In 1996, Scream hit the horror scene, changing the game with a chilling yet humorous story about a teen girl who discovers the grisly truth behind recent murders. The film sparked a resurgence in mainstream scary movies starring a swath of teen leads. Scream both honored its predecessors within its narrative while simultaneously clowning the genre’s many tropes and unofficial “rules.”
And when it came to this film’s rules and expertise, Randy Meeks was the one with the knowledge. Despite his death in Scream 2, Randy’s legacy continues to resonate within this universe. A recent Scream (2022) trailer shows Dewey and other characters discussing the rules of a horror situation, much like the video store employee did decades prior. Jamie Kennedy’s character is a staple in the franchise, the ultimate audience surrogate who spoke for us up until his shocking demise.
But, what if Randy had survived? What would he be doing right now? Kennedy thinks Randy would have taken his film love and knowledge to new heights. “He’d probably have snuck off and become a professor, staying low-key and teaching film somewhere, maybe out in Berkeley,” Kennedy tells Nerdist via Zoom. “Then [the other characters] would call him and be like, ‘We need you to guide us…there’s been another round of murders.’ And he’d be like, ‘No, don’t drag me back in.’ I think that’s what he’d be doing.”
The prolific actor and comedian completely embraces the fandom’s love for the character. In fact, if he could choose to be anyone in the franchise in real life, he’d choose Randy because, well, he is like him in some ways. He may not have Randy’s mental Rolodex of horror knowledge, but he surely has his humor and strong opinions.
Kennedy also gets good laugh out of the conspiracies that Randy is somehow alive. However, if there were an alternate Scream universe, he’d totally be on board with Randy faking his death. “I think he would do that,” affirms Kennedy. “Because he’s too smart. He knew that his time was gonna come, because he was getting too mouthy. He knew too much… But, he could still secretly help Sidney along the way.”
In retrospect, Kennedy marvels at Scream’s role in changing his life on a nuclear level as well as the trajectory of the horror genre. It led to him making “serious money,” as he says, and became the springboard for The Jamie Kennedy Experiment and other film opportunities like Malibu’s Most Wanted. (A film that is oft quoted in this millennial writer’s home. Don’t be hatin’.)
In terms of its cultural impact, Jamie Kennedy says Scream reflects a generation and shifts in entertainment in a brilliant way. Like many films of the ’90s, its a snapshot of the world during that time, for better or worse.
“Gen X was just like, ‘To hell with everything, question everything. This is what you left us!’ So, it definitely has that mid-’90s vibe of, ‘You know, man, this is all BS. What’s going on here?’ Scream was the perfect Gen X thing. It came during the start of The Real World and reality TV and seeing the façades broken. Scream was really the first meta movie, in the sense that it was commenting on what was happening, in its very Gen X way, as it was happening to the characters. It did it smartly without breaking the fourth wall. It’s exactly where we were in the zeitgeist of time…Scream is such a unique property, it’s not just a horror movie and different than a typical slasher movie. There’s psychological-ness and comedy to it.”
Thankfully Jamie Kennedy got the best of both worlds from his Scream experience. He gets to be a horror film staple, going to conventions and being the subject of big love. But he didn’t get typecast into the funny sidekick or the “horror guy” roles. He has returned back to the thriller and horror side of things throughout his career in Ghost Whisperer, Criminal Minds, and Trick. But, if he dives into the genre again, he wants a project with a villain who can become a horror icon like Ghostface, Michael Myers, or Candyman. And, he doesn’t want to play a helper or victim like Randy. He wants to be the killer this time. We’d love to see it!
Until then, Jamie Kennedy will be impatiently waiting for Scream (2022) like the rest of us. “I’m definitely looking forward to the new film,” he says with a smile. “I don’t really keep up with the franchise. I see the actors when we go to conventions, and sometimes we’ll be there together signing, which is fun. But it’s been 10 years since [the last film] came out, so it’s nice… I’m just like you guys. I’ll be there on Friday night with my ticket. It’ll be great and I can’t wait see how it reinvigorates [the franchise]. I know there are some really good actors, young actors in this new generation, and I think that’s exciting.”
We are excited too, Jamie! In fact, Scream fans can grab 4K Blu-ray copies of the film starting October 19 ahead of the film’s 25th anniversary on December 20. The anniversary set includes a new documentary featurette with behind-the-scenes looks and commentary from the late great Wes Craven. There are also cast and crew interviews and production footage to enjoy. Get back into Scream mode and experience how it all began with Sid, Dewey, Randy, and the rest of the original crew once again.