Ah, the Fourth of July. The best holiday to get drunk and blow up stuff–because if that doesn’t scream patriotism, I don’t know what does. If you’re new here, I have taken the responsibility in turning any moment into a possibility for scares. Therefore, I had to track down what films are appropriate for this American holiday.
To qualify, the films had to have a Fourth of July related plot point that was consequential to the story. With vigorous research, two films came out on top. Both films were coincidentally released in 1985. so that must have been an explosive year. If you’re into celebrating the holiday or you couldn’t care less and want to tuck in for a movie while it sounds like a warzone outside, let me turn you onto Silver Bullet and Return of the Living Dead.
This film falls into the category of forgotten Stephen King adaptations (though every cover has his name announced on it). If you’re a fan of the werewolf genre, this is your movie. Silver Bullet is based on King’s novella Cycle of the Werewolf. Starring 80’s wonderchild Corey Haim, who you might recognize from The Lost Boys, it focuses on a paraplegic kid who believes the random, violent murders happening across town have a supernatural culprit: a local werewolf.
This string of murders cancels the local Fourth of July celebration. However, our protagonist Marty steals some fireworks for a personal celebration. These fireworks set of a series of confrontations with the supposed culprit, leading to an investigation on who is the culprit. It’s a film that most of Generation X has on their radar. It was either something that either terrified them beyond belief or inducted them into the horror genre.
I consider this film a clear example of starter horror. It isn’t too intense for younger viewers and is chock full of 80’s nostalgia that parents can enjoy it too–if they haven’t seen it already. It also is a decent King adaptation and has a stellar performance from Corey Haim and quite a convincing villain. Not to mention, the werewolf makeup is quite terrifying. Check this out if your neighbors are annoying you with late night fireworks–maybe consequentially you’ll sic a werewolf on them.
On the other side of the coin, we have this zany, punk horror comedy. This is one of the most beloved zombie film of all time and has truly ascended with its cult status over the years. It is acutely self aware and takes place over the Fourth of July weekend–so it was practically screaming at me. Released in 1985 and a true riff off of Romero’s zombie flicks, Return of the Living Dead is a true, crazy treat. Two careless warehouse workers accidently lets loose a gas that turns corpses nearby into unkillable zombies. Teaming up with a group of punk teens, they face off against this invincible crowd over the holiday weekend.
I mean, what couldn’t be more American than dropping a nuclear bomb on the problem and labeling it as a solution, despite making things worse? The film also serves as a scathing commentary on the nuclear scares occurring during the Cold War area and how nuclear warfare could lead to more destruction than aid to their cause. This was a common topic that horror films addressed during the 80s–adding further to my “horror-social commentary” point that I’ve made on many posts (if not all).
This is the film that introduced the concept of zombies feasting on brains as well as one of the first that was not a Romero. On top of that, it is a gorefest that is unrelentless in its hour and a half runtime, making this a quick watch for the holiday so you can go out and catch some fireworks. If not, it has plenty of sequels that are equally ridiculous and could make for an entertaining (and possibly drunken) night.
Well, whether you enjoy the holiday or not, hopefully these suggestions give you ideas for some new holiday traditions. The macabre never sleeps, so I hope to offer a tradition for those that indulge in it daily like me. What are your favorite nonconventional horror movies? Let me know in the comments and I can feature them next holiday–it doesn’t have to be horror either, I love unconventional matches for every genre.
Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time and have a great Fourth of July.
It’s a long time coming, but The Void has returned, better, bigger and ready to knock some spooky socks off. The summer solstice occurred around ten days ago, thus begins the creaking of cabin floorboards and the slaughtering of camp counselors. While people associate horror films with the upcoming spooky season, there is no need to wait. There are so many films made for this sweltering season, and it’s time to talk about some of them.
I mean think about it: how many films contain a brutal slaughter of a camp counselor? How many takes place in some random cabin in the woods? Therefore, follow along and jot down some picks for these post-fun-in-the-sun, cool summer nights. If I happen to miss any that you would like to share with the troop, comment down below and I’ll be sure to endorse them.
The Cabin In The Woods
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I love my horror comedies. The Cabin in the Woods falls under one of my praised gems. Aging gracefully, The Cabin in the Woods is one of those meta-horror comedies that could easily fall into the spoof genre. However, it keeps the stakes high enough to be considered a traditional horror film. Therefore, we have a film packed with scares, laughs and creativity.
With a killer cast and horror veteran director Drew Goddard and writer Joss Whedon, it is a witty bash that pokes fun at itself as well as the horror genre as a whole. I mean, seriously, how many bad occurrences in random cabins have to happen before we start drawing connections?
The main reason you should watch this one:The elevator scene–never will you ever see so much ludicrous carnage in one place again.
Another classic that has been in my rotation for over a decade now, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a prime example of completely subverting a trope and turning it into genius. Two loveable yet painfully odd guys end up in a very odd situation that makes victim look like foe, all due to a boatload of ignorance and a whole lot of college aged ego. It’s a hoot, and definitely will cheer you up if you’ve had a doozy of a day.
While more funny than scary, Tucker and Dalevs Evil really stands its ground as one of the best horror films of the decade and definitely one of the best horror comedies of all time. It floats around on streaming platforms, so it should be an easy viewing, and while it is moderately gory, it is a good starter horror for those that want to indoctrinate their young ones. Do that too early, however, they may become a horror blogger (thanks Mom).
The main reason you should watch this one:The woodchipper scene. That or the ultimate bromance that is Tucker and Dale’s relationship–they are truly friendship goals.
How could I praise any other horror comedy without featuring the best of the best? I have mentioned this film many, many times, and this is not the movie if you’re looking for a genuine scare. If you’re looking for that, watch The Evil Dead (the first one). However, they are basically the same movie and I honestly love watching Bruce Campbell overacting to a perfect extent.
This is a horror fan essential, and I encourage following it up with its sequel, Army of Darkness. This is the year to celebrate Sam Rami anyways–he’s the one responsible for Marvel’s first horror-ish film, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. I hope readers of this enjoyed that post credit scene as much as I did.
The main reason you should watch this one: Groovy.
Apparently, I have a knack for including second installments, but I have my reasons. While I enjoyed and thought Fear Street Part I was one fun ride, the second one stands out to me. Not only was it scarier, but it felt like a love letter to those summer camp slashers that came before. This was definitely one of Netflix’s good risks that they’ve taken in the last few years, and boy was it a bloody good time.
Fear Street comes from R.L. Stine, the same guy responsible for the childhood staple Goosebumps. This is not suited for kids however, as these are some of the goriest horror films I’ve seen recently. It’s also worth noting that the actors in this film really do a great job, especially Sadie Sink. It’s a horror movie with quite a bit of heart, both in the plot and in its homage to what inspired it.
The main reason you should watch this one: It’s definitely one of the more intense entries on this list, so if you’re looking for genuine guts, gore and ghouls, this is the pick for you.
Finally, I’m in the right order it seems. IT: Chapter One soared to box office breaking numbers back in the day, so it wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve seen this one before. A truly terrifying treat from Stephen King, the Muschietti duo really put a refreshing spin on the source materials and created something heartfelt and brutal all twisted together. This movie takes place during the summer of 1989, so I just associate it as a summer horror film.
This movie has no brakes, as it contains one of the most notorious openings to a horror movie/novel ever with the Georgie scene. Definitely have some childhood trauma rooted to that scene (thanks to Tim Curry), but it shows the powerhouse that Bill Skarsgard is in the titular Pennywise role. All the child actors are absolutely incredible as well, and the dynamics between the characters really adds some light to this otherwise dark tale.I’m also a Chapter Two defender, I really enjoyed it and it is worth the watch primarily for Bill Hader. That man will make you laugh and make you sob.
