WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BLACK IN THE WORLD OF SCREAM

the Scream The franchise’s influence on horror is undeniable. Scream (1996) ushered in a new era in the genre, inspiring a host of teen movies filled with meta-commentary and gore. Sidney Prescott is now in the “Iconic Final Girl” pantheon alongside Laurie Strode and Nancy Thompson. And the iconic Ghostface mask, ominous silhouette, and catchphrase have crossed multiple generations of fans. There are a lot of things around Scream movies that get knives from horror fans (myself included); However, there is an aspect of this franchise that has, until recently, been problematic. History of black personalities in Scream The movies are full of untapped potential, critical stereotypes, and generally lackluster character development. But there is also a spark of a promising future. Let’s take a trip down horror memory lane to see what it’s like to be black in Scream being.

background only … and that’s fine (Scream 1996)

Wait what?! Were there black people in the beginning Scream film?! Yes really. The reason you don’t remember any of them is because they barely make it through mustering as people. Almost every black person you see is a background character. There is a photographer taking pictures of the school when Sid and Tatum are walking inside and discussing the murders that happened the night before. A black child hands Sid’s teacher a note telling her to call Sidney to the office. And two of the children in the master’s classroom and in the corridors are black.

But the only black person speaking in this movie is a reporter. She lifts the Ghostface mask and says that it is what the killer is wearing while pondering when these murders will end. And you know what? It’s actually not a terrible thing that black people aren’t a factor in this movie. Sid’s entire friend circle is either dead or shot (Hi, Randy). And at least no blacks died for the mere death or sacrificed themselves for a white person. So… kind of a win for us but a loss for representation in general?

Maureen, Phil, Haley, and Joel (scream 2)

Looks like someone got the message about how, up until the ’90s, a lot of mainstream horror might exclude black people from the story. How do we know this? Well, the opening scene of scream 2 It features new characters Maureen and Phil, a couple who are in the cinema watching Stab. Maureen raises this point as a reason for her lack of interest in the genre in general. Sadly, Maureen and Phil quickly fell victim to Ghostface, making them the film’s first two fatalities. imagine that. The first two important Sudanese people in the series die within minutes.

Unlike Casey Becker, who had at least a casual relationship with Sidney as a classmate and Stu’s ex-girlfriend, neither of them were ever related to her. We later discover that they were targeted because their names fit into the pattern of the victims from the original killings. And this is a plot thread that is literally going nowhere. I hate seeing it. It’s almost as if Phil and Maureen were there just to feed the “black people die first/early” trope.

Now, when it comes to Haley, there’s so much untapped potential here that it just sickens. In the film, she is Sydney’s roommate who majors in psychology and wants to pledge a multicultural sorority. She also strangely dismisses Sydney’s shock despite her interest in psychology. We see Haley a lot and Elise Neal adds a lot of flair to her character. Who wouldn’t love her “Did you get that in the movie?!” A line after Mr. Gale punched (again)?

However, Haley still doesn’t feel like a fully developed character, and her relationship with Sid is sketchy at best. Sure, they don’t have to be best friends just because they’re roommates but something about their relationship just feels off. Sadly, Haley also dies in this movie… which is indirectly Sidney’s fault. (Sidenote: Their escape scene from that car is one of the best and most intense in the series.) Instead of listening to her wise roommate’s advice to “get a f*ck outta here” after narrowly escaping Ghostface’s attack, Sid wants to go back and expose the killer. Of course, he wasn’t there and he ends up jumping in and killing Haley in front of Sid.

The saddest part about this is that Haley could have had a more significant role in the movie. In fact, there was an earlier “fake text” that had Haley as one of the killers alongside Sid’s friend Derek, with whom he had a secret affair, Mickey and Mrs. Loomis. While having another of Sid’s friends wouldn’t have worked no matter what, it was interesting to explore Hallie as a killer. Dewey and Randy have a conversation about her possibly being the “Candyman’s daughter”, with Dewey rightly pointing out that serial killers are usually white men.

So, making Haley the killer would be an outrageous plot twist. I’m 100% here for more black female killers, tbh. Perhaps it was her interest in psychology that led her to approach Sydney so that she could study the mind of a survivor. or in context American Horror Story: 1984However, she was involved with an assassin to understand them but took things too far. Really missed opportunity.

