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Casting a new generation of slasher victims, in anticipation of “Scre4m.”

Casting a new generation of slasher victims, in anticipation of “Scre4m.” (photo)

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In 1996, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson gifted the world with “Scream,” the indelibly smart-ass slasher movie that works even for people who don’t like horror movies (like me) and better still for those who love them.

The cast was a group of no-names — David Arquette, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan — plus TV folks (“Party of Five”‘s Neve Campbell, “Friends”‘ Courteney Cox). The big celebrity draw, god help us, was Drew Barrymore (fresh off “Batman Forever,” no less), and the uncredited cameo came courtesy of Henry Winkler.

Everyone involved became instantly iconic (except for Winkler, who already was), stepped up to the task of becoming generational standard-bearers in a way “Reality Bites” could only dream of. Forget coming-out rehearsals and invocations of MTV; “Scream”‘s the real voice of disaffected, unthinking pomo snark, and it’s funnier too.

In 2011, the franchise will go for the trick again. The Playlist rounds up the latest cast, which has expanded to include not just original players Campbell, Arquette and Cox (the latter two are married now, which will presumably come in for some meta-ribbing during the film) but a grab bag of others: Rory Culkin, Hayden Panettiere (here’s hoping she gets killed off early on), Lake Bell (of, uh, HBO’s “How To Make It In America”), Nico Tortorella (of failed CW drama “The Beautiful Life”) and — a genius touch — Lauren Graham of “The Gilmore Girls,” who has yet to find another part as good as the one that made her famous. We can only pray that Alexis Bledel will show up as her daughter once more.

06182010_screamw.jpgI can’t help but feel this casting is a little deflating. The original “Scream” cast was basically composed of annoying people (depending on how you feel about “Friends”) and the at best semi-famous. In that sense, the casting of “Scream 4” (or “Scre4m,” as the poster would have it) is one of the endlessly meta franchise’s savviest moves — if they pull it off, it’ll be a whole new generation of icons made expressly for fresh slaughter. Yet: not to be one of those guys who insists young stars now all look plastic and interchangeable…but this crew (excepting the lovely Ms. Graham) really does look generic. Which I suppose will make their slaughter all the more pleasurable.

There’s another, more compelling reason to anticipate the film: it’s rare to reboot a franchise with some of the original players a full decade later. By warping the minds of a whole new generation of teenagers (the way he did in the ’80s with “A Nightmare on Elm Street”), Craven’s created a built-in fanbase of twentysomethings just primed (and just old enough to really anticipate this) to see the new group of kids usurping their generational place just get killed.

This is how we get nostalgic now. It’s sick, but hey: it’s kind of fun.

[Photos: “Scream,” Dimension Films, 1996]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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