Horror is known for its passionate fandom, and the Scream films are among the genre’s most widely celebrated franchises. Created by iconic writer-director duo Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven, the movies are full of metacommentary on the slasher sub-genre that Craven helped pioneer in the 1970s and ’80s.
Scream has gone on to inspire countless sequels and homages in its own right, not the least of which was 2022’s hilarious Scream: The Musical. The short film came from Sam Pezzullo, an alum of groundbreaking marketing and production shop Thinkmodo, which has since closed its doors.
Pezzullo’s own production company Made Out East subsequently took up the Thinkmodo mantle, percolating a next-gen idea that has become Scream: The Musical, The Movie.
“When I heard that Scream 5 was coming out, we pitched Paramount the idea of making a marketing video centered around this eccentric character,” producer, director, and star Pezzullo told Adweek.
“Long story short, they didn’t go for it, but my friend and I looked at each other and said, ‘Huh. We have all the equipment, we live in a small town in Sag Harbor, I had just taken an improv acting class and had access to all these incredible performers,’ and we thought there’s kind of an idea here.”
They ran with the concept, turning it into the feature film Scream: The Musical, The Movie, which Pezzullo describes as “a mockumentary about a guy making a documentary about trying to make a musical about a movie.”
If that logline feels a bit self-aware for a film based on a franchise known for its self-referential humor, that’s no mistake. “There are so many parallels with the Scream franchise, and now what we’re trying to create with our own franchise was certainly born from this love and admiration of Scream,” Pezzullo said.
Taking a cue from his Thinkmodo days, Pezzullo approached filmmaking like a brand steward. He has curated a handful of brand partners, thinking strategically about how to integrate them into the film in inventive ways. And he’s gathered local support and broader branding opportunities, while crowdfunding through Seed&Spark.