Sunday, January 16, 2022

25 Years of Scream

Someone's taken their love of Scream and scrapbooking one step too far...

It's me. I'm the someone. Now go on and jump into one of the corniest things you will ever witness!

I may not always discuss the topic of horror movies on this blog, but that love is there and is certainly woven in my toy discussions and toy stories from time to time. (There was that whole Swans Crossing and Scream mashup that concluded in 2021!) With the release of the brand new Scream movie, the fifth one, it only makes sense for me to finally open a vault from the past and explore the impact that the original Scream had on me.

My aunt introduced me to horror. At a young age. Like, my family had the mindset of, "We're adults, we watch what we wanna watch, and if it is too much, just cover your eyes with your hands." At 3 and 4 I was watching all kinds of R rated movies practicing the honor system of hand over eyes while always managing to peek through a sliver of empty space between my fingers. I never missed a thing. These viewing experiences cemented the joys and thrills of pop culture for me.

Back to my aunt. She has always been a thrill seeker. She loves to be scared. Back in the day she'd ride on the dangerous looking roller coasters and never look back. Horror movies were her favorite. She'd come over to babysit and we'd watch old episodes of the Twilight Zone. Some Hitchcock. And of course John Carpenter's Halloween. It was her favorite and as a kid I thought it was a bit slow at times, but whenever Michael Myers would show up, I was terrified. The movie still creeps me out in the best way.

Fast forward to November 1996. I was 14 and approaching the end of my first semester of freshman year and trying to figure out so much of who I was. I had started to make some friends, which was nice, because as I have written before, a lot of people did not like me. Being the trans fem delight that I was, well, I pissed a lot of small-minded people off in a big way.

If I wasn't at school I was at home. I longed for the days of socializing with friends outside of school hours. I wanted to watch movies with them. Go to the mall. Something. Anything. Those dreams weren't ready to unfold yet though. As such, much of my time was spent engaged in my interests. Any Final Fantasy game. Some music. Toys. Books. And tv. Oh glroious tv. The place where I received all my news for what I wanted to see in the theater thanks to commercials during my favorite shows.

The Scream commercials had me highly intrigued. A scary movie with Drew Barrymore? And Neve Campbell from Party of Five? And Courteney Cox who had dated Michael Keaton for the first half of the '90s? I was no fan of Friends but I loved their love and was so sad when they split. I learned much about celebrity life via A Current Affair. Regardless, I was all about watching a scary suspense movie with some familiar faces.

My aunt wanted to see it as well. We did not see it opening night, but we would see it a few days later. I felt so cool and chic to be seeing a horror movie with my aunt in a movie theater. Like, you couldn't tell me anything because for that moment I was it, living my best life. Scream was largely a mystery to me, I knew virtually nothing going into that theater that night. From the newspaper review I knew that it had a lot of references to other horror movies and had what was described as, "A truly terrifying opening to a horror movie in quite some time."

The theater was large but not many people were there. Lights dimmed and as I sat there with my aunt, the theater felt even more dark than previous movie going experiences. That descending sound of the Dimension logo was ominous and once the title of the movie found its way across the screen with a symphony of horrific sounds and that damn ringing... My heart was beating a mile a minute. I felt my body shaking a little. I didn't even know why.

And then there she was. More than an it girl. More than a moment. Drew Barrymore was rebellion in human form for me. I loved her. I wanted to be wild and free like her. And there she was, answering that damn phone with that creepy voice. 

"Because I want to know who I'm looking at."

Holy shit my heart stopped with that line. My aunt and I looked at each other as if to say, "Oh this is too much." 

What happened next is of course the memorable start to what would become an iconic movie. I wasn't quite sure what to think. I had gone into the film believing that Drew was one of the main characters. I certainly didn't expect her to die in the beginning. This was Drew Barrymore! And that's to say nothing of how she died. It was brutal for the time. I mean y'all, her parents were right freakin' there! "Casey, baby?" I was gutted in that theater seat, just like Casey and Steve. I was not prepared.

The rest of the movie continued to be an experience that changed every fiber of my being. It was a horror movie that delivered more than just horror. There was mystery. Humor. Catty soap style bickering. "Bam, bitch went down." There were horror references galore. Some I knew, some I didn't. Those references that I had no idea about I would eventually go on a hunt to learn more. And unlike many of the horror movies that I had seen before, Scream had me really caring about the entire cast. I knew characters were going to die, horror being horror and all, but I was hoping and rooting for survival. Don't even get me started on Tatum and that cursed garage door. She was my favorite, I identified with her the most and I just was sick when she died.

