The series was originally directed by The Wayans Family's Keenen Ivory Wayans, and was written in large part by his brothers Shawn (playing Ray, pictured top right) and Marlon (playing Shorty, pictured bottom left). The first movie was mainly a parody of the first Scream (by extent missing the point that Scream was itself a parody of horror movies), although it also heavily spoofed I Know What You Did Last Summer and took jabs at various other films, and not necessarily just from the horror genre. Despite the promises of no sequels, a second movie was released under the tagline "We Lied", which mainly spoofed the 1999 remakes of The Haunting and House on Haunted Hill.
Following the departure of the Wayans family from the series, the following two films were directed by David Zucker (who directed, wrote and produced the previously mentioned The Naked Gun and Airplane films alongside his brother Jerry and their partner Jim Abrahams. The third movie combined the storylines of Signs and The Ring, while it had a subplot spoofing 8 Mile. The "fourth and final chapter of the trilogy" mainly parodied The Village, The Grudge and War of the Worlds while also incorporating a bit of Saw.
After years in Development Hell, a fifth film was released in April 2013, and mainly parodies Mama, Paranormal Activity and Black Swan, while also touching on Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Inception, The Cabin in the Woods and Evil Dead.
These films helped to kick off a new wave of parody films, including the... less well received ones of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg, who were minor contributing writers to the first film of this series.
Compare Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th, which came out around the same time as the first movie and has a very similar main plotline (the way it's tackled notwithstanding).
Provides examples of:
- Awful Truth: Used and parodied mercilessly across all films regarding who the monster/killer could be.
- Big "NO!":
- Which will always end with someone getting run over. In the first two movies anyway.
- In a deleted scene in the third film, Brenda says this when she got fired for trying to warn everyone about the deadly tape (because it doesn't involve boobies).
- Black Best Friend: Brenda (to Cindy) and Mahalik (to George). Heavily parodied.
- Black Dude Dies First:
Black news reporter: Reporting live for Black TV. White folks are dead, we're getting the fuck out of here!
- Defied in the first film, when the black news crew leaves as soon as the deaths start.
Brenda: Uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh UH! Now wait a minute, hold up! How come when anytime this scary shit happens, and we should stick together, you white people always say "let's split up"?Theo: She's right, we should stick together.Dwight: She's right. Okay. You three, follow me! *Points to white people, leaving the three black people in another group*Shorty: Ain't that a bitch.Brenda: We gonna die, y'all.
- Ironically, its also inverted in the first movie. The last victim of the killer is Ray, who is black (though he's gotten better in the next movie).
- Also lampshaded in the second film, as Brenda yells at the white folks for suggesting they split up.
- Played straight in the third movie, when Brenda is the first main character to die because of the tape. (Cindy would have helped her if not for the boy-who-cried-wolf scenario of the scene).
- The Brainless Beauty:
- Buffy Gilmore & Greg Phillippe. The former is so vapid and stupid that she berates the killer as he cuts off her head, the latter can barely spell his name.
- And the most clueless of them all, Cindy! But only in the later films. Anna Faris is definitely beautiful, and Cindy is definitely brainless in 3 and 4, but in the first two films she's a parody of unpopular, Hollywood Homely Final Girls.
- Brother Chuck: Most of the characters from the first two films.
- And then most of the characters from 3 and 4 aren't around in 5.
- Cody and Rachel. Apparently, David Zucker has a fetish for child abuse.
- Cindy in the first two movies.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Virtually every character, but Oliver (played by Michael Madsen) in Scary Movie 4 stands out, as demonstrated in Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs. Another notable quote from the third movie:What I'm trying to say Tom, is that you and I should be fighting these things, it should be us coming up out of the ground. Of course we'll have to bury ourselves first, but it'll be worth it. Cool breeze, no sunblock, worms. When we build our tripods, they'll have four legs.
- Dawson Casting: Lampshaded in-universe in the first film when the characters talk about how, if they were in a horror movie, they'd be played by people in their 20s and 30s (which all of the real-life actors are). They all stop for a moment, letting that sink in.
- Deconstructor Fleet: The entire series of films. Although it tears down horror movies the most, no film is safe from being mocked.
- Depraved Homosexual: Ray is so gay it hurts, even though he tries to deny it. He shows his depraved side when he rapes a Monster Clown puppet who really chose the wrong victim. It's played for laughs.
- Dumb Blonde: Cindy Campbell in the later films.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Averted—despite what the title says, these are NOT Scary Movies, but comedies. Scary Movie was the original intended title of Scream (1996), a genuine horror film despite its parodic elements.
- The Fool: Just about every main character, most notably Cindy Campbell.
- Gag Penis: In Scary Movie 2, a monster clown doll tries to scare Ray Wilkins and drags him under the bed. A minute later, the tables turn on the clown and he tries to escape... only for Ray's suddenly snake-like penis wrap around the clown's throat and drag him back under the bed!
- The fourth movie teaches us to never try swallowing all of the Viagra pills.
- Genre Blindness: Most characters, most blatantly parodied in the first movie when a character sees two signs pointing towards "Safety" and "Death" while running from a killer. Guess which one she chooses?
- Jump Scare: As already mentioned, these are not generally scary movies, despite the name. What scariness is to be found in them is often of this type. Similarly, the Cat Scare is also often used.
- Lampshade Hanging: Scores of them.
