miramax. Let’s grab a knife, open these babies up and have a look.

Now I’m sure you’ve all seen the first movie or at the very least, know about it. After all, whether you love it or hate it (and there are plenty of people on both sides of that fence) it is undeniable that Scream revitalized horror in the otherwise horror-free ’90s. However, just in case you’re one of the very few horrorheads that don’t know about these flicks, here’s the nickel tour. Scream is at its heart a pretty basic slasher movie. A killer is bumping off high school students, dressed in a black robe and a white “ghost” mask, reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s famous painting, “The Scream.” The novel approach this slasher takes is calling his victims up to have them play horror movie trivia and if they lose, they die.

Scream gained some fame for its famous director (Wes Craven) who gave the world Freddy Kruger, and its far-too-pretty and way-too-hip cast. However what really set this movie apart was its self-referential attitude and all the winks and nods it gave to horror fans. Now it is true that another film did that first (it’s called There’s Nothing Out There and I just reviewed it, so look it up if you’re interested) but whether or not Scream “borrowed” anything from that far lesser known film is up to debate, but what’s not beatable is how acclaimed and influential that first movie was.

The second movie takes the survivors of the first film; perfect victim Sidney, goofy but goodhearted cop Dewey, ruthless reporter Gale, and horror movie obsessed Randy to College and pretty much more of the same. Someone is killing off coeds dressed as Ghost Face as the movie based off of the murders from the first movie called “Stab” draws near. To be sure, this sequel has its moments but nothing really new is done so the film walks the line between good and just ok.

Scream 3 wraps up the trilogy with long lost secrets being discovered, a whole new crop of victims trying to film another “Stab” flick in Hollywood, and a lot more self-referential humor that pokes fun not only at horror movies, but the people who make them. Unfortunately the twists and turns this movie tries to pull off are pretty outlandish and the occasional odd bit (like Jay & Silent Bob showing up) just seem really out of place and self-indulgent. Easily the weakest of the original trio, I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come with the upcoming movie.

As for special features, all three Blu-rays have audio commentary tracks with director Craven and various behind the scenes others (but sadly no actors). The first movie rightfully has the most featurettes. There’s some behind the scenes stuff, a Q&A with the cast and crew, and the usual press release-like feature. In addition, trailers and TV spots can be found on all of the Blu-rays. Scream 2 has some outtakes, deleted scenes, a brief behind-the-scenes bit and two music videos (why?). The third film has deleted scenes, a brief behind-the-scenes thing, another music video, and an “alternate ending” that really differs only minutely from the official ending. It seems to me that these movies could have, or perhaps should have, had some more goodies to offer, but the extras here aren’t bad.

If you’re a fan of Ghost Face then now you can finally see him do the slice and dice in high-def. The movies look and sound really good, there are enough special features to entice, and they are priced reasonably. If you are missing these from your home horror collection, or you just want to upgrade, these Blu-rays are for you.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.

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