Scream Publicity: Old Decade, New Decade

A friend of mine said to me yesterday: “why do you keep posting links on your Facebook page about Scream 4? Don’t you want to be surprised when you see it? You’re going to ruin it for yourself.” The thing is, I purposely check online for Scream 4 news, pretty much every day now that we are literally in the final four weeks leading up to its release. No one forces me to do it. I do want to know what interviews are happening right now with the cast and crew; I want to know when the TV spots are released; I want to see the publicity photos that are being put out for the public to see.

But then I’m reading comments that people are posting about how this is all spoiling the intrigue leading up to the film. And I hear my friend asking me why I’m interested in seeing images that pretty much show how someone in the movie dies. And I do see where these people are coming from.

Scream 4 is being released in a totally different time to Scream 3. It’s frankly amazing at what a difference a decade makes. I remember hearing rumours about Scream 2, when it was in production, about the script being somewhere online. But I barely knew how the internet worked back then (granted, I was 13, but still…) It would never have occurred to me to go online and actually look for the script, even if I’d wanted to. When Scream 3 was due out, I remember simply waiting for its release, not necessarily searching for information about it. I remember seeing the famous teaser poster (the jagged “3” with Sidney’s eye in it) in – wait for it – a cinema. I remember buying May 2000’s issue of Total Film, the month before Scream 3 was released, and learning all about the production from that article. And that was the first time I’d read any of the behind the scenes story or seen any images from the movie. I think they only published something like three stills in it – a shot of Gale & Jennifer, a shot of Sidney and a shot of Sarah being stalked on the phone. But these images gave absolutely nothing away. Even the Scream 3 trailer was evasive (which I saw for the first time on the special edition DVD of trailers that came with that issue of Total Film). I believe I even went to see Scream 3 not knowing where the movie was set or the basic premise.

So – ten years ago, we got Scream 3, and the mystique around it was greater. But that was a different time, and I believe that the diehard fans out there, who are the ones most likely to be reading this, should embrace the age we live in now, in terms of what we can and can’t have access to.

I personally feel that the run up to Scream 4 has been about ten times more exciting than the lead up to its predecessor because of what we can read about it online. Sites like Scream-Trilogy.net, and the like, have enabled us to receive morsels of Scream 4 information over the past few months. What we have been given are appetizers that simply feed our curiosity to the main event. And if you really think about it, we’re not seeing anything devastatingly spoilerific. Commentary from Wes Craven doesn’t ruin anything – we want to hear things straight from the director’s mouth; and after all, it’s his project, he wouldn’t want it ruined. So when he tweets photographs and partakes in interviews, we know he’s not going to give anything major away. Stills are released by the studio in most cases – no-one else. Teaser posters simply feed the excitement. And trailers just give us actual action – but its all stuff that we want to see!

Admittedly, there are some photos that have been released this week that A) show how someone dies and B) you can work out who that victim is (if you look back over the trailers); but as long as it’s only one of two snippets, then the fans should be okay with that. From what I’ve seen this week, I’m quite glad to know that Craven/Williamson have upped the gore stakes back to the same level we saw in the original Scream. This simply adds to the anticipation for me.

Okay, so we’ve been told who dies first apparently. And we have seen plentiful pictures from dozens of scenes in the movie. This perhaps shows us a lot of what to expect. But frankly I couldn’t tell you what exactly is going on in all of the stills that have been released and I find it exciting to be able to play guessing games in the run up to the film’s release.

As an end point, as long as no-one somehow manages to post who the killer is, who dies and exactly how the plot evolves, then I’m happy with all these teasers. I want to be teased! It adds to the fun. Online communities can chat amongst themselves, speculate and get excited together. We can throw ideas out there about what’s going on in a certain clip or still; we can gossip about what we think a particular hazy interview comment means. But this is all harmless fun, and it’s something to do while we wait this agonizing last month before the movie hits the screens. I say embrace the circumstances that Scream 4 is being released under, in comparison to the less informative time that was the year 2000. Like the new tagline says: New Decade, New Rules…

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23 Responses to “ Scream Publicity: Old Decade, New Decade ”


Reader Advisory: Comments may contain SCREAM 4 SPOILERS
  1. Nice article!

  2. Dang, I was 15 when “Scream 2″ came out. I remember seeing the teaser trailer for the third film online. Wes himself introduced the trailer. It might have been AOL or Yahoo website. Whichever it was had the exclusive. It was so exciting back then. But, man, I hated the “Scream 3″ website. Good idea with poor execution. Blegh!

