Actress Melissa Barrera Talks About Returning to the Iconic Horror Franchise, New York City as a Character, and What Songs Would Need To Be in a Ghostface Broadway Musical
Melissa Barrera returns as Sam Carpenter in Scream VI. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Arturo Hilario
El Observador

The Scream film franchise started with one fateful phone call in 1996. Since the inventive first scene starring Drew Barrymore, the series has been a dynamic horror staple which became a genre in its own right. Started by filmmaker Wes Craven, each subsequent film continues to find ways to reinvent itself while keeping to its basic thriller roots.

Last year’s revival of the series, simply titled Scream, continued the story after 2011’s Scream 4 and brought in a fresh cast of characters alongside the return of the original survivors of the series, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette.

This, along with the introduction of Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega as sister protagonists brought the dormant film series roaring back to life, and will continue the story with its newest release, Scream VI.

Set in the New York months after the events of 2022’s installment, the survivors of the new Woodsboro Ghostface attacks attempt to move on with their lives while dealing with the trauma and fallout of what a masked killer does to a person’s psychological state.

Melissa Barrera recently sat down to talk about the new movie, and what it was like to step into the role of Sam Carpenter once more, acting alongside the returning cast and legacy characters of the franchise, and what tunes Ghostface would be singing on a hypothetical Scream Broadway musical.

Scream VI is now in theaters.

Hi Melissa, could you begin by telling us what’s been going on since the events of last year’s Scream V? How has your character of Sam has been dealing with it?

It hasn’t been that long since the events of the fifth movie. I think it’s been maybe six months, eight months at most. So it’s pretty recent. The whole Sam, like, snapping and stabbing [the killer] Richie was not too long ago. And she’s still dealing with the consequences or the effects of that kind of wall shattering that she had been fighting so hard to keep up. And so we meet her at the beginning of the 6th movie in therapy. But it’s a very performative kind of therapy.

I think she’s that person that knows that she should be in therapy and that it’s good and that it will help her, but she’s not fully opening up. And it’s been many, many months. And so she’s just kind of going and talking about her sister and not really about herself. And so I think there’s still a lot of healing that needs to be done and there’s still, like, a battle within her that she’s struggling with of the temptation of giving in to the dark side that’s very much present in her. But she has, you know, her sister to worry about and she has the twins that she’s now taking care of too, and they’re all her family.

It’s so fun to get to return. It feels like coming home to people you love and getting to explore more of these characters that were introduced in the fifth movie. It’s really beautiful.





And she has a responsibility that’s bigger than just herself, and that can be very scary for someone. And so we meet a Sam that’s more vulnerable, more paranoid and a little bit more open. There’s a lot of fear there of what might happen because she knows that whatever happens to the people that she loves is because of her.

You mentioned the dark side, and especially with this movie, I got a real Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker kind of vibe, of wrestling with the darkness and all that. So being the “final girl” in these movies, how is that more explored in this movie where you’re kind of wrestling with that notion of, “should I approach the darkness or not?”

There’s lots of moments within this sixth movie where you see her actively struggling and trying to restrain herself. There is something very alluring about a character that you don’t trust fully because they’re unpredictable. It’s like an addiction, you know, like, they can choose for many, many days to be sober, but then one day, just the slightest thing can tip you over the edge and you fall off the wagon.

And I feel like that’s the darkness for Sam. It’s like an addiction that she’s trying really hard to stay off of, and it’s hard, it’s an everyday battle and she’s trying to front and she’s trying to focus on others so that she doesn’t have to deal with that. But it is present and we see in various moments in the movie, her looking at it in the face and choosing the light until it’s time to protect her family, because when it comes to family, she’ll do anything. And I actually think that there’s something really cool about having a character that can go to that dark side because it is what needs to happen to survive, in a way.

I wanted to ask about the setting. Is New York City its own character? And how does the vastness of the city change things compared to the small town feeling of Woodsboro?

Yeah, I definitely think New York is a character. The city is a major character in this movie. It provides us with higher stakes and it provides us with, like, really cool set pieces where a lot of the major attacks take place that are so quintessentially New York City spots, like the subway, like a bodega, like the balcony of a skyscraper, all of these levels that the city provides and also the city itself.

New York is the most magical place in the world. But it can also be the scariest because it can be hostile. And it’s so full of people, but everyone is kind of just doing their own thing and no one wants – have you ever been in the subway and someone’s, like, fighting and everyone’s just kind of looking away? No one wants to be in the business of anybody else.

And we see it in this movie where attacks are taking place and no one wants to help. You know, everyone’s going home or going to work or whatever. And so I feel like the energy of New York City is great for a Scream movie.

And the fact that these characters moved all the way across the country to get away from Ghostface speaks volumes of how far they’re willing to go to be safe. And the fact that they still can’t, even all the way across the country, that Ghostface still finds them is terrifying.

What it was like to come back and join your other fellow actors and work with legacy actors like

Courteney Cox and Hayden Panettiere?

It’s so fun to get to return. It feels like coming home to people you love and getting to explore more of these characters that were introduced in the fifth movie. It’s really beautiful. And having legacy characters come back like Courteney and Hayden that are such beloved characters and getting to play opposite them is very surreal and very cool.

I feel like it’s so great that we get these iconic characters coming back. And you also have the new “core four” that are the heart of the movie and that you get to spend more time with them and get to know them, and hopefully the audience will get as invested in them now as they are in the legacy characters.

And last question, Melissa. Thank you so much again. Since it takes place in New York, let’s imagine a world where Scream is on Broadway and it’s like a musical. Do you have any ideas for what one of the songs might be? Like, for example, let’s say there’s a song called “The Core Four”. Do you have another idea?

If there was a song called “The Core Four”, it would definitely be, like, an upbeat, light moment, like a comedic moment in the show. And there could also be, I don’t know, I feel like there would be a “Hello Sydney” song or, like a “Hello Samantha” song that Ghostface gets to sing in like, Phantom of the Opera vibes. Like a very baritone Ghostface I can picture.