The party scene near the end of the film runs forty-two minutes long. It was shot over the course of twenty-one days from the time the sun set to the time it rose. After it wrapped, the crew had t-shirts made that read " I SURVIVED SCENE 118" (which was the name of the scene during shooting). The cast and crew jokingly called it "The longest night in horror history."
The high school scenes were to be shot at Santa Rosa High School in California. However, very close to the shooting date, the school board read the script and denied the film to be shot there due to the violent nature, as they had been under the impression the film was a comedy, and production was moved to Healdsburg, California. As payback, director Wes Craven put in the end credits under the "Special Thanks" section, "NO THANKS WHATSOEVER TO THE SANTA ROSA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD."
Wes Craven discovered the Ghostface mask while scouting for filming locations in California. Craven was walking throughout a possible filming-house, and inside one of the rooms he saw the mask hung on a wall. He sent a photo to Dimension Films and they told him to have the prop department make a mask similar to the mask in the bedroom, as they did not own the rights to the mask.
(At around twelve minutes) At the beginning of the movie when Casey's (Drew Barrymore's) parents come home to find something is wrong, her father tells her mother to "go to the McKenzies'", which is the same thing Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) told Lindsey (Kyle Richards) and Tommy (Brian Andrews) to do in Halloween (1978), of which this movie contains many references.
These are the horror film rules as stated in the movie: 1. You will not survive if you have sex. 2. You will not survive if you drink or do drugs. 3. You will not survive if you say "I'll be right back". 4. Everyone is a suspect. Two additional rules come from the killer: 5. You will not survive if you ask "Who's there?" 6. You will not survive if you go out to investigate a strange noise.
During production, Ghostface's signature black robe was going to be white, to make him appear even more like a ghost. This was changed in fear of people comparing the costume to those that the Ku Klux Klan wear.
Drew Barrymore and Neve Campbell did not meet Roger Jackson, the actor who played The Voice, before shooting commenced. Whenever they are talking on the phone to the killer, they are actually talking to him.
After the bathroom attack there was a scene in the script where Sidney (Neve Campbell) bursts into the Principal's office and reports the incident, crying for help. Although the scene was not included in the final cut, it explains why Himbry (Henry Winkler) ultimately decided to suspend the lessons and dismiss the students.
(At around two minutes) Casey (Drew Barrymore) claims that all of the sequels to A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) "sucked." Wes Craven sold the rights to the sequels before the film was released and became a success, and disliked many of the sequels.
The film was released in December, five days before Christmas. The studio did this because during the holiday season, family friendly movies are usually released, and the studio wanted to give the horror audience something to see during a time when no horror movies would be out. It opened at number four with $6.4 million, which led the studio to believe the film had flopped. However, the film's good word of mouth is what led to its success at the box office. With every week it went up, or stayed at the same place in the box office. By the end of its run, it ended up making over $100 million at the U.S. box office.
(At around forty-nine minutes) Dewey (David Arquette) is specified as being 25 years old, approximately seven years older than most other lead characters, who are in high school. However, Arquette is roughly the same age as most of his co-stars, and is slightly younger than Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, and Jamie Kennedy, who all play high schoolers.
The film was sent to the MPAA over nine times for re-consideration, as they were going to slap the movie with a NC-17 rating. With each time the MPAA made Wes Craven cut out more of the films gore heavy shots. Bob Weinstein eventually had to step in, which secured the films R-rating. Wes Craven wanted to know what Bob Weinstein had said to the MPAA to get them to give the film its R-rating, he told them to view the film as a comedy and not a horror film. This completely changed the MPAA's viewpoint.
When Bob Weinstein watched parts of the first scenes filmed (rough cuts), he said that the mask used was "idiotic". He asked the producers to film one scene with seven different masks and let him choose the one he liked the most. Producers didn't agree and threatened to shut down production. They told him to wait until the first sequence (Drew Barrymore's) was completed and then he could decide. After watching it, he happily agreed to the mask used and didn't make another complaint for the rest of the filming.
Courteney Cox approached the production to pursue the role. She was interested in playing a "bitch" character to offset her "nice" Friends (1994) image. This image was the main reason why the producers initially refused to consider Cox for the part. Cox continued to lobby the studio as she felt she could believably play the character. Her efforts ultimately succeeded.
At one point during the filming of the opening scene, somebody forgot to unplug the phone that Casey used to try and call the cops. This resulted in real, puzzled 911 operators hearing Drew Barrymore screaming for her life on the other end.
Being a favorite of screenwriter Kevin Williamson, Molly Ringwald was offered the role of Sidney Prescott, but turned it down, saying she'd rather not be playing a high school student at the age of twenty-seven.
