Sorting the Screams

Final Thoughts

Okay, let’s wrap this up. First…

What do I want from Scream VII?

At time of writing, Scream VI might not be making John Wick Chapter 4 money, but for a horror flick it’s doing just fine, so Scream VII feels like an inevitability. What should they do? I have thoughts.

  • Don’t kill Kirby please not Kirby. I like her as an FBI agent who hunts potential Ghostfaces. What if in a cold open, a Ghostface was in the middle of stalking a victim when they got Ghostfaced by Kirby? (Who then found a link to the actual new Ghostface wherever the Carpenter sisters are) That would be neat.
  • Keep up with the zeitgeist. 2022 was an amazing year for horror and the only real franchise success story was Scream Not 5, which itself noted the rise of elevated horror, so how does the franchise adapt to a Nope, Barbarian, and Smile world?
  • Bring back Stu Macher. Scream fandom have been theorizing that Matthew Lillard’s Stu Macher secretly survived the original movie for a while now and even Mindy got in on the action in Scream VI, so Stu Macher Lives conspiracies are now franchise canon. And honestly? I am into it. Sam Carpenter is Billy’s secret daughter and, she worries, heir apparent, she could have a meaty arc if she met a somehow still alive Stu Macher, her bio-daddy’s partner. I have further ideas for how cool that could be but if I say them on the internet they won’t happen, catch me outside and I’ll tell you.
  • Put Thomasin McKenzie in a Scream movie. She’d be good, you know I’m right. So would Anya Taylor-Joy but if she’s not in the first five minutes I will suspect her of being Ghostface the whole time.
  • How the hell are there still Stab movies. Look I know it’s 12 years too late to ask for an explanation of how the Stab franchise kept going after the events of Scream 3, but I still would like one.

The Final Ranking

And Here. We. Go.

6. Scream 3

The cast is predictably good, sometimes great (but also Jenny McCarthy is here), but this one just gets silly. The new backstory, the secret sibling, going extra meta even for this franchise, trying to be the final chapter when everyone decided they were desperate enough for work to come back ten years later, hinging on plot concepts that are more famous for failing utterly in Spectre 17 years later, it’s a weak entry. If I were doing a Halloween 2018 scenario this is the one I wouldn’t consider canon. But it is, it unquestionably is canon, it’s when Dewey proposed to Gale and Sidney met the love of her life apparently (can’t 100% say I blame her for not realizing that while filming the fifth one), and the sixth expressly references it multiple times (if not the secret sibling/hidden mastermind angle), so we’re stuck with it.

Also this feels like punching down but god damn who approved Courtney Cox’s bangs in this one, god damn.

5. Scream 4

A very solid return to form in some but not all ways. Hayden Panettiere has never had a better haircut, ultimately the fake-out torch pass works enough to overcome being a fake-out, but the supporting cast is trying to skate by on famous faces rather than making a loveable new character who isn’t Kirby. Also the worst Randy and some weak-sauce Rules.

4. Scream VI

Breaks a lot of new ground and I appreciate that, builds on our new protagonists’ stories and I appreciate that, great use of the new locale… just… just two little notes. It does feel weird docking them points for something I’m generally in favour of, but maybe this one had too many fake-out kills. Maybe too many people miraculously pulled through. I’m just saying. Also… it’s kinda uncomfortable that the fifth one had more to say about fan backlash against The Last Jedi than this one does about how eager society is to turn on female survivors, especially when they’re women of colour. Like… why bring that up if you’re not going to say more with it?

Still a blast, though, but here it sits.

3. Scream 5

This wasn’t just made by Scream fans, it was made by Scream fans who were paying attention. They learned how Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson made this an iconic franchise, and figured out how to recreate that while still breaking new ground and forging an amazing new protagonist duo. Sure it’s constantly homaging the original but it does that while building something new, and that’s a tough tightrope to walk.

Also this may be David Arquette’s best performance in the whole franchise, and the most satisfying Ghostface deaths.

2. Scream 2

Builds on what the original did and manages to improve on it in some key ways. More mystery as to who’s the new killer, bigger thrills and more suspenseful sequences, honestly, as sequels go, it does pretty danged well. Even the biggest issue, that at least one of their killers wasn’t a huge character to that point, still works out, so I can’t really name a flaw here. It’s a game of inches between 2 and 5, but right now this one takes the edge.

1. Scream

This is the one, this is what they’re all trying to accomplish. Everything they’ve done well since, they’ve done well by chasing this high. Often imitated, never equaled.

And there I leave you for today. Find me on Letterboxd and if you ask, maybe I’ll give you my ranking of every Ghostface, but that feels too spoilery. Until next time, subscribe to Recovered and Academy Vs. Audience if you need more takes. As for here…

I’ll be right back.

Author: danny_g

Danny G, your humble host and blogger, has been working in community theatre since 1996, travelling the globe on and off since 1980, and caring more about nerd stuff than he should since before he can remember. And now he shares all of that with you.

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