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Stab
STAB1COVER.jpg
Stab film poster
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Produced by John Milton
Written by Will Kennison
Starring
Music by Dante Paltrow
Distributed by Sunrise Studios
Release date(s) 1997 (limited release)
Spring 1998 (widespread opening weekend)
Running time 110 Minutes
Language English
Budget
Gross revenue
Preceded by None
Followed by Stab 2 (1999)

Stab is a 1998 biographical slasher film. It first appears in Scream 2 (1997 film, set in approx. Spring 1998; see Continuity Errors). In reality, it is a fictional film-within-a-film, and a meta parody of slasher films, established as a gag reel within the Scream sequels.

The film was based on Gale Weathers' best-selling book, The Woodsboro Murders (published 1997), a sensationalized retelling of the events of the first film. It was directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by John Milton of Sunrise Studios.

It was filmed in 1997, and received a limited release at the end of 1997, before gaining a widespread release in Spring 1998 (during the events of Scream 2). Despite its success, even spawning seven sequels, it was marked by tragedy.

Its opening night saw two 22-year-old Windsor College students murdered in a copycat killing spree. 23 years later, it also inspired two cult-like super-fans, Richie Kirsch and Amber Freeman, who created their own killing spree inspired by the disappointment of its sequels.

2 years after its release, Jennifer Jolie who portrayed Gale was also senselessly murdered by a music video director who was hired for the job to create a fictional Stab sequel. The official third film's development and release was delayed until around 2006, due to these controversies.

Stab premiered as a wide-release sometime in early-mid 1998, approximately two years after the events of the original Scream, set in October 1996. According to IMDb, it was released in 1997, likely in December as a limited-release (as the second film later shows its opening night in 1998).

Plot

"This is gonna hurt..." ROBERT RODRIGUEZ presents STAB, based on the tragic real-life murders that occurred in Woodsboro, California, during 1996.

Now the story BASED ON TRUE EVENTS is told. A masked killer, known as Ghostface, lurks around, stalking his prey, and has his eyes set on none other than Sidney Prescott (Tori Spelling) after killing her mother one year ago.

Now it's up to Sidney and her friends, along with Deputy Dewey Riley (David Schwimmer) and reporter Gale Weathers (Jennifer Jolie) to find out who the killer is, and if Woodsboro will ever be peaceful and quiet again.

Deaths

Possible Slasher Movie Deaths

Other Attacks

Quotes

  • "Look out back, do you see your boyfriend anywhere?"
  • "I don't even have a boyfriend right now."
  • "Would you like one? Come on... cat got your tongue?"
  • "You know, I don't even know you, and I dislike you already."
  • "My mom's dead and she's never coming back. Ever."
  • "That's just how the cookie crumbles."
  • "Fuck you!" (Sidney to Billy in the reveal scene)

Differences from reality / Adaptation differences

Throughout the Scream sequels, the Stab lore has expanded beyond the peripheral meta-parodic imitation scenes shown in Scream 2 and Scream 5. Therefore, many details given can give fans an idea of how events transpired in the film-within-a-film using internal world logic established in the Scream universe.

Furthermore, if Scream (1996) can be viewed as a subversion to generic slasher tropes, it can be inferred that Stab is essentially a watered down, generic slasher version (as implicated through its scenes), where each trope originally subverted is actually perpetuated in the parody version.

