Wes Craven Talks Scream 4 Blu-ray

The iconic horror director Wes Craven brings home the latest installment of this popular slasher franchise on Blu-ray and DVD October 4th

Arriving just in time for Halloween is director Wes Craven's horror sequel Scream 4, which continues this popular franchise on Blu-ray and DVD October 4th. Ten years have passed, and Sidney Prescott, now a best selling author, returns to the town of Woodsboro to face the masked killer Ghostface in what may or may not be their final confrontation.

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We caught up with Wes Craven to talk about this long-awaited home video release, the possibility of more sequels, and the Vespa accident that made him realize he's been doing it right all these years in terms of gory special effects.

Here is our conversation.

Throughout Scream 4, the characters run a commentary on every single horror cliché there is. But at the end of the film, none of them comment on the "fallacy of the talking killer", which is what does your villain in this time around...

Wes Craven: I guess we needed you on set to remind us. (Laughs) We needed you there to guide us. Sometimes, we just miss something. Or, we didn't think it was that big of a deal, or part of the scene. But you are certainly right. Someone could have said something about that (particular cliché).

Watching Scream 4 on DVD, it seems like the beginning of this movie is really tailor made for the home audience...

Wes Craven: How so?

I'm watching this thing at 5 am in the morning. Its dark outside. You give us three false endings, which find people sitting, watching the same movie on DVD. When the final opening title card comes up, I felt compelled to turn off the TV and make sure there wasn't someone in my kitchen. It was real 4D...

Wes Craven Talks Scream 4 Blu-ray{10}: (Laughs) We were certainly aware that many people will be watching this at home, and in many ways, its bigger than the theatrical release. Especially in terms of immersing the audience. This is something that has kept growing and growing, and growing. More and more people are watching their movies on the computer now. So, next time, we'll have people watching (Stab 9) on their computer screens.

Back when Scream 2 came out, I'd heard that the VHS release would feature a different opening, to reflect the movie's arrival on home video as opposed to it playing in theaters...

Wes Craven: Wow. That is the first I've heard of that one. There are plenty of things that have bubbled up, which were above my surface of consciousness. Like that idea. It would have been too expensive to go out and reshoot that opening for home media, frankly.

This new Blu-ray and DVD has a gag reel. It should have been called "Fucking with Actors". Is this a tradition that stretches through all of the Scream films? Having Ghostface hide and scare them?

Wes Craven: Yes, Unfortunatly, it has become a tradition. Our prop guy loves to hide, especially from our new actors, because they are easy to scare. Through that, they can get a sense of the adrenaline level we are looking for in a scene.

They try to get you at one point, and you are a stone wall. Are you impossible to scare at this point in life?

Wes Craven: No. I don't think that's true. I think there is something out there that still scares me. You get used to a lot of things, when you are on a film set. There are so many things that you have rehearsed or participated in, in the imaginary world. That makes it harder for you to be scared in the real world. There was an interesting thing that happened this summer. I had to ride a Vespa, and I had a crash on it. The kickstand went right into my leg, and it tore the muscle. The muscle was just hanging there. The ambulance showed up, and I looked at that meat hanging there for the first time. The thought I had was, "We have been doing really good make-up all of these years." Because it looks exactly like that. (Laughs) My feeling about fear is that you get a better handle on it. More so than you would if you never thought about these things. Especially being in a situation that is new to you.

Were you able to get back on the Vespa after that accident occurred?

Wes Craven: Yeah. It took me a while to get back up on the thing. It was a pretty serious injury, so for a long time, I was semi-disabled. I was limping around. And I didn't want to be on the Vespa, thinking, "I can't put my foot back down." But it happened to me solo. I was on a dirt road, out in a place where we were on vacation. Then, the combination of gravel and soft sand kind of threw me. I was hanging onto the throttle with my right hand, so the bike kept going. It interlocked, and then it flipped me. It happened in a split second. But, after awhile, there was this feeling. I had to get back on the horse. I have had a couple of things like that in my life, and this accident was just one more thing. That is an interesting thing to think about. You have to consider the body. "You are not going to put me in this situation again, are you?" (Laughs)

That whole idea plays directly into Scream 4, and what we see Sydney going through. She has to return to this town, where all of these horrible things happened to her. I assume that you recognize that psychology within this character.

