Actress in new “Scream” film shares her experiences in becoming part of the slasher movie legacy
Melissa Barrera stars as character of Sam Carpenter in the new "Scream". Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / Spyglass Media Group

Arturo Hilario
El Observador

January just got a lot more thrilling. “Scream”, the 90’s slasher movie franchise that changed the horror genre and introduced the white mask of Ghostface, is back.

The series created by the late Wes Craven had been dormant from cinemas since 2011’s “Scream 4”, the latest incarnation being MTV’s television series that ran from 2015-2019.

But now the new chapter in the main film series has arrived with the return of the classic cast of Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox and with new faces in Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Jenna Ortega and Jack Quaid.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Melissa Barrera about her history with horror films, what it was like to become part of the storied horror film series, and how her fascination with the script helped her decide to take the role of Sam Carpenter.

Well, thank you so much for taking time to talk about “Scream”. To start off I wanted to know your own personal history with the film series. Do you remember when you first watched any of those films and what you thought of them?

I remember I didn’t watch them when they came out because I was way too young. But then I had a little streak of preteen years when I was obsessed with horror movies and I would make all my friends, and they hated me for it, I would make them all, in sleepovers, watch scary movies because I’m kind of a masochist and I love not being able to sleep at night, even though I’m very much a scaredy cat. I get super scared, but I love the feeling.

So I would make them all watch. And that’s when we discovered “Scream” and I think it was the first three movies because they were already out. So we watched them and it was done, I became obsessed. I became obsessed with “Scream” and with scary movies in general because I feel like “Scream” is a great introduction because it talks about the genre so much so it makes you want to go and watch other movies as well.

Now what was it that attracted you about this script to come into the franchise?

I was very curious about what they were going to do with the script because I knew it was the first movie that was going to be done without Wes Craven, so I was like, “Is it going to be good or not?” And I didn’t know if Nev (Campbell) was coming back because I feel like Courtney (Cox) had already said yes, but Nev hadn’t yet. So I was curious to read and I read it and I thought it was brilliant.

What Jamie and Guy (James Vanderbilt & Guy Busick) the writers did – the way that they connected everything to this new movie and tied so many little [things], like a comment that was made in the first movie then becomes like a whole storyline in this one, and all things that I just thought fans were really going to appreciate. I feel like that’s the important thing with this movie. The fandom is so loyal and so passionate that it needed to be worthy. I read it, and I was like, “yes, this is going to be great.”

And I loved the character of Sam. I thought it was such an unusual female character in a horror movie. Not the ingénue, not the good girl, not the victim, but someone that’s really gone through a lot and has a dark past and has a dark secret. And I just thought, “this is fascinating.” And I thought it was a great compliment to the characters of Sydney and Gail, and so I was sold as soon as I read it and I just wanted to get it. And Luckily, I did.

And finally, what were your most memorable moments filming this?

I mean, there were so many moments. We had so much fun making this, and we spent so much time together, just offset as well, like bonding and going to the beach and playing board games and watching scary movies together.

But one of my favorite moments was Halloween, because we were shooting during October and November. So it was Halloween 2020, and you already know it’s not a spoiler because it’s been out there but Stu Macher’s house is a big set piece in this movie. And they rebuilt it exactly as the original house on a stage. So we had the stage and it had the front lawn and everything and our producer, William Sherak, organized screening of the original “Scream” of the ’96 one outside in picnic blankets, and we all had dinner, and we watched the original “Scream”.

And then we just hung out in the house and we had an incredible time, and it just felt so epic, like, “we’re shooting the fifth “Scream”. We’re watching the original “Scream”. We’re here in front of the house!” It was just very surreal and very memorable.