The first film takes on Scream as its target (with plot details from I Know What You Did Last Summer filling in as backstory), which was an understandable choice—the film was phenomenally popular—but also a self-defeating one. The defining feature of Wes Craven’s film was its self-awareness. (Its original title was even Scary Movie.) Scream’s characters talked about horror-movie rules, poking at conventions and tweaking audience expectations. That level of meta-commentary made Scary Movie a spoof of something that was on some level a satire to begin with. As would later be definitively proved by Not Another Not Another Movie, which actually, genuinely exists, parodying a parody is the kind of gambit that just shouldn’t be tried.Of course Scream came along after the 80's teen slasher pic craze. Any Gen-Xr reading this is right now thinking of Freddie and Jayson. We were never a huge slasher pic fan, but preferred Freddie, Dream Warriors, bitches.* All the tropes were there.
We once lived all those tropes on one weird night.
We swear everything you're about to read is true.
In the winter of 94 at Wesley College, Dover Delaware, a bunch of us decided to take a ride out to Port Mahon, a small, isolated marina on Delaware Bay. And that's when the wackiness began and all the tropes came like a bad screen play.
Trope 1: Clergy. You see it turns out one us was wearing a Hebrew medallion that was in fact calling for Satan to do battle with god. 'What exactly are you into?' the rabbi asked upon translating the Hebrew. Our party felt only a ritual cleansing could make things right, and that required salt water. So Port Mahon was the obvious location.
Trope 2: teen sex. Before taking a ride out to Port Mahon the couple in our little group of friends had sex.
Trope 3: late night ride. We decided to head out to Port Mahon around midnight. We'd been studying for exams and felt we could use a break.
Trope 4: deep, dark winter woods. You see, once you leave Dover central Delaware is farms and woods, you can get some real Blair Witch action out there. We're Not kidding*. Also, Port Mahon is just a dirt road on Delaware bay with a few piers and docks surrounded by reeds. No lights, no cars. When you go there, you are on your own.
Trop 5: the car breaks down. Actually it got stuck in the mud.
Trope 6: The party splits up. Three of us stayed with the car while two of us, myself included, walked the three or so miles to the nearest pay phone at Little Creek to call our roommate with the pickup to come get us and tell the cops that the car was stuck.***
Anyway we lived and went to Roy Rogers, they were open all night.
The next morning, that morning really, we failed our exam.
** The scene where the nurse takes off all her clothes hit this 14 year old's sweet spot.
*That's fodder for another post.
'Oh, I'm sorry, I just wanted the regular police line.'
'Ok. Little Creek Police Department.'