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Christian leaders slam Lutheran denomination's transgender bishop: a 'revolt' against God

Christian leaders condemned the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for its decision to install its first openly transgender bishop, calling the move a "subversion of the creation order" and proof that some mainline Protestant denominations have abandoned Christianity altogether.
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NFL referee Carl Madsen dies after working Chiefs-Titans game
The league confirmed Monday that Madsen died on his way home. Madsen, 71, was driving home to Weldon Spring, Missouri, when he had an apparent medical issue. Police were first called at 4:46 p.m. CT about an SUV stalled in a lane on Interstate 65 North with the driver unconscious.
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Braves fans come together to send team to World Series
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Police admit mistakes in Brian Laundrie case
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Man shot during attempted robbery on subway train
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Gov pledges millions to bolster healthcare workers
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Fmr Murdaugh housekeeper settles with law firm
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Shots fired at officer during traffic stop
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Amazon workers expected to vote on union
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Baltimore tests unvaccinated city employees
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Officials request dental records for missing woman
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Soldier charged in deaths of elderly relatives
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The latest on Covid-19 vaccines for children
The FDA's independent vaccine advisory board is meeting to discuss whether the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine should be authorized for children ages 5 to 11. Follow here for the latest news updates.
A nor'easter is hammering the East Coast with heavy rain and threatening flooding
A snowless nor'easter was dropping heavy rain in parts of the US Northeast including metro New York on Tuesday morning, and will threaten flooding and power outages into Wednesday.
Astronomers Find Evidence of a Planet Outside Our Galaxy for the First Time
The possible Saturn-sized planet was detected in the galaxy Messier 51, 28 million light-years from Earth, making it the most distant exoplanet ever found.
Why Barry Weiss Left 'Storage Wars'—And When He's Returning
After years away from the reality show, "Storage Wars" fan-favorite Barry Weiss is returning. Here's when you can catch him back on A&E.
NASA discovers first possible planet outside our galaxy
Scientists may have detected signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way, in what could be the first planet ever to be discovered outside our galaxy.
The search for creative solutions to the thorniest issues in Biden's agenda as deadline pressure kicks into high gear
There comes a point in every major legislative negotiation when a deal is in sight, but not close enough to be a sure thing.
Sonny Osborne, original 'Rocky Top' artist and bluegrass great, dies at 84
Legendary bluegrass musician Sonny Osborne of the Osborne Brothers – whose blazing banjo was the first to play "Rocky Top" on record – died at age 84.
Who Is Princess Mako's Husband Kei Komuro and What Does This Mean for Japan's Royal Family?
Princess Mako has taken her husband's surname following their marriage, marking the first time she has had a family name.
Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen talk race, reparations and the American dream in a new book
Out Tuesday, "Renegades: Born in the USA" builds on conversations between the president and the Boss from their podcast of the same name.
Huizar seeks to gut corruption case, says alleged $1.5 million in gifts were not bribes
Lawyers for former L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar say prosecutors have not met the strict standard set by the Supreme Court for proving bribery.
Podcast: Stuck for days in L.A.'s biggest traffic jam
Sailors on cargo ships spend months at sea. Now, a shipping bottleneck and lack of access to COVID vaccines have them stuck on their vessels.
MIT expert on work says any boss who thinks employees will return to offices is dreaming
The author of a prescient book on the workplace tells The Post" If companies make employees who can do their jobs at home go into the office it will be harder for them to hire, and other companies will benefit."
As Grammy voting begins, Gen Z acts are favorites. But could a 95-year-old take the top prize?
Amid reforms in the Grammy nomination process, Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X are considered early favorites. But a (very) old-school album could steal the show.
Campaigning ‘from the middle out’ won’t save Democrats
This effort can be driven only by independent movements, by organizers on the ground, by activists who decide collectively that this is a time not to give up but to move up.
The grind to repeat as champions proved to be too much for Dodgers
Ill-timed injuries, an inconsistent offense, a diminished rotation and a red-hot Atlanta Braves team all helped end the Dodgers' season.
The ugly origins of qualified immunity
A pair of recent Supreme Court decisions will make it more difficult to hold police officials accountable for misdeeds.
Major US airlines, travel industry leaders donate more than 20,000 flights for Afghan evacuees
Seven airlines, along with other travel industry leaders, are donating more than 20,000 airline tickets to Afghan evacuees to get to their final destinations in the US, matching an additional 20,000 flights contributed by the public, the White House, Welcome.US, major airlines and Miles4Migrants will announce Tuesday morning.
