The Witching Hour Night 7: Scary Movie

Looking back over the first week of The Witching Hour this year, it seems we have looked at some rather grim movies and video games. Why don’t we lighten things up tonight with a look at a comedy. Don’t worry – this movie is still related to the horror genre. Tonight we look at a spoof film brought to us by the Wayans brothers, Scary Movie.

Released in the year 2000, Scary Movie is a spoof of horror films and pop culture though the script is largely based on the 1996 slasher flick, Scream. That is oddly fitting as Scream was written under the working title, Scary Movie. When I say this movie is “largely based” on Scream, I mean it. Most of the key scenes from Scream are reproduced and lampooned here. The most obvious reference though is the killer’s appearance:

Look familiar? I thought so. Interestingly enough, both Scream and Scary Movie were produced by the same movie studio – Dimension Films.

Anna Faris plays Cindy though you may recognize from the TV show, Mom. The lovely Ms. Faris is actually a natural blonde and had to die her hair black to more closely match Neve Campbell’s character of Sydney. Cindy and her friends were involved the accidental death and subsequent cover-up of of a man – a nod to I Know What You Did Last Summer and are now being stalked by a masked killer. Other notable appearances include Carmen Electra, Shannon Elizabeth and members of the Wayans clan including Keenan and my personal favorite – Marlon Wayans as a pothead named Shorty. There were plans for Jamie Lee Curtis to make a cameo appearance but sadly, this did not happen. I actually think that there is an equally interesting list of actors who chose not to appear in this movie. Jared Leto, Aaliyah, Lil’ Kim, Britney Spears and Alicia Silverstone were all offered roles and each one of them declined for varying reasons.

The humor in Scary Movie is often low brow most of the time but there are also a fair number of jokes hidden throughout the film. When Brenda and Ray go to the movie theater pause the film and look at what is written on the movie screen.

There is one big problem with the comedy in Scary Movie, though. Many of the jokes reference events that were current at the time or popular films from around that period and as a result are extremely outdated. For instance, at one point the killer calls Shorty and and there is a brief scene where several characters recreate the WASSUP! commercials. That was from an old ad campaign by Anheuser-Busch. The humor will likely be lost by younger viewers though some of you who are old enough to remember those commercials may be amused by the nostalgia.

There is also a scene that lampoons The Matrix. As I recall it was fairly popular for a lot of movies released in the early 2000s to parody scenes from The Matrix and this film is no exception.

Scary Movie certainly never won any awards for the quality of its writing and its humor can be very outdated. However, it can also be lots of fun. If you are looking for a film to play at your Halloween party and nobody is feeling particularly serious, you might want to give this one a watch.

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