This Hitchcock’s Classic Is the Reason Why the Scream Franchise Exists
Now it's crystal clear what Ghostface's favorite scary movie is.
The Scream franchise has become a staple of the horror genre, known for its dedication to the slasher film tradition and its clever nods to classic horror cinema. Among the myriad references and Easter eggs scattered throughout the series, there's one classic film that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
As an influential 1960s thriller, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is quietly referenced dozens of times throughout the six Scream films, weaving a web linking the two iconic horror sagas.
Wes Craven's original Scream sets the stage with its sly allusions to Psycho, most notably with the original Ghostface killer's name, Billy Loomis, who shares the same last name as Sam Loomis, Marion Crane's boyfriend in Hitchcock's masterpiece.
In one memorable scene, Billy directly quotes Anthony Perkins' legendary line from Psycho, saying, "We all go a little mad sometimes," proving a strong connection between the emerging horror slasher and the cult classic '60s thriller.
Scream 2 continues to pay homage to Psycho with Mrs. Loomis and Mickey taking up the mantle of Ghostface. The Loomis surname from Psycho is reinforced, while the movie-within-a-movie concept introduces Stab, a self-conscious narrative reminiscent of Hitchcock's shower scene. Heather Graham's portrayal of Casey Becker in Stab also nods to Psycho, featuring Marion Crane's iconic shower scene.
Often considered the lightest entry in the franchise, Scream 3 pushes the Psycho connections further, introducing Sidney's nightmares haunted by her mother Maureen Prescott, drawing eerie parallels to Norman Bates' relationship with his mother.
In Scream 4, Anthony Perkins, the actor who portrayed Norman Bates, is brought into the picture as his full name is given to one of the Woodsboro police officers. Later in the movie, Ghostface asks Kirby about the movie that started the slasher genre, naming Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and of course Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece.
Sustaining the Tradition
Scream 5 further deepens the connection to Psycho as we see Sam Carpenter, Billy Loomis' daughter, carry on the legacy and draw a direct line to the influence of Psycho. A poster of the original Psycho movie in Mindy and Chad Meeks-Martin's house adds another layer to the homage, and in a callback, Ghostface questions Deputy Judy Hicks about her knowledge of Psycho, further intertwining the two horror worlds.
The latest installment, Scream 6, continues the tradition with meticulous subtlety. The movie opens with an homage to Marion Crane, a character from Psycho, with Samara Weaving portraying the character who shares the same last name as Janet Leigh's iconic character, Laura Crane. This homage serves as a prelude to a plethora of references, including a Psycho poster in the apartment of aspiring Ghostfaces and nods to Psycho 2.
The Scream franchise masterfully preserves its roots by integrating the legacy of Psycho into all of its installments, highlighting the enduring influence of Hitchcock's classic on the horror genre. As fans eagerly await the arrival of Scream 7, the question of how the franchise will continue to embrace the legacy of Psycho is up in the air.