Scream Queen Neve Campbell won't let her kids watch the iconic Scream horror movies
‘Would I let my kids watch Scream?... Absolutely not’
DO you like scary movies?’ It’s the unforgettable quote that turned Scream into instant horror classic back in 1996, and quarter of a century on, happily leading lady Neve Campbell still does.
The iconic slasher film about a masked killer stalking the high schoolers of Woodsboro tore up the Hollywood rule book when A-lister Drew Barrymore was slain in the opening scene.
Three sequels, one TV spin-off and countless spoofs later, now Ghostface survivor Sidney Prescott lives to fight another day in the fifth entry in the franchise, also called Scream.
“I can tell you Ghostface is back,” Neve teases of the flick, which has just hit big screens here. “It’s scary, funny and there are a lot of surprises along the way. I can’t say anything more than that.”
In today’s spoilertastic world, the Canadian star admirably doesn’t want to ruin the fun for cinema-goers, instead expounding on what attracted her to the role of the unlucky teen in the first place.
Nineties teens will recall how it was Sidney’s boyfriend, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich), who was ultimately unmasked as the grisly murderer alongside best pal Stu (Matthew Lillard) in the first Scream.
“I remember I was on Party of Five at the time,” says Neve, who famously played Julia Salinger in the hit US teen drama. “It was the first year and I think we were about to be cancelled.
“I hadn’t had a lot of success and Scream was the first lead in a film that I had ever come across so it was just a really big deal to get that job. Then Party of Five was saved and it all kind of worked out.”
“It was so well written and had such a talented director and cast,” remembers the 48-year-old of Wes Craven’s homage to classic horrors such as Halloween. “It was fresh and new and really reinvented the genre in a lot of ways.
“Not that I sit down and watch it all of the time, but if a Scream movie pops up on television they are so much fun to watch.
“Wes Craven knew what he was doing. He knew how to give people a really great rollercoaster ride, scare them and make them laugh. That’s why Scream has stood the test of time and why it’s back now.”
Sadly, the legend behind A Nightmare on Elm Street, who died of cancer in 2015, is no longer around to see a whole new generation of teens cower behind their popcorn buckets. And his death aged 76 gave the actress pause for thought about returning to Woodsboro.
“I was a little unsure about doing this without Wes Craven because he was such a genius,” admits Neve, who worked with the director on all four previous Scream films.
“I loved that man. He was incredible. He had a really twisted sense of humour. I loved the fact that we could shoot something horrific, he would say ‘cut’ and then you would hear him giggling behind the monitor.
“But [directors] Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett wrote a letter to me saying how enthusiastic they were about making this film, how honoured they were, and how they are directors because of the Scream movies. It really sold it to me. Their enthusiasm was really exhilarating and certainly made me excited about jumping back on board.”
“It was nice to get the opportunity to work during Covid and we shot this in North Carolina, which was beautiful,” adds Neve, next seen in Netflix crime drama The Lincoln Lawyer.
“To step back into our characters and imagine them going back to Woodsboro and back to that world was so much fun.”
Scream 5, as it’s also known, sees the main protagonist return to her hometown as a new killer dons the Ghostface mask and begins picking off a batch of new teens.
As well as reuniting Neve with original cast members and real-life pals Courteney Cox and David Arquette, it welcomes newcomers including Melissa Barrera, Jack Quaid and Jenna Ortega to the franchise, reportedly already set for a sixth outing.
Praising the “talented” young bunch for their energy on set, the mum-of-two only hopes they’re better prepared for cult horror movie fandom than she was in 1996.
“I was so naïve,” laughs Neve. “I didn’t know anything. I remember the first weekend it hadn’t done so well, then the second weekend my agents called and they were like, ‘It made $30million!’
I was like, ‘Is that bad?’ I had no idea about any of that stuff. That was my first indication of something to be excited about career-wise. It all just went crazy after that.”
Her varied CV now boasts roles in House of Cards, Mad Men and Skyscraper alongside Dwayne Johnson, but Neve confesses she’ll always be Sidney to some. When it comes to her sons Caspian (9) and Raynor (3) with partner JJ Feild, however, she’s hoping to remain just ‘mum’ for as long as possible.
“Once in a while I go to these autograph signing conventions and go to meet the Scream fans with young kids who will come up to me,” she says. “Their parents are covered in fake blood, with their three-year-old children covered in blood too!
“We had one little boy come up who had a fake axe stuck in his head with blood seeping down. He was like, ‘Scream is my favourite movie!’ I was like, ‘Wait you’re three or four. Shame on you parents!
“Scream is a family event for some people, but my children? No, absolutely not.”
Scream is in cinemas now
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