- Scream’s clever deconstruction of the slasher genre and its self-aware characters revolutionized horror in 1996 and continues to influence popular culture today.
- The franchise’s ability to balance humor and scares reinvigorated the public’s interest in horror, making Scream a name to look out for in the genre.
- The iconic quotes from the original film, such as Randy’s rules for surviving a horror movie, still resonate with seasoned horror fans and remain a part of contemporary discourse.
The best Scream quotes have helped to solidify the first movie in the horror franchise as a game-changing slasher movie. Renowned for its brilliant deconstruction of the slasher genre, Scream was a horror sensation when it was released back in 1996. Between Kevin Williamson’s sharp and playful script and Wes Craven’s confident direction, it is one of the few horror movies to influence popular culture through both its humor and its horror, cementing it as one of the biggest horror movies from the 90s. So naturally, it’s brimming with quotable moments. The best Scream quotes are not only insightful for seasoned horror fans but enduringly funny also.
The film’s balancing act with laughs and scares not only established Scream as a name to look out for in the genre but is also widely considered to be what reinvigorated the movie-going public’s interest in horror after a period of stagnation. There’s been a Scream sequel in every decade since the release of the original film, and the franchise’s commentary on movie trends is still considered to be cutting-edge stuff when it comes to the slasher genre, though the first film remains unmatched in terms of influence, with many of the original Scream quotes still finding their way into contemporary discourse.
15 “There Are Certain Rules That One Must Abide By In Order To Successfully Survive A Horror Movie.”
Looking at modern horror movies, it is easy to take for granted how revolutionary Scream was when it first came out. One of the most interesting aspects of the movie was that the characters were family with the horror genre and recognized the tropes at play. That makes the character of Randy Meeks so important to the franchise as he was the one who spelled out Scream‘s rules for its own horror world. This becomes a key theme in all the Scream movies that follow, with new rules being added for horror sequels, trilogies, reboots, and more. However, the original concept of having horror movie characters understand the rules of the genre was a brilliant idea in 1996.
14 “If I’m Right About This, I Could Save A Man’s Life. Do You Know What That Would Do For My Book Sales?”
Despite coming off as mostly self-centered and egotistical in the first movie, Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) became a fan-favorite character in the Scream series, appearing in every movie to date. One of the definitive Scream quotes, this line comes from an exchange between Gale and her cameraman during their investigation into Woodsboro’s rising body count, and it perfectly encapsulates Gale’s ambitious – but ultimately good-natured – personality. As it turns out, Gale is right on both counts, with her intervention in the Woodsboro murders both saving lives and resulting in her success.
13 “What Did Mama Tell You? When I Wear This Badge, You Treat Me Like A Man Of The Law!”
Deputy Dewey (David Arquette) makes for one of the fan-favorite characters in the franchise which made Dewey’s death in Scream 2022 so shocking. However, the first movie introduces Dewey as the comedic would-be hero who wants to do his duty in protecting the people of Woodsboro and taking down a killer, but cannot always get the respect he is after. When Dewey attempts to act like the stoic lawman, those attempts are undercut by his little sister Tatum mocking him and undercut further by Dewey’s childish reaction. It is another fun way the movie subverts expectations as the cop on the case is not the typical hero, but a lot more likable as a result.
12 “Fairness Would Be To Rip Your Insides Out And Hang You From A Tree!”
Principal Himbry (Henry Winkler) can easily be overlooked in Scream, despite being the source of some great Scream quotes before Ghostface kills him. When some students decide to start running around wearing the killer’s mask to scare people, Himbry takes a strong stance against it. Snapping scissors around them, he threatens them in a way that makes him suspicious. It turns out he isn’t the killer, but this moment makes the audience question whether he’s Ghostface. The line is also somewhat ironic as, during the party in the film’s third act, Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) discovers that Himbry was gutted and hung from the goalpost at the school’s football field.
11 “I’m Sorry If My Traumatized Life Is An Inconvenience To You And Your Perfect Existence!”
Part of Scream‘s fun comes from melodramatic moments. It may be a modern horror classic, but it’s also a high school drama. When Sidney Prescott is unpacking her unhappy childhood on the anniversary of her mother’s death, Billy pressures her to move on. Their conflict results in one of the most memorable Scream quotes as the line is so dramatic that only a high school student could come up with it. In Scary Movie, one of the best horror parodies, the script lifts the line nearly word for word, using “I’m sorry if my complicated life is an inconvenience to your perfect existence.”
10 “Everybody’s A Suspect!”
Part of the fun of the Scream franchise is trying to determine who is Ghostface. While other horror movie icons like Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees have been consistent killers in their movies, Scream‘s masked killer became an icon despite the fact that different actors play Ghostface with each installment. The murder mystery aspect mixes perfectly with the slasher movie with the movie going to great lengths to ensure that the majority of the cast could plausibly be the killer. This makes for the hilarious scene in which Randy points this out and that they are all potentially the killer.
9 “You F****n’ Hit Me With The Phone, D**k!”
