Remember When... is a weekly feature every (#Throwback)Thursday where we look back on a moment that changed the world of pop culture forever. Come for the nostalgia, stay for the reminder that you are getting SO OLD.
What Happened: The date was December 20, 1996. A horror movie from the mind of Kevin Williamson (Dawson's Creek, The Following) was debuting just in time for the cheerful holiday season! It had super-megastar Drew Barrymore…who got killed off in the first scene! It also had '90s darling Neve Campbell, Friend Courteney Cox and a dude named Skeet Ulrich. Scream blew people's minds, and both horror aficionados and casual moviegoers finally got a scary flick that had characters that were (for the most part) smart and not the typical dumb high school folk who basically signed their own death certificate. No one was ever the same after hearing the line: "What's your favorite scary movie?"
It's also where we got the "rules" for surviving a horror movie. It was a passionate love note and a fun middle finger to the scary movie world, and the genre was forever changed. Now almost every horror movie is self-aware!
What Else Was Happening: Leonardo DiCaprio (who somehow always sneaks into our Remember When posts) was romancing Claire Danes in Romeo "plus sign" Juliet, while Tom Cruise was showing us his ass-kicking side and his soft side with Mission: Impossible and Jerry Maguire. Also, Helen Hunt was chasing tornadoes and Will Smith was literally punching aliens in the face.
Outside the movie theaters, a girl group called the Spice Girls had everyone singing "zigazig ha," Atlanta was hosting the Olympics and Melissa Joan Hart had the sassy talking cat we've always wanted in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
How We Remember It
Natalie Finn, News Editor: "Ah, the original Skeet Ulrich question: Johnny-Depp-hot or rodent-like? I was 16 but watched it in a dorm room with fellow high school kids and really wise 'n' witty college students while at a summer program away from home. It was hilarious watching it all together, but using a bathroom with stalls later that night was terrifying."
Brett Malec, Writer: "The Drew Barrymore opening scene is historic in the scary movie genre. When I saw it for the first time when I was younger, I thought Drew was the star of the movie (as sort of advertised on the film's poster) and then she dies (gruesomely) in four minutes! Amazing. Also, I love all the Scream movies, especially the most recent fourth one which everyone said they hated (the public consensus is wrong). It was such a great homage to the original Scream. Lastly, the only thing as equally amazing as the original Scream opening scene is the Scary Movie parody of it with Carmen Electra. When she grabs the banana?! Dead."
Cinya Burton, Senior Editor: "I can sum up Scream with two quotes: 'I will gut you like a fish' haunted me all of my teen years while 'I'm feelin' a little woozy here' still strikes me as hilarious."
Jenna Mullins, E! Loves Editor: "I was too young to see it in theaters, though I desperately wanted to sneak in and watch it on the big screen, as I was really into the horror genre. Probably a bit too much for a 12-year-old. That was definitely R.L. Stine's fault. Anyway, I watched Scream with my sister and her friends at one of her sleepovers and I was blown away that it was as much a comedy as it was a scary movie. I didn't realize the impact of killing off such a big star so early on in the film until I was older, but I do remember being obsessed with Tatum (Rose McGowan) for the longest time. She was so cool. I also wanted a boyfriend like Stu (Matthew Lillard), but you know, minus the murder. I recently saw that movie again at a giant screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and not only can I still proudly quote the entire film (I didn't do it out loud because I'm not a monster), but it totally holds up. And yes, I even like the sequels, particularly Scream 4. Don't f--k with the original!"
What do you remember about seeing Scream for the first time?