The main reason you should watch this one: If you’re looking for scares, the sewer and basement scenes are quite up there. If you’re looking for laughs, I have one word for you: Gazebos.
Now this suggestion is purely on laughs. This movie is something else, and if you’re not a musical fan, I suggest maybe skipping this one because you will hate it. However, if you’re in the niche like me where you’re an avid horror AND musical fan, this film will get a few laughs out of you. Stage Fright is something else, and while it’s not the greatest film, it definitely has some peak moments that are worth the watch.
This is a cheese fest, so if you’re looking for a B movie that breaks out into song and dance, this might be the movie for you. Just don’t take it too seriously and be on the lookout for easter eggs in reference to your favorite horror films and musicals. I’ve been able to look back on this film with kinder eyes, and it still has its hilarious moments that outweigh the otherwise mediocre moments.
The main reason you should watch this one: Purely for the song “Where We Belong.” Especially if you were a queer kid into performing arts, because the cringe attack is oh-so-sweet and ridiculous.
This one is a fun indie film starring some familiar faces: Fran Kranz, who is the epic stoner from The Cabin in the Woods and Alyson Hannigan, known as Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Kranz is a camp counselor who experiences chronic blackouts and has found himself surrounded by dead bodies. He calls Hannigan, who is a horror movie fanatic, to possibly find out who did this and why he was spared.
A hilarious and odd whodunit kind of movie, this film leaves you twisting and turning with plenty of laughs. It also has a unique way of storytelling, with majority of the conversation taking place over the phone and shot in close ups rather than narrative shots, which gives the film the unreliable narrator feel that they are going for, as Kranz is suspect number one.
The main reason you should watch this one: Kranz and Hannigan’s performances are brilliant and are sure to keep you entertained, even if the film can be rather predictable at times.
Eli Roth’s directorial debut is as gritty today as it was back in 2002. He recently remade this one, which upped the gore but downgraded everything else, so I suggest sticking with the original. A group of friends decided to take a vacation up in the woods and succumb to a flesh-eating virus that attract the attention of some unwanted visitors. It’s an interesting story full of body horror and ultimately is an early 2000s classic.
This film features decently strong acting that makes such a seemingly ridiculous concept so real. It is a gruesome, bloody film that has scarring scenes, so if you’re not a gore fan, this one might be a skip for you. However, it is a defining film for 21st century horror, so you might have to bear with it just to say you’ve seen it.
The main reason you should watch this one: Other than it being a modern classic, the shaving scene will definitely scar you or meet the gore quota that you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a movie with twists and turns galore, this is the one for you. Summer of ’84 was one of those films that creeped in on people’s radars with the release of the top horror streaming service Shudder. It operates in the same way as IT, in which it’s a blend of nostalgia, coming of age and horror. Instead of a story we’ve heard before however, this one is sure to lull you into a false sense of security before ripping the rug right out from under you.
This film’s strengths lie in the younger actors, who play a group of teenage boys who take their suspicions into their own hands when one of the boys suspects a police officer as a serial killer. They conduct an investigation of their own which gets them into quite the situation.
The main reason you should watch this one: It runs in the same vein as IT and Stranger Things, as far as group of friends hunt evil. However, this adds a bit more edge and gets quite dark in the last quarter of the film.
Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Vudu. Stream with a Shudder subscription on Amazon Video,
Not only does it have it in the name, but this is probably the ultimate summer movie just in regard to the season. The bright colors, the clear blue sky and warmth amid the atrocities that occur during Ari Aster’s second feature film give off those summer vibes, ya know?
In all seriousness, Midsommar is one of those modern horror masterpieces that could be hit or miss for some people. It embraces its arthouse narrative style while displaying some of the most grotesque images to grace the silver screen. Despite its disturbing nature, this movie is the ultimate breakup movie and has its comedic moments. It’s okay to laugh at the absurdity. This film also is a reflection on what grief without support can do to someone, as Dani traverses an extreme loss with her boyfriend and his friends on a summer trip in Sweden.
The main reason you should watch this one: It’s always good to know whether or not you’re vulnerable to cult induction.
Well, that’s the list! I know I missed a few obvious ones, but everyone and their grandma knows that Friday the 13th is the movie of the summer screams. I personally would love to hear your favorite summer horror films–it doesn’t necessarily need to be framed around the season. What spooky movies do you go reaching for as we reach these hotter months? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to add them to my personal list.
Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.
It must be the colors of spring that makes me think about his films, but March always reminds me of Hitchcock. Especially in reflection of Women’s History Month, as while he is a brilliant filmmaker, he really was cruel to his female actors on set. So therefore, I’m going to instruct how one gets into Hitchcock, but with remembrance of how much of an asshole he was. It’s not uncommon to do that with many filmmakers throughout the years.
This post will also celebrate the performances in Hitchcock films, as they make the film what it is. When watching Hitchcock, you are looking for color theory, queer theory and femme fatales. The way that his films shifted throughout the years to become something more than he initially intended is why we still study Hitchcock with a ferocity and with a self-aware eye of who he was and what he did. Therefore, here is a quick guide to get into Hitchcock if you haven’t made the dive yet.
A note: Hitchcock films are predominantly thrillers. Psycho and The Birds, however, are horror films that directly affected the modern definition of horror however, so therefore, I consider him a horror filmmaker in this article. Without his craft of suspense, horror films and its scares would not hit as hard.
An Introduction: Psycho
If you clicked on this or follow my blog, you have to see this film. Other than Peeping Tom, which came out mere months before Psycho, this is the groundwork for the modern slasher film. It also is home to some of the greatest plot twists of all time–how long Janet Leigh is actually in the film and the reveal of the killer. These reveals were so great, that when it released in theaters, there was a record that played in the foyers that acted as an announcement to when the film was going to start, and they would refuse entry once the opening credits played. Now, I do realize that I mentioned Hitchcock and color in the introduction. However, due to the graphic nature of this film for the 1960s, it was filmed in black and white to keep costs and gore down.
While the color theory is out the window for this one, Psycho does have a queer subtext. Anthony Perkins is a legendary queer actor and his performance as Norman Bates can be interpreted as internal frustration and anger of a confused, homosexual man. That could explain his choice of alter-ego (which might have been a way to get around the Hayes Act) and the violence towards women–an act of jealousy of something he could never have. It also explains the rage and contempt that he has for his mother–the one who ‘made’ him this way–as well as the adoration he has for her–someone to cling to as an outsider in this mid-century, homophobic society. Something to think about on your first watch or your latest rewatch.
His Most Accessible: North by Northwest
Rather than focusing on a murder, North by Northwest plays out as a spy suspense-drama. In fact, its final act plays out as an action film really, showcasing that iconic scene of Cary Grant booking it away from the propellor plane. Now it’s controversial, I know, but I haven’t seen this film–not that it hasn’t interested me. I will watch it for sure and it is one that critics recommend to Hitchcock newbies constantly.
This film has the suspense of the Hitchcock but feels like it lacks the main things I derive out of Hitchcock films. Although, I am not against Cary Grant being the biggest badass ever. All because he is mistaken for a government agent. Therefore, if you are looking for the psychological horror element of Hitchcock, have this down the list a bit. If you want to jump into all things Hitchcock, give it a whirl.
