FOR THE LOVE OF FILM: The Scary Movie Franchise

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For The Love Of Film is a weekly column from film nerd and lover of all movies Justin Proper. Sometimes you need some help to figure out how to enjoy movies, and we are here to help! No longer will you need to fear movie night because your friends have no taste in film. With this column you will be able to love even the worst gems to ever grace the silver screen.

Spoof movies can go one of two ways. You either have something that is clever and hilarious like Spaceballs (one of my favorite spoof films of all time) or you have something that is lazy and unfunny like A Haunted House (which even I did not bother seeing). When it started out the Scary Movie franchise was definitely in line with the good spoof movies, but the more that get released the closer they get to being so awful they are not worth mentioning. The newest addition to the franchise comes out tomorrow, so let’s take a look back at why the first four films are worth your time.

Scary Movie

The first entry into the Scary Movie franchise is the best reviewed, but still not exactly deemed a “classic” or “good” by most. This film was largely a spoof of the Scream films, with the main killer being Ghostface (not to be confused with Ghostface Killah, of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan). Scary Movie is probably one of the best horror spoofs to be released, but really there is not too much competition for that title. It is loaded with pop-culture references for the late 90′s/early 00′s (including a great “Waaaazzzzuuuuup!?” bit) and has plenty of low brow humor. Sure, it’s mostly dumb and juvenile, but I would be lying if I said I did not laugh every time I saw Ghostface murder all the stoners while freestyle rapping.

Scary Movie 2

The second film in the franchise is mostly a spoof of The Haunting mixed with tons of other horror. This film really upped the references and got a far more well known cast which includes David Cross, Tim Curry, James Woods, Chris Masterson, and some Wayans brothers. Despite being one of the worst reviewed films in the series this one definitely has some great laughs. Chris Elliot as the caretaker with a deformed arm is consistently creepy and hilarious. Again, this one is not going to win many awards, but if you were in high school when it came out you can remember your friends making “strong hand” jokes for months after it was released.

Scary Movie 3

The third installment of the Scary Movie series was vastly better than the second. It’s central parodies are The Ring and Signs, with the two plots eventually being related in the end. The biggest draw of this film is the great cast. This was the first film in the series to have celebrity cameos where the celebs make fun of themselves. Not only that, but it also has Leslie Nielson in a starring role, George Carlin in a Matrix spoof, and half of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan in an 8 Mile bit. When comedy and hip-hop icons show up you know it’s worth your time.

Scary Movie 4

The fourth film is a parody of The Grudge and War Of The Worlds with plenty of other horror mixed in. This film is probably my least favorite of the franchise (despite the second film being the least favorably reviewed) but that does not mean I do not enjoy it every time it is on Comedy Central during the daytime on the weekends around Halloween. It definitely seems like this one was only made to parody things and turn a profit instead of being entertaining, but it still has it’s moments. Leslie Nielson probably saved this one from being completely awful. Other than his parts the only other characters I found entertaining were Anthony Anderson and Kevin Hart reprising their roles from the third film.

It would be completely fair to say that the Scary Movie franchise is full of bad movies. That, however, does not mean that they are not entertaining. At the end of the day you really do not have many other options for modern horror spoofs, so you should take what you can get and appreciate the parts that are genuinely funny while ignoring the parts that genuinely are not. Sometimes it is totally acceptable to throw on a movie loaded with crude humor and unoriginal jokes for the sake of just laughing at something stupid. I get clever and intellectual humor, but sometimes you have to put away the Woody Allen and enjoy some Wayans Brothers. I know I will be seeing Scary Movie 5 in theaters in the hopes that it wont let me down more than it makes me laugh. I mean, even the worst movie of the franchise cracked me up more than the last Eddie Murphy movie I saw…

 

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