(At around one hour and thirty minutes) It is mentioned near the end of the film that they used corn syrup dyed red for the blood in several famous horror movies. During the films climax, the production crew really did use corn syrup dyed red.
All the killer's phone calls were really done by Roger Jackson on-set with a cell phone. At one point, the crew were contacted by the police demanding to know who they were, because they thought there was a real killer making the phone calls.
(At around fifty-four minutes) Tatum (Rose McGowan) says that the situation is like a Wes Carpenter film. This is a reference to Wes Craven, who directed this movie, and John Carpenter, who directed Halloween (1978).
(At around fourteen minutes) When Billy (Skeet Ulrich) sneaks into Sidney's (Neve Campbell's) room, he mentions that he was watching The Exorcist (1973). Linda Blair, who played Regan, has a cameo in this movie as a reporter (at around thirty-nine minutes).
The mask is based on a few things: the painting "Scream" by Edvard Munch, the characters on the cover of the Pink Floyd album The Wall, and the ghostly characters that appeared in the 1930s Betty Boop (1930) cartoon. The mask is stark white and depicts a caricature of someone screaming and crying at the same time. Designer Sleiertin stated that the mask displayed different emotions, "It's a horrible look, it's a sorry look, it's a frantic look."
Wes Craven had seen Neve Campbell in Party of Five (1994) and asked her to audition for the part. He believed she could portray a character who was "innocent", but who could also realistically handle herself while dealing with the physical conflict and emotions required by the role.
The boyfriend in Psycho (1960) was named Samuel Loomis. Samuel Loomis was the doctor in Halloween (1978). In this movie, the teens are watching Halloween (1978). In Halloween: H20 (1998), the teens are watching Scream 2 (1997). This makes the films self-aknowledging, showing that in the Halloween franchise, movies were made based off of the murders, and in the Scream franchise, there's the Stab films.
Dewey in the script was envisioned as a hunk, and David Arquette was asked to play the role of Billy at first. But he opted to play Dewey, and the character was re-written to become a lot more bumbling and comedic to fit.
Tatum's (Rose McGowan's) house is right across the street from the house in Santa Rosa, California used in Pollyanna (1960). It is also across the street from the house used in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943). The house in the opening scene was next door to the house used in Cujo (1983).
As revealed on The Directors (1997) in 2007, Wes Craven originally turned down this movie because it was too violent, but reconsidered making one more gory movie for the hungry fans who continually told him that his best movie was The Hills Have Eyes (1977).
(At around fourteen minutes) This movie pays yet another homage to Halloween (1978) by using the song "Dont Fear the Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult. This version is a remake, and is played while Billy (Skeet Ulrich) sneaks into Sidney's (Neve Campbell's) room towards the beginning of the movie. In Halloween (1978), it is playing in the car while Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Annie (Nancy Kyes) are on their way to babysit.
Matthew Lillard was cast as Stu Macher by chance after accompanying his then-girlfriend to an unrelated audition taking place elsewhere in the same building. Casting director Lisa Beach saw Lillard in the hallway and asked him to audition for the part. He got into the role with "incredible ferocity".
(At around thirty-five minutes) Although the killer's costume is often referred to as "Ghostface", the costume is actually called "Father Death". Dewey (David Arquette) brings a costume in the labelled package into the police station after Sidney (Neve Campbell) is first attacked.
(At around fifty-one minutes) When the principal (Henry Winkler) turns and scares himself in the mirror after answering an empty door, he begins to fix his hair like he did when he was Fonzie from Happy Days (1974).
David Arquette and Matthew Lillard were initially considered for the role of Billy Loomis before being eventually cast as Dewey Riley and Stu Macher respectively. Arquette was also considered for the role of Stu.
The Weinsteins (Bob and Harvey Weinstein) wanted to film in Vancouver, as it was estimated that they could save $1 million in costs compared to shooting in the U.S. Wes Craven was adamant about filming in the U.S., as he wanted the setting to look like an all-American, suburban small town. Locations in North Carolina were initially considered, but rejected due to the fact that the sites that looked promising would've required costly modification and repairs to be usable for a film production. The argument over where to film almost led to Craven being removed from the project, but the Weinsteins eventually agreed to keep the production in the U.S.
(At around fifty-eight minutes) Tori Spelling was considered for the role of Sidney Prescott. At one point in the movie (when discussing who would play her in the movie), Dewey (David Arquette) says he sees Sidney (Neve Campbell) as a young Meg Ryan. Sidney replies with, "With my luck, it would be Tori Spelling."
The producers had originally intended to use Roger Jackson's voice only as a placeholder, dubbing over it during post-production. They decided that Jackson's contribution was perfect and kept it. Wes Craven described it as an "intelligent" and "evil" voice that would become irreplaceable to the franchise.
