Today, Scream Franchise Examiner welcomes the dynamically diabolical Ryan Turek.
The managing editor of ShockTillYouDrop.com, Turek is also the writer/director of Still Screaming: The Ultimate Scary Movie Retrospective (now shooting)–a documentary that will extensively trace the origins and evolution of the franchise. Scheduled for release in April, the project will coincide with Scream 4’s theatrical debut…
Now, Ryan takes readers behind-the-screams of his documentary—and unveils an exclusive picture of recent interviewee Parker Posey (Scream 3)…
1) How and when did the idea for STILL SCREAMING originate? What will your film offer that other projects haven’t?
Around roughly April of last year, I was deep into production on the tentatively titled Unearthed: The Hellraiser Legacy with MasiMedia, and its producer Anthony Masi, when I brought up a possible writing and directing vehicle for myself, Still Screaming. I was only credited as writer on the Hellraiser documentary at the time, so I was looking for a project to just creatively throw 100% myself into as writer-director. Scream was a tremendous influence on me in film school and I’ve been a lifelong fan of horror, so I was super enthusiastic about the endeavor. Also, we were not only approaching the release of a fourth film and the first film’s 15th anniversary, so the timing was perfect.
To answer the second part of the question, you’ve actually caught me in the editing phase so I’m really seeing this thing come together. What it offers is a definite sense of how the Hollywood machine works, I think, and you don’t see too many of these retrospectives do that. Still Screaming really reflects the fragility of the film process and how some things could almost fall apart at any time. The first Scream faced a ton of behind-the-scenes hurdles and we pull back the curtain on that. So, while the viewers will get their fun anecdotes during production, this goes a bit deeper. Of course, the franchise went on to be a big hit, but there were growing pains, for sure.
2) You obtained official endorsement for the documentary. How has that facilitated your progress? What have been the major challenges in moving from concept to product?
Through my history as a journalist for various genre websites and Fangoria magazine, I built some pretty solid working relationships with those at Dimension and those involved in the Scream series. I wanted to make sure everyone at camp Craven was on board, however, it was important to make sure I got the blessing of Bob Weinstein, the true champion of Scream who secured the script during an intense bidding war and was the guy who insisted on hiring Wes Craven as a director in the first place. Anthony and I flew to New York last fall during a round of interviews and met with Bob who had heard about the project and wanted to meet with us. I think he wanted to get a sense of who we were, what we’ve done and just make sure we weren’t going to screw it up. The meeting was incredible and by the end he was like, “Whatever you need…if you need my help getting anyone, let me know.” He has helped us out in regards to securing some talent. That’s been one of the biggest challenges: Getting many of the big actors.
3) What has been the process for obtaining involvement from the cast and crew? Was there anybody who particularly surprised you, either with their willingness or reluctance to participate? Should fans expect any conspicuous absences?
At the outset of the project, I sat down and just knocked out a list of everyone I’d like to see in this retrospective and who the fans would like to see. From there, we went down, name by name, and contacted them all. I’ve said this before, but we’re still in the process of securing talent, so I’m reluctant to say who’s involved and who’s not right now, but if you see our Facebook page or our IMDb page, you can get a sense of who’s on board so far – but even those pages are not completely up-to-date. I’d like to save some surprises for those watching the retrospective. I will definitively say that Kevin Williamson is absent from the project, but that’s not for lack of trying on our part. I personally tried a number of angles – because I know a few people close to his camp – but I was frustratingly hit with a “No, thank you” at every turn. Some would tell me he was too busy on Vampire Diaries, others would say that he’s simply not interested in revisiting that chapter in his life right now. There is other talent who have said “no” due to their schedules, but like I said, we’ve tried everyone. The interviewing process and schedules have certainly made our heads dizzy, that’s for sure! But I’m thrilled Neve Campbell said yes, and we just completed our chat with Parker Posey who was a trip to listen to.
4) You managed to score a rare interview with Ehren Kruger, who wrote SCREAM 3. Can you give us a little tease as to what he was able to reveal about his involvement in that project?
Ehren rocked. The guy is immensely busy and I think we scored him while he was in the midst of Transformers: Dark of the Moon madness. But he made the time for us and was incredibly gracious at offering some stories even I haven’t heard before. We really go all out on Scream 3, and its development history is fascinating, including the story ideas and potential opening scenes that didn’t make the big screen. Kruger recounted his time on the production and it sounded hectic.
5) What can you tell us about the fictional linking segment that you wrote/filmed for the documentary? How do you feel that it will enhance the overall presentation?
Each Scream film opens with a bang and I wanted Still Screaming to open with a tip of the hat to the expected “opening kill.” Our retro opens with a brief fictional segment/credits sequence where Ghost Face menaces two girls were are home to watch a Scream marathon. In Scream fashion, it’s self-aware, plays on the franchise’s archetypes and we throw a few jabs our own expense for making the retrospective in the first place. We shot it over the course of one evening with two terrific actresses – Arielle Brachfeld and Kaylee Score. Like I said, it’s a short and sweet way to get the audience warmed up. Originally, I envisioned this huge opening that played on all three famous opening sequences – from the Casey Becker kill to the theater murders of part two to Cotton’s death in three – but I was a bit in over my head and I had to significantly trim the script back. Now, it’s something that stands on its own and I hope the fans dig it.
6) You have maintained an active presence on social networking sites throughout production. What do you see as the benefits versus drawbacks of this type of communication? How do you plan to utilize Facebook as the project nears completion/release?
The only drawback I ever see is that we might be playing our hand too when we dispense with the information we’re giving to the fans. We want a few surprises, you know? But promotion is key, so we’ve been very careful regarding what we post on our Facebook page and what we save for later. Since I still actively run a horror website – ShockTillYouDrop.com – I’m sort of taking a cue from the big studio promotions I see when they tout their films. I use the methods that work and ignore what doesn’t. Plus, I do what I’d like to see as a fan. I’m definitely sitting on some goodies that we’ve created for this project that you’ll see for the first time when Still Screaming gets released. As we near that debut, we’re considering some fun giveaways. But that’s all for the future, right now my head is in post-production.
7) You are privy to some insider information about SCREAM 4. Can you share your thoughts on the film? How do you think fans of the original trilogy will respond to it?
Have you seen that second trailer? What an improvement over the first preview we saw. I’m excited, for sure. I can’t really tell you all that I have heard about the fourth film, as I’m sworn to secrecy, but I think the making-of this chapter is going to be very interesting. I’m certain I’ve read this elsewhere, but I keep hearing this will be the bloodiest Scream yet, which is a contrast to Scream 3. It’s not surprising either as this franchise now has to compete with over-the-top gore flicks like Saw. If this chapter stays true to the core characters, I think the fans will be pleased. I know for certain that I’ll be in the theater opening night.
With thanks to Ryan Turek for sharing this illuminating look at Still Screaming…
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