Summary of inferred differences

  • Seen: Casey Becker is a single woman about to take a shower while making popcorn. Generic slasher movie logic. Reality: Casey did not take a shower. She was dating Steven Orth, lied about being single, and admitted it afterwards.
  • Seen: Casey immediately gets suspicious and weirded out. There is no build-up tension. Reality: Casey briefly flirted with the caller.
  • Seen: Cliched D-rate slasher movie idioms: Ghostface says "cat got your tongue", and Billy says, "That's just the way the cookie crumbles".
  • Stated in dialogue: Randy Meeks is stabbed on Stu's couch, as he yells to Jamie Lee Curtis through the TV screen.
    • Reality: Randy is left alone after he is almost stabbed. The twist in real-life is Stu went out to slice Kenny Brown's throat, who is distracted by a 30-second delay on his news van watching Randy through the secret camera set up by Gale. Presumably, this element was cut, as Kenny was likely already dead earlier.
  • Stated in dialogue (inferred from Scream 2): Kenny Brown is gutted. Possibly inside 261 Turner Lane.
  • Seen: Sidney Prescott, played by Tori Spelling, is a redhead. Reality: Sidney is a brunette.
  • Stated in dialogue: Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson's versions of the characters "killed everyone" at Stu's house.
  • Implied through dialogue (Accidentally): Arthur Himbry dies at the party.
    • Charlie's line, "Two kids killed in a house while their parents are away, and the school's hot chick savaged beyond recognition" and saying, "We all know where it goes from there?" to which Sidney responds, "A party."
    • While Charlie Walker stating this as a Stab structure is internally inconsistent with the actual events of Scream, it technically is not a writing error or inconsistent with Stab, as it is already established there are major differences between both films.
    • It also implies Steven Orth exists in the opening, which Stab implies he is not (or at least unconnected to Casey as a boyfriend). However, this may be possible if the cameo occurs during the murder of Phil Stevens, which would be meta, as he was killed due to having a similar name.
      • If not, it is possible another sequence occurs afterwards, where another teenager is killed home alone in a separate scene.
  • Implied through the series: Stu Macher was an unmemorable, small-scale villain, likely because Gale had virtually no interaction with him in real life. Despite watching the film, Tara Carpenter cannot identify him as the other killer firsthand.
  • Stated in dialogue: Gale (played by Jennifer Jolie and Dewey (played by David Schwimmer) are a married couple, or about to be.
    • First known divergence from the book. Gale spoke negatively of Dewey and said he "oozed with inexperience".
    • It is presumed the love/romance element remained, and was exaggerated into a full marriage. Rebecca Walters states that by Stab 3, they have been married for a decade. While Stab 5 is established as being the first and only with "time travel", meaning it is logically impossible for them to be unmarried in the film due to Timeline continuity.

Adaptation tropes

  • Adapted Out: Steven Orth is not Casey Becker's boyfriend (and possibly not in the film).
  • Adaptation Distillation: Some adaptations take a deeply complex character or situation and greatly simplify it, removing elements the producer believed to be unnecessary, or in the case of this being True Crime, a lack of awareness to the complexity of Casey's real-life predicament.
    • For Casey's call, it cuts to the chase, with almost zero build-up. Creepy tension originally portrayed in real-life (shown in the first Scream movie).
    • Internal Consistency in Adaptation Divergence (achieved): The fifth Scream film implies the Stab version of Randy Meeks (played by Christopher Speed) is stabbed by Ghostface in his "Look behind you, Jamie!" scene.
      • This actually fits the continuity established in Scream 2 where Gale Weathers wrote in her book that Kenny Brown was gutted, as Stu Macher would not have jumped ship during the 30-second delay to slash Kenny's throat, and leave Randy behind temporarily, considering the film is an adaptation of the book, The Woodsboro Murders.
      • Chad Meeks-Martin also identifies the film as being a movie where his uncle gets stabbed. In reality, Randy was not stabbed. He was shot.


Relation to Scream 4

The murders, who were in the original Stab, are related to the murders in Scream 4. As two kids were murdered in their house (Casey and Steve), are now related to Marnie and Jenny. As the hottest girl in the school, Tatum, gets murdered afterwards, which is related to Olivia.

Cast

Crew

Executive Producers:

Producers:

Director:

Writer:

Music:

Trivia

  • Release date goof: According to Tara's IMDb image results in Scream 5 (2022 film), the film was released in 1997. However, this is inconsistent with other references in the film itself. It is almost certainly a reference to the film it was first shown in, Scream 2 (1997 film).
  • An in-universe explanation for this may be that the film was produced in 1997 and underwent a limited release in December 1997, before having a wide-release in early-mid 1998. This is common for many films, which show a different release date year than the year they are generally regarded as being released in.
    • This would mean that the the events of Scream 2 take place in Sidney and Randy's freshman year of college. This is possible, as Sidney and Randy are not regarded as sophomores in-dialogue, so both were freshly 19 rather than turning 20 during the murder spree. However, this leads to other errors. One of Randy's classmates mentions she had Biology with Maureen, who was mentioned as a senior, 4 years ahead of the student.
    • It is possible the second film is simply one year later, and the reference to "a couple of years ago" is also a reference to Maureen's murder as a collective, as is Gale's conversation when trying to lure Sidney into doing an interview with Cotton. However, this is also unlikely, because the length of time needed for publication and filming the movie, and the extra at the cinema refers to kids dying, which would not apply to Maureen.
  • Another error shown is the release date of May 1997 (filming date) inside the theatre in the opening of Scream 2. This would mark the film as taking place when Sidney was still finishing high school, which would be impossible.

Screengrabs


Franchise
Scream series
Scream | 2 | 3 | 4 | TV Series | Scream (2022) | 6
Stab Franchise
Stab | 2 | 3: Hollywood Horror/3: Return to Woodsboro | 4: Knife of Doom | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
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