The Scream movies are a CANCER on the horror industry and Wes Craven should be strung up by his beard for tinkling all over the genre he helped pioneer. Wes proved himself with chillers like Last House on the Left, Serpent and the Rainbow, The Hills Have Eyes and those movies with that pizza-faced fella with the crazy manicure. But in 1996, he pretty much thumbed his nose at all that with the horror-satire Scream and unwittingly began a stampede of copycats (and sequels) featuring the moment's hottest teen starlets gettin' kilt one by one while swapping pop-culture laden dialogue. The dust STILL hasn't settled, but Scary Movie (2000, 88 minutes) may prove that the end is truly near, as the box-office success of the Wayans Brothers parody is a clear signal that the masses aren't gonna fall for Scream-formula crapola anymore. Unless Sandra Bullock agrees to star.
The movie: Someone wants Playboy Bunny Carmen Electra dead, and they're willing to chase her right out of her clothes and through lawn sprinklers to get the job done. The killing doesn't stop there as Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) and her buddies are next because Ghostface knows what they did last something or another. Among the hunted are the slutty Buffy (Shannon Elizabeth), the ambiguously gay Ray (Shawn Wayans) and Cindy's backed-up beau Greg (Lochlyn Munro). But if anyone's going to save this gaggle of teens from certain death it's Special Officer Doofy (Dave Sheridan) -- a vigilant half-wit with an unnatural love for household appliances. Freeze-frame perverts who've laser'd holes through their American Pie DVDs can also admire Ms. Elizabeth's enormous talents in Dish Dogs (see bonus footage).
Notables: One breast. 21 corpses. One beast (Miss Mann). Trick-or-treater bludgeoning. Silicone knocker tumbles. Angry hornets. Puking. Gratuitous urination. Hiney slapping. Vacuum cleaner abuse. Two wangdoodles (including one THROUGH the brainpan). Compound leg fracture. Snot fountain. Male-reproductive fluid geyser. Riverdancing. Head rolls.
Quotables: Buffy emotes, "Oh my god! We hit a boot!" Ray is ready for action, "You wanna get butt nekkid and wrestle?" Ghostface adlibs, "I'm gonna kill you! I'm gonna slice you up! I'm gonna chop you like liver!" Miss Mann comforts Cindy, "Come in. Have a seat. Take off your bra if you like." The flick's tagline, "No mercy. No shame. No sequel." The current tagline for Scary Movie II, "We lied." Look for more dick jokes in Summer 2001.
Time codes: Buffy goes from prissy to hussy in six seconds (9:40). Squiggy the role model (24:50). The "Whassup" bit (39:55). Don't become so mesmerized by Shannon that you miss what's behind her (45:53). Low-rent Matrix moments (1:14:15).
Audio/Video: Artifact-free widescreen (2.35:1) transfer with little or no noticeable digital funkiness. Quality Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, but given the sort of film it is, there's not a lot of buzzing around the room.
Extras: Animated menus with audio. Six deleted scenes totaling about seven minutes of unremarkable footage (more raunchy stuff like Cindy's road map for oral gratification). A featurette, of about the same length, that touches briefly on the writing of the film and introduces its cast. Fullframe trailer with additional reels for the Scream box set, Gone in 60 Seconds, Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, Senseless, Hellraiser: Inferno and the Scary Movie soundtrack. Also included are these DVD-ROM items: Screensaver, Screenplay viewer, Character profiles and Scary Movie: Guide for the Culturally Challenged.
Final thought: The flick never aspires beyond the comedic gutter, and wallowing in the sewer is rarely this amusing. Gross-outs galore! Recommended.
G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.