In 1996, Wes Craven’s Scream hit movie theatres and not only injected a strong mix of scares and hilarity into the horror genre, it also proved to be a phenomenal success. The movie was adored by critics and audiences alike, took the box office by storm, and quickly became one of the best loved horrors of the ‘90s.
But Scream didn’t just win over audiences worldwide, it also introduced a new horror icon in the process. The icon was Ghostface – a hooded figure, who would not only slice and dice his way through the movie, but also come back for all of the Scream sequels.
Decked out in a simple, yet spooky costume, Ghostface was a force to be reckoned with, and the creepy-looking serial killer certainly caught the attention of fans. Ghostface also knew how to deliver a killer line or two, leading to the costumed creep serving up some of the scariest pieces of dialogue in horrordom.
But of all the lines uttered, what was Ghostface’s famous catchphrase?
Ghostface’s famous catchphrase is: “What’s your favourite scary movie?” He first uses this line of dialogue during the opening scene of Scream.
In the sequence, Ghostface makes a telephone call to the Becker household, with the call being answered by a young woman called Casey. Ghostface pretends that he has misdialled, and was trying to call someone else, but in truth he has the correct number and it is Casey he wants to speak to.
But as Ghostface is an anonymous caller, Casey makes it clear that she doesn’t want to engage in conversation with him, and she politely hangs up the phone. Undeterred, Ghostface calls back two more times, to ‘playfully’ keep the conversation going.
On the third call he manages to keep Casey on the phone just long enough to learn that she is about to watch a horror movie. And it is at this point that he delivers his famous phrase, which proves to be a very important phrase indeed.
Why? Because “what’s your favourite scary movie” is an open-ended question, which means it requires a considered response from Casey.
If it was a closed-ended question, such as ‘do you like scary movies?’, she would only need to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’, which would end the conversation there and then. But by being an open-ended question, she provides a movie title as her answer, which in turn encourages further conversation, and this is exactly what Ghostface wants.
Ghostface wants to keep Casey on the phone for as long as possible, and by asking her what her favourite scary movie is, she has to think about her reply. The more she thinks, the longer she remains on the phone, and the more prone she becomes to answer further questions.
This is all part of Ghostface’s plan – he wants to keep Casey talking, so that he can toy with her. His objective is to show up at her house very shortly, so that he can murder her, but not before having a little fun with her over the telephone.
Of all the great pieces of dialogue that Ghostface says throughout Scream, ‘what’s your scary movie?’ is his signature phrase. It is a key line, that enables him to further the conversation with his first onscreen victim, and this ensures he gets exactly what he wants – which is bad news for Casey.
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post about Ghostface’s catchphrase. For more horror-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.