Wes Craven: Yeah. The whole idea of having Sydney come back to her hometown, where all of this stuff has happened? We talked a lot about that, Neve Campbell and I. How much terrible fear there would be to stomach, coming back and getting on that horse. Coming back to her hometown where all of these horrible things happened, and where all of these revelations came out.

When Scream 4 was in production, you all said that this was setting up a new trilogy. The ending doesn't point to any clear continuation of this story. Can you tell us how this particular sequel was set up to play directing into Scream 5?

Wes Craven: No. I'd have to kill you if I told you. It's better to have an ending where you can't tell where it's going next. Then to have an ending where you go, "Oh, that is the hook for the sequel. That is the hook for the next one." We felt it was better to let the audience speculate than to have all these clues placed in their lap.

In that, you are saying that there are clues peppered throughout Scream 4 as to where Scream 5 is headed. If you were smart, you could link up those clues...

Wes Craven: I think so. Look. It's not a matter of not being smart enough. We're clever at this. Let's just put it that way.

Ghostface returns in Scream 4{26}

Wes Craven: No. It's been ten years. If there was someone like that, they would have gone and gotten a job...

I guess that's what I mean. I know Marley Shelton wasn't working as an extra at the time. But did you go back, find a blonde in the crowd, point a finger at her, and say, "Let's create a character based on that random extra in the background!"?

Wes Craven: No, we didn't do that. We felt there could be a person in the background. But its not like there was someone that looks like her back in those scenes.

So, if I go back through that first film, I can play Where's Waldo with the extras, and choose my own Marley Shelton...

Wes Craven: You are certainly welcome to do that. (Laughs) If you find a really good one, let me know.

Throughout Scream 4, you do touch on a lot of the recent horror movies, especially those in the torture porn genre, which utilize all kinds of instruments of death. The fascinating thing about watching this movie is, you get a lot of milage out of having just a big buck knife as the killer's weapon of choice. The kills are never boring. They are always fresh and new, but you are working like Jack White, with this very limited palate...

Wes Craven: We are certainly always trying to make the use of the knife different. There are now a lot of clichés about using the knife as a weapon. We always go into it, thinking, "How can we make this different? How can this be fresh?" It's a combination of things. You obviously want to be working with Kevin...I mean characters...Its interesting that I said Kevin, because that's what he does. He makes these characters that are so compelling on their own that the actual kill isn't as important or more important then the character itself. Which is true in a lot of slasher films. The character is almost disposable. We think a lot about the characters. The characters of Sydney and Joe are very complex, compelling characters. You never, on the other hand, want the scary part, or the weaponry during the attack, to go down in the same way every time. Those each need to be a set piece, in order for people to talk about them. I think everyone we go into, we are trying to reinvent the wheel. Like Omar Epps in the bathroom, listening to someone in the next stall doing something weird, and then he is stabbed through the wall. You are always trying to stay one or two steps ahead of the audience. They can't think, "Okay, he is going to get killed here." Bang! You have to do it from a direction they didn't anticipate. That is the fun game of the whole series. Trying to stay a couple of steps ahead of the audience.

I loved the forehead kill, and the mail slot kill. Those were my two favorites...

Wes Craven: Well, thank you. The forehead kill wasn't in the script. But I did it, and I was afraid that Bob Weinstein was going to fire me as soon as he saw the dailies. But he didn't say anything about it. A lot of people have liked that scene. Some people have said that it is impossible. That no one would be able to get out of the car after being stabbed in the forehead. But there are actually several cases of this happening. There is one famous case of a guy that was a minor, who set off a piece of dynamite in a hole, in a rock that he was drilling. It pushed a three inch bar of steel through his brain. He survived and lived for many years. I knew it was possible. In fact, we just had a congresswoman that was shot right through the head, and she survived. It was just one of those ideas that I had on the spot. The script read that the cop just gets stabbed sitting in the car. I felt like I'd seen that a lot of times already. So, how could I do something that would be shocking, get people talking, and be a lot of fun? That came to my mind, and I was like, "What the Hell? Let's do it like this, anyway!"

