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"Scream's mask refers as much to Munch's Scream as to Hitchcock's Psychosis"


INTERVIEW - Professor of masks at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art in Paris, Christophe Patty deciphers the various symbols attached to the masked killer who has been raging since 1997 in the horrific saga of Wes Craven.

Of course, the sixth part of the terrifying adventures of the serial killer nicknamed


will certainly not revolutionize the cinema planet.

Or even the genre of horror cinema.

Scream VI

by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, which is being released this week on French screens, has no other ambition than to rekindle the interest of a new audience of “teenagers” eager for thrills.

Read alsoMon crime, The Whale, Tengo sueños electricos… Which films should you see or avoid this week?

Yet this horror film always plays on the celebrity of a white mask, evoking the sad face of a ghost.

This strange face has become an icon of global pop culture since 1997.

Professor of masks (yes it exists!) at the prestigious National Conservatory of Dramatic Art (CNSAD) Christophe Patty has agreed to decipher the different symbols attached to this theatrical accessory that has entered the collective imagination of the seventh art.


FIGARO - What does the mask of the killer from the Scream series inspire in you at first glance?

Christophe PATTY -

Without being the least in the world a specialist in this kind of cinema, very very far from me, it must be admitted, I note all the same after having done my little investigation that the mask of the serial killer of


s logically inspired by the famous painting

The Scream

by Edvard Munch.

We can also see reminiscences of the famous cover of the album

The Wall

by Pink Floyd.

By developing this type of mask, the creators of


have created an extraordinary character.

This facies creates mystery, fear.

It awakens in the minds of the spectators a part of the imagination linked to terror or fright.

Because this mask has only one expression.

What for me restricts the play of an actor and directs his choices.

The Scream by Edvard Munch and

The Wall

album cover

by Pink Floyd.


What does this mask mean deeply in the collective imagination?

Above all, it is a cry.

Choice of a cry of madness or distress.

In reality, what I understand is that whoever wears this mask in the film mirrors what the killer's prey is going to feel in a few moments.

The "Ghostface" wears a "mirror mask" which presents future victims in advance with an image of themselves at the moment of their death.

For twenty-six years, this object has left its mark on generations of cinephiles and horror cinema lovers.

The character of the masked killer screaming with his knife also refers to the famous shower scene in

Alfred Hitchcock's film

Psycho .

We also find this theme in another founding film of horror cinema,

The Voyeur

by Michael Powell...

Could you teach with the mask of



I do not work with this type of accessory displaying only a single expression.

In my classes, I rather give character masks that offer a wider range of play, and which have essential lines of force.

The students wear them to be able to try to create a new entity, different from them.

I'm not trying to impose any preconceived emotion.

I never say, "Be afraid!"

or “Be happy!”

The function of a mask is to free the actors.

It provides a certain freedom to the actor.

The formula is known:

“The more we hide, the more we show!”

This is the paradox of the mask.

He can disinhibit.

While the mask of


immediately operates an oriented choice.

He has only one goal.


It is only for that.

The Knife Killer from Alfred Hitchcock's


and the 'Ghostface' from

Scream VI



In your opinion, why is such a mask so effective in the cinema?

This type of mask plays on the fact that the spectators are "coded" with genre cinema.

The strength of the masks in this genre of horror films is to show the viewers an expressionless and pale face.

It is therefore impossible to decipher what the killer really feels behind it.

This is the kind of artifice that can accentuate the detachment of the killers in the face of the violence of their acts.

This object is a symbol.

As soon as we see it on the screen, we know that death is there.

The countdown begins.

In my classes, my students don't talk to me about


, but rather about the movie

The Mask

with Jim Carey.

It makes sense, the film features a chic guy too shy to seduce his sweetheart.

But as soon as he wears a mask, the hero becomes a totally uninhibited person coupled with an unparalleled seducer.

Source: lefigaro

All life articles on 2023-03-11

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