  3. So true!

  4. Completely agree, there was only one spoilery photo released and it was not like we did not expect that character to die anyway. It did not ruin the movie for me, it actually made me more excited. Wes Craven is not like those guys from Saw, he knows how to use blood and if a scene is that bloody then you know it is going to be awsome.

    If you don’t want spoilers, stay away from Scream related websites.

    P.S. stay away from reviews of Scream 4 as well (when it comes out) I read reviews posted on Rotten Tomatoe for the previous Screams and they 1) almost always reveal who dies first and where, 2)They almost always mention one other character who will die somewhere in the middle of the film (though it is assumed even before the movie starts that this character was not playing a major role). Both the first two Screams have good reviews it just some reviewers don’t know how to tell fans if the movie is good or not without spoiling some plot points.

  5. How many things as adults can make us feel like kids/teens again? I’m 24 and I’m with you 100% . . the anticipation is fun and there is not many weeks left, this won’t happen again…so embrace it! (I feel like this is my H20 of Scream, when I was 12 and H20 was out I remember thinking ..I wonder if Scream will have something like that years from now… haha)

  6. Good article!

    I agree with you that times have changed and people want to be be teased. But when I check the trailers and the stills that have been released, I just think that they have shown too much. I know that there are no major spoilers but I just din’t want to know (regarding a recent still) how someone would be killed.

  7. You said it all! What makes the wait for Scream 4 so exciting is that many of us grew up watching the films, the franchise scored our pre-adolescence in some way and now we can give details of the production (I especially love cinema and it’s my first opportunity to monitor everything from the creation of the script with Kevin’s tweets until the final mix with Wes). Even though I have seen and read some spoilers, I believe it won’t ruin my experience of seeing for the first time in theaters a Scream movie *-* It will be very exciting and nostalgic! Can’t stand the wait! I’m sure I will leave the cinema smiling and eagerly awaiting for the approval of Weinsteins for a Scream 5 :D

  8. I’m the kid that always liked Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day. In 24 days, we’ll be nostalgic for the days we didn’t know about what happened in the movie, and envy the fact the twists and turns are no longer surprises.

    It’s like sex, if I can put it so crudely. The big event is nice — but sometimes, the foreplay is where it’s at.

    In the end, we’ll have Scream 4 much longer than we’ll have the anticipation of it. So it’s a unique time. :)

  9. Agreed.

  10. Nice article!

    Times really have changed.

    Even though most of us can deduce who is going to bite it in the opening, no one from the production has ever flat-out said it.

    With SCREAM 2, I distinctly remember reading Fangoria’s Terror Teletype (Fangoria being probably the most credible horror source at the time) blatantly announcing that Jada had been cast as S2’s ‘Opening Victim’.

  11. Who’s face is in the number 4?

  12. I remember purchasing frantically every magazine about Scream 3 before its release (the first time I saw that Jenny McCarthy on the phone picture, with her haircut, I even thought it was Neve Campbell with a new hair color ;-) . But without all the Internet madness, I think it was more fun because it required you being ready almost at every minute to catch the smallest TV trailer, the smallest article in a movie mag or, if you were lucky, a blink-and-you-miss-it interview with a star or behind the scenes footage on TV.
    Now you google “Scream 4″ and in seconds you’ve got almost everything you look for (and a lot of things you don’t look for).
    It’s too much. Too easy. Too fast.

  13. That 4 is starting to grow on me.

  14. Great article! My thoughts exactly.

  15. I remember Scream 3 coming out. At 11, I had to beg someone to take me. My dad finally did, and I thought it was great. Like you, I had no real exposure to any details. And this time around I’m devouring them. Of course, I stick with scream-trilogy, because of the no spoiler policies. I want to be teased mercilessly, but not spoiled. Again, excellent job!

  16. Such a good read. I do wonder why the aforementioned, spoilery photo was released. The studio released that, right?

  17. Devin, I like what you said about being a kid again. That’s about how I’d sum it up. And to correct the above. I would have been 14 for scream 3.

  18. That’s exactly my experience as well with Scream 3.

    As with Scream 4, I still think test screening could arguably be a mistake. So much spoilers have leaked since then, especially on IMDB. If the test screening made the movie better, I guess it’s worth it… marginally.

    Comes April 15, I am sure I will enjoy the movie still. But I won’t be as surprised as I was 10 years ago. That’s for sure.

  19. I still remember watching the original Scream after my then-friend told me about a boyfriend being on the porch having “his fingers cut off or something while his girlfriend watches.” I was so excited to rent it because I had always watched scary movies, and I was only 9 at the time. I watched it with her and my grandfather. Well, grandfather wasn’t much into that so he left halfway through, but she and I watched it and I was instantly hooked! Afterwards, I chased her around the yard for what seemed like hours asking her “What’s your favorite scary movie?” with walky-talkies.