- Lethally Stupid: EVERYBODY!!! Especially Cindy and George.
- Look Both Ways: Every movie ends with someone getting hit by a car or a bus except the fifth one... until The Stinger.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Brenda Meeks.
- Make Way for the Princess: Buffy, with Brenda and Cindy following close behind.
- Narrow Parody: The later films in the series ended up like this. Originally, they worked, as most Horror Tropes were codified in The '80s or earlier, so anyone with even a passing familiarity with the horror genre will get the jokes. However, later gags became a lot more obvious and telegraphed while the pool of references narrowed from broader subgenres of horror (slashers in the first, Haunted House/ghost movies in the second) to specific, recent movies (some of which weren't even horror). The first big complaint from fans was the inclusion in the third film of an extended parody of 8 Mile, which had nothing to do with horror movies. The fourth film was probably the worst for this, as the primary plot is a spoof of War of the Worlds, which isn't really a horror film so much as an action film, and there's also an extended (and plot-critical) parody of Million Dollar Baby, something else which is in no way a horror film.
- Negative Continuity: Each film makes barely any reference to the events of the previous, often bringing characters back to life who were very clearly dead with no acknowledgement other than the occasional waviest of hand waves.
- No Fourth Wall: Repeatedly and gleefully broken, often with an Aside Glance.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Cindy keeps forgetting Cody.
- Overly Long Gag: A very common theme is that this kind of joke is used throughout the series.
- Parody Names: Usually referencing the original actors (in the original, Bobby Prinze, Drew Decker, Greg Phillipe; in the fourth, Tom Ryan), the original character (in the original, Gale Weathers: Gail Hailstorm, Randy Meeks: Brenda Meeks, Dewey Riley: Doofus; in the second: Regan McNeil: Megan Voorhees) or both (Cindy Campbell: Sidney Prescott, played by Neve Campbell).
- Reset Button: Parodied in the context of dead characters being alive in the next movie with little (or no) explanation. It often gets a Lampshade Hanging.
Cindy: Brenda! I thought you were dead!Brenda: Oh Cindy, I thought you were dead too.
- Happens to Brenda repeatedly. She got stabbed to death in the first movie, but then comes back for the 2nd with no explanation. And then in the 3rd movie, she dies again. In the 4th, Cindy finds her on crashed plane. The following exchange occurs.
- Found in 2 as well.Cindy: Oh, my God, Ray! What are you doing here?Ray: It's the sequel.Cindy: Oh... right.
- She also dismisses forever the facts that Ray slept with her ex-boyfriend and tried to kill her.
- Running Gag: Several throughout the series and many in individual films, most notably Cindy constantly changing her career, Brenda's promiscuity, and the fact that someone always gets hit by a vehicle at the end of every movienote (and right after a Big "NO!", too!). Also, Cindy's many boyfriends and a powerful... uh, spooge.
- Sassy Black Woman: Oh, Brenda...
- Seinfeldian Conversation: About issues such as whether one can wake up dead, the difference between mice and rats, or the paradox of turning up missing by Mahalik and CJ. It's pretty much their thing.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: Truthfully, it happens to the girls here more than the guys.
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: As a straight-up parody, these movies are way over on the silly side of things. Every death and horror moment is played for laughs, although later movies are increasingly less about horror films in general.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Brenda dying every other movie only to come back in the next one with no explanation.
- Those Two Guys: Mahalik and C.J. in the third and fourth films.
- Toilet Humor / Vulgar Comedy: Used pretty often. Basically all body fluids (urine, feces, snot, vomit, semen...) are used for comedy.
- Whole Plot Reference:
- The first two mostly follow one movie in the central plot, Scream (1996) for the first and The Haunting (1999) for the second.
- The third mixes The Ring and Signs and also tosses in a bit of 8 Mile just for giggles.
- The fourth is an amalgam of four pictures (The Village, The Grudge, War of the Worlds and Saw).
- The fifth has elements from Paranormal Activity, Black Swan, Mama and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
- Alpha Bitch: Played with. Buffy is firmly in the Lovable side of the trope until her turn in the queue of death comes up.
- Ambiguously Bi: Buffy and Cindy have boyfriends, but mention going down on each other one time. However, given that they swore to never speak of it again, it could have just as easily been bicurious experimentation.
- Anatomically Impossible Sex: Cindy is literally plastered to the ceiling by a veritable geyser that leaves her boyfriend visibly drained of all his body fat and fluids.
- Asshole Victim: Played for Laughs. Brenda is watching a movie in a crowded theater; she's being loud and obnoxious, ruining the movie for everyone else. Ghostface is then shown to be sitting in the seat next to her... but before he gets the chance, one of the other moviegoers steals his knife and stabs her. He then just sits and drinks his soda while all the other audience members (including a rabbi, the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, and the Pope) continue to stab her to death. When Brenda stumbles in front of the screen and finally falls dead, they applaud.
- The Bad Guy Wins: At the end Doofy turns out to be the real Ghostface killer, and murders all of Cindy's friends and the two idiots copying him. He's then revealed to have been working together with the female reporter covering the story, and they both drive off before they can be caught.
- Beauty Contest: Spoofed in the first movie. At a beauty pageant Buffy says that she's gonna do a dramatic reading, then witnesses her boyfriend Greg being murdered on the auditorium balcony by the masked killer. She breaks down in tears pleading for help, but the judges think it's All Part of the Show and declare her the winner for her "convincing performance".
