“What’s your favorite scary movie?” For countless horror fans (including this writer), the answer to that question is “Scream,” the 1996 meta feature from slasher king Wes Craven and then newbie screenwriter Kevin Williamson. As summed up in Entertainment Weekly’s “The Ultimate Guide to ‘Scream,’” at the time of its release “the Hollywood slasher film was as dead as a promiscuous camp counselor on the eve of Friday the 13th” thanks to “a dozen or so years of countless sequels, increasingly formulaic premises and onscreen violence that had grown more and more tedious with each new offering.” A true game-changer, “Scream’s” satirically witty script and self-aware characters resurrected the genre, officially turning horror cinema on its head while poking endless fun at it along the way.
Thoroughly embraced by audiences, the film’s unexpected popularity paved the way for a slew of sequels (four to be exact, with a fifth to be released in 2023), which have grossed over $740 million worldwide, thereby cementing the franchise’s status as a veritable horror juggernaut.
Originally envisioned as a trilogy, “Scream’s” third installment was released in 2000 and seemingly wrapped up the gory storyline of resilient Woodsboro resident Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her bloody battles with Ghostface – until “Scream 4” was released a decade later, that is. Currently streaming on Paramount+, the tertiary flick sees our heroine facing off against the masked knife-wielding killer yet again, this time in Hollywood, where “Stab 3,” the film-within-the-film, is being lensed.
Showcasing the City of Angels in all of its glory, the production makes use of several famed area locales, including West Hollywood’s historic Harper House, which portrays the apartment complex where Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) is murdered in the harrowing opening sequence. The American Cement Building pops us as the high-rise office of horror movie producer John Milton (Lance Henriksen), complete with a diving board propped several stories above the adjacent MacArthur Park Lake. And standing in for the fictional Sunrise Studios is Radford Studio Center, a production facility in Studio City that has served as a home to everything from “Seinfeld” to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” throughout its nearly 100-year history.