When the movie was over, it's all my aunt and I could talk about. We had never seen anything like Scream. It was the highlight of my winter school break. When I got home I immediately pulled out my She-Ra dolls and just dived into recreations of my favorite Scream scenes while adding my own spin to keep the story going.

Scream sliced its way into my brain and just stayed there. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Back at school I was asking all of my friends if they had seen it over the break. Some had and some had not. Over the next few months I would see it again at the movies. When summer started, Scream was still playing at a dollar cinema and I dragged my friends who had yet to see it. I even made my family go because they just had to see what I had been in love with since that first viewing.

Watching it wasn't enough. I needed more. And as my collector tendencies began to ring ring, I realized that there was only one thing I could do: make a freakin' scrapbook.   

And that is just what I did. Granted my scrapbooking skills were as dull as an old knife, but any clippings or fan art I did found their way into a bright yellow folder from one of my classes in high school. 

Just look at this mess. I'd add to it whenever I came across anything that was Scream related.

Here's an article with Matthew Lillard that came out before Scream 2. I'll totally admit that I had a crush on Stu, he reminded me of this senior I once knew who wanted to make out with me in the school elevator after school. It never happened. I was too scared to ever do something like that, no matter how much I tried to channel my inner Drew Barrymore.

Here we have some inserts that came with a boxed set of Scream. At least I believe that is where these flyers came from.

I even kept this other phamplet because of the Scream image. I'll be holding onto this forever.

I had preordered the Scream deluxe set from Suncoast Video. I was so obsessed with these special covers that were part of the deluxe features. Everything came in this large clear box, they even had a special Jiffy Pop to cook over the stove with a giant Scream sticker on the top. I have it in a sticker book somewhere, but I thought that was such a fun merchandise tie in. I also remember that popcorn tasting like the best popcorn ever!

While at Suncoast, I saw the most beautiful Scream display shelf with copies for sale. At the top of the blue cardboard shelf was a cut-out of the Scream poster. "What do y'all do with that display when you're done with it?"

"We throw it away."

"Is there anyway that you could reserve it for me? I would be more than happy to take it when you are done."

The guy at Suncoast took my name and called me when it was time to pick the display shelf up. It might be one of my most favorite pieces of furniture I have ever owned. I looked like an obsessed madwoman walking through the mall with this giant Scream shelf display, but I proudly displayed all my movies on those shelves for many years. I thought I was highfalutin, no one could tell me anything different.

Eventually in my late twenties I moved into a house with my ex-husband and we had very different ideas on home decorating, so I made the dumbest choice ever and got rid of the display shelf. It was such a sad day and I have always regretted being so foolish.

I eventually reached a place of wanting to draw my own fan art. I used to draw a lot, and wish I had stayed with it as I got older, but it certainly provided endless hours of fun.

I loved the floating head design for the movie poster. It was a theme that would get overused by a lot of other movies, but I was completely hooked with that entire design. Floating heads for the win!

This Scream phone card was part of that deluxe VHS set I mentioned earlier. I don't think I ever used it because I wasn't sure who I would have called, but I always would dream that I had a boyfriend in another state and the phone card would come in handy for a long distance call to geek out over the phone about Scream and when this imaginary guy would be taking me out on a first date. Sidney may have been unlucky in love, but that was not going to be me! (Editor's note: She too would be unlucky in love)

They even made Ghostface candle holders with red candles that would "bleed" red wax down the holders. OMG, I loved these so much, though I have no idea what happened to them. I was ready to become an interior designer with these candle holders thinking I had all the answers on how to stage a fabulous house that would be the envy of everyone! Ghostface candle holders: check! Scream VHS display: check! Rag tag scrapbooks: check!

I don't know who was behind the mask, which makes it that much fun, but Halloween in '97 fell on a school day and we were all able to go to school in costume. I went as Tatum. I had wanted to wear her psychedlic swirl mini skirt and bright green top, but I didn't have anything close to that outfit. I did manage to put together her outfit with the red pants and silver top with the 10 on it. You know the one right? I had these red pants and I got white ribbon that I fastened down the sides. I couldn't find a silver top, but I got this really cute gray crop top that my friend painted a large ten across. My hair was blonde and I put it in pigtails. No one had a clue who I was, but I came across a "Hello, my name is" tag and put Tatum on it. People still had no idea who I was, so I added, "Tatum, from Scream." But I loved that someone dressed up as Ghostface for Halloween. I felt like we were connected by fake blood and posters with floating heads. I wish someone had taken a photo of me, but it was a day that has been a fond memory regardless.

