MTV’s small-screen reboot of Scream unleashed the first pieces of its marketing campaign earlier this week. A handful of teaser trailers signalled that we’re no longer in the fresh terrain of Wes Craven’s 1996 original movie. No, now we’re in a world that’s all-too-familiar with the tropes of horror, to the point where it’s becoming a trope in itself. Self-self-reflexivity? I’m sure that’s not where Kevin Williamson imagined his script would lead some twenty years down the line. Nevertheless, Scream is heading back to us this summer, and along with that fresh youthful cast all waiting to get sliced and diced, there’s another few changes in store.
Namely, the striking look of the series’ killer, Ghostface. The iconic mask worn by every killer in all four movies has been cast aside by MTV in favor of what network VP Mina Lefevre has called a “darker direction” that the series proposes to take. That’s presumably in contrast to four movies that revolve around a stream of savage murders.
Based on the trailers, MTV’s take isn’t that dark, and seemed to emphasise its very young cast over its ‘Scream brand’ vantage. “If the Scream movie mask was the more plastic version,” Lefevre said last year “this one is a more organic-looking and, frankly, darker version.”
Glimpsed briefly in those teasers, it shares more similarity with the masks worn by Sidney’s drama darlings in Scream 2. Craven addressed the topic while talking to THR:
“In general,” Craven says, reflecting on his own experience with the Scream sequel and beyond, “we didn’t mess with the mask at all. It’s something we didn’t try to change. With Freddy [Krueger] and the New Nightmare (below right), I felt that I probably should have stuck with the original face (below left). [With Scream,] we just let Ghostface be Ghostface.”
“It would have been safer [not to change Freddy],” Craven explains. “I’m not going to speculate in public, probably shouldn’t have even mentioned it, but you know, sometimes you realize that something’s not broken, so don’t fix it. And that was the course we took on all the Scream films: Don’t mess with that, it’s just perfect.”
Craven also adds that he wasn’t consulted about the mask change because his executive producer credit was merely him putting his name on the show. “I was too busy to do much else,” he says. Bob Weinstein however, who produced the original movies, has had more input on the show and revealed one of the reasons why the show adopted a new mask:
“The [new] mask itself plays a story element, and that is different from Scream the movie. It ties in specifically to the story. The mask has an importance; it’s not a mask for mask’s sake.”
It makes sense to switch up the face of a killer, especially if they want to exert an element of a) surprise and b) freshness. Whether the show is located within the world of the Scream movies or exists outside of them isn’t explicit judging by what has been released to date. Point being, in every instalment people are aware of the killer’s appearance and so by removing it – and that mask may return later – may throw folks for a loop.
Alas, as Ghostface is gone so is another element of what makes the Scream movies so darned terrifying: Roger Jackson’s deep, booming voice. THR reached out to the vocal genius, whose absence was revealed by the outlet following his thoughts on the mask:
“I can’t picture it. How can you have Scream without Ghostface? It’s like Friday the 13th without Jason.” Jackson says MTV hasn’t approached him to voice the killer, or anyone.
There you have it. No Ghostface. No voice of Ghostface. Whatever next? No Halloween references?!
Scream premieres on MTV June 30th.