It seems that the utterly underwhelming SCREAM 4 did not prove quite the franchise killer everyone believed it to be. At the Zurich Film Festival, Harvey Weinstein recently stated his desire to make another instalment, with the rationale that “Everyone lived in SCREAM 4.” By ‘everyone,’ he presumably means series survivors Sydney, Gail and Dewey, since the mound of corpses that had piled up by the film’s end made a literal interpretation of the statement somewhat inaccurate.
The original trilogy was a stroke of metafictional genius from horror veteran Wes Craven that mercilessly deconstructed the genre by deliberately playing up to its tropes and clichés, first with slasher horror movies, then their sequels, and finally trilogies. SCREAM 4 came about – while also managing to make something of a statement about the vapid, celebrity-fixated idol-worship that the concept of fame has now become – as a reaction to Hollywood’s current penchant for churning out interminable remakes of horror movies of the ‘70s and ‘80s, Craven’s own classic A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET amongst them. Its observations were about the “rules” of remakes, specifically jacked-up body counts, integration of modern technology, callbacks to the original and greater focus on a young and sexy cast. Also, like most remakes, it was a soulless endurance trial devoid of originality that lost sight of why the original was so popular; little more than a pale shadow of the film it imitated and utterly unworthy of comparison. Whether or not Craven intended this is up for debate.
How, or indeed if, this will play into the planned MTV series set to debut next year was not mentioned, or what direction the films can now be taken, as it probably won’t be about cynical money-grabbing producers driving a franchise into the ground at the expense of creative integrity. Found footage seems a likely choice, since despite the concept’s unconvincing conceit and nigh-inability to produce a decent story, it stubbornly refuses to crawl away and die quietly in a corner. It’s either that or they recreate the scene in JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK where the killer turns out to be a monkey.
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