Ranking Every Ghostface Killer from “Scream”

Ghostface has always been one of the most unique slasher villains in he’s not really a single character the way that Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, or Freddy Krueger are.  Ghostface is more a mantle that people take up, and each Scream film serves as a whodunnit to figure out who it is this time donning the mask and cloak.

Likewise, because Ghostface is always an ordinary human in a costume he (and sometimes she) will often trip over things or be incapacitated by objects being thrown at him in hilarious fashion that’s almost a staple of the franchise now.

So in honor of the recent release of Scream VI, we wanted to look back on everyone who’s ever taken up the killer mantle and rank them from the worst to the best.  We’re basing these rankings on several criteria: how interesting their motive is, how effective they were at carrying out their plan, and just overall how interesting a character they were.

Note: Massive Spoilers for Scream VI, as well as every other Scream movie

11. Jason Carvey (Scream VI)
In one of the franchise’s best subversions of expectation, Jason reveals himself to the audience right after performing the opening kill on the ill-fated cinema studies professor played by Ready or Not’s Samara Weaving.

It’s a cool moment that’s undone by the reveal that Jason is really just a Richie Kirsch wannabe whose primary motive for his murder was the fact that his professor gave him a bad grade on his Argento paper.  For someone who was reportedly obsessed with giallo, he doesn’t have any of the elegance or surrealism of it.

It was a cool intro with a character that immediately gets “Ghostfaced” himself, but we thought he deserved to be at least mentioned on the list, even if at the very bottom.

10. Amber Freeman (Scream 5)
To be fair, Amber has one of the best killer reveals when she brutally shoots Liv in the face while nonchalantly revealing herself to be the killer.  It’s a great scene in an overall great movie.  But as far as Ghostface killers go, Amber isn’t given a whole lot of motive or much to do.

We know that she took out legacy character Dewey, but she’s just a radicalized teenager that’s clearly being manipulated and played by Richie for his great fantasy.  She’s meant to be the “frantic Stu” to Richie’s Billy, but they’re both pale comparisons to what came before.  And it seems like Richie is more so the one with the larger motive than she is.

9. Kirsch Family (Scream VI)
In what will likely be a controversial move, we’re counting Detective “Bailey” and his two younger children Ethan and Quinn as a single entity rather than as three separate characters.  Partly because we’re not given a whole lot of development from them individually, and also because they’re working together as a family unit with one common goal and are very much more of a collective than any other team of killers.

The reason for their lower ranking is twofold, their entire revenge plan is just recycled from Nancy Loomis, and their overall scheme isn’t a very good and and doesn’t really add up.  They’re upset that Richie was killed in Scream 5 so they enact an incredibly convoluted plan to get Quinn and Ethan as roommates to members of the “Core Four”, meaning they had ample time to kill Tara, Sam, and Chad, but never acted on it.

And even if they wanted to wait to do it more dramatically in Ghostface fashion, why the hell does Ethan get medical attention for Mindy when it’s just the two of them in the subway station?  They claim they want justice for Richie, but they also have a giant shrine to him in NYC.  An incredibly cool shrine that’s wasted on a weak trio of killers.

Even when killing Jason they claim “who gives a f*ck about movies?” but then aren’t they doing all this being Richie loved movies so much?  Their motive is clear but their execution is just all over the place.  Plus, they claim to wanna kill everyone who had anything to do with Richie’s death, but at no point do they attempt to get Sidney to come to NYC (which is more a behind the scenes fault, but we still have to consider it for their plan).

8. Richie Kirsch (Scream 5)
Speaking of the Kirsch family, we have the obsessed film buff who started the whole family habit of killing, Richie.  He definitely ranks higher than Amber since he’s very much pulling the strings, and to his credit, he does manipulate Sam and successfully gets her to return to Woodsboro.  He plays his part just right, but he has one giant, gaping issue with this plan.

He later reveals that the goal was always to frame Sam for the murders, citing her parental lineage to Billy Loomis. But if that’s the case, why attack Sam at all, especially in a public place like a hospital?  If your goal is to frame someone as the killer, you definitely don’t want Ghostface to attack them in front of witnesses.

7. Charlie Walker (Scream 4)
In the long line of “new Stu” and “new Billy” characters, Charlie actually does a decent job of capturing the same spirit while being his own person.  He’s nowhere near as manic, and has a much quieter and more subtle psychopathy that almost seems too realistic.

In a way, he’s almost doing the same thing that Richie’s doing in trying to weave a narrative, but he doesn’t have any of the pretentiousness that Richie did. Charlie’s only real failures are failing to kill Kirby (which is awesome cause she got to come back), and trusting his partner too much.  He should have known the likelihood of being betrayed when there are two killers.