More fan art. I was learning about shading in art class so I was always trying to utilize my shading skills. I am particularly fond of the very simple looking police hat on Dewey. Fine art this is sooo not. 

Some more clippings. My goodness that milk campaign was such a big deal.

There was a lot of great music in Scream. The movie soundtrack was fantastic. As was the score soundtrack by Marco Beltrami. You knew if a movie had a score by Marco Beltrami that it was going to be damn good. Lots of great songs though on the music soundtrack, however it was always a glaring shock that Republica's "Drop Dead Gorgeous" was never on the soundtrack. The song was used to promote the movie and they had a music video. Whenever that video would come on, I'd stop what I was doing. I loved that song so much, and the great thing is that the song made me aware of Republica. Love their music. It was the kind of music that just made you so happy to be alone in your room on a Saturday night, dancing without a care in the world. Other standout songs from the soundtrack for me were: Artificial World (Interdimensional Mix) by Julie Cruise, Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, First Cool Hive by Moby and Whisper to a Scream by SoHo.

Ahhh Skeet, Skeet, Skeet, Skeet Ulrich. While not crush worthy at first viewing, I eventually found myself feeling a little weak in the knees with him. I don't know that I would want his Billy Loomis to ever date me, but Skeet Ulrich was pretty darn dreamy, which is why I tore this page out of ym magazine. I'd always look through those magazines and just imagine what it would be like to date a really dashing guy. But if Scream taught me anything, it's that one must be careful with romantic choices. They can totally try to murder you and your friends.

I'll admit right now that I love movie merchandise. Maybe it's because I was a kid from the '80s and love excess, I don't know. I just knew that I wanted as much Scream stuff as I could possibly get my hands on. So, one day at school during first period when I should have totally been paying attention to the teacher, I decided I was going to pull out notebook paper and write down word for word every line from beginning to end that I could recall from Scream. I'd also draw pictures of my favorite scenes. All I had to do was just pretend like I was writing notes and being a dutiful student when I was really just being a horror loving nerd.

I must warn you all, anything you see in regards to spelling and character names, a lot of shit is flat out spelled incorrectly. At the time I did not have access to a list of characters and their correct spellings. I wouldn't learn those things until I had the actual screenplay. So please lovingly look at all these mistakes from clueless teen me. It's what makes it all the more special.

I was actually surprised with how much I remembered. Forget all that ginkgo biloba stuff, just watch Scream 20 goddamn times.

I can't keep talking about all of this and not mention Kevin Williamson. His screenplay, the way he wrote this story and the characters, it was just perfection. This isn't a revolutionary statement or anything, but his creation of this scary movie was so inspiring for me and many many others. I had loved Horror before Scream, but after watching Scream I was finally ready to marry and have all of Horror's babies. 

This movie may have been a reinvention of the slasher genre, which is my favorite kind of horror, but it was also a celebration of all things scary. Scream led me to reading Fangoria. My high school had a brief horror movie club that I was totally excited to be a part of even if it didn't go anywhere. I branched out and watched all kinds of horror movies. I wanted to draw and write as much horror themed stuff that I possibly could. The movie ignited something within me.

I don't even know why I drew Ghostface in platforms. None of this makes any kind of damn sense. I told you all this was going to be corny.

My project to capture my favorite scenes word for word by memory in school saw me burn through a lot of paper. The solution was to break the movie into volumes so it would be easier to staple. As you can see, those shading techniques were back! Side note, I took art for all four years of high school. Each student had their own giant portfolio that they could design to hold all of their projects. I made mine look like the poster with the floating heads but with a giant Ghostface in the center. I still have it though I have no idea where it is hiding.

Just a bit about Sidney's gray sweater when she gets her first phone call, I was never a big fan of sweaters, I have tended to fall in the category of wearing as little as possible without being too vulgar, but I totally went out and found a gray sweater so I could get my Final Girl Fashion on. In all honesty I found a gray sweater that would rise up a bit to show a sliver of belly if I stretched or raised my arms up. I can't help it. I was trying to attract the Billy and Stu's of the world, ok? It never worked, but I certainly gave it eight sequels worth of time. 

