On October 31, 1994, killer Brandon James murdered five of his high school classmates in the small town of Lakewood. Then, more than 20 years later, a masked killer returns to Lakewood, killing off victims in a similar fashion. Is Brandon James back from the dead or is there a new killer in town? These questions add suspense to MTV’s new slasher series, Scream (based on the famous horror franchise of the same name). When we jump into Scream, the TV show, we’re in 2015, more than 20 years after the Lakewood murders (Like Halloween: H20 Twenty Years Later?). After the jump, we gain insight into the town’s violent history through the eyes of two survivors of the Lakewood Psycho murders, Kevin and Maggie Duvall (Tracy Middendorf). Maggie Duvall, who goes by Daisy, was one of the key elements of the 1994 Lakewood Murders. Daisy was the love interest of Brandon James and he was scarred deeply by her rejection. Brandon was obsessed with Daisy, carving her name into wood (why do homeschooled kids know always how to whittle?). But when he revealed his deformed face to her, Daisy screamed, sealing Brandon’s fate forever. Brandon James snapped after being beaten viciously by dumb high school jocks–his peers, guys who could’ve been his friends. But the dumb jocks mistook a girl’s scream as a cry for help and nearly beat Brandon James to death. And we all know what happens to super aggressive and masculine guys in slashers. Slashed. But not the Final Girl, she survives. That’s why 20+ years later, Daisy is the town’s chief medical examiner, unafraid to perform autopsies on new victims. Daisy is beautiful in her own way, yet subdued behind her “I’m a scientist” persona. In many ways, she’s just another FG. However, Daisy is different than famous FG’s Sidney Prescott, Laurie Strode and Carrie White in one small way. She’s not a teenager. Even though the majority of the Scream (1996) film actors were well into their twenties when filming, the characters were in high school. So it would make sense that the Scream FG would be a high school teen like Sidney from the OG Scream. Yet MTV’s Scream subverts one of many horror rules and casts the Final Girl as–the mother. This allows the writers to subvert the normative gender stereotype that the Final Girl has to be a young virgin. Yes, FG’s have existed for decades but Scream turns the archetype on its head. Daisy is a really unique and interesting choice for the first Final Girl in Scream. She’s a mother, a coroner, and is definitely not a virgin. That’s three strikes in slasher land, but remember Scream gets to break as many rules as it sets. Much like Sidney Prescott, Daisy has sex and survives. Not only that, but she goes on to spawn the next possible FG, her daughter, Emma (Willa Fitzgerald). What impresses me the most about Daisy is her beast mode approach to life. People often vary in their psychological response to trauma, but mostly, people gravitate towards repression of painful moments. And countless PTSD victims experience flashbacks, when repressed memories slam back into the brain’s main consciousness. With Daisy, she has repressed her memories of Brandon James so deeply, that she is able to be the town coroner. Most people who have survived a trauma, may not wish to devote their lives to corpses. Yet that’s what makes Daisy so interesting. Yes, one of her classmates tried to kill her and now he might be back, but what’s another dead body? In fact, she sees each and every one of the bodies, Nina, Bella, Riley and Tyler. Daisy has gone to great lengths to move on from Brandon James–she even divorced Sheriff Hottie, Clark Hudson (formerly Kevin Duvall). Although she remains close friends with Sheriff, she can’t bear a real relationship with him because of the painful memories that would bring. Remember, Clark was one of the other survivors of the mass murder. In a way, Daisy seems to be mocking the Final Girls of Scream’s past. Sidney Prescott is notorious for surviving all four Screams by being cautious. She often barricaded herself behind double door, grabbed a knife and hid, or moved to a remote location away from her hometown. Likewise Laurie Strode from Halloween and countless other FG’s left the damn town. But not Daisy. Daisy has exhibited incredible strength staying in the town where the massacre occurred. And not only is she not hiding in her room eating ice cream, she’s investigating cadavers and comforting her teenage daughter. And this refreshing look at the Final Girl shows that Scream, the TV series, is something to take seriously. What makes this show strong is its ability to pay homage to the Scream movie franchise, while bringing something new to teen slashers. This