    Then, Scream 2 was semi-spoiled for me by another friend in the library of my grade school. She had seen the finale where “the bricks fall down on a woman” in regards to Mrs. Loomis’ fight with Sidney. But I still went to the movie store, rented it, and fell in love. The police car scene and Gale chase scene were terrifying! I loved it. And Cici? LOVE HER.

    Then finally, Scream 3 was announced and I waited ALL NIGHT to catch a trailer of it on my computer room’s small TV. I was online quite a bit back then, even when I used just AOL and had heard of it premiering. When I caught a glimpse, I was super excited. I went outside at midnight, called several of my friends and told them how great it was that it was coming out. No one really cared, but I did. It would be the first Scream movie I’d get to see in theaters!

    I even remember when Jenny McCarthy did some promo of it on MTV. It was snowing and she was outside talking about it briefly, and she had brown hair which contrasted the blonde she had in the movie. I had never heard of her, but I was excited to see what was in store for her character.

    So, it came out in February while I was taking acting classes in my hometown, and someone was telling me about the opening. They lied and told me they had scene it and in the opening, someone was killed by the Hollywood sign and then hung from it. How cool would that have been though? For real.

    When I actually went to go see it, it was this huge ordeal at my theater. They had painted their windows with “SCR3AM” all over it with a big knife and Ghostface front and center. My granddad went to see some Leonardo DiCaprio movie with my aunt who was visiting from Jersey, so I went alone. The theater was PACKED! They even hired some guy to walk around in a Ghostface costume. I felt like I was in the opening of Scream 2! Seating was limited, so I had to sit next to a rather large man and a couple, but I couldn’t believe that it was my first Scream movie in theaters! As soon as I saw “Dimension Films,” I was in Heaven.

    At some point during the movie, I had to go to the bathroom. Maneuvering around the heavy-set guy was an obstacle. I could see Ghost face eyeing me as I left, but I thought, “Surely, he won’t follow me.” All the way to the bathroom, I was afraid he’d pop out, but he never did. I walked back into the theater and he was no longer near the exit where he was originally planted when I left. So I turn the corner to go up the stairs and BOOM! There he is, waving a knife at me.

    I screamed and the whole theater laughed. I do scream like a girl afterall. But, he let me pass and as I was running up the stairs, he began to chase me. I kept telling the guy who sat next to me to move “Faster! Faster!” but to no avail. Finally, I jumped over his leg tripping myself out and landed in my seat just as Ghostface was “lunging” at me with his knife. My heart was racing. I was sweating. And I knew I wouldn’t get up ever again until the credits rolled and the lights were on.

    All of these memories are so vivid for me, and while to some of my friends “Scream is a just horror movie,” it holds a special place in my heart and links me to such events in my life. I used to make homemade films based on these movies and now that there’s a fourth installment, I couldn’t be happier! I can’t remember a time I didn’t know what Scream was and now, here it is again!

    The anticipation has been amazing for me being that I’m a huge fan. I wish my friends could understand why I like it so much, but I suppose it’s the same as me not getting into “Harry Potter” or “Twilight.”

    April 15th seriously can’t get here soon enough!

    And thank you for reading all that if you did. I am just super ecstatic and rarely post anything. :)

  20. Because Mathieu this is OUR “Twilight”, “Harry Potter” etc…

  21. This is true! And I love it… Also, I meant “seen it,” not “scene it” in regards to the third Scream. Guess I didn’t proof read good enough. Haha.

  22. And Devin, I just saw that you said you’re 24 also. We’re the same age! What was your first Scream experience?

  23. Mathieu, in a lot of my ways my experience was like yours. I would have been 9 or 10 when the first movie came out. I remember my sister talking about seeing it in theaters and wanting to see it. It wasnt until it came out on video that I was able to see it. I was hooked after that. I can’t explain how much I loved it, anf at the time I couldn’t even fully appreciate it.

    Scream 2 I also saw on video. It’s funny thinking back.. I remember going to the video store and seeing it available and being extremely excited. I had no idea when to expect it, and now I start looking for dvd release days as soon as it comes out in theaters. Anyhow, I was spoiled as well. A girl in class had been lucky enough to see it and flat out told me the killers were, “billys mom and some guy named Mickie.”

    With scream 3, I looked at every magazine at the grocery store hoping for some news. I talked about it all the time at school, and no one really listened. So it ended up being my dad who took me to see it. I was blown away by the reveal, and Fell in love with Jennifer Jolie instantly.

    This is how I’d say it too “I can’t remember a time I didn’t know what Scream was and now, here it is again!”

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