Review: 'It All Began With A Scream' Gets under the Mask of the Classic Slasher

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday October 12, 2021

Review: 'It All Began With A Scream' Gets under the Mask of the Classic Slasher

Do you like scary movies? If you're a fan of the genre, and by extension a fan of "Scream" (quite possibly the film that changed the way audiences engaged with the genre), then pop-culture analyst and author Padraic Maroney's new book "It All Began With a Scream" will take you behind the scenes of one of the biggest box-office franchises in movie history. Maroney expertly places the film into context: When the film was released in 1996, the horror-film genre had been all but decimated and made uninteresting, until an inspiring new talent decided it was time to look at it from a new angle.

Written by Kevin Williamson (the creator of the television series "Dawson's Creek"), the script immediately grabbed Hollywood's attention. Williamson was elated when it landed in the hands of producers that were interested bringing iconic horror-filmmaker Wes Craven ("A Nightmare on Elm Street") on board. The book chronicles the very early days of the project, which was being pitched and bargained for all over Tinseltown; Craven wasn't easily enticed to take on the project, about a shadowy serial murder who taunts his victims though phone calls and teases them with horror movie tropes before "gutting them like a fish!"

Maroney lovingly illustrates how affectionately the on-set producers regarded the now-late Wes Craven, who came to embrace the project, especially after the producers landed superstar Drew Barrymore to appear in the movie. The book chronicles the challenges they faced, and the opposition they the filmmakers confronted from the studio itself; "Scream" would be one of the biggest blockbuster franchises launched by Dimension Films, which was run by two of Hollywood's biggest players: The Weinsteins. Bob and Harvey weren't exactly thrilled with how the movie was going as it headed into production, and made numerous demands.

The Weinsteins were eventually won over when Craven and his team quickly edited the first 13-minutes of "Scream," and intro that became the most important moment of the entire franchise; the rest, as they say, is film history. The book details how Craven worked to put his perfect cast together and create a "safe environment" for them to realize one of the most horrifying screenplays ever. Between Kevin Williamson's script, Wes Craven's directorial instincts, and one of the most perfectly-cast voice actors of all time, "Scream" would become the horror movie against which all that followed would be judged. "It All Began With a Scream" is a treasure trove of on-set insight and exclusive commentary.

With the fans anxiously anticipating the next installment in the franchise (yes, there's a "Scream 5" coming up), Maroney's look into the making of this iconic piece of cinematic history is perfectly timed, and an enjoyably revealing read. This tome is full of anecdotes from the talented creatives who were in on the nightmare from the first stab to the final "good bye" from the cast to Wes Craven, who leaves a legacy worth screaming about.

"It All Began With a Scream," by Patrick Maroney, is out now from BearManor Media.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".