Major US airlines, travel industry leaders donate more than 20,000 flights for Afghan evacuees
Seven airlines, along with other travel industry leaders, are donating more than 20,000 airline tickets to Afghan evacuees to get to their final destinations in the US, matching an additional 20,000 flights contributed by the public, the White House, Welcome.US, major airlines and Miles4Migrants will announce Tuesday morning.
Eric Metaxas: Is atheism the enemy of freedom? Here's how retreating from faith makes US less free
Religious liberty – meaning we can chose any faith or none – was a wild concept when the Founders tried it 250 years ago. But it has made America one of the most religious countries on the planet.
More than 4,000 people lose power in New York, New Jersey amid nor’easter
The majority of the outages are in Queens -- with 605 people affected, according to the Con Edison.
Jeff Molina gives props to training in Missouri – with one exception
Take a look inside Jeff Molina's TKO win over Daniel da Silva at UFC Fight Night 196 in Las Vegas.      Related StoriesJai Herbert says he needed spectacular win to stay in the UFCRanda Markos says she's not done after snapping four-fight skidAfter lackluster March loss, Jonathan Martinez glad to get confidence back
Three of 10 student athletes could get kicked off team for missing LAUSD vaccine deadline
Students in extracurricular activities face an Oct. 31 deadline for getting both vaccine doses.
In L.A., at least our corrupt officials don't have much power
Los Angeles' reputation for civic corruption pales in comparison with Chicago or San Francisco. But the City of Angels has a long history of sinners in public office.
Record rains transform a parched California, but ending drought remains elusive
While the massive plume of moisture helped, experts said it will take much more than one storm to make a dent in the drought.
Column: After crying fraud, Republicans go silent when Nevada ally is charged with voting twice
Kirk Hartle claimed someone cast the ballot of his deceased wife. Prosecutors say it was him.
Gwyneth Paltrow says she ‘almost died’ giving birth to daughter Apple
The Goop founder opened up about the two cesareans she had to deliver Apple and son Moses and blasted the pressures of social media to bounce back.
House isn’t selling? Blame the ghosts.
Zac Freeland/Vox Realtor? Check. Appraiser? Check. Ghostbuster? Check. Part of the Horror Issue of The Highlight, our home for ambitious stories that explain our world. The Nyack, New York, home is a looker. A baby-blue Victorian clocking in at more than a century old, and endowed with a prime view of the Hudson River and proximity to New York City, it might even have inspired an Edward Hopper painting. Perhaps less desirable, however, were the three ghosts allegedly loitering around the property. Helen Ackley, who lived in the house from the 1960s to the early 1990s, believed the ghosts resided in her home, telling the New York Times that she once saw one while she was painting the living room ceiling and that another one waltzed in her daughter’s bedroom. The third ghost, she said, was seen by her son and was a Navy lieutenant during the Revolutionary War. It may have all been fun and games until, after decades of calling the place home, Ackley made moves to sell the property at the tail end of the 1980s. In 1989, an out-of-town buyer emerged, someone who was unaware of the house’s well-known local reputation for being haunted. The unlucky man, Jeffrey Stambovsky, a bond trader from New York City, eagerly put down $32,000 on what he thought would be his new $650,000home. Until, that is, he learned of the home’s mysterious past. Spooked, Stambovsky sued, demanding his down payment back. New York’s State Supreme Court, in a 3-2 decision that has become a staple in many law school classes, decided in his favor. “As a matter of law, the house is haunted,” wrote Justice Israel Rubin for the court in what would later come to be called the Ghostbusters ruling. The case of Stambovsky v. Ackley is a quirky artifact of legal history, but it also prompts questions about the flimsy underpinnings that hold up the institution of homeownership. A home is the largest and arguably most important asset any American will ever own. Its value rests on a variety of factors, like architectural style or the size of the kitchen, but most uncomfortably, it rests on subjective beliefs around what is and isn’t desirable. Part of that subjective evaluation includes the paranormal. Good schools can bump up a home price. Ghosts lurking by the basement door, not so much. In fact, paranormal activity affecting property prices is common enough that a cottage industry has sprung up trying to clear homes of anything supernatural before a sale. It’s a reflection of just how tenuous the value of a property is that the whispers of ghosts can inflict a real cost. That’s why the Ghostbusters case isn’t the only time that the legal system has had to wrestle withthe question of what to do with purportedly haunted houses or places where there has recently been a death. Four states have laws on the books regarding paranormal activity and real estate, according to Zillow. In New York, as the Stambovsky case settled, if a seller invents and maintains that their property is haunted and then