By: Nikki Schrumpf
First off I may want to warn you that if you have never seen the movie Scream and don’t want the plot ruined then do not read this post. Scream is a movie about a serial killer known as Ghostface, who kills off the friends of the main character Sydney Prescott. The movie starts off by Ghostface murdering two students in Sydney’s group of friends. After that the killer comes for Sydney but she successfully escapes. Due to the murders, the town decides to close school and Sydney’s friends decide to throw a party. At this party the characters contemplate the “rules” of horror films realizing that they are in a real life version of one. At the end, Sydney finds out that the murderers are her boyfriend, Billy, and his best friend, Stu, and kills them both in a struggle to save her own life. Throughout the entire movie the writers attempt to mimic the basic idea of a horror movie by containing many details that are included in all horror stories; the victim runs upstairs when being chased by the killer and after the monster or killer is killed he comes back for one last scare.
Watching the movie Scream, I have realized that it has many ideas relate to themes found in Jerome Cohen’s writing, “Monster Culture”. Cohen comes up with seven general ideas that pertain to all horror stories, which he refers to as his Seven Monster Theses. For example three of his theories that I found strongly relatable to Scream were, “the monster polices the border of the possible,” (Cohen 12) “fear of the monster is a kind of desire,” (16) and “the monster always escapes.”(4) I first realized its relation to Cohen’s theories in the scene where the character, Randy, lists the rules of a horror movie. He says the characters can never have sex, drink or do drugs. Randy generalizes his “rules” similarly to the way Cohen does. Instead of mentioning specifics they both list off general “givens” found in any scary story. I also believe that Randy’s rules relate to the theory, “the monster polices the border of the possible,” explaining that when people cross the line of right and wrong the monster will be there to get you. In Scream that line is defined as having pre-marital sex or participating in illegal activities, such as drinking or drugs. The movie also relates to the theory, “fear of the monster is a kind of desire.” This means that each character that comes in contact with the monster has an underlying fascinating with the monster, sometimes giving the monster its chance to get closer and attack. The characters in the story represent this very well by being more fascinated with the murderer than really afraid of it. News casts follow the killer hoping to make a story out of it, students put on the mask to make jokes about it and they all throw a party showing scary movies when the get off from school because of the murders. While Ghostface is out attacking their friends everyone is acting as if they are watching a scary movie waiting to see what this monster does next, instead of fearing that they may the next victim. Another theory the movie follows is that “the monster always escapes.” Although both murderers in the first movie die or get caught, the writers of the film make the creative choice to make them wear a mask so that the monster can become whoever wears the mask and not the specific person behind it. This allows the monster to be immortal and last long enough to make a series of 4 excellent movies.