innovation is that anyone can be the Final Girl and anyone can be the killer behind that mask. As author of Abject Terrors: Surveying the Modern and Postmodern Horror Film writes: “Scream (1996) supplied the slasher tradition with an overdue face-lift. In the conventional slasher film, the Final Girl is the only teenanger aware of the monster and its intentions. ALL the teenagers in Scream possess an intimate knowledge of the genre. Scream does not just imply that life mirror art, it also suggests that life also parodies art.” That is to say that with Scream, whether it’s the 1996 OG film or the MTV show, the genre gets reinvented. And that reinvention allows the show to cast a working mother as a Final Girl. On top of that, her daughter Emma, might also be a FG. Actually, anyone could be a FG, even a guy. In the world of Scream the killer could even be a girl. I think the idea of “it could be anyone” makes Scream a little scarier than say, Pretty Little Liars (another show where teens get slashed but think Gossip Girl with more brain damage). And when the killer could be anyone, your friend, your boyfriend/girlfriend, your teacher… it makes for badass suspense. It also speaks to the great misunderstanding we have when it comes to school violence. Even Final Girls may not learn the killer’s motive, but they can see inside their minds somehow. What kind of person could just go on a killing spree of their peers? As one victim put it in Scream 4 (2011), “There’s something really scary about a guy with a knife who just … snaps.” And that’s who Brandon James is–a guy with a weapon who just breaks. Brandon is your typical Frankenstein-type killer–a monster of society’s making. His origin story is similar to Friday the 13th victim-turned-killer, Jason Voorhees. Much like Jason, Brandon is deformed and has his own Final Girl to torture. Brandon James also reminds me a of Carrie, the mass murderer of Carrie, a great supernatural thriller from the 1970’s, based on the novel by Stephen King. Like Carrie, Brandon is very much a product of his environment. Both suffer from severe social anxiety and psychosis due to homeschooling. And as we know from Carrie, emotionally-abusive, homeschooling parents + school bullies = mass murder. What Carrie, Jason and Brandon all have in common, is that they were killers born out awful parenting and peer bullying. Brandon’s parents berated him and sheltered him from real life, human interaction and his face is grossly disfigured. That combination got him bullied and teased to his breaking point. Even at his breaking point Brandon James didn’t manage to kill Daisy. But the pain isn’t over for Daisy, someone’s trying to kill her daughter, Emma. In fact, the killer posted her among the next two to be killed on his Instagram. Oh yeah, since Scream’s on MTV and is all meta, the killer uses an app for his voice-changer and posts threats on Instagram and Twitter. As Emma’s BFF Brooke says, “They’re ancient if they think we’re actually on facebook.” I love Brooke but since she slept with her teacher in episode 1, she might die soon … or not. This is Scream. The slasher TV series, Scream, premiered this summer, full of pretty people, brutal murders and witty one-liners. Many fans of the original Scream franchise by Wes Craven have remained skeptical of MTV’s same-name show. However Craven remains involved and I see plenty of potential within the first four episodes. And most importantly, MTV Scream, has one badass Final Girl, Daisy. Check back next time as we go deeper into Scream: The TV Series. Now for your Random Horror Geekdom (Inspired by IMDB) Original Scream director, and MTV Scream Executive Producer Wes Craven, is not a fan of the new mask. Although the mask still references “Scream” the painting by Edvard Munch, it is quite different from Ghostface. MTV Scream character Noah Foster (John Karna) is modeled after Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) from the 1996 Scream However, since it’s 2015, Noah swaps the clunky video camera for hacking skills and smart-phone. The majority of the cast members on MTV Scream were younger than 10 when the OG Scream premiered. Our Final Girl, Daisy, is played by Tracy Middendorf who was hacked to death by Freddy Krueger in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. The character Riley, who was slain on MTV Scream, is named for Tatum Riley, killed in the original. Kevin Williamson, who wrote the screenplays for Scream (1996) said that Tatum’s death-by-garage was his favorite kill of the film. And in that scene, Tatum references I Spit on Your Grave (1978), just before she dies. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.