12 things you didn't know about Scream

Erica Russell
Photo credit: Shutterstock

From Digital Spy

With a fifth instalment of the Scream franchise officially underway, nostalgia for the 1996 slasher horror classic is at an all-time high. While most diehard Scream fans have watched Ghostface slash his way through Woodsboro more times than they can count, here are 13 things you probably never knew about Scream.

1. Ghostface's connection to the Powerpuff Girls

Photo credit: Everett Collection Rex/Shutterstock

Though the killer’s voice in the movie is presented to viewers as dual killers Billy and Stu speaking through a voice-changing device, the actual voice of Ghostface was recorded by American voice actor Roger L Jackson.

The voice-acting veteran has not only provided Ghostface’s ominous phone voice in all the franchise’s four films, but has worked on dozens of video games, TV shows and animated films throughout his career. His most famous vocal performance aside from Sidney Prescott’s serial killer stalker? The Powerpuff Girls’ formidable mad scientist primate foe, Mojo Jojo!

Drew Barrymore accidentally called 911 for real while filming

Photo credit: Dimension Films

While filming the harrowing opening scene in which Ghostface’s first victim Casey gets terrorized and slashed to ribbons, Drew Barrymore actually — though accidentally — called 911 a number of times, much to the confusion of the 911 operators and agitation of local authorities. As it turned out, Scream prop master JP Jones had forgotten to unplug the phone the actress was using.

“[Drew] starts dialing 911, screaming, hanging up, 911, screaming, hanging up,” Jones recounted in the 2011 documentay Still Screaming. “We’re in the middle of a take, and the phone starts ringing, and we’re like, ‘What’s going on? Why is the phone ringing?’ And it’s the police asking what the hell we’re doing, and why do we keep calling them?”

A different Scary Movie

Photo credit: Wayans Bros. Entertainment

Scream was originally titled Scary Movie, but the Weinstein Brothers retitled it after hearing the 1995 Michael and Janet Jackson song named – you guessed it –'Scream'. The change was made so late in production that cast and crew merch had already been created bearing the title Scary Movie.

And while Wes Craven eventually came around to it, the director admitted in DVD commentary that he initially didn’t like the new title.

Tatum’s doggy door conundrum

Sidney's sassy BFF Tatum meets an unfortunate (and frustrating) demise when she gets stuck while trying to squeeze through a garage doggy door during her altercation with Ghostface, resulting in her head being crushed. But Rose McGowan was so petite in real life that the actress kept falling out of the door while filming the scene.

“Because I’m thin enough, I kept falling out of [the door],” McGowan revealed to Entertainment Weekly in 2011. “They had to nail my shirt onto the wood otherwise I’d like, flop out. That’s how I get in my houses when I get locked out, for real. That’s my takeaway from Scream: I know I can fit in dog doors.”

Courteney Cox, from friendly to ‘bitchy’

Photo credit: Dimension Films

Courteney Cox famously approached Scream director Wes Craven about taking the part of determined news reporter Gale Weathers, a role for which she lobbied hard. At the time, Cox had been playing kind-hearted Monica Geller on the cheerful, beloved NBC sitcom Friends, but she was eager to break out into an edgier role and prove she could portray characters who weren’t always so nice.

“I wrote a letter to Wes – I think I was always known as being so sweet – and I said, ‘I really can be a bitch!’” Cox recounted to Entertainment Tonight in 2016.

The Woodsboro High that wasn’t

Photo credit: Dimension Films

The fictional Woodsboro High School scenes were originally supposed to be filmed at the Santa Rosa High School in Santa Rosa, California. Unfortunately, the school board didn’t appreciate the idea of having the violent murder of a principal filmed in their halls, and after reading the script close to the crew’s scheduling filming date, pulled out of the project completely.

While production for the high-school scenes was moved to the Sonoma Community Center in Sonoma, California, director Wes Craven got his revenge on the school board by including a pointed message in the “special thanks” section of the film’s end credits. It reads, “No thanks whatsoever to the Santa Rosa City School District Governing Board.”

Inspired by a real-life murder

Screenplay writer Kevin Williamson was partly inspired to write Scream after watching a late night TV documentary about a series of grisly real-life murders committed by convicted serial killer Danny Rolling, aka the Gainesville Ripper.

In August 1990, Rolling embarked on a murder spree in Gainesville, Florida, where he killed five university students after sneaking into their respective apartments – not unlike the way Ghostface terrorizes Sidney during her first altercation with him in her home.

The many callbacks to John Carpenter’s Halloween

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Scream is positively littered with nods to the iconic horror film, from Billy’s last name (Loomis is also the name of Michael Myers’ psychiatrist) to Tatum telling Sidney that their ordeal is like a "Wes Carpenter flick". (The line is a playful jab at people who confuse Scream director Wes Craven with Halloween director John Carpenter.)

The film also makes a clever callback to the Mackenzies, neighbors referenced by both teen victim Casey’s parents in Scream’s opening scene as well as Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode, who, while being stalked by Michael, tells the children she’s babysitting to "go down the street to the Mackenzies’ house".

Plus, let’s not forget the movie Sidney’s pal Randy and the rest of the teens are watching during Scream’s third act house party.

Matthew Lillard’s performance regret

Photo credit: Getty Images/Dimension Films

While Matthew Lillard’s unhinged performance as peer pressure-motivated teen killer Stu is undoubtedly one of the film’s most memorable, the actor admitted in a cast interview that looking back on it, he actually hated his performance.

“I was horrible. I got lots of gums, big teeth and a really tiny f**king head,” he lamented during a 2015 cast panel for Spooky Empire. (Fun fact: Many of Stu’s funniest lines were ad-libbed by Lillard, including the hilarious “My mom and dad are gonna be so mad at me!”)

The Sidneys we almost got

Photo credit: George Lange

While Scream fans probably can’t imagine a Sidney Prescott played by anyone other than scream queen Neve Campbell, a bevy of talented, high-profile actresses were at one time considered for the role of the capable teen heroine.

Both Melissa Joan Hart and Brittany Murphy, among other actresses, auditioned for the role, while Tori Spelling and Reese Witherspoon were considered as well. (The latter turned down an offer to audition, reportedly not wanting to star in a horror movie.)

The most surprising almost-Sidney, though? Drew Barrymore, who was originally cast in the role but had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts. Thankfully, she was able to score the smaller, yet still memorable part as Casey – and the rest is horror history.

Classic horror cameos

Photo credit: Moviestore - ELLEMEN

The Exorcist star Linda Blair, who played possessed girl Regan in the 1973 horror classic, makes a brief cameo as an obnoxious local reporter (yes, even more obnoxious than Gale Weathers). When David Arquette’s deputy sheriff Dewey escorts Sidney to his and Tatum’s home following an attack, the press are waiting outside.

“Sidney, how does it feel to be almost brutally butchered? People want to know. They have a right to know! How does it feel?” Blair’s reporter insensitively badgers the teen.

But Blair isn’t the only horror legend to appear in the film: During a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene in the high school, director Wes Craven himself – wearing Freddy Krueger’s fedora and striped sweater – can be seen mopping the floor as an ornery janitor.

"Ghostface" is mentioned only once in the first film

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The name Ghostface is only ever mentioned once in the entirety of Scream’s 111-minute run time. The murderous masked figure first gets its name from Tatum, who, during her garage showdown with the killer, taunts, “No, please don’t kill me Mr. Ghostface, I wanna be in the sequel!” (Not-so-spoiler alert: She doesn’t make it to the sequel.)

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