- Berserk Button: Don't send Greg a picture of a small penis.
- Big Bad: Doofy Gilmore is the killer.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Buffy, especially to her parents.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The film's crew is featured in one scene, and when the Dawson's Creek theme song starts playing during another scene, James Van Der Beek shows up, only to realize he's on the wrong set.
- Breast Attack: Carmen Electra getting stabbed in the breast by Ghostface, and her breast implant popping out leaving her relatively unharmed and Ghostface rather perplexed.
- Bullet Time: The movie parodied The Matrix bullet-time scene with a thrown disc-shaped object. The killer bends back... and you can hear a crack. When time speeds back up, he can't "un-bend".
- Cat Scare: Parodied several times, first with a character checking for a noise finds a cat, then a dog, then a horse.
- Character Filibuster: Parodied when Ray states that "Watching TV shows doesn't create serial killers. Cancelling TV shows does!" He then states how The Wayans Bros. was a good show that didn't get a proper final episode while repeatedly stabbing Bobby with a knife.
- Curtain Camouflage: At some point in the beginning of the movie, the killer hides behind a curtain. Or he would, if not for his hook poking out.
- Death by Genre Savviness: Parodied with Buffy's death scene.
- Death by Sex: Yes, she's a filthy so and so and gets killed for it. As usual.
- Depraved Homosexual: Bobby is an odd example in that his crimes aren't sexual in nature, but he only becomes a serial killer after Cindy denies him sex and he realizes that he and Ray (his partner in the killing spree) are gay soulmates. Ray denies the accusation however—with increasing implausibility, as Bobby notes all the things they do together, up to and including going down on each other.Bobby: "But - you made love to me!"
Ray: "No, whoa, whoa, whoa, first of all you sucked my -"
Bobby: Whatever, Ray!
- Disguised in Drag: Used for a gross-out gag with the high school sports coach "Ms. Mann", a very muscular guy who is pretending to be a woman so he can get closer to the students. This becomes obvious when Cindy goes to her for advice and sees a set of balls hanging out. (The person who played "him", by the way, is in fact a woman, just one who has obviously been abusing steroids).
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Scream-esque serial killer is actually revealed to be Doofy, the apparently retarded police officer. Then again it is a parody.
- Downer Ending: Most of the cast is dead, and the killer has escaped suspicion until literally the minute after he left the police station. The last scene of the film is the killer and his girlfriend driving off into the sunset, and the heroine screaming into the sky before being hit by a car.
- Expressive Mask: Ghostface, who actually gets visibly stoned.
- Also, the smiling Ghostface from the poster as seen in the "Wassuuuuuup!!!" sequence.
- Fair-Play Whodunnit: Despite being a parody, the film has this structure. The characters being murdered don't know who's hunting them, but the audience is indeed given enough clues to figure it out before the reveal at the film's end.
- Genre Savvy: The black reporters at the school are well-aware that black people don't survive long in horror movies and make a point to leave as soon as possible.
- Giving Them the Strip: While fleeing Ghostface in the opening scene, Drew Decker manages to lose her sweater and then her skirt (before running through a lawn sprinkler in slo-mo). Subverted in that it still doesn't keep her from getting killed.
- Her Boyfriend's Jacket: Parodied. While Ray and Brenda are chilling out she's wearing his football shirt, which turns him on. He asks her to wear more of his football clothing, including his pads and helmet to Brenda's increasing confusion. Though he does accidentally call her "Brendan" at one point.
- Hypocritical Humor: Whilst inside the theater, Brenda warns the rest of the audience not to talk during the movie, while merrily doing so herself. Her behavior is so obnoxious that they resort to murdering her so they can enjoy the remainder of the presentation.
- Also, while being chased by the killer, Gail yells at her cameraman to "move your fat ass" - apparently she hasn't seen her posterior lately.
- In One Ear, Out the Other: Ray gets seemingly killed by a penis through the ears, though he gets better.
- I See Dead People: The movie parodied the line as used in The Sixth Sense. Shortie says "I See Dead People" to his buddies. They all laugh and agree with each other that they scored some really good weed.
- Jack the Ripoff: There are three separate Ghostfaces, two of whom are copycats. Bobby and Ray are the impostors, while Doofy is the real Ghostface killer.
- Make-Out Point: Spoofed.
- Misplaced Sorrow: One girl is outraged to find a fellow student has been murdered...because she planned to cheat off said student's test that day.
- Missing White Woman Syndrome: Parodied when Cindy sends an email to the police reading "White woman in trouble!" and the next shot shows the house surrounded by police cruisers.
- Murder Simulators: As a Scream spoof, criticism of this accusation is echoed and further parodied. When Cindy accuses the killers of becoming homicidal lunatics by watching too much TV, one of them corrects her: it's canceling TV shows that actually made them killers, and he goes on to lament the end of The Wayans Bros., an earlier show the creators were involved in.
- Nipple and Dimed: During one of the locker room scenes, there is a very brief moment when a nipple is visible on an unnamed background character.
- No Dress Code: Buffy arrives at school dressed modestly in a cardigan. Once her father is gone, she changes into a Stripperific outfit and attends school that way.
- Nostril Shot: Parodied, where the character talking to the camera has a runny nose that just keeps running.