One of the silliest Scream quotes, this line gives the movie one of its funniest moments. When Sidney gets the upper hand during the final showdown, she flips the script and begins to taunt Stu and Billy over the phone. An enraged Billy eventually throws down the receiver, unintentionally hitting Stu in the head and the moment provides levity in the film’s bloody finale. As per Tay Talks Horror, Scream‘s DVD commentary revealed it wasn’t in the original script, and Lillard’s improvised dissatisfaction with being hit is hilarious, adding more chaos to the movie’s eventful climax.
8 “No, Please Don’t Kill Me, Mr. Ghostface, I Wanna Be In The Sequel!”
Even though Randy is the resident horror aficionado of Woodsboro High, the entire town throws out self-aware Scream quotes now and again. Even the skeptical Tatum Riley (Rose McGowan) manages to crack a meta-joke when she’s cornered by Ghostface in the garage, playfully crying out “No, please don’t kill me, Mr. Ghostface, I wanna be in the sequel!” While she initially assumes the killer is simply one of her friends messing with her, she soon finds out the hard way that he’s the real deal, and she is promptly murdered. This line comes back for another appearance in 2022’s Scream, securing it as one of the franchise’s most iconic quotes.
7 “I’m Feelin’ A Little Woozy Here!”
In the shocking Scream twist, it is revealed that there will be not one, but two killers in the final act of the movie, when both Sidney Prescott’s (Neve Campbell) boyfriend Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and his friend Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) come forward as the homicidal slashers. The two plan to make themselves look like the sole survivors of the Woodsboro murders, even going as far as stabbing themselves to make it look convincing.
When Billy stabs Stu however, he gets a little carried away. In response, Stu shouts at him to stop, proclaiming “I’m feelin’ a little woozy here!” Lillard’s slurred delivery of the line is really what makes it one of the best Scream quotes, turning yet another one of the movie’s most violent moments into something darkly funny.
6 “Not In My Movie.”
When Billy and Stu are eventually subdued in Scream’s finale, it’s revealed that film buff Randy surprisingly managed to survive the injuries he sustained from Ghostface. Randy then warns Sidney that this is the point at which the supposedly dead killer comes back to life for one final scare. As is often the case, Randy is right, and Billy immediately attempts to lunge toward Sidney, who shoots him dead – capping off the scene by saying “Not in my movie.” The line cements Sidney as a new kind of final girl who’s not only one step ahead of the killer but also the type to dish out payoff lines.
5 “My Mom And Dad Are Gonna Be So Mad At Me!”
Scream‘s co-villain Stu did more than his fair share to contribute to Ghostface’s impressive overall kill count and comes off as a remorseless murderer for most of the third act, but he gets a memorable character moment when he seems to care about what his parents think about his crimes. When Sidney informs him that she’s called the police during the finale, Stu begins to sob, seemingly fearful that his parents will be upset by the news. Once again, it’s actor Matthew Lillard’s pitch-perfect delivery that makes the line so great, brilliantly capturing the true extent of the character’s warped mind and almost inspiring a little sympathy for him.
4 “Movies Don’t Create Psychos. Movies Make Psychos More Creative!”
Even though it’s spoken by an unhinged mass murderer, a lot of fans have found an element of truth in this unforgettable Scream quote. While Scream is renowned for its clever observations on the horror genre, this line takes aim at the scapegoating of horror in the media at large. Spoken by Billy when he’s unmasked as one of the movie’s two killers, this line is directed at Sidney after she suggests the duo have seen too many horror movies. There’s something satisfyingly meta about the quote, which is the characteristic that has always allowed the Scream movies to stand out in a sea of slashers.
3 “Which Door Am I At?”
While the unmasking of Ghostface is always a highlight of these movies, it cannot be overstated just how effective Roger Jackson has been to the franchise as the voice of Ghostface. The voice can be both disarmingly normal and turn suddenly menacing while delivering some of Ghostface’s most iconic lines. So many of the most memorable lines from the unseen killer come in Scream‘s opening scene as Ghostface’s casual talk with Casey about scary movies turns into a deadly question and answer game. This leads to the chilling final question as Casey realizes this maniac has been playing with her and he has no intentions of letting her go.
2 “I’ll Be Right Back!”
After Randy lectures the remaining members of the house party that takes place during the movie’s third act about how sexual activity and drug use all but guarantee death in a slasher, he informs everyone that the cardinal sin would be to say that they’ll be right back. Though the audience doesn’t know it yet, Randy has ironically just said all of this to one of the film’s killers, Stu, who mockingly yells the exact line that Randy told him not to say in faux terror. As is the case with all of Stu’s best Scream quotes, Lillard’s energetic delivery is what makes the line stand out. Though Stu is undeniably evil, the fun that he has throughout the film is infectious.
1 “Do You Like Scary Movies?”
This line appears first during Scream‘s terrifying opening and like the similarly iconic line “What’s your favorite scary movie?,” this classic Scream quote perfectly encapsulates what works best about the movie’s self-reflexive screenplay. Later, Sidney responds to the rhetorical question in a conversation with Ghostface where she launches into a scathing critique of the genre with a number of fair points. The fact that the franchise yearns to discuss horror movies at almost every turn is a part of the reason why it’s been embraced so lovingly by genre fans and also why it’s remained both popular and relevant throughout each passing decade.