I even included Principal Himbry in my project. I don't think this ended up looking like Henry Winkler at all, but I loved him in the reruns of Happy Days, plus the whole scene leading up to his death was really fun. Wes Craven as a school janitor in a red and green striped sweater named Fred? Like, I wanted more!

And that is just what I did with another volume! This was the final volume to my Scream project. I never completed the entire movie from memory on some lined notebook paper. This has been a theme in my life, I'll start something and will get distracted by other things and totally leave whatever the initial project hanging.

The final piece for this volume was Tatum's unfortunate trip to the garage. When I looked over these images recently, I found myself wondering what the hell I drew Tatum holding in the picture above. And then I was like, "Oh my goodness, I am so dumb. The beer bottles. Good god girl get a grip." 

While I may not have completed a total recall of the movie, I instead moved my Scream artistic endeavors to character profiles. Drawings of who's who of Woodsboro and the actors that played them. Here you'll really see where the spelling inconsistencies come into play. If I had drawn these today and posted them online, other Scream fans would have ripped me to shreds. Like, dead to shreds. 

One of the most perplexing and confusing things in my life has been remembering the correct spelling of my two favorite "Sydneys" Sidney from Scream and Sydney from Swans Crossing. Sadly, it wouldn't be until Scream 2 that I actually had it stick to my brain on the correct spelling. 

Billy Loomis! Now with options for facial hair or not!

If I had trouble with spelling Sidney's name, I for sure had an issue with spelling Gale's name, as well as the name of the fabulous actor portraying her. At first I just assumed the sassy reporter's name was spelled Gayle Weathers. I had a friend named Gayle, so it just made sense. Eventually I realized it was not Gayle and it dawned on me that her name was a play on weather and strong winds: Gale! Gale Weathers! It was perfect! Of course, for a brief moment I thought the spelling was Gail. I can be really slow y'all. At 16 I truly believed that rabbits laid eggs. I partially blame it all on the Cadbury Easter Bunny. TV rots your brains.

Dewey had an unfortunate mishap with spelling issues as well. Dewie just seemed cuter to me though. I don't know. Side note, I picked up on the chemistry between Dewey and Gale pretty quickly, and while talking with a friend about my hopes for Scream 2, I mentioned, "Since Dewey made it out alive, I truly hope that he gets together with Gale."

"M, you always do that. Not everyone is meant to be paired up with someone else. Why can't you chill on everything being about romance?"

I was utterly delighted to prove them wrong. If I had been Gale I would have been crushing too. I wasn't Gale, I was me, and I was totally crushing. I mean it's Dewey y'all. David Arquette is just the cutest.

Here's Tatum. I have some more behind the pencil confessions to make. I had this issue with drawing some women as being very busty. They were usually the characters that were my favorite. I would also try to draw in some of my own features in these events. The whole thing was an attempt to see myself reflected in the characters I identified with. As a teen I was super skinny and flat as a board. Barely two puffs on my chest. I knew that one day though I was going to have some va-va-voom on me. Also note, the drawing of Tatum in the red pants, that was the outfit I was describing earlier that I similarly wore for Halloween at my school.

And oh my goodness! I loved Rose McGowan so much. Anything she was in I was always there to watch and support. I even bought a Maxim magazine once because she was on the cover. Like, I will forever and always be a Cosmo girl, I didn't even know what the hell Maxim magazine was, but I bought the damn thing. I flipped through it thinking I would somehow unlock the mind of men and get a boyfriend. Mess. If this hasn't been done yet, someone needs to write about the huge differences between women and men's lifestyle magazines of the '90s and early '00s. The level of madness, I mean, I need to stop before I start rambling.

Oh dreamy Stu. You all know my thoughts on Matthew Lillard. For someone I crushed big time on, I certainly botched the drawings on him. But I spelled his name correctly, so win!

Oh sweet Randy. I had a crush on him in theory. I think out of all the guys, he would have made the best boyfriend, but it took me awhile to really think of him like that. I don't even know what the hell I am talking about. He was a memorable character and while I get the impact of him dying in Scream 2, I can't help but think what the franchise would have been like if he had lasted a little longer. I also really like that I drew a Doritos bag of chips on top of the tv. It's all in the details y'all.