- Not Quite Dead: The guy they ran over in the flashback.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Can you believe Doofy?
- Offing the Annoyance: Played for laughs when a reporter of the killing spree in the town is annoyed by a teenager who pops up behind her to goof off in front of the camera. She pulls out a gun and shoots him, then immediately changes her report from "1 dead teen" to "2 dead teens".
- Offscreen Teleportation: Played with, where the killer shows himself to the main character and is seen scurrying back behind the tree when she looks away.
- Plot-Induced Stupidity: Spoofed when Buffy doesn't believe that the killer exists, apparently forgetting that her boyfriend was murdered by the killer in front of her eyes earlier. After winning the pageant, nothing else seem to matter to her anyway.
- Prison Rape: When Cindy apologizes to Bobby in the school cafeteria for getting him locked up overnight because she believed him to be the killer, a big burly prisoner walks into frame and thanks Bobby for the "company".
- Really Gets Around: Cindy's mother, if the sheriff's and the school principal's lewd comments are any indication.
- Real Trailer, Fake Movie: The trailer for Amistad II.
- Say My Name: Cindy and Bobby while in bed, finally having sex. Bobby's dream has come true.Cindy: WHAT'S MY NAME, BOBBY?Bobby: What?Cindy: (slaps him) WHAT'S MY NAME, BITCH? (slaps him HARD)Bobby: (cries) Ow, God, it's CINDY!
- Sexy Shirt Switch: Parodied. Ray liked seeing Brenda in his football jersey and had her put on his pads and helmet (to her mild confusion) before having sex with her. But then again, this is Ray we're talking about.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: See the poster up there? Protagonist Anna Faris is eschewed in favor of Carmen Electra (dies in the opening scene) and then-popular Shannon Elizabeth. (the DVD adds her, though)
- Slow-Motion Drop: Parodied, when Cindy drops a coffee cup after realizing the identity of the killer, and a goldfish is seen flopping around in the contents.
- A fight scene between Cindy and the Killer movie parodies The Matrix, see Bullet Time.
- The character of Buffy Gilmore.
- While hanging around with Shorty and the other stoners, the Killer spooks them for a laugh by mimicing the "ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma" leitmotif from the Friday the 13th films.
- The Twist Ending, in which Doofy turns out to be the killer, drops his pretense of being mentally handicapped, gets into a car and drives away, parodies the ending of The Usual Suspects.
- Spoofed the Ironic Film Seriously: The movie got some flak for parodying a movie series that was already meant to be a satire of the Slasher Movie genre. It works mostly because Scream itself doesn't really seem sure whether it's meant to be a parody, and seems more like a straight entry of the genre at times.
- Suicide as Comedy: Cindy yells into the air "What are you waiting for?!" in frustration. Little does she realize that on the roof behind her a man is actually getting ready to jump to his death. Upon hearing her he asks "What am I waiting for? WHAT AM I WAITING FOR?!" and jumps.Teacher: FUCK YOOOOOUUUUUUUU!!! *Splat*
- Take That!: Doofy, a parody of David Arquette's character Dewey from Scream (1996). While Dewey is a clumsy yet competent officer, Doofy exaggerates this into being a retarded buffoon who's actually the villain.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: The film has a variation involving a note and an Imagine Spot:I know what you did last Halloween.
[cut to Cindy's imagination: she's remembering a romantic afternoon with Bobby. When she snaps back, she unfolds and reads more of the note]
No, bitch! I'm talking about the guy you killed!
- Teacher/Student Romance: A teacher is shown breastfeeding her baby, she then hands him to a student, saying "Here, spend some time with your Daddy." She then points to another student and says "I'll see you after class," rather provocatively.
- Teeny Weenie: The Killer's threatening message to Greg is the words "I Know" on polaroid of his small dick.Greg: A small dick's like a disability, man! Would you make fun of a guy in a wheelchair?! Huh? Where are you, you sick fuck?! I'll kick the shit outta you, all right?! It's not the size of the hammer, it's the nail you're throwing it at!
- This Way to Certain Death: Parodied when Carmen Electra's character is faced with an actual road sign clearly marked 'Death', and still follows it.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- The film opens with Carmen Electra's character being menaced by a serial killer while her parents are out. She glances to the side, where a table has things like a revolver, a knife, a grenade, and a banana neatly laid out. She takes the banana. And while running away, she comes to a fork in the road where there are two signs. One points towards "Death", the other one towards "Safety". Guess which path she chooses?
- Exaggerated with Buffy Gilmore, who's convinced that the serial killer is a prankster even as he cuts her head off and throws it into a bin.
- Transparent Closet: A Running Joke with Ray. Throughout the movie he does many questionable things such as tucking his shirt like a Camp Gay, describing a male character as having "long hair", a "pretty little mouth", and a "perfect ass", and show enthusiasm at the prospect of going to prison on account of the sex-starved convicts looking for a fresh piece of meat, among many others. In spite of this he has a girlfriend who he apparently makes out with regularly, and denies it when somebody points it out to someone else. The second movie makes him out-and-out gay, while he still has a girlfriend.Bobby: But abstinence makes you discover new things about yourself. That's right Cindy - I'm gay. And in case you haven't noticed, so is Ray.
Ray: (confused) What? I ain't gay.
Bobby: What are you talking about? You took me to that club.
Ray: So? They play good music.
