The Spirituality of Scream
Reflections on horror and happiness
Though I’ve written about the Scream saga for NYLON, I’ve never had a chance to say that for me, this is a spiritual text. Neve Campbell’s Sidney is not just another long-suffering final girl, but the new martyr of the trauma century. Every few years, just as she has settled into a life of peace and placidity, the nightmare recurs, the phantasm emerges, and she is plunged back into the bloodbath. Sidney’s iron will to face the specter, to endure, to watch her fame-seeking villains drown in their own desperation — it’s the stuff of the Old Testament.
With every sequel, as a new killer arrives in town, the survivors exchange a shorthand. “It’s happening again.” Similarly, when Lena Dunham introduced Hannah’s latent OCD to Girls, she titled the episode “It’s Back.” Though this disease was new to viewers, to Hannah and her family, it was an ancient menace. Every Scream has a new killer, with their own funhouse motives, and a camp-fag monologue for the ages. But Ghostface itself is one continuous entity, a silent apparition from the past, returning every few years to drag you back into the movie of your past.