allows a potential buyer to remain ignorant of the “home’s ghostly reputation,” the court will rescind the sale. In New Jersey, if homeowners are asked, they’re required to disclose whether there are “psychological impairments.” In Massachusetts and Minnesota, the laws go in the other direction: Instead of ensuring that the buyer has information about paranormal activity, the law protects a seller who may choose to withhold that info. Caring about ghosts in your home isn’t just for the superstitious, it’s for a market-conscious buyer as well. Even if just 10 percent of people would be uncomfortable buying a home where there are rumored to be ghosts, that reduces the value of the property, because it can reduce demand.And 10 percent could be an underestimate: A 2009 Pew survey found that nearly a fifth of Americans said they had “seen or been in the presence of a ghost.” A more recent 2019 YouGov poll found that roughly 45 percent of Americans believed in ghosts, demons, and other supernatural beings. It’s unclear how many people would allow that belief to affect their home-buying decisions— particularly in a market as hot as this one — but a dissentingjudge in the Ghostbusters case wrote that Stambovsky sued because, “as a result of the alleged poltergeist activity, the market value and resaleability of the property was greatly diminished.” David Chapman, a real estate professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, wrote about the Stambovsky case and how to teach it in a paper subtitled You don’t have a ghost of a chance. Chapman, a real estate agent, says he’s had clients refuse to buy properties if they think there might be something strange going on in the home. “I had a client that carried a box, some sort of Geiger-counter-looking-thing, and she would put it in front of each house and it would determine whether we would even go into the house at all,” he tells Vox. Chapman also notes that America’s aging housing stock could change how frequently this comes up. “My wife and I own a lot of houses that were built between 1895 and 1920, so if you look at the amount of owners that had been through those homes, I would guess that there were not very many of those that somebody did not die in the house,” he says. According to Freddie Mac, more than 50 percent of single family homes were built before 1980 — and the older the home, the higher the chance that someone died there. In his written opinion, Judge Rubin from the Stambovsky case sarcastically quipped that while buyers are legally responsible for screening their purchases, strictly applying that standard “to a contract involving a house possessed by poltergeists conjures up visions of a psychic or medium routinely accompanying the structural engineer and Terminix man on an inspection of every home subject to a contract of sale.” While the image of a psychic accompanying would-be buyers to each property might be comical, it’s not as far-fetched as the judge made it sound. A cottage industry of spirit-related businessesexists to assist buyers and sellers grappling with the ghosts that may or may not be lurking beneath the floorboards. The website was started in 2012 after its founder got a call from a tenant who noticed paranormal activity in her home. Now, people can pay $11.99 to get a report about whether anyone has ever died in the house they are considering purchasing. For some, the knowledge of whether there was a death — or even a murder —in the house recently isn’t enough. That’s where Jane Phillips comes in. Jane Phillips is a self-proclaimed ghostbuster whotravelsthe country offering “paranormal energy clearing services” to real estate agents and homeowners alike. Her business is often driven by agents who are having difficulty getting a listing sold; they call Phillips, she clears the house, and, she tells Vox, that makes it possible for the house to sell. A mortgage banker before becoming a professional psychic, Phillips is in tune with the real estate world.She runs her business out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, but says she does business “all over the world.” One of her clients, a Santa Fe real estate agent named Suzanne Taylor, uses Phillips’ services frequently when selling homes. “I buy and sell a lot of properties that are distressed and very I use Jane all the time,” she says, explaining that she’ll spend hundreds of dollars each time Phillips comes to a house and “clears” it of any negative or supernatural energy. Phillips has a checklist, she explains, that helps her rule out things like a loose screen door that could be blown open by the wind. “An oncologist is always going to see cancer,” Phillips adds. “I’m a paranormal, so I’m always looking for it to be paranormal... but I have to put some reason and logic in.” Along with using essential oils, a pendulum, and some L-shaped rods, Phillips explains, she taps into her “intuition and psychic abilities to remove interfering and dark energies.” For some buyers, a little spiritual cleansing is enough to make a sale — particularly in a housing market this hot. Over the last year, demand for homes has spiked, exacerbating an already dire housing shortage in the United States. Research by Freddie Mac shows that the US is short 3.8 million homes to satisfy the existing demand. This has made