Bobby: Well, what about our trip to San Francisco then?
Ray: I wanted to go shopping.
Bobby: [on the verge of crying] But... you made love to me.
Ray: No hohoho, first of all you sucked my-
Bobby: Whatever Ray!
- Twist Ending: The film parodies the ending of The Usual Suspects, by revealing that Officer Doofy actually isn't retarded at all, and was the mastermind behind all the murders, and ends with him being picked up and driven away in much the same manner as that film's main character.
- Two Dun It: Subverted. There are three separate killers all adopting the Ghostface persona. The first two are two gay guys (although one of them is in denial about it) working together, while the "real" killer is a guy Obfuscating Stupidity who kills the former two for trying to upstage him.
- Unexplained Recovery: Even prior to the sequels, the first movie has Ray impaled through the head, but he turns up a few scenes later entirely unharmed save for a small bandage over one ear.
- Villains Out Shopping: Parodied when the Ghostface killer calls up Shorty. After they start goofing off with each other, it turns out that the killer is just relaxing at home and watching a football game—in full costume.
- Vulgar Humor: Several times, but the award goes to the onscreen trepanning of a character's skull by an erect penis. He gets better.
- Where Da White Women At?: Cindy asks Ray and Shorty to come over to her house later, and bring some friends, to deter an attack by the serial killer:Shorty: (to the entire school cafeteria) Party at Cindy's house! Drunk white women for everybody!
- White Mask of Doom: The mock Ghostface.
- Your Mom: Brenda berates her brother Shorty, and he calls her mother stupid. She points out that he just insulted his own mother, as they're full siblings. Then he insults her father, and she doesn't mind because she never met the guy, and as he realizes, neither has he.
- Beat the Curse Out of Him: Parodied in the Exorcist spoof segment. The priests end up manhandling and spitting vomit on the possessed girl (hey, she started it) before just deciding to shoot her when they get fed up with her insults.
- Berserk Button: Don't say bad stuff about Father McFeely's mother.
- Black Comedy Rape: Quite literally, particularly the Poltergeist spoof involving Ray and the Clown Doll.
- Alex gets raped as well, but she gets into it.
- Boy Meets Ghoul: Parodied when Shorty encounters a ghoul who's a real Butterface... but he immediately jumps into bed with her by solving the problem with a paper bag.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens in-universe, where Cindy is singing along (badly) to Vitamin C's "Graduation (Friends Forever)" on the radio. Eventually, Vitamin C stops the song to tell Cindy to "shut the fuck up and let me sing!".
- The Butler Did It: The creepy, depraved butler turns out to be in league with the evil ghost inhabitating the haunted house.
- Butterface: Parodied with the ghoul that attacks Shorty. At first he's horrified and it looks like she's strangling him, but he's actually having sex with her, solving the problem with a paper bag ("No no, no kissing!"). They're still together at the very end.
- Cat Scare: Pardoed with Cindy being spooked by a cat in her room, and then getting beating up by it in a fight.
- Corpsing: Hanson is serving dinner and says, "Who wants a wing?", to which Dwight replies, "Yours or the turkey's?" (in reference to Hanson's miniature hand). Shorty suddenly breaks out with laughter, and you can clearly see the actors playing Ray, Buddy, Theo, and Alex laughing.
- Dead All Along: In the alternate ending, Cindy was the only one alive as everyone else are ghosts.
- Dem Bones: Parodied when Cindy is being chased by a skeleton, only to be reprimanded by Brenda for being afraid of a skeleton. To illustrate her point, Brenda pulls the skeleton apart and reassembles him badly.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Parodied with Dwight, a wheelchair-bound cripple, who gets offended every time someone offers to help him with anything. He does this even when it would be ridiculously hard to do by himself, like crawling up two flights of stairs. When the Brainless Beauty offers to "help him out downstairs" to get his keys, he responds by auto-fellating himself.
- Favors for the Sexy: Parodied. As soon as the sultry Theo enters the mansion's dinner room and catches the attention of all the guys in the room, she demands that they give her a chair. The more plain Cindy gets thrown out of her own chair and Theo ends up with about four places to sit, including the paraplegic giving her his own wheelchair.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Subverted and parodied. When Theo tries to seduce the nerdy graduate assistant into giving her the keys out of the Haunted House, she takes off his glasses in hopes that it makes him prettier. All it does is make his eyes cross.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Shorty; after watching the deformed butler molest the turkey (ruining everyone's appetites), he reaches for a bottle of red wine and quickly polishes it off.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: Averted then played straight with a side-helping of Black Dude Dies First, as Buddy suggests splitting up, only for Brenda to call him out on how stupid the idea is. He then suggests two teams, comprised of the three black people on one and all the white people on the other.Shorty: (With an Aside Glance) Ain't that a bitch?
Brenda: We gonna die, y'all!
- Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Cindy takes various random items and somehow creates a bulldozer out them after being locked in a refrigerator while hiding from a ghost.
- Mugging the Monster: The scary clown doll pulls Ray Wilkins under the bed and gets a major surprise.Clown: Come on. Let's play.
Clown: Hey, what are you doing?
Ray Wilkins: Uncle Ray-Ray's got a game for you.
Clown: Hey, get your finger out of there!
- Name of Cain: In the The Haunting spoof, the villainous ghost was called Hugh Kane. The original character in Haunting was called Hugh Crain, technically getting just around this trope. The name may also be a nod to Citizen Kane.
