The Ultimate Scream Collection includes SCREAM: After a series of mysterious deaths, a seemingly peaceful community becomes a place where no one is safe . . . and everyone is suspect! SCREAM 2: Away at college, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell -- SCREAM, 54) thought she'd finally put the shocking murders that shattered her life behind her . . . until a copycat killer begins acting out a real-life sequel! SCREAM 3: While Sidney Prescott (Campbell) lives in safely guarded seclusion, bodies begin dropping around the Hollywood set of STAB 3, the latest movie sequel based on the gruesome Woodsboro killings!
When Randy the video geek rattles off the rules of surviving a horror movie in Wes Craven's Scream
, he speaks for a generation of filmgoers who are all too aware of slasher movie clichés. Playfully scripted by Kevin Williamson with a self-aware wink and more than a few nods to its grandfathers (from Psycho
to the Friday the 13th
skewers teen horror conventions with loving reverence while re-creating them in a modern, movie-savvy context. And so goes the series, which continues the satirical spoofing by tackling (what else?) sequels while sustaining its own self-contained mythology. Catty reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) turns grisly murders into lurid bestsellers, a cult of killer wannabes continues to hunt spunky psycho-survivor Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) for their 15 minutes of fame, and a cheesy movie series (Stab
) develops within the movie series.
Scream remains the high point of the series--a fresh take on a genre long since collapsed into routine, but Scream 2 spoofs itself with witty humor ("Why would anyone want to do that? Sequels suck!" opines college film student Randy), and delights with more elaborate set pieces and all-new rules for surviving a horror movie sequel. The endangered veterans of the original film reunite one last time for Scream 3, which plays out on the movie set of Stab 3. (It's a trilogy within a trilogy!) With Williamson gone, replacement screenwriter Ehran Kruger tries to mine the formula one more time. It's a little tired by now, and pale imitations (Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summer) have further drained the zeitgeist, but the film bubbles with bright humor, and director Craven is stylistically at the top of his game. As a trilogy, it remains both the most consistently entertaining and self-aware horror series ever made. --Sean Axmaker