My Favorite Horror Movie: It Began with a ‘SCREAM’

There’s the movie that introduced you to horror… and then there’s the one that made you fall head over heels in love with the genre. For me, that was Scream (1996).

At the tender age of five, I thought my little eyes were deceiving me as I watched a man turn into a werewolf in An American Werewolf in London (1981). And they were. For weeks, I lived in fear that at any moment, the Kessler Wolf would get me. Until my mother, an artist herself explained to me that monsters weren’t real, but they could be created like the paintings she composed. From that moment on, I was fascinated with horror in all its forms.

At thirteen years old, I saw my first slasher (Friday the 13th 1980) and found my new favorite subgenre.

The only bummer? I was late to the party.

It didn’t take me too long to devour the horror section at my local video store, but the early 90s left much to be desired on the horror front. Most new releases were straight-to-video dreck that didn’t compare to the big guys: Freddy, Jason, and Michael. Even some of those were starting to (for lack of a better word) suck.

I began to wonder if horror really was over and the kids at school were right – I was weird and I needed a new hobby.

Then one night, in the fall of 1996, I was cleaning up spilled soda and soggy popcorn at my first job cleaning auditoriums between shows at the movie theater when a trailer came on that caught my eye – and I stopped dead in my tracks.

It was Scream.

Not only was my generation getting its very own slasher, but horror legend, Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984) was directing it. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, it had a killer cast of my favorite stars (pretty rare for a horror movie at the time): Drew Barrymore (E.T. The Extraterrestrial 1982), Rose McGowan (The Doom Generation 1995, am I right?!), Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich (The Craft 1996), Courteney Cox (Friends 1994), David Arquette (Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1992), and Matthew Lillard (Serial Mom 1994).


Well, I had no choice but to hand the mop to a nearby customer and excuse myself. I had to go out back and tell everyone else who was also taking a break at the most inappropriate time possible on a Friday night. But no one was as pumped as I was.

I knew it was going to be good, but I had no idea what a game-changer it would be.

Scream had a slow start at the box office during the Christmas season in 1996, but with word of mouth and rave reviews, went on to become a huge success and the highest-grossing slasher ever (until Halloween (2018) de-throned it). It can be surmised that the continuation of the Halloween franchise may not have even happened without the influence of Scream. It single-handedly breathed new life into the genre… and me.


After that first viewing – the most intense and genuinely frightening opening of a horror film I’ve ever experienced, and the most engaging, reality-bending film to follow – I knew that I had to pursue a future in the genre. My zest for creating monsters both literally and on the page was renewed, and interestingly enough, others began to see the potential, too.

Suddenly, I didn’t seem so weird and the genre I loved didn’t seem like such a (ahem) dead end.

At the time, it seemed like Scream was going to be such a tough act to follow. But clearly, I wasn’t the only one whose creativity and love for the genre were revived. Horror has gone on to not only reclaim its rightful place at the forefront of pop culture but it was produced some of the most thought-provoking, fear-inducing shared experiences for people the whole world over.

SCREAM VI (2023)

With Scream VI releasing soon, we’ve come a long way, baby… and the Scream franchise continues to simultaneously set and break every rule along the way.



About Adrian Lee

Adrian has been a part of the horror community for over 30 years in some capacity. She's a special effects makeup artist, haunted attraction actress, and writer. She's here to shame the family name and continue spreading horror throughout the land.

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