The Killers of Scream

By Michael Pascual

October 25, 2023

With Halloween just around the corner, many people turn to horror movies for entertainment, often looking to popular franchises such as the Friday the 13th or Halloween movies. From these come names such as “Jason Voorhees”  and “Michael Myers”, whose names and masks have become iconic over the years. Of these popular horror franchises, my favorites are the 6 Scream movies. They are a series of slasher films that recount various maniacs who use a ghostface costume to kill those in their community, all while providing meta commentary on the horror scene. These killers are who I will be discussing, by providing insight on their behaviors and motives throughout the movies. 

Billy Loomis and Stu Macher

When watching the original Scream for the first time, it's pretty clear that there is something off about Billy and Stu. Stu is unhinged throughout the first acts of the movie, constantly grinning and cracking jokes about the disturbing murders taking place in Woodsboro. The fact that the majority of the kills in this movie take place at his parents house is just icing on this gruesome cake. As for Billy, he is creepy throughout the movie, attempting to get main character Sidney Prescott to have intercourse with him, and making comments about how she should just get over her dead mom. Once the third act comes, and Billy and Stu are revealed, their complete insanity is made apparent, with Billy going on a rant about how much he enjoys stabbing people, and Stu frothing at the mouth and giggling when talking about how he guts people. 

As for motive, Stu maintains that his only motive was peer pressure, while Billy claims that, “It’s much scarier when there is no motive”. However, Billy switches up pretty fast, and discusses how pissed off he was when he found out Sidney’s mom was having an affair with his dad. This leads him to murder Sidney’s mom and attempt to murder Sidney, though he and Stu end up getting killed by Sid instead. This was a big deal at the time, since most horror franchises usually ended up with the killer somehow surviving, and coming back in sequels to continue their bloody killstreak. 

Mickey and Mrs. Loomis

The second Scream movie largely lives in the shadow of the first, with its fresh cast of both new and returning characters feeling significantly less exciting than those in the original. The new killers are Mickey, Sidney’s best friend, and Mrs. Loomis, Billy Loomis’s mom. Mrs. Loomis’s acting is fantastic in the third act of this film, with her psychotic ranting and obsession with revenge on Sidney making her an incredibly memorable character, until she's shot by the other Ghostface, Mickey. Mickey was honestly an incredibly disappointing reveal for me. I felt like I barely knew the character when we arrived in act 3, and he never does anything super exciting after killing Mrs. Loomis. 

As for motive, Mickey’s brilliant plan is to get caught killing Sidney, so that he can be made forever famous through the media, blaming scary movies for his murderous tendencies. As for Mrs. Loomis, her motive is pretty obvious, wanting revenge after Sidney killed her son in the previous movie. They are both killed by Sidney, once again, setting the precedent that Sidney is a survivor. 

Roman Bridger

Scream 3 is probably the most hated movie of the franchise. Despite how much bigger of a budget the movie had, when compared to the previous, many of the kills don’t make sense, and classic meta commentary is sloppily inserted into the Hollywood setting the movie makes use of. When we get to act 3, the killer is revealed to be Roman Bridgers, aka “The Director.” Roman is Sidney’s half brother, disowned by Sidney’s deceased mother. One of the main reasons Roman is so hated is his lazy plot device, a voice changer. This voice changer allows him to perfectly replicate any person's voice perfectly, allowing for several kills that would have otherwise been impossible. In a franchise that prides itself on making the killers feel like they could actually exist in real life, this technology is just ridiculous. When you combine this with how little gore is actually in this movie, Roman is set up for failure in the eyes of Scream fans. 

Roman’s motive is as uninteresting as the rest of his character; his mommy issues are the reason he targets Sidney, jealous of the attention she gave Sidney over him. Unfortunately for Roman, being the only solo Ghostface means that Sidney has little trouble overpowering and killing this sad excuse for a Ghostface. 