Let’s Look at something a bit more relatable: Rear Window
Ah, spying on your neighbors. We’ve all done it at some point. Well, what if that partial voyeurism causes you to be witness to a murder? If Shia LaBeouf just popped in your head, let me point you to the source material of Disturbia. Rear Window is a masterpiece with a conflicting protagonist. It’s romantic, it’s funny, it’s suspenseful. Definitely not as gritty as its bastardized remake. It also features one of the most elaborate sets, with the entire apartment complex built on a soundstage. There were 31 fully functional apartments constructed on that set, which is wild.
This film features the wonderful Grace Kelly and Thelma Ritter–extremely headstrong, empowered characters. Due to Jimmy Stewart’s Jeff confined to a wheelchair, it is Kelly’s Lisa crawling through windows and risking her life at the hands of the murderer. They are the voices of reason when it seems that Jeff seems to take it too far in his ‘investigation.’ Also, the muted colors of the wardrobe of the film convey both the climate of the setting as well as the understanding of what is going on. It transitions to black and white as the murder confirms itself. It is a must watch, even if you’re not into Hitchcock’s style of a slow burn.
Remembering Tippi Hedren: The Birds
This film is a little more uncomfortable to watch given the release of Tippi Hedren’s memoir. Everyone was well aware that Hitchcock was cruel towards Hedren on the set–to the extent that he had live birds thrown at her which resulted in her and the birds’ extreme distress and injuries towards Hedren. However, she revealed that Hitchcock basically pulled a Weinstein, and sexually assaulted and harassed her several times, and her refusal to sleep with him led to all of that cruelty. This is why I push those to admire Hitchcock’s films but with a large grain of salt.
The Birds is brilliantly shot and has one of the best scenes in a film ever–the jungle gym scene. However, when you watch this, please remember what Tippi Hedren had to go through, and watch it for her. It will make for a hard watch and reading her experience might taint Hitchcock for you forever. However, it is another case to separate the art from the artist. The Birds is more of a strict horror film rather than a psychological thriller too, so if you’re on this page for horror, this is the film for you.
Red, green and blue: Vertigo
We see Jimmy Stewart again in a pretty conflicting role as John Ferguson, an ex-cop who suffers from a bout of vertigo due to a traumatic incident while on the force. Then we have Kim Novak. She plays a double role in the film, and truly steals the scenes she is in. If you want to see tension–both the love and the hate kind–this is the film for you. I can’t say much more without giving anything away, however, I will talk briefly about the color theory and what you should look for when viewing my personal favorite.
Madeline is green, John is red. In an iconic scene (pictured above), we see Madeline in this gorgeous green gown against a red background–which is the first time John sees her. It speaks to the instant infatuation he has for her, and they go on to wear these colors and eventually wear each other’s. Novak’s other character, Judy, wears cool blue, and it plays a stark contrast to John’s hot red, which reflects his obsession and anger that he falls into due to events that occurred with Madeline. It is an important tool that reflects how the characters are feeling without using a spoken internal monologue.
The Unsung Gem: Rope
When I said Vertigo was my favorite Hitchcock, this one is basically tied with it. This film is a brilliant piece of cinema that is one of the easiest to see through queer theory. Two men who share an apartment kill someone and store them in a cassone, which they set up for a dinner party. For those that may not know, a cassone is a marriage chest, and the act of placing something dead inside can be read as the concept of marriage being dead to these two lovers. The glances they exchange throughout the film confirms this intimacy.
They filmed Rope in a single shot-single take, meaning they had to act like a play. They would always focus on a wall or something still to switch out the roll of film. For the year 1948, that is deeply impressive and only adds to the brilliance of this film. It is an intense thriller that I could not recommend more. It also is free use copyright at the moment, so you can catch it for free on YouTube–even more of a reason to check it out.
Who knew tennis could make you anxious?: Strangers on a Train
A casual flirtation with murder turns deadly serious in this film. Strangers on a Train is another film that is dripping with queer context. I’ll kill your wife if you kill my father is the deal with a one-sided agreement. The intense eye contact between Guy and Bruno while talking about such grandiose “solutions” to their issues further confirms the queer theory, so definitely keep an eye out for the intimacy between the two men–it’s subtle but it’s there.
There are two scenes in this film that shoots this film up to one of Hitchcock’s best. That is the carnival scene and the tennis match. Hitchcock already took the intensity of a tennis match and combined it with such dread and anticipation that you will be squirming in your seat.
Remaking his own film: The Man Who Knew TOo Much
Another film that I haven’t seen (don’t sue me), but it has a bit of a weird timeline. Hitchcock made this film in 1934, and then decided to one up himself and cast Jimmy Stewart–his muse–as well as Doris Day and remake his own film 22 years later. Hitchcock also loves to write about innocent people getting caught up in government affairs. This is also the film that introduced the lovely song “Que Sera Sera,” in quite an intense scene.
This is considered to be Hitchcock’s family film. It really puts a strain on the couple in question about where their values lie and how they rely on each other in a situation that they can’t bring to someone who could intervene easily. It’s not necessarily one to watch with the little ones, but more of a reflection for those of us sucked into day-to-day life and not realizing we should rely on one another to make progress. In this case, they do it to save the life of their son.
Here is a brief list, which don’t include many other amazing films. Rebecca, The 39 Steps, Dial M for Murder, Notorious… the list goes on. Hitchcock is a true mastermind. While he is–to put it politely–a piece of shit, the film community cannot forget his work. It is also notable to remember the women in Hitchcock films and try to keep in mind what they went through to create such art. While his queer subtext in most of his films infer a possible queerness in Hitchcock–which can foster violent self-inflicted homophobia–he had no right to take that out on others, especially the women who were not only brutalized in the fiction he was writing, but also in reality.
Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.
It’s Woman’s History Month, and I am beyond happy to be celebrating here on The Void of Celluloid. I am a proud woman and love me some women from the horror genre. Whether they’re the final girl or the antagonist in their films, the horror genre has always been a genre that predominantly casts women in their leading roles. The representation of their femininity and independence has only improved over the years as well.
What is the best way to celebrate the horror genre and the women that are involved in it? Talking about the scream queens, that is. It is an honor to be crowned a scream queen, and usually implies that a female actor has frequented the genre a few times to earn the crown. Therefore, let’s talk about our famous femme fatales and how they’ve adorned our screens throughout the years.
The First of Many: Fay Wray
As Tim Curry sings so angelically, “Whatever happened to Fay Wray, that delicate satin draped frame?” Well, she is the iconic star from the 1933 King Kong, making her our first official scream queen. She also starred in Son of Kong, The Most Dangerous Game, and Mystery of the Wax Museum, to name a few more early horror films with her as the starring role.
Wray really set an example of sultry meets the scream, as she always looked good while in distress. She practically is the poster child of what a woman looked like in early horror films.
King Kong was also incredibly successful for its timeframe, as the adjusted-for-inflation international box office for the film exceeds $350 million. It was a worldwide sensation that plastered Wray as its centerpiece (other than the giant ape itself). As the film closes, Wray was in fact that beauty who killed the beast, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here comes the slashers: Janet Leigh
Yes, I am very aware that Janet Leigh is not a final girl when it comes to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. However, when thinking of the movie, her face immediately pops into my head. While Janet Leigh would not make another horror appearance again until the 80s with her daughter in The Fog, she is considered to be the first of the modern scream queens. Psycho is the birth of the slasher genre whose popularity snowballed in the 70s. Therefore, it can be pinpointed as the film that really kicked of the horror genre to what it is today.
