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Wes Craven on whether or not there’ll be a Scream 5

If it happens, he knows where the story will go

Out stumping the DVD and BD release of the moderately successful “Scream 4”, director Wes Craven says – despite the Weinstein Company’s insisitence that a fifth film was indeed on the way – that he hasn’t yet been asked to do a follow-up. Nobody that’s seen the disappointing returns (it made $97 million about $70 million shy of what “Scream 3” did) on the latest chapter would be surprised to hear that.

Talking to Shock Til You Drop, the horror maestro said :

“Bob [Weinstein] doesn’t typically call until there’s something down on paper or something a writer can pitch to me,” Craven told us, “so I don’t expect to hear anything until Bob has that.”

Over on MovieWeb, Craven sounds a tad more optimistic about a Ghostface reprise.

“Yes. The odds are that there will be (a Scream 5). It is something that Bob Weinstein wants to do. He tends to do what he wants to do. So I am inclined to think that there will be (another sequel). Whether I will be a part of it or not? I don’t know. My contract gives me the first look. If they show me something that is really wonderful? Of course I will be a part of it.”

Craven says should “Scream 5” go ahead he has an idea where it’ll go – but his lips are sealed.

“I’d have to kill you if I told you. Its better to have an ending where you can’t tell where it’s going to go next. Than to have an ending where you go, “Oh, that is the hook for the sequel. That is the hook for the next one.” We felt it was better to let the audience speculate than to have all of these clues placed in their lap. It’s not a matter of not being smart enough (to figure out how 4 ties into 5). We’re clever at this. Let’s just put it that way.”

Craven explained how the whole sequel thing works, confirming that there is a stencil for a fifth and sixth movie.

” Most people think that I sit around and think up ideas. Then I send them to the studio. With Scream, that is not the case. Kevin Williamson has been the writer since day one. He has been the writer on all of these projects, at least at the beginning of them. That relationship with him and Bob Weinstein is very old, and close. Typically what will happen is that Bob Weinstein or Kevin Williamson will come up with a new idea, and they will pitch it to one or the other. If they both like it, they will toss it around and see if they can develop it into an overarching concept. Then I get the telephone call. They say, “We have something to show you.” It will either be a scene, or if it is Kevin Williamson, he will run through the idea with me from beginning to end. That is what happened on this one. There were a few pages. Not many. At some point there was a first draft. But it mainly started with me and Kevin Williamson sitting down in a restaurant in Los Angeles. He showed me how it would go, and I really thought he had something there. So I signed on. Before that point, I am at a position where I don’t want to be involved with something until the script is there. That makes me not a part of the original process, of banging out the idea. I think that Kevin Williamson is the best at that. And Bob Weinstein is all over that too. I don’t want to play another guy in that. Going into (Scream 4), the first meeting I had with Kevin Williamson, he did sketch out a Scream 5 and 6. The idea was that we were doing the first in a new trilogy. We had to wait to see if we made enough money on each film to make the next one viable. If that happens, those two will come up with the concepts and an idea that is worth fulfilling.”

You mightn’t think it but there’s a big difference between being 26 and 36, but there is most certainly is. For one, you can’t handle the all-night booze-a-thon’s as easily as you could before, but also, your tastes change – be it food, music, women, radio stations, the way you like to spend a Friday night and especially movies, you can almost guarantee you’re not going to go Lady GaGa for the same things you did ten years ago.

When Wes Craven’s “Scream” came out in 1996 I was in my second year of college, had no huge debts hanging over my head, no wife or child, and quite frankly, was – if only just – able to still appreciate a good teen movie. And of course It’s only natural, now that I’m a family man with a whole new set of problems and a whole new barrage of interests, not to mention limited time, that a film that worked for me over a decade ago isn’t going to work for me as well now. But at the same time, why do I still find “The Hunt for Red October”, “Die Hard”, “Highlander”… films even older than “Scream” as enjoyable today as they ever were? That’s where I’m stuck? Could it simply be that age hasn’t so much as hurt my enjoyment as “Scream” as, well, the Weinstein’s have?

Kevin Williamson’s libretto for “Scream” (or, as it was known before going into production, “Scary Movie”), released at a time when the horror genre was all but dead, wasn’t just a ‘good teen movie’ it was something more – it was smart, it was appreciably self-referential and, knowing audiences had seen it all as far as horror movies go by then, didn’t speak down to the moviegoer. For those of us who had grown up on a steady diet of Nightmare on Elm Street and Clive Barker movies, it was the perfect movie to resume the genre.

“Scream” was fresh, fun and like anything we’d seen before, but as the characters in this latest sequel “Scream 4” obstinately remind us, ‘you can’t beat the original’ and thus, the sequels to the surprise hit were never going to play as well as the first film did. So could it be that this latest sequel has inadvertently reminded me why I’m not enjoying this latest film as much as I did the original? I don’t doubt it.

Think about it, “Scream 2” passed muster, if only thanks to a few key moments and some fun twists, but “Scream 3” was the nail in the coffin for the series – a tacky, uber-goofy and very messy second sequel that Crane-kicked the once-promising series off the grid. Kevin Williamson, creator of the original film, had all but cut ties with the series by this point and in his place, producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein (who, let’s admit is, have always been money over merit) brought in untested gun-for-hire Ehren Kruger. Seemingly unaware of the fine line between subtle wit and embarrassing goofiness, Kruger’s script for ‘’Scream 3’’ near undid all the good of the previous instalments in the series by taking the characters out of their real-world situation – where they’re as clued in and familiar with horror movies as we are – and into somewhat of a fantasy world – a world where fictional characters like Jay and Silent Bob get to mingle with the lead characters and the kind of cliché, laughable movie-murders the original film made fun of are commonplace.
But we move on.

For the few that are aware of the many, many, many script changes (some say the film was being rewritten as they filmed), as well as the producers’ determination to play up the ridiculous (yep, that worked so well for “Scream 3”…), not to mention cast and crew’s oft-handed remarks that the film had derailed, “Scream 4”’s blemishes are easy to spot. For one, there’s the tone – for the most part the film embodies the same sort of a semi-serious slasher movie tone, complete with a great mystery at the center of it, that the first film did…. but then, somewhere around the half-hour mark, it ditches the scares and surprises and goes straight for the funny-bone – and fails near each and every time because, and not unlike all the events in “Scream 3”, we suddenly slip into a fantasy world. In addition, a lot of the key sequences do seem a tad messed with – as if someone can in and added a couple of extra minutes, for ‘punch’ sake, to each bit. One won’t be surprised to learn then that Kevin Williamson walked from the picture about three-quarters the way through (the official reason is that he had his TV series, the Vampire Diaries, to concentrate on) and was replaced by – yep, you guessed it – Ehren Kruger, the same chap who killed the last sequel with his ridiculous plot additions and terribly hokey humour. That’s undoubtedly the reason why the film plays a lot like a double feature – one half a bravura, smart tribute to the original film, the other half a hokey spoof with pointless padding.

Still, Williamson’s involvement in the film already makes “Scream 4” a much better movie than “Scream 3” – heck, it’s a “Scream” movie, not “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back… with Ghostface”.

You guys looking forward to seeing another one?

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