This article contains major Scream franchise spoilers
Practise your best Roger Jackson impression because Scream 6 is carving itself a new legacy. Just a year after Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett brought the slasher series swinging back into our lives after an 11-year hiatus, the phone is ringing again. Sadly, we aren’t saying “Hellooooo Sidney,” as Scream 6 is the franchise’s first without Neve Campbell. Don’t worry, we’ll always have Courteney Cox’s Gale. We’ll always have Gale, right?
Little did we know when Wes Craven cast Drew Barrymore for a shocking opening kill back in 1996, Scream would hack its way to the heart of horror and immortalize Ghostface alongside Freddy, Jason, and the rest. It’s New York, new rules, in Scream 6, while we add more unhinged killers to the Ghostface hall of fame.
From vengeful mothers to long-lost siblings, cliché boyfriends to Matthew Lillard, Scream has had some amazing killers over the years, but who can take the crown as the best Ghostface? Answer the phone to find out our ultimate ranking of every Scream killer.
12. Quinn Bailey – Scream 6
Coming in hot in last place, Scream 6 having three killers as a franchise first doesn’t save Sam and Tara’s “sex-positive” roommate from landing in last place. Quinn’s (Liana Liberato) biggest gripe is that she gives away her Ghostface credentials almost immediately.
Mentioning that she lost her brother signposted a Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid) connection early on. Quinn then gets an early bath in corn syrup but is officially declared dead off-screen for another red flag. Quinn also turns the trope of the sexually active girl dying on its head for a typically Scream-esque twist.
Having not really gotten to know Quinn, she pops up as a vengeful sister in the final act but lands just on the wrong side of hammy. When comparing her to the other female killers, sorry Quinn, you just don’t match up.
11. Roman Bridger – Scream 3
It’s no secret that Scream 3 underwent some major rewrites following the Columbine High School massacre, meaning the original ending about a cult of murderous teens was swapped for the lackluster reveal that Roman Bridger (Scott Foley) is the big bad.
The director of the doomed Stab 3 was revealed as the illegitimate son of Maureen Prescott, born from her rape by John Milton (Lance Henriksen). As well as being the only movie to have just one Ghostface, making this meek background character Sidney’s half-brother fell flat.
Worse yet, it retroactively tied Roman to the start of the saga, with him being the one who spurred the OG killer to murder Maureen. Scream 3 is a sometimes underrated gem thanks to the dynamic between Parker Posey and Cox, but safe to say, Roman is a bottom-of-the-barrel reveal.
10. Amber Freeman – Scream 5
We’ve seen some pretty tough Ghostfaces over the years, but none have had the muscle and perseverance of Mikey Madison’s Amber Freeman. Her creepy vibes clocked her for a big reveal early on, but still, seeing her casually shooting Liv (Sonia Ben Ammar) left jaws wide.
Sadly, Amber’s motive is the weakest of the Ghostface dynasty. Her and Richie (Jack Quaid) are basically just toxic fans. Even though that’s tenuous enough as it is, Amber isn’t helped by the fact she’s a secondary Ghostface compared to Richie as the ultimate villain.
It’s true that Amber has redeeming features like the honor of sending Dewey Riley (David Arquette) packing from the series and THAT fiery farewell, but ultimately, she’s let down by being too obvious. Still, we’ll give it to Amber that the “Welcome to Act 3” line is iconic.
9. Ethan Landry – Scream 6
The quiet virgin being the killer is a yawn we could’ve seen coming, while the curly-haired Ethan Landry (Jack Champion) shares too many similarities with Richie – probably because he’s his brother.
It’s plot hole central as we question why Ethan saves Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) when she’s stabbed on the subway. We also never learn his real name because Ethan Landry is a pseudonym for the unnamed son of Wayne Bailey (Dermot Mulroney). It’s hard to save someone from the lower tier of Ghostfaces when we don’t even know their name.
Scream 6 could be accused of having something of a villain overkill problem, and although Ethan edges just ahead of Quinn because of his violent demise being taken out by the same TV that killed Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard), he’s arguably the weakest of the group. It wasn’t only Mindy that clocked Ethan was a red herring in plain sight.
8. Charlie Walker – Scream 4
There was something unnerving about Rory Culkin’s Charlie Walker, so plenty of fans clocked this film nerd would be one of Scream 4’s Ghostfaces. You’ll notice a recurring theme of one killer outshining the other, and out of them all, Charlie’s secondary syndrome hits home the hardest.
Trying to be the next Randy Meeks, Charlie’s relatively simple motive was to recreate the original Woodboro Murders and be the last man standing. Instead, this film buff feels like a knock-off Mickey (Timothy Olyphant) from Scream 2.
Despite Charlie pulling off the epic kill of Olivia (Marielle Jaffe), his feeble attempts to woo Jill (Emma Roberts) are frankly pathetic. Being rightly overshadowed by Roberts puts Charlie at the rear of Ghostface rankings. Aside from being Jill’s loyal lapdog, he can’t even kill Kirby right.
7. Mickey Altieri – Scream 2
While the two Ghostfaces of Scream became icons in their own right, Mickey Altieri slips into the background. Full praise to Timothy Olyphant for a Jack Torrance-inspired performance that makes him the most intense Ghostface of the pack.