That film would not have the gravitas that it does however without that shower scene. That shower was the last running shower Leigh would ever stand under, due to the mental strain filming that scene. With the masterful shots that teased nudity and gore, it was definitely a kill scene that made a splash. With it ending on Leigh’s eye transforming into that shower drain, there is no way that you don’t associate that movie with her.
Her Royal Highness: Jamie Lee Curtis
Did I mention that Janet Leigh had a daughter? Well, she happens to be the queen of all scream queens herself, Jamie Lee Curtis. With her first role being the other huge film that changed the horror genre, Halloween, she basically was adopted and indoctrinated into the horror genre. To put it frankly, she is the horror genre. She has gone on to reprise the role of Laurie Strode multiple times in multiple timelines and has starred in other horror flicks such as Prom Night, Terror Train, and The Fog.
She is very aware of her role in the horror genre and where she lies on the scream queen hierarchy. Curtis is an executive producer on the new Halloween trilogy and says that she doesn’t participate in projects that aren’t important to her. Therefore, we have to know her reprisal and producing of this new trilogy is out of love and care–and it has reflected that thus far. Another notable film is Halloween: H20, as she stars in that with her mother once more. While it’s not the best horror movie out there, their scenes together are extremely heartfelt and really act as a nod as to the mother of the Queen. Legends truly make more legends.
Heather Langenkamp and Neve Campbell: Hello, Sid and nancy
Wes Craven was one to usher in a few scream queens in his day. The first being Heather Langenkamp from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Langenkamp was notably in the best of the franchise, the OG, Dream Warriors, and New Nightmare. Therefore, you could say they were the best because of Nancy’s appearance. She is a horror icon through and through, and Nancy can’t not be mentioned when discussing the penultimate final girls.
However, the 80s came and went, and smack dab in the middle of the 90’s, we get a new scream queen–due to Wes Craven again. If you’re not new here, you know that I love me some Sidney Prescott. Neve Campbell graced the screens in both the Scream franchise and The Craft. Both of these films had the horror genre in a chokehold during the 90s. It was for good reason too, and a lot of it was due to Campbell’s natural charisma and edge that she gave to her characters. It made her that much more loveable and relatable. Campbell is also the scream queen with the most recent installment under her belt, with the latest Scream coming out earlier this year.
The MODERN-DAY Scream Queens
There are so many scream queens that haven’t been mentioned on this list that deserve acknowledgement, therefore I’m going to rapid fire a few here in a gallery to match names to faces to films. Let’s go.
If you can’t tell from this gallery, we could use a lot more diversity when it comes to crowning the next scream queens. However, we must appreciate the ones we have this women’s history month, as they have shaped the horror genre more than we could possibly say.
How you can celebrate Women’s History Month spookily
This month is the month to watch, support and share women led, directed and produced horror projects. While the scream queens grace our screens year after year, we are severely lacking in women horror filmmakers. While we should be supporting these films all the time, we know that people like to use these distinct months for performative activism. So go be performative and share some women led projects with the people you know.
Some of my favorite women-directed horror films are the original Pet Sematary (Mary Lambert), The Babadook (Jennifer Kent), the newest Candyman (Nia DaCosta), and The Invitation (Karyn Kusama). If I had to recommend one, The Invitation is one of the most slept on horror-thrillers of the last ten years, and everyone I’ve shown it to absolutely loves it. Give it a shot.
Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post twice a week and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.
As I stated in my article last Friday, I am really looking forward to some honest criticism about Scream. If I want to see it, I might as well contribute. I was part of the super hyped group that saw it opening day. While it met my expectations and exceeded some, there were a few fatal flaws that looking back on it–I wish there was a little more effort. Don’t get me wrong, the legacy cast killed it and I did appreciate and like the new cast of characters, but the story that revolved around them has quite a few plot holes and went weird directions.
Time has passed, so I think that it is now time to talk about it. If you haven’t seen it, stop here and go watch it, as this review will be chock full of spoilers. The twist worth the watch, as it is done pretty damn well. Nevertheless, let’s jump into 2022’s Scream.
The Opening Scene: what a bummer
Don’t get me wrong, the opening scene in Scream is intense. However, having it not be a kill really breaks tradition for all of the Scream films, as these openings are known for taking risks and killing off either very important characters or A-list actors. I guess the zinger was that she was still alive after all of that, but it just communicates that we might not have a as sinister and strong killer as we did in the past.
I think this movie would’ve benefitted from an event flip. A shocker to the audience would be the double kill that occurs about twenty minutes into the movie: Judy and her son Wes. It’s in the broad daylight–which had been done only once before in the franchise–plus a beloved character and the top theorized killer due to his namesake and the casting of Dylan Minnette. I don’t think this would’ve changed the events of the film, as after the opening credits, we can jump right into the scene with Tara, involving the new characters. It also involves the original characters a little earlier into the film and is the hard cutoff from the fourth film, as Judy was the only overlapping character that wasn’t one of the legacies.
Let’s Talk new Characters
Of the ones that survived this new reign of terror, I do appreciate the sister power we have as our new “Sidneys.” They’re not meant to replace Sidney, obviously. However, I can definitely root for them for a few more films. However, I have a bone to pick with our lead, Sam. It’s not her fault, it is most definitely the writers reaching for straws, but we need to talk about the hallucinations.
I Love Skeet Ulrich, but…
Of all the past killers to bring back, they brought back Billy. Also, the timeline lines up for Sam, but also it is very narrow amount of time, with it only making sense that Billy slept with Sam’s mother the night of Stu’s party or somewhere within those days of the killing spree. Also, trying to turn him into a near anti-hero in the end and Sam mimicking his blade wipe–that did not leave a good taste in my mouth. Billy Loomis is bat shit crazy and took his need for vengeance a little too far. We don’t need to redeem him. However, I did enjoy Sam other than her daftness about going to Stu Macher’s house as if she did not grow up in that town immediately after the events took place. Most of all, I loved her as a team with her sister.
Siblings not done dirty
Finally, the Scream franchise is kind to siblings and doesn’t kill them off in brutal ways or make them wacko killers. We see Sam and Tara Carpenter as sisters who kick ass despite their shared trauma that separated them all of these years. Sure, the way they reintroduce each other in the hospital room was a little rushed and messy, but in that final showdown, we see the potential of what they can be, and when they put their brains together, they manage to make it out alive.
While Tara and Sam really delivered in a dynamic duo of final girls, it was Randy’s niece and nephew, Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin. There was finally some relief from the pain of Randy being gone, as there is no doubt that he is their uncle. It is almost as if he has visited them beyond the grave and bestowed his witty wisdom. I think their inclusion as well as their survival (I was really worried about Chad there for a second) really felt like the apology for killing Randy so early and abruptly. I am excited to see them in the sequel, but as their uncle said, the stakes are higher in a sequel.
Let’s Talk about the Killers
Alright, I saw Jack Quaid being the killer from a mile away. However, I thought he would be the one to provide the tie to the original killers. It would’ve been so easy, as Stu was quite more of a sex maniac than Billy it seems. It would mean Richie actually being Stu’s son instead of the hallucinations and the Billy stuff. They could’ve found another way to bring Skeet back, but we all really wanted Stu back. Even Matthew Lillard wanted Stu back. Maybe they’re saving it for a rainy day. The man could’ve survived a TV to the head, it’s a horror movie for god’s sake, it doesn’t have to make sense.
Speaking of things not making sense, how did Amber manage to lift Dewey into the air above her head? I think that was Scream‘s way of tiptoeing towards an invincible, super strong killer like the rest of the franchises have adopted. I mean, it took a lot to kill both of them in the final act. Mikey Madison even relived some of her stunts that she pulled in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, except it was a stovetop, not a flamethrower. The thing that I liked about Scream’s killers was the human element. The crazy, unhinged human element. It sets them apart from previous killers, and not in a good way. However, they were on that same level of batshit crazy, so their actions around their oddly super strength demeanor sold them over all as Ghostfaces.
