In 1996, the horror genre got a much-needed shot in the arm with the release of big screen slasher flick, Scream. The movie, directed by Wes Craven, told the story of a group of high school students, terrorised by a masked killer and starred Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette.

Unlike most slasher films of the time, which took themselves very seriously and became very repetitive, Scream felt like a breath of fresh air, as it poked fun at the genre and satirised many horror conventions and stereotypes. The movie also featured various nods to horror films of the past, and was seen as a real treasure trove for fans.

Produced on a budget of $14 million and warmly received by critics and audiences alike, Scream was a box office smash, raking in the big bucks and quickly becoming a milestone movie in horror. All these years later, Scream is still highly regard and is fondly looked on by horror enthusiasts.

Image: ©Dimension Films
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If you were a fan of Scream back in ’96, and you remember the marketing campaign that surrounded the movie, then you will recall the posters which were produced to promote the film. The posters appeared in movie theatres, at bus stops, and on billboards, while the artwork was reproduced for use in magazines and comic book adverts.

The posters came in a few variations, but generally contained the same key image – a striking close-up of a girl’s face. In the rather expressive image, the girl has her hand to her mouth, with her eyes wide open in shock and terror.

Image: ©Dimension Films

Back in ’96 the sheer simplicity of the image was enough to sell the scare factor of the movie and was utilised throughout the theatrical release of Scream to highlight this was a shocking horror film. The image also carried through to the movie’s home video release, where it was repurposed for the cover artwork for VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray.

But who is the girl on the Scream poster? And why was she so important for the film’s promotion?

Image: ©Dimension Films
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The girl in the Scream poster is Drew Barrymore; the actress who played the role of Casey Becker in Scream. Casey was famously ‘killed off’ during the movie’s opening sequence, to create a shocking start to the story.

As the movie opens, Casey is seen to be home alone, making popcorn and watching a scary movie. She then receives a phone call from an unidentified caller, who at first seems playful but then quickly becomes aggressive.

As the sequence plays out it becomes clear the caller is toying with Casey to frighten her. He then terrorises her in person, but not before killing her boyfriend who is tied up outside her house.

Despite a valiant fight for survival, Casey is then killed off, just as her parents arrive home. Her death is a truly gruesome moment in the movie, and one which proved to be very important for the film.

At the time of Scream’s release, Barrymore was one of the more famous names amongst the cast, leading many audiences to believe she played a lead character throughout the film. However, by killing Casey during the opening moments of the movie it became clear that no character (and no actor) was safe from the killer’s knife and this was certainly a game-changer.  

Image: ©Dimension Films
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As mentioned above, Barrymore’s image was used throughout Scream’s theatrical release, and this really helped to sell the idea she was an important element of the movie – which of course, she was. But the image was also so strong, that even if audiences were unaware that it was Barrymore on the poster, the depiction of a frightened girl was enough to sell the movie.

All these years on and the image has endured. Whether it crops up during Halloween, a discussion on ‘90s movies, or a look back at classic horror films from the past, show that image to most people and they will know instantly what it is, highlighting that the Scream movie poster is as good now as it ever was.

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Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post about Scream. For more spook-tastic posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.

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