A Message from Blood Born Magazine Writer/Editor J.C. Walsh:
“When we decided to bring Blood Born back to the bloody world of Horror it was September of 2015. One of the first things we thought of was that we needed more writers. So I reached out to one of my best friends, knowing damn well what he was capable of and the different style he could bring. That came from a history of Horror binging, our own ideas and what we would love to see in the future of the Horror genre. So I asked him to do a review, something a little different to add to the Mag. Horror television shows have become a huge thing these days and with the sad passing of Wes Craven, it didn’t hurt to dissect the Scream Series, season 1. He sent me the final draft sometime in October, and with things being as they were in my busy life I couldn’t get out in time. Now Editing it I couldn’t change anything he written so I left it the way it was with a few minor changes. If you have not seen season 1, please be aware, spoiler alert!!! So please sit back, relax, enjoy!”
Dan Martin is the bastard son of a hundred maniacs. Which is to say that he grew up in the cinema. “Nightmare on Elmstreet 3” was the first film he can recall seeing in the theater. 1987 on his seventh birthday. “No one but my childhood bully showed up to my party. So we went to see a movie I picked. He peed himself.” The following year was “Child’s Play” and thus a creative mind was unfolding and a tradition born. The horror genre would lead him to comedies and expose him to the culture of cinema. Presently Dan is a stand up comedian and has been featured in horror shorts such as “They Stole The Pope’s Blood” and podcasts like “It Came From Another Podcast!”
Hey there Horror fans, it’s my favorite time of the year… Halloween Season! And if you are like me, you are cramming Horror movies and TV shows into your face holes whenever your wife is out of the house. And thankfully Horror and all of it’s sub genres have saturated modern media. Again, if you are like me Zombies were your favorite thing ever until they started putting them in everything like Avocado at a sandwich shop. So what better way to enjoy the macabre than to revitalize a franchise that played with the tropes of scary movies, sent up the Slasher Genre and made us all laugh and cringe at the same time. I’m talking of course about Scream!
The Scream Franchise has made the jump from the silver screen to the boob tube, via MTV of all outlets. This fall the streaming Gods have smiled upon me and I discovered the original four films and the whole first season of the new show on Netflix and Hulu respectively. Since having run out of new episodes of comic book shows to watch and morbid curiosity I dove in. I hadn’t watched a Scream flick in years but I remember seeing the first film in high school, in the living room of Blood Born’s own J.C. Walsh. On VHS no less. (We saw the subsequent sequels in theaters.) We all jumped at the porch scene in the beginning, laughed our butts off at lines like “liver alone” and even marveled at borderline spoofs like, “I’ll be right back!” It was scary, funny and had more twists than Rainbow Road, for my Mario Kart fans. I digress, back to the blood bath. And a blood bath it is.
As fans of any specific genre or franchise will do, there have been complaints. Especially if it’s a remake or even a dreaded reimagining. I mean let’s face it, Hollywood has run out of original thoughts and theaters are a graveyard of half baked ideas. Television in both forms, be it television proper or straight to streaming, have seen a surge of films being expanded into a series format. Shows like From Dusk to Dawn and Fargo come to mind. One of the biggest fault finding missions with Scream seemed to be, “How will they make an hour and a half movie into a ten hour series?” The contention being that the typical four act formula would not work with the time frame. Coupled with the obvious problem of stretching out a contained story. A debate addressed and expertly squashed in the pilot. In true Scream fashion the series captures the spirit of the first film and runs with it. It doesn’t pick up after the fourth film or even follow the same characters. Viewers are treated to a tense opening scene complete with a phone call from the killer and a gruesome death. After which we are whisked away to a classic Scream style High School backdrop and into a literature classroom in which they are discussing of all things the gothic genre as it pertains to modern Television. The first mention of this being The Walking Dead. The story for the show comes from the source himself, Kevin Williamson and was produced by the now late and great Wes Craven. So we are essentially playing in the same sandbox as the original films. Except now our rule set will be supplemented by modern Horror television as opposed to films. The Gothic genre as it is referred to in the episode. An update to the original approach of poking holes in the fourth wall whenever they can. One student in the classroom quips, “Zombies aren’t literature.” And another counters with genre nods such as the king of the undead George Romero, whose ghoulies are the original inspiration behind the roamers created by Robert Kirkman.