people more willing to overlook a lot of their preferences around homes in order to get their hands on any property — even violent deaths in the home. One Maryland house in an attractive DC suburb was the site of several murders, but after a short period of time (and an address change) it hit the market at a much higher selling price. Even the childhood home of Jeffrey Dahmer found a buyer. “Given a choice, people would rather not buy [a home] that has a psychological problem, but when they don’t have a choice, they will,” Chapman says. Owning a home in the United States is not simply a way to find shelter in a place where you’d like to live; for many, owning a home is a bet on the future value of that property. Yet, as one of the primary wealth-building tools Americans have access to and are encouraged by government policy to pursue, the bet of homeownership can be remarkably risky. Unlike many other physical assets, a home’s value is predicated on more than just the cost of the physical materials. Things outside of an owner’s control like the quality of nearby schools, the crime rate, changing fads about what type of house style is “in” and, of course, whether or not it is haunted, play an important role. And, importantly, neither the buyer nor the seller need themselves to be believers in the paranormal for it to affect the value of the home. While it can be a bit funny to think of something like a poltergeist affecting your retirement nest egg, it becomes sobering to consider the more insidious ways that subjective evaluations can affect homeowners. Most notably, Black Americans have faced a racism penalty when selling their homes: Many find their homes undervalued relative to their white counterparts, finding a decreased demand to live in Black neighborhoods can negatively impact the value of their homes. As for the Nyack house, it turned out to be a case study in never knowing how public opinion will end up affecting the market: While Ackley lost the case, the publicity ended up actually working in her favor. After the Ghostbusters ruling became a curiosity, it increased the value of the home for people who were interested in living in a haunted house. Roughly 30 years after the case was settled,film director Adam Brooks, musician Ingrid Michaelson, and singer/rapper Matisyahu have all lived in the home. According to, it is now roughly 200 percent more expensive than nearby properties. It sold for over $1.7 million this year. Jerusalem Demsas is a policy reporter specializing in housing for Vox.
8 Halloween Recipes Perfect for Spooky Season: From 'Mummy Rolls' to 'Ghost Brownies'
Whether you're looking to make the perfect snack for trick-or-treaters or want to indulge yourself during a horror movie marathon, there's a Halloween recipe for you.
Scream broke all the rules of horror — then rewrote them forever
Dimension Films Scream turns 25 this year. Here’s how it permanently changed horror movies. When Wes Craven’s Scream appeared on the scene in 1996, horror was stuck in a rut. The fun, philosophical innovations that characterized the genre in the ’80s had been reduced to derivative, repetitive slasher flicks: stab, wipe, repeat. The cultural ascendence of 1991’s Silence of the Lambs kicked off an era in which stylish cat-and-mouse thrillers with horror elements had dominated mainstream cinema, while more traditional teen slasher fare languished. That all changed when Scream debuted five days before Christmas in 1996. In one single, terrifying opening scene, and with one now-immortal line — “Do you like scary movies?” — Scream completely transformed ’90s horror and paved the way for generations of smart, genre-savvy filmmaking to come. As this self-referential icon turns 25, horror is currently enjoying a renewed “golden age,” with modern horror films like Get Out (2017) and Hereditary (2018) being hailed as genre-elevating masterpieces. With so many of these cerebral horror films shaping cultural discourse, it’s important to recognize the role Scream played in the genre’s evolution. For while it embodies the quirks of ’90s horror — including overaged teenagers, trope-filled plots, and enjoyably over-the-top deaths — Scream also completely up-ended trope-filled scary movies, arguably forever. The horror genre has since become so saturated with films following Scream’s self-aware horror-comedy model that it’s worth recognizing that all this metatextuality basically has a single point of origin. We wouldn’t have films like Get Out, The Cabin in the Woods (2011), or even 2020’s Promising Young Woman without Wes Craven’s hit meta franchise — and we can’t talk about modern horror without talking about Scream. Scream’s knowing use of horror movie tropes was iconic, terrifying, and game-changing This might sound like a bland observation from the vantage point of 2021, but in 1996, Scream’s use of other horror movies to navigate its own plot was unique. There’s a well-known idea that horror movies don’t exist in horror movies — that the characters often act as though they’ve never seen one. While the genre is usually extremely self-aware, that self-awareness typically exists offscreen, as a relationship between the filmmaker and the audience. The characters themselves don’t have a clue, and therefore make choices that viewers find to be extremely