Finally: THe Legacy Characters of the Scream franchise
Oh, Dewey. I bawled in the theater due to Dewey’s death, as it felt like they ripped out and stomped on the heart of the series. However, I knew that is what would have to happen for Sidney to even come back to Woodsboro, and the movie laid it out as so. It was so good to see all of them again, however. I also like how their lives ended up, as they are very human and very unpredictable. Sidney ending up with Kincaid was a good little easter egg and made me happy that she found happiness and trust in a partner again. The first two movies made us think that would never happen, and it would be justified.
Gale is in the best position that Gale could be in, and I was grateful that she wasn’t the bad guy that ended things between her and Dewey. This allowed for no bitterness between them in their final moments and nothing but mutual love without the will-they-won’t-they element. I think that drama that was present in the previous films would’ve taken away from how gut-wrenching it was to say goodbye to Dewey, for both the audience and Gale.
It wouldn’t go without saying that I wish that we could’ve seen more of them, and they had more driving forces in the story. However, if the Scream franchise is going to continue, we have to say goodbye as we can’t watch another one of them die. It is a salute to both Wes Craven and Sidney Prescott from the horror genre. Together they revolutionized the final girl and broke down all of the rules that they had to abide by.
In Conclusion: Scream is worth your time
If you are a horror fan and love Wes Craven as much as I do, please watch the newest Scream if you haven’t already. While there are some plot holes and it might not have the payoff that some of us were wishing for after all these years, it is still a wild ride that is worth the experience at least once–it definitely isn’t as rewatchable as the others are. It is heartfelt at times, nostalgic in others and reads as a love letter to its creator, gone seven years now. The horror family misses and loves you, Wes.
Do you agree with the critiques marked in this review? Let me know your thoughts either on Twitter @OfCelluloid, Instagram @TheVoidofCelluloid, or on Facebook under the page The Void of Celluloid. Make sure to follow and sign up on the mailing list if you would like to receive more content of the sort and I will catch you guys in the next void. See ya soon, Spelunkers.
There are quite a few things going on in the horror community this March that are worth noting. While not much is releasing, there might be a few things that have flown under the radar as the movie theater scene grows slowly. Therefore, here are three things that you shouldn’t miss out on this March.
Scream: Now on Digital Rent/Buy
I’m sure if you didn’t see Scream in theaters, you were keeping your eyes peeled for a digital release. Well, now it is here. Scream came out early 2022 and was met with quite positive critical acclaim, with some saying it’s one of the strongest in the franchise next to the first one. I definitely enjoyed the film and recommend it, but I am partial to the Scream franchise. I would let Sidney Prescott wife me up in a second, no doubt.
Now with its digital release, I am excited to see how it is received upon rewatching and getting a true critical scope that was muffled by the hype. I am among many to admit that this film did have its flaws and we know that Scream is usually one to learn from its fans what it wants. I mean, that’s what the basis of this new installment was all about, so they are just asking for feedback. Therefore, I’m looking forward to these discussions that will only lead to a better, already confirmed sequel.
Studio 666: Fear the Foo and Fight it
This film technically came out in February. However, I’m putting it in March since it wide released in theaters. Yes, Foo Fighters made a movie. Yes, I am extremely excited about it. I won’t be catching this one until next week, but I am excited to see what I’ve seen other describe as a Pick of Destiny meets Evil Dead II. It truly is a film that functions of camp, and I am living for it.
I love that Dave Grohl and company have reached this point in their career that they do what truly makes them happy. I mean, the Bee Gees cover album from last year was truly a treat. It was the best promo they could have done for their new album. They said they always wanted to do a film together. In conjunction with their amazing music videos and Grohl’s involvement with Tenacious D (yes, that’s him under all that red makeup in Tribute), we can only expect something that is fun for the viewer as well as fun for them.
X: A new, Raunchy A24 Horror
A24 has kind of been killing it in the horror genre. Providing the platform for films such as Hereditary and Midsommar, it is the home for the arthouse horror. How does a slasher film taking place on a porno set sound? How about if that said horror film stars Kid Cudi? X comes out on March 18th, and with the trailer not giving away much, I am excited to see what we are dealing with here.
The film comes from Ti West as well, which makes me even more excited. I was quite a fan of The Innkeepers and at this point, if you haven’t seen The House of the Devil, you are truly missing out. It looks colorful, it probably will be gory, and I am expecting a bit of a slow burn as it is typically in Ti West’s fashion to take his time on his stories. They have paid off, however, and I’m excited to see if this one does the same.
Keep an eye out for these
Overall, it sounds like it’s a fun month for horror fans. These three on top of hearing that The Batman contains horror elements as well, it sounds like we’re getting delightfully spooky this March. It’s also Women’s History Month, so let’s celebrate by watching some female horror creators and celebrating our scream queens. Two women that come to mind are Debra Hill and Jamie Lee Curtis, which you can read a little bit more on their legendary impact on Halloweenhere. Let’s just say, it would not have blazed the trail as epically as it did without their contribution.
Thanks for spelunking the March Horror Void with me. If this is your first time here on The Void of Celluloid, welcome! I am happy to have you here, and if you want to know more about horror or just a film appreciator, go ahead and follow me on Twitter @OfCelluloid, Facebook on the page The Void of Celluloid and Instagram @thevoidofcelluloid. Until next time…
The horror community will always get a little giddy when there is a new installment in the legendary franchises. It’s inevitable, even if we know that the sequels, reboots and requels won’t satisfy as much as the original. We watch them anyways. That’s how everyone felt with the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre. However, once it was announced that Netflix was the studio and the trailer dropped, the hype died almost immediately.
It was for good reason. I sacrificed one of my Saturday nights watching this film to see if it was as bad as everyone says. The only reason I say that it was terrible is because there were some fun spots in the flicker of the flames of this dumpster fire. Texas Chainsaw Massacre plays as a comedy and spoof sometimes, and it is undercut by the times that the film tries to be serious. The last half of it? It plays like a Halloween (2018) rip off.
The New Group: Might be more annoying than franklin
The film starts out fairly similarly. A group of twenty somethings traveling to the middle-of-nowhere Texas for some kind of sanctuary. This film takes sanctuary a little too far. They’re practically turning a ghost town into a commune. It gives me a little bit of the creepy cult vibe, but honestly, revamping a ghost town into something thriving sounds pretty neat. However, I would not want to be neighbors with any of these pretentious hipsters. I say that as a Portland local, so you have to know I mean that.
They make several stupid decisions and are really not supportive of one another. An example of a stupid decision being not having any papers on you when claiming the town, causing in the death that starts the whole thing off. Another example was sending the main guy’s girlfriend with the ambulance. The ambulance got there within plenty of time, I feel as if they should’ve just hoped for the best and called. Of course, that wouldn’t be the catalyst of events anymore, but the film honestly takes no time to get things rolling. Especially since it is paying homage to the original, which is a bit of a slow burn in the beginning.
The indestructible, traumatized sisters
Never have I ever seen someone get a sledgehammer to the gut from the top of the stairs that drives them through the floor, only to have them crawling for their lives three seconds later. The older sister, Melody is borderline indestructible. She takes so many hits and slashes, but still makes it through to the final act and beyond. I get that horror can go beyond reality, but this was borderline ridiculous. In turn to making Leatherface invincible, maybe making another character seemingly invincible will lead to a lot of fluff to the film. Just maybe.