Despite a few misdirects, Mickey literally gives away he’s Ghostface with his camcorder skills. Fun fact, you can also hear Olyphant’s voice when Ghostface whispers to Phil Stevens (Omar Epps) in the cinema.
Living in the shadow of Laurie Metcalf’s Debbie Salt/Loomis means that even the brilliant Olyphant can’t save Mickey from a low ranking. Unfortunately, it feels like he’s only Ghostface because the notion of a middle-aged woman doing it alone wouldn’t fly back in 1997.
6. Wayne Bailey – Scream 6
You don’t cast someone like Dermot Mulroney without giving him a meaty part, and as well as playing the fatherly Detective Wayne Bailey, he pulls double duty as the movie’s mastermind Ghostface. If Quinn hadn’t dropped the whole dead brother shtick, Detective Bailey being the baddie daddy would’ve genuinely shocked us.
Scream 6 is a love letter to Scream 2, and with Bailey channeling his inner Nancy Loomis as the vengeful parent wanting to punish the final girl, he devours the final act with gusto. Shout out to Sam (Melissa Barrera) for echoing the taunting of Mrs. Loomis over Richie’s performance in bed.
By the time Bailey has given away he’s Ghostface by trying to throw Kirby under the bus, it doesn’t really matter. Still, we would’ve liked to have seen him get a reveal from under the Ghostface mask. Detective Bailey is a pretty iconic killer, but let’s remember, he’s only here for one reason…
5. Richie Kirsch – Scream 5
Even though critics might bemoan the rehash of the final girl’s boyfriend being the killer, we think it worked brilliantly for Scream 5’s “requel” MO. Parts of Jack Quaid’s mild-mannered Richie Kirsch mirror his role as Hugie on The Boys, meaning The whole “nice guy” act worked throughout.
Despite being fooled back in Scream, no one was really buying that this guy who didn’t like horror would be the big bad, and apart from Richie being Sam’s (Melissa Barrera) boyfriend, there’s no reason to suspect the franchise would redo the infamous Billy Loomis reveal. Still, the fact she’s the secret daughter of Billy makes the Richie twist so much better.
Sure, the premise of being a pissed horror fan is a little flimsy, but in terms of taking his hatred of the Stab movies far enough to fake a relationship and go on a killing spree, we’ve got to admire Richie’s commitment to the cause.
4. Jill Roberts – Scream 4
The best thing you can do with Emma Roberts is just let her go with it, and that’s exactly what we got in Scream 4. Effectively the anti-Sidney, Roberts excelled at playing the new final girl who was actually a fame-seeking Ghostface.
A typically Scream-esque commentary about our obsession with social media and millennial self-obsession is a forgotten aspect of Scream 4, as is the scene of Jill beating herself up to play the victim.
Also, being fried with a defibrillator and the shot in the chest gives her the gnarliest Ghostface death of the franchise. If not for Jill Roberts, we doubt we would’ve got Chanel Oberlin or Madison Montgomery. Apart from Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard), most fans agree if any Ghostface deserves a miraculous resurrection, it would be Jill.
3. Stu Macher – Scream
“I’m feelin’ a little woozy here.” Even though Billy Loomis is the brains of the outfit, the dynamic duo of Scream’s killers would be nothing without a pre-Scooby Doo Matthew Lillard. Stu is arguably the most unhinged Ghostface, and with an unexplored subtext of homoeroticism between him and Billy, he’s also among the most interesting.
Until the script was overhauled, Stu was meant to be the killer of Scream 3, and with Lillard himself saying Stu is still alive in his canon, the rumor mill went into overdrive that he’d be back for Scream 6.
The secondary killer reveal has fallen flat since Stu had a TV dropped on his head, but to this day, Ulrich accidentally hitting Lillard with a phone and lines like “liver alone” have made Scream a comedic classic.
2. Nancy Loomis – Scream 2
Long before Laurie Metcalf was playing the similarly tapped Carolyn Bigsby in Desperate Housewives, she was chewing the scenery as Debbie Loomis in Scream 2. We love a good batshit mom in horror, but giving Norma Bates and Pamela Voorhees a run for their money, Billy Loomis’ mother is just the right side of cuckoo.
Little did we know, Metcalf masquerading as “local woman” news reporter Debbie Salt was hiding a Ghostface reveal almost on a par with the original. Unlike Mickey or Jill seeking fame, Debbie Loomis gives us some serious Voorhees vibes by simply wanting vengeance for her son.
Scream 2’s final act is just as bloody as its predecessor, and with Debbie throwing Mickey under the bus, she’s also got the smarts every good Ghostface needs. Chuck in the fact that Gale was too wrapped up in her own infamy to realize she’d been chatting to Billy’s mom this entire time is pure chef’s kiss.
1. Billy Loomis – Scream
As Sidney said in Scream 4, the first rule of remakes is, “Don’t fuck with the original.” Skeet Ulrich sent pulses racing in 1996 as the floppy-haired boyfriend of Sid. However, the final act reveal that Billy Loomis was one of TWO Ghostfaces is a twist that changed horror forever.
Sure, Lillard gets the laughs as Stu, but in terms of pure terror, Ulrich’s cold stare as Billy makes him the GOAT. From inadvertently causing the Windsor College murders to inspiring Richie, Billy’s legacy is unrivalled.