It’s still iconic, 20 years later.
By the start of 1997, the question “Do you like scary movies?” needed a trigger warning. Hear it and you’d probably think of Casey Becker, the teenager played by Drew Barrymore who just wanted to watch “a video” in the comfort of her nice country home with oversized windows.
“Scream” wasn’t very kind to Casey Becker. She was gutted within the first 15 minutes, after a masked maniac later known as Ghostface quizzed her about the horror genre. It was a shocking setup to what would become one of the decade’s defining films.
Barrymore appeared in the trailers and the foreground of the posters. Killing off the movie’s most famous star so quickly was a Hitchcockian maneuver reminiscent of Janet Leigh’s murder in 1960’s “Psycho.”
“The genre had been quiet for a while,” Barrymore told The Huffington Post during a recent conversation in New York. Historically, horror projects hadn’t lured top-tier stars, but Barrymore said she was “bullish” about “Scream” because Kevin Williamson’s script was “so good.” Her involvement got Miramax the green-light it needed to proceed, but with a twist: Barrymore had signed on to play Neve Campbell’s lead role. She later decided she liked the idea of challenging viewers’ security with such an unexpected opening, so Barrymore requested to play Casey instead. It paid off.