The Scream franchise accomplished something that many horror movie franchises have not been able to do: consistently provide solid and entertaining sequels throughout its entire run. Despite anyone’s feelings about the third installment and how it compares to the others, Scream 3 did its job as a final film of a trilogy and did it well. Of course, the franchise went on to create a fourth movie, but when Scream 3 was being made, it was intended to be the finale of a slasher franchise that influenced many after it.
Writer Kevin Williamson (I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty) and director Wes Craven’s (A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hill’s Have Eyes) violent, comedic, and meta franchise produced four intelligent films from 1996 through to 2011. In 2000, the series’ third film, Scream 3, was released in the midst of a strange time in America. A time that included an attack on video games, music, and movies because of the Columbine High School massacre. With all these types of media being blamed for the violence that took place at that school, elements of Scream 3 were changed in order to appease a studio cautious of backlash. The film almost didn’t make it to production, but Craven fought for it and did what he could without straying too far the guidelines.
Scream 3 turns 18 today and continues to be an entertaining horror film that probably deserves more praise than it gets. To celebrate its anniversary, we’ve put together a few facts that you may not know.
7. The Setting Moved to Hollywood for More Than One Reason
Since Kevin Williamson, writer of the other three films of the franchise, was busy with other projects at the time, the job was given to Ehren Kruger (The Ring). Williamson provided a 20-30 page outline, but his ideas were not used due to the studio’s mission to make Scream 3 more comedic than violent. Kruger’s new script brought the characters and stories to Hollywood because he said that the characters should have moved on to bigger and better things outside of small town Woodsboro.
This idea is interesting, but the move was actually due to concern that the film would receive backlash if the film was set in a small town and involved violence related to a school in any way. The Columbine High School massacre had taken place in April of 1999, less than a year before Scream 3 began production.
6. Kevin Williamson’s Original Outline Involved a Stab Fan Club as The Killers
Williamson’s outline for Scream 3 was pushed to the side but we still got to know what story that outline contained. While promoting his TV show The Following (2013), he revealed that he had used ideas from his script for Scream 3 in the making of the show.
In a 2013 interview Williamson explained, “In my original story for Scream 3, the killers were basically a fanclub of Woodsboro kids that had formed because of Stab 1 and Stab 2. They were all doing the killings and the big surprise of the movie was when Sidney walked into the house after Ghostface had killed everyone … and they all rose up. None of them were actually dead and they’d planned the whole thing”. In the same interview, he also says that he wrote that “quest for fame” into Scream 4‘s Jill Roberts.
5. Wes Craven Helped Much of the Script’s Development
Continuing the subject of Scream 3‘s script, Kruger felt that because he was not a part of the making of Scream (1996) and Scream 2 (1997), he struggled to truly capture the characterizations that had already been established. Although Kruger’s script had issues in how it portrayed the characters, Wes Craven would step in when needed to make changes to the script so that the characters better emulated their roles from the first two films. Kruger himself went on to credit Craven for the work he did on the script’s development.
4. Randy’s Return in Scream 3 Came From Fan’s Negative Reaction to his Death in Scream 2
Randy gained a lot of fan attention after the first film’s release. It should come as no surprise that his death in Scream 2 did not go over well with fans. Jamie Kennedy’s (Malibu’s Most Wanted) character shined through both Scream and Scream 2, and his death was heartbreaking, which caused a lot of feedback to come pouring in. Obviously, that feedback was filled with love for Randy and anger toward the filmmakers.
This negative feedback caused the crew to rethink the character’s demise and encouraged them to consider having him return alive in Scream 3. His disappearance would have been due to his family hiding him after he was attacked to recover from his injuries. Ultimately, this idea was scrapped and Randy makes a small appearance in the video he left behind, which continues his role of the king of meta within the franchise.
3. Nick Cave Recorded a New Version of Red Right Hand For The Film
The song Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seed has been used in all kinds of different forms of media including commercials, TV shows, and movies. The song was also included in three movies in the Scream franchise with the original Red Right Hand appearing in both Scream and Scream 2. The version recorded for the film has gone on to be recognized as Red Right Hand 2 and was later released on Nick Caves 2005 album B-Sides and Rarities.
2. Emily Mortimer Was Convinced Her Character Was the Killer
Scream 3 does what these films do best: make us constantly question the identity of the killer. Pages of the script for Scream 3 were sometimes written the day of filming, with multiple versions of the script always in circulation. This was all done to keep the film’s mystery a secret and so that it couldn’t be leaked online. This tricked actress Emily Mortimer (Shutter Island) as well and she became convinced that her character was the killer.
Mortimer played Angelina Tyler, who was the actress playing Sidney in Scream 3 for the production of Stab 3. There is a significant scene where Sidney finds Angelina hiding in a stall in the women’s restroom with a Ghostface mask and outfit and a cellphone. Interestingly, this bathroom was designed to replicate the bathroom where Sidney was attacked in Scream. After this meeting of the two Sidneys, Angelina leaves and Sidney gets a phone call from the killer.
As she explained in an interview, “What they do to you in these Scream movies, what they did, which is quite mean is, they make you all believe that you are the murderer. You get the feeling that you are, and you get delusions of grandeur, and you go around and then you perform in every scene as if you’re killing everybody, but then you get to the end and you’re not the murderer”.
1. Scream 3 Broke a Few Records After Its Release
Both Scream and Scream 2 were very successful and several more teen slashers emerged after their release. With this obsession sweeping the country, Scream 3‘s release broke several records. Its opening weekend earned more than any film during the January through April season with a whopping $34.7 million.
Scream 3 also set a record for being shown on 3,467 screens in the U.S. during that opening weekend. This record was then beat by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001),opening on 3,762 screens but for a brief time, Scream 3 reigned supreme.
Scream 3 may not be the most well-received installment of the franchise, but it fits right into the series by continuing the violent comedy that was expected. It has cameos, jokes about its own production, twists, and mystery which makes it a stable addition to the group. I suggest you revisit Scream 3 today as it turns 18 and I think you’ll be surprised at how much it holds up even as the (arguably) weakest film of the very strong franchise.