The 31 Days of Scares isn’t a countdown of the best horror movies. In fact, it’s not even about the best movies. It’s simply about some of my favorite “scares” or scenes from horror movies and they’re in no particular order. So there’s no need to debate countdown order. It’s pretty random. With that said: on to the countdown!
The idea of killing your biggest star in the first act of your film isn’t an entirely original idea, but it’s so rarely utilized that it’s completely shocking when it happens. The classic example of this that’s referenced in film classes across the world is, of course, the 1996 classic “Executive Decision” where Steven Seagal dies unexpectedly.
Coincidentally, that same year, another film would kill off it’s biggest star in the first act. Drew Barrymore was explicitly billed as the star of “Scream”, but going off of the promotional material you would’ve thought that she was. Her character is featured prominently in the first trailer and posters featuring the cast have her up front and center.
And, at the time, Drew Barrymore was the biggest name attached to the film. So of course people would assume she was the star, no one would’ve thought the chick from “Party of Five” was actually the lead actress over Drew Barrymore. So if you went into “Scream” expecting to see Drew Barrymore kick slasher ass, you would’ve been pretty shocked after the first ten minutes.
What’s even more shocking about Drew Barrymore’s death is that it’s especially violent. The little girl from “E.T.”, America’s sweetheart, gets eviscerated and hung up from a tree while her guts spill out onto the floor in front of her parents. A lot of people die painful deaths in “Scream”, but they aren’t quite as graphic as that opening kill.
And that’s important because it establishes a few things. First, killing off Drew Barrymore shows that no one is safe and anything can happen. That’s most important. And secondly, it sets a tone letting the audience know that the film won’t be pulling punches with it’s violence. And even though the violence isn’t that bad for the rest of the film, the audience is still on edge cause they have the expectation of it being horrific and in your face.
For scare number 7 we’re watching Drew Barrymore’s death scene from “Scream.” Check it out below.