Ghostface Invocation: All the Scream References in The Angel of Indian Lake

Jade Daniels’s slasher-film passion clearly saturates the narratives of the Indian Lake Trilogy. When it comes to this horror genre, her namings are legion (as attested by the Letterboxd listings [1, 2, 3] of the various films mentioned in My Heart Is a Chainsaw, Don’t Fear the Reaper, and The Angel of Indian Lake). Jade’s notable cinematic go-to’s include the HalloweenNightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th series, and the films Just Before DawnJaws, and A Bay of Blood. But her (and author Stephen Graham Jones’s) favorite scary-movie franchise to cite arguably is Scream. Callbacks to the Kevin Williamson/Wes Craven creation are sounded throughout the novel trilogy, and nowhere more extensively than in The Angel of Indian Lake. Here is my Letterboxd-inspired attempt to quote (without plot spoilers) the various Scream echoes in Jones’s latest Jade Daniels book:

1. It’s Monday, not Friday, meaning no pep rally for football. nobody pulled the fire alarm. It’s not senior skip day, , and Banner hasn’t instituted some curfew to keep everyone safe–there’s no reason to. Ghostface isn’t out there slicing and dicing. (p. 26)

2. “Dwight,” I say down to this junior on his knees.
He probably thinks it’s a Dewey reference, but I’m really calling him Brad Pitt from Cutting Class. Because that’s what he’s doing.
“Um, Trent, ma’am,” he stammers, trying to peel out of the glittery Father Death robe he’s now tangled in. (p.31)

3. After taking attendance and passing back quizzes and peeling up the Post-it notes stuck to [ ___ and ___ ‘s] seats–“Casey” and Steve” respectively, fourth time in two weeks–we finally dial the lights down […]. (p. 38)

4. I was going to be that janitor working a mop in Scream, waiting for Principal Himbry to surprise me. (p. 39)

5. “Do you like scary movies?” someone behind me says, not with a voice-changer, but with that same kind of murderous chuckle that promises the game’s only beginning here. (p. 52)

6. One says Casey, one says Steve.
Casey who was gutted and hung from her childhood swing, Steve who was tied to a chair in his letterman jacket and gutted just the same. (p. 53)

7. Of note is that both Ms. Daniels and Dr. Watts have agreed to wear “Ghostface” masks (not robes) for these sessions, so as to promote “honest talk.” (p. 54-55)

8. “This isn’t public knowledge,” Banner whispers, eyes darting around Dewey-style. (p. 61)

9. Next time we see [ ___ ], he might look like Dewey from the second-to-last Scream: grey, grizzled, a sort of wince to his step. (p. 71)

10. “A Cassandra’s someone doomed to know the truth but nobody believes her. I’m like the sidekick, the Randy. Good for a little comedy breather, some out-loud exposition, but ultimately not a real factor.” (p. 75)

11. It is how slashers like to open: a Barry and Claudette going down, a Casey and Steve deader than dead. (p. 91)

12. She’s in a pale nightgown, is barefoot, and isn’t moving with the [ ___ ] crowd. Rather, everyone’s flowing around her, their eyes across the lake.
“Maureen Prescott,” I mumble.
Sidney’s mom, from the third Scream(p. 113)

13. But, on the napping couch that day, when I finally made the connection Chin wanted me to make, I looked down to my feet to see if I had tiny skulls painted on my black toenails or what–more like Ghostfaces, thanks–and kind of wiggled my toes in greeting to myself, and… (p. 131)

14. I’ve seen a Casey strung up from a tree by her guts, though. I’ve been in that cell Rod died in.
No thank you, Mr. Craven, Mr. Carpenter, Mr. Cunningham. I’m fine being on the outside for once. (p. 137)

15. “I don’t even like that movie.”
“You don’t like Scream? How can someone not like Scream?” (p. 145)

16. Like I have to, I flash on the first time seeing Principal Himbry in Scream, and how, for a moment, it was definitely him chewing through the senior class. But I guess The Faculty would cover that soon enough. (p. 148)