Wes Craven initially turned down the film. He was already busy developing a remake of The Haunting (1963) and was considering distancing himself from the horror genre. He signed on to direct after Drew Barrymore agreed to appear in the film. Also he was confronted by a young little boy fan who was about ten. The boy accused Craven of "going soft"; and that he had more guts back in the day when he was making movies like "Last House on the Left". That pushed him over the edge and he called the people at Miramax and agreed to do Scream.
In the U.S., without adjusting for inflation, the film is the twentieth highest-grossing horror film, and remains the highest-grossing slasher genre film, directly followed by Scream 2 (1997) and Scream 3 (2000).
The scene in which Casey (Drew Barrymore) is being chased outside with the killer directly behind her, the camera is positioned so that they are both running at the screen, in slower motion than normal, with the killer in the background appearing much larger and wielding a weapon directly above the victim's head in the darkness, closely resembles the famous scene from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
Director of photography Mark Irwin was fired a week before shooting was to end. Director Wes Craven, upon reviewing the dailies, found that the footage was out of focus and unusable, and Irwin was ordered to fire and replace his camera crew. When Irwin responded that they'd have to fire him too, they did just that.
Rebecca Gayheart auditioned for the role of Tatum Riley, but scheduling conflicts with her film Somebody Is Waiting (1996) prevented her from landing the role. She later turned up in Scream 2 (1997) playing a sorority sister.
In order to keep animal lover Drew Barrymore scared and crying, Wes Craven told her real-life stories of animal cruelty. During the DVD commentary, Craven said: "The night before we started shooting, she told me a horrible story about a newspaper article about a dog being burnt by its owner. Petrified her, and she started crying as she was telling me this. So, every time that I needed her to get over that edge and into complete tears, I would just say: 'Drew, lightning the lighter' and she would just burst into tears."
The Ghostface mask was first developed for novelty stores during the Halloween season between 1991 and 1992 by Fun World employee Brigitte Sleiertin as part of a series titled "Fantastic Faces", the mask itself known as "The Peanut-Eyed Ghost". The final design was approved by Fun World Vice President Allan Geller. Wes Craven claimed to have originally found the mask, but later clarified that he had misremembered the event, and that it was producer Marianne Maddalena who discovered it. She found it while inside a house during location scouting for the film and brought it to the attention of Wes Craven, who set about trying to obtain the rights to use it. Fun World licensing director R.J. Torbert joined Fun World in 1996 and was given the task of naming the mask prior to its film debut, deciding on "GhostFace" with the blessing of Fun World owners Stanley and Allan Geller. Torbert felt it looked like a "ghost in pain", believing it to be a unique design. The Ghostface design and title are owned by Fun World.
Despite competition from other box-office fare such as Jerry Maguire (1996) and Mars Attacks! (1996) (which flopped), its release during the Christmas season, and Variety labelling it "D.O.A." before it was even released, it became the fifteenth highest-grossing film of 1996, well placed amongst big-budget blockbusters released that year such as Independence Day (1996) and Mission: Impossible (1996). It was shown in theaters for nearly eight months after its release.
Wes Craven mentioned the fact that Sheriff Burke (Joseph Whipp) wears the same kind of boots as Ghostface (visible in the scene where he smokes and talks to Dewey (David Arquette)): this was intended as misdirection.
When called by the Killer, Sidney (Neve Campbell), who dislikes horror movies bad-mouths them saying "What's the point? They're all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big breasted girl who can't act and who is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door. It's insulting." Ironically, when Ghostface attacks moments later, Sidney tries to run out the door, but can't as she locked it and, seeing no other option, runs upstairs to her room.
Screenwriter Kevin Williamson was partially inspired by a real-life series of student murders in Gainesville, Florida in 1990, perpetrated by killer Danny Harold Rolling who was later dubbed "The Gainesville Ripper". He was inspired to draft an eighteen-page script treatment about a young woman, alone in a house, who is taunted over the phone and then attacked by a masked killer. The treatment remained as a short story while Williamson worked on another script, Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), a thriller that he would eventually sell, but that would languish in development Hell for many years. Struggling to pay his bills, Williamson secluded himself in Palm Springs and focused on the development of his "Scary Movie" treatment, hoping for a quick sale to meet his financial needs. Over the course of three days, Williamson developed a full-length script, as well as two separate five-page outlines for potential sequels, Scary Movie 2 (2001) and Scary Movie 3 (2003). He hoped to entice buyers with the potential for a franchise. In an interview, Williamson said that one reason he focused on the Scary Movie (2000) script was because it was a film he wanted to watch, born of his childhood love of horror films such as Halloween (1978), but "nobody else was making it".