Jill Roberts and Charlie Walker

Released 10 years after the 3rd movie, Scream 4 is the last movie of the franchise directed by Wes Craven. The movie features a fresh cast of new high school characters, though most of them end up dead. The killers, Jill Roberts and Charlie Walker, echo the desire of fame Scream 2’s Mickey had, recording all of their kills to put into a movie. This movie is significantly more gory than its predecessor, with several gruesome kills, including Jill’s eventual betrayal of Charlie, a stab wound to the heart. The third act of this movie appears to end with Jill successfully killing all the heroes of the movie, but we find out later that Sidney survives, and after a hospital brawl, is once again victorious. Charlie didn’t make a huge impression on me, his switch into insanity was short lived, making me just feel sorry for him, rather than scared. On the other hand, Jill was a very effective Ghostface killer; her apathetic attitude about killing even her closest friends for fame was disturbing at best. 

Charlie’s motive is relatively basic, as he just really loves Jill. Unfortunately for him, the feeling is not mutual, making him the most pathetic Scream killer out of the franchise. As for Jill, she wants to be famous like Sidney, so her idea is to recreate the murders, framing her ex boyfriend as the killer, and herself as the sole survivor. While she does ultimately fail, she is the one who gets closest to killing Sidney, making her the most successful Ghostface to date. 

Richie Kirsch and Amber Freeman

Scream 5, once again, brought a fresh new cast, with most of the survivors from previous movies now dead. It brings in a new hero for the franchise, Samantha Carpenter, Billy Loomis’s daughter, as well as her Sister Tara, played by Jenna Ortega. The Ghostfaces of this movie are Richie Kirsch, Samantha’s Boyfriend, and Amber Freeman, Tara’s best friend. This continues the franchise’s habit of making the killers very personal to the main characters, though for some reason, this movie decided that 25 year old Richie should be cheating on Samantha with 17 year old Amber. This is the first, and only case of pedophilia in a Scream film, and it puts a damper on the otherwise very good movie. 

Richie and Amber’s motives in this movie are pretty much the same, with both wanting to recreate the original movie in real life, similar to Roman in Scream 3. This revelation feels stale in comparison to the other movies, as I was hoping for a more grand reveal at the end. Richie and Amber both end up dead, with Richie getting stabbed 22 times by Samantha, and Amber going up in flames. This was a somewhat disappointing ending, as it just felt like a sad attempt at replicating the original. 

Detective Bailey, Quinn Bailey, and Ethan Landry

Scream 6 is probably the most unique Scream movie, as it not only features three Ghostfaces, but is set in New York City. The change in setting really shows how nowhere is safe from the masked killers, with several of the murders happening in broad daylight. The movie follows the survivors of the previous movie, including new main character Samantha. As for the Ghostface trio, they are Richie Kirsch’s family, who want revenge on Samantha after she killed him. Their switch into insanity is intense and well done, with Ethan going from clueless nice boy to knife wielding maniac, and Quinn, having been previously thought dead, effortlessly switches into the classic lunacy Ghostfaces excel at. 

As for motive, the murderous family wants revenge on Samantha for killing Richie, so incredibly similar to Scream 2’s Mrs. Loomis. Similar to the previous movie, I found the motive to be relatively uninteresting, as it is reused. The movie makes up for this, however, with its exciting setting and unique kills, making it one of my favorites from the franchise. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, this is a very strong horror franchise, with its unique meta commentary and fresh faces donning the Ghostface mask making it stand out as a very exciting and unique slasher. Each movie’s fresh cast, with both new protagonists and culprits, make the movies exciting to watch, because it’s very difficult to anticipate who is actually behind the mask. From a slasher standpoint, the majority of the movies feature multiple unique and gory kills, despite the vast majority of them coming from knife wounds. If the sheer amount of spoilers I’ve just given haven’t dissuaded you, I would definitely encourage you to watch these movies, as it is the perfect time of year.