On top of that, we have poor Lila. She is severely traumatized by a school shooting, which puts some pretty heavy commentary into the film and never really goes into it afterwards. The film then proceeds to force this traumatized girl to defend herself with multiple guns and hear multiple gunshots, just to add to the horror and terror of it all. I understand final girls have to go through it, but part of it is getting the upper hand creatively. That happens eventually, but after the heavy use of guns, it seems as if her using a gun was the true cure to her trauma. That’s not really a sympathetic approach to survivors of school shootings.
Pro Gun Control or Anti Gun control? Does it really matter?
To follow up on the Lila’s storyline, the film really makes fun of the younger characters being against having guns. I get we’re in Texas and the writers might consider this detail ironic, but it ultimately didn’t deliver. I think it was supposed to be somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek reference to the current political climate and the gun control debate. However, it doesn’t establish what side it leans on to be actually funny. It just came up as confusing and abrasive to insert it within the story without a smooth transition.
Honestly, I am really for social commentary in horror. There usually always is some kind of metaphor and moral hidden between the brutality. However, I really saw this as an unnecessary situation to bring up. Especially since it turned into something so insensitive to the school shooting victim in the film and a ‘gotcha’ moment when the people were not a fan of guns had to use the guns. Of course, they did; they are up against a seemingly supernaturally invincible murderer with a chainsaw. Distance works in your favor for that situation. With the already poorly written dialogue, this kind of serious topic was never going to be a subtle, witty insert.
Sally Hardesty isn’t laurie strode
The last thing about Texas Chainsaw Massacre was its final act and the writing of Sally Hardesty. After the bus scene, that I dare say was the best part of the film. It’s ridiculously brutal, bloody and violent–which actually made me laugh at the insanity of it. After that bloodbath and wiping out the entirety of the extra people in the town, the final act kicks in, with its weakest part not being the new characters but rather the original final girl. I don’t think the writers realized that Sally Hardesty will never make the same impact as Laurie Strode. Therefore, they shouldn’t have used her character like this without beefing up her character.
Sally is a hardened, traumatized woman who decided to go build an arsenal to showdown Michael Myers once they met again–sorry, I mean Leatherface. It’s literally the same format they went with in 2018’s Halloween. However, despite Sally being a trailblazer for the final girl, she simply doesn’t hold a candle to Laurie. Also, she makes some really stupid decisions that result in way more harm to herself and others than Leatherface. The woman doesn’t even make a dent in him and utters the worst line ever: “Don’t run, or he’ll haunt you forever.” Okay, whatever you say.
I think the icing on the cake was her asking Leatherface to say her and her group’s name while holding up a polaroid to him. Did she not listen in the first film? Leatherface is very much implied to be nonverbal due to disability. Also, he didn’t wait to learn their names, he just murdered them immediately upon arrival to that house. I feel like they were trying to show that they were putting a lot of thought and effort to tie it to the 1974 film. However, those of us who know the film are disappointed that seemingly ignored the events of the first film.
Final thoughts on Texas Chainsaw Massacre
I went into this film knowing it was going to be bad. I was ultimately hoping for a situation in which it was so bad, it was funny. Instead, I watched a half-baked horror film that had some really solid sequences that were just covered with poorly written, non-loyal to the original filler. Also, the Tesla autopilot ending was terrible. Hilariously terrible. Therefore, I don’t really think it’s worth the watch. What did you think of it? Were you a fan of this one or do you agree that Netflix should probably lay their efforts to rest? Let me know in the comments.
I’m not anti-Sally Hardesty either. You can read more on the evolution of the final girl and the role she plays in forming the trope here.
If this is your first time reading The Void of Celluloid, welcome. I am happy to have you here and encourage you to follow me on Twitter @OfCelluloid, Facebook under the page The Void of Celluloid or Instagram @TheVoidofCelluloid to stay updated on what’s next. Thanks for jumping into this void with me, you lovely spelunker you.
A lot of people were left shocked by last week’s episode of Euphoria. Some horror fans were left a bit more shocked as a familiar score. It soundtracked Cassie looking through that window with a Sissy Spacek style stare. The oddly calming, grotesquely titled “Cannibal Holocaust” popped up on the captions to confirm, and I nearly lost my mind.
Cannibal Holocaust looms over the horror genre as one of its most controversial films for so many reasons. Considering its ban in over 40 countries, the criminal charges that occurred after its festival release and the cruelty that occurred on set to both actors and animals, the use of its score in Euphoria was a very specific choice. And an odd one. It has caused curious minds to go looking for the answers, myself included.
I will admit, it is a film that I have avoided due to its depravity. However, I cannot be genuine if I haven’t experienced it. That being said, I do not agree with anything that has been done for “creative choices” in this film. I also do not encourage one to go looking for this film, as its content is highly traumatizing to both the viewers and the indigenous people that were exploited for this film. However, it is a critical point in the horror genre and should be examined as so, so let me do it for you.
Let’s Talk about the Cannibal boom
From 1972 to around 1988, there was a phenomenon in Italian horror known as the Cannibal Boom. Most of these films are referred to as video nasties, a term coined by English film media to describe low budget horror-exploitation films. It started with the film Man From Deep River and continued on from then.
Man From Deep River (1972)
Man From Deep River is what kicked off the boom and is considered to be the first Italian cannibal film. Directed by Umberto Lenzi, the film follows a British photographer, John Bradley, as he gets kidnapped by a native tribe in the rainforests of Thailand. He is then tortured by the tribe and enslaved to the chief’s daughter, Marayå. He tries to escape multiple times and with the final attempt, he kills Marayå’s suitor. This leads to him being accepted into the tribe in which he marries Marayå. He joins the tribe’s war against a rival, cannibalistic tribe and his wife gets killed in the process of childbirth.
It tries to tie it in a metaphorical bow by having him not seize the opportunity to escape and joining the tribe for good. Overall, this film is very white-saviorist and features loads of animal killing, violence, gore and torture. However, this is the outline of what’s to come.
Next: Cannibal Holocaust–the most famous and controversial
Cannibal Holocaust released in 1980 and shook the world a bit with its controversy. It also held a spotlight on the cannibal boom and the possible malpractices that occurred when making those films. First, let’s have a brief overview of the plot. Then, we’ll discuss what came about after the film’s release.
The Plot of Cannibal Holocaust
With a film crew going missing in the Amazon rainforest, an anthropologist goes looking for them only to find them dead and arranged in a gruesome manner. What remains intact is their footage, which is taken back to New York to be made into a documentary film. The first half of footage involves seemingly interesting footage and shows the filmmakers trekking through the rainforest. Things seem rough for these filmmakers, and the anthropologist along with many sponsors continue to push for this documentary to go through.
All of this motivation vanishes for the main anthropologist, Harold Monroe, when he watches the rest of the footage. The investors try to protest him pulling out and condemning the project until he decides to show them the footage themselves. What is shown is the format for the found footage style that would take the horror genre by storm in the late 1990s. The footage shows that the filmmakers aren’t the martyrs they seem to be and caused most of the horrific events that led to their demise. Yes, they’re the ones responsible for the famous impalement victim. And its cause makes it so much worse. Then the final reel of footage shows their demise, and the documentary is finally pulled after all of the carnage plays out on the screen.
What makes this film worse than any other horror film?
