‘Scream 4’ More2 Sep, 2011 By: Ashley Ratcliff
Master of horror Wes Craven discusses the ‘Scream 4’ disc release and the future of the franchise
With the franchise dormant for more than a decade, Scream 4 had many expectations to live up to.
“I thought the premise of the story was very strong and very contemporary,” said director Wes Craven. “… All of us were not just about making more of the same, but making something that could stand off as something that was definitely of this time and not just a replay of the last iteration of the film.”
In Scream 4, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns to Woodsboro, the site of the previous massacres, to promote her new self-help book. Shortly thereafter, Ghostface picks his prey ripe for slaughter, and this time he targets Sidney’s cousin, Jill (Emma Roberts), and her friends. Survivors Gale Weathers-Riley (Courteney Cox) and sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette), now married, attempt to solve the murders, which break the “rules” of previous horror movies, with a modern viral twist.
Anchor Bay Entertainment releases Scream 4 Oct. 4 (order date Sept. 7) as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack ($39.99). A standard-definition DVD is available for $29.98.
Craven, and executive producers Kevin Williamson (also writer) and Ehren Kruger, went to great lengths to make the film unpredictable.
“Essentially, it’s a series of whodunits,” Craven said. “So you have to come up with a sort of very complex network of crossing themes and sub-themes and characters’ actions that have to all make sense in the end when you look back on it. …
“The trick of it is telling no more than you have to but telling enough that the audience can look back and say, ‘I did have enough clues, but I never thought it would be who it was.’ The ultimate instigator of the killings is such a surprise.”
Craven’s trademark cameo (this time as coroner at a crime scene) was cut from the final picture, but it appears in the special features. They include a making-of featurette, a gag reel, a director commentary, an alternate opening, an extended ending, and deleted and extended scenes.
“The script really never got down to normal size,” Craven said. “I think we shot a script that was 140 pages long. … There’s a lot of fun in watching various scenes that sort of show enriching details of characters’ moments that didn’t find a place in the film.”
The cast of new blood included Hayden Panettiere, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Rory Culkin, Alison Brie, Marley Shelton and Shenae Grimes, among others.
Now that the “Scream” franchise has been resurrected, fans — from those who latched on to the trilogy in the ’90s to those who just now are getting into the saga — are guessing what’s next for the series.
“My belief is that [The Weinstein Co. is] intending to do two more films, so they’ll have a new trilogy,” Craven said. “I think it would be one-of-a-kind. I can’t think of another director who’s done two trilogies, especially based on the same characters and villains. I think it’d be quite extraordinary.”
From the mind of the ‘master’
Deemed the “master of horror,” Craven has earned the title through his decades of contributions to the genre.
The Cleveland native is responsible for such classics as The Last House on the Left (his directorial debut from 1972), The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Swamp Thing (1982), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and The People Under the Stairs (1991) — each introducing sinister villains and terrifying scenarios.
One has to wonder: Does anything scare Wes Craven?
“I think I have much more of the ordinary adult fears of global warming or some crazy guy blowing us all up,” he said. “… That sort of craziness on an international scale is more frightening to me than the thought of somebody jumping out from a doorway.”
It’s Craven’s subconscious terrors, however, that have made for prime creative fodder.
“I’ve never had a movie that I made give me a nightmare, but I’ve had nightmares that have given me movies that I’ve made,” Craven added, pointing to A Nightmare on Elm Street and The People Under the Stairs. “From college, I started recording my dreams and after a while, especially after I was working on films or developing films, [I had] dreams that corresponded to the work in such a way that they were original ideas that applied to the film I was working on. In that sense, it was, in many cases, very helpful.”