The last black person in this movie is one of my favorites in the franchise: Joel Martin. Despite having a successful book that has spawned a movie, Jill can’t find a photographer and hires Joel. All the while, Joel wonders if he should be there because, well, there’s a killer on the loose. Gail is frustratingly abrasive to him and eventually does what Haley and Sid should have done after the accident: Get the f*ck out of town.

Duane Martin’s role is small but he feels comically hilarious every time he’s on screen. He definitely gets more development than the pictured Kenny and survives by simply getting away from Ghostface’s targets. Hilariously, he eventually returns, wanting to work with Jill again now that she isn’t being stalked by a killer. love it. However, when you think of all blacks in scream 2The message this movie sends is sad. It suggests that the only way a black person can be safe is to leave or not exist. We see more overall diversity in the background thanks to the new location, but what good is that if you kill off all the black people?

Tyson Fox (scream 3)

scream 3 is the most chaotic sequel in the franchise. It’s like two movies in one. The first is a horror comedy, a Scooby-Doo murder mystery with Jill, Dewey, and a gang of disturbing actors dying. The second is a horror drama with Sydney as she discovers the truth behind it all, including the abuse her mother suffered years ago. As the sole killer, Roman is essentially a supernatural being because how the hell did he do all that on his own?!

Anyway, if fans think any black character in this movie would be better off than the one in there scream 2, they were wrong. There’s Tyson Fox, the black actor who plays Ricky in it stab 3. His comic relief is mostly funny, but as the movie progresses, it becomes more like a caricatured “man in black joke”. In fact, before he died, he said, “You muthaf*ska” for no good reason. sigh. And to make matters worse, he is the only significant black character in this movie. There are some slums in the background, including a couple of police officers who come to Sid’s aid after she is attacked on set, but that’s it. And honestly, there was no reason for Tyson to exist except for a funny black guy in the mix. Boooo. Tomato, tomato, tomato.

Deputy Perkins (scream 4)

Warning: The above video contains graphic content.

Ten years later and nothing has changed when it comes to black characters. Vice character Anthony Anderson Perkins is basically Tyson Fox as a police officer. He’s less like a real person and more of a bizarre character who also makes jokes until he dies. And he’s the only significant black person in this movie as well, kind of mirroring the original Scream A movie that suggests Woodsboro is a very white town.

Mindy and Chad Mix Martin (Scream 2022)

ok ok ok. It only took 25 years for the franchise to finally introduce a solid black character who plays a vital role in the narrative and also survives it all. That person is Mindy Mix Martin, daughter of Martha Mix (and maybe Joel Martin?!) and a horror fanatic like her Uncle Randy. Mindy gives us information and makes us laugh while maintaining a realistic view of their situation. She can be dark at times but we get flashes of her heart. Nor is her homosexuality something taboo or shocking, but just part of who she is. Mindy is almost dropped in the third trimester, but luckily, she lives to fight another day!

There’s still a lot to explore with Mindy that this movie just can’t do. to be fair, Scream 2022 was introducing a whole new crew to carry the torch forward with Gale, Dewey and Sid brought back into the mix. But Sixth scream It’ll put her in the front and hopefully bring out her personality more. The same goes for her twin brother, Chad Mix Martin. He’s not quite as high profile as Mindy and his personality definitely fits the “high school jock” trope. And he’s not the brightest crayon in the box, he goes out in the dark to find Liv. But hey, maybe we’ll get more out of it next round. His personality is always a bit of a goner in these situations, so we’ll see what happens.

Dimensions Films/Paramount Pictures

So far, we haven’t seen much Sixth scream outside the trailer. But we do know that Meeks’ siblings will be the main characters alongside the Carpenter sisters. It’s a promising new era for the franchise, and the first time that the majority of the legacy/leading characters aren’t white. Of course, it’s very likely that one (or both) of the Meeks would die versus Sam or Tara losing their lives. It remains to be seen if other significant black characters will be in the mix. Let’s stay hopeful and see where this enduring story goes next.

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