- Nuclear Candle: When Cindy shows Buddy the secret study, he lights one candle, which then illuminates nearly the whole room.
- Parallel Porn Titles: Actually, "ghetto" versions of Christmas songs — "I'm Dreaming of a White Woman", "All I Want For Christmas Are The Charges Dropped", "Santa Clause Is Cumming On Mom", etc.
- Sequel Snark: The Tag Line of the first movie was "No mercy. No shame. No sequel." This didn't stop a sequel from being released the very next year (with the Tag Line "We Lied").
- Smoking Hot Sex: After one of the residents has sex with the evil ghost, she's seen smoking a cigarette in bed. And next to her, a floating cigarette.
- Shout-Out: "Hell House" is a shout-out to Hill House, the main location in both versions of The Haunting (and not the Richard Matheson novel Hell House, as some have claimed — the Wayans Brothers had never heard of that novel when they made the film).
- Take My Hand: Parodied when Dwight falls out of a two-story window because he refuses to take the disfigured hand of the perverted Hanson, despite Hanson insisting it's his "strong hand".
- Tongue on the Flagpole: During a parody of The Exorcist, the priest played by Andy Ritchter enters the room with the possessed girl inside and complains about how cold the room is. He then kisses the small metal cross he has with him, only for his lips to get stuck to it.
- White Dude, Black Dude: Done in the basketball scene, where the Wayans brothers are shown dancing very suavely... and immediately followed by Cindy and Buddy dancing very awkwardly, with the Wayans looking on in silent disapproval/disgust.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The opening spoofs The Exorcist with the girl and the priests vomiting on each other.
- Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: The protagonists are shown boarding over a cellar door to keep aliens out (in a parody of Signs). Cue Cindy opening the door with no problem. It turns out they'd just nailed some planks to it without fastening them to the wall.
- Achilles' Heel: The aliens are fighting the group (though just because strangling is how they say hello), when Mahalik decapitates one with a shovel and says:Mahalik: I found their weakness. They're powerless without their heads!
- Adult Fear: If attending your daughter's funeral doesn't count, then watching a disastrous chain of events unfold minutes later where a fight breaks out, her corpse is desecrated and then exploded with the decapitated head of what used to be your baby girl certainly does.
- Aliens Speaking English: Apparently.
- Aliens Steal Cable: The aliens accidentally saw the tape from The Ring while doing this. They were trying to get Pootie Tang.
- And Starring: "Featuring Queen Latifah / Special Appearance by Eddie Griffin / With Denise Richards / With Regina Hall / And Charlie Sheen."
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Architect describing the Samara expy: "We loved our daughter, but she was evil. Made the horses crazy, killed our puppies, hid the remote. Really sick shit."
- Battle Rapping: It features the battle between real rapper Fat Joe and the film's character, George, a hilarious parody of the rap battles in 8 Mile.George: I wear khaki pants / My middle name's Lance / My grandma's from France / So maybe I'm whack / 'Cause my skin ain't black / But you can't talk smack / 'Cause whitey just struck back!
- Breaking Bad News Gently: Parodied when George informs Sue about the death of Brenda, who was her teacher. It seems like he'll be considerate in telling her this news, since she's only a child. Instead he just loudly screams in her face and tells her he ran over her dog too. ("EVERYONE you love around you is DYING!")
- Cargo Ship: In-universe. The Architect notes that since he's confined to a room in the middle of nowhere he hasn't been with a women in ages. He's had to make do with his chair, which he calls "Linda".
- Censorship by Spelling: One of President Harris's advisers tells him that he should go on TV and tell everyone that there's no such thing as UFOs. The president's reaction seems to indicate he thinks he's a victim of this trope. "Don't spell in front of me, dammit."
- Comically Missing the Point: A black janitor typed that he's having sex with a newscaster's wife and bragging about how she loves it. This is being repeated by said newscaster on live broadcast.
- Also, during the rap battle scene, when told to lose the KKK-looking hoodie he's wearing, George says "I know, we're in the hood now!"
- Credits Gag: About halfway through the closing credits, there's a message reading "We are about halfway through this thing!"
- Cross-Cultural Handshake: The aliens greet each other by getting the person they're greeting in a choke hold. They say goodbye with a Groin Attack.
- Destination Defenestration: George gets thrown out of a window twice, once for being Mistaken for Racist and again for accidentally desecrating Brenda's corpse.
- Disaster Dominoes: One at Brenda's funeral begins with "George, it's a wake" and ends with Brenda's body exploding when George and Mahalik try to bring her back to life.
- Dodgy Toupee: Used as a throwaway gag. The psychic Creepy Child whom Cindy is caring for goes around Brenda's funeral service giving people cynical and mocking advice ("smoke all you want, you're gonna be hit by a car next week anyway"). He tells the guy with an obvious toupee that he's not fooling anyone.
- Dramatic Gun Cock: Parodied. One of the characters dramatically cocks... a shovel. A shell falls out.
- DVD Bonus Content: Alternate endings not included in the theater release (including one in Scary Movie 3 parodying The Incredible Hulk).
- Extra Y, Extra Violent: Mentioned.
- Eye Lights Out: Parodied.
- Fanservice Faux Fight: The film opens with a pillow fight between Katie (Jenny McCarthy) and Becky (Pamela Anderson).
