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If you're a slasher franchise, you're eventually going to rack up an impressively long list of kills. It's just the nature of the game, but even among its fellow slasher giants, Scream has proven itself a particular hotbed of brutality in the 25 years since its inception.
With just a cool costume, a knife, and a degree of determination that sometimes makes the sinister figure seem flat-out superhuman, the killer known as Ghostface has put together quite a body count, even adding him or herself to the list by the end of every movie so far.
But of course, not all death scenes are created equal, and some Scream kills rise up above the others through a combination of filmmaking skill, creativity, and sheer brutality. So, ahead of the fifth Scream film, let's talk about the best of the best. These are the most brutal kills in the Scream movies so far, ranked.
11. Jenny Randall (Scream 4)
After more than a decade away from the franchise he created, Scream writer Kevin Williamson returned for Scream 4 and decided to take his own meta-horror hijinks to another level by giving us a movie within a movie within another movie.
The first three kills in Scream 4 are actually "fictional" ones taking place inside the Stab movie franchise that the Woodsboro murders inspired, but the fourth and fifth MDKs put us back into the world of the Scream films with a vengeance. Though her friend Marnie Cooper gets a brutal death as well, it's Jenny Randall's demise that proves most memorable in the opening to Scream 4 opening. Here, Williamson's script and Wes Craven's direction reminded us who we're dealing with by working in a garage door crushing moment that hearkens back to Scream, letting viewers know that we were in for a deep dive into the franchise's brutal history with a whole new twist.
10. Rebecca Walters (Scream 4)
Scream 4 changed the game for the franchise by taking things back to the world of teenagers in Westboro, along the way giving us essentially proto-versions of the original cast in new characters. Enter Rebecca Walters, essentially a Gale Weathers in training, whose behavior ties back to the ruthlessness of the character in the original Scream.
Like Gale in those early days, Rebecca is eager to chase a story for attention, but unlike Gale, it gets her killed. For a moment, at least, Rebecca's death seems relatively tame, as Ghostface stabs her in a parking garage. But the iconic killer has a flair for theatrics, and they follow the stabbing up by throwing Rebecca off the garage and onto the roof of a news van below. Dewey timidly taking Rebecca's pulse after all that is the icing on the dark comedy cake.
9. Roman Bridger (Scream 3)
Though it doesn't happen with absolutely every incarnation of the character, it's become something of a Scream tradition that the person eventually outed as Ghostface is hard to kill. We'll take a look at some of the other, even more memorable versions of this in a moment, but Scream 3's killer, Roman Bridger, is certainly one worth remembering.
Revealed as Sidney Prescott's half-brother, who actually set in motion the original Woodsboro murders due to his rage over their mother's infidelity, Roman seems to be dead at least twice in the film. First, when he's shot (he's got a bulletproof vest on), then when he's stabbed. When he finally pops back up for one last scare, Dewey unloads his gun into Roman before Sidney realizes "aim for the head" is the only way to put this particular Ghostface down. Roman gets top marks for sheer tenacity.
8. Tom Prinze (Scream 3)
Though it's not the most fondly-remembered installment in the franchise, Scream 3 bills itself as the "all bets are off," bigger, better, and more meta-fictional installment in the series — and it's got the death scenes to prove it. Nowhere is that more evident than in the death of Tom Prinze, a poor actor who's just trying to make a Stab movie and be a star. Thanks to some careful home sabotage by Ghostface, Tom is the unlucky soul who ends up in a house where has gas been slowly leaking and the power's been cut, so when he strikes a lighter to read a note, the house blows up and takes him with it. After two movies of mostly knife wounds, watching Ghostface straight-up exploded a guy was, at the very least, unforgettable.
7. Mrs. Loomis (Scream 2)
On some level, there's not much that's all that over-the-top about the death of Mrs. Loomis, one half of the Ghostface duo in Scream 2. She's shot to death, then Sidney puts a bullet in her head to make sure she's really dead, and that's kind of it, right?
