The sixth chapter of the acclaimed and beloved Scream franchise stabbed its way into theaters last weekend, earning itself some big box office cash and plenty of praise from fans to boot. Wes Craven completely changed the slasher genre forever with the original 1996 film and continued to subvert and entertain with three sequels, the last one being 2011’s Scream 4. Over a decade later, the series was brought back from the dead for a fifth installment, with directing duties being taken over by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.
The reboot / legacy sequel (or as the movie calls itself, a “requel”) was a massive success and Paramount was quick to announce not just one but two more sequels from the new directing duo. Now, with Scream VI looking to be the most financially successful film of the entire franchise, it’s likely that this meta slasher franchise will be sticking around for a long time to come. Check out our ranking of all six Scream movies.
So with six movies, multiple Ghostfaces and plenty of twists, there’s bound to be plenty of victims as well. We’re going back through the series - from the original trio to the new Core Four - in celebration of Scream VI and deciding on the best, most memorable and bloodiest kills. SPOILERS FOR ALL SIX SCREAM MOVIES AHEAD!
"What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?” (Scream 1996)
The scene that started it all and set a new blueprint for horror for years. Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) receives the very first Ghostface phone call (Roger L. Jackson) where he asks her about scary movies like Halloween and Craven’s own A Nightmare On Elm Street before things turn frightening and Casey discovers her boyfriend bound and gagged in the backyard. When she gets a horror trivia question wrong, he’s disemboweled and his guts spill out onto the lawn. Ghostface finally pops out of hiding and attacks Casey, who does her best to fight back before being taken down. Her parents then get a double whammy of severe traumatization by hearing her dying gasps over the phone and having to see her mangled body once they got home. It’s easy to forget that this franchise arrived on the scene with a mean and especially gory pair of deaths.
Ghostface Kills Tatum (Scream 1996)
When the high school is shut down following a Ghostface attack, Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) holds a party at his enormous house in celebration. His girlfriend and Sidney Prescott’s (Neve Campbell) best friend, Tatum (Rose McGowan) heads to the garage in the middle of the shindig in search of more beers. Naturally, Ghostface is waiting for her there. Tatum puts up a decent fight by chucking beer bottles at the clumsy killer but makes a fatal mistake when she attempts to escape through a pet door that’s part of the garage door. The poor girl gets stuck, allowing Ghostface to turn on the garage door, which raises her up until she’s crushed by it. This particular kill had to be re-edited nine times before the MPAA would give the film its R-rating, as the original versions were deemed far too gruesome.
Sidney Kills Billy (Scream 1996)
One of the best third acts ever put onscreen finally comes to an end as Sidney takes revenge on Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich), the guy who killed her mother and her best friend and then made the mistake to try and kill her. After being stabbed multiple times and then shot by Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), Billy lies motionless on the floor. “This is the moment when the supposedly dead killer comes back to life for one last scare.” horror encyclopedia Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) tells everyone. Billy does exactly that, popping up only to immediately be shot in the head by Sidney. A new bar for Final Girls was officially set.
Ghostface Kills Randy (Scream 2)
Despite knowing all of the rules to horror sequels, Randy becomes an early victim of the first Scream sequel and helps drive home the point that nobody is safe. When he receives a call from Ghostface on campus, Randy has his friends split up to find anyone talking on a cell phone nearby. It’s a smart enough move but the aspiring film nerd still meets his end when he walks past a news van where Ghostface is waiting inside. He’s dragged inside and stabbed to death, only to be found later by a very alarmed Gale. Randy’s death is an especially surprising and sad one for a series full of them. Fans are still upset about it to this day.
Pipe Through the Skull (Scream 2)
As Ghostface attacks ramp up on campus, Sidney and her new best friend Hallie (Elise Neal) get a ride from the police to a safe location. But before they can take off, the killer arrives and swiftly cuts one of the officer’s throats after punching through the window. When his partner gets his gun out to try and stop him, Ghostface runs him over and takes him for a ride - straight into a pile of lead pipes. One of them goes straight through the poor guy’s head, and we’re treated to some grisly death twitches and a gory look at the impalement. Yeesh.
Gas Explosion (Scream 3)
When production for Stab 3, the movie-franchise-within-a-movie-franchise, is put on hold following the murder of one of the actors, the remaining cast as well as Gale and Dewey (David Arquette) gather to decide the next move. The group suddenly begins receiving a threatening series of faxes, which are script pages that describe their current actions. Freaked out, everyone runs outside save for actor Tom Prinze (Matt Keeslar), who wants to read the pages to find out how it ends. He pulls out a lighter to make the words out and the final page reveals that Ghostface has caused a gas leak, which is of course set off in tremendous fashion thanks to Tom’s lighter. The entire house is blown sky high and poor Tom gets completely obliterated. Quite an elaborate (and messy!) murder from Ghostface this time around.
Stab 7 (Scream 4)
The Scream franchise made a triumphant return to the horror genre over a decade after ending its original trilogy, and this double fake out of an opening scene is part of what makes Wes Craven’s final film so great. The movie opens, as always, with a pair of teens (Lucy Hale and Shenea Grimes) discussing horror movies and getting a scary phone call. The two are quickly and predictably taken down by Ghostface, only for it to be revealed that this isn’t actually the opening to Scream 4 but Stab 6. We see Kristen Bell and Anna Paquin watching the movie, but as Paquin complains about the tired repetitiveness of these intros, she’s suddenly stabbed in the stomach by Bell sitting next to her. Bell apparently isn’t too interested in listening to Paquin's gripes about the franchise and horror in general, and as her friend bleeds out next to her on the couch, she turns Stab 6 back on to enjoy. We’re then treated to the title card - and once again, Craven dupes us. This cheeky opening isn’t Scream 4 either, it’s Stab 7! A new pair of near-future Ghostface victims are watching it and the real movie finally begins following one of the franchise’s greatest moments.
