15 Fascinating Behind-The-Scenes Facts And Trivia About The Original ‘Scream’

Now that a new Scream movie is finally coming out, it’s time to go back and rewatch the epic original. Released in 1996, Scream brought on a new golden age of slasher horror, a subgenre that hadn’t seen a boom like this since the early 80s. Whether you’re new to the series or you’re an old-time fan, the following behind-the-scenes trivia for the original Scream will have you appreciating this classic even more. Be warned: Spoilers ahead.

Matthew Lillard’s Happy Accident

Matthew Lillard in Scream

Matthew Lillard got the role of Stu Macher purely by accident. A casting director spotted him when he was in the building accompanying his then-girlfriend to an unrelated audition. They loved his look and asked him to audition for the role. Can you blame them?

Courtney Cox Fought To Play A “Bitch”

Up until Scream, Courtney Cox was really only known for her role as Monica on Friends. At this point in her career, she was sick of being cast as the nice girl. When she heard about Scream, she wanted the role of sassy and bitchy Gale Weathers to break out of the stereotype. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an easy sale for Wes Craven and the producers. They were worried that she might not be able to pull it off. But she fought for the role and got it, thankfully.

A Nod To Halloween

In the opening sequence, when the parents come home and can’t find their daughter Casey (played by Drew Barrymore), the husband tells his wife to “go to the McKenzie’s.” Did you catch the reference? This is the same think that Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode tells the children she’s watching when Michael Myers arrives in the original Halloween.

The Voice Of Ghostface Just Got Creepier

Does the phone voice of the Ghostface killer creep you out? Director Wes Craven made sure the cast would have the same reaction by never introducing the voice actor, Roger Jackson, to anyone. That scary unknown made the phone conversations with Drew Barrymore and Neve Campbell all the more unsettling.

Drew Barrymore Took A Smaller Role

Drew Barrymore in Scream

Drew Barrymore is the biggest name in the cast, but did you know she was originally set to play Sidney? When she saw the smaller role of Casey, she decided to switch characters. She figured–and rightfully so–that movie-goers wouldn’t see it coming that the person with the biggest star power dies within the first 15 minutes. Now that was a great choice.

An End-Credits Easter Egg

Did you ever notice this tidbit after the “Special Thanks” section of the end credits: “NO THANKS WHATSOEVER TO THE SANTA ROSA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD.” That’s Wes Craven’s little fuck you to the high school they originally wanted to film in. Once the school board read the script, they backed out of their deal and Scream had to film in Healdsburg, California instead. Wes Craven doesn’t forgive and forget.

Ghostface Almost Had An Unfortunate Costume

With a name like Ghostface, you might think that the black robes are a bit out of character. Well they originally wanted the film’s killer to have white robes more befitting a spooky ghost. In testing they realized that a white-robed Ghostface was far too reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan, so they scrapped it. Good idea.

Caller ID Has Scream To Thank

Back in the 90s when people used archaic landline phones to call up their friends, few had the privilege of knowing who was calling them. Sure, Caller ID existed, but most people opted out. After the creepy phone calls in Scream however, people finally saw a good use for it. Caller ID use increased by three-fold after the movie was released.

It Was Going To Have A Very Different Name

Scream wasn’t the first choice for the title of the film. Originally they wanted to title it “Scary Movie”–a nod to the horror-loving nature of the script and characters. In fact, if you watch through it again, you’ll notice characters say “scary movie” five times throughout the film. In the end, they changed it to Scream and the parody film got to call itself Scary Movie instead.

His Pain Wasn’t Acting

Skeet Ulrich getting wrecked for real in Scream

Toward the end of the movie, Neve Campbell’s Sidney, dressed as Ghostface, attacks Skeet Ulrich’s Billy with an umbrella. Of course, this is a movie, so the action had to have safety measures. In this case, they padded Ulrich’s chest. Unfortunately, in the moment, the padding moved and she hit him square in the chest. That would hurt anyone, but it was especially painful for Ulrich because he had metal wiring in his chest from prior open-heart surgery. The pain you see from him in that moment is very real.

Ghostface Got A Stand-In

Usually when there’s a masked killer, the actors who don the mask aren’t the ones you’d think. They’re played by stunt professionals for maximum effect. That’s the case in Scream except for one scene. When Ghostface is creeping up behind Jamie Kennedy’s Randy toward the end of the movie, Skeet Ulrich requested to wear the Ghostface costume instead. It’s the only time in the movie when it’s one of the actual killers.

The Director’s Secret Role

Most people know about Wes Craven’s cameo as the Freddy-inspired high school janitor, but he played another role as well. When Casey hits Ghostface with her phone after he smashes through a window, that’s Craven under the mask. Apparently Ulrich wasn’t the only one who wanted to sub for the stunt crew.

The Longest Party Of Their Careers

The last 42 minutes of the movie is spent at Stu’s house for an epic party. It ended up taking production 21 days to film that section, from sunset to sun-up. The crew called it the “longest night in horror history” and even had t-shirts made that said “I SURVIVED SCENE 118.” Now if only I could get my hands on one of those shirts…

One Of Your Favorite Lines Was Ad-Libbed

The scene in the kitchen when the killers have revealed themselves to Sidney, Matthew Lillard’s performance stands out. Many fans love his line, “my mom and dad are going to be so mad at me.” Did you know that line wasn’t in the script? Lillard ad-libbed that gem on-the-fly and Wes Craven loved it so much he kept it in the movie.

The Audience Saved Dewey

Deputy Dewey’s near-death scene in Scream

Deputy Dewey, played by David Arquette, is a beloved character, which explains why he’s played a prominent role in the whole Scream franchise. Originally, Wes Craven wanted to kill him off. It was in the script for him to die in the end and that was how it was originally filmed. Just in case, they filmed the scene with him alive. When they screened the movie with his death for test audiences, people were pissed that Dewey didn’t make it. We have those test audiences to thank for Craven switching the ending to a living Dewey for the official release.