Yes, that is a fair question. There are three topics that make this film as well as many of the other Italian cannibal films: the brutal sexual violence, the animal cruelty and the mistreatment and misinformation of indigenous people. This film features not one but two brutal gangrape scenes that result in even more violent consequences, such as that infamous impalement scene and the beheading that occurs at the end. This was very typical of the genre, but Cannibal Holocaust took it to an extreme, especially for the first of its audience that was not used to the found footage style and worried that the acts may be real.
There was something that was quite real however, and that was the animal cruelty and deaths that occurred on screen. The most infamous of these is with a sea turtle but features at least five other animal deaths, dismemberments and torture. Most versions of this film that you can rent have these scenes cut out of it, but the footage is still around and still easily accessible. It is usually some of the first things that come up, so tread lightly when looking up this film if you are a bit more sensitive to the content that I am.
Taking it to the final point, these films did nothing but contribute and stigmatize indigenous cultures further, and that doesn’t benefit anybody. There are multiple accounts of the indigenous extras being mistreated, specifically in the scene in which a hut is set on fire. There was no real training or professionals to perform the stunt, but by serious convincing by the director, Ruggero Deodato, the extras stood under the hut and a lot received minor injuries due to malpractice in pyrotechnics to save a buck.
Those are some brief overviews into what went so wrong with this film and gained it its notoriety, but it is what happened in regard to the format and controversial scenes that catapulted this film into absurd infamy.
How Cannibal Holocaust possibly ties into Euphoria
Ten days after Cannibal Holocaust premiered in Milan, the magistrate confiscated the film and arrested Deodato, who was charged with obscenity. All the distributions were pulled, and it was rumored that Cannibal Holocaust was actually a snuff film due to the silence and absence of the supposed actors in the film. This led to the charges being upped to possible murder charges.
Ruggero Deodato and His Mad Genius
The actors however were very much alive–in fact they had signed contracts with Deodato to not appear in press coverage and keep their lives on the down low to create this speculation. Not realizing that would lead to severe criminal consequences, Deodato had to get in contact and gather all the actors involved in the found footage segment, in which they appeared both in court and on an Italian talk show to showcase that everyone was very much alive. They also had to show how they did the impalement effect, as that was one of the biggest topics for the real versus fake argument.
This didn’t save the film nor the director’s reputation, as the film was banned anyways for the violence and cruelty against animals, something that Deodato spend years defending but slowly turned into regret, with him admitting that he never should’ve brought animals into it in the first place. Cannibal Holocaust was banned in several countries and was only recently released on a wide release in 2005, one of which is heavily cut. Deodato was onto something, however, with the actors, as the same type of thing was done with The Blair Witch Project, and the disappearance of the actors just added that much more to the horror.
Alright, but what about euphoria?
As the season two finale drops tonight, I think the reference to Cannibal Holocaust through its haunting score is to focus on the consequences of the play, specifically Lexi as the director. Despite her good intentions and wanting to push boundaries for both shock and artistic methods, it’s going to backfire on her. Specifically, that backfire will be coming from Cassie, who now has this theme to this grotesque film tied to her character forever. I have a feeling we’re finally going to see what she means by claiming that she is crazier.
On top of that, Lexi’s play is going to be heavily tainted by the backlash and interruption that the episode is implying, and sadly Lexi will face the brunt of that. Our Life will be remembered as the one play with an epic musical number to “Holding Out for a Hero” and the time that the director’s sister couldn’t take the heat and stormed on stage. Therefore, much like Deodato, she will be remembered more for the absurdity rather than the actual art and message that pertains to the work.
FInal Thoughts on Cannibal Holocaust
I will be tuning into Euphoria in a heartbeat; however, I cannot say the same for Cannibal Holocaust. I do truly think that there is a good moral deep in there. The twist of the slaughtered filmmakers actually being the monsters really provides some decent commentary on how we exploit other cultures for our own wonderment and benefit. However, the things that occur both inside and outside of the film are inexcusable.
I do find it extremely amusing that this was used so casually in the show. I also feel terrible for the curious minds that think they are looking up just your run of the mill horror film. This film is very different, and can be described as a cult horror. Not in the sense of a small, dedicated fan base, but rather those of us who have seen it, understand it and then never really want to watch it again. I guess we’ll see if its use was purposeful in a few hours. But if not, that was a wild rabbit hole I just went down. I am honored to share it with you.
If you’re new to The Void of Celluloid, welcome. If you want to know more about horror and the things that go on within the community, please go follow on Twitter @OfCelluloid and Instagram @TheVoidofCelluloid. Happy to have you here, now please don’t watch Cannibal Holocaust. Or do. The world is your oyster.
Hello everyone–I just watched the new Scream. It is a brilliant addition as well as homage to its predecessors. During its viewing, I took a trip down memory lane and it’s time to revisit Scream: my favorite quirks and moments in the Scream franchise. It truly is a unique and essential piece to the horror universe–one that many horror fans are proud of. For most horror fans, young and old, Scream just gets you. It knows how you tick, what excites you about horror movies and holds up a mirror and hands you a thank you card.
I cannot think of any fandom who doesn’t like their ego stroked–but we’re stepping away from the meta-ness. Each of these films in the franchise has a gleaming trait that always draws my attention and has me theorizing a lot of what-if scenarios. So, without further ado, I am going to go through some of my interpretations and observations of this brilliant series that Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson has blessed upon us.
Billy and Stu: The Queer Subtext
I have seen the first Scream several times, and it is for three people: Stu, Billy and Randy. That is not a diss towards Sidney, Gale or Dewey, but we get significantly more time with them as the series goes on. Randy is obviously the shining star as well as the most relatable character–horror movie aficionado and a constant hard-on for Sidney Prescott (I mean, same, my dude). He’s not my focus point here; it’s the two murderous lovebirds.
There is a certain intimacy between Billy and Stu, and it mostly falls on Matthew Lillard’s performance and portrayal of Stu. Even Matthew Lillard has confirmed he meant to convey it this way, which you can read more about in this brilliant essay from FilmDaze: The Lifelike Misogyny of Scream’s Stu Macher. Kevin Williamson confirmed this. He himself is proudly out and confirmed that he based the characters on Leopold and Lobe.
Lillard conveys Stu’s ferocity and passion towards Billy with intense eye contact. It is also implied that it didn’t take much convincing on Billy’s part for Stu to team up with him in this killing spree. Considering the killing spree included offing Sidney and making Billy painfully available–that was a bargain that one so madly in love couldn’t resist. It’s hard to deny that this isn’t about passion. The more I watch it, the more it comes through to me. On top of that, everyone that I’ve mentioned this theory too can’t unsee it, so I suggest giving Scream another watch and try to lean into the queer point of view. You’ll only appreciate Matthew Lillard’s performance more and more.
Oh, Randy: The Biggest Mistake in the Franchise
Now back to Randy–and yes, I’ve mentioned this before. Randy’s death in Scream 2 is truly devastating. As the franchise goes on, it sinks in more and more that the death of Randy might have been the biggest mistake they made. The Scream franchise was never afraid of broad daylight kills, but the fact that the character with his head screwed on so tight gets yanked into a van, sliced and diced with Gale and Dewey within earshot–that’s just cruel.
It’s even more cruel due to Scream 2 showing Randy thriving in the college environment. Always being outcast by his peers in Woodsboro, he finds his niche and can discuss and evolve his knowledge and opinions all day long. This seemed like a step towards him growing with the rest of them and able to assess the surroundings and deliver appropriate ‘isms at perfect times. I understand that would’ve been the easy route.
