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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Scream (1996)

"Watch a few movies. Take a few notes." Sounds familiar.

I don't know that I'd say horror movies were verboten in my house growing up, but they were not a presence. My mother worried a lot about me becoming desensitized to violence. (Which ends up being hilarious because no matter how much blood and gore I put on stage, I still make myself a little sick finding the research images.) So I saw virtually no horror films before I left the house for college. And subsequently, horror films became a wee bit of rebellion for me. I didn't drink but I blew a lot of money renting classic slasher flicks at Four Star (the campus rental place), and scared the crap out of myself in the process. I still remember during Welcome Week a whole bunch of us piling into someone's dorm to watch (blog feature two weeks hence) Resident Evil. I was hooked. When, my second semester, I momentarily became a film student, I wrote (and shot!) a short film that I thought was very clever. When I shared it with a film student I had a crush on, he sent me back an email saying simply, "Fun! A very successful Scream parody!" I had not yet encountered Scream on my horror journey. I was devastated to have inadvertently copied something. BUT, I was introduced to this, a perfect movie, so we'll call it a win.

Every time I watch this one, I turn to my viewing companion (often myself) and say, "A perfect film." Because truly I have no notes for it. Excellent writing, directing, cinematography, score, costumes, acting, etc. Tens across the board. I've seen it dozens of times and I still always ache for Casey and for her mom having to hear her daughter dying. I'm still always surprised by Gale popping up with the gun. I'm always a little crushed by Matthew Lillard devolving into a weeping child as he realizes he fucked up. There's always a moment when I "remember" that Henry Winkler is in it and no matter how many times I see it, I am delighted by the foley work when he's waving those GIANT scissors around.

I'm so impressed with this work as it represents the third act of Wes Craven's considerable filmography. There's something so dear about a man whose work arguably defines the slasher film genre, making a movie that 1)lovingly parodies it and 2) is still a wildly successful and tightly composed film. There's a sense of self awareness and confidence that truly I aspire to as an artist. And I lovelovelove all the little nods and homages to horror throughout the film. Tatum in that cropped #10 jersey (that one guy in Nightmare on Elm Street I refuse to invoke lest his crazy ass fans find this blog). Tatum's red VW bug (like book Jack Torrence's red VW bug). Linda Blair as one of the reporters. I only just put together tonight (sigh, Shan) that the Jamie Kennedy watching Jamie Lee Curtis scene has layers and is really very funny. It's just a joy. A movie about loving movies that in turn loves movies.

Something that really struck me in this viewing, as I tried to identify why I get so emotional over some of the deaths in this movie, is that this is one of the rare horror films that accurately portrays teenage emotion. I never ever forget that these are kids, even though they look firmly in their 20s. The weight of everything is so present in every moment, as well as their desperation to escape what's happening in their community. It feels really real and the reward is high stakes conflict and endings that are, forgive me, emotionally gutting.

I don't love Friends and don't revisit it like most elder millennials so it was fun to be reminded once again just how freaking pretty Courtney Cox is. And Dewey is so effing cute in his manboy ways. (That line Gale has about her 11-24 year old demographic is so fucked up and perfect. What a ridiculous exchange.)

Cake stand made of wood, plastic, paper, resin, glue, paint, probably other things?


-I'm so proud to say this is the first collaboration for Making & Movies. I visited my dear friend and blog supporter, Andy, this weekend and because of our shared love of Scream and his own blog, newly focused on making horror movie inspired cakes, I asked if he wanted to team up. And team up we did! He made a *screamptious* (is that anything?) "Bubble Butt Boyfriend White Peach and Ginger Bundt" cake, and I made a stand for it. Seriously, go check out The Cakes Have Eyes and subscribe to the email so you don't miss a single slice. I briefly considered embroidering napkins but ultimately decided on the cake stand as a gift for Andy and a reminder that he's got people rooting for him and his creativity and that cake stand should never be empty for too long. I'm angry I didn't fill my purse with cake before I left for the airport this morning. (Look for the Scream entry at The Cakes Have Eyes next week!)

-This was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. I thought a lot about money and time this week as I worked on this one. I regularly think about what I'd be able to accomplish if I had more money and more time, but I felt it acutely as I pondered how much easier the original concept of a stack of bare VHS tapes would be with a 3D printer (or even easy access to paid by the pound printing) because while I'm proud of what I accomplished with sculpting, moulding, and casting the VHS tapes, I couldn't use most of them because they weren't level. So I pivoted and went to VHS boxes with wood blocks inside (though I failed at making it perfectly level in the end anyway). I think it turned out, aesthetically, great. But there's always a punch in the gut when I think about how hard I work at these things to have them be so imperfect and to get three hits on the blog and a few likes on Instagram. I see so many Etsy stores that are booming with cookie cutter Cricut made mugs and vinyl clings but I can't even make my mad money for the month with my linocuts that I spend a lot of time and creative energy on. I'm also struggling with this one because I am really proud of it (and the work I put into it! many many hours!) but in the end it felt like less of a bang than a whimper. But it looks great. *sigh*

-It wasn't just the VHS tapes I pivoted on. Truthfully, they were originally DVDs but that didn't feel like Scream. I also intended to do a beaded splash of blood coming off the platter but worried about how that would be cleanable. So then I thought a beaded trickle of blood "pouring" down the tapes but it didn't cascade the way I wanted. It might have been better if I had done several strands but the beading was time consuming. Still, I'm on a real kick about beading as viscera so I'm sure I'll find another use for the beads I bought.

-Traveling with craft supplies was a comedy of errors. Cue up the infomercial filter because THERE'S GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY

-There are two kinds of vacations I love: wandering around a new city pretending to be a local and having dedicated for creating with abandon. This weekend gave me both and I'm so grateful (and exhausted). I've learned in the last couple years that making is a love language for me and getting to share a ton of creative energy with a friend was magical.

-See Bodies Bodies Bodies. What a gift of a film. Honestly, it might overthrow Scream for my favorite Horror-Movie-Cum-Social-Satire.

Next week is just a jump to the left and then a step to the riiiiiiiight! That's right, The Rocky Horror Picture Show!!

I hope this week is fulfilling and restorative. But make sure you get some rest, too!

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