The 1996 film was credited with breathing new life into the horror genre and went on to spawn sequels Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000) and Scream 4 (2011).
After the recent announcement that Neve Campbell will be reprising her role as Sidney Prescott for Scream 5 (due out in 2022), we thought we’d take a walk down memory lane and dig up some little-known facts about the film that kicked off the franchise.
Here’s what you never knew about Scream.
Why was Drew Barrymore’s character killed off so early?
Drew Barrymore was originally cast as Sidney Prescott, but she had to drop out of playing the lead role due to other commitments.
Instead, Barrymore asked to play the smaller role of Casey Becker.
Barrymore was a huge star at the time and she featured heavily in the film’s advertising campaign, hence why audiences were shocked when her character was killed off so early in the film.
“In the horror film genre, my biggest pet peeve was that I always knew the main character was going to be slugging through at the end, but was going to creak by and make it,” Barrymore said on Hot Ones. “What I wanted to do is to take that comfort zone away.
“I asked if I could be Casey Becker so that we would establish this rule does not apply in this film.”
How director made Drew Barrymore cry
Drew Barrymore was adamant that she didn’t want to fake her tears in Scream, so she and director, the late Wes Craven, came up with a sneaky trick.
“He and I had this secret story,” Barrymore told Entertainment Weekly. “We would just talk about it every time cause it just made me cry every time I thought about it.”
So what was the story?
Wes Craven explained: “Drew Barrymore told me a story of a boy who tortured his, I think it was his dog, with a lighter and it set it on fire and she burst into tears. And being the exploitative bastard that I am as a director, I said, ‘Do you mind if we use that?’ So every time on the set if I wanted her to cry, I’d say ‘the boy has the lighter’ or something like that, and she’d burst into tears and be just frantic.”
The police were not impressed
Drew Barrymore accidentally ended up calling 911 several times during her character’s harrowing murder scene.
In the 2011 documentary Still screaming (as reported by Digital Spy), prop master JP Jones recalled how he forgot to unplug the phone on set.
“(Drew) starts dialling 911, screaming, hanging up, 911, screaming, hanging up,” Jones said. “We’re in the middle of a take, and the phone starts ringing, and we’re like, ‘What’s going on? Why is the phone ringing?’ And it’s the police asking what the hell we’re doing, and why do we keep calling them?”
The voice of ghostface
The man who voiced Ghostface, Roger L. Jackson, was banned from meeting the cast during filming.
He explained to Vice: “They wanted to keep me away so the other actors didn’t have a visual image to associate with this weird voice they were hearing.”
During his scenes, Jackson was “hidden somewhere nearby” the set which is where he would deliver his lines from.
“They all knew I was watching them,” Jackson said. “When you see the scene where Drew Barrymore gets murdered, picture the room. The boyfriend is tied up outside the French windows and there’s windows either side of that room too, right? I was outside one of those windows, crouching in the shadows and taking shelter under a canopy because it was raining outside. I was watching Drew through the window while I was on this cell phone that was completely mic’d up. It was a live conversation.
“My view was what the killer’s would have been,” Jackson told Vice. “It was genius.
Rise McGowan almost lost her role
Rose McGowan played the role of Sidney’s best friend, Tatum Riley. But the actress almost lost her role when her representative started playing hardball with the movie studio.
“I auditioned for it and then they made me an offer, and then they got so pissed off with what my lawyer, who was way too aggressive, countered with,” McGowan told Entertainment Weekly.
“They pulled their offer and made me come back in and retest twice and didn’t give me a cent over what their original offer was for because they were so pissed off at my lawyer.”
Director Wes Craven had a small cameo in Scream as the high school janitor. In the scene he was wearing a grey Fedora and a red and green striped jumper in a not-so-subtle tribute to Freddy Krueger from Nightmare On Elm Street, which Craven both wrote and directed.
Another member of horror film royalty had a cameo in Scream.
Linda Blair, best known playing the possessed child, Regan, in The Exorcist, appeared in the film briefly as a reporter.