- The "Fun" in "Funeral": See Adult Fear.
- Go into the Light: Played for laughs, when Charlie Sheen's character urges his dying wife to go into the light as he doesn't want to answer to her dying wish for celibacy.
- I Can't Hear You: Cindy gets a call from the girl from the scary videotape in The Ring after watching the video, but at first can't understand that she's being told "seven days" (meaning that the girl is going to come and kill her in seven days) due to bad connection.Tabitha: (indistinct) Seven days.Cindy: What? Willie Mays?Tabitha: (still indistinct) Seven days.Cindy: Who's gay? Hello?
- If It Bleeds, It Leads: Purposely averted by the news station that Cindy Campbell works for. Despite her urging them to cover the story of the killer videotape in which viewers are brutally murdered by a scary woman seven days after watching it, the station is only interested in covering fluff stories and stuff like breast implants. Then, once they finally become convinced of the tape's existence, they choose to play it.
- Insult Backfire:Aide: Mr. President, are you out of your mind?!
President: Like a fox!
- Last Request: Parodied when Tom, in a flashback, finds his wife breathing out her last after she's pinned to a tree as a result of a tragic car accident. Her last request is that he never sleep with another woman again, and he quickly pretends that her last words are too unintelligible to make out and tells her to go into the light.
- The Mean Brit: Simon Cowell as himself in the rap battle scene.
- Missing White Woman Syndrome:Brenda: Another little white girl fell down a well! Fifty black people got their ass beat by the police today, but the whole world gotta stop for one little whitey down a hole!
- Mistaken for Racist: George puts on a KKK-esque hoodie and does what looks like a Heil Hitler salute in front of a predominantly black audience at a rap battle.
- Nobody Ever Complained Before: The aliens appear to attack the protagonists, who then kill one of them in retaliation, but the aliens inform them that strangling each other is their standard way of saying hello. A kick to the groin is how they say goodbye.
- Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: The aliens aren't looking to launch an invasion of Earth. They're just there because they accidentally watched the The Ring videotape like the other characters, so they need to do something about Tabitha before she comes to kill them.
- Only Sane Man: The President's aide.
- Oracular Urchin: Cody.
- Passed in Their Sleep: Parodied where C.J. and Mahalik discuss the trope and end up arguing if one can actually "wake up dead".
- Peaceful in Death: Parodied: "My sweet sweet Brenda—-She looks so peaceful..." (cut to Brenda with a horrified expression and hands like claws)
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: The guy in the lighthouse tells Cindy that she is "inexorably seeking a sedulant probability." When she questions this, he continues, holding a dictionary with "What about contingent affirmation? That's got to mean something."
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Josh.
- Saved by the Platform Below: The lady who parodies Anna Morgan from The Ring jumps off a cliff only to crash into a tree branch. "Oh, shit!" she says before rolling off it.
- Script Swap: Funny moment when the news anchor reads the messages typed into the teleprompter by Cindy and the janitor.
- Serious Business: The news Cindy works at, all it talks about is boobies. The boss threatens to fire her if she wants to do a story about anything else.
- Shout-Out: Among other things, to the Zucker brothers' film Airplane! which also starred Leslie Nielsen in an Actor Allusion:President Harris: I just wanted to wish you both good luck, we're all counting on you.
- Take That!: MJ, being a parody of Michael Jackson, albeit implied to be gay rather than a pedophile in order to try and avoid pissing off Jackson too much. It didn't work and Jackson threatened a lawsuit anyway, so when the next movie came around the character was actually called "Michael Jackson" and shown to be a full-on pedophile.
- Uncle Tomfoolery: Shorty Meeks takes this role Up to Eleven. Mahalik and CJ play this role to a certain extent, though the characters themselves seem aware of it and Lampshade it.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The movie shows two men projectile vomiting at a barbecue and in the alternate ending, Cindy is fighting the many Tabithas Matrix Reloaded style, she grabs a pole, jumps up, spins around on it, gets sick and vomits all over the Tabithas sending them flying. Gross.
- Adam Westing: In the opening scene, Dr. Phil portrays himself as a fake psychiatrist with a Freudian Excuse, while Shaq portrays himself as a bumbling klutz.
- Artistic License Geography: A sight gag involving Detroit before and after the alien attack in which the only difference is the presence of alien invaders, the city already being a violent hellhole even before the attack. Too bad the city they show is actually San Diego, not Detroit.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Parodied, when the ghost boy (from The Grudge) and Cindy have a conversation in "Japanese" that is really just random product names and commonly known Japanese words.Cindy: Hello?
Japanese Boy: ...
Cindy: Harro? Subtitles: Hello?
Japanese Boy: Nissan Honda Mitsubishi Subaru! Subtitles: I was killed and my soul walks the earth!
Cindy: Harikari tsunami kamikaze banzai. Subtitles: How sad, my life is also tragic.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In a scene parodying War of the Worlds, Tom is discussing the alien invasion with a man holed up in house. Then the man throws this line out there:"This ain't a war, anymore than there's a war between men and maggots. Or, dragons and wolves. Or, men riding dragons, throwing wolves at maggots."
- Breast Attack: The movie has a torture machine designed to do this.
- Clothesline Stealing: When Cindy and Brenda arrive at the Amish village, they decide to steal clothes from a hamper to better blend in with the villagers.
