Needless to say, massive freaking spoiler warnings from here on in.
One thing that sets Ghostface apart from his horror brethren is the fact that it could be anyone lurking under that black hood, hiding their identity behind a gravelly voice changer. Throughout countless massacres that’s afflicted the town of Woodsborro and beyond, numerous people has taken on the mantle of Ghostface on order to vent some sort of frustration either on long time foe, Sidney Prescott, or new lead Sam Carpenter. But the of all the horror literate, hoplessly insane members of the Ghostface crew, the best ones are the antagonists whose protracted, brutal demise makes you want to punch the air with glee.
With Scream VI slicing it’s way into cinemas, it’s time to ask the all-important question – no, not “what’s your favourite scary movie”, but instead which of the franchise’s berserkoid bastards had the most satisfying exit after that one last scare?
5) Hot Head (Amber Freeman – Scream 2022)
Revealed to be the knife swinging muscle behind Richie Kirsch’s gonzo, plot to reinvigorate the Stab franchise by giving filmmakers new material to draw from, Amber Freeman is just begging for a horribly memorable end. Not only does she repeatedly target her best friend, Tara Carpenter, for slaughter, but she commits the unforgivable act of gutting OG cast member Dewey Riley like a fish with a scruffy moustache and so by the time payback finally comes around, you’re positively itching to see Amber get hers. Putting up a decent fight against both Sidney Prescott and Gail Weathers, the odds gradually overwhelm her after she takes a jar of hand sanitizer to the face. Frenziedly begging for her life by claiming she was radicalised by Reddit (worth a shot), she’s drilled full of bullets and falls on a lit hob which causes the alcohol base of the sanitizer to go up like Michael Jackson in a Pepsi ad. However, much later, once Richie takes his well deserved dirt nap, Amber dutifully pops up for a final scare while looking like a melted candle and takes a “Ghostface special” to the temple courtesy of Babadook loving, gun pointing, Tara.
4) The Mother Of All Motives (Debbie Salt – Scream 2 1997)
After discovering that the current iteration of Ghostface is spikey-haired film student Mickey, Sidney Prescott dutifully goes toe-to-toe with the monologuing lunatic until he calls in his special guest – seemingly unimportant local news woman Debbie Salt who Syd immediately recognizes as Mrs Loomis, the vengeful mother of the original Ghostface!
After smartly dispatching her accomplice with a treacherous bullet, Salt and Sid engage in a cat and mouse brawl that rages all over the stage area of the college – however, after a bug-eyed mama Loomis manages to finally pin down her victim to be, they are interrupted by a confused Cotton Weary who holds both at gunpoint. Salt tries to convince the man who originally went to jail for the murder of Sid’s number to kill the teen who fingered him for the crime, but after Prescott agrees to do the interview Cotton’s been bugging her for, he plugs dangerous Debbie instead. So far, so Scream – but what makes the annihilation of the second movie’s string puller so memorable is that after Mickey pops up for an inevitable final scare, both Sidney, Gail Weathers and Cotton mull over Salt’s body, anxious that she’s going to the same. However, before they have a chance to find out, Sid steps up and cold bloodedly lodges a hollow point right between Debbie’s eyes, both making the question an awesomely moot point and showing that our heroine has nicely worked her way up the slasher learning curve.
3) Toxic Fandom (Richie Kirsch – Scream 2022)
Arguably the most petty man to wear the cape – and that’s really fucking saying something – Richie Kirsch’s almost superhuman attempts to create a real-life “requel” in order to guarantee better Stab sequels would be genuinely impressive if it wasn’t such a God-tier dick move. Revealing his intentions with a swift stab to the ribs to his girlfriend, Sam Carpenter, he lays out his plan to slaughter everyone and pin it on her due to the fact that she is the illegitimate child of one Billy Loomis. However, one of the rules that Randy neglected to furnish us with back in the first movie appears to be “Don’t fuck with the daughter of a serial killer” as she brings a knife to a gun fight and halts Richie’s mocking demeanor by stabbing him straight through the jaw. She follows up this shocking act by stabbing him numerous times in a murderous rage that shows us that she’s a chip off the old block and leaving her smug attacker in a pool of his own gore. “What about my ending?” gibbers the hapless killer, “Here it comes.” is Sam’s cool-as-ice response as she opens up his throat like a bag of crisps. Full credit to Jack Quaid in creating the most hatefully fun Ghostface since Billy Loomis himself.
