This was my first ever article that was posted on another website and not just my little baby blog over on blogger. And I’m so thrilled it got to be about my favorite things - women in horror and Scream. I felt it would be a good time to re-post this for everyone to read now. It was originally posted over at Morbidly Beautiful.
Ghostface: Do you like scary movies?
Sidney: What’s the point? They’re all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can’t act who is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door. It’s insulting.
Sidney Prescott is of course the hero of all four Scream movies, one of my favorite horror franchises.
Scream first landed onto our screens in 1996, written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven. It turned the horror genre on its’ head and taught us all to not take it so seriously. It spawned three sequels (and constant rumors of a fourth in the works).
Sidney starts off the film strong. She’s dealt with the murder of her mother a year before all while continuing to go to school, keeping her friends and being with her boyfriend. She knows what she wants, she knows what’s best for her, and she’s not going to let anyone, even her sometimes skeevy boyfriend, change her mind. She carries scars, and she carries them well. She never apologizes for being emotional or for feeling down over the death of her Mother. Even when Billy pesters her about it, she shuts him down. Sidney is emotionally in control and emotionally mature for someone at that age. I’m 30 this year and still an emotional nightmare.
As the movies progress Sidney only gets stronger and stronger. She works with battered women, helping them get through their traumatic pasts. By the fourth movie she writes a self-help book. Not once does she let her own tragic past be what she’s known for. And every character throughout all four movies, always turns to Sidney for strength and comfort. Even though, ultimately, it’s Sidney going through the most traumatic events.
She’s a powerhouse, well beyond most scream queens.
Sidney: God why don’t you stop your whining and get on with it. I’ve heard all this shit before.
Sidney: Do you know why you kill people Roman? Do you?
Roman: I don’t want to hear it.
Sidney: Because you choose to. There is no one else to blame.
Roman: Damnit fucking damnit!
Sidney: Why don’t you take some fucking responsibility?
Scream as a whole takes its female characters very seriously, and even the ones that are seen as “pretty targets” are so much more than that!
Gale Weathers is a bad ass, cutthroat bitch who will do anything to further her career and will knock you out with the blink of an eye. Her emotions and her strength feel authentic and when her and Sidney keep coming head to head, it’s great to watch it play out. Sidney and Gale’s feud isn’t petty, it isn’t “girls hating girls”, it’s a deep hurt that the two over the four movies, eventually work through. Gale will also never let herself be a victim and over the four movies she evolves in such wonderful ways in both her career, her love life and her emotional state. She takes her strength from her vulnerability and her humanity and I think that’s pretty great. Of course, Gale is also an older woman in the movies compared to the “high school” cast, but is given just as much screen time and plays a very important role in all the movies.
Gale: Hey, you’d better check your conscience at the door sweetie. I’m not here to be loved.
Tatum, Sidney’s best friend in the first flick, can be seen as the stereotypical ditsy, bubbly, sexually active character. But in Scream, she’s still much smarter than your average stereotypical horror movie bimbo. She easily holds her own against the other characters, and she snaps smartly a few times against the dominant males. She’s a peer alongside Sidney and not just a throwaway character. Her death was of course ridiculous, but she still fought for her life before eventually succumbing to the…err…garage door, I guess. Not sure how to explain that murder.
Women aren’t the only victims in Scream and, in fact, are sometimes the killers. In Scream 2, Mrs. Loomis is the one that seeks revenge and kills everyone. And in Scream 4 of course, Jill is perhaps the most ruthless of all the Scream killers. She’s not only a young teenager, she’s also obsessed with the Prescott legacy. She wants to prove to the world that she’s the best killer Woodsboro has ever seen. Her kills are bloody and violent, and she kills everyone she comes in contact with, including attempting murder on herself to cover it all up.
Sidney: You forgot the first rule of remakes, Jill. Don’t fuck with the original!
Scream will forever remain my favorite horror franchise because of the women in the story. I honestly feel that Sidney did just as much for women in horror as Ripley did in the Alien franchise. But the best part about Scream is that there is SO many other amazing women in the films. Not one single female character is treated as a throwaway character. They all serve a greater purpose and are properly fleshed out.
Sidney means the absolute world to me because she gives me hope and strength when I’m in my darkest space. Much like everyone in the franchise, I too lean on Sidney when times are tough. Lucky for me, she’s always there!
Now go out there, donate blood, be kind to others, and celebrate all those great women in horror whether they be actors, screenwriters, blog writers, special effects artists or victim #8.