unwise or naive, because the characters don’t understand the concept of a horror movie. Wes Craven had tried to explore this idea once before, in his clever, very meta 1994 film Wes Craven’s New Nightmare — but it didn’t quite work. Heather Langenkamp — who grew up starring in Craven’s Friday the 13th series as the feisty teenager Nancy, opposite Robert Englund’s razor-handed Freddy Krueger — stars in a cheeky narrative that’s as much about Hollywood as it is about horror. Langenkamp plays a version of herself, the grown-up actress, realizing that Freddy Krueger (played once again by Englund, who also plays himself) actually exists and is hunting her in dreams. To stop him, Craven, also playing himself, decides they must make more Friday the 13th films, conveniently giving the movie an excuse to nostalgically revisit the earlier films as a nod to diehard fans. Craven’s idea was possibly a bit too new in 1994 — we were still five years away from Being John Malkovich’s celebrity navel-gazing, after all — and the attempt at reviving the Friday the 13th franchise flopped at the box office. Nonetheless, critics found it fascinating. “This is the first horror movie that is actually about the question, ‘Don’t you people ever think about the effect your movies have on the people who watch them?’” Roger Ebert wrote. Perhaps Craven realized that he had had the right idea with New Nightmare, but stumbled in its execution. With Scream, he took a step back into the realm of the purely fictional, while still exploring the effect of horror movies as a phenomenon in a way that invited viewers to apply their understanding of the genre to what they were seeing. “Scream mainstreamed metatextual storytelling and made that analytical understanding of the genre mainstream in a lot of ways,” says Sam Zimmerman, a curator at the horror streaming service Shudder and former managing editor of Fangoria magazine. Scream accomplished all of thisin its first scene. In case you need a refresher or haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the film, here’s what happens in Scream’s first 12 minutes: A teenager, home alone, is settling in for a relaxing evening in front of the TV. The phone rings. At first, she thinks it’s a wrong number — until the caller calls back. He engages her in a friendly chat, getting her to talk about her favorite scary movie. It’s Halloween, she tells him, absently fondling a giant carving knife similar to the one Michael Myers wielded in the famous 1978 slasher. The caller plays along — but then abruptly turns sinister, asking her to tell him her name “because I want to know who I’m looking at.” From there, the caller proceeds to terrify her, making it clear he’s watching the house and then gutting her boyfriend right before her eyes — but not before making her play a macabre game of “guess the horror movie.” Ultimately, the killer drives her out of the house and brutally murders her on her front lawn. The whole sequence is riveting, shocking filmmaking — and crucially, it referenced other horror movies as it kicked off a horror movie full of references to other horror movies. Not only was Scream telling on itself — this is a horror movie whose characters know about horror movies! — it was also subverting a major horror trope right from the start. The key to Scream’s unforgettable opening scene is that it’s not supposed to happen. Audiences familiar with countless slasher flicks would have instantly read the perky, innocent blonde as Scream’s main character and been primed to relate to her. Craven’s decision to cast Drew Barrymore in the role furthermore signaled that here was our lead. Barrymore was a child star from her role in Spielberg’s blockbuster 1982 film E.T., and a celebrity member of a royal Hollywood family, the Barrymores. Scream’s opening scene presented her as prime fodder for a Final Girl — the typically virginal, sweater-wearing blonde who survives the movie. But Scream, overturning all assumptions, slaughters Barrymore, audaciously, right in front of our eyes. Once those first 12 minutes are over, it’s clear that all bets are off. If Scream had stopped there and gone on to tell a more conventional horror tale, it would still be influential because it acknowledged the existence of horror movies and their tropes, while subverting audience expectations. But the filmkeeps going: The entire movie is jammed with self-referential storytelling. The plot picks up with a set of high school friends learning about the death of Barrymore’s character, Casey. One of them, Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott, is especially disturbed because her own mother was recentlymurdered; although the man convicted of the crime is in prison, Casey’s killer seems to be targeting her. While she tries to evade him, her friends discuss both murders as though they were late-night horror fare, all while cutthroat reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) pursues Sidney in search of a story. At every turn, the film’s script, written by Kevin Williamson, dissects well-known horror clichés. Even as one character outlines the “rules” of surviving a horror movie, Scream is breaking each one as it goes — often with the characters cheekily drawing attention to them while they’re being broken. As Roger Ebert put it in 1996, “Scream