6. Mickey Altieri (Scream 2)
When it comes to motives, Mickey is without a doubt the most bold.  He’s the only one that fully plans to get caught, knowing the media circus that will surround it, and probably believes that the insanity plea will work out well for him.  He’s a character that very easily could have felt too over the top or fallen into parody territory.

But a lot of what saves him is Timothy Olyphant’s amazing performance. You get that he’s obsessive and he even becomes a sort bizarro evil version of Randy.  But again, he’s ultimately betrayed because his own narcissism and obsession can’t help him see that he’s being played by a mastermind.

5. Roman Bridger (Scream 3)
Let’s be honest, Scream 3 is no one’s favorite movie in the series.  And retcons almost always feel contrived and take away what was special about the continuity before.  All that being said, Roman is actually a pretty decent Ghostface.  There are definitely issues with the aforementioned retcon that he was behind Maureen Prescott’s death, guiding Billy and Stu.

And for a climactic showdown with his final girl sister Sidney, it would have helped she had any idea who he was prior.  But, he’s the only killer on this list who acted completely alone, without the need for a second Ghostface.  And his scheme to use the voice modulator to frame Sidney and reveal the dark past about Maureen was actually pretty well thought out

This man played the long con for years and showed that directing Stab 3 meant nothing compared to directing the real life murders.  Plus the concept of a director killing off his actors is hilarious in a very dark manner.

4 Nancy Loomis (Scream 2)
A lot of the Ghostface killers on this list have long, convoluted plans involving fame, obsession with movies, or some sort of self-righteous justification for gutting people like a fish.  And then there’s Nancy Loomis, who admits that what drives her is just good old fashioned revenge.

Her son Billy was killed, and she’ll do anything to take revenge on Sidney, but first destroy her entire world around her.  She enlists Mickey and smartly uses him as her fall guy, knowing that everything was traceable back to him.

She also played her part perfectly as the timid local reporter Debbie Salt, and when she makes that shift and reveals her true self, you definitely see where Billy got it all from.  She was meant to be an homage to Pamela Vorhees in the original Friday the 13th, and she wound up being just as iconic.

3. Jill Roberts (Scream 4)
She was presented as “new Sidney” in a movie that satirized the idea of remakes as they dominated the horror genre for a decade.  Interestingly though, Jill gives us a complete subversion in that she’s actually the killer.  Tired of Sidney getting all the attention and fame, Jill smartly realizes that being a killer doesn’t get you fame, being a surviving victim does, and her plan actually makes a lot of sense.

She’s the perfect embodiment of the “obsessed with fame” generation that is willing to anything to attain it.  And like the best of them, she picked her ex Trevor to be the fall guy and had everything set into motion, and had Sidney not survived, she very easily could have gotten away with everything, including betraying and killing Charlie.  Scream 4 wasn’t the best of the sequels, but it had one of the best villains.

2. Stu Macher (Scream)
Of course Billy and Stu were always going to be the top 2 spots.  They’re the ones that started it all (excluding aforementioned retcons), and so many other killers on this list have tried and failed to emulate them.  Where to even begin with Stu though?  Between his manic energy that’s both hilarious and dangerous, to his seemingly infinite amount of one liners, many of which were ad libbed by Matthew Lillard.

Even before the killer reveal, Stu had such a dark and twisted sense of humor.  He and Randy almost felt like a dynamic duo of comedic relief characters, but he got to be so much more than that.  It’s as if Randy were two sides of the same diehard fan coin, one knowing the difference between right and wrong, and the other relishing in killing people.

He’s sort of like a human version of Iago from Aladdin and he remains the most quoted character in the entire franchise.  A character so beloved that years later, fans are still debating whether or not he could still be alive.  No one truly enjoyed their killing spree quite like Stu did.  He seemed to have a sense of glee with how he explained everything to Sidney.  There is no character quite like Stu, and nor should there ever be.

1. Billy Loomis (Scream)
As previously mentioned, Billy and Stu were always going to be the top 2 spots, but what edges Billy out to be #1 is that he seems to be more the mastermind behind it, and his psychopathy is both chilling and intriguing.  He is the yin to Stu’s yang (which sounds weirder than it is).  Stu is over the top and energetic, Billy is cold and calculating.  The way he’s able to look the Sheriff in the eye and deny all wrongdoing is a telltale sign of a psychopath.

On the surface, he’s so charming and smooth, which is not only very dangerous, but another huge sign of psychopathy.  Every other killer who came after Billy and Stu were nothing but pretenders, he’s the one who started it all, and there will never be another movie or killer more iconic in this franchise than our dear old Billy!

Which ones were your favorites?  Let us know in the comments!

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