More Sydney. I mean Sidney. I would have imaginary conversations in my mind with Sidney bumping into those two bitchy girls from the restroom and just going off on them. I love their whole vapid exchange, don't get me wrong, but I would have loved Sid to have just gone off. How dare they! 

More redos of character profiles. I will say, Scream did help me become more comfortable with bang experimentation. 

Finally! Proof that I learned how to spell a Gale's name correctly! 

More of the same. I think I did multiple versions of these character profiles because I was trying to perfect the images I was drawing. I don't know why I kept doing this unless it was all just obsession. Probably was.

Some final Scream fan art. Aside from some possible friends that may have seen this ages ago, no one has seen these images. Every now and then I would think about sharing all of this, but I never would. I am glad I am sharing them now and I hope that they are enjoyable.

Now to some of the good stuff. While I loved my measly sloppy fan art screamplay on notebook paper, I would eventually dish out some coins to own a copy of the actual Scream screenplay. The world was in trouble the day I learned about the entertainment section at the local Bookstop. While I loved my little fan creation, to actually have Kevin Williamson's words along with some official images of the movie by Wes Craven in a paperback... my heart couldn't take it.

I poured through this book. I'd read it over and over. I learned so many details about the film that helped see the movie in even new and exciting ways.

I also got a first look at what a screenplay looks like. This was all new to me. The way everything was written, it was inspiring to me.

It had me wanting to write my own screenplays and to get the various stories in my head on paper instead of concepts just floating around in all that gray matter.

It was like having all the answers before me. It also came in handy because it came out before I owned the VHS, so it was like I was able to engage with the movie anytime I wanted.

There was so much creativity just ready to ooze out of me and spill all across the floor. Scream came out at the perfect time of my life. Being a teen was awful. I was hated by most of my peers, I felt different and out of place with my own body and having a lot of struggles with my parents trying to understand what I was going through with being trans, especially because I wasn't even fully understanding what I was trying to process. It was a dark period in my life. Scream splashed across my eyes and gave me something to feel excited about. Something to look forward to, I had some happiness in my life. 

I'll never meet the creators, actors, and crew of Scream, but what they all accomplished with this film got me through some real life horror. And I'll forever love this franchise because of that. 

Before I wrap this up I have just a couple more things to share. Here I am in my old teen room with some friends. (I've Ghostfaced them because I am not sure if they'd want their real faces to be associated with this corny ass blog.) This was probably during my senior year because I have black hair in the photo and I went from platinum blonde to jet black my senior year. "Stupid." But anyways, some things to note. The walls were lime green because Tatum wore lime green a couple of times in the movie and suddenly I too wanted the zestful color in my life. I also had a Scream poster over my bed, which you can sort of make out. It's really the only photo I could find that shows some of the horror I had on display back then. I wish I had a photo of that Scream VHS cardboard display. My goodness my ass still has my footprints on it from all that kicking.

Finally, we have All-Argon. If you have followed this blog for a very long time, you may remember a post I made where I won a contest from Brian at It's Trash Culture. I'll refresh your memory, take a break and click this blog post to catch up.

If you don't want to read the post, I'll summarize. Around Halloween 1997, two of my friends were needing to do a creative project about elements for their science class. They were given the dangerous element known as Argon, a silent but deadly killer. They had an idea to make a quick movie about the dangers of Argon, to make it like a horror movie, like Scream, and I casually mentioned, "I could die in the beginning like Drew Barrymore." It was a hit. I had my Drew Barrymore moment. They had a wire hanging over a video camera with a cotton ball taped and dangling in front of the lens. My scene was very simple, I turned around and gasped as the cotton ball struck me in the face.

The rest of the film was about two detectives talking to a coroner about my death and learning all about Argon. And if I'm not mistaken the gas ends up killing them too because they couldn't detect it. I drew up "movie posters" on my favorite notebook paper and everything. It was so much fun. I'm the one in the glasses with the blonde hair, totally channeling Drew Barrymore. An absolute mess. 

So, that's about it for this screamingly good time. I hope you have all enjoyed looking back at all of this silliness. There will be more though. My next post will be about the scrapbook I made for Scream 2, and my own stab at writing some horror stories of my own. If you think this was all a mess, well, sequels are always bigger and bloodier. 

See ya!


  1. Wow, that's some dedication! I was obsessed with Star Wars as a kid and I don't think I got this wild with it. :)

  2. What a great essay about your love for the movie. I could probably do the same with DUNE.