‘Scream’ – Looking Back at the ’90s Horror Landscape Before Wes Craven Changed the Game – Bloody Disgusting

Scream was the first horror film I can remember there really being a buzz about in school. Granted, I was in the sixth grade when it was released, but it was the first time Id heard someone in the hallways say You have to see this about a horror movie. It was probably an eighth grader whod been lucky enough to witness it. That or he was lying and his older sister or brother had just told him about it. Personally, I had to wait for the VHS to come out but man, those alternate VHS covers were sweet, werent they?

If youve watched any behind the scenes featurette forScream (likely on the 25th anniversary edition that just released), youve likely heard it said how importantScreamwas to a horror genre on the ropes.Screamwas not only a cultural phenomenon but unleashed with it a brand new interest in horror among the masses and spawned a whole new subgenre.

Sure, most of the slew of copycats that were released after ranged mostly from decent to awful but people werepaying attention again. The idea that one of these monsters could be a high school kid or for that matter any next door neighbor rather than an unstoppable supernatural force frightened us. It made it possible for us to be the victim in our own kitchen when our parents were just up the road. Maybe what should have frightened us was the amount of money we were spending on POGs or the fact that weactually didthe Macarena but I digress.Screamhad us all interested in being scared at the movies again.

Screamwas released on December 20th, 1996. But was horror really in allthat badof a place whenScreamwas released? The short answer is Horror in the pre-Screamnineties was flashing its shit all over town like it was Sharon Stone or something. But lets face it, Sid. Horror was no Sharon Stone.

Lets take a look at the two years in horror that precededScream. Just a little disclaimer before we get started: The following information was garnered on IMDB.com and BoxOfficeMojo using the parameters that those websites listed them under the genre Horror. Which is why as one example, you wont see the movieSeven included. Though I see it as a horror movie myself, I just figured wed take out the subjective and go with cold hard facts like box office numbers and official genre classification instead.

In 1995, there were around only fifteen horror movies released in theaters. Starting in January withTales From The Crypts Demon Knight, which pulled in the second highest US Box office for a horror movie that year with $21.09 Million. The most successful horror film that year?Species,raking in over $60 million in US Box Office.

The Prophecyfranchise was also started that year, with Christopher Walkens film coming in number four in horror for the year, pulling in $16 million. Number five was DimensionsHalloween: The Curse of Michael Myerswith $15 million. (TheScreaminspired follow up,H20 would make more in its opening weekend alone just three years later.) Eddie Murphy-led A Vampire In Brooklynwould take over the three spot at just under $20 million.

Theres your top five for the entire year in horror. Now, lets take a deep breath and have a look at the other ten wide release horror films that released in 1995: In The Mouth of Madness, Hideaway, The Mangler, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Village of the Damned, Tales from the Hood, Lord of Illusions, Mute Witness, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next GenerationandThe Addiction.

Theres a few gems in there depending on how you feel about John CarpentersIn the Mouth of MadnessorTales from the Hood.And a couple of big name sequel titleswithTexas Chainsaw MassacreorCandyman.But there were a lotof middle of the road horror titles released in 1995 and even less that did well at the Box Office.

Now, lets take a look at 1996 up to the release ofScream

From Dusk Till Dawn

The year of 1996 released only eleven official horror movies in theaters.

Even then, that number is skewed considering one was more of a comedy withThe Frightenerspulling in $17 million and half-horror moviesThe Island of Dr. MoreauandDiaboliquetaking two of the top five spots at $27 and $17 million. The year did start out with a bang however, withFrom Dusk Till Dawn($26 million) opening in January. Another surprise wasThe Craft($25 Million),taking over the number two and four spots.

Stephen KingsThinnerwas THE ONLY horror movie released in theaters during the month of October and couldnt notch the top five or even top Hellraiser: Bloodlines March release ($16 Million), tallying just a touch over $15 million.

The rest of the year in horror was rounded out byScreamers, Mary Reilly, Dellamarte Dellamore and Bordello of Blood.Thats it. Thats the whole year in horror. Except

The number one ranking horror movie via box office in theaters in 1996? Wes Cravens Scream, which grossed $103 million at the US Box Office. Thats more than the next four films (From Dusk Till Dawn, The Island of Dr Moreau, The Craft and Diabolique) combined.

Think about this: The most successful horror film not namedScreamover the course of the previous two years wasSpeciesat $60 million. In comparison, eight different horror movies topped that mark postScreams release from 1996 to 1999. Two of them directly related to the sub genreScreamhad just created withScream 2andI Know What You Did Last Summer.

The third most successful horror movie over that time period,The Island of Dr. Moreau($27 million) was topped a whopping NINETEEN times at the US Box Office from the course of 1996 to 1999 with six of those movies (Scream 2, I Know What You Did Last Summer, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty, Urban Legend and H20) all having heavy Scream influences.

All of these numbers have me feeling a little woozy here. But, I think we all knew that Wes Craven had once again breathed new life into the horror genre when he unleashedScream upon the world. Just in case, though. The numbers are there to remind us.

Now, let me ask you this..if you were the only suspect in a senseless bloodbath would you be caught standing in the horror section? Get out of here!

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'Scream' - Looking Back at the '90s Horror Landscape Before Wes Craven Changed the Game - Bloody Disgusting

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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