Sony Pictures filed a lawsuit against Dimension Films and Miramax, claiming that the title "Scream" infringed on the copyright of Sony's own Screamers (1995).. After the case was settled out of court, the details remain confidential. Scream 2 (1997) producer Marianne Maddalena considered that the case was a result of other issues between the two companies and did not truly pertain to the film's moniker. Maddalena confirmed that the studio was free to use the Scream brand for future films.
(At around one hour and eight minutes) When Billy takes Sidney upstairs, Randy asks Stu, "What's Leatherface doing here?" This is a reference to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), where the killer was called "Leatherface".
In the party scene at the end of the film, video boxes from other Miramax movies can be seen on the television, including Smoke (1995) and Clerks (1994). This movie was released by Dimension Films, an offshoot of Miramax.
Neve Campbell was originally going to say "no" to the film as she is especially afraid of horror movies. But when hearing her co-star Skeet Ulrich from The Craft (1996) was going to appear, she agreed.
Kevin Williamson's script became the subject of a significant bidding war amongst a host of established studios, including Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, and Morgan Creek Productions. The final two bidders were Oliver Stone, who was at the time working under Cinergi Pictures, and the Weinsteins.
Since Drew Barrymore was the most famous actress of the cast at the time the film was being made, and given the fact that she was originally cast as Sidney Prescott, many audiences who saw the poster featuring Barrymore covering her mouth mistakenly thought she was playing the leading role of the film.
(At around seven minutes) The opening scene spoiler for Friday the 13th (1980) is a mistake that was commonly made at the time: although Jason Voorhees was the killer throughout most of the Friday The 13th series, the caller was specifically referring to the first movie Friday the 13th (1980) where he isn't. The scene may be somewhat confusing for audiences of later generations, since the film's reboot (also called Friday the 13th (2009)) actually DID have Jason Voorhees as the killer.
This is Drew Barrymore's only slasher movie. In fact, it's most of the cast's only slasher movie. Drew was in Poison Ivy though, which is a slasher type movie. And of course Linda Blair has been in the Exorcist and other Slasher movies.
This movie had three sequels, all big hits, and was spun-off into a television series. The only other horror movies that have been this prolific are Friday the 13th (1980), which spawned ten sequels, as well as a spin-off television series, and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), which spawned seven sequels and a television show.
Henry Winkler stated the hardest thing to film was his death scene, adding: "This one shot, with the bad guy with the mask coming into my eyeball, it took two hours to shoot. As he was stabbing me, Wes, in his professorial way, came up and he said, 'Do you think it might be more excruciating? Do you think being stabbed you would scream a little louder?' I said I could do that. Then, because I had tubes going up my clothes, coming out my shirt, out of my chest, they filled it back up [with fake blood], and then I screamed much louder."
During the Halloween (1978) viewing scene, someone makes a comment that the "blood is all wrong" and "it's too red". Halloween (1978), oddly enough, doesn't contain a drop of blood in the entire film, let alone that specific scene they're watching.
The serial killer has an obsession with horror movies, Billy before the sex scene, compares Sidney's situation to The Silence of the Lambs (1991), which spawned the psychological thriller genre, and also says "It's all just a movie".
When Billy (Skeet Ulrich) drops his cell phone while comforting Sidney (Neve Campbell) after her first attack by the killer, he becomes an immediate suspect because the killer was using one. Back in 1996, cell phones were still rare enough that this would look suspicious. Today, not having a cell phone (which can easily be tracked by GPS) would invite more suspicion than having one. That said, there is still one way the scene could work today, burner phones (cheap, prepaid cell phones, often of the primitive "dumb" variety, much like Billy's) are commonly used by criminals who don't want to be tracked by police. Caller ID existed at the time this film came out, but it wasn't in widespread use, and so none of the characters have it. Its absence is so noticeable that even the sequel comments on it.
(At around thirty-nine minutes) At the breakfast table, Tatum can be seen pouring milk from a Lucerne milk carton. Lucerne is a local dairy company located in Sonoma County, California, where the movie was filmed.
There's never any black killers in the Scream movies. This might be because of political correctness, there rarely are any black victims in this or any other slasher either. The only slasher series with a black villain is Candyman (1992). Scream 2 (1997) was originally going to have a black killer. Hallie, Sidney's BFF, an African-American character, was originally going to be unveiled as the killer along with Derek, Sidney's boyfriend, doing a Mickey and Malory type thing, but the original script was leaked to the press so they had to change it.
Rose McGowan and Neve Campbell are not strangers to spooky. Both actresses played witches. McGowan played half-Halliwell sister witch, Paige, in Charmed (1998) and Campbell played a burned scarred witch in The Craft (1996).
Early into production, the Weinsteins (Bob and Harvey Weinstein) were unconvinced that Wes Craven was making the film scary enough. Craven and editor Patrick Lussier quickly assembled a workprint of the opening thirteen minutes and any doubts were quickly shot down.