is self-deconstructing. Instead of leaving it to the audience to anticipate the horror clichés, the characters talk about them openly.” Dimension Films Scream characters doing what few horror movie characters before them had: watching a horror movie. Prior to Scream, horror movie characters usually didn’t know what story they were in until it was too late — and when they did manage to wake up and seek agency against the narrative, à la Rosemary’s Baby or The Omen, their efforts usually ended badly for them. The notable exceptions to this pattern were the scream queens. These were female characters who fronted long-running franchises: Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie in Halloween, Ashley Laurence’s Kirsty in Hellraiser, and Langenkamp’s Nancy in Nightmare on Elm Street, for example. Nearly all of these characters started out vulnerable and helpless but over the course of their franchises, they steadily gained the power to manipulate their stories. Sidney, however, starts her narrative arc at the end of another horror story entirely — she’s been a witness to the murder of her mother. She’s not only self-aware because she’s aware of horror movies; she’s primed to survive this killer because she’s already survived her mother’s killer. Over the course of the Scream franchise’s four films (a fifth film is now slated to arrive in 2022), Sidney’s survival skills ramp up, as does her ability to fight back against the genre she’s in, and by the fourth film, she’s effortlessly turning horror tropes against her would-be killers. And the killings are all inspired by a litany of famous horror villains. By making the characters be part of a knowing horror audience, Scream single-handedly opened up a new procedural dimension for horror films — and it wasn’t just about meta references and tongue-in-cheek satire. Plenty of genre-savvy films (including Final Destination, Shaun of the Dead, The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, The Cabin in the Woods, You’re Next, and Get Out) would follow in Scream’s wake. Each one explored the idea that it’s possible to know what story you’re in, and to not only be aware of the tropes, but also use your understanding of them to manipulate the situation and survive (or whatever your objective might be). For that narrative tension to be effective, the viewers must bring their own sophisticated knowledge of genre to a given film — and that’s another thing Scream furthered: the audience’s genre awareness. “These days, anyone knows what a Final Girl is,” Zimmerman tells me. “In Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, even though the movie’s really funny, the way they talk about genre is straight-up academic. They’re talking straight-up Carol Clover stuff” — referring to famed academics like Clover who’ve dissected horror films for their larger sociocultural implications, from their themes of gendered violence to their use of allegory. Zimmerman points out that even cerebral, thematically ambiguous indie horror films like 2015’s It Follows or 2016’s The Witch can break through into the mainstream these days, mainly because audiences seem to have embraced layered storytelling. “People are willing to give things a chance more,” Zimmerman says, crediting the rise of on-demand and streaming services for allowing audiences to pay attention to riskier, smaller-budget films. “I think there’s a generally more cinematically savvy audience happening right now.” This knowing genre-referencing is only one element of what Scream gave us. Perhaps the more permanent way Scream altered the horror landscape was by providing a template for stories in which the characters’ pre-awareness of the existence of horror deepened the layers of tension and meaning in a story. After Scream, movies were free to examine the role horror plays in the real, post-9/11 world New Line Cinema The Orphanage’s subtle story within a story was a way of examining its own multiplicity. As cinema entered the late ’90s, we began to see more explorations of postmodernism and metatextuality in horror. 1997’s Funny Games shockingly broke the fourth wall to make points about narrative control. 1999’s Blair Witch Project toyed with the line between reality and fiction and kicked off a decade-long craze for the “found footage” subgenre, with its multiple points of view and layered storytelling. 1999’s The Sixth Sense used unreliable narration and careful cinematic technique to deliver one of the most famous twists in movie history. Even horror franchise reboots delved into meta storytelling: At one point in 1998’s Halloween H20, the film’s ensemble of teen characters watches Scream 2. This use of narrative rule-breaking wasn’t just superficial or stylistic. Films like Blair Witch and Funny Games were successful not just because they subverted the “rules” of horror, but because they did so in ways that shocked and disoriented audiences. The question of whether the characters were able to navigate, control, or manipulate their narratives became a major source of tension and conflict that added to the films’ feeling of horror. As a storytelling approach, metatextuality evolved and became especially prominent throughout the aughts, when post-9/11 horror cinema injected an often bleak, chaotic nihilism into its themes and subjects. The