The ultimate nod at the fan’s grievances being a student in the classroom debating that one could never do a slasher film as a television series, claiming that the story of a slasher burns bright and fast and TV needs to stretch things out. During his explanation we get to watch the Horror unfold in a voiced over scene brilliantly paced I might add of our opening victim being discovered as we smash to the next day in school with our students or as we now know them, our potential future victims reading about the murder on their cell phones. In fact technology plays a big role in the show as one would imagine. Though this time we go way past voice modulation. Adding a new element of modern terror, the internet. With the show being set in modern day twenty-fifteen, the updated masked maniac has access to global tracking, social media and computer hacking. With an updated voice modulator our new favorite psycho could not only be anyone but can actually be anyone electronically. The mask has now become metaphysical and that much scarier.
For our purists hoping to click on the show for the iconic Ghostface will be disappointed to find that they in fact changed the look of the mask. Though like any great murder mystery the appropriate cast of stock characters are there. The reporter character has been updated to a podcaster, and our genre expert works at a comic book store as opposed to a video store. Lord, remember those?
Everyone is there including a new approach to the origin of the mask on our new killer.
That said we have come to one of the biggest gripes of all among genre purists. “Scream, is not a horror movie.” Some will argue that it is a thriller. Some say it’s a dark comedy. I say it takes the classic who done it and melds it well with overblown drama and the splashy kills of a slasher film. The way that they handled the mythos of the killer made it a Horror. It gave the audience a face to fear. A creature of sorts. The mask. Though unlike most slashers and creature movies this was a mask, it could be worn by anyone.
You can’t trust anybody. Instead of knowing exactly who it was that was tormented and driven to donning a crusty face covering they used misdirection and storytelling to build up to a series of killers. This made the character pool much more fun to play in for both the writers and the audience, which I feel is deserving of a prime time TV show. What’s better than a slasher story with a fresh trough of victims every season? As well as a whole new line up of suspects every week. Anyone left alive is a suspect and in that way they have perfectly captured the spirit of the original franchise. Guilty until proven dead. Sub categorize as you may though to me It is a thriller, a dark comedy and a slasher all cozied up under the bloody blanket of The Horror genre.
So as you may have discerned by now, Scream the TV show falls under the banner of reimagining or reboot. Or as some more hesitant enthusiast may call it, a rehash. Which isn’t as terrible as it would sound. Wes Craven always seemed to have a knack for small town secrets. The types of secrets that comprised the lore of one Mr Freddy Krueger. Craven seemed to have a propensity for the mistakes of parents haunting their children. He also loved playing with the veil between the audience and the film, blurring dreams and reality. And thank heavens for films like New Nightmare. On the other end of this double edged sword is Kevin Williamson. The original writer from the film franchise and as we already know Kevin has a knack for teen drama. Lest we forget the horror that was Dawson’s Creek. Williamson penned a few of the zany, tongue in cheek teen driven thrillers of the nineties. Films like The Faculty, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Teaching Mrs. Tingle. Heck, Scream three may have been better if he’d written the script but that’s another blog entirely. Though these may not be the genre staples that Scream has become he has the ability to create characters we can both relate to and want to see die all at once. All the while everyone is suspect and no one is safe from the taboo secrets that haunt every character in some fashion. Craven and Williamson had a talent for taking the thriller genre and injecting it with the chills and spills of a slasher.
Don’t just take my word for it. MTV picked the show up for season two and you can stream the entire first season on HULU. The release date for season two has yet to be announced but you still have time to get caught up. If you were a fan of the original film like I am just breathe and remember it’s a new universe but one constant remains, the spirit of Scream is alive. I can’t say the same for the residents of Lakewood.
SEASON 2 WILL BE AIRING MAY 30TH, 2016