Among being a story about many things, the Scream trilogy was about growing up. Through the eyes of Sidney Prescott and others we experienced the insular world of high school, then the wider canvas of college, and finally the vast expanse of the real world. By the time Scream 4 rolled around, it wasn’t about locations anymore but the nature of time. The things that happen when a large passage of time passes and the world moves on.
But what happens to Scream fans when we get older? I can only vouch for myself…
You don’t even have to watch the movies anymore
When I was young, I shelled out to watch Scream in the theaters an incredible amount of times. Then I paid the $100 videostore buyers price for an original copy on VHS (because this was pre-DVD, before there was a mass retail market for owning movies, at least in my region). Lower-price video copies, typically in smaller clamshells, would typically be released after a 6 month rental window, but I didn’t want to wait. I watched that movie over and over – later the sequels, too. In my mind that was the most I could do to closer understand these films and enjoy them on deeper levels.
As I got into my 20s and time became more precious, watching movies became a luxury. A luxury I’d rather spend watching new movies instead of re-watching old ones. Movies you haven’t seen before provides the brain with new information and keeps it engaged. Which is why some of us get our knickers in a knot over remakes – they’re selling us movies we’ve already seen, just repackaged. “Scream never gets boring no matter how many times I watch it!” someone out there might say – congrats. We all have movies that are comfortable to watch when we don’t want to think too hard, but like listening to a song on an endless loop, there will eventually be an oversaturation point where your brain knows it so well it’s not taking anything in anymore, just reciting the words and actions on autopilot.
While Scream 4 probably has a few more kernels in the popcorn maker for me, there is probably no need for me to ever watch the trilogy again. That is, unless someone else wants to watch them. That’s the loophole, my friends – you temporarily regain the ability to watch them through virgin eyes.
You cheered on the original trio for surviving Scream 4
Giving Randy the chop in Scream 2 was a ballsy move. The backlash still lingers to this day! The creators certainly felt it, because the original trio of Sidney, Dewey and Gale have been given virtual immunity ever since. Which is sort of misguided, because it wasn’t that they killed an original survivor that pissed people off – they just killed the wrong one. Randy represented horror fans like you and me. He was also the mouthpiece of the self-referentialism that allowed the other characters to stay grounded. None of the other three necessarily need to live forever – any of them getting the chop would have numerous possibilities for pushing the story forward. Something that needs to happen.
Why was I so happy the fresh teenage faces of Scream 4 were viciously taken off the table, with the older faces left battered but stronger than where they started? Because Randy isn’t me anymore, nor anyone my age. Sidney, Dewey, Gale, they’re the characters I identify with now. They endure trials and tribulations both domestic and extraordinary. They don’t have pop culture points to prove, they just want to keep going another day.
Hooray for the oldies!
You don’t actively collect Scream merchandise anymore
I used to have a massive amount of Scream stuff. Masks, costumes, posters, videos, you name it. I even had, at one point, an entire corner of a room devoted to displaying the stuff. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but I’ve had to move house several times, sometimes into smaller places than the last. My merchandise moved into boxes that could be packed away so I could at least hold onto everything… until the boxes themselves had nowhere to go. Then most of the mass market merchandise like DVD boxsets went on Ebay or, sadly, in the garbage. You might expect me to mention that it they were hard decisions to make, but they weren’t – because there’s no use having so much things if you don’t actually have a roof over your head to house them in. Or house yourself! Bless those with disposable incomes that can keep growing their collections forever. But families, insurance, mortgages, etc. – the realities of adult life can be ones of priority.
I haven’t junked everything. For instance, I still have my Wes Craven-signed original soundtrack CD I won in a contest by mailing in 200 entries in my youth. And I still have my Funworld-signed #1 Zombie Ghostface Scream 4 Production Run w/LOA. For now. I’m not quite sure where I can store that, either. My point is, many younger fans (my prior self included) measure their Scream fandom in how much collectibles they own. Perhaps to them I am probably not even a Scream fan anymore, considering how little physical Scream things I own at this stage? But no mistake, “physical” is a key word here – the memories of these movies and the interactions I’ve had with fans through this website are much more valuable to me. I don’t know what happens once we depart this world, but… I do know you can’t take your screen-used Fantastic Faces with you.
You’re fine that there might never be a Scream 5
This is one I have trouble with. Scream 4 broke the sanctity of the original trilogy by presenting an orphan chapter that has not yet ushered in a second trilogy. So the obsessive completist in me wants a Scream 5 and Scream 6, even if they’re terrible. I acknowledge that part of myself. But the reasonable mind realizes as we get older that people and things come and go. People and things die. Nothing lasts forever the way it feels like it will when you’re young. And that might sound incredibly sad and cynical but it’s not – there’s a warm confidence in being there to see something through to the end. I was there in the beginning of Scream and if Scream 4 is the end, I was there too.
Scream is a very small part of my life, but an important one – one that doesn’t require new movies to sustain. Running Scream-Trilogy is something I do regardless of any new sequels. I’ve committed to sit down and write about Scream as long as the time exists. Even if I don’t particularly feel like it, I’ll do it and happily so because I gain stronger self-discipline and hopefully improved writing skills, but certainly enjoyment out of getting to know my readers. So to me, a world without Scream 5 isn’t the end of the world.
Damn… the younger-me would gut me just for typing that. Onward!