To celebrate the released of Signed Sealed Dead, Cynthia Murphy is here to chat her favourite Scream scenes.
When I do live events, I get asked one questions on a regular basis: What’s your favourite scary movie?
Well, there’s only one answer to that, isn’t there?
I’ve been obsessed with Scream since I first saw it as a teenager. Most of my books have references to the franchise and I seem to revisit the themes over and over again; friendships groups you can’t completely trust, school settings and, of course, serial killers.
The last one is most pertinent to my new book, Signed Sealed Dead, because as I was plotting it I came across the case that the original Scream film was based on – The Gainesville Ripper. I was struck by the senseless killings, how they affected the local community and the way the deceased were honoured and remembered, so I set about creating a town called Shorehaven that would do the same thing for their lost girls. Only in Shorehaven, just like in the Scream movies, the killer comes back…
There are also some light-hearted nods to the films sprinkled throughout, including a scene where the school parking lot turns into a media circus and a reporter in a brightly coloured suit starts to approach the characters. Gale Weathers would have been first on the scene in Shorehaven, I have no doubt. So, without further ado, allow me to tell you some of my favourite moments from each film…and fair warning, we’re going straight in with spoilers…
Scream: The moment Tatum gets stuck in the garage door. She’s such a feisty, fearless character, right until the end, and it was such a shock to my system that they would kill her off! (I love this scene so much there’s a reference to someone wearing the cat flap as a Halloween costume in another of my books, The Midnight Game.)
Scream 2: Buffy aka Sorority girl Cici aka Sarah-Michelle Gellar. I was (still am) such a huge Buffy fan that seeing her play a defenceless character was haunting to me! I loved how they used that expectation and went totally against type for this role. I also love the fact that she was supposedly on the phone to Selma Blair’s Cruel Intentions character. Iconic.
Scream 3: Sidney at Sunrise Studios. When she’s all disoriented and being chased through her house in Woodsboro then swings through the door into nothing, because it’s really the Stab set, it’s one of those brilliant meta moments that the franchise is so good at and messes with the reality of the entire situation.
Scream 4: The big reveal. When the finale comes together and we are treated to the utter derangement of Emma Roberts’ character, (I love her) it’s a truly showstopping performance. That glass coffee table scene = chef’s kiss. I can’t help it, I love an unhinged female character.
Scream V: The last act, where Tara has to stop for her inhaler and we realise they’re going into Stu Macher’s old house. The whole way through this finale has been dangled in front of us, especially after Mindy’s requel monologue, but watching it play out while thinking back to the original movie and the characters connections to the OG cast was delicious.
Scream VI: The subway. The way this scene taps into such a shared fear is brilliant. Nobody wants to be separated from their friends in a busy crowd, especially underground, but make that crowd full of ghoulish masked characters while you’re being chased by a killer and that sense of dread is dialled way up. The sheer helplessness I felt when Mindy was stabbed and left for dead amongst all those people had me shouting at the screen.
So there we have it, a (very restrained) list of some of my favourite moments – these movies are crammed with iconic scenes that I love to rewatch. Oh, fine, have a few more…Gale being chased in the sound booth, Dewey in the hospital, the original two-pronged reveal, Randy and the twins, the video store, the cinema scene at the start of Scream 2 and, of course, the most terrifying thing in the entire franchise.
Gale Weathers’ fringe in the third film. *Screams forever*
Signed Sealed Dead by Cynthia Murphy is published by Scholastic in January 2024