- Continuity Nod: Cindy got hit on the face with a baseball."I've taken balls to the face before."
- Covers Always Lie: In this case, Posters Always Lie. King Kong appears on the poster but is not even referenced once in the film itself.
- Death Trap: Most present in the movie's Saw parody, though true to the nature of the series, several traps are quite silly (example: The Nutcracker, a device that kicks a victim in the groin).
- Delusions of Eloquence: In The Village parody, an entire series of jokes is built around this:Brenda: This is shit up with which we will not put!
- Enemy Mine: Suggested in the Detroit gag. (see Artistic License Geography above)
- Eye Scream: Played for Laughs. In a parody of the opening scene of Saw II, Cindy (after missing several obvious hints and being told by Jigsaw outright) figures she has to get the key from behind her eye. Turns out she had a glass eye "from a bad bar fight in '96" so getting the key is less painful.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Subverted.Cindy Campbell: It looks like we have a lot in...
Tom Ryan: ...common.
Cindy: We're already finishing each other's...
- Grand Finale: With the fifth movie being an apparent reboot of the series, the fourth film can act as one, as not only is the earth saved from aliens, but all the surviving characters happily find their true loves (even Brenda!), and it's implied that love will help humanity defeat any future threat.
- It's All My Fault: Parodied:Cindy: I blame myself.Tom: As well you should.
- Life-or-Limb Decision: The opening parodies the Saw example with Shaquille O'Neil and Dr. Phil about to be killed by nerve gas. After being suckered into cutting off his own leg, Phil realizes it's the wrong one and they die anyway.
- Manipulative Bastard: Shaquille O'Neil, when convincing Dr. Phil to cut off his leg:Shaquille O'Neil: You first.
Dr. Phil: Bullshit!
Shaquille O'Neil: Yeah, you're probably not man enough. I guess your momma was right.
Dr. Phil: (enraged). Never! (holds up saw) Whose the coward now momma! (begins sawing)
Shaquille O'Neil: (smiling) Candy from a baby.
- Metaphorgotten: Parodied when the guy who's hiding in a cellar from the aliens tells Tom the metaphor from War of the Worlds that the alien invasion is no more a real war than there is between man and maggots. He continues: there's also no real war between dragons and wolves. And man, riding dragons, throwing wolves at maggots. Tom gives the camera a vacant expression in response.
- Mugged for Disguise: Subverted when Cindy and Brenda pull two "village" women into the bushes, and after a brief scuffle the women emerge looking disgruntled but with their outfits intact ... followed by Cindy and Brenda, who were the ones actually beaten up. They later settle for spare garments from a clothesline.
- Naked People Are Funny: While speaking to the U.N., the president accidentally activates The Nudifier, first on himself and then on the entire audience. Hilarity Ensues.
- Narrator: James Earl Jones who, at the end of the movie, is hit by a bus.
- Never Trust a Trailer: One trailer suggests that Shaquille O'Neill and Dr. Phil are trapped along with the main protagonists. They both die in the prologue.
- No Time to Explain: Parodied, when the Tom Cruise/War of the Worlds character says "We're leaving this house in 30 seconds, there's no time to explain," and a random passerby runs up to the window and screams "Alien Attack!". Tom admits that that pretty much covered it.
- The Nudifier: Appears when they Reverse the Polarity on the body-disintegrator, ending with mass weaponized Fan Disservice to the characters (which we are not privy to, fortunately). For reference, the representatives were so disgusted, the Japanese ambassador committed seppuku on the spot.
- Scenery Gorn: Parodied. When TriPods attack the world, Detroit is shown before and after the invasion. The only difference is the inclusion of TriPods, all of the burning and collapsed buildings having been there before.
- This Was His True Form: Played for laughs, when Michael Jackson's shown to have had so much plastic surgery that the first time he gets zapped, he ends up looking like he did in the Bad music video. He then gets zapped a second time, causing him to revert to his Thriller appearance. The third blast then reveals his true self, namely a black guy with a receding hairline, before a fourth and final blast totally destroys him.
- Bald, Black Leader Guy: Terry Crews is the head of the ape research center.
- Bloody Hilarious: Maria tears the head off a chicken, which sprays an incredible amount of blood all over the place.
- Breast Expansion: During the Inception sequence, Jody's breasts get bigger at Dom's command.
- The Chew Toy: Jody and Kendra find the Necronomicon, and read out the curse and the word that ends the curse a couple of times. Nothing happens to them. The perfectly innocent family upstairs however...
- Covers Always Lie: In this case, Posters Always Lie. The poster gives Katrina Bowden a demonic looking Overly Long Tongue (that she is using to In One Ear, Out the Other Sarah Hyland). No character has a tongue like that in the actual film.
- High-Pressure Blood: Maria tears the head off a chicken, which sprays blood at such high speed that she's able to paint a crucifix on the wall.
- In One Ear, Out the Other: The poster◊ has Katrina Bowden using her Overly Long Tongue to give Sarah Hyland an ear cleaning she probably won't forget.
- In Name Only: Most of the cast and crew are absent from this flick.
- Letters 2 Numbers: Scary Movie 5 is actually named Scary MoVie, with that V being a roman numeral 5.
- Something Else Also Rises: Parodied, during a lesbian sex scene, shown through metaphors such as scissors, tacos, and even tunnels (which are normally used as metaphors for straight sex).