In recent years we have been witnessing more and more frequently a whole series of revivals of more or less successful franchises, an attempt above all by the world of cinema, but also in part by that of TV series, to try to bet on sure horses, so to speak, to achieve great successes and put all the difficulties of recent years behind us. There is often talk of the alleged lack of ideas in Hollywood related to this issue, of the tiredness that this extreme exploitation of franchises leaks, but in reality on closer inspection it is not always the case and as proof of the contrary there is one of the most interesting films of these first months of 2023, the sixth chapter of Scream, which in collaboration with the previous film released last year has definitively consecrated the saga, while bringing it a breath of fresh air.
The franchise created by the genius of Wes Craven has a very long history: the first Scream It dates back to 1996 and over time it has become a cult film, also thanks to the parody made by the first Scary Movie, which interfaces closely with the film which in turn stages a refined parody of the slasher genre. From there the saga expanded, with the next two chapters released between 1997 and 2000, a fourth in 2011 and finally the fifth and sixth in 2022 and 2023, two films capable of giving new life to a recovered franchise and reinvigorated by the new wave of adaptations and derivative works that is sweeping Hollywood, showing the goodness of this dominant trend when carried forward with care.
The fifth and sixth chapter of Scream have made the Wes Craven saga one of the most popular horror franchises long-lived that there are. At the same time, they have renewed the extraordinary charge that the film series has always had, constantly maintaining its hallmark: the parody. Looking at the history of Scream, we can well say that it is not true that in Hollywood there are no ideas, but basically often lacks the courage to dare and to bring them to the end. Scream instead he has never been afraid to raise the bar of his own parody more and more and this has been the secret of his success.
Scream is a unique franchise
Horror cinema is rich in long and multifaceted franchise, often born from a cult film and then carried on beyond belief, including sequels, prequels, remakes and so on. It’s no exception Scream, which overall weaves its plot in an increasingly convoluted way, but without ever losing its compass. The Wes Craven franchise is one of the few in the horror genre that has never – or almost never – lost its momentum. Even the most successful horror sagas, from Friday the 13th ad Halloween and so on, they accused moments of profound tirednessgoing towards reboots that reinvigorate the narrative or choices of total break with the past to try to reverse an unconvincing course.
This scenario, however, has never occurred with Scream, which experienced a moment of slight decline only with the quarto chapter, probably inferior to the others but certainly not disastrous, but overall it has always remained on its decidedly high levels, and it has done so without ever distorting or reinventing itself. Watching Scream 6, you can still fully breathe the atmosphere of the first legendary chapter and that time has passed can only be seen from the aging of some original characters and from the technical apparatus, clearly evolved in the last few films. Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be nearly 30 years between the first and last chapter of Scream and this is one scenario which is really seen in very few, if any, horror sagas.
The courage to remain yourself
The great secret of longevity and luck of Scream it is precisely this ability to non distort and to always remain himself, always finding a new and more risky way to continue on his own path. The first chapter of the saga has become a cult and has had a huge resonance precisely because of its ability to be both a story and a parody of it. May not have an official ironic and parody apparatus, Scream has never hidden his satire on the traditional patterns that govern the horror genre, especially the slasheralso exposing it directly on more than one occasion and then prolonging it in the following chapters, maintaining a clear explanatory apparatus aimed at underlining this intent.
Starting with the second chapter, Scream he carried out a satire of himself right within the films, with the conception of the saga of Stab, the films based on the murders in Woodsboro and the drama by Sidney Prescott, which represent reality in narrative fiction. With this ploy, the franchise began to forcefully parody itself, creating a kind of matryoshka conceptual showing the making of films based on real murders while still other murders are taking place around them, always linked to that main story and even fueled by the cinematographic myth. A parody of reality within a parody of reality, in a delicate and ingenious mirror game.
It is created in the various chapters of Scream a rush to parody more and more extremebecause from the ridiculing of the dynamics of the slasher films of the first chapter we move on to the parody of the rules of sequels, midquels, reboots and so on, staging and ridiculing them at the same time, raising the level of parody more and more, which however it is never explicit, alla Scary Movie to be clear, but always remains on that thin thread that regulates theequilibrium between satire and story.
Constantly maintaining this delicate balance, Scream it manages not to drop in quality, and it only manages to raise the level of parody, because as in any self-respecting horror franchise, as the plot progresses, the plot becomes more and more complex and so does the parody, which never fails Of courage and always hits the mark. Scream 6 is the definitive demonstration of this scheme.
Scream 6 and the consecration of the franchise
The fifth and sixth chapter of Scream have, therefore, sanctioned the definitive rise of the saga, returned to the dawn of the first three chapters. It’s not a simple reshuffle of ideas, but a job carried out to perfection: we didn’t go ahead just to exploit the franchise of Scream, as frequently happens for many other products, but we have worked to make the whole context evolve, which is quite different. Scream 6, after the great success of the 5, it has consecrated definitively the saga, making it one of the most successful horror series of all time, with still clear margins for development.
In addition to consecrating its franchise, Scream 6 he also gave an important demonstration on that debate on the lack of ideas that is hitting Hollywood introduced at the opening. Betting on so-called safe horses is not in itself a lack of courage, but depends on how you do it. Running franchises just to take advantage of their aura denotes a certain tiredness, but doing it because you still have stories to tell and elements to explore, on the contrary, denotes intelligence. Even in the great franchises many are born ideajust develop them boldly.