As horror fans, we make it our business to know the most obscure details about our favorite films. We watch the bonus features on the Special Edition releases of our favorite DVDs; we read retrospectives and interviews in support of our most beloved titles. But even the most diligent fan is bound to miss something along the way. So, to help you get the lowdown, we're launching a new segment that rounds up some lesser-known trivia from your favorite horror films. For this installment, we're setting our sights on the 1996 Wes Craven classic Scream.
Scream is one of the most commercially and critically successful slasher films, and the thirteenth-highest grossing horror film of all time. There is a wealth of interesting information surrounding the film’s production, as you'll soon discover...
1. The Michael & Janet Jackson Song of the Same Name Inspired the Film’s Title
Scream was originally planned for release under the title Scary Movie (a title which wound up attached to another Dimension release) but the title was changed after Dimension's Harvey Weinstein heard the Michael & Janet Jackson single "Scream" played on the radio.
2. Drew Barrymore Was Originally Slated to Play the Role of Sidney Prescott
Barrymore thought that people might assume that she was the lead character, and killing her off first would catch the audience of guard. Not only did this surprise the audience, it also assisted in the revitalization of Barrymore’s career after a series of underappreciated films.
3. Molly Ringwald Was Reportedly Offered the Lead
Former teen star Ringwald is said to be a favorite of screenwriter Kevin Williamson. But Ringwald turned down the role because she thought she was too old to be playing a teenager at 27. One has to wonder where Ringwald’s career would be today if she had taken the part, or if the film would have connected with audiences in the same way?
4. Craven Took Unconventional Measures to Ensure Barrymore Was Acting the Part
The director told Barrymore true stories about animal abuse and cruelty to keep her looking sad and scared throughout the filming of her scenes.
5. The Part of "Ghostface" Was Inspired by a Real-Life Killer
The character was loosely based on Danny Rolling, also known as "The Gainesville Ripper," who preyed upon college students in the Florida area. Four of his confirmed victims attended The University of Florida.
6. Caller ID Usage Tripled After the Film's Release
This is probably due in part to the gradual reduction in cost of the technology as well as the expansion in availability, but it’s safe to say that the use of the telephone as a tool of harassment didn’t hurt the growing demand for caller ID services after the release of Scream.
7. Courtney Cox Took the Gale Weathers Role Because She Wanted to Shed Her "Nice Girl" Image
Cox reportedly wanted to avoid being typecast in parts that paralleled the one she portrayed on the ultra-popular series Friends. (Actress & comedienne Janeane Garofolo had previously turned down the role.)
8. The Killer is Not Actually Using a Voice Distorter in the Film
The gravelly voice of Ghostface is actually that of voice actor Roger Jackson.
9. Ghostface Was Originally Set to Appear in a White Robe
The color white was chosen to make the killer look more ghost-like. It was eventually changed to black in order to avoid any comparisons to the garb warn by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
10. Linda Blair Has a "Blink and You’ll Miss It’ Cameo
The Exorcist star plays a small role in the film as the reporter who screams the line about people having "a right to know." Her name does not appear in the credits.
11. Matthew Lillard and Neve Campbell May Have Been Romantically Linked During Production
The pair’s alleged relationship seems to have flown under the radar in light of Courtney Cox and David Arquette’s much more publicized off-screen romance.
12. Scream Was Originally to be Shot at Santa Rosa High School
The school determined, at the last minute, that the film was too violent; school representatives said they thought Scream was to be a comedy and not a horror film. There is even a reference to this in the credits: “No thanks whatsoever to The Santa Rosa City School District Governing Board.”
If you enjoyed this piece, Ryan Turek’s documentary Still Screaming: The Ultimate Scary Movie Retrospective is a great resource that covers a lot of things you didn’t know about the film. Also check out 10 Things You Might Not Know About Trick 'r Treat and 10 Things You Might Not Know About Rosemary's Baby.