17. I was always meant to be Randy, a Cassandra, a Clear, never the Sidney, never the Laurie, the Nancy. And, I might worship at the shrine of Ripley, sure, but nobody gets to be her. (p. 148)

18. You were always trying to get me to buy into that one, Mr. Holmes, but I always had Sidney and Billy in my head, picking their genre. (p. 156)

19. Gale Weathers is staring right into her new camera man’s camera, she doesn’t care how beat up she looks after this Hell Night, what she looks like is a SURVIVOR, one with Friends now, and what she’s telling the world is that the Dark Night of the Scarecrow is over. (p. 182)

20. By reluctant degrees, I crank my head over, my neck popping in the process, Billy-style. (p. 187)

21. Let me start it over, do it different–I’ll watch Psycho and Halloween and Scream back to back like the trilogy they want to be, strung together with “Loomis,” and then and only then will I go do down to the cellar to see what that sound might have been. (p. 201)

22. When I bring my eyes back down, though, there is a shadowy figure running from tree to tree. It’s stupidly comforting–at least someone knows the genre. We’re playing Casey and Ghostface, here, or, in Fear Street terms, Heather and Ryan. (p. 204)

23. And then, “Oh, shit,” I say.
It really is Ghostface?
Definitely a flowy, tattered black cloak, and that’s no human face in that hood, and there’s a Santa-satchel slung over its shoulder, straight out of Audition. (p. 204-205)

24. “They know about the boats,” Banner says. “But not…not–”
Ghostface back there. (p. 221)

25. And then cut those hundredths into hundredths themselves, giving me time to conjure up the poster for Candyman: he’s a silhouette right there in the pupil, just like Ghostface would be for the Fonz four years later. (p. 235)

26. We’ll smoke so many cigarettes together, and, somewhere way out in front of us, Gale Weathers will be staring the camera down with her survivor face, her eyes so piercing and blue. (p. 240-41)

27. But, now that I’m thinking about it: how? How did she land on that movie? She doesn’t know horror. Lemmy does, but if even Scream is old to him, then 1972 must be ancient. (p. 241)

28. Then, too, until the second most recent Scream, I figured Dewey was pretty much unkillable. (p. 244)

29. Taking into account its story purpose, like Kevin Williamson taught us that knowing the genre can be your eject lever, your escape hatch, your magic way through the twisted maze, so… (p. 257)

30. What if–what if that gas-mask Ghostface skulks in, messes everything up? (p. 258)

31. She doesn’t touch the back of my hnad [sic] the same but she does sit on the swingsets with me at dusk and listen pretty hard, and we’re both wearing masks like Billy and Stu, or Mrs. Loomis and Marty, or, you get it, we’re two Ghostfaces in the dying of the light, just quietly raging. Well, one of us is raging. (p. 276)

32. In addition, the aluminum backing of this shadowbox has been signed by: Jamie Lee Curtis; Adrienne King; Olivia Hussey; Heather Langenkamp; Jennifer Love Hewitt; and Neve Campbell. (p. 281)

33. That Mask of Satan from Black Sunday, then. the one that looks like the Greek masks in the third Scream. Just, without the nails on the inside. (p. 284)

34. What we’re saying is that someone on the second floor up there using the light on their phone…they’re not some monster like [ ___ ]. They could be a Billy or Stu–just a regular killer, a revenge-slasher […] (p. 286)

35. The side of my head’s flowing again, my bleeding forearm’s finally giving me that red right hand Nick Cave’s always going on about […] (p. 290)

36. It would be a hell of a time for [ ___ ] to hold my face on both sides and kiss me on the lips, but we don’t get to pick our genre, Billy. (p. 305)

37. “What are Randy’s rules for the third in a trilogy?” I ask.
Letha sits back, unfocuses her eyes to dial them up: “Killer who’s superhuman, check. Anyone can die, fuck that check.” I golf-clap for her profanity, which gets my right arm throbbing even more. “And…” she goes on, picking through Randy’s videotaped exegesis, “…is it that the past comes back to bight you in the ass?” (p. 305-06)

38. “You never know the rules out, out there,” Letha says. “In here, in the slasher, we sort of do, don’t we?”
“Never helped Randy.”
“Didn’t it? He made it to 2. And 3, sort of.”
“And his niece and nephew,” I tag on. (p. 306)