unpredictability of post-Scream horror storytelling aligned with the overwhelming post-9/11 sense that whatever was happening onscreen was completely out of anyone’s control — sometimes even the film’s production team. If, for example, a character could break the fourth wall completely — like Sadako breaking through the TV screen to pursue her victims in 2000’s Ring and its 2002 American remake The Ring — then how can the audience ever be safe?What if you think you’re in one story but wind up in a different one, like the hapless victims of 1999’s Audition, 2009’s The House of the Devil, or 2011’s Kill List? What if the cinematic tricks of a movie itself ultimately manipulate you, as with 2003’s High Tension, 2003’s A Tale of Two Sisters, or 2005’s The Descent? Alongside narrative subversion, the genre also delved into trope deconstructions, often reminding us that the horror on display was a mask for a different, larger kind of horror. Films by Spanish directors like The Others (2000), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), and The Orphanage (2007) deployed horror tropes to explore the long-term impact of grief and violence. Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s The Host (2006) used the classic monster movie formula to explore classism and climate crisis, while Swedish hit Let the Right One In (2008) made its monster the heroine instead of the villain, and turned typical horror fare into a coming-of-age love story that examined bullying and social ostracism. Much of this exploration involved giving agency to women in horror who had long been denied it, often relegated to the role of helpless victim. In American horror, a glorious glut of women-centered films took the self-awareness of Scream’s Sidney Prescott and made it a narrative starting point, so that the Final Girl trope (The Descent, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Rise of Leslie Vernon) as well as the monstrous feminine (Ginger Snaps, May, Teeth, Jennifer’s Body) has continually been interrogated, reexamined, and reconfigured. Women in horror emerged from the first decade of the 21st century with more autonomy, and proceeded to put it to good use: Films like American Mary, Lovely Molly, and Jug Face explored the way women navigate systems of oppression while still maintaining their agency. 2014’s Housebound allowed its heroine to be surly and unlikeable in the face of major gaslighting; 2011’s You’re Next gave a girl a crossbow and let her tear shit up. More recent films of feminine destruction and vengeance like 2016’s Raw and Revenge arguably paved the way for genre-bending, subversive hits like 2020’s Promising Young Woman, and all share a lineage to Scream. Then there’s the influence Scream had on Jordan Peele, who included it in his list of films that directly influenced Get Out. Another game-changing horror hit, Get Out followed Scream’s example in that it, too, explicitly used its audiences’ understanding of the genre to further its narrative goals. Where Scream’s aim was to use the horror genre against itself, Get Out used horror to illustrate and explain aspects of modern racism. Peele also cited Scream’s fourth-wall-breaking, genre-savvy characters as influencing his own, noting that the film’s “postmodern reference,” and its characters who’ve watched horror movies, were more realistic than in the typical horror film. Films like Get Out and Promising Young Woman may spearhead a generation of socially conscious films that use genre tropes to comment on the times we’re living in. This probably wasn’t what Craven and Williamson anticipated when they set out to terrorize Sidney Prescott and her friends — but it seems like a fitting evolution of the journey that Scream began.
For delicious Nepalese dumplings, head to this gas station in Chantilly
Everest Momo Plus is tucked inside the store at a Liberty gas station near Dulles Airport.
A $1 Trillion Tesla Almost Makes You Feel for the Other Car Giants
Rivals have tried every trick in the book to rein in Tesla’s lead. So far nothing has really worked.
Trump SPAC slumps after wild week of trading
The shell company that plans to merge with former US President Donald Trump's new media firm is losing some steam after last week's trading bonanza.
TikTok star pleads not guilty to killing newly estranged wife and man she was with
A TikTok star with nearly a million online followers pleaded not guilty on Monday to shooting and killing his newly estranged wife and a man she was with last week at a San Diego high-rise.
Heavy Rain Soaks New York
A flash flood watch will be in effect all day as a storm system moves through the region.
Sudan’s Shuttered Capital Pauses Before a Fresh Day of Protest
Schools, banks and shops shut in the capital, Khartoum, and other cities in response to a call for civil disobedience from pro-democracy groups, a day after a military coup.
Arrested for refusing to give up bus seat in 1955, she's fighting to clear her record
Months before Rosa Parks became the mother of the modern civil rights movement by refusing to move to the back of a segregated Alabama bus, Black teenager Claudette Colvin did the same.
There is no national day to honor hometowns. So Ken Burns is asking for your help.
We do very little to honor our cities and towns. We decided to do something about it.