Warning: this column contains spoilers for Scream 1 through 3.
On the verge of the release of the latest Scream film, I find myself surrounded by dark clouds and troubled by the ominous rumble of an approaching storm. I’m not talking about the weather, which is nerd-charringly sunny at the minute. I’m referring to my miserable mental state.
Most horror geeks I know are cautiously optimistic about Scream 4. Apparently, they’re just pleased to see the franchise returning after so long away.
However, for those of us who consider the killers in slasher flicks to be inspirational figures, the films play out like heartbreaking dramas, where someone like Sandra Bullock gets a terminal disease and spends her last few months of life bravely fighting her sickness, while helping all of her loved ones come to terms with her impending death, before eventually slipping away into a peaceful, eternal sleep.
When I wander into the cinema screen with a bucket of popcorn in my hand and a knot the size of walrus’ scrotum in my stomach, I’ll be asking myself the same question I ask myself before I watch every Scream film: just how is the killer going to fuck it up this time?
Now, before some of you suggest that I’m being negative, I’ll start by saying that I’m just steeling myself for what will inevitably be a huge disappointment. These serial killer films are all the same. They show you all of this great footage in the trailer of the killer getting on really well, only for the film to actually turn out to be one hundred minutes of anti-maniac propaganda. It’s not that I expect them to paint the villains of the piece in a positive light. Rather, I just want them to not be depicted as masked bumbling failuroids.
Now, I’m not a horror movie style rampaging killer, but if I was, my killing spree would put the ones depicted in the Scream movies to shame.
Here are seven things that would make my slaughterpalooza better…
Not being a pansy
This isn’t going to be a point about how awesome I am at being a hardcore badass. The editors of this site have made it quite clear that they’re not willing to publish my articles about that, no matter how many shirtless pictures of myself I include.
Instead, I’d like to draw your attention to the way that the killers in Scream get manhandled and overpowered by the undersized teenage girls they’re attacking in practically every other scene. Honestly, it’s remarkable just how physically weak these people must be. There are a few victims I’ve seen in this franchise that look like they’d struggle to lift a sandwich, but apparently, they can beat the shit out of a homicidal maniac without breaking a sweat.
Much like professional football or Internet columning, serial killing is a results-based business and the killers in the Scream franchise simply aren’t getting the results. It’s taken a grand total of five killers across three films to not kill Neve Campbell. She must weigh, what, maybe a hundred pounds? If I met her I’d be afraid of killing her by accident.
“…and so I said to Simon, if the Michael Jackson fans don’t like it they can go…”
“What? I’m gifting some words to someone. What do you want?”
“You’re leaning on Neve Campbell.”
“I am? Shit, I am. She’s dead, I’ve squashed her. Damn it. Can someone get me a paper towel or a dishcloth or something? I’ve just got Neve Campbell on my shirt and, ugh, what a mess. Nobody could’ve told me earlier?”
Preparing for the possibility that I might be a pansy
Having watched the Scream films, I’m now aware of the possibility that severely underweight teenage girls can be surprisingly strong. Therefore, I will not base my murderous schemes on the idea that I can just overpower them. I will have to outsmart them, which, based on these films, will not be particularly difficult.
I will not grapple with them, I will not attempt to outbox them and I will not jump out at them with nothing but a theatrically impressive but entirely impractical hunting knife.
Perhaps due to a lapse in concentration, or maybe because my murder planning might prove to be as skilled as my column researching, I could find myself engaged in hand-to-hand combat with a potential victim who is half my size. In this situation, I’m well prepared and armed, and they’re not.
If I find myself struggling and picking up injuries that could potentially identify me as a person of interest to the police, I will be sure to factor this into my future plans. You know, I would apply what I had learned as I went along.
I have a theory that going on a killing spree in a Scream film is a lot like spending a day at theme park. You spend more time waiting than you do on the rides/swinging your knife. You have to dress up in novelty bullshit. You’re surrounded by people you’d very much like to stab to death. After you’ve eaten, you shouldn’t rush back into action, or you’re going to end up sick. In both situations, it’s helpful to remember where you’ve parked.
As such, I think it would be wise to plan your killing spree in the same way that you would plan a trip to Disney World, and I don’t mean packing sandwiches and staying away from that rascal, Tigger.
You make a list of the things you want to do and you do them in the order you want to do them. You never know when the day is going to get rained off or when a ride is going to get closed down because some overly exuberant thought void has stood up mid loop-the-loop and been deservedly decapitated. So, you have to prioritise.
Very simply, kill your main target first. That way, if it all does go to shit, at least the person you most wanted to kill is already dead. If you do get caught as the killer in a Scream film, you’re likely to die a very painful and very stabby death. At least this way you can die at the hands of a fringe character, knowing you’ve had maximum impact on the franchise.
Efficiency over showmanship
There is no need to be so theatrical. Seriously, these guys put a hell of a lot of effort into setting up a frightening performance for an audience of one soon to be dead person. What are they hoping for, good reviews?
Dead people don’t write reviews, as several PR departments have previously warned me.
Perhaps if the Scream killers spent little less time thinking up creepy catchphrases to say on the phone and a little more time stocking up on large guns, I wouldn’t be writing this column.
Dressing for the occasion
I wouldn’t wear a costume that people associate with being murdered. Seriously, if you saw someone in the full Ghostface outfit, it would definitely arouse your suspicions that you were about to be attacked to death by an overly enthusiastic horror movie fan.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’d probably go for something a little less noticeable, which given that everyone in the world has seen Scream, could probably include several outfits taken directly from Lady Gaga’s wardrobe. How did I get these outfits? I may or may not have taken her out as my first and most important victim.
Also, at least in the first film, the killer often just mills about, in costume, near his future victims. This raises a lot of questions, none more valid than ‘what?’
Entirely unnecessary and packed full of pointless risk, this is the Lindsay Lohan of Scream murderer mistakes.
I don’t watch the news very often because it harms my ability to be entirely disconnected from reality. However, I do have the Crime and Investigation network, and so, if a cinema-style murder has managed to somehow occur in the real world, I’ll often get to see a documentary about it (usually one with multiple reconstructions and some very sinister music).
In the real world, sometimes the killer gets caught and sometimes the killer gets away. More importantly, in the real world, the killer tends to pick somewhere private to commit the dastardly act.
Simply worded, most killers do not commit their crimes in crowded places, like, say, at a party (Scream) or at a another party (Scream 3). In fact, in both of those instances, the parties were thrown by the killers themselves. Simple laziness, tricking your victims to coming to you, or dreadful planning leading to excessive potential witnesses?
And bearing in mind that what these people will most likely be witnessing you getting beaten up by your pint-sized girlfriend, while you’re dressed in a ridiculous costume and are still anxious about killing all of your top targets, this is an appalling idea.
If I were to Scream-spree, I’d catch my victims on their own, when they least expect. But I might try out a few jokes on them first, to see if they’re good enough for my next column.
Some people might argue that my method of capturing and torturing someone might be more suited for a Saw film, but those people would find themselves becoming priorities on my ‘to do’ list.
Giving Matthew Lillard an appropriate amount of credit
I would make the reason for my killings more to do with Matthew Lillard, whose character was clearly the better and more interesting killer from Scream, despite the fact that the rest of the series seems to be little more than a two film ploy to make us forget he was even in the first one. Matthew Lillard is awesome.