39. “‘Something that wasn’t true from the get-go…'” I try out loud then, still citing Randy’s posthumous rule-laying down. “So what is it that we’re so wrong about?” (p. 306)

40. WATTS: Perhaps it’s these masks. I’m liking it. Doesn’t Sid wear one at the end?
DANIELS: Sam too. Twice, now. More important–you WATCHED the first one? Thought you were too spooky for horror? (p. 314)

41.  I know this trailer. Because, next up, on April 14 1946, is Peggy Loomis, which meant a lot to me, once upon a time: she’s two years before Halloween, is the connective tissue between its Nancy Loomis and Psycho‘s Sam Loomis, all of them snowball crashing onto screens nationwide in the form of Billy Loomis in 1996, who’s a mental ghost-dad or something now, in 2023. (p. 325)

42. And then the feature presentation lights the side of Glen Dam up all at once, with a scream, baby–even punctuated by a gif of Stu saying exactly that, which…The Town That Dreaded Sundown doesn’t open with him, what? (p. 327)

43. It’s what I’ve been smelling all the way down the mountain, I think. Ever since [ ___ ] shot that Ghostface over in Terra Nova. (p. 329)

44. From another [ ___ ].
Shit.
Billy just ran past me, but Stu‘s still over there, rampaging. (p. 329)

45. [ ___ ] steps up on top of somebody’s cooler to be closer, shoot better, and that’s when I get what I almost thought, seeing her in that rain poncho: Ghostface. (p. 333)

46. But then, moving exactly like Ghostface, exactly like he was moving in the woods before [ ___ ] shot him, that same figure from the Terra Nova side of things flits past […]. (p. 336-37)

47. It’s what I fell in love with with final girls, with Laurie and Nancy, Sid and Ripley, all of them from the scream queens up to now, to Sam and Allyson, to Tree and Bee and Millie. (p. 343)

48. When [ ___ ] charges, [ ___ ] turns, is lighter on his feet than any Ghostface ever was, is already swivelhipping away […]. (p. 344)

49. Sure, Billy and Stu were in high school, but this isn’t that movie, this is one of my students. (p. 347)

50. I know that sparkle. It’s from a Father Death robe.
When whoever this is turns around, the long white Ghostface mask matches the robe, which should send me screaming down a tunnel in my head, because this has to be something I made up, a place I’ve chosen to live in instead of here, because everybody I know keeps dying.
But…What?
It is Ghostface, but it’s the Ghostface with that Scary Movie tongue coming down from the mouth. (p. 350)

51. [ ___ ‘s ] face is painted like Ghostface. Which is something I’ve never seen in all my years on the video shelf. (p. 351)

52. […] and I won’t be satisfied unless, like Randy says, this time around’s a complete gorefest, very much including some of the deck crew buying the farm, not raising their thumb from the stretcher to show they’re going to pull through. (p. 373)

53. She’s strung up exactly like Gwen Stapleton was, the day Dark Mill South broke out of his convoy. Which is to say this is Casey Becker hanging from that tree. (p. 375)

54. “[The Stu-rule’s] when,” I tell her, trying to get my words lined up right, “it’s when the person who is doing all the over-the-top shit that should get them killed, that would get them killed in any other movie, they just keep on living.” (p. 377)

55. “Me either,” [ ___ ] says. “Me either, Sid. Laurie. Jess.” (p. 403)

56. Just, because [Pennywise] is who he is, when he grins his lecherous grin, the hard plastic cheeks of the mask will come up like Ghostface‘s, and I’ll feel a pressure in my ears, look around at the walls closing in, and finally realize we’re in a red balloon together, one blowing up more and more, about to burst. (p. 409)

57. [ ___ ] jerks, one arm reaching, one heel digging in and pushing back, but [ ___’s ] body is failing, failing, from the red right hand of an actual Indian, after all these years.”
Well, okay,: left hand. But Wes would get it. (p. 424)

 

There, I think I got them all, but if you caught an example I missed in Indian Lake, feel free to add it as a Comment to this post.

 

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