This movie has the uncomfortable distinction now of being the birthplace of the Me Too movement; since Rose McGowan met independent producer Harvey Weinstein through this movie (since Weinstein did produce Scream). And their association through this movie led to her eventually (alleged) rape by Weinstein, and then her calling him out in the media for being (allegedly) a serial predator led to a domino effect which caused the modern Me Too Movement. After Rose McGowan called out Weinstein, Allyssa Milano went on Twitter and encouraged all the other victims of Weinstein to come forward and post Me Too on Twitter. And then she said anyone's who's been victimized by any sexual assault post Me Too also, and this led to the unexpected chain reaction of the Me Too Movement itself. And it all started on this movie, Scream, where actress Rose McGowan met Harvey Weinstein.
Sidney's boyfriend in the film was named Billy Loomis. That is the same spelling as the doctor from Halloween (1978), although Doctor Loomis never mentioned anything about whether or not he had children of his own.
This phone stalking slasher owes a debt to the following phone stalking Slashers that proceeded it:1948s Sorry Wrong Number, 1965s I Saw What You Did, 1974s Black Christmas, and 1979s When A Stranger Calls. Mostly this copies (very effectively) When a Stranger Calls. (There's also a dash of 1978s Halloween in there).
This movie is basically an extended reworking of When a Stranger Calls; where you have a stalker terrorizing a teenage girl via the phone and then attacking her. And When a Stranger Calls is actually a reworking of Sorry Wrong Number, a Barbara Stanwyck drama from the 40s about a woman who overhears a series of phone calls about a murder via the phone, and winds up getting killed herself. So Scream is really a remake of Sorry Wrong Number.
It's funny, the killer, when he is stalking people, keeps asking them about "scary movies", when what he (or they) really mean is "Slasher movies". The term "Slasher movie" is never said by anybody in the movie, but that's exactly what they're talking about.
(At around one hour and seventeen minutes) When most of the boys leave the party rushing to see the Principal's dead body on the football field, as they drive away, the boy in a silver car utters the phrase "Hi-ho, Silver! Let's go!", which is a reference to how The Lone Ranger (1949) would speak to his horse, named "Silver", in order to get going.
Although a script was leaked to the press, which has Derek and Hailey as the killers, Kevin Williamson has said this was a "dummy script", that Derek and Hailey were never intended to be the killers in the first place, this was just an attempt to fake out the press so the real ending wouldn't be spoiled. (It does seem unlikely that Williamson would make the boyfriend the killer twice in a row).
Linda Blair: (At around thirty-nine minutes) The auburn reporter who says, "People want to know, they have a right to know." She starred in another classic horror film, The Exorcist (1973). Wes Craven had cast her in Summer of Fear (1978).
Wes Craven: (At around fifty-two minutes) Fred, the janitor. He's wearing a red and green striped sweater, just like Freddy Krueger from the A Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise. They are also the actual clothes from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
(At around one hour and thirty-five minutes) When the phone slips out of Billy's (Skeet Ulrich's) hand and hits Stu's (Matthew Lillard's) head, it was completely unintentional. Director Wes Craven kept it in because of Stu's realistic reaction.
(At around ten minutes) When the killer smashes his head through a window and Casey (Drew Barrymore) hits him in the face with the phone, director Wes Craven is actually wearing the costume and was really hit in the face.
(At around one hour and twenty-two minutes) The scene where the killer is sneaking up behind Randy (Jamie Kennedy) is the only one where the person in the costume is actually one of the actors rather than a stuntman. Skeet Ulrich specifically asked if he could wear the costume for one scene.
(At around one hour and forty minute) When Sidney comes out of the closet and stabs Billy with an umbrella, the stuntman was supposed to hit a pad on Skeet Ulrich's chest. The first hit got the pad, but the second one slipped and hit him in the chest. Ulrich's chest has metal wiring beneath the skin from open-heart surgery he had as a child, which causes him intense pain should it be struck or have pressure applied to it. Thus, when the umbrella accidentally stuck his chest, his shocked expression and scream of pain were genuine. Director Wes Craven kept it in because of its authenticity.
The MPAA wanted to cut out the graphic shot of the killer stabbing Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) at the beginning, but director Wes Craven claimed it was the only take of it they had filmed (which wasn't true). The shot remained intact.
The death of Principal Himbry (Henry Winkler) was added to the film after producer Bob Weinstein noticed that there was about thirty pages in the script where nobody died and told Kevin Williamson that "somebody must die". Subsequently, the addition of the scene gave Kevin Williamson a good reason to have all of the party guests leave the party near the climax.
