The Writer’s Block Presents: John Valeri

This month, author John Valeri gives us insight into pursuing that special someone, with hilarious results . . .

The Woman of my Screams

By John B. Valeri

My wife and I have an agreement. Should the opportunity to get biblical with Neve Campbell arise, I’d get “a pass.”

Admittedly, this is not very likely to happen, but hope is a powerful thing. And, just so you know, I’m not some hypocritical chauvinist—the same deal stands for her and David Boreanaz. (Feel free to insert a Bones joke here—though her crush actually stems from his role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)

My infatuation began on New Year’s Eve 1997—the night I finally conquered my crippling fear of scary movies by watching Scream alone in the dark. Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott, the franchise’s perpetually traumatized “final girl,” was a revelation. How can I explain it? There’s just something undeniably sexy about a woman who can be strong and vulnerable at the same time—and if you’ve ever seen Neve’s eyes well up with tears without them ever spilling over, you know exactly what I mean.

By the time Scream 3 came out in 2000, I was pretty much convinced that we were meant to be together. To give you some idea of the vividness of my imagination, I still recall an assignment for my high school journalism class: writing my own obituary. I envisioned my death as a cardiac catastrophe in a trailer on the set of the umpteenth Scream sequel, where Neve and I were in the throes of . . . well, let’s just say it wasn’t rehearsal. Ah, puberty.

A series of events too lengthy to recount here led me to Hollywood in the spring of 2011 for the red carpet premiere of Scream 4 at the world-famous Chinese Theatre. I braved a cross-country flight, a skeevy hotel, and dinner at In-N-Out Burger to share the same airspace as Neve, if only for a few hours. Seeing a film in the presence of its cast was a surreal experience, and one that left me intoxicated with incredulity at my own good luck. I even ran into Courteney Cox after the screening and managed to snag a picture with her as she was rushing out to do press. But Neve eluded me.

Undeterred, I huffed it a mile to The Redbury Hotel on foot, where the after-party was being held. The place was swarming with celebs—including Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere, both so skinny that you want to plug a protein drip straight into their veins—and I pretty much went mute with anxiety and awe. (Have I mentioned that this occurred during my socially awkward phase? You know the one: ages seven to thirty.) It’s easy to become a wallflower, and I still cringe knowing that I probably looked as out of place as I felt.

After spending the better part of two hours squirming my way through a claustrophobia-inducing crowd, I decided to take one last lap around the upstairs lounge before calling it quits. (It was nearing midnight, and I had an early morning plane to catch.) And then, as if by divine intervention, I spotted Neve Campbell sitting nonchalantly on a couch chatting with friends, almost as if she’d been there waiting for me. Not wanting to appear rude, I did what I thought any casual fan would do: I propped myself up against the nearest wall and stared unabashedly, just waiting for an appropriate moment to interject.

That moment never happened.

What did happen was that Jamie Kennedy (who played ill-fated movie nerd Randy in Scream 1 through 3) stopped over to say hello to his former costar. We’d met earlier in the evening, so I felt emboldened to insinuate myself into their little reunion and ask for a photo. Which was cause for yet another awkward moment. You see, Jamie thought that I wanted a picture of him and Neve—but what I really wanted was a picture of me and Neve. After I articulated this, he graciously relinquished his spot while somebody else snapped the photo for which I had traveled all the way to Hollywood.

Finally, after hailing a taxi back to my hotel, I dared to check my camera and was met with yet another indignity: Mr. Freakin’ Potato Head staring back at me. Only he was me.

Oh, the horror of it all . . .


*Note: I met Neve again in the summer of 2015—and paid a professional photographer to capture the moment on film. The amount was obscene. It was worth it.

John Valeri is a journalist and fiction writer. He wrote the Hartford Books Examiner for almost a decade, during which it consistently ranked in the top ten percent of all Hartford, national books, and national arts & entertainment Examiners. His short stories “Just Cause” and “Blood Relations” were recently published in Tricks and Treats: A Collection of Spooky Stories by Connecticut Authors. He makes his online home at

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