Scream is an American horror franchise created by Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven. Starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette, the film series grossed over $604 million in worldwide box-office receipts and consists of four motion pictures directed by Craven. The first series entry, Scream, was released in 1996 and is currently the highest-grossing slasher film in the United States. The second entry Scream 2 was released in 1997 followed by a third instalment, Scream 3 (2000). Eleven years after the previous film, Scream 4 was released in 2011. The films follow Sidney Prescott, and her war against a succession of murderers who adopt the guise of Ghostface to stalk and torment their victims. Sidney receives support in the films from town deputy Dewey Riley, reporter Gale Weathers, and film-geek Randy Meeks. A television spin-off of the film series was launched by MTV in 2015. The TV series follows different characters and new storylines which are not connected to the film series.

The series’ violence resulted in conflicts with the Motion Picture Association of America and news media concerning censorship resulting in a reduction of violence and gore in Scream 3 when the Columbine High School massacre brought increased focus on the media’s influence on society. Scream became notable for its use of established and recognisable actors which was uncommon for horror films at the time, yet has since become common in part due to Scream’s success.

The series, particularly the first two films, has received significant critical acclaim. Scream has been credited with revitalising the horror genre in the late 1990s by combining a traditional slasher film with humour, awareness of horror film clichés and a clever plot. Scream was one of the highest-grossing films of 1996 and became the highest-grossing slasher film in the world, an honour it still holds. Its success was matched by Scream 2, which not only broke box-office records of the time but was also considered superior to the original by some critics.


Scream-1996Released May 1, 1997 (UK); December 20, 1996 (US)

Someone has taken their love of scary movies one step too far. Solving this mystery is going to be murder.

Scream is an American slasher film directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. Scream follows the character of Sidney Prescott, a high school student in the fictional town of Woodsboro, California, who becomes the target of a mysterious killer known as Ghostface. The film combines black comedy and “whodunit” mystery with the violence of the slasher genre to satirise the clichés of the horror film genre popularised in films such as Halloween and Friday the 13th. The film was considered unique at the time of its release for featuring characters who were aware of real world horror films and openly discussed the clichés that Scream attempted to subvert.

Inspired by the real-life case of the Gainesville Ripper, Scream was influenced by Williamson’s passion for horror films, especially Halloween (1978). The script, originally titled Scary Movie, was bought by Dimension Films and was retitled just before filming was complete. The production faced censorship issues with the Motion Picture Association of America and obstacles from locals while filming on location. The film went on to financial and critical acclaim, earning $173 million worldwide, and became the highest-grossing slasher film in the US in unadjusted dollars. It received several awards and award nominations. The soundtrack by Marco Beltrami was also acclaimed, and was cited as “[one] of the most intriguing horror scores composed in years”. It has since earned “cult status”. Scream marked a change in the genre as it cast already-established and successful actors, which was considered to have helped it find a wider audience, including a significant female viewership.

Plot Summary

A peaceful town in California turns into a bloodbath when a masked killer haunts the town. Sidney Prescott, a young teenage girl whose mother was killed a year before, becomes the target of the mask killer! Her boyfriend Billy Loomis becomes the main suspect along with Sidney’s father. Local Tabloid News Reporter Gail Weathers and Woodsbroro’s Deputy Dwight “Dewey” Riley investigate and try to figure out who the killer is and if it’s the same person who killed Sid’s mom the year before! []

Notable Cast Members

  • Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
  • David Arquette as Dewey Riley
  • Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
  • Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis
  • Matthew Lillard as Stu Macher
  • Drew Barrymore as Casey Becker
  • Liev Schreiber as Cotton Weary
  • Henry Winkler as Principal Himbry (uncredited)


Scream 2 (1997)

Scream_2-1998Released May 1, 1998 (UK); December 12, 1997 (US)

Someone has taken their love of sequels one step too far!

Scream 2 is an American slasher film directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. The film is the second instalment in the Scream film series. The story takes place two years after Scream and again follows the character of Sidney Prescott, now a student at the fictional Windsor College, who becomes the target of a copycat killer using the guise of Ghostface. Sidney is accompanied by film-geek Randy Meeks, retired deputy sheriff Dewey Riley and news reporter Gale Weathers. Like its predecessor, Scream 2 combines the violence of the slasher genre with elements of comedy and “whodunit” mystery while satirising the cliché of film sequels.

The film suffered controversy following its significant issues with plot information leaking onto the Internet, revealing the identity of the killers. Combined with the film’s rushed schedule, the script was rewritten often; pages were sometimes completed on the day of filming. Despite these issues, Scream 2 earned $172 million, received several awards and nominations. The film also received positive reviews, with some critics arguing that the sequel surpassed the original in terms of quality.

Composer Marco Beltrami received positive critical reception for his score for evolving the musical themes of the characters created in Scream although some critics claimed that the most memorable pieces from the film were created by composers Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer. Elfman’s contribution had been specially written for the film, but Zimmer’s score for Broken Arrow was controversially used in the film, replacing Beltrami’s own work. The soundtrack received negative feedback from reviewers but achieved moderate sales success, reaching #50 on the Billboard 200.

Plot Summary

It has been two years since the tragic events at Woodsboro. Sidney Prescott and Randy Meeks are trying to get on with their lives, and are currently both students at Windsor College. Cotton Weary is out of prison, and is trying to cash in on his unfortunate incarceration. Gale Weathers has written a bestseller, “The Woodsboro Murders,” which has been turned into the film, “Stab,” starring Tori Spelling as Sidney. As the film’s play date approaches, the cycle of death begins anew. Dewey Riley immediately flies out of Woodsboro to try to protect Sidney, his “surrogate sister.” But in this sequel to the 1996 horror film, the number of suspects only goes down as the body count slowly goes up! []

Notable Cast Members

  • Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
  • David Arquette as Dwight “Dewey” Riley
  • Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar as Cici Cooper
  • Liev Schreiber as Cotton Weary
  • Laurie Metcalf as Debbie Salt
  • Jerry O’Connell as Derek Feldman
  • Jada Pinkett Smith as Maureen Evans
  • Omar Epps as Phil Stevens
  • David Warner as Mr. Gold