Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Rose McGowan, Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich, Jamie Kennedy, Drew Barrymore, Henry Winkler
Joss Whedon's critically beloved The Cabin in the Woods owes a lot to Wes Craven’s Scream, which was, up until Cabin’s debut, the only mainstream meta-horror film that mattered. For his genre targets of choice, the screenwriter opted for the then-dead slasher flick template, unleashing a masked killer onto a band of unsuspecting youngsters, all of whom are pin-up-level attractive.
Except, in Scream, the potential victims all knew a great deal about how slasher movies work, and Williamson’s script deftly uses their consciousness to routinely subvert the audience’s expectations. Eventually, the Scream franchise would devolve into passable flicks that focus too much on the comedy and hardly at all on the scares (see: 2011’s sadly uneventful Scream 4). But we’ll always have Craven’s original to cherish.