To celebrate Women in Horror Month, I will be highlighting some of my favorite undersung female characters in horror films each day this month. These posts will contain some spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movies mentioned, do yourself a solid and check them out before reading all the way through.
Today I’m celebrating Maureen Evans from the 1997 Scream 2.
Maureen is undersung because she is only in the movie for such a brief time, but she plays a character all horror fans can appreciate. She is that special someone in your life who loathes horror movies, will mock them (with valid points which is even more annoying!), but will still go see one with you because they care about you. She is the opposite of Scream 4’s Kirby Reed (a character I think most horror film fans relate to), but people like Maureen play an important foil to our horror film enthusiasm.
Maureen is the perfect audience member for the opening of a movie like Stab. My fondest memories of seeing horror films in the theater are going on an opening night or weekend with a huge, reactive audience. Yes, I take horror films seriously enough to write this blog and defend them at the drop of a hat to people who disparage the genre, but I also love a well-timed joke or reaction during a screening. Maureen’s comments during the film are just naturally funny without even trying in part because she is so frustrated by the genre.
“I’m just saying that the horror genre is historical for excluding the African American element.”
“It’s some dumb-ass white movie about some dumb-ass white girls getting their white asses cut the fuck up, okay?”
“Why is she naked? What has that got to do with the plot; her being butt ass naked?”
“Bitch, hang up the phone and star-69 his ass! Damn!”Maureen Evans in Scream 2
Maureen is also delightful because you can tell despite her barbs that she is easily startled by horror films, so the clever jokes and commentary are really her way to try and avoid seeing one. Plus as a librarian, I appreciate anyone who grumpily shrugs on a cardigan in any context like she does when watching Casey Becker’s death scene.
Her death is just the kind of outlandish set piece her character would mock in a film she was watching. “How can they not catch the one masked figure running out in a blood soaked jacket?!” But her death wail coupled with her look of utter betrayal and hurt at the audience before collapsing gives the moment a sense of pathos despite barely knowing this person. It is truly one of the most heartbreaking death wails I’ve heard in a horror film.
Played expertly by Jada Pinkett Smith, Maureen has such a strong presence that even though I know she is going to get killed, I still get bummed everytime I watch the sequence hoping she will live through it this time.
Hats off to Maureen Evans for being such a short-lived but well-drawn body count victim in a slasher sequel.