Is Creed’s ‘What If’ From ‘Scream 3′ the Best Horror Movie Song of All Time?
What if it is? And if not — what is?
Those thoughts got consideration during a recent episode of Halloweenies: A Horror Franchise Podcast, where a panel of horror buffs discuss the metal-tinged Creed rocker's Scream 3 inclusion, among other needle drops in the long-running Scream series.
Creed's "What If" emerged in 2000 as a single from the Scott Stapp-led band's Human Clay, their 1999 album. Its single release and music video tied directly to Scream 3, the 2000 installment of Wes Craven's horror-whodunnit franchise that continued after the director's death with Scream (2022) and Scream VI (2023). But today, the Creed song is perhaps more remembered for its movie inclusion than its parent album.
Why is that? We can only gather that the excellent diegetic placement of "What If" in Scream 3's opening kill scene bolstered the tune's thematic weight and maybe its retrospective appreciation, something looked back on by the Halloweenies.
And maybe it's that type of placement — the song is physically playing on a stereo within the narrative of the film, as in, it is heard by the Scream characters and is not extra-diegetic — that has lent the Creed single such a memorable horror afterglow.
Creed Scene in Scream 3 (2000)
At the start of Scream 3, the falsely-accused Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) from Scream (1996) and Scream 2 (1997) is driving home to his girlfriend, Christine (Kelly Rutherford). En route, the murderous Scream antagonist Ghostface taunts him by phone, a Scream hallmark. Ghostface then terrorizes Christine before killing both, but not before the villain seemingly puts on the Creed track. (Does Ghostface like Creed?)
The Scream 3 Soundtrack
The Scream 3 soundtrack — called Scream: The Album on its cover art — was an exercise in corporate synergy at a time when record labels were tightening their grip on control over feature film music. The Scream 3 soundtrack was entirely curated and produced by Wind-up Entertainment, Creed's record label at the time, and heavily focuses on Creed and other Wind-up artists.
Naturally, "What If" is the first song on the track list, but the rest of the album is filled with hard rock and metal adjacent in style to the groove-laden Creed track. It also includes songs by Slipknot, System of a Down, Sevendust, Godsmack, Coal Chamber, Orgy and Staind. Another Creed song closes out the album.