Scream 3: What We Don't Know Will Kill Them

Fangoria Magazine: #188 November 1999 page 8.

Ready for Scream 3? Producer Cathy Konrad is. In fact, Konrad is deep into production on the film, which begins stalking audiences December 10.

Back for the latest go-round are director Wes Craven and stars Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox, joined by series newcomers like Parker Posey, Patrick Dempsey, Matt Keeslar and Lance Henriksen. "I don't think any of us thought the whole trilogy would happen so quickly," Konrad says. "The general thought was, 'We'll make one. Oh it did well. We'll wait a couple of years, make number two.' It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride in that way, but it has actually been fun."

The plot, based loosely on an idea by Scream creator Kevin Williamson and whipped into a script by Ehren (Arlington Road) Kruger, is once again top secret, but there's information gleaned from between the lines of Konrad's comments. "Sream 3, in terms of the subject matter, is as it was always intended to be," she says. "Our cast is growing up quickly. Our kids have graduated. It's not a high school movie; they can't be in high school forever. They have to move on in their lives. So the story is taking a natural arc with what they've been through and how they've grown up. The first one was in Woodsboro. The second one was in college. And now they're in the world. So the story has to progress; otherwise, the audience would be disappointed."

Scream 3 arrives on screens just a few years after the original Scream, yet it's a whole new world for filmmakers. The ultra-conservative MPAA continues to wield frightening power, as witness the neutering of the late Stanley Kubrick's Eye's Wide Shut on order to avoice an NC-17 rating. There there is the growing number of parents and legislators quick to blame films and tv shows for every societal ill, from simple juvenile delinquency to the Columbine High School massacre. Indeed, Killing Mrs. Tingle (directed by Williamson and produced by Konrad) ultimately emerged as Teaching Mrs. Tingle at least in part for fear of negative public reaction.

How far, then, is too far these days? Will Konrad and company be forced to make a G-rated Scream 3? "I have a conscience, but I don't think that in the spirit of entertainment, you can take it to the point where you're censoring yourself," she says. "Then what are we doing? I have really eclectic taste. I've made Kids, Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, Citizen Ruth. Sometimes the way in which a story is told can really speak to the climate of what people are talking about; it leaves it out there and says, 'We're all debating this. We're all looking at this. We're all having fun with this and talking about this. These are the things that are on my mind. Here's a character walking through it with a different point of view. Maybe it'll make you look and see things differently.' If we let the climate alter our artistic desires and whims, then we're in for a pretty ugly world."

And as Konrad sees it, this particular franchise has a quality that sets apart from other genre fare. "Scream has an irreverence to it," she says. "The genesis of Scream was that it was a horror film, but it also made fun of the horror movies and had a sense of humor about the genre. I think that takes the edge off what people generally perceived as the classic slasher movie. But horror movies are part of cinema history. They've been around and defined for a long, long time. We're not breaking new ground. And there's an audience for them; people who love to be scared. If you talk to Wes, the psychology of the release in a theater, to be able to be afraid or scream, is just part of human nature. And it's fun. It's a nice release."

Long before Scream scared the hell out of audiences and caught Hollywood by surprise, Williamson envisioned a trilogy. Konrad believes that Scream 3 indeed marks the end of the franchise... for now, anyway. But she knows better than to rule out a future installment. "It could turn around," she says. "Who knows? Five years from now, it could be, 'What's going on with that title? Let's go there again.'"

Whether she wants to go there again someday, is another issue. "I love the characters," Konrad says. "I don't want to do another one now. I don't want next Christmas to be about Scream again. It would be nice to take a break. But I'm not saying that 10 years from now, we wouldn't do it. Look how long it took to make another Halloween. Who knows? Maybe it could be fun again sometime, but not next year.

- Ian Spelling
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