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Scream's Opening Phone Call And 5 Other Classic Horror Moments That Wouldn't Work In 2021

Horror movies prey on audiences’ fears and can make even the most common things genuinely horrifying. Some scares are timeless, but in the case of the scenes on this list, the fear has worn off due to various circumstances. 

Scream is a great example, but there are many other instances in which times have changed just enough for some of these classic scenes to cause more confusion than anything. Let’s get into all that below, beginning with the phone call that horrified so many people back in 1996. 

Casey Becker playing with the knife block on the phone.

(Image credit: YouTube)

Scream’s Opening Phone Call Would Have A Lot Of Unknown Variables

Ghostface’s call to Drew Barrymore’s Casey Becker is one of the most frightening scenes in modern cinema. Casey is harassed on the phone by Ghostface and forced to answer horror trivia questions to save her boyfriend, as well as her own life. Casey is ultimately unable to answer the questions, and as a result is forced to watch her boyfriend’s murder and is then killed a short time later. It’s a classic Scream scene that’s still scary to this day, but if someone tried to recreate it in 2021, there are just too many variables for Ghostface’s ploy to work perfectly. 

For example, families with a landline phone are increasingly rare. Ghostface could place a call to Casey’s cellphone, but it’s late at night. She could be charging it while doing things around the house, or it’s on silent and she’s missing calls while Ghostface is getting increasingly nervous with a dude tied up in a chair behind the house. For the plan to work the way Ghostface wanted, it had to happen quickly, and there’s just no guarantee of that given the versatility and ability to silence cell phones. 

Girls watching The Ring

(Image credit: YouTube)

The Ring’s Tape Would Have A Hard Time Finding An Audience

The Ring terrified me as a child, especially given how much I loved watching movies and television. The concept of popping in an unknown video and being surprised by disturbing images was terrifying enough. Then the viewer gets a call that explains they’ll be dead in a week? It’s a death that’s both an agonizing wait and only avoidable if you’re willing to do an ungodly amount of research. In short, the ultimate nightmare for any slacker. 

Luckily in 2021, it would be far more work to find a place to play the dreaded tape from The Ring. Only a few niche hobbyists would need to worry about Samara Morgan in the modern day. Even with the caveat that the tape still works when duplicated, the process of copying VHS to DVD is such a process that it would take a while to spread. Samara would have to hope that curse works over the internet and she could find someone to put the video on YouTube, but even then I question how she’d be able to kill everyone at once if she went viral. Even for a supernatural being, it would be exhausting. 

A man holds and looks at a ball

(Image credit: YouTube)

The Changeling’s Library Research Scene Could Probably Be Done From Home

The Changeling’s John Russell needed answers behind the weird happenings in his house, and since it was a different time, he headed straight to the library. There he was able to procure some microfilm, which gave him a rundown of local papers from his area and some information about the house he moved to. Spoiler alert, it was haunted, but I guess he didn’t really need the library to tell him that. 

In 2021, library scenes don’t happen as often as they once did. After all, a lot of what John Russell sought out in The Changeling would be available online, though I guess by having a haunted home, one would want out of the house as much as possible. Even so, it’s hard to naturally justify a trip to the library world in modern horror films these days, especially when someone can just reference their smartphone and the power of the internet for a score of answers.

A guy sitting in the leaves

(Image credit: YouTube)

The Blair Witch Project Students Wouldn’t Need To Worry About A Map

The Blair Witch Project follows a group of student filmmakers who venture off into the woods to investigate the mystery of, you guessed it, the Blair Witch. The journey doesn’t go well for the crew, as they’re progressively creeped out throughout the journey. To make matters worse, one of the students threw their map of the woods into a creek, which is essentially the nail in their coffin throughout the rest of the journey. Ok, maybe whatever attacked them in the basement was the final nail, but losing the map led to that!

In the modern era, it’s much more difficult for witches and other forest dwellers to trap college students in the woods. GPS capability is widely available to use on most cell phones, and there are even ways to access it without cell phone data. Any student filmmakers would be fine out in the woods, at least as long as they had a way of charging their phones. Let’s be honest though, GPS technology existed when this movie was first made, so maybe we can just assume these students weren’t exactly the brightest. 

Freddy drowning a kid in a bed

(Image credit: YouTube)

It Would Be Hard For Freddy Krueger To Drown Kids In Water Beds

A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is about the best the franchise ever got outside of the original classic, and part of that is thanks to some memorable kills. Take, for example, how Freddy enticed the love-struck Joey with a nude woman underneath his water bed. He then stabbed and drowned the poor boy in his bed, but not before making a tasteless “wet dream” joke. It’s bad enough they’re getting murdered Freddy, do we need the wordplay? 

Freddy Krueger has whatever victims can imagine at his disposal for his murderous intentions. I’m not sure many folks are imagining water beds these days, which would decrease the odds of a murder happening via those means. Perhaps the 2021 equivalent would be death by expanding memory foam or being crushed by an adjustable bed.

The television in Poltergeist

(Image credit: YouTube)

The Poltergeist Kid Would Just Stand In Front Of A Television That Reads "No Signal"

Poltergeist is, in my opinion, still one of the best classic horror films to show a future generation. It’s effectively creepy without being too corny, and the effects are practical enough that it doesn’t feel too outdated. With that said, there’s an essential prop used that, quite frankly, a younger generation wouldn’t understand. 

Carol Anne spoke to the poltergeists of the movie via the television static on the family television. Most families have a flat-screen non-analog TV these days, which would mean there’s a generation of kids who don’t even know what television static is. That’s bad news for the ghosts that hope to converse with them, but if there’s one thing I know about horror films: ghosts are rather resourceful at finding ways to communicate with children. 

These are just a few examples of horror moments that wouldn’t fly in 2021, but there have to be plenty more. Find more candidates on another recent list about '80s horror and the movies from that era that need a remake

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.