Jill Kills Her Cheating Boyfriend (Scream 4)
This one is quick yet excruciatingly painful. Sidney’s cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) is revealed as one of the Ghostfaces this time around with plans to murder everyone and frame her boyfriend Trevor (Nico Tortorella) for it all. Trevor cheated on Jill before the start of the movie, and as he’s held at gunpoint by his vengeful girlfriend, he gets a final reminder that she is “NOT the girl you cheat on!”. He gets a bullet in his genitals and another in his brain for the infidelity. Ouch. Simple but very effective.
Don’t Fuck With the Original (Scream 4)
Jill is one of the franchise’s villains who gets incredibly close to achieving her goals, having convinced everyone that Trevor was the one behind the Ghostface murders this time around and set herself up as the sole survivor. Fame and fortune are within reach. Unfortunately for Jill, Sidney has survived her couple of stab wounds and is a serious loose end, so Jill makes her way to the OG survivor’s hospital room to finish the job. She’s able to hold off Dewey, Gale and Officer Judy (Marley Shelton) until Sidney surprises her with defibrillators to the head. While getting her brain fried by her cousin still isn’t enough to stop her, a bullet through the heart finally does. Sorry Jill, but you forgot the most important rule of remakes.
Welcome to Act 3 (Scream 2022)
Holding a party at the site of the original Woodsboro massacre AKA Stu Macher’s house was always going to end in bloodshed one way or another. In 2022, the house now belongs to Amber Freeman (Mikey Madison), part of the new cast for the franchise, all of whom have ended up colliding at her party. Ghostface has already attacked a couple of them on the property, so everyone gathers with extreme suspicion towards one another. Many believe the mysterious and largely absent Liv McKenzie (Sonia Ammar) to be behind the attacks. She exasperatingly tells her friends that she is not the killer, only for Amber to say “I know.” and shoot her directly in the head. Surprise! Welcome to Act 3, which is always the make or break moment for these movies. This requel’s is an especially fun one and holds two more kills on this list.
Hand Sanitizer + Hot Stove = Pain (Scream 2022)
Amber faces off against Sidney and Gale in the kitchen and the pint-sized killer teen puts up a real fight against her adult opponents. Even after getting a container of hand sanitizer smashed into her face and splashed into her open wounds, Amber keeps on trucking and almost ends Gale’s life before the veteran reporter manages to break free and shoot her. Amber lands on an active stove and immediately bursts into flames. But even that isn’t enough to take her down - it isn’t until the end of the film where the burnt-up murderer gets shot by Tara (Jenna Ortega) that she finally, finally lies still.
Sam Pokes Richie Full of Holes (Scream 2022)
Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid) has been playing his girlfriend Sam (Melissa Barrera) for a fool the entire movie. Secretly in cahoots with Amber, Richie and her have been planning on a new killing spree inspired by the first one committed by Stu Macher and Billy Loomis in order to “fix” the in-universe Stab franchise, and Sam will make the perfect scapegoat. She’s the daughter of Billy after all; a talent for killing could be seen as running in the family. But Richie fatally underestimates his girlfriend, who wins the struggle by stabbing the backstabbing fiend right through his cheeks. He then gets over twenty more stabs to the body as he writhes in agony, and just to be sure, also gets his brains splattered on the hardwood by a final bullet to the head from Sam. Brutal.
The Climb Across the Ladder (Scream VI)
The latest Scream switches locations to New York City, where Tara and Sam as well as twins Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad (Mason Gooding) have begun attending college at Blackmore University. Ghostface has of course followed the Core Four to the Big Apple and attacks the group at their apartment, seemingly killing Tara and Sam’s roommate Quinn (Liana Liberato) and seriously wounding Mindy’s girlfriend Anika (Devyn Nekoda). The only escape for everyone is to carefully climb out a window and across a ladder to the other apartment building, which would be terrifying enough on its own but is ten times as stressful when you’ve got a butchering psychopath behind you. Poor Anika is the last person to try and make it across, and even with a gaping hole in her stomach still almost makes it. Unfortunately, in one of the most mean-spirited kills of the entire franchise, Ghostface arrives to shake the ladder loose and send Anika plummeting several stories to her death - but not before smacking her face into a dumpster on the way down.
Ethan Dies a Virgin (Scream VI)
In the chaotic climax of Scream VI, Tara and Sam are in a fight for their lives against the demented family of Sam’s very deceased ex-boyfriend Richie. Detective Wayne Bailey (Dermot Mulroney) and his kids, surprise survivor Quinn and Chad’s roommate Ethan (Jack Champion) are revealed to be Richie’s relatives and have hatched a new scheme in his honor that will try to once again frame Sam for all the recent killings. Sam takes on Quinn and dispatches her with a brick and a bullet while Tara takes a leap off a balcony right onto Ethan’s head. Ethan has already been stabbed by Sam a few times at this point, and Tara tries to make him stay down with an especially gory stab through the mouth, even adding a little twist for maximum discomfort. But as always with this series, Ethan pops back up for one last scare, only for returning Scream 4 star Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) to smash a TV on his head in an homage to the original movie. Whatever Scream 7 ends up bringing to the table, it’s going to have a tough time competing with all that’s come before.