For Our Consideration: Wes Craven’s Scream opens with a self-contained master class in horror

Like the blood staining Lady MacBeth’s hands, Scream‘s influence has permanently imbrued American horror. The last 30 years can be neatly split into the pre-Scream and the post-Scream age. Before Scream, slashers slashed, killers killed, pretty young things ran up the stairs when they should have been going out the front door. Boobs were big and blood was red. You knew who would die, who would live, who would end up naked. There was a formula, a very simple one. After Scream, the rules changed. Now people knew the rules. Now the pretty young things picked up the knife before investigating the strange noise in the darkened hallway. They were going to die regardless—it’s their sole purpose, really—but at least they displayed a modicum of intelligence.

With the unparalleled success of A Nightmare On Elm Street, former English professor, one-time pornography director, and …

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