Does ‘Scream 5”s terrifying trailer unmask Ghostface?
In 1996, the horror movie genre was beginning to stale. After nearly twenty years of franchises like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, audiences started to get bored with the same old stories & tropes the slasher films offered. That was when Wes Craven, creator of the A Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, developed a brilliant idea.
He created a film idea where the cast of characters was among this group of film watchers aware of the scary movie tropes and would use the tired idea to survive the killings of the villain, Ghostface. The concept proved revolutionary and caused the film to be a massive success. Fast forward to twenty-five years later, and the fifth installment has just dropped its trailer for us to feast our eyes upon.
The beginning of Ghostface
Released on December 20th, 1996, Scream used a screenplay written by Kevin Williamson and introduced Ghostface to the masses. The iconic killer dresses in a black robe with a mask resembling a screaming ghost, hence the name. Since all slashers have a weapon of choice (Freddy’s claws, Jason’s machete, Leatherface’s chainsaw, etc.), Ghostface elects to use a large knife in all but one of his killings in the original movie.
The movie was critically acclaimed and became the highest-grossing slasher film of all time. While Craven intended to take the genre’s tropes that he helped create and develop a satirical representation, the added humor to the slasher film proved precisely what audiences were craving.
Another unique quality of the film is that the disguise worn by the killer isn’t rare. Multiple people wear it in the movie as a Halloween costume. One could think that seeing it everywhere would lessen the fright caused by it — the opposite ended up being true as around every corner was a possible killer.
Ghostface’s method of operation also differs from the others in multiple ways. Not only does he move like a natural person (other slashers seemed to have slow, methodical walks even when chasing victims), he also would often call his victims to taunt them before killing them. Most famously, Drew Barrymore’s opening death and the question, “What’s your favorite scary movie?”
Who has worn the mask?
Like any good slasher film, the killer’s identity remains a mystery until the end of the movie. The intrigue surrounding the identity adds to the audience’s suspense and sets up a masterful reveal. The exact process is used in every episode of Scooby-Doo as well.
Scream was no different in the numerous unveilings of Ghostface. On the eve of the murder of the film’s main protagonist Sidney Prescott’s (Neve Campbell) mother, Ghostface terrorizes the town of Woodsboro. Prescott seems to be the target as nearly everyone killed is connected to her in some way.
By the end of the film, the killer is revealed to be Billy Loomis, the son of a man who was having an illicit affair with Prescott’s mother, causing his own mother to abandon him. Suspicion had fallen on him multiple times throughout the film, but by recruiting one of his friends to assist him in the killings, he was able to avoid detection.
As the original Ghostface died at the end of the first movie, Craven and the writers had a choice to make. They could recreate the same movie trope used over and over by the genre and resurrect the antagonist, or they could go a new direction and have someone else adopt the mantle. Scream 2 puts the original killer’s mother under the mask, seeking revenge for her son’s death.
The trailer for the newest installment has dropped and promises a return to form for the franchise. The original two films gained critical acclaim, while the third & fourth installments began to suffer from the very tropes they were showcasing and shedding in the first two.
The trailer shows multiple things that create intrigue. The first is the almost scene-by-scene recreation of the iconic Drew Barrymore murder to open the first. Although updated with new technology, it seems to be a throwback to the franchise’s origins. They have brought back the original trinity in Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette to support that feeling.
Who could be behind the mask will ultimately be answered only in the theaters at the end of the film. Until then, rumors will fly, and the movie will almost certainly involve twists & turns in the process. Who do you think is behind the mask this time? Is it a familiar face? Or a new nemesis?