Pair less-than stellar box office numbers and behind the scenes drama surrounding the script's completion, and you've got Scream 3's dead-on-arrival 2000 premiere. Most fans and critics of the slasher movie franchise were left disappointed by the presumed grand finale to the Scream trilogy, which follows the Ghostface killer as he picks off the stars of the movie within a movie. Meta, right?
Most of the flick's criticism centered around the very moviemaking techniques that made the original iteration so iconic. Scream was praised for its ability to satire horror tropes, but in the third installment, film buffs felt its characters had fallen victim to cookie-cutter clichés.
More than a decade after horror fanatics thought Ghostface had stabbed its last victim, filmmakers gave a hotly-anticipated fourth flick the green light, and the finished product wasn't half bad. Veterans David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox joined newcomers Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere for a shriek-worthy reboot that bridged past and present.
Following in the first generation's blood-stained footsteps, Scream 4 effectively introduced a new audience to the highest-grossing slasher series in horror movie history, and for that we're grateful director Wes Craven didn't leave Scream 3's mostly inedible taste in our mouth.
When MTV announced in 2012 it would adapt Scream for the small screen, loyalists fought back with vengeance. How dare the same channel that all but destroyed the art of music videos appropriate something so perfectly nostalgic?! Truth be told, audiences actually really dig Scream: The TV Series, and a third season will premiere in 2017.
Sure, Ghostface rocks a new creepy mask, and we understand change is hard to accept, but the television reboot reps packs an equally as gory punch not even the most reluctant Scream diehard can ignore. Plus, youngsters like Willa Fitzgerald, Carlson Young and Bex Taylor-Klaus breath new life into the series.
First runner up goes to none other than the franchise's 1997 sequel, which in our opinion, should be taught in film schools everywhere as the textbook guide to releasing a part deux. Scream 2 picked up right where Scream's surviving characters left off, as Sydney Prescott (Campbell) takes on college with a new Ghostface following her every move.
Despite internet spoilers exposing the killers' identities, the masterminds behind Scream 2 successfully managed to rewrite the script without a hitch, and it went on to earn $172 million. Cha-ching, indeed.
Let the record show, nothing beats the original and most unforgettable Scream flick. Released in 1996 to rave reviews and movie theater hysteria, the first in the franchise represents everything that is uniquely awesome (and frighteningly fantastic) about the '90s.
Starring as Casey Becker, Drew Barrymore's gruesome murder at the hands of Ghostface sets the tone for what would eventually become the focal point of any scary movie night. As much as Barrymore's bloody death sends us running for the hills, something about Scream has, and always will, command our attention.