For “Happy Days” fans, not many things could be more traumatizing than witnessing the Fonz get killed. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens in the 1996 horror classic “Scream.” Henry Winkler wasn’t playing his iconic “Happy Days” character, of course. But famed horror director Wes Craven added a little nod to the cameo actor’s earlier days.
Considering the fun-loving and laid-back character that Henry Winkler plays on “Happy Days,” it’s hard to imagine him in the midst of a slasher film. But after being approached by Wes Craven, the mind behind “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” for a small part in “Scream,” Winkler obliged.
He played the small role of Principal Himbry. The sole purpose of his character was essentially just to serve as another victim of the Ghostface killer. And he played the role to a tee. In the big scene, his character walked around his office, expecting the killer around every corner.
At one point, Winkler swings open his closet doors to make sure there’s no one in there. When he does so, ever so briefly, you can catch a glimpse of his iconic leather jacket from “Happy Days.” It’s a subtle reference, albeit a fun one. And was certainly evocative of happier days, as the rest of the scene depicts Winkler being killed in an extremely graphic way.
The scene is pretty gruesome, so we’ll spare you the violence here. But if you want to watch the suspense unfold, the clip can be seen on YouTube.
The Short ‘Scream’ Scene Took the ‘Happy Days’ Star Two Hours to Film
For as short as the “Happy Days” star’s moment is in “Scream,” it apparently took a long time to capture. Part of that had to do with the fact that Wes Craven wanted to get a cool shot of the killer reflected in Winkler’s eye. The other had to do with Winkler’s performance itself.
In an interview Winkler did with “The Drew Barrymore Shore” in 2020, the Fonz actor talked about the role he played in “Scream.”
“I was in my office. And all of a sudden, from behind me, this man in the mask, a killer, came up and stabbed me several times. And I had tubes coming up my shirt, with slits in my shirt,” Winkler said. “Wes Craven, who was the brilliant director, the late, great Wes Craven. He said, ‘Do you think that you could scream just a little louder?'”
The tubes Winkler referenced were there to pump fake blood as his character got stabbed. Evidently, the first take wasn’t good enough for Wes Craven. But the “Happy Days” star was already covered in blood.
“So we had to change and clean up and get the blood off. And all of a sudden, boom,” Winkler continued.
The whole process took a few hours, which is a pretty big time commitment considering Henry Winkler’s role was uncredited. But hey, at least his leather jacket got some screen time too.