Whenever I'm feeling a bit down, the Scream movies are what I turn to for a bit of R&R. Sure, they're horror movies, but I've seen them so many times that the repetition of the well-worn lines is as comforting as, say, rewatching Mean Girls for the 100th time.
Still, I'd never really taken in what the Scream movies are ABOUT. As a massive horror movie fan, I've always loved the film references and the meta-critique, but these are not what the film is about. As Billy Loomis says, don't you blame the movies...
Now Sid, don't you blame the movies. Movies don't create psychos. Movies make psychos more creative!
''The answer is simple. In Scream, the real enemy is slut-shaming.
Every single murder in the original Scream trilogy, by design or by proxy, stems from a gross overreaction to the promiscuity – or the original sexual violation – of Sidney Prescott’s mother, Maureen Prescott.''
Moreover, Billy Loomis is more than just a crazy guy who 'doesn't really believe in motives': he is a personification of every horror movie writer and director who ever killed a girl off for being slutty:
''Billy imposes the same judgment on women that hackneyed horror directors did in the 1980s. He refuses to kill Sidney until she proves that she’s just as much as a “slut bag whore” (Billy’s own words) as her mother was. Some woman broke a conservative code of family values, and as such – to the villains in the Scream franchise – she deserved to die. And what’s more, her relatively innocuous sin was used as an excuse to murder more than a dozen others.''
This guy has a serious problem with women.
''Is that motive enough for you? How about this? Your slut mother was fucking my father and she's the reason my mom moved out and abandoned me.''
Billy's warped, misogynistic logic applies to the killers in Scream 2 and 3 as well. (Scream 4 is more of a meta-homage to the first trilogy as a whole and must be counted as a separate entity, although of course, hatred of Maureen Prescott was the start of the entire saga.)
In Scream 2, Mrs. Loomis blames Maureen for her ruined marriage — “Wanna blame someone? Why don’t you blame your mother!'' — and in Scream 3, Roman blames Maureen (then 'Rina Reynolds') for getting horribly gang raped and giving him up for adoption. The killers in Scream always blame the woman, Maureen Prescott. Billy and Mrs. Loomis don't go on a murderous rampage to avenge themselves against Mr. Loomis (who was equally to blame for the affair) and Roman focuses on Sidney (as a proxy for Maureen) rather than orchestrate a campaign purely against his mother's rapists.
In summary, Bibbiani reflects:
''Maureen Prescott wasn’t a perfect wife or mother. Who is? She was a real person (as real as anyone gets in fiction, anyway) whose constant dehumanization and slut-shaming prompted multiple maniacs to punish a new generation of women, personified by Sidney Prescott.''
This is what makes the Scream series so incredibly fantastic; they're horror movies critiquing misogyny in horror movies, while still being enjoyable horror movies. Movies can be a force for good, even when they focus on evil. In other words: