Whenever I stop to think about how long it’s been since the Scream movies first debuted in theaters, it makes me feel, well, old. Heck, the installment we’re discussing today – Scream 2 – was rolled out during my freshman year of high school, and is now celebrating its twentieth anniversary.
Now, all these years later, I can’t help but appreciate the franchise for the same reasons I did back in the day: It had all the elements of the classic slasher, while also serving as a commentary on the horror genre itself and, on top of that, succeeded in enthralling moviegoers such as myself with its whodunit nature. In other words, perhaps the biggest appeal in watching any Scream movie is eventually finding out just who’s under the iconic Ghostface mask that time around.
Well, believe it or not, screenwriter Kevin Williamson – the mind from which Scream emerged from in the first place – actually put in extra effort to keep such answers from becoming public knowledge before opening weekend. In fact, he penned multiple endings to Scream 2 in hope of keeping the true outcome off the internet. Granted, the commercialized internet of 1997 wasn’t quite what it is today, but that didn’t mean there weren’t bloodthirsty fans populating chatrooms and such.
One notable fake-out saw Jerry O’Connell’s Derek and Elise Neal’s Hallie be unmasked, thus having a sort of Natural Born Killers-type vibe to it. Actually, I read this draft myself a few years ago and thought it to be the original ending. But now, according to a discussion he had with Dread Central, it was indeed intended as a dupe all along:
“The Hallie and Derek ending was a dummy draft. At the time the script was written, the studio was determined to keep the plot details under wraps. They were worried the killer’s identity would be leaked, so we wrote several endings. Three in all, if memory serves, and when actors and potential crew members asked to read the script, we would send the script with the dummy ending.”
“There was even a fake ending where Dewey was the killer. They existed as a decoy and nothing more. Extreme measures, but we really wanted to keep the killer’s identity a secret!”
Funny enough, not even Jerry O’Connell himself knew about this until years later:
“I didn’t know about that until after — like years after. Somebody told me — I think at a comic con or something… because we never got the ending. When we first got the script, I got everything but the last twenty pages. I think they rewrote the ending — I’m not sure if it got leaked or what, but the script had a weird non-copyable pattern on it that you couldn’t make xerox copies of it.
“It’s funny. Revisiting the film, I guess I could see that but Timothy Olyphant was so good in that — in that turn — it was sort of fun to see him do that.”
Upon reading that, I’ll second saying that Timothy Olyphant did a fine job as Mickey, one of the actual killers to have been unmasked, along with Laurie Metcalf’s Debbie Salt/Mrs. Loomis. Actually, Scream 2 was the film that caused me to first take notice of him, so it’s probably for the best that he landed the gig, don’t you think?