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25 years of panic | How TERROR’s metalanguage helped renew the Slasher genre

Don’t answer the phone. Do not scream. Try not to panic. This is how the modern classic Panico, written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven, came out upon its release in Brazil. In the plot, a mysterious figure, Ghostface, brutally murders the young people of Woodsboro, a fictional town with a recent dark past, full of stories involving false appearances and betrayals. With metalinguistic elements, the assassin, or the assassins, as we know well in the end, invest in dialogues around horror films that make the narrative self-referential. There are debates on Friday the 13th, Nightmare Hour, Death Invites You to Dance, Halloween – The Night of Terror, among other striking slashers. In the development of Scream, the filmmakers embrace all the clichés we love so much about these movies, while also criticizing them. It’s a delightfully tense and clever saga, tasked with taking terror to the next level, in a demonstration of the possibility of being clever and daring, which is not expected in a film like this, usually dealt with with contempt by specialist critics, unfair and short-sighted in its ability to reflect carefully on the narratives, without being content to stay within the analytical schemas.

Before starting the analysis, watch the trailer for the new movie that released today:

Panic | Important points to pay attention to in the first trailer – including a theory that could change the franchise

Here we are?

Enjoy watching:

The classic opening scene. Drew Barrymore plays Casey Becker, the character who chats with Ghostface about horror movies, before being brutally murdered. Note that the filmmakers share the image of the actress with a popcorn in preparation, metalanguage for entertainment and the setting up of a filmic story that goes beyond the references to so many films mentioned. There’s even some self-reference, with the character saying the first A Hora do Nightmare is cool, but the rest are good garbage. Wes Craven says that here we have a situation that relates to what happened with Psychosis, that is, the supposed protagonist of the narrative dies right from the opening scene, in a meandering curve of the narrative towards other dramatic nuclei. Pulling the knife off the bench in this passage, Drew Barrymore is already hinting at his fate further down: death at the hands of Ghostface.

Another reference in this opening passage is the classic When A Stranger Calls, a film about a young woman terrified of a psychopath threatening her over the phone, someone who is supposedly inside the house itself. where the girl keeps her children. Production design and cinematography work here together, focusing on exploring spaces as much as possible and conveying to viewers the climate of danger experienced by Drew Barrymore’s character. Note that the windows and glass doors are elegant, but show that there is a lack of security when placing the girl in a situation far from the imagined protection. In voice, the team managed to make Roger Jackson the manager of Ghostface over the phone. Radio-trained, the vocal performer helped establish the oppressive atmosphere of the film’s passages.

Another passage which reveals the lack of security in the house, in the face of the Ghostface attack. Windows and glass doors make the character more vulnerable. And more: for the director, the gradual popularization of cell phones allowed the angst to be even greater, because the killer in his privilege of mobility could be anywhere. Wes Craven said that to accentuate actress Drew Barrymore’s sense of horror in this famous scene, he told her a story about a dog dying, an event that made the girl sad every time and allowed her to cry more profusely in the passages that called for his depiction of despair.

The blue background on the television screen indicates, in a metalinguistic way, that a cinema session is about to begin. In the other passage, Sidney looks at the chair where his classmate was sitting, now not anymore, given the brutal death at the hands of Ghostface.

The architecture of the glass houses reveals the vulnerability of the characters. Sidney, a character who we’ll know to be the last girl in the tale, a protocol breaker in Panico’s metalinguistic slasher, lives in a house that, when it comes to the security elements, doesn’t help the character, as the danger around him is constant. Below, the film features the first appearance of Maureen Prescott, a character who will play a significant role in the pain points of the franchise’s first three films, originally slated to be a trilogy, but who won the excellent fourth film in 2011.

In this scene, Sidney confronts the psychopath over the phone, initially thinking he is Randy, the goofy friend who is obsessed with horror movies. She discusses the slasher’s predictability with him, pointing out the flaws of this type of film by saying they are insulting to the intelligence of even the average viewer. In the next scene, Dewey is shown at his workstation, set by the art direction with items that make him a silly guy, without the seriousness expected of a firmer, more masculine law enforcement officer, according to the media. standards.

Courteney Cox’s Gale Weathers demonstrates that he’s no joke in Woodsboro and decides to try and clear up some awkward questions from Sidney Prescott. Below, more metalanguage, now in a cameo appearance by Linda Blair (of The Exorcist) as one of the media reporters trying to extract testimony for her sensational stories about the crimes rocking the city.

Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott meet in a brief, enlightening dialogue. The journalist feels that the young woman is no longer so sure of the terrible story surrounding the murder of her mother. By eliminating the young girl’s weakness, the smart and unscrupulous reporter realizes the sensational potential that can be extracted from this story and is encouraged by the possibility of enjoying the events that will reverberate in future films in the franchise.

Two passages referring to the legacy of Wes Craven. The first is the director himself on stage, as a cleaning assistant at the school, wearing an outfit that reminds us of the monster from Nightmare Hour, the famous Freddy Krueger. Afterwards, Sidney and Tatum chat with the young woman and in the dialogue, the friend of the last girl says that the events will not turn out as one imagines, because they are not in a film by Wes Carpenter. , also a reference to the Halloween director, creator of Michael Myers, the epitome of the slasher referenced elsewhere in the film, when the characters discuss the rules of survival in a slasher.

The maximum atmosphere of cinephilia at the time. Video rental companies, dream territory for the characters. In the scene, Randy and Stu are talking about the suspects and the first, one of the most moviegoers of all, points out that police should watch horror movies to better understand why certain things are happening. If everyone saw death invite you to dance, solving crimes would be much easier, said the young man.

While having fun at a party in a remote area, kids learn the basic rules of survival from Randy in a slasher movie. Not having sex or saying “I’ll be right back”. Here are some of the basic measurements. To explain the subject, he uses the last part of Halloween – The Night of Terror, 1978, to better explain these rules. The metalanguage, in these excerpts, reaches several different levels and demonstrates how conscious Panic is when he flirts with the clichés he criticizes, embracing them without leaving aside the critical sense.

Here, the latest daughter Sidney Prescott breaks protocol and indulges her boyfriend. After losing her virginity, can she be a candidate for the position of survivor? This is what we will learn later, in the twists and turns of the story. Randy, in the next passage, can’t imagine the sequence of horrors yet to set in. In the scene, Jamie Lee Curtis appears in the background, in one of the most iconic parts of Halloween – The Night of Terror.

Ultimately, we find out that Billy and Stu are the killers. Sidney confronts them, manages to uncover the location of her missing father, and fights for his life alongside Randy and Gale, survivors of the massacre. Both critical and box office success, Scream revitalized the genre and became a blockbuster franchise, echoing the slasher fever that emerged after its release. We can really understand the reasons for success. Clever, shrewd, and fun, the film shows how horror is fertile ground for a mixture of entertainment and social criticism. With characters more developed than usual in this subgenre, the Ghostface saga continued in three more films.

Ready for the next adventure with the Scream franchise? Let’s understand the second chapter of the Ghostface saga better in the following text, okay?

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