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‘Scream 6’ being set in NYC is a very bad sign for New York

The last person Mayor Eric Adams wanted to see on a New York City subway train is Ghostface.

But when Paramount announced that the upcoming film “Scream VI,” out March 10, would be set right here in New York City, the poster depicted the masked serial killer staring out of an MTA car window, knife in hand, with the ominous tagline “New York. New Rules.”

Replied everybody in the five boroughs: “Just what the MTA needs — another deranged slasher.

“Scream” is seizing a tense moment when New York’s rising crime is the talk of the nation. So, after 26 years of killing sprees and breathy phone calls in small-town California, the franchise is headed east — as the city’s reputation continues to go south. 

“Scream,” after all, isn’t our only scary squatter. Ryan Murphy also plopped “American Horror Story: NYC” here back in the fall. 

The trend is a bad omen. In the aughts and 2010s, Hollywood mostly steered clear of using the Big Apple for scary movies … because it was too flippin’ nice!

Under the mayoralties of Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, Manhattan became rom-com central and shone onscreen as a glittering metropolis full of possibility and youthful energy. “Sex and the City,” “Maid In Manhattan,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Trainwreck” and many more ebullient, sexy films and TV shows basked in New York’s optimistic glow. 

Art will surely imitate life in "Scream VI," set in the Big Apple.
Art will surely imitate life in “Scream VI,” set in the Big Apple.
Getty Images

That’s over. Now fiction is starting to, once again, mirror our grim and grimy reality.

The worrisome move is reminiscent of the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s when New York was not only a hotbed of criminality and shabby living conditions, but a haven for horror films.

A blind Audrey Hepburn was attacked in her West Village apartment by thugs in search of heroin in 1967’s “Wait Until Dark.” Mia Farrow discovered a secret satanic cult at the Dakota on the Upper West Side in 1968’s “Rosemary’s Baby.” In 1980’s “Maniac,” a serial killer murdered and scalped a prostitute in Times Square. Tim Robbins played a traumatized Vietnam vet who returned home to a supernaturally frightful NYC in 1990’s “Jacob’s Ladder.”

Mia Farrow's Upper West Side building has a scary secret in "Rosemary's Baby."
Mia Farrow’s Upper West Side building has a scary secret in “Rosemary’s Baby.”
Courtesy Everett Collection
A serial killer skins his New York victims in "Maniac."
A serial killer skins his New York victims in “Maniac.”
Magnum Motion Picture/Kobal/Shut

Meanwhile, who can forget Charles Bronson snapping into a Manhattan vigilante in 1974’s “Death Wish”?

Even nice movies made New York look like a dump full of derelicts. Patrick Swayze was offed in 1990’s “Ghost” in the middle of Soho! In 1992’s “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York,” Tim Curry says to Catherine O’Hara, “Madame, there are hundreds of parasites out there armed to the teeth!” Right outside the Plaza Hotel. And the whole shtick of 1984’s “Ghostbusters” was, “Oh great. Now NYC has ghosts, too?!”

A vigilante takes justice into his own hands in "Death Wish."
A vigilante takes justice into his own hands in “Death Wish.”
Courtesy Everett Collection

That all those spooky stories and scenes happened here was a result of New York being a dangerous place to live that people were afraid to visit. It was the perfect spot for terrorizing moviegoers. Then, for the past 20 years, we were the prime locale for luxury and love. The most hair-raising tale on “Sex and the City” was Samantha getting booted from the Soho House rooftop pool.

And now we’ve traded Blahniks for bloody murder. Ghostface is on the phone, and this time he isn’t saying, “Hello, Sidney” — he’s saying, “Hello, New York!”

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