Dewey (David Arquette) was supposed to die from the stab wound to the back. Wes Craven filmed the scene at the end of the film, where Dewey is alive and being taken to the hospital, just in case he changed his mind about killing Dewey. The screen test audience loved the character Dewey so much that Craven decided to add his survival scene in the final cut. If you watch closely during the part where Gale (Courteney Cox) is knocked out by Billy (Skeet Ulrich), you can see that Dewey is not breathing when Gale lands on him because Dewey was intended to be dead. Every time Dewey is shown after he is stabbed before the final scene is intended to be his dead body, not him lying unconscious.
(At around one hour and twenty-one minutes) There is a scene towards the end of the film where Sidney runs through Stu's house in order to escape the killer. One of the rooms she runs in is decorated extensively with macabre imagery, including several mutilated dolls hanging from the ceiling. Sidney barricades this room with a surf board, a clue that she's in a teenager's bedroom. This is all a hint that Stu is the killer (he's later revealed to be one of two), and further development of his character, as his motives for homicide are never fully explored.
(At around one hour and twenty-two minutes) In the scene where a drunk Randy is telling Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween (1978) to turn around through the television, he repeats, "Jamie, turn around. Turn around, Jamie!" as the killer is slowly creeping up behind him. This is somewhat of an inside joke, as the actor who plays Randy is also named Jamie (Jamie Kennedy) and the killer is behind him.
In Scream 2 (1997), the fictional "Stab" movie, which is a movie about the events of this movie, re-enacts the opening scene. During the real scene, the shadow of a crew member is briefly visible for a moment when Drew Barrymore is running. In "Stab", they re-create this goof, but the entire silhouette of a person is visible while she is running.
Drew Barrymore was the most famous of the cast members, so she was prominent in the promotion for the film, even though she dies in the opening scene. It was an unexpected move to kill the film's "star", but Sir Alfred Hitchcock used the same trick on his audience. In Psycho (1960), Janet Leigh was billed as the "star" of the film, only to die less than halfway into the story.
Two of the most complex visual effects in the film were the corpses of Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) and Steve Orth (Kevin Patrick Walls). Their deaths involved the character being gutted from ribcage to pelvis, essentially hollowing out the torso of internal organs, with the guts "rolling" from the wound. To allow Walls to continue to move and feign death while displaying the wound, KNB designed a chair with no back. The actor would kneel behind it while his upper body, head, and arms were positioned within the chair's seating area. An anatomical model representing the character's torso and legs was positioned in the chair and disguised so that the actor's upper body and the model appeared to be one piece. The fake abdomen was filled with rubber, latex, and gelatin pieces smeared in fake blood, the "internal organs", which could then fall free. The other effect involved Casey being gutted and hung by the neck from a tree. The team utilized a similar approach, but replicated Barrymore's entire body, as it would be impossible to conceal her real body and display the visual effect of her character having been gutted.
Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) correctly identifies Stu (Matthew Lillard) and Billy (Skeet Ulrich) as the killers during the movie. He accuses Stu at the beginning when all the kids are at school talking about the Casey and Steve murders (Drew Barrymore and Kevin Patrick Walls) (at around twenty-one minutes), and then he accuses Billy in a scene at the video store (at around fifty-five minutes). In both cases, he was right.
Concerning the killers' motive, Kevin Williamson felt it was essential for the audience to learn why the antagonists had become killers, but he also felt it was potentially scarier if they had no motivation. Opinions at the studio were split between those who believed a motive was needed for resolution, and those who felt the action was scarier without one. As there were two killers, Williamson decided to do both: Billy Loomis had the motive of maternal abandonment, while the second killer, Stu Macher jokingly suggests "peer pressure" as his motive when prompted.
(At around one hour and seven minutes) After Tatum dies, Sidney calls out for her and someone says "No one here but us chickens." In Rebel Without a Cause (1955), James Dean and Natalie Wood say the same line when Sal Mineo is looking for them in the abandoned house.
(At around fifty-one minutes) After Principal Himbry announces that classes are suspended, Sidney, Tatum, and Stu are walking away from school. Stu grabs Tatum and throws her over his shoulder. Tatum is caught with her ribs on Stu's shoulders, with her right arm stuck behind her and her left arm reaching out, while she looks up and groans in (fake) pain, struggling to escape. This foreshadows her death, when she is caught in the garage door in the same position, looking up at the ceiling and groaning in pain.
