Modesto CA Stars in New Horror Movie ‘Scream’

Modesto officially has more to “scream” as the Central Valley town flexes its pop culture prowess once again – this time in the acclaimed horror franchise.

Two of the main characters in the new reboot of the “Scream” movie series currently in theaters are from Modesto. The characters, played by Melissa Barrera and Jack Quaid, begin the film while in the county town of Stanislaus, before heading to the fictional town of Woodsboro, California, where all the mayhem unfolds.

The latest film, released 26 years after the 1996 original became a cultural phenomenon, follows a new group of young people terrorized by the so-called Ghostface killer who wears the franchise’s ghost mask and cape.

Modesto is also briefly depicted, as Barrera’s character, Sam, is shown at work around town in what appears to be a bowling alley.

Sam’s boyfriend, Richie, (played by Quaid) is also from Modesto. This is the second time the actor, who is the son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan, has played a Modestan. In 2020, he made his debut in the animated comedy series “Star Trek: Lower Decks”, where the character he voices (Ensign Brad Boimler) is from Modesto.

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Jack Quaid and Melissa Barrera play a couple from Modesto in the latest installment in the “Scream” horror franchise. Brownie Harris PA

Modesto’s “Scream” endorsements aren’t the first time Modesto has featured prominently in movies, music and more. In November, singing superstar Adele released her new album “30,” and her deluxe edition includes a bonus track that names the town of Central Valley.

His song “Wild Wild West” features the chorus: “From LA to San Francisco / I lost my mind in San Bernardino / Even Chula Vista and Modesto / I broke my heart in San Diego”

The city has also been referenced on TV in “Saturday Night Live” sketches and on shows such as “CSI”, “Criminal Minds” and “The Simpsons”. Some of Modesto’s other cinematic references include the 2007 thriller ‘Zodiac’, the 2009 animated feature ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ and, of course, the 1973 classic ‘American Graffiti’ – although George’s film Lucas on Majority never mentions his hometown by name.

A sampling of some of Modesto’s other prominent mentions in pop culture over the decades:

1963: “It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world”, film; Jonathan Winters’ trucker character drives the Modesto-Yuma race.

1972-1977: “Streets of San Francisco” series; Michael Douglas’ detective in San Francisco was from Modesto.

1985: Murphy’s Romance”, movie; Sally Field’s divorced mother character is from Modesto.

1994: “Modesto”, song; Beck’s track from his album “Stereopathetic Soulmanure” loosely refers to “contaminated lawns” and “browsing the city of supermarkets”.

2001: “The Man Who Wasn’t There”, film; Billy Bob Thornton’s character goes with his wife to a wedding reception for a cousin who has just married a “winemaker near Modesto” in the Coen brothers’ film noir.

2015: “Watching” series; The HBO show about a group of gay friends living in San Francisco has characters road tripping to Modesto for a family funeral and was filmed in town for some scenes.

2017: “Glorious”, music video; Rapper Macklemore actually came to Modesto, where his grandmother lives, and recorded the clip with her in and around town.

2020: “Ratched” series; The Netflix drama, based on the infamous Nurse Ratched from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” stars Sarah Paulson as the title character who goes on a trip with his girlfriend (played by Cynthia Nixon). They make a pit stop in Modesto to watch a puppet show called “Lew Klassen’s Marionette Theater”.

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Jack Quaid and Melissa Barrera (center) play a couple from Modesto in the latest installment in the “Scream” horror franchise. Brownie Harris PA

This story was originally published January 14, 2022 12:10 p.m.

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Marijke Rowland writes about new commercial, restaurant and retail developments. She has worked with The Modesto Bee since 1997 and covers a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. His Business Beat column airs several times a week. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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