2) Reboot To The Ribs (Jill Roberts – Scream 4 2011)
The secret behind crafting memorable exit for anyone who lurks behind that Munch inspired mask is to offer up an immensely punchable villain to inhabit the role – step forward then, Emna Roberts, collect your silver medal.
Hailing from the patchy, but generally underrated Scream 4, the big reveal clues us in that instead of being the target of this latest Ghostface, Sidney’s cousin, Jill Roberts, is Ghostface and has planned the whole thing in order to take her relative’s place (and fame) as the only survivor of this latest spree.
What sells Jill as a worthy Ghostface (and thus a satisfying kill) is how freakishly hard she works at making her plan work and her ambition doesn’t just stop at murdering a lot of people that includes both her mother and her accomplice, Charlie. Convinced she’s succeeded where other Ghostface’s have failed, Jill proceeds to scratch her own cheek, tear out a handful of hair, stab herself in the shoulder, run into a picture frame and puts herself through a glass table in a truly mental up-scaling of Billy Loomis’ and Stu Macher’s earlier self mutilation. However, while recuperating in hospital, Jill discovers that her cousin is still clinging to life so vows to finish the job only to finally come a cropper thanks to a quick blast of a defibrillator (that’ll clear out the cobwebs) and a gunshot to the chest. Ghostfaces usually turn out to be spoilt, privileged kids who think the world owes them something, but even for this group, Jill manages to be, by some margin, the most entitled of them all, thus fully earning her incredibly gratifying exit despite her bitter wouldn’t melt, girl next door looks.
1) Stinging In The Rain (Billy Loomis – Scream 1996)
Unsurprisingly, at number one we find that Wes Craven’s original movie still delivers the goods when it comes those last reel round ups with Skeet Ulrich’s Billy Loomis biting the big one thanks to a few well placed bullets and *checks notes* a fucking umbrella?!
After hisderanged stab at revenge by ways of crafting a real life slasher movie falls apart, psycho boyfriend Billy Loomis flicks that fucking fringe out of his eyes for the millionth time and stalks wiley final girl Sidney Prescott as she mocks him on the phone with his own voice changer. His guard well and truly down, Sid manages to get the drop on him by exploding from the basement with a Ghostface on and takes him out of the equation by using an umbrella in ways that would make the Kingsman boys flinch. However, after accomplice Stu joins the fray and take a television set to the face for his troubles, Billy gets the upper hand and is about to finish off his relationship for good when career bitch/last second saviour Gail Weathers slows Loomis’ roll with a well placed bullet. All that’s left to do is for Sydney to take the gun and thwart her very ex-boyfriend’s final scare with a thunderous head shot that swaps out girl power for girl stopping power.
Just complicated enough and immensely satisfying (the manically self obsessed Billy really is a splendidly hissable villain), this obviously became the gold standard when wrapping up a Scream movie and while the movies that followed made their final showdowns ever more elaborate, the original is still the most rewarding as it smushes together slasher and whodunnit conventions with style.
Honorable Mention: A Bit Of A Stu (Stu Macher – Scream 1996)
Oh Stu… such a victim of peer pressure.
Fighting off severe blood loss caused by his overzealous partner in crime going a teensy bit too far by “faking” a knife attack for a handy alibi, Stu nevertheless manages to get his shit together long enough to channel that dufus energy into a berserker rage when victim-to-be Sidney Prescott manages to flip the script. However, the lanky streak of piss has obviously under estimated both Sid’s survival skills and exactly how much blood is still left in his body and is swiftly overpowered, takes a knee to the crotch and then has a sizable television set tipped onto his screaming face for his troubles.
So why is Stu Macher’s electrifying exit only getting an honorable mention instead of taking its place in the main list? Well, thank online theories and head cannons for that because there’s been a persistent rumour that Matthew Lillard’s gonzo henchman may not actually be dead and may even be pulling the strings from afar, thus disqualifying him from the rankings
Should this be true and it actually plays a role in Scream VI’s plot, it could rank as the greatest slasher comeback since… actually, slashers come back all the time – but it would still pretty freakin’ awesome. But until then, chalk Stu up as a big old maybe.
Scream VI should be out in cinemas by the time you read this.