With the 5th installment of the Scream franchise due to plunge a knife into our collective chests in January, I thought it was high time we took a look back at the best kills of cinema’s most chaotic crank caller. Born from the collective genius of late horror legend Wes Craven and the harbinger of post-modern horror Kevin Williamson, Scream introduced us to Ghostface, a Munch-faced costume worn by multiple groups of slash-happy maniacs who all seem to have a beef with unassuming teen Sydney Prescott.
But who out of the Ghostface collective managed to score the best kills of the franchise? Join me now as we sharpen our knife, dial a number on a mobile phone and ask the question: what’s your favourite Scream murder?
5) Cop This (Scream 4 – 2011)
The comedic double act of deputies Perkins and Hoss (Anthony Anderson & Adam Brody) comes to a screeching halt when Ghostface gets the drop on them while they fuck about during lookout duties. Pulling some classic fake out shit while slumped over his steering wheel pretending to be dead, Perkins looks on in horror as Hoss get a knife between the shoulder blades for his troubles. Before he can react, Ghostface gives him a thrift store lobotomy by ramming his knife into Perkins’ forehead up to the hilt, but incredibly –
probably because the broad, gap-toothed grin of Anthony Anderson is usually enough to ward off the majority of fatal wounds – the hapless deputy manages to stagger out of the car while bleeding like a hemophiliac shaving on a rollercoaster and even manages to go down swinging, uttering one final wisecrack (“Fuck Bruce Willis!”) before finally expiring in a heap. Scream 4 doesn’t tend to get a lot of love, but this murder manages to straddle the line between brutality and ridiculous to memorable effect.
4) Oh, Urine Trouble Now… (Scream 2 – 1997)
Omar Epps’ Phil Stevens is spending an evening out with his girlfriend, Maureen, while watching the movie Stab at his local cinema when the call of nature strikes after a typically post modern chat about racial stereotypes in horror and whether it was really necessary for Heather Graham to take her clothes off (they obviously haven’t seen Boogie Nights then).
However, upon greeted by the genuinely unnerving sight of a pair of cinema goers taking a slash at the urinal in full Ghostface costumes, he opts to use a cubicle instead.
Bad move, Phil, because after putting his ear to the wall in order to hear some strange muttering coming from the stall next door, Ghostface rams his knife clean though the partition and into his ear. His brain perforated like a juice box, he slumps to the ground, failing to even make it to the main title for both the movie he was watching and the movie he’s actually in.
But what of Maureen? Well, funny you should ask… we’ll get back to her in a minute.
3) The Bad Hatch (Scream – 1996)
While a party is in full swing at the house of Stu, his perky girlfriend, Tatum (Rose Mcgowan) heads to the garage to fetch more beers while movie geek Randy assaults his friends with endless genre rules. However, as she turns to rejoin the party, Tatum’s way is barred by the familiar sight of Ghostface, but unfortunately for the teen she seems to think it’s all a big gag. Things seem marginally less funny when the masked slasher reveals his true intentions and after a quick scuffle, Tatum gets the upper hand and make a break for freedom – through a doggy door lodged in the bottom of the garage’s entrance. To no one’s surprise, she gets stuck and Ghostface, ever the opportunist, simply presses the button to send the garage door – and Tatum – up into the gears of the machinery to pop her neck like a tube of Pringles.
2) Down In Front (Scream 2 – 1997)
While her boyfriend, Phil, is rapidly bleeding out in a cinema toilet with a sizable hole in the side of his head, Maureen Evans (Jada Pinkett Smith) sits in the main without the slightest clue as to what fate awaits her. Stuck watching a slasher movie she didn’t want to see and surrounded by masked, worked-up slasher fans all waving complimentary plastic knives, she’s initially relieved when Phil returns, however, she’s less than impressed to see he’s wearing a Ghostface mask. If she doesn’t like that, she’s going to hate what’s coming next because “Phil” reveals himself to be Ghostface himself and proceeds to stick a horrified Maureen full of fatal holes while the clueless audience (who are convinced it’s an act to promote the film) cheer him on and scream for blood. As Marco Beltrami’s score goes for broke, Maureen drags her ravaged body up to the screen and howls a death scream as a gradually comprehending crowd catches on in horror in what might well be the slasher genre’s most epic kill.
1) Casey And The Fun-Crime Hanged (Scream – 1996)
The first and best of Scream’s extended stalk and slash sequences not only kicked off the movie, but essentially pumped new life into the ailing horror genre and even raised the slasher flick from the dead entirely. Craven essentially gives us a horror masterclass over the space of around ten minutes as we focus on Drew Barrymore’s Casey Becker, a blonde red herring who’s planned night of movies and popcorn ends up taking a horrific turn.
Answering the phone to what seem to be an innocent wrong number, things subtly turn sinister (“I wanna know who I’m looking at.”) and before you know it, Casey is being quizzed on horror trivia while her boyfriend gets his torso hollowed out like a pumpkin by the mystery tormentor. Soon it’s her turn and despite her best efforts at evading the killer, she eventually gets brought down just as her parents get home and they find her hanging from a tree, nearly eviscerated in two, like a pinata that used to have a pulse.
Expertly pulling the rug on viewers by obliterating it’s biggest star, Scream’s opening gambit is by turns legitimately scary and knuckle whitening exciting and was a shot in the arm (or knife in the breast bone) for how slasher scenes could be staged. Still the benchmark for anyone who tries to dip their toes in the genre, virtually every horror that immediately came in it’s wake (Urban Legend, Halloween H20, The Faculty) had a complicated opening chase and kill scene to hit the ground running and it’s all thanks to the little girl from E.T. not having the common sense to screen her calls…
Scream should be slicing it’s way into cinemas in January