How 'Scream' Defined Halloween For The '90s

Though I hope I'll never be as lame as to outgrow Halloween, it is a holiday that I associate with childhood. And since I grew up in the '90s, that childhood is wearing ribbed turtlenecks and lots of choppy layers. I'll never run out of horror movies or seasonal Disney classics to watch in the weeks leading up to All Hallow's Eve, but there is one film that is the the potent, perfect mix of Halloween and nostalgia. The original Scream is the most '90s Halloween movie ever, and it is perfect because of that.

I remember seeing Scream at a sleepover for the first time. It came out in 1996, when I was too young to be ushered into an R-rated movie, so I had to rely on other kids' lax parents. I'd never watched a slasher movie before. They seemed old and grainy and more scary than fun. But this Wes Craven thriller had bright colors, actors I recognized from some of my favorite shows, and an MTV sensibility that felt much more relevant to me. I've probably seen it two dozen times since, and it'll always hold a very special place in my heart. I would have missed out on horror completely if it weren't for Scream, and my Halloweens would have suffered for it. Here are a few reasons why Scream takes the '90s Halloween horror crown.

That Hair & Those Clothes

The ensembles in this movie. Scream's cast of suburban high schoolers rocked all the trends of the day, from streaky highlights to uber-short minis to guys' jeans big enough to hid a whole cutlery set in. The fashion queen of Woodsboro is unquestionably Sidney's best pal, Tatum (Rose McGowan). She's clearly the envy of many an underclassmen, hence her swift death by garage door.

Who Talks On A Landline Anymore?

Scream paid homage to the Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho by doing away with the most famous actress in the film in the first ten minutes. The harrowing opening scene of the film is cool and bold, but it just wouldn't look the same if Casey had an iPhone pressed to her ear instead of a ginormous brick of a cordless handset.

A Cast Of Hot, Mid-'90s Talent

The movie is anchored by Neve Campbell, who'd broken out on the Fox family drama Party Of Five. The rest of the talent was just as fresh, including dreamy bad boy Skeet Ulrich as Sidney's boyfriend Billy Loomis, Courtney Cox fresh off of a couple seasons of Friends as opportunistic reporter Gale Weathers, and Jamie Kennedy as horror movie expert Randy Meeks.

It Started A Trend & Resurrected A Genre

The first Scream didn't just launch its own franchise. It brought teen-driven horror back into the zeitgeist. I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Craft, Urban Legend, Halloween H2O, The Faculty — none of those movies would have been greenlit if Scream hadn't been an unequivocal success. Thanks to screenwriter Kevin Williamson (who was about to take over teen TV with Dawson's Creek) Scream is an iconic movie that brought self-reference and sarcasm to a niche that was frankly dead without it.

If Ghostface called me up right now, I'd be forced to tell him. Yes. Scream is my favorite scary movie.

Images: The Weinstein Company; halcyon0n0n, gifs-andthings/Tumblr; Giphy (2)