The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There’s a killer in their midst who’s seen a few too many scary movies. Suddenly nobody is safe, as the psychopath stalks victims, taunts them with trivia questions, then rips them to bloody shreds. It could be anybody…

Nerd Corner:

The slasher film (sometimes referred to as bodycount films and dead teenager movies) is a sub-genre of horror film typically involving a psychopathic killer (sometimes wearing a mask) who stalks and graphically murders a series of adolescent victims in a typically random, unprovoked fashion, killing many within a single day. (Thank you Horror Film Wiki!)

Classical Period: 1974-end of the 80s

Postmodern Period: 90s

Neoslashers: 2000s

What was happening in the 80s: Reaganism, Pop Culture sex icons, AIDS emerges (homophobia, panic, sexphobia, etc.) 

Slasher movies -> pre-marital sex is a transgression punishable by death, maintaining social order and reinforcing societal norms through punishing instances of behavior that runs counter to conservative ideals


Carol J. Clover- Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film

Slasher has six elements: killer, final girl, weapon, location, victims, shock

What is a Final Girl?

“She is the one who encounters the mutilated bodies of her friends and perceives the full extent of the preceding horror and of her own peril; who is chased, corner, wounded; whom we see scream, stagger, fall, rise, and scream again. She is abject terror personified. If her friends knew they were about to die only seconds before the event, the Final Girl lives with the knowledge for long minutes or hours. She alone looks death in the face, but she alone also finds the strength either to stay the killer long enough to be rescued or to kill him herself. But in either case, from 1974 on, the survivor figure has been female.” (Clover, pg. 35) 


People got hella bored with the same equation/same type of movie over and over -> postmodern slashers



Postmodern horror -> meta and wryly intertextual 

Either New Nightmare or Scream is first film really kicking off the Postmodern slasher period 


The Scream films had an ingenious means of setting themselves apart from other slashers of the time; instead of playing themselves as straight-up horror films, they also served as dark, postmodern “meta” parodies of the slasher genre. The killers all deliberately invoked slasher movie clichés while their targets tried to survive by attempting to guess which horror movie tropes the killers would invoke next — a move that just as often got them killed as it did save them. The series was awash in Conversational Troping, as twenty years’ worth of horror movie tropes got name-dropped, mocked, and then invoked anyway. To a generation that had grown up viewing slasher films as trite and cliched following the genre’s burnout at the end of The ’80s, Scream served as a breath of fresh air….Scream wholeheartedly lampshaded and deconstructed a large number of tropes — one of the first major, mainstream films to do so since Airplane! — while also remaining grounded in reality and exploring a whole new genre. (

Kate Notes:

The new genre of horror that surpasses the previous one of simplistic scares. This genre messes with the idea that what you think is natural is the expected and in metahorror, expect the unexpected. (UrbanDictionary)


Coined by professor and writer Carol J Clover, the expression “Final Girl” is used to describe the last woman left alive in a horror film that has survived by following the horror rules outlined in Scream. Unlike the majority of similar films where the damsel in distress is often a passive, timid female who manages to survive due to sheer luck rather than her smarts, Scream positioned Prescott as a kick ass, inherently confident woman who flexed her wits to take on Ghostface. This was a huge change from most slashers and gave fans a new heroine to root for. (BluntMag)


Among the best elements of “Scream” is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a dark comedy, rife with humor and fantastic irony, garnering just as many laughs as it does screams. Despite all the jumpscares, the violent twist ending and the intense blood and gore on screen, it still manages to be comedic — and that’s what keeps people watching it again and again. It’s a favorite for many because you go in expecting terror, but you’re always pleasantly surprised by the level of wit that Wes Craven weaves into the movie. It brilliantly revitalized the dying horror genre in the 90’s and set a new bar for scary movies to come. (HuntNewsNu)


But fanboys sneered, bothered that their favourite genre had been tarnished by what they saw as mainstream gloss. Scream was horror without the grunge, its fashion cribbed from the pages of Seventeen Magazine, its theatrical poster made up of headshots of attractive young stars imported from TV. If The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the genre’s strung-out rebel smoking cigarettes behind the gym, Scream is its prom queen. And there’s nothing irreverent or anarchist about the prom queen. Or so you’d think.

There’s something deeper to Scream’s sour reputation among horror fans, in comparison to much of its slasher ancestry. Unlike the movies often worshipped by gorehounds, Scream occupies a uniquely female space. It’s as much a film about Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott discovering the strength she needs to take down a merciless killer as it is a film about her personal growth as a survivor – in every sense of the word. (LWL)


Despite the infamy of Scream’s killer, a flailing, accident-prone ghoul in an Edvard Munch mask, director Craven never fetishises his carnage. There’s gore, naturally, but while something like Drew Barrymore’s iconic opening death scene is correctly remembered as an agonisingly tense first act, it is also a set piece that’s quite startling in its humanity.

While being pursued, Casey gets so close to calling out to her nearby parents, but finds herself unable as a result of her injuries. The sheer horror on their faces as they’re subsequently forced to hear their daughter’s last breaths over the phone are heartbreaking. Barely 15 minutes in and Scream has a sense of weight, driving home that these are in fact young kids being horribly killed, rather than mere cannon fodder. (LWL)

Deconstructions vs meta?


The importance of Scream in revitalizing the genre?


Can something be self aware while still falling into the “traps”?


The popcorn and the increasing intensity/tension

There are so many ding dang doors in that house 


The Commandments 

The reporter at the school who is like “they were involved in Satanic rituals” and I’m like, ah, a nod to the Satanic Panic. 

Tatum knows how to clock the dick LOL

The power of a good denim jacket. 

Climbing fences is good for the soul 

Legs are your friend. Never skip leg day. She fought that asshole off several times with leg strength alone. 


Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults

Combat pragmatist

Death by sex- subverted

Final Girl- reconstructed

Not quite dead- lampshaded

Audible Sharpness

The Commandments- one of the iconic elements of this movie

Five second foreshadowing


Genre relaunch

Genre savvy

Morton’s fork


Thrown phones

Works Cited:

Handke, Tobias. (2020, October 1).How ‘Scream’ changed the rules of horror. BluntMag.


Petridis, Sotiris. A Historical Approach to the Slasher Film. Film International 12(1), 2014


White, Adam. (2016, December 20). How Scream became the prom queen of slasher horror. Little White Lies.


History : A Timeline of HIV and AIDS.