I thought it was one of the best scenes in the movie. And it was a surprise. I didn't see Scream 4 until yesterday morning, when I watched it on DVD. I didn't know the ending. All of the surprises hadn't been ruined for me. Were you a little happier with the way the audiences and the fans behaved this time in terms of not spoiling it for everyone else that hadn't seen it yet?

Neve Campbell returns as Sidney Prescott{41}: I spoke a lot about this before the movie came out. This time out, I feel that we were treated with great respect. Let's put it that way. We went through the usual security measures. Every script was watermarked with the name of the person we sent it to. At the end of the day, it was up to the fan if whether or not they wanted to run out of the screening and head to the internet, Okay, here are some spoilers! If you don't want to know... I hate that whole thing, and it was becoming a cultural norm. People giving away endings. The secrets of a film. I spoke to a lot of interviewers about this, and I made it clear that it is a disservice to the filmmakers. It really is. And it causes us a lot of extra work to keep this secret. You can't distribute scripts the way you'd want to. We had to give all of our actors that came in for casting dialogue pages from {42} 1. We never had them reading pages from the actual script. We wouldn't let them know what their role was. We were afraid that someone would take the sides home. If they didn't get the part, they could easily put these on the Internet, Look, this guy gets killed right here! That's how it goes. We did whatever we could to keep our secrets. And I think it was handled well by the audience. I think they finally paid us the respect, to do what we are doing, and let it be a surprise in the theater. It was still a surprise when people saw it.

Yeah. I was amazed that I still didn't know much, here, some six months after it came out theatrically. It worked. I think the fans handled it quite well this time out. Which brings us to Scream 5 and 6. Are you guys still planning to make those sequels?

Wes Craven: Most people think that I sit around and think up ideas. Then I send them to the studio. With Scream, that is not the case. Kevin Williamson has been the writer since day one. He has been the writer on all of these projects, at least at the beginning of them. That relationship with him and Bob Weinstein is very old, and close. Typically, what will happen is that Bob Weinstein or Kevin Williamson will come up with a new idea, and they will pitch it to one or the other. If they both like it, they will toss it around and see if they can develop it into an overarching concept. Then I get the telephone call. They say, "We have something to show you." It will either be a scene, or if it is Kevin Williamson, he will run through the idea with me from beginning to end. That is what happened on this one. There were a few pages. Not many. At some point there was a first draft. But it mainly started with me and Kevin Williamson sitting down in a restaurant in Los Angeles. He showed me how it would go, and I really thought he had something there. So I signed on. Before that point, I am at a position, especially after Cursed, where I don't want to be involved with something until the script is there. And finished. That makes me not a part of the original process, of banging out the idea. I think that Kevin Williamson is the best at doing that. And Bob Weinstein is all over that too. I don't want to play another guy in that.

After Scream 4 was released in theaters, and it maybe didn't do what was expected at the box office, Harvey Weinstein came out and said he was still planning on making Scream 5...

Wes Craven: Going into it, the first meeting I had with Kevin Williamson, he did sketch out a Scream 5 and 6. The idea was that we were doing the first in a new trilogy. We had to wait to see if we made enough money on each film to make the next one viable. If that happens, those two will come up with the concepts and an idea that is worth fulfilling.

So, will there be a Scream 5?

Wes Craven: Yes. The odds are that there will be. It is something that Bob Weinstein wants to do. He tends to do what he wants to do. So I am inclined to think that there will be another one. Whether I will be a part of it or not? I don't know. My contract gives me the first look. If they show me something that is really wonderful? Of course I will be a part of it.

I wanted to let you know, I took some footage of my dog watching Scream 4, and uploaded it on Youtube for you...

Wes Craven: Really? (Laughs) I will look that up as soon as I get done with these interviews...

{bold|I think she liked it. She closes her eyes whenever one of the characters gets killed.

Wes Craven: We didn't kill any dogs.

I think that's why she liked it. If you'd have killed a dog, she would have gotten up and walked away.

Wes Craven: We had a lot of dog barks. I use the dog bark a lot in Scream. They let you know that someone is moving around out there in the dark!

To see Rydell watching Scream 4: CLICK HERE

The Scream 4 Blu-ray and Scream 4 DVD arrive in stores October 4th.