Well, throw in the buildup to her death, and Laurie Metcalf's absolutely unhinged performance as a grieving mother desperate for revenge, and you've got something unforgettable. From Sidney's use of the stage lights and sets in her college theater to throw off her would-be killer, to the terrifying grin Mrs. Loomis sports when she thinks that she's perhaps won, it's an unforgettable performance culminating in a memorable demise.
6. Jill Roberts (Scream 4)
Scream 4 is a film about how Woodsboro remains haunted by the original Ghostface murders, but not just because of the tragedy surrounding them. Some people have also latched on to the fame and fortune that followed certain people after the original slayings, and those people include Sidney Prescott's young cousin, Jill Roberts.
Through some careful manipulation and a brutal attitude, Jill tries to set herself up to follow in her cousin's footsteps as a Ghostface Final Girl, by becoming Ghostface along the way and getting rid of witnesses. It doesn't work, but Jill does get one of the most memorable death scenes in the franchise. After fighting her way to Sidney's hospital room, she survives a defibrillator to the head before she's finally taken down by a gunshot and a few choice quips from Sid and Gale. And of course, because it's Scream, she does get her own version of bittersweet fame along the way.
5. Stu Macher (Scream)
The first of the Ghostface killers to die in the franchise, Stu spends his final minutes of the first film delivering an absolutely unhinged performance of a second fiddle scorned, at times relishing his role in the killings. Other time, he seemingly deeply regret and fears his complicity. It all culminates in one of the best visuals in the entire series, as Sidney Prescott ends Stu's ranting by dropping an old-fashioned tube TV on his head. Billy Loomis was the mastermind, but Stu got the better death scene.
4. Maureen Evans (Scream 2)
Scream has one of the greatest opening scenes of all time, which meant that Scream 2 had to really bring its A-Game. Thankfully, we got that with the murder of Maureen Evans, an unfortunate young woman who just tagged along with her boyfriend to see a horror movie, only to end up dead, right in front of the screen.
From her boyfriend's death in the theater bathroom to Maureen's own murder in a room full of potential Ghostfaces to the harrowing sight of people cheering, thinking it's all part of the show, as she reaches for help, this a top-tier Scream death scene that sets a very solid foundation for the first sequel.
3. Tatum Riley (Scream)
Easily one of the most memorable death scenes in the series, Tatum Riley's garage door murder in the original film was the kind of thing that made Scream a word-of-mouth hit, because everyone was at school after they saw the movie, telling their friends about the girl who got crushed via garage door. It's a great moment, but the buildup to it — from Tatum's slow realization that she's actually in the presence of a killer to the way she almost fights Ghostface off — is just as iconic. Throw in Ghostface's improvisational ability to kill no matter what, and you've got a classic horror moment.
2. Randy Meeks (Scream 2)
As gore goes, Randy's death in the first Scream sequel isn't particularly nasty. Sure, there's blood, particularly when his body is found later, but most of the actual violence happens offscreen. No, what makes Randy's death so brutal is how, even by Scream standards, it comes out of nowhere and hits like a gut punch for the audience invested in this likable character.
When his number is up, Randy is outside in broad daylight, on a college campus. His friends just a few feet away looking for the source of the Ghostface call. If he'd only taken just a few steps in a different direction, he'd have never been in the killer's grasp. But no, for once the one guy who knew exactly how to survive a slasher film got carried away, and lost his life for it. It's still devastating all these years later.
1. Casey Becker (Scream)
A quarter century of Scream movies, and nothing's been able to top the first film's opening sequence.
What starts with a phone call escalates into a home invasion nightmare, one that reveals Casey's dead boyfriend, then pushes things into pure nightmare territory as we watch the poor girl struggle to call out for her mother, only to find she can no longer scream. The surprise of watching a major star get killed off ten minutes into a horror film was big enough, but even if you've seen Casey die dozens of times at this point, you can't help but appreciate the well-crafted suspense leading to her demise. The whole sequence clicks into place like safe tumblers; it's one of the genre's greatest moments ever.