We love a good book about famous slashers series here at Bloody Flicks, and we got the chance to quiz author Padraic Maroney, all about his brand new book It All Started With a Scream, covering the infamous Ghostface series.
Tell us about the genesis of It All Started With a Scream?
I originally got the idea for the book in October 2019 when I realized that the 25th anniversary was coming up and that there were no other books dedicated to the franchise. But it wasn’t until April 2020 that I decided to actually try to submit the proposal. I was looking for something to keep me busy during the pandemic and thought maybe other people would have some extra time on their hands to talk to me.
What makes Scream so special to you?
I saw Scream on opening night, with my older brother taking a group of my friends and I to see it. There was nothing like it before. It was fresh and new, with the characters knowing the same things that audiences knew. After that, I ended up wanting to become a writer.
Was it difficult to get interviews with the cast and crew?
Initially, I had made a list of 100 people that I was going to reach out to for an interview. Trying to be realistic, my goal was to be able to interview 20 people. Initially, it was a little slow in getting the first interview. But W. Earl Brown, who played Kenny in the first film, agreed to speak with me and from there it just kind of started to snowball. Many of the filmmakers and actors still keep in touch, so I think once I had a few people, others probably thought that if these other people trusted and agreed to speak with me, they could as well.
In the end, I ended up speaking with 30 people associated with the movies.
What sort of insights can we look forward to in the book?
I approached the book from the place of being a fan and wanting to celebrate the movies. At the same time, I wanted to provide an accurate depiction of what it took to make these films. Everyone that I spoke to was so generous with their time, stories, and sending pictures or memorabilia that I could use for the book. There are a lot of great stories that you will only get from the people who were there. So, I think there are some fun stories that people will really enjoy, but also other stories that will help people understand the films more.
One fun element also is I spoke to the owner of the restaurant, Ca’Bianca, where the cast and crew regularly went to eat dinner after filming and was able to get her perspective. She has such nice things to say about the experience and also gave insight into the fight that erupted between the filmmakers and the Santa Rosa school district.
What was your writing process like, how long did it take to write?
I am super Type-A. So I started by doing my research and re-watching the movies. I made an Excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs and listed everyone who I planned to reach out to for the book. As I did each interview I printed out the transcript and created color coded note cards, based on the movie it referred to, and then group each film’s cards by topic. Then when I went to write I would just grab a topic and write using those cards.
In total from when I started researching to when I handed in the manuscript, it took about 9 months. So, really it was like birthing a baby. My friend refers to it as a book baby.
Scream is of course a classic, did it surprise you no one had ever written about it in depth?
That’s the funny thing. Scream has been written about A LOT. I don’t know if it’s because of when it came out or anything, but it’s mostly only been covered by articles on websites and magazines. But with how influential and popular the Scream movies have remained over the last 25 years, it was surprising that there hadn’t been an in-depth book about it. A few had been written analyzing it. But there wasn’t anything just telling the story behind Scream.
Where does Ghostface rank amongst the slasher villains for you?
It’s a little bit like apples and oranges because Ghostface is always different, which also makes it scarier. It’s just a random person who has snapped. Seeing the mask for the first time, it was terrifying and Roger L. Jackson’s voice work was perfect. Overall, though, I would say Freddy is probably the best, and then Michael Meyers, and Ghostface. Jason is just kind of lumbering killing machine without any real rhyme or reason, so I’ve never really been a big fan of the Friday The 13th movies.
Can you recall your first reactions to seeing Scream?
I remember just being entranced by the movie. At the time there weren’t many good horror movies that were coming out and this was so fresh and different — especially with the humor. Usually when horror movies incorporated humor, it doesn’t turn out that well. But, and I told this to Rose McGowan when we spoke, I had taken a liking to Tatum and when she died, I jokingly leaned over to my friends and was ready to go.
Are there any plans to revisit the other Scream films in the future?
It All Began With A Scream covers the first four films, with a few mentions of the fifth film, and the television series. If the response is good and people want more, I would be happy in five or ten years to maybe update the book and include more about the latest film. It would just have to be after enough time has passed to be objective.
Are you looking forward to the new Scream movie in 2022?
I am! I actually went down to Wilmington while they were filming and saw a little bit of what was going on. Between that and what people told me during the interviews, I am excited. But to be honest, I don’t have any expectations for the film. I just want a good, scary movie that is true to the characters.
It All Began With a Scream by Padraic Maroney is available now from BearManor Media.