I do respect the out-of-the-blue return of Randy in Scream 3 through VHS, but I feel as if the franchise is also realizing it was a bit of a mistake to kill Randy off so soon. His death would’ve been more firmly placed in Scream 3. Randy’s death in Scream 2 signaled no one was safe. However, there were no other major deaths of the legacy characters in Scream 3 and 4. Therefore, his death was a missed opportunity to take some more controversial steps and just kind of leaves a sad pit of what we could’ve seen from an older Randy.
Definition of Camp: Scream 3 isn’t a bad movie
Days before I watched the newest Scream, I rewatched Scream 3. I never am really excited to rewatch this one, however I saw it through fresh eyes for whatever reason lately. If Scream 3 sold strictly as a spoof and a comedy, I firmly believe critical panning would decrease. It is honestly the funniest installment in the series, and the absurdity of the plot and dialogue is what makes it.
I realized that the opening scene of Scream 3 does not set the tone for the majority of the movie, but rather the more serious final act. Therefore, to go from the sinister nature of Cotton Weary’s demise to cooky Gale-Dewey Hollywood banter feels kind of like whiplash. I can see how that radical tone shift left a bad taste in people’s mouths. However, separating that, the rest of Scream 3 is delightfully campy with a whole bundle of wacky characters who happen to play the characters from the series. It’s extremely meta, which is what the Scream franchise is all about.
The character that sells on the campiness and meta-ness is 100% Jennifer Jolie, played perfectly by Parker Posey. Scream 3 deals a hard bargain on the actors in it–they have to play their characters as well as caricatures of themselves. I think that Parker Posey nails this balance, and focusing on her, Gale and Dewey’s storyline in the middle of the movie definitely is what sells it as a viable end to the original trilogy. I definitely recommend anyone to rewatch Scream 3 and treat it like it’s a “so-bad-it’s-good” movie–you’ll see the comedic genius and expert portrayal in camp in it.
Questionable Characters: Scream 4’s Bloodbath
Eleven years have passed, the original cast is either dead or older. 2011’s Scream 4 was an attempt to pass the torch onto a popular, younger cast and ended in a bloodbath instead. Almost every new character introduced in Scream 4 died by the movie’s end and for that, I am sort of grateful.
With the exception of Kirby, played charismatically by Hayden Panettiere, the new characters weren’t very likeable. Now having watched the newest Scream, I am so grateful they didn’t go with this ragtag group. Most of the characters didn’t have much character development, with Jill being the only one that got a backstory and link to Sidney. On top of that, they feel like hollow shells of a person rather than actual humans. All of the complexity vanished.
I attribute part of this to the time jump and dealing with a different generation. A lot of characteristics from these new characters felt very tropey and out of place, with some of them seeming like they stepped out of coming-of-age rom-com. As I mentioned about Randy, this film definitely tried to make up for Randy being gone. While Kirby was extremely likeable amongst the trio of movie know-it-alls, the shoes of the Randy character were not filled. Despite my complaints, however, I really do like Scream 4 a lot. I feel that this newest Scream however took it down a few pegs in regard to likeable characters.
Scream Lives on through the newest installment
To wrap this up, I cannot stress how badly I want everyone to go and watch Scream. It is truly amazing, hilarious, and brutal. My overly emotional self even cried a bit. I adore the new cast so much and am already looking forward to a sequel, which they plan on doing. The directors behind this new one also did Ready or Not, so if you are looking for some more horror comedy with badass women, I suggest either watching or rewatching that one (I’ve seen it at least five times). I will never stop talking about Scream and singing its praises, so if you want to hear more from The Void of Celluloid, be sure to follow this blog and our social medias linked on the homepage. See you next time, spelunkers.
Hello everybody, welcome back (to you and myself) to The Void. It’s a big week for horror fans as we begin the countdown for another release from an iconic franchise: Scream. I am here to aide the wait by recapping the fourth former films and discussing the wild theories that lurk on the internet. In a franchise recap, it can only mean one thing: movie marathon.
For those who have been here a while, I like to make an experience out of a movie night, and whether this is your first time or you’re exposing a poor soul so you can drag them to the theater, there is always an opportunity to make it special. Therefore, I’m going to take each movie and pair it with a savory snack, a sweet treat and two drinks: one non-alcoholic and another with the booze. It’s a mix and match system, or the most elaborate horror marathon of all time, you decide. There are the rules, and they won’t change like they do in this wacky but brilliant series. Without further ado, let’s set up the Scream marathon.
The one that started it all. Scream rocked the horror scene in 1996 and delivered in the character department. It also delivered a helluva opening scene, so why not start out the movie with some Jiffy Pop? Here’s a homemade stovetop popcorn recipe to get things going. To make it bloody, pair it with this Cherry Bomb mocktail. If you’re already on edge and want to start partying like a high schooler, treat yourself to a Beer Margarita to class up the red solo kegger party. Once you reach Jamie-Kennedy-on-the-couch status, celebrate this film’s blood-soaked finale with a red velvet brownie.
Scream 2 (1997)
Oh boy, this is one of those sequels that are just as good as the original. This one arguably has more scares in it, especially the opening scene and the cop car. Since the first one took the popcorn, we have to take on the next most popular movie theater snack: nachos. I am not one to tell you what goes on your nachos, but I can at least give you a cheese sauce recipe. You’re going to need a cool drink after Neve Campbell’s radiance in the play rehearsal, so either class it up with a Roy Rogers or dress it down with some college-party jungle juice. After the curtain falls on Scream 2, sweeten up the pot and end with a refreshing lemon bar as you brace yourself for the weakest (and campiest) link of the Scream franchise.
Scream 3 (2000)
This is definitely the red-headed stepchild of the franchise, but it does have its quirks here and there. We’re going to Hollywood, baby–therefore, we gotta live the life of luxury. Instead of the munchies we had prior, make yourself an easy canape: this lovely caprese kabobs should do the trick. We’re slashing among the stars now, so we might as well drink like one. Cool your tastebuds with either this Cucumber Ginger mocktail or this Hollywood Martini. After the laughs and cringy dialogue, be thankful (maybe with your non-psycho sibling) that it’s finally over by some no-bake tiramisu parfaits–that should kick it up a notch to continue into the final of the quartet. Try to delete the mental image of Courtney Cox’s bangs while you’re at it.
Scream 4 (2011)
Before I go into this one: JUSTICE FOR KIRBY. Alright, now, we’ve jumped 11 years and things have drastically changed for our favorite slasher survivors as well as a few new people. Anyways, this is quite a bit of an upgrade compared to its predecessor, so we have to treat it as such. I’m talking spinach artichoke dip in a bread bowl! Go crazy like it’s 2011 again! Maybe even live stream the process and start your own web show. Trivia’s a big topic in this one too, and I usually associate trivia with some drinks. I’m going to give it to 2 Geeks Who Eat again with their Woodsboro Snapple cocktail. For the virgins out there (who aren’t guaranteed survival anymore), we’re going with a virgin Sangria that is as red as blood. With such a lofty sequel, they had to get creative–so it’s your turn. We all scream for ice cream, so here’s a recipe for some easy, no-churn ice cream. May I suggest throwing chunks of those red velvet brownies from the first film? And dying it red? We need to get bloody up in this joint.
Conclusion: May the Week of Screams begin
There are the aides for this Craven trek. Scream is truly a brilliant franchise and I am excited to see what the minds behind Ready or Not are going to do with it. As you can see by the title, this is a week of SCREAMS, meaning the Void will have a new post (almost) every day up to the Scream release. The Mother of the Void will be returning on Wednesday, but the rest will be just you and me, my dear spelunkers. Catch the article tomorrow as we recap Scream and discuss some of my favorite parts from the first movie.