Kelly's September Pick: Kevin Williamson
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
When Scream was released in 1996 I was 13 years old and already a big horror movie fan. After watching it for the first time in theaters, I knew it would become a massive hit, and it quickly became a regular watch on weekends with my friends. We memorized all the words, especially for the “parts'' that we designated each other to play (I was always Sidney). The second episode of I Spit on Your Podcast was on 1990s horror and we discussed the importance of Scream (and The Blair Witch Project) as films that had an important effect on the horror genre. To say that this film (and a certain someone) is very special to me would be an understatement!
Kevin Williamson is a name that 90s horror fans know unequivocally - or at least they should. He created some of the biggest teen horror movies of the 1990s, not to mention the breakout hit of a ridiculous teen drama called Dawson’s Creek (1998-2003). I'm not sure if you've heard of it. Williamson was responsible for writing Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 4 (2011), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997); he co-wrote The Faculty (1998), Teaching Ms Tingle (1999), and Cursed (2004). He also directed the darkly comedic Teaching Ms Tingle with Helen Mirren. Later on he would become involved with another huge teen hit, The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017), and also had his hand in the Scream: TV Series (2015-2019).
Williamson’s work was a formative force in my teenage life and development of my personal horror preferences. Two of his films are included in what I called my “Unholy Trinity of 90s Teen Slasher”: Scream, IKWYDLS, along with Jamie Blanks’ Urban Legend (1998). He had his hand in creating characters that will be remembered forever, and moments depicted in his films that will live on in infamy. Ghostface is an iconic figure in horror, and Sidney Prescott was the Final Girl we needed in 1996 (and still do). Her journey rivals Ellen Ripley for being diverse, interesting and life changing. Sidney means the world to a lot of people, queer and otherwise. Like in classic 90s fashion, Williamson brought the brightest and most talented stars of the 90s into a genre that I adored: Matthew Lillard, Neve Campbell, Elijah Wood, Barry Watson, Christina Ricci, Katie Holmes, and more.
Though not liked by a lot of horror fans, I thoroughly enjoyed the Scream: TV series and I wrote about it here. I have yet to check out that random third season of the show, though. Currently, I am watching The Vampire Diaries and I can see Williamson’s fingerprints all over it! I am only in season one, but I can tell it’s the new (to me) supernatural teen drama I have been looking for since Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended (you can even see the influences of that show in TVD!).
Kevin Williamson, our queer writer of dramatic teen horror, is hugely important to me. I miss his work and I hope to see something current from him soon! Oh, and even though he didn't have a direct role in the upcoming Scream 5 (2022), I will be there in line to see it.