Many fans are confused over which killer (Billy and Stu) was behind the mask during the following murders and attacks. Casey and Steve's murders: Billy and Stu were present because Ghostface is at both entrances. It is implied these two were killed because Casey dumped Stu for Steve, making the killings personal to Stu. It is the Ghostface at the back entrance who made the calls to Casey, because it was the Ghostface at the back of the house because when the caller reveals that he intends on killing her, he tells her to "turn the patio lights on... again", which are at the back of the house and the "again" implies that he is already aware that she has turned on the patio lights before since the first call. The Ghostface that gutted Steve was logically the Ghostface at the back entrance of the house who is Stu as that is where Steve's body has been placed. The Ghostface that is seen running around the house after a chair is thrown through the patio doors was the Ghostface in the back as Ghostface came from the back of the house. After Casey is stabbed and choked, she removes the mask of the Ghostface from the bushes and recognizes the face she sees, hinting at the killer being Stu, which would also imply that the Ghostface at the front entrance was Billy and Stu's grunts can be heard as he recieves blows by Casey. Billy assisted Stu in gutting and hanging Casey from the tree due to how quickly this action was executed. Sidney's house attack: Billy most likely called Sidney while Stu attacked her. Billy is seen with a phone and appears at the bedroom window too soon after Sidney locks herself in her bedroom. For Billy to be Ghostface here he would have to have run downstairs, go outside to run around the perimeter of the house, ditched the Ghostface costume, and climbed into Sidney's second story window in a matter of seconds. This is further proven if one listens carefully as Ghostface chases, receives blows and is tripped by Sidney as he continuously grunts with his voice attributing to that of Stu. Call at the Riley house: Stu called to 'prove' Billy was innocent since he was locked up at the time, but it could've been Billy using his one phone call from jail to call Sidney in the ghostface voice. Sidney's bathroom attack: It would be Billy as the Ghosface had the same colored pants Billy wore. Also, Billy copied the same words the girls said about Sidney and her mother when Billy revealed himself as one of the killers. Billy wanted to hear Sidney's emotions and weaknesses or it could've been a prankster as the assaliant didnt have a knife Principal Himbry's murder: This murder was most likely Billy as his whereabouts were unknown at the time. Stu was seen with Sidney and Tatum outside the school, but left somewhere unknown. Even though Stu left somewhere, Billy had the better chance of killing Mr. Himbry. Stalking Sidney and Tatum: Evidence lays more on Billy. Billy was the one that attacked both of them and possibly wanted to know more about them. Tatum's murder: Billy, later shows up gives Stu a face signal that he killed tatum Billy's fake 'murder' and Sidney's attack: Obviously Stu because Billy is seen. Kenny's murder: since Stu claims that Gale died when she crashed into a tree with the news-van after finding Kenny's dead body. It is most likely that Stu stuck around the area in front of the house, even after Sidney got away. Dewey's attack: Billy, he hears Dewey yell, puts on the costume, goes downstairs, stabs him, chases Sidney, either goes threw a window in the house, or the garage and pretends that nothing happend. Stu was checking to see if Gale was dead and was around that area, not the house. That explains why Randy was blaiming Stu for killing the people becuase he was stalking him since he was already outside when Gale hit him with a phone. Neil Prescott's abduction: Billy and Stu kidnapped him in order for them to frame him, because they both wanted people to believe that Neil Prescott was the killer.
When Principal Himbry (Henry Winkler) is mad at the kids who are running around in the Ghostface masks, he unmasks two kids, "foreshadowing" the fact that there are actually two killers, Billy and Stu.
Kenny's (W. Earl Brown's) death was originally longer and more graphic. In the earlier cut, he stared at Ghostface in disbelief, almost questioning why he was being killed, while blood flowed from his neck. The scene was cut down to avoid an NC-17 rating. According to director Wes Craven, the edited cut resulted in all of the humanity being taken out of the scene and sensationalized Kenny's death in a way that the original version didn't.
The initial script labelled the main antagonist as "masked killer", with no specifications to his appearance, forcing Wes Craven and his staff to produce the costume eventually worn by Ghostface as they were shooting. Craven asked Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger of design company KNB Effects to produce a mask specifically for the film based on the Fun World design, but did not like the final result. After Fun World and Dimension Films were able to complete an agreement for the use of the Ghostface mask, Craven was able to use the original design as he wanted. The custom mask made by KNB Effects still appears in the scenes involving the murders of Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) and Principal Himbry (Henry Winkler), as filming of these scenes was completed prior to the finalization of the deal between Fun World and Dimension Films. Brigitte Sleiertin stated on choosing the final design for what became Ghostface, "We came with an assortment of masks that had the ghostface look. Of the entire assortment, that face was the strongest one. The design definitely had something that made it outstanding from the others."
Twice in the movie, Randy is thought to be the killer. When the killer calls Sidney the first time (at around twenty-six minutes), she says "Randy, you gave yourself away", and later, when Tatum sees the killer (at around one hour and six minutes) she asks, "is that you Randy?"
(At around one hour and thirty minutes) Billy says that Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates didn't have motives. Both characters would later get prequels detailing their backgrounds, Hannibal Rising (2007) and Bates Motel (2013).
After the rules speech, Stu's mocking "I'll be right back!" and Randy's response "I'll see you in the kitchen, with a knife!" "foreshadows" that Stu is able to break Randy's rules for survival, because he's a killer, and guess what he's holding in what room a short time later?
The killer, or one of the two killers, always turns out to be a friend or relative of Sidney's in this franchise. In this movie, it is Billy and Stu, a boyfriend and a friend. In Scream 2 (1997), it is Mickey, a friend, and Mrs. Loomis, her boyfriend's mother. In Scream 3 (2000), it's Roman, her long lost brother, and in Scream 4 (2011) it's Jill, her cousin and Charlie.
(At around seven minutes) In the beginning of the movie the killer taunts Casey on the phone by asking her who was the killer in Friday the 13th (1980). She gets the answer wrong by saying it was Jason Voorhees, when it was really his mother, Pamela Voorhees, who was main villain. Ironically, one of the killers in Scream 2 (1997) turns out to be Billy Loomis' mother. In both movies, the main female villain goes on a murderous rampage to avenge her son's death.
Most of the movie borrows from When a Stranger Calls (1979), the slasher movie with Carol Kane as a babysitter who's being phone stalked by a maniacal killer who turns out to be in the house. The opening scene with Casey and Ghostface, then Sidney has two conversations with Ghostface that echo When a Stranger Calls (1979), and then at the end, Sidney turns the tables and phone stalks Billy and Stu.
Randy (Jamie Kennedy) explains that in order to survive a horror film, you cannot have sex, as a virgin will always survive; a point which he personally proves at the end. The trend of horror movies killing off teenagers having sex arguably started with Halloween (1978), one of the films referred to in the movie. However, Halloween's writer/director John Carpenter later denied any intention of condemning promiscuity, stating that the teenagers having sex were slaughtered simply because they were too distracted to notice the killer, whereas the virgin survived because her sexual repression made her alert and aggressive enough to fight back. But by that time, the damage was done, and films like Friday the 13th (1980) had already widely popularized the trope of a killer punishing teenagers for having sex.
In Scream 3 it is revealed that the killer has been a part of the killings since the beginning. Roman Bridger, the killer in Scream 3, states he helped Stu and Billy become Ghostface. It's possible that the victims in the original Scream could have been killed by Roman Bridger.
Most slasher franchises feature one iconic villain coming back over and over again for each new chapter. Not only does this franchise not do that, it features a brand new killer each time, which makes it very unique; but, even more unique and different, is the fact that it's two villains, not just one. There are no other horror franchises that do that!
There is a subtle hint that Stu is involved in the murders during the video store scene. When he's talking to Randy about Billy possibly being the killer, Stu deflects the accusations onto his own theory: Sydney's father, based on the police not knowing where he is, rather than Randy who jumps to the far more logical theory that he's dead. Stu is already trying to plant the idea of Mr Prescott being the killer
(At around one hour and thirty minutes) Billy, one of the killers, mentions "Carrie" towards the ending. He licks fake blood he has splattered on him and says "Corn syrup. Just like they used in Carrie (1976)". This is ironic, since he is splattered in blood like Carrie was in that movie. It's also ironic since his name is Billy; the villain of that movie was named Billy too (Billy Nolan, played by John Travolta).
Whether or not Billy and Stu were actually gay and acting out some sort of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb scenario is a question that has haunted viewers since this movie came out, since Stu comes up behind Billy, puts his head and hand on Billy's shoulder and taunts Sidney, physically smashed up against Billy at the ending. Stu pulls a similar move with Randy at the video store, taunting Randy from behind, and then Billy comes up face to face with Randy on the other side, the two of them bullying him from both sides. Were they bullying him, or flirting with him, or a little of both. There's also Sidney's "pansy-assed mamma's boy" line which might play into the Billy-is-gay theory (if you hold stock in stereotypes). Billy clearly seems to be interested in Sidney. He has sex with her, and so is Stu, although perhaps all that is a cover. or perhaps they're both bisexual. Kevin Williamson is gay, and a vocal proponent of gay rights and eliminating stereotypes in the media, so it's likely that he would say no, that was not a conscious attempt on his part to perpetuate those kinds of anti-gay stereotypes (gays as serial killers, et cetera). But political messages aside, viewers and critics continue to ask the question, which means something unintentionally came across in Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard's performances that maybe nobody consciously planned.
Towards the end of the movie (around 129 minutes), Sidney climbs into Dewey's Jeep to run from Ghost Face and tries to radio for help. She says to the operator, "Hello! Help me please! I'm at Stu Macher's house on Turner Lane. It's 261 Turner Lane! Please, he's trying to kill me!" Inadvertently naming Stu as one of the killers before the final reveal!